Sunday, 30 November 2014

Sony Playstation - You wear it well!


20 Years on - The Playstation is still looking cool for a new merchandise review for www.numskull.co.uk 
NOW AVAILABLE using code: GYL - 5% off at www.funstock.co.uk


More great Playstation goodies were on the way from our friends at  www.numskull.co.uk and with Christmas just around the corner now we needed some inspiration for gamer friends and family - as well as ourselves here at GamesYouLoved.

More importantly now with the 20th Anniversary of the Playstation on the 3rd December 2014 this was seriously good timing too. It was time to celebrate this great gaming brand and what else did we need but some cool accessories when we were about to Party like it was 1994!

www.numskull.co.uk has some seriously cool goodies and from our time before with the wallet review we waited with eagerness as the parcel arrived. 


What we got.
Here on this review we're looking at the Sony Cufflinks range, Street Fighter socks by Capcom and Sony Sock range,  under the www.numskull.co.uk brand.


The range of gamerwear, clothing, gifts, merchandise and also Sony Official goodies www.numskull.co.uk now develop - goes further and wider than these items we've featured here too.

We'll be bringing alot more from www.numskull.co.uk Some goodies already available, plus new gaming merchandise concepts not even released over the coming months and weeks. 

www.numskull.co.uk specialises in creative, exciting concepts that it develops into products released to gamer fans the world over.

Gamers keep a look out for GYL news on this - which we'll be putting out via our social spaces on Facebook and Twitter, as well as this ongoing BLOG via www.gamesyouloved.com

Packaging
As before www.numskull.co.uk  have done an amazing production and design job in the quality of their outer packaging. As a gift this is really key as you want the item to not only to be well protected, but to look good too in presentation. The boxes are really nicely finished in a solid cufflink box with imagery from the official Sony Playstation branding.  The socks are nicely packed in plastic with care and they are wrapped with official imagery with an outer card holder - with both the Playstation and Street Fighter versions.




The cufflinks
Three cufflink styles were received. All in Sony Playstation design and styling. The quality of these are much better than you get in the high street for this price so as a set of cufflinks they are actually very good value. Aside from that they are totally geared for the gamer in your life or simply as a treat for yourself so the fact they are well built is an added bonus. Against a white shirt the black Playstation cufflinks look really smart. The silver links also look cool with a dark shirt and stand out without being too gimiky.

The designs are based on a PS1 PS2 and PS3 styling - no PS4 just yet - but who knows! Anyway for us retrogaming types these work just fine for us.


The socks
These are really cool - especially with Christmas on it's way there is nothing better than having a stylish pair of socks to go to parties, or put put on during xmas dinner with a bit of gaming afterwards. Both the Street Fighter socks and Playstation socks come in a pack of 3 and are made to a high quality on both occasions. 

For Street Fighter fans you can choose from the 3 designs in the pack depending on your mood. Select Ken, Ryu or Blanka - all 3 have a very bright colourful top to the sock and elegant black bottom. You'll stand out wearing these for all the right reasons! 




The Playstation Socks are equally memorable - with some very cool designs to them. These really evoke the style of the advertising and design of the original Playstation imagery. From the cool grey controller type, to colourful rainbow like playstation styling and the festive blue. These are socks to be seen in!



 
Watch out for more GamesYouloved Merchandise reviews from www.numskull.co.uk 

SONY MERCHANDISE  
NOW AVAILABLE using code: GYL - 5% off at www.funstock.co.uk

Also available from: 


www.yellowbulldog.co.uk
www.game.co.uk

Saturday, 22 November 2014

A Playstation gift isn't just for Christmas...its for life!

Merchandise review from www.numskull.co.uk 
GAMER DEAL: GYL10 - 10% off at http://www.yellowbulldog.co.uk/collections/numskull


When we got alerted to the fact we could be getting some Playstation goodies we were pretty excited.  

With the 20th Anniversary of the Playstation coming up on 3rd December 2014 this was seriously good timing.

There is a lot of gaming merchandise out there - lets face it. 
But official merchandise like we were promised by www.numskull.co.uk had some seriously cool packaging to it as we opened the parcel we were excited up to see what was inside.






What we got.
Here on this review we're looking at the Sony Playstation Wallet range. 


The range of gamerwear, gifts merchandise and also Sony Official goodies www.numskull.co.uk now develop goes alot further and wider than the wallets. 

So we'll be bringing alot more from www.numskull.co.uk Some goodies already available, plus new gaming merchandise concepts not even released over the coming months and weeks. 

www.numskull.co.uk specialises in creative, exciting concepts that it develops into products released to gamer fans the world over.

Gamers keep a look out for GYL news on this - which we'll be putting out via our social spaces on Facebook and Twitter, as well as this ongoing BLOG via www.gamesyouloved.com

Packaging
Lets start with the packaging. All official - all in keeping with the branding and identity of Sony. Looks great on the shelf and pretty damn sexy if you were to give this to any gamer boy or girl as a gift for Christmas, or just any time you wanted!

The outer packaging is tough, well built and does not scrimp in terms of colour reproduction and finishing.  The graphic design of the packaging is well balanced too - using the Sony Playstation blue hued background imagery. This is a gamer gift, but a gift you could happily feel like you are getting some real merchandise quality to it.  Let's face it there's some crap out there in our world - this is not that! The design is smart and well placed for any avid Playstation fan or someone just looking for a quality wallet with a personality.


The Wallets.
Three wallet styles were received. All in Sony Playstation design.
First off - the classic grey style mimics that of the Playstation controller. The iconic X O  ◼ are used on one side of the wallet in full colour and so close to the original controller graphics. Sat next to a controller they fit together so well. On the reverse side of this 'Controller' wallet is the D pad - again completely in line with the original Playstation design. If you're a big fan of the controller product design this is a great version to have.




The other 2 designs come in the same styling but with a colour variation. Based on the actual classic Playstation console design they mimic the front and back of the console. 

The variation is with the black, which is pretty slick on the inside and outside. The Playstation logo adorns the inside with no other branding. Which is something we really like. Its not overkill and as an older gamer who likes gamer-gear, you'd be proud to own one of these rather than it looking too kid-like.

In the more conventional yet desirable original grey - sat right next to your original Playstation this looks like it's little brother - but in wallet style!  The front of the wallet is a like for like replication of the original console top - official Sony this is! Flip the wallet over - just like the console and you have the vents and detailing. The material used is pretty tough and will take a beating out there which you need. Stitching and print reproduction is great too - we'll be putting this through its paces more but on original test - bending it and rubbing the material, it's holding up nicely.




We can't wait to get out and use these more now when we're out and about. Shopping, down the pub or buying retro games at events or stores we come across. This will be a cool addition to have.

Watch out for more GamesYouloved Merchandise reviews from www.numskull.co.uk 

GAMER DEAL: GYL10 - 10% off at http://www.yellowbulldog.co.uk/collections/numskull

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Another World: The Phenomenon

As a kid I loved games. It didn't matter to me if they were good or not, I still loved playing them. Each was a different experience, with a distinct graphical style and unique music and that was what was important to me at the time.  



Even the not-so-good games were worth a quick blast every once in a while but most didn't hold my attention for too long; There were just too many other games to play and besides, completing a game was an insurmountable task which demanded the kind of dedication I couldn't commit to just one game given the glut available. In short I was a computer game tart, just out for quick and easy thrills.

Once in a while though, something comes along that's so unlike anything else that it's like being woken up with a frappuccino enema.  I can still remember my first glimpses of Another World, contained in this Amiga 600 TV advert:





I didn't know what it was at the time as it isn't mentioned by name within the advert, but it looked incredible and unlike anything I'd ever played before and I'd been an Amiga user for years.  With a bit of asking around in the playground, I soon discovered the title and then set out to acquire the game for myself.


On booting the game for the first of many, many times, I was immediately captivated by the visuals.  I'd seen much more detailed graphics before, but there was something about the style and accuracy of the animation which made it seem special.  

I was convinced that the lack of detail was an artistic decision rather than the result of technical limitation and it's uniqueness added immensely to the immersion and mystique of the game.  




While some other games were trying to make the graphics as realistic as possible, this game concentrated on accurately capturing movement and subtle gestures for it's realism and unlike the others, it succeeded.


I now know that these natural movements were captured by a technique known as 'Rotoscoping' whereby the actions of a real-world stand in - such as a toy Ferrari and cut-out pistol - are filmed and traced from a TV screen one frame at a time. 


This is the kind of painstaking attention to detail which really added to the experience. Some may question whether it would it have been a lesser game if swigging from that drinks can, or grabbing that pistol didn't look quite so realistic, but while the gameplay may have been the same, the experience over-all would have suffered tremendously. Those carefully crafted incidental moments anchored the game in actual reality, making the highly stylised visuals more striking but somehow more natural at the same time.

The visuals and clean sound effects of the lavish intro were exceptional and I was immediately hooked. I couldn't wait for the game to start and as it turned out, I hadn't realised that it actually had already and I got munched immediately. No start screen, no menus just straight in - sink or swim, quite literally as it turned out! 

Gamers of the time were accustomed to a noticeable change in quality of visuals between the into and game proper and it would be many years before we saw game engine driven cut-scenes becoming the norm. Already this was feeling like an interactive movie, and not the naff kind of poorly acted, grainy FMV tosh that become popular in the early days of CD-ROM. The game proper had been running for just a few seconds and it had already broken new ground almost all areas.  What was to lay in store on the next screen? And the screen after that? I needed to know, I was going to find out - the game world had beckoned me. How could I refuse such a rare invitation.

And what a world. How completely realised and sublimely rendered.  The lack of graphical detailing actually enhanced the visuals as it dared the imagination to complete the picture the that superb animations hinted at. Incidental details included to enhance the immersion; Distant, wondrous mountain ranges and dreamy vistas punctuated with strange and fearsome creatures.  

Strange, towering cityscapes archaic in appearance yet alive with futuristic technology and hostile natives.  And to complete the experience, sounds, dreamily reminiscent and startling realistic. Now this was a world worth exploring if you could survive. 

Being unceremoniously dumped into a completely foreign environment with no tutorial to explain the controls was yet another bold move, but it was a challenge I relished.  

Again and again as new challenges arose, the player is forced to adapt and learn, or die.  The pistol for instance; once acquired, only by the careful observation of others wielding this versatile weapon will you unlock it's full potential.  

Fail to pick up on the clues and you'll die. You'll be eaten, mauled, have your head gnawed off, you legs chewed through, fall to your death, drown, be pummeled by rocks, be beaten to a pulp or have your moist flesh zapped off leaving only a carbonised skeleton unable to support it's own structure. 

Back at my school on Earth, an informal support group spontaneously developed amongst us Amiga owners. 

Problems and potential solutions to each of the puzzles could be discussed, theories and anecdotes about the world were exchanged and achievements applauded. 

This helped lend gravitas to the actual game as kudos was up for grabs if you were the first to figure out how to pass a certain point.

What unfolded was to be an epic journey of exploration, adventure and even companionship.  A glorious, balanced mix of desperate combat and devious puzzle solving; each as tricky as the other.



There were furious firefights where the air was livid with crisp, sizzling laser beams.  These encounters required cunning tactics as well as a quick trigger, using all available resources and exploiting the environment to gain the advantage.

To juxtapose this furious pace, there were liberal amounts of logic puzzles where only fiendish lateral thinking could see you safely through.  Many's the time I'd get that light-bulb moment, a potential solution to the puzzle that I couldn't wait to get home to try.  If it worked I was were elated, earned bragging rights for the next day and I saw the next section first.  If the gambit failed, I was crushed, frustrated but not deterred.

Having invested so much into this journey, it was with mixed emotions that I neared the conclusion. It was a relief to have completed such a grueling journey, but I knew my life would be emptier without the game to explore and I felt a genuine kinship for my alien companion, with whom I'd relied on and been through so much. It was partly due to my personal investment and partly due to the wonderful cinematics, that the bitter-sweet ending sequence evoked real emotion in me and, I must confess, the final sequence brought a tear to my eye - something no other game has managed before or since.

It's possible to play the game right through in 25 minutes, but going in blind with none of the solutions it took weeks of evenings.  The game, also known in America as Out of This World, was such a hit it was ported to the other 16-bit systems around at the time, but the console publishers, concerned about re-playability demand some minor changes: an extra baddie here and there which added little to the length of the game to the game.  Nintendo in particular were keen on having the length of female alien bum cleavage reduced in one scene as it was thought to be too provocative.  



Despite the publisher's concerns about it's length, it offered such a unique experience that it was ported to just about every machine of the day, with some creative tweaking required in by the game's creator, √Čric Chahi, in some cases to get the required performance from machines. The game, a triumph of quality over quantity, continues to be ported to this day to modern systems, including iPhone and PS4.  


This release for the 20th anniversary features the options of high res graphics, re-drawn backgrounds, high quality music and remastered sound.  



The 20th Anniversary Edition really is the ultimate version (so far) and I was delighted to play it through again recently with one of the original playground partisans. Being armed with many of the solutions, it took us around 1.5 hours as our memory had faded a little and some sections needed figuring out from scratch.  It was immensely enjoyable to revisit that unusual place once more and it's highly recommended for first times too.

GYL Guest Review - by Andy Pryer

Follow Andy on Twitter @clammylizard


Saturday, 15 November 2014

Every Day is Play. The Celebration of the Video Game - Review

This isn't just a book about gaming...it's a life story


When Matt Keynon set upon a journey of the discovery of gaming - he didn't realise at the beginning it would take him through so many adventures to get to his end goal - a somewhat similar experience to a video game.

Every day is play: The celebration of the Video Game is one of the greatest books we've ever read and reviewed. Let's just get that out there first of all. And we'll tell you why...

This bible of gaming is about Matt's dedication to the spirit of gaming - its art and design and the play and fun associated with what is a passion and obsession for many gamers - including ourselves here at GamesYouLoved. This isn't just a 'hobby'  - it's a way of life.

We did know a little bit about Matt and his homage to gaming previously - having seen some of the Mega Drive Exploded Series and graphic gaming art imagery released a few years back. 


But his story goes back even further than this. In fact it starts when Matt was just 6, having inherited his Uncle's Atari MVS and a batch of games. This initial spark set him on a path of play, discovery and investigation. His intro piece to this in the book describes it beautifully (no spoilers further!).

And this book is a result of his hard work..from the time in 2005 when the idea of producing a book first came to Matt - to now, when we can all enjoy the fruits of his labour.  
With Nolan Bushnell the founding father of Atari and video games writing the foreword - this could only get better. And it does. Visually stunning artwork and design stretches from cover to cover and we love the mix of and variety entries, which for us sums up gaming over the years. It has no limits - to our imagination as gamers and the people who make and develop video games.


From Mario to Sonic, Pac Man to Space Invaders, all the popular characters are here. But even they are not just in typical form as you often see in popular media. Artists, publishers and game developers re-enact these gaming characters in different forms in captivating artwork. You will be surprised, engaged and interrupted (in a good way) with every page turn. And this is no comic or lightweight read. Weighing in at over 300 pages this is heavyweight in every sense of the word. And the print and finishing quality...Well - judge for yourself from these pictures. Anyone into having quality books on their gaming shelf will appreciate what we have here.

In terms of specific content - there are many many entries and contributors to the project. Including Darren Wall's Rom Alerts - showing off the 16-BIT work in 2005 to the Sensible Software book just recently. Edge Magazine has an array of interesting cover artworks that hit you from the beginning too.



Art is a key factor and the likes of Atomike Studio use Mario to great effect, as well as some impressive console art. 

We could go on. 


The imagery here should do the talking. And over the next few weeks we will be releasing more on our Instagram and social channels on Facebook and Twitter.



Finally lets not forget - this book could not have been made without you...the community. As a Kickstarter success this project was successfully delivered by Matt with his massive effort, skill, dedication and determination - and you believed in him.  

Well done - you have a fantastic book to show for it!

Get yours here:

www.fangamer.com

Matt's links:

www.gamepaused.net

@matthewdkenyon

Sunday, 9 November 2014

How to set up SEGA CD / MEGA CD on the JXD

As part of the HOW TO Guides for JXD...GYL Fan and Friend Sean Tagg gave us a ten point plan to get the Sega CD/ Mega CD running 

GET 5% off a JXD at www.funstock.co.uk by using discount code: GYL 





Here goes:

1.download and install MD.EMU, then select the App.












2.Select Options / System.













3.You will need to Download the Bios files for Europe, USA and Japan if you want to play game from all regions.
Select USA Bios and then locate the path to your saved USA Bios file. Seen below [bios_CD_U.bin]. Find all 3 file paths.















4.Download a SEGA CD / MEGA CD rom.  Google search!

5. Only games with the .iso & .wav files are compatible. Click on file listing to check.















6. All good!















7. Click on the file to download then unzip the file into a folder with your game name.
Copy the folder over to your JXD game folder.\















8. Open up the MD.EMU app and select Load Game. Find your games folder and select the game.















9.Select the game ( .Cue file)




10.The game will load










Thanks,

Sean (OutRun86 Blog)

Also follow Sean on Twitter at twitter.com/sean_tagg

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

X-wing and TIE Fighter Review

Review by Ben Spring / Twitter @aurumaethera

I was chasing a winged TIE fighter around the bulk of a disabled Imperial freighter, desperately trying to line it up in my sights, when inspiration struck. I let my grip on the joystick loosen a little, and manoeuvred underneath the fighter, switching to my upward view to keep it in sight. As it continued to evade me, I pulled back on the stick, right toward its belly. The TIE Fighter pulled up, and slammed into the body of the freighter above it, exploding into chunks. I was still grinning by the end of the mission. 


Sometimes, we play retro games not just for nostalgia, but because they weren’t afraid to push big, complex ideas, and refused to dumb themselves down to the lowest common denominator.


X-wing was one of those games. One of the first proper polygonal space sims, it was arguably the game that turned LucasArts from the king of point-and-click adventures into the undisputed champion of Star Wars games. With the ability to pilot three rebel craft in a huge variety of missions, with the B-Wing added in a later expansion, X-wing put gamers into the world of Star Wars more vividly than any game had managed in the past. 

It wasn’t just the quality of the game’s engine that shone through, it was the presentation. From the gloriously MIDI-fied John Williams score to the howl of passing TIE Fighters, every aspect of the Star Wars universe is captured perfectly. The cutscenes are reminiscent of Monkey Island with their rich bitmap graphics, though the voice-acting can be a little dodgy at times, but they do a great job of laying on the theme thick and fast. I won’t lie, the first time I beat the last TIE Fighter in a training mission and that familiar, triumphant music blared out of the speakers, I actually punched the air in victory. A game hasn’t made me look that dorky in quite a while.
The gameplay was big on features, and punishingly difficult. Your control over the craft was staggering, letting you adjust your engine power to reinforce shields or recharge lasers, or shift your shields forwards or aft with a single button press. You could match the speed of enemy fighters, shoot down incoming torpedoes, and order a squadron of wingmen to defend you or take out your targets. Elite had set the bar for space titles nearly ten years before, and Wing Commander was little more than two years old, but X-wing rejected the trade-and-explore motif of these popular titles in favour of pure, raw dogfighting. 

Missions were complex, and hard. Losing in some missions meant the permanent loss of your pilot, forcing you start your campaign over again. Happily, with expansions, there were five separate campaigns on offer, so you didn’t always have to crawl back through the missions you’d just beaten, but the game was still extremely tough. Get a TIE fighter in your sights, and it’ll weave and pitch like crazy, making it a hell of a challenge to land even the two shots needed to swat it out of the sky. Come up against a group of tougher TIE interceptors, and you’d better hope you’re a good shot. Try to take on a Corellian Corvette without taking advantage of its blind spots, and you’ll be slag in seconds. It’s rock-solid, but it’s awesome fun.

TIE fighter took the successes of its prequel and ran with them. Pilots could be backed up to prevent permadeath, the number of ships on offer was now huge, encompassing pretty much everything from the movies, and the god-awful  2D map of X-Wing had been replaced with a full 3D map so awesomely good I’m surprised more modern space sims don’t copy it. Mission briefings were bulked up considerably, helping to keep your goal clear and meaningful. The voice acting was of a notably higher quality than X-Wing had offered, and there was now plenty of it during missions, rather than simply between them.



X-Wing and TIE Fighter have more than just retro appeal, although they have that in spades. The gameplay here is still some of the best space combat out there, even after two decades. With titles like EVE Valkyrie, ELITE: Dangerous and Star Citizen seeking to reignite the gaming world’s love of space sims (Let’s not forget that the original ELITE was one of the first titles ever to make it onto British news broadcasts for its success), anyone who considers themselves a fan of Star Wars or the space sim genre in general should definitely pick up the remasters of these classic titles.  If I had to pick one or the other, I’d probably say TIE Fighter is more worth your money, but you’d be missing out on a hell of an opportunity if you never got to lock your s-foils in attack position and pray that the Force guides your proton torpedoes into that pesky enemy corvette.

Download the games from here:
www.gog.com/




Monday, 3 November 2014

HD Retrovision - A Kickstarter Interview


We spoke to HD Retrovision about their now 'Live' Kickstarter project - its goals and expectations, and why its so important to support retro gaming systems of days gone by.




Tell us why you choose to work on a Sega & Nintendo retro gaming product - rather than a new generation console accessory?

We grew up on these consoles and they're the reason we're gamers today. It saddened us to see them threatened by the lack of support on modern TVs. 

Who are the products designed for?
The products are really designed for anyone who wants a simple, affordable, yet high quality solution to playing their old consoles on new TVs. It's true other solutions exist, but they can be expensive and messy, or require people to have hardware skills they don't have.

What was is about the Genesis and SNES that makes it so special?
The games on those consoles represent the pinnacle of gaming to us in a lot of ways.

The games had enjoyable story lines without hours of cutscenes, and designers were focused more on awesome gameplay than making the game have movie-quality graphics. They also feature some of our favorite video game music of all time. I still hear the Desert Strike theme in my head regularly.

How important are playing games for you when you making a product like this?

Very important. We've tested our cables across on many many games to make sure we don't run into anything unexpected. It's really the only way to know if you're going to run any issues if someone plugs a Sonic 3 into a Sonic & Knuckles into a Game Genie.

How has your background and experience contributed to the development of this Kickstarter?


Besides being avid gamers, we're both electrical engineers and mathematicians by training. This has contributed to us being very precise and methodical in our development of the cables. 

Tell us a bit about the technical details to feature in the product?


The concept behind our cables is not new, but the implementation is radically different. Through careful engineering, we are able to fit our custom electronics into a tight, enclosed space without an additional power source. This approach lowers the cost and headache compared with competing solutions, which we hope will give more people access to high-quality retro-gaming.


Left - composite video, Right with component from HD Retrovision cables
What are your favourite 5 Genesis games of all time?
Streets of Rage, NBA Jam, Kid Chameleon, Toejam & Earl, Earthworm Jim

What are your favourite 5 SNES games of all time?
Megaman X, Chrono Trigger, Super Castlevania IV, Shadowrun, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 

What does retrogaming /gaming mean to you?
It's the a link back to our childhood. Retro-gaming brings us back to an era where some of our best memories were formed, often while playing these games with a good friend or sibling.

Back the Kickstarter here: