Archive for the ‘Jason’s News’ Category

Margate is cold in February

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

On Saturday the 21st of February we held the Cosine (UK division) annual general meeting… in other words Sean, Frank and myself made our way to Margate for GEEK (or Games Expo East Kent to its parents) for a mixture of video games, “bracing” sea air and a chance to sit down face to face and chat about projects. My Beloved came along too in order to take the minutes try not to look bored as we talked shop!

We did actually find some time to wander around the venue, soak in some atmosphere, chat with friends and occasionally even play a game or two; I had a quick go on the pretty horizontal Neo Geo blaster Last Resort since the old favourite Ghost Pilots wasn’t present this year and found an Atari 7800 running the wonderfully weird Ninja Golf where a ninja plays a round of golf whilst fighting off opponents and the local wildlife.

But there was far less in the way of retro gaming than at previous iterations; we did see some Atari 8-bit consoles and couple of Sega Master Systems, but there was no sign of any Commodore, Sinclair, Amstrad, Acorn or Atari computers. We weren’t alone in feeling there could have been more from “the olde days” either, most of the people we talked to felt the same and the sticker board put out by the organisers for feedback looked like this:

The word “landslide” springs to mind. And yes, I know the event wasn’t started as a purely retro gaming do but the previous iterations all covered that ground well so people were expecting a continuation this time around. I’ve heard that GEEK is going to be moving into Margate’s Dreamland amusement park next year which should equate to more floor space, so hopefully the organisers will listen to their visitors when planning for 2016 and bring back the retro goodness. In the meantime, here’s some photos taken on that Saturday.

GEEK 2015

Pictures taken during Games Expo East Kent (GEEK) 2015 in Margate on the 21st of February.

Looking for new Leeds

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Yesterday was the second Video Game Market here in Leeds, so my beloved and I pootled into town to meet a few friends, look at lots of cool things and grab a few items for ourselves. The previous event had been really good (I apparently forgot to add a post, but there are a few pictures) but extremely crowded, with far more turning up than had been expected and the queue to get in having to wait for others to leave to make room for them; this year was several times bigger and, despite an even better attendance, was thankfully nowhere near as crowded.

The event took over Leeds town hall and the surrounding corridors, most of which were occupied by sellers with tables laden with goodies. When we arrived it was still quite crowded in those areas but we still got a chance to see everything and purchase a couple of bits and pieces of interest and the crowd thinned out as the day went on.

In the end we left with World Of Illusion and Toki on the Megadrive, an unboxed Gameboy Advance Power Rangers Dino Thunder, Super Breakout for the Atari 2600 (there’s an Atari 7800 in the house… erm, somewhere that I’ll need to get up and running for that), three Nintendo DS titles, an untested Amiga 500 power supply… oh, and a Toshiba HX-10 MSX which cost me just £25 and looks like this:

We’re looking forward to visiting the next one (hopefully there’ll be another this year, although the poor organisers are probably still recovering) but our next outing is going to be the Saturday of GEEK 2015 in Margate!

Leeds Video Game Market 2015

Pictures taken during the Leeds Video Game Market in Leeds (unsurprisingly) on the 7th February 2015.

Year equals year plus one

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Now the New Year celebrations have been properly dealt with and recovered from, there’s only a mention of the little release I coded on the Atari 8-bit for the New Years Disk 2015. It’s called Inc Year (and yes, I do need to apologise for the rather desperate “joke” title but it was christened one day before the deadline with no better ideas floating around) and is yet another vertical split thingy. The code is actually one of the prototypes written before 15 Hues which was refitted as a delivery system for some scroll text that never came.

The results for the Intro Creation Competition at the CSDb are in as well, with Macro Sleep taking fourth place whilst Oldstyle and Spotified came in seventh and eighth respectively – that’s pretty good going from a field of fifty entries, although I can’t entirely understand why the most technically complicated of my three intros got the lowest score even if I was expecting that to happen!

I also picked up a DVD boxset of Crime Traveller just before Christmas and finally found some time to sit down and binge through all eight episodes over the last couple of days. For those who haven’t seen it (and, presumably, can’t be arsed to follow the link in the previous sentence) it’s one of those cop shows which pairs a hard-nosed police officer with someone who wouldn’t normally work with and, rather than a windmill-dwelling magic trick designer or a well connected, wise cracking writer, this time it’s a police scientist who just happens to be an expert on time travel to the point where she has a functioning time machine in her front room.

My memories of Crime Traveller from 1997 were that it wasn’t particularly good; suspension of disbelief aside because I’m a science fiction fan and that comes easily, the time machine should have caused “collisions” where two instances of the lead characters met every time it was turned on but, somehow, didn’t and the general tone of the show simply wasn’t serious enough to be believable. On watching it again, the same niggles are still there and they were joined by a couple more, but it didn’t seem to be quite as bad as I remember; Slade looks a little too fresh-faced to constantly be constantly disobeying his boss and there are too many comic relief characters but it was certainly more entertaining than my memory reckoned. That said, it’s still hard to take the thing seriously with some of the more comedic elements and the odd “cameo” appearance like this…

…which is even accompanied by a few notes from the Doctor Who theme. It could probably be rebooted successfully with the original cast since the BBC dishes out more reasonable budgets for this kind of show now.