Play Want Bin Expense: 2017-03-27

I did the thing.

It took a while, but I did it. No, not just complete a Breath of the Wild (that “just” took 70-odd hours) – I mean any 3D Zelda at all.

Play

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)
As I said, I completed it. Sure, I didn’t get all the memories (not yet, anyway), but I did all the bosses and stuff and really rather enjoyed it. It isn’t Zelda, and that works in its favour for me. Looks lovely, has plenty to do, nice mechanics, and only a few small problems that don’t really hinder it. Except weapons breaking all the time, of course.

Neo Turf Masters (Switch)
One of the best golf games of all time, and I’m terrible at it. Well, I’m fine for the first 8-10 holes, managing to stay at the top of the table, and then something goes wrong and I get double and triple bogeys all over the shop and before you know it I’m in 27th place and it’s all over.

Splatoon 2 (Switch)
Not the full game, of course – just the Test Fire preview server hamming test thing. Unsurprisingly, it’s more of the first game. Some different weapons, new levels (only two were available it seems), and no always-there map screen, but essentially, it’s the same game. Again. Not that that’s a bad thing, mind.

Want

All the same things. As opposed to all the small things, I suppose. Top of the list, is probably Sonic Mania (Switch). Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Lego City Undercover (both Switch) too, but less so as I already technically own them on the Wii U. Like that matters.

Bin

Fingers, still. They’re not really any worse, but they’re also not better.

Expense

Neo Turf Masters (Switch) – £5.03

Alphabest: GameCube – K

K is for Killing Me Softly

In which we discover yet another letter the GameCube doesn’t exactly excel with. Bear with me.

K

Honestly, there are some great letters coming up. Really there are. Until then, let’s have a look at some K stuff. Starting with Knights of the Temple: Infernal Crusade, a hacky-slashy arcade adventure game which feels a little like a precursor to Dark Souls. It’s visually pretty impressive (albeit very brown), and the combat is surprisingly good, but it’s nothing special in the gameplay department.

Kirby Air Ride would, you’d expect seeing as it’s a Kirby game, be fantastic. Sadly, it is not. No, what we have here is a sub-par racing game. A cute one, but with limited long-term appeal and ultimately a waste of a licence. It’s no F-Zero or Mario Kart, certainly.

Before EA’s Fight Night, that mostly well received boxing series, was Knockout Kings. Knockout Kings 2003 is the only entry that appeared on the GameCube, and is boxing. Boxing is rubbish. Especially when it doesn’t have the great stick-per-hand controls of Fight Night, so it’s off the list.

Joining it, and also boxing related, is the very definition of generic animal-based platformer: Kao the Kangaroo Round 2. It’s a kangaroo wearing boxing gloxes because of course it is. Even Rayman is better than this. Hell, even Gex 3D is be…oh, maybe not.

With those out of the way, we’re left with the best of K.

killer7Killer7 was originally intended to be one of Capcom’s GameCube exclusives, which also included Viewtiful Joe and Resident Evil 4. It’s a stylish, on-rails first person shooter with the usual Suda51 hallmarks – violence, ladies, an incredible soundtrack and a nuts plot. It was somewhat repetitive and perhaps a bit limited though, and perhaps hasn’t aged well.

kelly slater's pro surferKelly Slater’s Pro Surfer is exactly what you’d expect to get if you took the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater engine and applied it to, well, surfing. Certainly that limits the scope somewhat, but amazingly Activision managed to make it work. Just as much fun as Tony Hawk, in some ways more focussed and “cool”, just a bit less replayability. And better sunsets.

And the Alphabest?

Obviously you’re all expecting me to say award winning, critically acclaimed classic Killer7 here, aren’t you? Well, I’m not. It absolutely is a great game for many, but I just couldn’t get on with it. I constantly wanted a lightgun, and it just wasn’t as much fun as Kelly Slater.

That’s right. I’m putting Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer down here as the best K game for the GameCube. Ahead of Killer7. Suda51 might be cool, but surfing, man, that’s more cool.

L next time. Join me then for more lists. Woo!

Will we ever see the ZXVega+?

Or MBison+ as we know him over here.

The sorry story of delays, legal wranglings, complaints and more delays regarding the ZXVega+ has begun to appear in mainstream media in the last couple of weeks. No longer just nerds arguing in forums and people shouting into the black hole of Twitter, even the BBC have reported on it (even if they did have to remove the article due to legal threats).

So what happened?

I came into the story quite late. Almost as late as the ZXVega+ devs, it seems (ho ho!). I heard about the ZXVega+, a handheld computer reimagining of the ZX Spectrum home computer from the 80s, when it was first announced as an Indiegogo campaign. It followed the ZXVega, a “computer in a controller”, which was also crowdfunded and successfully released. This original device was not without its problems, and I never wanted one despite my love for the Speccy because of them. Mainly, no keyboard.

The ZXVega+, initially at least, looked more interesting. A sleek handheld with a screen this time, and the ability to plug a keyboard in. Still, £100 was a lot for something my Nintendo DS already did, but it was nice.

ZXVega+ render
See? Looks good, yes?

That was over a year ago, and… things have not gone well since. I won’t begin to understand all the details, who was lying, who was telling the truth and what was and wasn’t promised, but the situation now is a shambles.

RCL, who are responsible for the device and the campaign, keep announcing delay after delay. Partners in the company have changed. There have been production issues. The rights to some of the 1000 games lined up for the ZXVega+ have been denied.

Their campaign promises refunds if backers are not happy, and boy are some backers not happy. Very few people who have requested refunds appear to have received them too. Why are people wanting refunds? Because RCL have very little to show for over half a million pounds worth of funding, and because they’ve not been successfully updating backers with progress.

In the last couple of weeks, they’ve finally managed to take some photos of the devices, and even edit together a couple of videos of them supposedly in action. I say supposedly, because as some people have pointed out, the videos appear to be just showing videos running – not the actual games or user interface. Key presses don’t correspond with on-screen action, and both videos show the same content albeit edited differently. Make your own mind up:

Then there’s the fact at no point, ever it would seem, have they managed to show more than three devices working at the same time. Some comments on the Indiegogo page suggest that they’ve only got three working prototypes.

Now there’s suggestions that the “group shot” published a little while back shows cardboard boxes that are actually hand-modified versions of the original ZXVega box.

ZXVega+ Group Shot
Look at the rough cuttings, making the”hole” in the insert larger.

What RCL need is transparency. They have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by just telling everyone what’s actually going on. Stop threatening everyone with legal action. Actually show pictures of what you have. If there are delays, that can be tangibly explained away, most people will accept that.

“We don’t have any boxes so we mocked some up” – this is fine.
Boxes shoddily modified – this is not.

“We only have three working prototypes” – this is fine.
“Look at all these ZXVega+s! Oh but only three are ever turned on” – this is not.

“Everything is delayed. It might be months. We’re working hard. It’s harder than we thought. Here’s what we’ve done so far and here’s what we’re doing to make it happen” – this is fine.
“Stop complaining about us. We’ll get our lawyers onto you!” – this is not.

RCL are spending their time getting riled up about what people are saying and not getting on with it. If they want people back on side, they need to be open. Come clean. Explain who at the company actually does what and – much as I hate to single him out – explain exactly what Lee Fogarty’s role is. For someone who supposedly “just does their website”, he seems to know an awful lot more than that position would suggest. Show the people some proper proof – not shakey-hand iPhone videos (that were delayed so they could be “Hollywood quality” – they’re clearly not), or explain why you can’t. Be humble, be clear, be open.

And maybe file their finance report? That’d help.

On the other side, the angry backers (who have every right to be angry, sure) need to simmer down a bit. There have been some very nasty, personal and slanderous things from that corner and it’s not helping. All you’re doing, guys, is giving RCL more excuses to delay things and spend your money.

As for my question at the start: Will we ever see the ZXVega+? I hope so. I really do. I don’t think I’d buy one, but I want the project to succeed because of what it represents and what it may inspire in the future. Unfortunately at this point, even if they’re not (and I’d like to think they’re just naïve), they’re coming across as shysters.

My gut feeling at this point is, perhaps a year from now, a device called the ZXVega+ which resembles what we’re expecting but isn’t quite there, finally comes out. Not as polished. Not as slick. Missing features or altered specs. But something. And I don’t think anyone will be pleased.

Play Want Bin Expense: 2017-03-20

Still no Linkle.

That Zelda game, eh? Blimey.

Play

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)
Some 60 hours in now. I downed the third big beastie, but then went off somewhere else and haven’t gone back. Instead, I’ve been finding shrines and towers and stuff, (52 of the former completed, all bar one of the latter) have explored a lot, found some more memories, and reached Rito Village. I’m still enjoying it. A lot, now. But it’s still no HYRULE WARRIORS.

The Battle Cats POP! (3DS)
Completed! I’ve unlocked a new chapter too, but not sure if I can be bothered to play any further.

Thirty Flights of Loving (Mac)
I completed this too. It was hard not to, actually, since it was only about 20 minutes long. It’s a narrative discovery game, with a disjointed story and everyone in it looks like they’ve been ripped out of Minecraft. Maybe that’s intentional. Had a few technical issues (it crashed), and afterwards I did think “is that it?”. Seems, yes, that is it.

Potatoman Seeks the Troof (Mac)
A side scrolling platform dodge-em-up. Apparently it’s very short, but I still didn’t complete it because the level on a mountain is too hard. It looks like an Atari 2600 game, which I like. I may try again.

Want

Same as last week. Sonic Mania, in particular. Lego City Undercover is out soon (again) as well, so I’ll be needing that. Both Switch, of course.

Bin

This finger pain. Still no known cause of it. At least I can mostly keep a lid on it at the moment, even if it does mean keeping so warm I melt.

Expense

Thankfully, nothing. Phew!

Alphabest: GameCube – J

J is for Jay

Where would we be without J, eh? Ancient Rome, that’s where. Ho ho. Let us see what one of our more modern, relatively speaking, letters has brought us.

J

Good grief. What a pile of tripe. It’s going to be hard to pick something even decent from this list, let alone anything good.

Let us start by discounting Jikkyou Powerful Pro Yakyuu 9. And Jikkyou Powerful Pro Yakyuu 9 Chou Ketteiban. And Jikkyou Powerful Pro Yakyuu 10. And Jikkyou Powerful Pro Yakyuu 10 Chou Ketteiban. And… you get the idea. Nine of these baseball games graced the GameCube, in Japan at least, one every 6 months or so. I’m sure they’re great baseball games. They might even be the very best baseball games. But they’re baseball games.

Then there’s Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, which falls in the category of Dire Nickelodeon Licensed Trash (I think that’s a real genre, actually). It won’t be winning any prizes sat there, I can tell you.

Which brings us limping to The Best J Has To Offer. Hold onto your hats, kids!

Jeremy McGrath Supercross World is a cross country motorbike racing game that just loves brown. Do you love bikes and brown? You’ll love this then! Maybe. Actually, it just looks a lot like that boring brown track on Mario Kart 64. But still – it’s not terrible. Well maybe a bit. Mmm, brown.

judge dreddJudge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death is a first person shooter with quite nice cartoon graphics. It’s no XIII, but it does let you arrest perps (and/or shoot them in the legs) and say I AM THE LAW. And pretend you have the largest chin in the world. OK, so you bounce up and down like you’re on a space hopper as you walk, but dat chin.

And the Alphabest?

I’m pretty sure this is the worst collection of games for an Alphabest so far. Even the very best is poor at most. But! A winner must be decided, and I’ve decided it will be… Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death. Mainly because it has Judge Dredd in it.

Everyone pray for K.

Play Want Bin Expense: 2017-03-13

Retool Warriors

All of the Zelda, all of the time.

Play

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)
I said a lot about this last week, and now, some 35+ hours in, I stand by what I said. I’ve “released” two divine beasts now, and boarded a third, but it still feels like Assassin’s Creed. I’m not enjoying the crafting or the constantly breaking weapons, but I am still enjoying the game as a whole. So there’s that, I suppose.

The Battle Cats POP! (3DS)
The only thing other than Zelda I’ve played all week, pretty much. Imagine a simplified Swords and Soldiers, only with various cats as your soldiers, and you’ve pretty much got it. It’s great too, but there’s a massive, massive flaw. It’s built like a mobile game with IAPs. After a while, you can’t play any more levels because you’ve no energy and have to wait for it to regenerate. Or, as you’d expect for a mobile game with IAPs, buy something with real money (cat food, in this case) to hurry things along. Except… there’s no way of buying IAPs in the game. All the “fun” of an IAP game, with none of the “benefits”. So now I have to wait 90 minutes to continue playing for no actual reason. Amazing.

Want

Lots of Switch indie stuff like Shovel Knight, Stardew Valley and WarGroove, but no point buying anything until Zelda is complete. Not that they’re all out yet anyway. Some new Sonic Mania videos came out this week and it looks bloody awesome. Just look at this:

Bin

Whatever the hell I have wrong with my nervous system. Cold/hot/tingling/painful skin. Mainly my fingers and toes, but also my arms and legs to a lesser degree.

Expense

Nothing this week. Which, considering last week, is probably for the best.

It hurts to type

So I’m not typing much

I seem to be suffering from some form of Raynauds Syndrome, so my fingers hurt. But in a strange way. The tips are hyper-sensitive, meaning touching anything is an ordeal.

On the one hand, I feel like Matt Murdock, but on the other hand, thousands of tiny knives. Actually, both hands have the tiny knives.

In all, means I won’t be writing much here for a little while.

Play Want Bin Expense: 2017-03-06

Link! He come to town!

It’s March already. Blimey. That means the Nintendo Switch is out! Good job I got one of them then, eh?

Play

BioShock: Burial at Sea (PC)
Both Episode 1, which I completed, and Episode 2 which I’m less than an hour into. It’s confusing. I don’t understand which DeWitt/Comstock I am, or rather, was, and now into Episode 2 I have my concerns about who Elizabeth is as well. I’m pretty sure she’s a Little Sister, but who knows? I’ve been enjoying it but it doesn’t quite mesh the two BioShock eras together.

And then of course, I got a Switch. You can read more about that in my previous post, which includes some bits about the games I’ve played on it too. The main one, of course, is:

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)
I wrote a big bit here, but to summarise: It isn’t Zelda, it’s Assassin’s Creed. It isn’t bad, but HYRULE WARRIORS is far, far better. It looks nice. It has a jerky framerate. I’m enjoying it though, which isn’t what I expected.

Want

Sonic and Mario Switch games, but they’re a waaaaaay off right now. I think I want Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove on the Switch, as I loved the original but never played much of the DLC. Blaster Master Zero and Pocket Rumble this week too, and I want both of them.

Further away, Stardew Valley, Lego City Undercover, Puyo Puyo Tetris, Snake Pass, Yooka Laylee, Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, SteamWorld Dig 2, WarGroove, Hollow Knight, ToeJam and Earl 4 and Dragon Quest Heroes I&II.

That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.

Bin

Carpal tunnel. Or whatever the hell it is that’s causing me to have cold fingertips.

Expense

Oh no. Oh no.

Nintendo Switch – £271.45
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Special Edition – £56.46
Neon Joy-Con Pair – £77.45
Pro Controller – £58.60
Snipperclips – £15.60
Fast RMX – £12.74

Oops.