So, figuring I could pass some time this week by writing a blog, but having nothing of any value to write about, I decided to use the random topic generator to come up with a suitable subject.

accit
Great.

So, from what little actual research I’ve done into the topic, Analog(ue) circuits vary from digital ones in that there is an electrical signal, and that varies constantly, either in voltage or frequency or whatever, to convey whatever the hell we’re trying to convey here, whereas digital circuits obviously (or more commonly, anyway) use two or more states, 0 or 1, on or off, binary tackle, you know.

Anyway, a good example of an analogue circuit would be like a microphone or something. I don’t really know.

Anyway, deciding I prefer digital circuits to analogue ones, nVidia recently released the GeForce 960 graphics card. I’ve decided I want one.

I currently have the GTX 660, which is a mid-high workhorse that is actually serving me very well currently. I’ve had my PC about a year now so it seems about the right time to upgrade it a little bit. I already upgraded it with a new SSD and fans shortly after getting it, but I think a new graphics card combined with a RAM upgraded, would be nice. I’m currently peddling it along with 8GB of ram, 16 is pretty much a must at this point.

Anyway, ram is boring, graphics cards are sexy. In a printed circuit-board-y type of way.

I’m currently electing to go for the Strix GTX 960 from Asus. Particularly, I’m interested in ASUS’s DirectCU II cooler, which turns its fans off when idle to reduce noise (not that my PC is that noisy as it is) – plus I’m a fan of ASUS’s general build quality and general overclock-ability.

It’s a little bit less cheap than other brands 960’s but I think it’s worth it. Random case of brand loyalty I guess. My 660 is actually an MSI card and I don’t get along with it like I did my past ASUS cards, so, that’s probably key to my decision.

But then I’m muddled in the head about weather to save my money, plod along with my PC as it is, and invest in a Surface Pro 3 to replace the Surface RT which has unfortunately gone the way of the Zune and reach the end of it’s short but fun-filled life. The Surface Pro 3 is insanely expensive at the moment but I don’t think I could live without some sort of a Surface now. I could get some cheaper, smaller HP tablet with some clip on keyboard thing but, it wouldn’t be nearly as good.

Anyway, the new gadget drought is nearly over. One or more of these things is coming to a video near you. VERY EXCITEMENT MANY FUN.

So love

Danny

 

wzlogoThe following Retro Review, scheduled for one game, is for the World Wrestling Federation’s WWF WarZone!

The World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now known as the WWE) was going through some big changes back in  late 1997. The so called ‘Monday Night Wars’, where WWE and WCW fought head-to-head in the ratings, was reaching it’s prime. This was arguably the hottest period in professional wrestling, as both companies pulled out all the stops to make sure they beat the other.

Also taking off in a big way was video gaming. Brands like Playstation and the popular Nintendo 64 were making gaming more and more mainstream, just like wrestling. So naturally, the WWE needed a new video game to reflect this change in culture, and their new found ‘attitude’.

Acclaim Sports were brought in to publish the game, with a relatively unknown Utah based company called Iguana West handling the development. While Acclaim had published games for the WWE in the past, these were mostly lacklustre, 2D sprite based games that didn’t do a very good job at the wrestling or the game side of things.

With War Zone, a brand new approach to wrestling games was devised, thanks in no small part to the much more powerful hardware afforded by the Sony Playstation and Nintendo 64. Gone were the 2D sprites in favour of 3D models, and a brand new grappling engine was devised which made the wrestlers, well, wrestle.

406521-wwf-war-zone-playstation-screenshot-rostersThe roster of the game features all of your expected favourites from the time, such as Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and HHH (D-Generation X). Also included was Ahmed Johnson, Ken Shamrock, Goldust, Farooq & The Rock (The Nation of Domination) and The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart, Owen Hart and The British Bulldog).

But it didn’t end there, you see. Because WWF War Zone was the first game to feature the now standard Create-a-Wrestler feature. For all the retrospective faults of War Zone, this one feature defined the very landscape of wrestling games, and every wrestling game sincehas featured it.

You could customise your wrestlers name, entrance music, weight, height, skin tone, apparel, everything. A lot of clever people used this system to create approximations of wrestlers not in the game or even from rival companies. The only problem in WarZone was that you had to use a pre-defined move-set from one of the built in wrestlers, no custom moves here.

The main gameplay mode involves wrestling your way to the top of the WWF in a tournament style. A pyramid of monitors shows the levels of wrestlers you need to work you way through to get to the top. Occasionally a former opponent will challenge you to a ‘grudge match’ – normally a steel cage or hardcore match.

406538-wwf-war-zone-playstation-screenshot-tag-team-modesThere’s also a very serviceable multiplayer mode, with various match types;

  • Versus (1v1 Match)
  • Tag Team Match
  • Steel Cage Match
  • Hardcore (no rules) Match
  • Tornado Tag Match (where all participants are in the ring at the same time)
  • Battle Royal (3 or 4 players at the same time, first one to score a pinfall or submission wins)

The match types are very limited, although the N64 version did have a few extra modes including a basic Royal Rumble matchup.

So we’re off to a good start. But more could be done to make this game better, and around a year later, a follow-up based on this game, WWF Attitude, was released……maybe one for next time….

Danny’s Retro Rating:

home_2in1I won’t wobble on too long about personal stuff because, who gives a shit anyway, right?

But I just wanted to let my small army of followers know that things will be changing a little bit going forward. Without going into names or details, this past Friday was my last day at my full time day job. It was a great 7 year run, but it was time for a change, and this will mean a few changes to the way I do things going forward. I will be working in a new job, out of hours, which will only be for 3 nights of the week for the most part. This means that I’ll have more time to move forward with my web design work, my web hosting business, and hopefully, this YouTube channel!

So, in the coming weeks, I’ll be moving to a minimum of two videos a week. These videos will also be released mid-week as opposed to at weekends. I’m hoping to be able to re-start collaboration with Sheepeep on various videos, as well as come up with more unique gaming related content going into the future. I’m hoping to expand the beta review series in a big way, looking at obscure and interesting beta software that nobody else is covering. I think these videos are by far the most potentially interesting thing I do, even if they’re not the most watched right now.

There’s going to be a bit of a break in unboxing / review videos, likely until around the end of February. I know a lot of my subscribers love those videos, and they’re by far some of the most popular videos I do, so I’m sorry to those of you who I know will read this with passing indifference and unsub. But I’m hoping you stick around. The reason is purely because transitioning from my old job to my new one, with the various different financial juggling that is involved there, means it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to go throwing money away on stupid gadgets. But once everything settles down, I should have more money to spend on these useless things, so, those videos will pick up again big time. So please stick around for those.

Anyway, in conclusion, Washing Machines live Longer with Calgon.

This post was in no way sponsored by Calgon.

Sponsored by Calgon.

TOCA_Touring_Cars_Championship_logoMy impromptu and frankly shockingly produced episode of Bald Plays featuring Overboard! has set me off on a bit of a PS1 nostalgia trip. So, as a nostalgia junkie, it’s time once again to rev up the engine, oil up the pistons, and get fired up for bad introductions to rubbish articles, it’s time for the Retro Review!

Yes, there is a reason I started using bad car analogies there, as today we’re looking at TOCA Touring Car Championship for the Playstation 1 (PSX).

First, a little background. Back in the mid-1990’s, Touring Cars, a form of motorsport involving modified saloon cars, was becoming big in the United Kingdom. F1 was starting to become a little stale, and the British Touring Car Championship was the hot new thing. On the back of this success, a video game tie-in was inevitable.

11905-toca-touring-car-championship-windows-screenshot-renault-meganeThere was also hunger for a decent racing game for the PlayStation. Gran Turismo was in the works but still a spec on the horizon. We needed a stop-gap, a decent racing game to really show off what the PSX was capable off.

Enter Codemasters. TOCA Touring Car Championship used officially licensed cars and tracks from the 1997 British Touring Car season. Voice over was provided by racing legend and Top Gear presenter Tiff Needell. It looked and sounded spectacular (for the time, of course) – and it included many innovative new features for the racing genre.

The gameplay was split across four main modes, Single Race, where you choose a track and race as many laps as you specify, the main Championship Mode, a Time Trial mode complete with ghost car feature if I recall, and, for the special amongst us who had two PS1’s and a datalink cable, you could even play a multiplayer link-up game! Sadly there was no split-screen multiplayer in this and, of course, online play wasn’t really a thing at the time unless you had a PC or a Sega Mega Modem….. for some reason….

The main bread and butter of this of course is the Championship Mode. As you race a full season of Touring Cars, which takes place in the United Kingdom, there isn’t a great deal of variation in the setting. Although the tracks themselves are wildly different, some are full of curves, some are bumpy and hilly, and so on; visually, you’re in the middle of a field in Yorkshire pretty much every time. This is compounded somewhat by the fact that you may end up racing the same track multiple times in a typical Touring Car season. There is a wide verity of weather modes, however, which allow you to mix things up a bit, and the rain and thunderstorm effects are particularly impressive.

The physics and handling in this game are great, though. Each car has it’s own handling style based on the real cars themselves. There’s no tweaking of things like tires or suspension, but personally, I never bother with those things anyway. There’s also a very realistic and somewhat awesome damage system, allowing you to crumple and damage every body panel and window, although unfortunately the damage is purely cosmetic and does not hinder the handling of the car in any way.

11916-toca-touring-car-championship-windows-screenshot-cheat-codesThere was some fun elements to this game too, though. The cheat codes provided some hilarious modes, including the ability to race a tank that actually fired, and even a pink Cadillac!

Gran Turismo took it’s rightful spot as the number one racing game when it came out a few months later, and this game never really took off in other markets due to it’s very British nature. But in the United Kingdom, for a period of time, this was the best selling racing game of all time, and still held it’s own against Gran Turismo. It also spawned not just a great sequel, but an entire franchise which is still going on today under the Race Driver GRID branding.

All in all this is a fantastic racing game for the PSX and the source of many happy childhood memories.

Danny’s Retro Rating: