1-Bit Mechanistic Review


Do you remember me asking you lot for free stuff a while back? Well, some of you were kind enough to send me free stuff. Free stuff like this – a CD (remember those?) of music tracks recorded using a ZX Spectrum (remember those?) beeper. Actually on a Spectrum. In this day and age. Wonders will never cease.

The beeper in the Speccy was never designed to be used for music, but some clever people figured out a way of fiddling with it to pump out some raspy excellence – notably Tim Follin. 1-Bit Mechanistic by Tufty (who presumably is a squirrel) takes the sort of thing Follin managed to a whole new level, with a full CD album of music unhindered by needing to, you know, have a game to process at the same time.

The first track on the album, Loading, is a musical approximation of the horrific squawking noise Spectrum tapes made when, er, loading. Somehow, the usual ear-splitting horror is – thanks mainly to a thumpy beat – transformed into a toe-tapping cacophony. It’s a mess, but of the sort you want to hear more of so it’s a shame it’s just 26 seconds long. No Speccy tapes loaded in 26 seconds!

Thumpy beats and hissy, rasping tunes are pretty much the order of the whole album, with most tracks impossible to listen to without some part of your body twitching with the beat. For example, the track So Cold the Night, an oppressive take on The Communards song of the same name, features a heavy bass line that forces you to tap along. It would work excellently as a “you’re approaching a boss” theme in a game too.

The title track, 1-Bit Mechanistic, sounds like a melody of a handful of other tracks somewhat distorted, of course, and only vaguely recognisable. This may be unintentional, but Duck Soup‘s Barbra Streisand, however, is quite clearly an influence.

As for the album as whole, it’s certainly my sort of thing but I suspect many people will find it hard going. The Spectrum’s music output is very raw and harsh, and without the context of an actual game to pair it with it becomes a difficult listen. You really should, however, especially if you’re a fan of the scene, or perhaps have enjoyed compositions from the likes of Anamanaguchi. There’s definitely talent here, and the knowledge that Tufty has produced this with such a limited system only impresses more – it’s just a genre that is somewhat demanding on the ears.

You can buy 1-Bit Mechanistic over on Bandcamp. CD for this review provided by Tufty.

Alphabest: GameCube – B

Baseball baseball baseball. It’s ROUNDERS, you idiots.

At first I was pleased to see there were plenty of B games for the GameCube from which to draw up a decent list, but it quickly became apparent that quantity does not guarantee quality. Let us examine why, yes?


I shall start with the traditional Sportscull(TM): Backyard Baseball, Backyard Baseball 2007 and Backyard Football join The Baseball 2003 in the Sportsbin(TM), never to be played – or even seen – ever again. Good riddance!

Since I’m an environmentalist, I do like to sort my rubbish into the correct refuse receptacles, so the LicencedTrash(TM) Bin has been deployed to contain a crappy array of Bratz, Barnyard, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Bionicle, Bad Boys, Beyblade (whoooo?) and Batman titles. May the Lord have mercy on their terrible, terrible code.

Actually, Batman: Rise of Sin Tsu is supposedly quite decent, but “quite decent” don’t cut it for Alphabest. Not unless it’s letters like Q or U, anyway. Shudder.

A handful of Bomberman games exist for the GameCube, but somehow none of them are even close to being as good as the 16-bit titles in the series. Heck, some aren’t even proper Bomberman games – Bomberman Generation is closer to Pokémon!

Battalion Wars was a disappointing followup to Advance Wars for the Game Boy Advance, being superficially similar but playing out as a real time strategy game rather than turn based, which ruined it for me.

A few games that I understand are generally well liked include the RPGs Baten Kaitos and its sequel, BloodRayne, and Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance. I can’t comment on them personally however, as I’ve never played them. I did try to play Baten Kaitos, but because Amazon were useless with GameCube pre-orders I never got my copy. Boo.

Finally, before the Top Picks, a pair of pretty well known games that won’t be making it past this point. First up is BMX XXX, a nudity filled, expletive ridden followup to Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX. Imagine Tony Hawk, on a bike, and a stripclub, and you’re mostly there. It wasn’t a terrible BMX game, but BMX games aren’t as good as skating games and the “adults only” nature of this one only made things worse.

Then there’s Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, or What Yuji Naka Did Next And Why The Hell Didn’t Anyone Stop Him Oh God. A twee platformer with a great graphical style and premise – and some very special music – utterly ruined by awful gameplay and an even worse camera. Rolling around on an egg doesn’t get much worse than this.

Which leaves:

burnout2Burnout 2 is the reason I bought an Xbox. You may be wondering why I’m mentioning that in a GameCube article, especially when I already owned a GameCube when the game came out, but the reason was the online leaderboards. However, even without them, Burnout 2 is a fantastic racing game, and more importantly, Crash Mode (where you crash into traffic to cause as much damage as possible) is one of the best modes in any game ever made. It’s worth buying just for that.

beach spikersBeach Spikers may “just” be a beach volleyball game, but it’s the most fun volleyball game. Seemingly based on the engine for Virtua Tennis, so you know the technical side is up to scratch, it’s fast, fluid and hilarious when you create your own pair of butch women and call them Richard and Judy then take them to the finals. Or is that just me?

beyond good and evilBeyond Good & Evil is a Zelda-like arcade adventure, with a fantastic game world and cast of characters. It has a cult following, and every so often rumours surface about a much hoped for sequel, but as I write one has yet to appear. It’s a game I really enjoyed but sadly never finished – I’d imported it and Freeloader (which I used to play it) caused it to crash at the same point every time. That and one of the stealth sections was too hard.

And the Alphabest?

All three titles listed are excellent, but all have slight flaws that stop them being perfect. Burnout 2 has no online, Beach Spikers is a bit shallow, and Beyond Good & Evil has frustrating stealth bits. Choosing the best is a hard task, but in the end, I’ve gone for Burnout 2.

Not so much for the racing, which is great and the speed of the game is up to eye-bleeding on the scale, but for Crash Mode which I mentioned above. Endlessly playable and always hilarious. They did release a variation on the mode as a standalone game on later consoles, but it never captured just what was so right about the mode in Burnout 2.

Gaming’s Finest Chins (Part 2)

Poor old Michael Finnegan

In the first part of this most important of chin based articles, I brought you some excellent gaming chins. However, in Part 2 I blow those out of the water with some incredible chins.

Why it is important for some video game characters to have such defined chins isn’t clear. Sure, they’re manly, but they appear to have very little actual use in the game themselves. Rather like moustaches, I suppose. Now there’s an idea for another blog post…

Enough rambling. UNLEASH THE CHINNAGE.


Rosco McQueen Chin
Rosco here has a chin that looks like it came about due to some sort of allergic reaction to a bee sting.


Qwark chin
Qwark, which in case you can’t read is from the Ratchet & Clank series of games, has a mighty chin. Unfortunately, he also suffers from Dreamworksface, poor chap.


Joe Chin chin
Joe Chin even has ‘chin’ in his name, and that cute cleft is utterly dreamy. This screenshot suggests he’s a bit creepy though, and his mouth is all on one side of his face. Beware, ladies!


Action Henk chin
Action Henk is all chin. And belly. Mainly belly. But that chin! Despite being so fat, somehow the eye is still drawn to his jaw and the soul patch thereon. Hot.


General Chaos chin
I’m not sure who is General Chaos, and who is General Havoc, but both of them have equally impressive chins. There may be some kind of jaw-jousting issues when they inevitably kiss, though.


donald morden chin
Donald Morden may be a bad guy in Metal Slug, but you can’t hate him with a chin like that. It sticks out. It has a cleft. That upturned-V of a jawline! What a man.


godzilla chin
This iteration of Godzilla is the best of all of them simply because of dat chin. He might not have as many, or as large, teeth as you perhaps might expect, but with a chin that doubles as a snowplough who needs teeth?


chuck rock chin
Chuck here has a humongous, bulbous thing that passes for his chin. How you’d get one that fat, I don’t know. How does he eat? Still, bonus points for being all about the chin (about the chin about the chin).


freddy hardest chin
Retro hero Freddy Hardest, well named because he stars in one of the most difficult games ever, has an astounding bum for a chin. So daunting is this facial protrusion that you can plainly see the alien in the photo has filled his knickers in fear.


lance banson chin
And the award for Finest Gaming Chin goes to… Lance Banson, from the Henry Hatsworth game. He is indeed a beautiful man, but that chin is simply sublime. It’s almost like his face has grown a foot, and it’s so clean and well shaven you can’t help but want to polish it. Well done, sir.

Thanks to everyone on Twitter for suggesting some of these chins, and to @JollyNiceSoup for the original topic.

Play Want Bin Expense: 2016-10-17

The Chase is On. And Off.

A new game this week! And a return to one I was playing a little while back! And Pokémon! And! More!


No Man’s Sky (PS4)
At one hundred and fifty of your very best Earth hours, I completed it. As in, reached the centre of the galaxy (having done the Atlas Path some time prior). I liked it a lot. I even wrote a review of it, which I’m very pleased with.

Pokémon Y (3DS)
Six badges in, and officially further than I’ve ever reached in any previous Pokémon game. Well, the “main” games anyway. It’s a lot of fun. Had my first online unranked battle this weekend, and failed horribly. It doesn’t matter.

Catherine (PS3)
Yes, I’m back on this now I’m slightly unhooked from No Man’s Sky. If what the game has been telling me so far – that Night 8 is the final night – then I’m almost at the end.

Chase: Cold Case Investigations ~Distant Memories~ (3DS)
A somewhat short and slightly disappointing game from the makers of Hotel Dusk and Another Code. It’s clearly the first chapter in a longer series, and I enjoyed the story when I completed it, but I want the rest now dammit.


Like the Generation Game conveyor – can you recall all the games I want? Let’s see: Zelda (NX), Paper Mario (Wii U), Sonic Mania (NX), Pokémon Sun/Moon (3DS), Virginia (PS4), Cuddly Toy (erm, that’s the NX).


Chase not being quite what I was hoping for. I think it will be when the full series is out, but I’m concerned that won’t ever actually happen.


Paper Mario Sticker Star (3DS): Free
Spec Ops: The Line (Mac): 33p
The Book of Desires (PC): 33p
Sid Meier’s Pirates! (PC): 34p

Flappy Bird and Crossy Road

PRINT $verb.”y “.$noun

Verby Noun seems to be a thing for mobile games these days. Flappy Bird, Crossy Road, Twisty Board, Choppy Knight, Swimmy Fish, Flippy Bottle and – what the hell – Jumpy Tree!? Twee Verby Noun games are the new Games That Aren’t Boggle, or something. I don’t really know as I don’t use my telephone for gaming because I’m a grownup.

verby noun jumpy-tree twisty-board flippybottle choppy-knight

It did get me thinking though, about how easy it is to create a game concept simply using that naming structure. How easy? This easy:

Addy Sums
Alerty Klaxon
Announcey Tannoy
Applaudy Audience
Attacky Tiger
Bakey Cake
Barky Dog
Bitey Mouth
Bleedy Corpse
Blessy Priest
Boily Water
Bomby Plane
Bruisey Knee
Burny Fire
Burrowy Badger
Chasey Missile
Choppy Axe
Coily Spring
Comby Hair
Connecty Dots
County Sheep
Crushy Grapes
Cryey Baby
Cutty Knife
Dancey Party
Darny Sock
Dially Phone
Diggy Hole
Dividey Cells
Drinky Pop
Drippy Tap
Drivey Car
Drowny Kittens
Eaty Pie
Echoy Tunnel
Fally Rain
Floaty Boat
Floody Valley
Flushy Toilet
Followy Leader
Haunty Ghost
Hitty Boxer
Holdy Hand
Hoppy Bunny
Injecty Drugs
Itchy Bits
Joggy Bottoms
Kicky Foot
Kissy Face
Knitty Knots
Knocky Wood
Launchy Rocket
Licky Tongue
Locky Door
Marchy Band
Melty Blood 1
Mergey Traffic
Milky Cow
Moisteny Towelette
Openy Window
Packy 2 Bags
Parky Car
Painty Brush
Pointy Finger
Preservey Fruit
Pressy Button
Pricky Sausage
Pumpy Tyres
Punchy Face
Reversey Truck
Selly Shop
Shiny Star
Shocky Cable
Shooty Gun
Shouty Man
Sneezey Nose
Spanny Bridge
Squeaky Mouse
Stabby Dagger
Swervey Bike
Swoopy Bat
Tappy Shoulder
Tempty Treat
Throwy Stick
Tossy Salad
Turny Handle
Votey Candidate
Walky Path
Warny Sign
Washy Dishes
Wavey Flag
Whippy Horse
Wrappy Present

That easy. Every single one evokes an actual game just from the title, and each is a surefire million selling hit. Now, if only I could code well enough to make them. That and I suspect half of them probably already exist.


  1. No, that’s a real one!
  2. Careful!

Gaming’s Finest Chins (Part 1)

Chin-chin Cheree.

(This sexy suggestion from @JollyNiceSoup)

Gaming’s finest chins

Having extensively researched video game characters with impressive chins, two things came to light:

  1. Women in games rarely have excellent chins.
  2. There are chins, excellent chins, and outstanding chins.

Today’s post will be about excellent chins, and I’ll leave those truly special outstanding (haha!) for next time.

Excellent Chins

In no particular order:

Ash from the Evil Dead games. He's got quite a prominent chin, but isn't especially impressive otherwise. Quite long though.
Ash from the Evil Dead games. He’s got quite a prominent chin, but isn’t especially impressive otherwise. Quite long though.
Look at that muzzle. Ben, from adventure game Full Throttle might not be able to see, but he could sandpaper paint off a door frame with that chin stubble.
Look at that muzzle. Ben, from adventure game Full Throttle might not be able to see, but he could sandpaper paint off a door frame with that chin stubble.
DeeJay Maximum from Super Street Fighter II has a chin that looks unbreakable. He probably uses it to open beer bottles. It may not be the biggest, but size isn't everything.
DeeJay Maximum from Super Street Fighter II has a chin that looks unbreakable. He probably uses it to open beer bottles. It may not be the biggest, but size isn’t everything.
Joe Danger is another with a muzzle. However, his looks soft, which may help with faceplants – but he’s not going to fare too well at prepping your wood.
Jack-6, from the Tekken series, appears to have an Adam's Apple for a chin. He's a robot though, so perhaps whoever assembled him misread the instructions?
Jack-6, from the Tekken series, appears to have an Adam’s Apple for a chin. He’s a robot though, so perhaps whoever assembled him misread the instructions?
The most English of all chins, complete with cleft and point. Henry Hatsworth's chin exudes Gentleman from every hairless pore.
The most English of all chins, complete with cleft and point. Henry Hatsworth’s chin exudes Gentleman from every hairless pore.
Rivalling Ben for wood-smoothing duty is this chin from Team Fortress' Heavy. So angular! So manly! Mmm.
Rivalling Ben for wood-smoothing duty is this chin from Team Fortress’ Heavy. So angular! So manly! Mmm.
Rick's chin is the embodiment of bravery. Or stupidity. He's another with a cleft too.
Rick’s chin is the embodiment of bravery. Or stupidity. He’s another with a cleft too.
I'm assuming Grit's chin chin goes right to the end of his beard, because that would make it awesomely pointy. It's certainly the best Advance Wars chin.
I’m assuming Grit’s chin chin goes right to the end of his beard, because that would make it awesomely pointy. It’s certainly the best Advance Wars chin.

Join me again soon for the best of the best. Of chins. CHINS. If you thought these chins were great (or in Ben’s case, grate), boy are you in for a treat.

Let’s Play! Sceptre of Bagdad

Is that really how it’s spelt? I’m sceptrecal.

Do you remember the time before the first Gulf War when we weren’t so racist towards people from the Middle East and we didn’t just assume anyone who looked vaguely Arabian was a terrorist? Good times.

Back then, us gamers really only had two Arab protagonists to play with: the Prince in Prince of Persia, and your man here in Sceptre of Bagdad. Yes, Bagdad, not Baghdad. I’m assuming that was a mistake, rather than the game actually being set in a tiny Polish village that actually appears to resemble somewhere a bit more Iraqi than the rest of the country.

sceptre of bagdad

The plot, such as it is, borrows from Jet Set Willy in that you can’t go to bed until you’ve tidied up. The game plays out more like Dizzy or Finders Keepers, however, with items you can pick up strewn around the place, and characters and objects to get past using the correct item.

It’s a lot easier than Dizzy and Finders Keepers (and Jet Set Willy) though, which makes it an ideal starting point for this sort of game!

Continue reading “Let’s Play! Sceptre of Bagdad”

Alphabest: GameCube – A

A is for Absolution

That’s right folks! I’m doing it all again, only this time the Alphabest gun is trained on Nintendo’s finest purple console 1, the GameCube! Apparently 660 video games were released for the machine, but thanks to this series you’ll be able to eradicate 633. Won’t that be nice?

Let us start with A, for it is the first letter. *clears throat*


You know how most sports games get booted from the list from the very beginning? Bye bye All-Star Baseball 2002/3/4! I’m sure you’re all lovely baseball games, but sadly, you’re all still baseball games.

Like sports games, licenced titles often fall way short of being the best, and GameCube “A” games are no exception: Asterix and Obelix XXL, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Animaniacs: The Great Edgar Hunt, The Ant Bully and American Chopper 2: Full Throttle vary from passable to nightmarish, but none make the cut.

Also in the bin are those most hated titles of the era, all the Army Men games. Taking the soldiers from Toy Story (or rather, not – they’re an entirely separate creation of course) and turning them into a variety of games seemed like a great idea, but every single one of them was terrible. Thankfully, the GameCube was only infected with a trio of these nasties, but there were over 20 in total.

That leaves the following three:

aggressive inlineAggressive Inline is that rare thing of a Tony Hawk style extreme sports game that doesn’t actually suck. In fact, unlike the likes of Dave Mirra, Mat Hoffman and AirBlade, Aggressive Inline is fantastic. It introduced elements to the style of game (like ditching time limits, and including vastly destructible environments that change the level layout) that the Tony Hawk series itself later implemented. Certainly the best non-Tony Hawk, Tony Hawk-style game for the GameCube.

animal crossingAnimal Crossing was the start 2 of an incredibly popular new series for Nintendo, spawning a sequel on almost every Nintendo platform since. Originally, the PAL version was released in Australia only causing many of us to either import from there, or get the US version and a Freeloader anti-region-lock disc, but it was absolutely worth it. It’s the most twee and menial game you can imagine, but running errands for animals, collecting furniture and insects, and constantly rearranging your house – all while paying off increasingly extortionate mortgages – was relaxing, friendly and addictive. Later games added improvements, but the game was damn good to begin with.

Alien HominidAlien Hominid is a side scrolling shooter with great cartoony hand-drawn graphics and Metal Slug-like playability and difficulty. It may have started out life as a free Flash game, but the “full” release is much bigger and more polished, and features a load of extra game modes and features. And hats. Everyone loves hats, right?

And the Alphabest?

Although the other two games are excellent, neither were as groundbreaking and surprising as Animal Crossing. A year of my life was devoted to that game, playing on an almost daily basis and spending each week religiously checking turnip prices in order to try and make a killing on the Stalk Market and pay off my mortgages.

It’s filled with memorable characters and events, and even though you do very little of actual merit or impact, no other game at the time could relax and lull you like Animal Crossing could. And, you could connect up a GBA and travel to a special island on your handheld! Incredible.

Coming soon to a blog post near you: B!


  1. Other colours are available but purple is canon
  2. Yes, I know there was an N64 precursor, but that was Japan only, and not called Animal Crossing.

No Man’s Sky Review

Shameless promo


I did that thing I sometimes do, and wrote a review. As you have probably guessed by the title, it’s for that game I’ve mentioned just once or twice: No Man’s Sky.

I’m quite pleased with it too, so I asked to have it put up on Disposable Media where it might capture a few more eyes. If you’d like to read/share/print/moan about it, you can find it here.

The Jam

How does Bob Marley like his doughnuts?

(This suggestion from @JayTay)


Jam again, eh? If the other posts on jam were not the specific jam that he’s after, then perhaps The Jam is?

Some things I know about The Jam:

  1. Paul Weller
  2. They’re not The Style Council
  3. Mods
  4. That’s Entertainment
  5. Town Called Malice
  6. They were on the front cover of Mojo magazine once
  7. They’re alright

I wasn’t even born for most of the time the band were active (from 1972 to 1982), and never really got into them at a later date. I don’t dislike them at all, but aside from the two tracks mentioned above they haven’t really entered my consciousness.

Paul Weller himself, mind, is one of those instantly recognisable singers. Whether in The Jam, The Style Council, solo, or as part of one-time supergroup The Smokin Mojo Filters, his voice clearly stands out. I liked a lot of his output during his sort-of solo revival in the mid to late 90s, especially Peacock Suit, Wild Wood and The Changingman. Since then though, I’ve not heard much.

I’m digressing now to fill space, because this post is actually supposed to be about The Jam, not Paul Weller.

While looking up interesting stuff about the band, I found they reformed in 2006-ish only without Weller, going under the name of “From The Jam” or “Bruce Foxton”, who is one of the other band members. Weller guest appeared on some of their tracks though, making them essentially The Jam again, only they weren’t. “It’s complicated”, perhaps.

Anyway. Here’s my favourite The Jam track: