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21st January 2020: Being Sensible Is Boring

Managed a spare few minutes recently to have another little go on Sensible Soccer. In one of the games I smashed 12 goals passed the Annoying Gits team, but still couldn't keep a clean sheet as Robbie Williams had to go and poke one home.

The game is so cheesy and goofy, but it's one of the rare old games I seem happy to play on quite often.

Keeper literally jumps out of the way of the ball

Keeper literally jumps out of the way of the ball

Keeper dives when the ball is already in the net

Keeper dives when the ball is already in the net

10th March 2019: Bringing The Pain

I had a look through my PS2 game collection, and found I only have one that I have not finished. This game, which I don't remember even playing (it was a gift) is True Crime: Streets Of LA. It was about this time I started thinking about emulation, as I've always got on quite well with WinUAE for my old Amiga games. I also like the idea of getting some screenshots, which I can't do on the PS2. I quickly discovered that PCSX2 is the main one that people use for PS2 games.

After reading how to set it up and going through all the steps, and using ImgBurn for the first time rip my discs, I was pissed to find that True Crime is one of the few games that the emulator does not like.
Again, oh well.

However, I had mentioned to Scoob a while back that I really fancied playing a bit of an old PS2 wrestling game we used to play a lot called Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain. This one loaded up no problem, but the game was really blurry, and on screenshots there was this really weird "ghosting" effect, that I think was from the interlacing from games back then.

A bit more reading was required, but I eventually learned how to not just turn off that weird doubling effect, but also turn the rendering resolution up so the graphics look better than they are supposed to. In this regard, the emulator seems to be pretty cool, and I'll have to create my own character again so me and Scoob can do some stomping.

Thinking about it, it's a shame I didn't look into emulation back when I played Resident Evil: Code Veronica. Probably would have been a lot better on my PC than on the PS2 itself.

Blurry ghosts

Blurry ghosts

No blurry ghosts, and higher graphics

No blurry ghosts, and higher graphics

Continuing with this trend of emulators, I thought about a PS1 emulator, so maybe I could get that version of GTA running better as well. I discovered RetroArch, which not only emulates the PS1, but can also do so for loads of old consoles. However, it was the PS1 I was interested in.

This one was a bit more awkward to set up than the very simple PCSX2, but I got GTA working on it eventually. Unfortunately, the game was no better on this either, so I just gave up on it entirely.

While I had got the emulator downloaded and running, I decided to try another one of my old PS games that I never finished, being Gran Turismo. In fact, I barely touched this back in the day, which is kinda weird as I used to be really into racing games.
I got this one booted up and had a few simple races, before starting to tweak it a bit. Like PCSX2, it's possible to turn up the graphics, but it only seems to be able to go a little way before the sound craps out and the game starts to lag. Still, it's better than its default appearance, and it might be something I try to complete at some point in the next few weeks or months.

Default graphics

Default graphics

Slightly better graphics

Slightly better graphics

6th November 2018: Throwing Darts At A Football

For some weird reason, I fancied taking a stroll down memory lane with another game I used to play on my old Amiga. This one was John Lowe's Ultimate Darts.

This wasn't a game I played a ton of back in the day, but I remember having a few little fads on it here and there. After firing it up after all these years I jumped into a game of soccer darts, and tried to see if I could remember how to hit those 180s.

Once I'd got the feel of it again, the opposing player could not even push forward on the attack, and I won pretty easily. Not a difficult game though, to be fair.

Not my best effort

Not my best effort

But a nice 180...

But a nice 180...

...gets me my second goal of the game

...gets me my second goal of the game

30th December 2017: Nostalgia Bomb

Every few years I enjoy travelling back through time and re-living my early teens with the aid of my Amiga emulator. Over the last couple of weeks, I've been going pretty hard.

The game I tried first in this little marathon was Formula One Grand Prix, a game I adored as a kid. Together, me and my mates went through several seasons using "hotseat" style multiplayer, with those of us that had mastered manual braking having a big advantage. When I got a PC, I completely forgot about this game and got hooked on the sequels instead, which were far better, and now I've remembered why.
I played this for one short race, where I went from back of the grid to 7th. Man it was a struggle. The frame rate is probably only 4fps or something silly, making it hard to control. How the hell did we play it back in the day? It won't be one I play again.

After that, I slapped on some Super Skidmarks, which for a while was the game of choice for me and my mate Dave, especially when we played it on his A1200. This thing is still insane and a lot of fun. It's hard to control, like you're driving your car on an ice rink, but definitely something that's still worth playing.

Of course, I couldn't crank up the Amiga emulator without playing some Sensible Soccer. It always was my favourite Amiga game, and always will be. I managed to create two new teams to bring the total to 20, just enough for a full-sized league. After going through the whole league, I won every game except draws against Final Fantasy and The Witcher, and a single loss against the Decepticons. Wouldn't have minded, but none of those teams were near the top of the league come the end. Punks.

Taking a look down the outside

Taking a look down the outside

Getting smacked about by the AI cars

Getting smacked about by the AI cars

Mooooo!

Mooooo!

My defender fails to block a shot on my goal

My defender fails to block a shot on my goal

1st January 2015: A Flat Out Shame

So maybe this isn't technically a game you can finish, but I recently got done winning the grand finals of an oldish game called FlatOut 2, and that qualifies as a completion in my book.
I originally bought it as it looked like it would be a crazy fun game for LAN multiplayer, and after playing it the last few weeks I think it would certainly have been. However, as we found out, there was one massive flaw in the multiplayer mode: you can not add AI cars. What the hell were they thinking not putting that functionality in there? Even the best car racing game ever made would be a heap of shit if you could only have 2 or 3 cars driving round the track at a time. Such a shame.

Still, I was determined to get my money's worth, especially as I hadn't really played any car racing game since managing to break free of Grand Prix 3's hold on me a few years ago. And got my money's worth I did. Well, it was only £3.

So I decided to drive and smash my way through the single player career, and for the most part enjoyed it. However, there were a lot of things that also really bugged me about the game, the AI in particular:

Still, it was quite fun, and the mini-games were bananas. I definitely didn't feel like it was a chore to reach the end of this like I have done with some of the other games I've forced myself through while making this blog.

Ramming my nemesis

Ramming my nemesis

I don't think I should be in these bushes

I don't think I should be in these bushes

He shoots he scores

He shoots he scores

Someone's gonna get it

Someone's gonna get it

I don't think I should be this way up

I don't think I should be this way up

Sparks of insanity

Sparks of insanity

Crunch

Crunch

I win the trophy

I win the trophy

7th October 2014: Feeling Sensible

My Amiga emulator got another workout when I had a bit of a fad recently on good old Sensible Soccer. I played four leagues on the trot, each one including more and more teams as I thought of new ones to create. It was honestly quite a bit harder than I remember it when I was a kid, and I continually failed to win the title until the fourth league where I really knuckled down. Even then, throughout the course of the madness, I had a fair few second half meltdowns, playing very badly in the second half after doing good work in the first.
But it was so much fun to just go nuts on a fondly remembered game from twenty-odd years ago.

Angron scores passed me for Chaos Utd...

Angron scores passed me for Chaos Utd...

...so I fight Chaos with chaos

...so I fight Chaos with chaos

Scoring passed the DC comics team

Scoring passed the DC comics team

Going for the lunge

Going for the lunge

Everyone's on their arse

Everyone's on their arse

Marvel's keeper tries to head it out

Marvel's keeper tries to head it out

Only Marvel beat me on the way to the title

Only Marvel beat me on the way to the title

The midfield battle against the Skumsplattaz

The midfield battle against the Skumsplattaz

Great save by Aquaman in the DC goal

Great save by Aquaman in the DC goal

Champions at last

Champions at last

23rd March 2012: Not So Sensible

After giving Worms a couple of plays, the existence of DOSBox got me thinking about other, even older games that can be played with emulators. Long before I had a PC I had a good old Amiga 500, so I decided to see if I could get the WinUAE to work. I had originally attempted to use WinUAE about 10 years ago, but the only game I ever really got to work to any decent level was called North & South (which I bloody loved by the way). Upon downloading the latest version I discovered it to be a much better bit of kit than the old one I tried, and allows you to automatically configure it to match any of the old Amiga models. And so I went hunting for the game I easily spent the most time on as a kid...

A few minutes later I was listening to the menu music of the one and only Sensible Soccer, and having a massive nostalgic experience. After starting a match I soon remembered the style of its gameplay. Your players just can not control that ball, and the slightest change in direction will see the ball dribbling away from them. So to progress up the pitch, lots of quick passes are in order (which is not easy on keyboard). Nevertheless, I came out of my first Sensible Soccer match in over 15 years with a 5-3 win, with Sparky and Choccy doing the business as usual. Really does go to show you how easy the original Sensible Soccer was, but I loved it all the same.

Scrapping out a win

Scrapping out a win

I then thought about what had been my staple footy game before I discovered Sensible Soccer. World Cup 90 by Genias really was not the best footy game ever made, but boy was it cool to hear that awesome music again. I set up a match and got stuck in. The gameplay really could not be more different than Sensi. In this one the ball sticks to your feet like glue, but I can not find any pass option to speak of. So instead the tactic here is run and shoot like mad. Somehow, despite not knowing what the hell was going on, I managed a 2-0 win over Argentina, the second goal of which was a bicycle kick after their keeper saved the initial shot.

Really will have to grab my joystick out of the loft and give these old footy games a proper go, as it's very hard to control those little dudes with the arrow keys.
It's my intention to get stuck into other old classic games, as many seem to be available. Fantasy World Dizzy, Gobliins 2 and 7th Guest are all calling to me, and maybe I could find Skychase which was such a cheesy laugh (those little Amiga balls as missiles - hilarious).

Cheating Argies

Cheating Argies

Really not sure what my player is up to here

Really not sure what my player is up to here

He's gonna kick me in the face!

He's gonna kick me in the face!