Archive for mortal mikey

My Gaming History ‘Part 11’

Posted in My Gaming History with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2013 by Mortal Mikey

It has to be said that the late 90s was pretty epic all round for a guy at my age. I was soon to be leaving school, I was also soon to become a legal adult…which meant nothing really apart from the fact that everything I had been doing illegally was soon to be legal and therefore ok in the eyes of the law. We hadn’t had much more controversy over video games since the 16bit era, people had come to realise that video games were now emulating real and fantasy world violence but it was to be Grand Theft Auto that stood apart from the rest of the crowd with a big blood stained knife in one hand and a sign in the other that said “Look at me!!”. Looking back at the first installment of GTA makes you really question what all the fuss was about (No offense guys!). It really goes to show how little the media scum and civilian do-gooders have going on in their lives, when a small, pixelated world of top down criminal activity can become a focal point of a society.

 

Which pixel caused controversy?

Which pixel caused controversy?

Ultimately what you take from a game like GTA is the most important part. Was it that you took someone’s life during a robbery and then were abruptly run over by over zealous local authority? Or do you now think that yes, selling cocaine on the streets, although lucrative, is in fact living your life on a knife edge between becoming Scarface or a shit stabber behind bars.

The minority who complained about the game were often the ones who have never played it and it was the fine upstanding role model, Max Clifford who got the controversy ball rolling. Your background and circumstances obviously play a big part in your early development, not some crooked graphical representation of a city from the view of a pigeon. Before shoddy looking violent video games, the previous generation had been subjected to beautifully composed and well animated cartoons. Young people witnessed a man with a passion for spinach, solve all of his day to day tribulations with simple brutality. Punching and kicking anything that stood in his way, often all for the love of a gawky looking woman. I don’t remember the public outcry to ban Popeye, core values and morals in life are something you may or may not follow depending on your wiring and upbringing. If you are influenced enough by video games to commit heinous acts, the games aren’t the problem. Boredom is a scary thing, never let humans, adults or children, become bored, it leads to awful things…I believe computer games combat this. 

url

I remember entering Curry’s in 1998, which for those of you who do not reside in the UK, it is in fact an electrical store, not a food outlet. GTA had just hit the shelves and I went in to shoplift…I mean purchase the game. I had read the reviews, scanned the screenshots and so, I was looking forward to playing the game as it sounded like a riot. For whatever reason though this game received an 18 rating and because of this, the young man behind the counter couldn’t serve me. Saddened by my inability to crack on and sell virtual crack, I politely asked my Dad if he would go in and buy it for me. My Dad had spent many an hour sat with me, hand drawing the maps of DOOM for me as we ran around level after level mercilessly gunning down anything sprite that moved…he knows it’s just a game and he doesn’t give a flying fuck what you do in a game as long as you’re not stupid enough to carry out ‘missions’ in real life. You join to army to kill legally, and carry out missions all in the name of drugs and or resources. I’m far too lazy for that kind of thing and that’s why I play video games.

 

"With this drone it'll be like in a video game, you can bomb natives and keep your little beret on!"

“With this drone it’ll be like in a video game, you can bomb natives and keep your little beret on!”

If Wipeout and Gran Turismo raised the bar for technical and content excellence in a racing game. GTA took RPG/Action/shooter/driver, to a whole new level. Real stereo audio tracks boomed over sounds of a bustling city, as you joy ride to victory doing favours for local drug dealers and pimps. Originally penciled to be a simple cops vs robbers chase game, the small team of programmers and enthusiasts pooled ideas from their favourite films and TV shows to come up with a totally original idea. The big cheeses funding the operation didn’t want it, at times the programmers couldn’t meet the concepts, It was almost canned at every corner but for some reason, it was destined to be brought to life and beamed into our brains to turn us into violent drug pushing thugs.

The PS1 was now on fire (not literally due to becoming violent) with so much great content, Sony were an unstoppable force at this point. GTA along with other great titles secured PS1’s place as top dog.

After well over fifty hours playtime I can’t say I was any closer to stealing my neighbours car and going on a knife rampage, I had a teenage temperament already, which meant I was naturally either hot, cold or horny or all of the above. Drugs had come long before GTA ever did to. I remember it like yesterday (going against any so called ‘reports’ of cannabis leading to memory loss) my friend and I stood under his porch in the back garden, listening to the heavy rain on the plastic corrugated roof, hunched over trying to ignore the cold. He produced from his coat pocket what I saw him roll earlier and said “Try it, it’s like cigarettes only different’.

Exactly

Exactly

Different indeed, I don’t think we stopped laughing for three hours, laughed at the rain, laughed at each other and  laughed some more. We went back upstairs and stuck on the Playstation and a beautiful friendship came to being. I didn’t realise at the time that this was illegal, I guess people can only have fun as long as there is a limit to it, enforced by government.

I was no stranger to physical violence either with over seven years of traditional Karate behind me, long before GTA being released. Karate is an age old Japanese method of practicing how to effectively use ones foot to make an opponent’s eyes pop out of their ears. You enter a room full of strangers and quite often you’ll find yourself punching and kicking each other, occasionally being whipped by a teachers belt if and when you made mistakes. Had I used these techniques in anger? Not really, but I had been able to defend myself once or twice, usually resulting with me trying to put someone’s foot up their own ass.

I’ve seen monks from Asia smash pots on their heads and take kicks to the groin from a man twice their size…those bald fella’s haven’t even got a TV so whatever influences them to practice the arts of inflicting pain is anyone’s guess. I’d say boredom.

Level 10 boredom

Level 10 boredom

 

Smoking plants and playing video games was now what happened between school and eating. It could not have come at a better time as titles that have earned their place in the video game hall of fame, were released within two years of each other. Who can forget the four player split screen romp that was 007 Golden Eye on the N64, running around as Nick Nac while your friend fruitlessly attempts to karate chop you to death with Jaws had me in tears of laughter, not to mention the hilarious animation. Resident Evil 2 stoned was another level of frightening too, with curtains drawn, walking around as a cop who can only move like a cheap educational robot, HI-FI turned up to 11 and the lights off, it certainly tested your nerves.

For me this was a highlight in my gaming history so far. The days when I’d sit with a mate in my school uniform for hours until it was time for me to go, I could take the game home if they let me borrow it and the disc contained the full game.

I still had my Megadrive, I don’t recall when I sold the old girl but I do remember on the odd occasion, slamming in a cartridge for one final blast on California Games, Streets of Rage or James Pond. The sounds, the gameplay and the pad brought on feelings on nostalgia even at such a young age. When I play these games now on emulators, it’s never the same, similar to the thoughts of child hood, it reminds me of how easy going things were back then when compared to the ever maddening, shameless, money grabbing, product placing, non supportive, underhanded, identity stealing, slutty industry it is today.

There are just too many games to mention here, the step into the 3D polygon world of Sony’s powerhouse was only the beginning, but for a lot of us, we were playing reinvented titles of the originals. The Strike games continued with Soviet and Nuclear Strike. We had Micromachines V3 which surprised many as it was just as additive and frustrating as the original. Mortal Kombat was given more content and fighters with the Trilogy, with strong competition in the genre from 3D titles like Tekken and Soul Blade, there were no complaints. The PlayStation, was the first video game console to ship 100 million units, 9 years and 6 months after its initial launch. Gaming was becoming seen as a worthwhile past time and not just the hobby of spotty kids with high scores and corduroy trousers.

In the year 2000, we were going to see what would become the bestselling home console of all time, the aptly named, Playstation 2. It was also the year I left home, had my first house mate and so, the battles continued.

Aliens, I am disappoint

Posted in Mortal Musings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2013 by Mortal Mikey

Anyone who spent at least half an hour reading into the Mayan calendar talking point last year, would have quickly realised that it had very little to do with the end of the world at all but more about a significant time in our earth’s history. Still, I witnessed hundreds of people on social media sites talking about how tanked-up they were going to get that night, being that the world might end. Dozens of invites to nightclubs filled my news feed, proclaiming that the drinks are cheap, so dress up like a slut and dance until your recycled plastic stilettos fall off, because the worlds going to melt.

Upside down dancing arrived to late to catch on

Upside down dancing arrived to late to catch on

There was no running from gaping lava pits, no fire hail, no asteroids, no aliens, nothing. The drinks were quite reasonable but similarly to every other weekend, many people woke up the next morning, poisoned and shaking in bed, with their ears ringing from some endless high frequency Dub Step synths, instead of a DJ respectively putting together a playlist of the several thousand tracks of masterfully composed music, from throughout human history.

Armageddon and Red Bull please

Armageddon and Red Bull please

If it was the end of all of us that night, we failed to do it right, that’s me included. I spent my evening in a large country manor house partying with people who were just about legal to drink, wide eyed and gurning to heavy bass music. The night was advertised as a 1920’s gangster style affair, with performers and light shows that would mesmerise and entertain. In reality it was a couple hundred young people dressed up in their grandparents clothes, sweating and bumping into each other through strobe lights and smoke. I thought for a moment what it would be like for a time traveller to have accidently wound up in that place at that time. He or she would probably think something had gone terribly wrong with the machine and arrived in a parallel dimension, making written history irrelevant, sat in the corner reduced to tears, with their head between their knees being ignored by the mayhem around them.

Dr Boo Who

Dr Boo Who

My schoolboy fantasies about myth and mythologies were crushed by my thirst for knowledge. I found that the ancient Greek camp fire tales had survived the test of time because of their underlying eternal messages about time, morality and mortality. Similarly, god or the god my white working class school chose to enforce, didn’t create everything in a week and Jesus was born in the middle east and therefore didn’t look like Harrison Ford with a beard, as many television productions and illustrated books liked to portray. How the fuck did he find men with names like Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in Israel at that time?

All of the myth, legends and supernatural books I used to read were often illustrated, drawn reconstructions of personal accounts, occasionally backed up by some badly processed photographs with a hazy creepy figure stood next to an even more intimidating real person. You come to realise famous photo’s like the one of the Loch Ness monster is probably nothing more than a swan caught on some fishing line, dragging a few plastic bags. Bigfoot could well be a tall terrified homeless man, running away from some deer hunters.

I’ve always been fascinated by things out of the ordinary…conspiracies, monsters, aliens, ghosts and the Welsh. I’ve been here almost thirty years and all but the Welsh have been complete and utter disappointments thus far. The question that often appears in scientific circles from year to year is ‘Who is out there?’. After years of casual researching, reading and watching events documented by our race, I start to ask the question “Who gives a fuck?”.

I was listening to a two and a half hour talk recently between someone who I really like, Joe Rogan and a guy I believe is far beyond our help. His name is Steven M. Greer, he’s the kind of guy who would be as creepily passionate about selling cleaning products to you, as he would trying to sell you the idea that we are defiantly not alone. This guy was the founder of the disclosure project and now he claims that he can call upon UFO’s to appear before your eyes. He has that stirring madness behind the eyes as if has actually been violated by ‘the greys’ and the polo shirt and khaki work pants combo at literally every public appearance that just screams molester.

"So the UFO was like, wup wup wup wup"

“So the UFO was like, wup wup wup wup”

As someone who has sat and watched hundreds of UFO videos on the internet, I can spot a fake in the first couple of seconds of the clip. Years ago I would get all excited if something appeared genuine but now, I feel nothing. My passion for the hunt is nearly all but gone…the creeping realisation that even if the video showed the craft land, something getting out and taking a slash in the bushes before taking off again…what difference would it make?

We fired a binary message into space in the 70’s detailing what we are, where we live and how many there are of us. The public were led to believe this was intended to make contact with extra-terrestrials in another galaxy (25,000 years away to be exact) but because it is that far away, the experiment was merely to show off what we could achieve in a technical sense. It is highly probable that no one ever, will hear or see that message, it would have been more productive projecting Steven Hawking’s face on the moon.

It is more likely however, that aliens have accessed our endless stream of alien invasion movies from our internet and wireless feeds. They would see Ripley, the bald potty mouth from the film Aliens, emptying magazines into ET’s simply for being hungry. Or witness the Fresh Prince punch an alien in the head after having downed it with a fighter jet smoking a cigar. The alternative is that they were there watching when we sent that message, intercepted it and metaphorically ripped it up and threw it in the bin. We’re their dirty little experiment and we provide them with too many laughs to allow another civilisation to come and take our cows and anal probe hill billys.

Just yesterday I read an article about one company’s proposal to send several humans on a one way ticket to Mar’s.

“So long as you’re over 18 and “have a deep sense of purpose” and “the capacity for self-reflection, you have a shot.“

Well that’s me out because I only have a deep cynical sense of purpose and I think too much to feel the need to go to a planet where literally nothing happens. Since August 2012 the NASA Mars rover, which looks like they took a lot of their notes from the film Short Circuit, has found some evidence that suggests, water. That’s one of the main goals for the eight gazillion dollar robot mission, to find some evidence that at some point, water. Countless people on this rock, which as we all know is covered in the stuff, can’t find enough to drink, why the fuck are we looking on another planet for it?

Why you need to be over 18 years old for this trip is beyond me, what has age got to do with doing nothing? If anything the majority of humans under the age of 18 want to do exactly this kind of activity.

Does no one realise that in the space of 24 hours on Mars they may be asked to “Sweep radioactive dust off the roof”, or “tighten the magnetic coupler.” During a fire storm. You’re not going to be joining the leagues of Columbus or Magallan. Columbus found America…a huge land mass full of breath-taking landscapes, millions of different animals and a really liveable climate. So obese humans, less natives, TV, fast food, strippers, guns, race tracks, theme parks and drugs is what we contributed that to the land but if there’s one thing that can be said about the U.S.A, it aint boring.

Anything half decent on Mars is going to be whatever we take, or anything we build.

Many questions were answered in regards to space in 1969, when several human beings were fired at the moon in what could have been the most expensive coffin ever made. They took with them, an off road buggy, a flag, a camera and some golf clubs and I bet they were fucking thankful for that because sure enough, after looking at the moon for centuries through advancing technology, we finally come to realise there is indeed, no air, no aliens, absolutely fuck all but moon. It’s no wonder why we haven’t gone back, once you’ve played golf, drove around for a bit, stuck your flag in the ground and taken your pictures…what else Is there to do? I have more interesting drink and drugs related stories including many of these activities, right here on lovely warm, breathable planet earth and all it cost me was a week’s wages and my dignity.

Where's that chick with three tits?

Where’s that chick with three tits?

Recently I had to pay a family friend a visit in hospital, here in England. Sadly you’ll find that it’s not much like a Star Trek medical bay but instead it’s like hanging around a zoo where all of the zookeepers have no idea what the animals are. In contrast, I’ve watched a surgical robot on YouTube peel a fucking grape, I’ve seen a man with no arm with a replacement carbon fibre one, with which he pours his beer. So before we start broadcasting Big Brother on Mars, or go and see if there is bacteria in a ditch on Jupiter, we need to have a nice tall glass of shut the fuck up and re-think what we’re all doing.

So this is a request, no, more like a demand. If there is alien life out there, here even, someone please tell us and back this up with digital 1080p HD video and audio or I will flush your head down a toilet. If you can request a visit from UFO’s, do this, make it happen, invite us all via YouTube, Facebook and TV and let us in on the action. Or even better, if you’re are an alien race, come and save us from killing ourselves through boredom. I’m no longer fascinated by your strange looking craft, or the apparent experiments you wish to perform. I want to visit your digs, smoke a cigar with you and sample your beer. Your time is now.

 

Top Five Video Game Intros

Posted in The Pit with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2013 by Mortal Mikey

Putting together this top five compilation has been harder than Jimmy Saville in a school for the blind. Today’s video games begin much like a big Hollywood blockbuster, with running commentary from the main protagonist, several people being strangled and shot, all mixed to a track from this week’s electronic Beethoven. The new game worlds and game engines enable developers to go full Michael Bay and deafen you with cinematic bass, whilst blinding you with strobe effects.

In the past however, there was a time where  a more humble approach was taken to video game intros, where original ideas and artistic personalisation were showcased, to convey the right message and immerse the player, given the constraints on hardware and software. They left more to the imagination and in someway become more like reading a novel, unlike modern titles which are much like watching a movie in a cinema, pressing a button when you wish the main character to perform something.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been roaming my shoddy memory banks of the hundreds of titles I’ve played and completed, to make a list of my personal top five game intros and why.

#5 – Soviet Strike

Platform: PSX

Year:1996

Stop the war before it happens

Stop the war before it happens

Almost six years after I played my first Strike game on the Megadrive, Soviet Strike, the fourth installment was released on the brand new 32bit PlayStation.

If you never played the series, you’ve missed one of the greatest series of games ever to appear on computer. In 1992 Electronic Arts released Desert Strike, Return to the Gulf. A controversial title that became a talking point for using recent real world war situations to create a game. But Mike Posehn, lead designer, pulled this off perfectly with new slick gameplay mechanics, with visually pleasing graphics and a new era of SFX.

“The lead designer, Mike Posehn, had no video game experience prior to developing Desert Strike. Inspired by Choplifter, he aimed to create a nonlinear game with smoothly animated vehicles. Posehn, a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, developed a camera system with momentum to mimic realistic helicopter movements. Three-dimensional (3D) modelling was used to generate the vehicle sprites, which were later touched up on the pixel level with color.”

When the most inspiring video game era began in the late nineties, everyone was eager to lay eyes on the new tech and the next generation of titles. Soviet Strike was one title I would have eaten through a crowd of people to get. It did not disappoint. Utilising more space on CD ROM, the intro video to this game set the new pace, and this was sprinting. The audio and visuals were ramped up to real footage, whilst graphics were used to create a very futuristic look and feel.

[youtube.com/watch?v=A7SB79Z_0eI] Stop the war before it happens

#4 – Grand Theft Auto III

Platform: PS2

Year:2001

Stealy Drivey Shooty

Stealy Drivey Shooty

When Grand Theft Auto appeared as a 2D bird’s eye view driving based, one man crime spree, I was impressed by Rockstars new ideas for the free roaming elements and wasn’t overly fussed that graphically it was lacking in parts. What really made GTA stand out from the crowd was the attention to detail, the influential soundtrack and solid sound effects. The media however, saw it another way. It was to be sat on the naughty step in the middle of yet another media shit storm, backed by bored middle aged keyboard warriors, who demonised the game because crime isn’t for fun, it’s only for real life. If anything, GTA taught young people that if you kick someone out of their car and drive at triple figures in the wrong direction, when you collide with another vehicle, it should explode.

You would have hoped that they learned from the game Carmageddon, that it didn’t spawn a generation of boys and girls who enjoy mounting the pavements ploughing through dozens of innocent people. Nevertheless, GTA made its mark in more ways than one. In 2001 when it was announced Rockstar had developed a 3D GTA for the Playstation, I would have broken the law to get my hands on a copy. If I could have grown a beard at the time, I would have emerged from my bedroom looking like Bin Laden.

[youtube.com/watch?v=RoQStKto_n4]

#3 – Flashback

Platform: Megadrive

Year:1992

Where am i?

Where am i?

I mentioned my love for this game in part 10 of my gaming history. Flashback was pretty incredible for the time, with ultra-realistic character movements, an original story line and setting. From the beginning you know you are participating in a great piece of work. The SEGA Megadrive by today’s standards is about as powerful as a musical birthday card, so anything visually impressive meant that a lot of hard work and dedication went into the making of the game.

The intro wastes no time getting going and shortly after the very cool Delphine Software logo appears accompanied by some moody synths, you’re thrown into the action. The main character, so it seems, is being chased, by who we don’t know but you do see lasers weapons, you do see this guy escape on a flying motorbike in space, when sadly he is shot down by his pursuers and left for dead. If that isn’t enough to keep the pad in your hand, then nothing is.

The main menu appears, again with an unforgettable intro track, you then begin your journey as Conrad B Hart, a lone man on a mission to retrace his steps before he purposely erased his memory. It’s blade runner, terminator and total recall all rolled into one, that’s like eating only the marshmallow pieces from Lucky Charms.

#3 – Half Life

Platform: PC

Year:1998

Gordon fucking Freeman

Gordon fucking Freeman

If you had access to a PC capable of playing Half Life when it came out and didn’t, you should have been dragged outside and trampled by the North Korean army. The Valve Corporation combined everything you’d ever enjoyed about first person shooters and squashed it all into one disc, it gained a cult following and for good reason. Quite simply one of the best concepts and game designs to date along with it’s equally satisfying sequel. To top it off, one of the most memorable intro’s into a game.It was ground breaking in all areas, graphics, sound and gameplay, the sense of immersion was incredible once you stepped off the train at Black Mesa.

In a nutshell Gordon Freeman, the main character, saves the world with a crowbar. It’s a little hard to explain the full plot here but there’s a lot more to it than bludgeoning things. Black Mesa is the facility where you work and well, your normal working day is about to get very not normal.

[youtube.com/watch?v=qUDNiyOf92o]

#1 – Fallout 3

Platform: Various

Year:2008

War...war never changes

War…war never changes

I must admit, i hadn’t played any other Fallout before No3 and that was probably partly to do with my obsession with motorbikes and no funding for a PC from the bank of mum and dad anymore. A good friend of mine explained Fallout 3 and it sounded like a fantasy come true, in post apocalyptic landscape, you emerge as a lone wanderer with no real objective only that to explore the land. The intro was voiced by Ron Perlman and your father is non other than Liam Neeson. For anyone who played Fallout will know how it felt when you first stepped out of that vault and into the sun. I think at the time i was wearing a vault jumpsuit and a welders mask for protection. Stoned off my tree I took the long walk into the wastelands, peeking over rocks, armed with only an air rifle and a police baton i found on a corpse. Over two hundred hours well spent.

[youtube.com/watch?v=5QUjGxgbC68]

My Gaming History ‘Part 10’

Posted in My Gaming History with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2013 by Mortal Mikey

This post is taking a bit of a detour from my gaming history as I’d like to mention something we, as gamers have had to face throughout the days spent tackling these virtual marvels. They are, glitches. I think they deserve a mention during this retrospective journey, as without them, games would never have the character or quirks we remember so fondly.

Whether it was the new uncharted polygon worlds of Sony or the copious amounts of cannabis consumed during the evolution of the Playstation but my new found skill in gaming was the ability to glitch any given title into oblivion. More often than not, I’d pop over to a friend’s house and pick up a controller to play their latest purchase. In the first five minutes I’d made the character or vehicle bend time and space and appear in a geographic location unknown to the game itself, ruining the apparent game environment, whilst making a noise like a dog trapped in a burning bin.

BIN

Just in the past month my friend, who writes for a an online technology magazine, handed me a brand new powerful smartphone from Motorola. As I flicked through the phone, he explained to me that the phone has a Pentium chip, has incredible RAM specs and so on. He fired up the new Batman game on the android system, quickly briefed me on the controls and off I went, to attempt to save Gotham City. I was impressed by the frame rate and the controls, perhaps now we’ve achieved a ‘oneness’ with this software programming stuff, this just looks too slick to fuck up.

unnamed

The first two bad guys in this sandbox environment met their doom by means of the bat belt, I think I used the “Bat’arang” on the one guy and simply punched the other henchman to death, Bruce Wayne style.

So I decided it was time for a little exploring. Using the cape for the first time I launched Bat Wayne from a tall building, swooping down to meet two unsuspecting thugs on the street below. Unfortunately the Bat met an untimely fate when I strayed off course slightly and panicked, only to witness the caped crusader disappear through the bricks of a roof top Gotham city outbuilding, which was about 10x10ft square. I tried and tried to recreate the same graphic anomaly but failed miserably. It was quite depressing really, watching batman running and jumping wildly inside this small brick tomb, bumping into the four walls…thinking about it, there isn’t much batman could do in this instance. I used every conceivable means to escape and used every gadget the game provided, but in the end, Bruce man is just a lonely bloke in a gimp suit with ears and can’t kick or punch his way out of bricks and mortar.

Bat-fucked

Bat-fucked

Glitches have come a long way since the early days of polygon technology, now with simulated earth, wind, fire and water elements at developers disposal, all manner of madness can happen to your character or vehicle that previously had never been dreamed of. I believe with someone like me at the front line of games testing a lot of these issues could have been resolved a long time ago.

Helpful glitches have also appeared throughout games history, whether It be a crafty glitch that allows you to kill an end level boss without being killed, or an inventory glitch that gives you endless money or ammo. My most recent glitch discovery would have been whilst attempting to play the clumsy, unsatisfying Dark Souls, in which you, the victim, fumble around a grimy old ruin with a broken knife, frequently being destroyed by an array of crazed enemies. You often end up looking like a pensioner being kicked to death by chavs on PCP.

Upon meeting the first boss, which happens to be an over-sized, over animated ‘Asylum troll’, I quickly discovered a weakness using my experience of these kinds of situations and positioned myself at the rear of the monster, trying to learn it’s repetitive movements, with a large kitchen knife in hand. After regularly meeting an untimely fate previously to booby traps and awkward controls, I laughed manically as I repeatedly stabbed the fat troll in the arse until I killed it to death.

Stab the arse to win

Stab the arse to win

Flashback was a much loved title for me on the Sega Megadrive. It solidifies my argument that my generation have had it hard when faced with other big responsibilities in life, like washing or school. My parents were forever arguing the toss about how I should do my homework because back in their day, the cain was used as punishment for not putting in the hard labour. As well as physical punishment for not learning your sixty four times table, they’d recall games they used to play. Games like, roll the wheel with a stick, throw rocks at trains and hop scotch.

How is there any expectation for children to learn a government based education today? When I was a kid, of course I had homework, but I also had a powerful games console in my bedroom which could throw me into a situation in seconds whereby I play the role of a slick, agile motherfucker in a tan brown leather jacket, pale blue jeans, in a pair of Nikes, wielding a large handgun…IN SPACE. Choosing to spend time playing Flashback or writing an essay on how long it takes for water to erode rocks. I chose Nikes, handguns and space aliens, every. fucking. time.

flashbackflashback-megadrive-031

Delphine software, who are sadly no longer with us, released Flashback in 1992 and the following was huge. In a nutshell, you play Conrad B. Hart, who wakes up on a distant alien jungle planet ‘Titan’. You wake up with no memory of what happened but soon discover it wasn’t the result of a good night out but instead, you erased your own memory. Conrad previously recorded his memory on a Holocube because you work for the Galaxia Bureau of Investigation, and during one of Conrad’s investigations he discovered a plot to destroy the earth by shape shifting aliens that have disguised themselves as government officials.

After the first three hours or so on the game, I became unbelievably stuck and had to read through many magazines before stumbling upon a way to progress. By running away from a door, then quickly turning to run the other way holding down A, Conrad magically runs through the door into the next scene. This was pretty uncommon for a glitch to actually help you out, if you ever found a door or wall you could pass into in a game, you should expect the worst.

Look out for my top five gaming intro’s of all time, coming soon. I’ll explain more about one of my favourite games ‘Flashback’ and discuss how a masterpiece is made.

If you aren’t familiar with the term ‘glitch’ or not sure of the effects caused by glitches, take a look at this short video.

Mortal Mikey

 

Christmas and 2012, a review

Posted in Mortal Musings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2013 by Mortal Mikey

If like me you live on the small island of Englandshire-upon-avon-ton, you will have recently celebrated Jesus baby Jew day. Or as we like to call it, Christmas for short or ‘Xmas’. Which happens to be a really lazy abbreviation of ‘Christ’s mass’ or from the old English Anglo Saxon speak ‘Crīstesmæsse’.

Being a non-Christian myself I have no desire to celebrate the birthday of someone’s else’s child, especially one born in a shed, under suspicious circumstances. But I don’t mind the tradition of exchanging gifts, as the three wise men did in the heavily edited version of the bible people in England seem to prefer.

Myrrh, now that’s a strange gift to give anyone. You’ve just given birth to a boy in ancient times, with no medical assistance, being watched by a donkey and the one thing a ‘wise man’ deems to be the ideal gift for the baby, is a plant used in Ayurvedic medicines, which smells nice when you burn it. I guess when buying for the son of god, you would have a hard time walking around the local market, thinking of something he’d like. But he was a new born, so really everything you buy is a waste of time as all he’ll do is eat, or poo on it.

After a brief investigation, the plant could have been for Mary, the person who really needed some comforting after the ordeal of natural birth with no drugs, in a shed.

Reading about Myrrh on Wikipedia, the plant in one photo looks strangely like a uterus (bottom left of picture)…myrrh has been known for its ‘blood moving’ properties…like removing stagnant blood from the Uterus. Check it out…

myrrh

This reminds me of recent scientific findings that walnuts are good for the brain and that kind of thing…the theory is, if the food bears a resemblance to a part of a human being, then it very well might be good for it. Then that does make you think, fish is a good source of nutrients for the brain…what does a fish look like? A fish. Maybe they’re wrong, maybe they meant face. A fish is just a face that swims.

wtfish?

I can’t find a comparable pain to child birth in my imagination, except perhaps several hours of Xmas shopping, sorry, Christ’s mass shopping.

People complain about how lazy the English language has become in recent times, proclaiming that it is now ‘dumbed down’ and lazy txt spk. In reality, they’re right, but many of us don’t even have time to speak properly anymore, you might as well carry a stop watch with you in Britain, because at every opportunity someone or something, is trying to encroach on your personal time. You can’t park anywhere legally in England unless you park well away from where you require to be, and when you do find a small section of legal land for your earth scarring 4×4, you have a set time limit to shop, to then run back to the car before one of the faithful drones for the local council ruin your day.

Traffic wardens in today’s Britain wear a seemingly Nazi styled uniform, utilising CCTV and an array electronic equipment, they take several photographs of you vehicle from different angles and upload them onto the internet, like a social media activity for cunts.

3,2,1..Ticket!
3,2,1..Ticket!

I guess the only good thing to come from the traffic gestapo, is that if you’re caught, you can save the photos from your local council website and use them for use in advertising your car, once they have repossessed your home.

When Christmas shopping in Britain you’ll require body armour, a strong will, and good time keeping. When you finish work, you’ll have only several minutes to rush around the retail hell that is the British high street, with your head down, looking up briefly to acknowledge the till jockey, who stares rather blankly at you whilst they ponder just how long their new career at ‘Mint Toyz’ is going to last.

In England you’ll find that advertising Christmas, gifts and Christmas food related items, begins before Halloween and end’s the second Boxing day is over (when the Easter eggs come out). We spend over three months saving, planning, panicking about gifts only to then have a couple of days to quickly exchange them between friends and family.

Here’s something typically British, a Christmas cracker joke…

Who’s the bane of Santa’s life?

The elf and safety officer.

I remembered this rather depressing joke as I watched shoppers shuffling ass to face, slowly trying to escape the shopping arcade in my town, with the occasional muffled warnings from an electronic traffic cone. Yes that’s right, as we all trampled on each other, bumping bags of overpriced child labour, a lone electronic traffic cone, complete with red flashing light, warned us that the floor was indeed wet and therefore a slip hazard.

Santa wouldn’t give a toss about health and safety, he literally invented the sweat shop…little people in uniform, working for what appears to be nothing but a little praise every twelve months, never seeing their elf families again.

Thinking about it, who are their families? I guess they all work and breed there. They’d have to raise their children for work, adorn that vile outfit and make toys continuously for several months.

Ho ho ho

So what did Santa bring me this year? Apart from the obvious, alcohol and socks, here are a few things the creepy man with a beard left me.

A hot water bottle, complete with machine knitted union jack cover.

DSC_1679

Often I am too drunk to realise the bed is cold but on the odd occasion I will have the patience and dexterity to pour near boiling water into this rubber bag, I do find this a valuable bedtime accessory.

Bathtime commando shooting game.

DSC_1667

Become your own fantasy firing squad by lining up these four super heroes and shooting them in the face.

Comes complete with what looks like a German Luger and four super heroes. I’ve no idea what they’ve done but I’m assuming in this scenario I’m the bad guy as they’ve named the characters ‘hero’s’ and I’m the guy with the gun.

 

Diver on a plug

Perhaps BP could learn a thing or too here

Perhaps BP could learn a thing or too here

Another bath time accessory. I’ve no idea why I’m collecting bath related items this year. I guess anyone in my family knows I prefer baths to showers, they’re just much easier to do. You come into the bathroom, turn on the taps and walk out. After wandering around nude for a while, you stroll back in, turn off the taps and then just lay horizontally in a tub of warm water. A shower is an awful activity, it’s like standing in rain, turning around constantly, spitting out water and wiping soap out of your eyes.

 

Salt water powered car

DSC_1677 DSC_1678

Most of us who have bothered keeping up with science (not the science on TV) know we can run a car on anything from cow piss to the sun already, but there is still many years of foreign oil to use so until then, petroleum it is. It’s also, in my opinion a long long way off becoming the norm, due to the fact any huge manufacturing plant cannot run on salt water alone and cars are generally not made of recycled birthday cards, so we’ll be using steel, rubber, glass etc until it’s all gone. Still, a fun gift though.

 

Solar powered gadgets, six in one.

DSC_1675 DSC_1676

Similar to the gift above except this one runs on sun light. Six gadgets, in one box, apparently. I imagine if you showed this to a child in the 50’s this would blow their minds. Even more amazing is thinking that in fifty years’ time, kids will be throwing away their six in one, zero point energy toys, whilst their parents reminisce about the time we could actually see the sun before the toxic dust clouds formed over the earth.

 

Physics of The Future; by Michio Kaku

DSC_1680

This guy’s work interests me, he looks into the future of physics and technology by actually listening and learning to science and scientists. Instead of just making shit up because you’ve seen i-robot. No flying cars, no instant pizza making machines, no lazer weapons, just interesting thoughts and progress within our scientific world.

Marvel Chronicles – A year by year account

DSC_1619 DSC_1620 DSC_1621

Probably my favourite gift of the lot, my partner bought me this chronicles of Marvel because myself, like any other man out there, has fantasied at one time or another being a member of the Xmen or being Tony Stark. It comes with glossy factual pages, year by year account of what was going on at the time, as well as exclusive art work throughout.

So that concludes my 2012, the world didn’t end, it was never going to…but then you would have known  this if you actually bothered to read an entire paragraph on the subject and not a shoddy dooms day article from a newspaper who sticks Jimmy Saville on the front page.

Your new year’s resolutions this year should be, stop watching/paying for TV license, don’t buy or read newspapers, get creative no matter how small the subject is and share my blog, to as many people as you know.

So happy new year, and have fun!

Mikey

Mortal Mikey In India

Posted in The Pit with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2013 by Mortal Mikey

In November last year I was invited to a wedding for a good friend of mine. The idea was to visit India for a short time with my partner, and leave after the wedding but the trip ended up being much more than I anticipated. Traveling by Airplane, camel, elephant, motorbike, goat and car…ok, not goat, but I wouldn’t put it past the Indians to utilise them as a means to get around. I visited ancient temples, sacred rivers and beautiful landscaped gardens, traveling a couple of thousand kilometers. I could probably write a small book on the shenanigans that occurred in India, but instead, I tried to capture some of the experiences on video and compile them here. There was far too much video footage and photos to get it all in, without becoming a feature length production, so I hope you enjoy the short I’ve put together.

Mortal Mikey

Follow me on Facebook

My Gaming History ‘Part 9’

Posted in My Gaming History with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2013 by Mortal Mikey

Firstly, for anyone who has been enjoying these entries about my gaming history, I’d like to apologise for the lack of posts since part 8. Life moves pretty fast when you get older, either that or Alzheimer’s is creeping in steadily and actually I have no idea how much I’m not doing.

If you aren’t really that old yet, i.e. you are cruising through life at around 18 years old, eating packet pasta, walking around in flip flops and scarfs, studying for a job that appeared yesterday….

HipsterFlipFlops

It might be difficult to envisage how this feels or works, using the power of the metaphor, I’ll try and explain this to you.

Imagine for a moment you have a small wicker basket, this represents your life, you can hold this basket in one hand…in said wicker basket are a number of small rubber bouncy balls, of various sizes. Each ball represents certain aspects of your life and their size is determined by the importance of each aspect. This could include, goals, aspirations, hopes, dreams, caring for your dog, browsing mortal-mikey, looking after yourself, learning a new language, remembering important birthdays, passing that exam, revision for said exam…you get the idea. What I’m trying to convey here that your small wicker basket is in no way large enough to easily contain all of these bouncy balls but you will do your best to stack them, which sometimes believe it or not, actually works. Albeit for a brief, insignificant amount of time.

Then imagine that the world around you is a gypsy fun house, you know, the funny looking, rickety old wooden ‘house’ you find at the fair, containing all manner of dangerous mechanisms and illusions that have you falling over yourself, bumping into things, whilst being bombarded with strobe lights, loud horns and blasts of compressed air.

00030123

Life in adulthood is like trying to navigate through one of these, whilst being followed by several large doormen (or bouncers), holding on to your little wicker basket of balls as you do. The doorman all have names too, in this case we’ll call them, debt, work and time. Anytime you knock one of these bouncy balls out of the basket due to the mayhem that occurs around you, you’ll desperately scramble around on the floor, using your only free hand, as the three of them give you a little shove here and there to move you along, which invariably means you’ll lose sight of one or two of the balls, sometimes for a moment, sometimes forever. If God were to play any part in this analogy, he would be the fat bearded chap sitting in the dirty, food stained ticket booth. Granted, to enter life (or the ‘fun house’ as he’d like to call it) it doesn’t cost fuck all, but your journey through it is going to be all on show for the omnipresent spectator to cackle at.

If reincarnation does actually exist, which I believe is probably much like a character select screen, just ask if you can enter spectator mode yourself and kick back with a beer and a selection of your favourite snacks.

Spectator mode

“Who writes this shit?”

 

 

The PlayStation was the last console I mentioned in my gaming history. I must admit I had only briefly mentioned just how ground breaking everything was when it came to the PSX. The control pad was very impressive for a start. It really felt like a another leap forward in the ergonomics theory and the way that the designers now connected with gamers. Control pads of the past were built as if every child had hands shaped like Lego which required no real dexterity to play.

SegaMasterSystemControlPad3020v1_z1

The Sony PlayStation controller was built at the perfect size and shape for human hands and the button layout was perfect for present and future games. The construction was solid and each button was sat perfectly in the plastic casing, all rubber mounted to the circuit board which gave the buttons a nice consistent feel with minimal travel. This could only be found on an original Sony built controller, all third party copies creaked and cracked like pensioner with no heating at Christmas.

Coming from a long history of controllers with buttons labelled A,B,C,X,Y,Z meant that at first it was a little confusing with Sony’s new approach to button configuration. Square, X, Circle and Triangle replaced the familiar layout from the SNES and added to this were four shoulder buttons. L1, L2, R1 and R2. Developers wasted no time and threw us all in the deep end, new titles sprang up every five minutes and with that, new button configurations and patterns had to be learned, which meant at first some games were like baptising a cat.

Love handles

Love handles

Sony’s design became the preferred method of play globally, from that time, right up until the introduction of the first Xbox.

The ability to save games also became much easier on the console with the introduction of Sony’s memory cards, which from my hazy memory, had 8Mb storage, which in today’s world is about 3 digital photographs. Games data could be taken from your home to a friend’s place who could quickly and easily copy data from your card to theirs with Sony’s front end system. Being that it was also a CD Rom drive meant that users could pop in a music CD and play tunes through your setup, which could be controlled entirely by the control pad, all backed by mad 3D rendered psychedelic visuals that would have given your dad an acid flashback. The beginnings of a home console becoming a multimedia platform were taking shape and it felt good that the functionality was for there for us.

8mb card

With more power obviously meant more exciting titles. The PlayStation will forever be remembered for bringing us a new plethora of fighting games and of course light gun games. Games from the arcades were coming to the home once again with titles like Lethal Enforcers, Time Crisis and Point Blank.

Light gun games were pretty poor on the 8-Bit systems, with few exceptions. Both Sega and Nintendo had their own light gun systems on the Megadrive and the SNES which only really served as a novelty in my opinion. The initial expense of the ‘Menacer’ on the Megadrive system was pretty steep and the games pack that came with the gun were short lived titles.

Turn off the lights, turn up the sound and sit back with your best mate with a copy of Lethal Enforcers on the PS1 and you were in for some wholesome criminal killing. So the graphics weren’t exactly show stopping but the real gun sound effects, real digitised characters on photographed backgrounds had appeal. Sure, every time you pull the trigger the screen flashed bright white, which happened several thousand times a minute and no doubt induced many seizures in bedrooms around the globe, but perhaps the danger element added to the excitement.

Complete with his and her's Colt .44 Magnum

Complete with his and hers Colt .44 Magnum

We certainly got a bang for our buck with Die Hard Trilogy. Looking back at the game now it’s hard to imagine why we were so excited, as most of the game, by todays standards, looked like it was constructed by primary school children locked in a dark room full of computers, with a basic knowledge of programming and the Die Hard films being played on big screens 24 hours a day.

The gameplay was a completely different story, there were three different game types, and if I’m honest, the gameplay and sound certainly was impressive at the time. Each Die hard had a different style of play which up until that point hadn’t really been seen before and since then hasn’t been replicated. Die Hard was set in the skyscraper and in this section of the game you ran around as John McLane in a third person perspective and gunned down anyone who stands between you and the hostages. There wasn’t much in the way of strategy in this chapter, John ran with his gun constantly at arm’s length, in his vest and simply shot things until they stopped moving. It was the little things added to the game that entertained, John would occasionally say one liners when you shot enemies or picked up health and ammo. A majority of the surrounding furniture of the game was destructible too, such as windows, table objects, roof tiles etc. The bigger the weapon, the more damage, and it isn’t long before you get into the flow and have enemies bouncing off the office walls using well placed grenades.

diehard

Scores take priority over exploding Ambulance?

Scores take priority over exploding Ambulance?

Die Hard 2 was set in the airport obviously and this is where you could use the light gun. The game controlled your character through the scenes and just allowed you to shoot. The characters in Die Hard Trilogy at first looked a little awkward, but soon it was evident that quite a lot of work had gone into them. There were some early examples of ‘ragdoll’ physics here in a 3D environment, this also meant that enemies and civilians didn’t always take exactly the same path with every play through.

Take that Hans!

Take that Hans!

Die Hard Trilogy was produced by Probe entertainment here in the UK, which could account for the crude German accents that appear throughout the game and could also account for the call to ban the game in Germany. This was one of the first times I had seen photos rendered onto polygons, if you looked closely, on some of the characters had the faces of the development team. Although the game was extremely buggy at times, the subtle comedic effect of the sounds and the mayhem that could be unleashed with the light and grenades meant that a lot of homework was never done.

Die harder

Finally Die Hard with Vengeance was again completely different in terms of game play due to the fact it was purely driving. You start out in the yellow New York taxi and acquire several missions along the way which require you to drive other vehicles. This was undoubtedly the least realistic of the three games but was often the most fun. The missions usually involved simply ramming the shit out of the target vehicle or ramming a dustbin containing a bomb, but instead of crashing and immobilising the enemy car or getting out and disarming the bomb, targets would explode like a small nuke with no regard for civilians.

diehardest

Even changing into a new vehicle for a mission required you to smash into it, creating yet another explosion as you drive off. Polygon civilians would run for their lives as you sped through the city, if you mounted the pavement GTA style, the screen would be splattered with blood making the wipers work.

_-Die-Hard-Trilogy-PlayStation-_2 _-Die-Hard-Trilogy-PlayStation-_

Thats it for this part, I promise in 2013 I’ll be keeping up a reasonable pace with this series, right up until present day.

Happy new year!

Mortal Mikey on Facebook