Author Archives: kayjoon

About kayjoon

Thirty-something geek on the south coast of England. Think I'm sort of smart, but I might just be fooling myself. Player of games, reader, feminist, humanist. One of two podcast hosts called Chris Smith at maximumpowerup.com

October Games - Marvel Snap

October Games

Consistent with predictions from last month, October was really busy, and I’m just as late updating this. Even less to talk about too. Nothing completed, just a few games played and some pick-ups from a couple of autumn sales.


Games played during October

Tales of Vesperia - Definitive Edition

Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition – Nintendo Switch

Still making progress with this although I didn’t find much time to play in October. Still enjoying it and hoping to crack on and finish it before Christmas though.

I’m playing the Switch version, but you can get that, or Xbox and PlayStation versions here from Amazon*. It seems much cheaper on the other consoles, but it is much less digitally too.


Halo 4 - August 2022

Halo 4 (Master Chief Collection) – Xbox Series X

We had another good co-op session on this, think we’re only one or two sessions left before the ending. Might be time for some Gears next.


Marvel Snap - October Games

Marvel Snap – Mobile & PC

This has surprisingly taken over my life, it’s very rare I go near any mobile games. Heard a few good things about it on a podcast so thought I’d give it a go when the final release happened in October. It’s very well done, and too addictive. For now I’m still playing everyday so we’ll see how long that lasts.


Hearthstone - October Games

Hearthstone – Mobile & PC

Getting into Marvel Snap helped make me want to revisit Hearthstone too. My friend had been talking about it as well, so I held my nose over the current state of Blizzard and started to jump back in. Haven’t played a lot but it is helping scratch the card game itch.


What’s been on the arcade?

September Arcade

The Ten Pence Arcade game in October was 1943. I played a bit and was enjoying it but the scoring in the leaderboard was everywhere and some confusion about what difficulty people were playing put me off. On to the next one.


October Pick-ups

Aliens vs Predator - Xbox

Alien vs Predator – Xbox 360

I saw an article online about how this was one of the best selling games that week. It was in the sale for a couple of quid and the commentary was about how well it runs on the Xbox Series X and what a decent game it was anyway. Think it passed me by on the 360 so I grabbed it. Haven’t played it yet, but after watching this video of it, I do intend to at least try it.


Panzer Dragoon Remake - Xbox

Panzer Dragoon Remake – Xbox Series X

Yes I did buy this already on Switch, but again it was like £1, and I couldn’t resist seeing it upscaled to 4k and with auto HDR. It does look great on the Series X, although it doesn’t seem to have any extra polish for the Series S/X consoles, think it’s the same version that would be on the Xbox One. It still plays great though so I’m happy with it.


Dicey Dungeons - October Games

Dicey Dungeons – Switch

More double dipping here. I already have and played this on Steam, but silly cheap prices meant I grabbed it again. It’s a perfect Switch game though, and something I can see myself getting into when travelling.


Fhtagn! - October Games

Fhtagn! – PC

Last pick up this month, and another one from the sales, is Fhtagn! I don’t know a lot about this, but it seems to be a sort of social / party game. Looks to be a co-operative experience, perhaps with some secret cultist/traitor vibes. Hoping to get it on the TV using the SteamLink and play with a couple of friends.


*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me a small commission if you buy something.

September Games 2022

September Games

September and October are always busy months for me, managed to be later than usual with this too. I have played a few things in the pockets of downtime though.

Games completed this month

Escape Academy - September Games

Escape Academy – Xbox Series X

Another surprise gem on GamePass. A series of fully realised escape rooms to play through. Very much enjoyed it. Not a very long game but good fun. I think it would be easier playing with someone else, but using a pen and paper to note down solutions worked pretty well.


Games played during September

Tales of Vesperia - Definitive Edition

Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition – Nintendo Switch

We’re well underway with the new JRPG. It took a little getting into but I’m really enjoying it now.


Destiny 2 Witch Queen - Xbox Series X

Destiny 2 – PC & Xbox Series X

Played quite a bit of this in September, mostly progressing the Witch Queen story, but friends helped me with the content from the 30th Anniversary pack I had on PC so I’m pretty much just playing on Xbox now.


Animal Crossing - August Games

Animal Crossing New Horizons – Nintendo Switch

Not playing every day but I have been dropping in most weeks again with Animal Crossing.


Halo 4 - August 2022

Halo 4 (Master Chief Collection) – Xbox Series X

Had another session on this with my friend, we’re making slow progress, but it’s happening. Optimistic we’ll see the full campaign through. Must book in some more time to play.


Little Hope - September Games

Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope – PS5

My girlfriend and I are playing this one in the same ‘pass the controller’ style as we did with Man of Medan. Don’t think we’re too far into it yet, but I’m enjoying the creepy old town vibe.


Street Fighter 6 - September Games

Street Fighter 6 – PS5

September also saw me attend two days of EGX. Time mostly spent drinking and hanging out with a friend and we did play a few retro games together. The only new game they had that I was interested in was Street Fighter 6. Pleased to say it seems great so far and I’ll definitely be picking it up. I’d like to get it on PS5, although unless the crossplay is really well implemented I may need to move to Xbox for it, and potentially invest in a new fightstick.


What’s been on the arcade?

September Arcade

The Ten Pence Arcade game this month was the side scrolling brawler, The Punisher. This is a game I’ve spent quite a bit of time with previously so have enjoyed jumping back in. Unusually I was also quite competitive on the leaderboards for this too.


September Pick-ups

50 Cent: Blood on the Sand

50 Cent: Blood on the Sand – Xbox 360

I played this on the 360 originally and really enjoyed it. It’s now backwards compatible on the Series X and a friend has expressed an interest in playing co-operatively so I’ve picked it up again. Can’t wait to tear things up as Lloyd Banks.


80s Overdrive - September Games

80s Overdrive – Nintendo Switch

This month’s gamble on a ridiculously cheap sale. These games in the style of 80s or 90s era arcade racing games are very common, but this one looked worth checking out, and was around £1.


*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me a small commission if you buy something.

September Games 2022

August Games

Quite a bit to cover again, played a few different games. Most likely because we decided to take the month off before we start the next big Japanese RPG in September.

Games completed this month

Death Smiles 1 & 2 - Switch

Death Smiles 2 – Switch

I suspect this is equivalent to just playing on very easy, but I managed a 1 credit completion of Death Smiles 2. “Rank 1” in the console mode but I’ll take it.

I picked up the physical copy of Death Smiles 1&2 as mentioned in a recent blog, at time of writing it’s also on sale at Amazon*.


Coffee Talk - August Games

Coffee Talk – Xbox Series X

Basically started playing this as a friend was questioning the validity of it as a game. It’s a fun little visual novel style story, running a coffee shop in a world where the customers include vampires and werewolves etc. I enjoyed it, and as it is on GamePass it was simple to give it a go.


Forza Hot Wheels - July Games

Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels – Xbox Series X

Finished all the new content in Hot Wheels, had a great time and carried on doing some of the seasonal stuff for a bit but now I might have a break again for a while.

Again I’m playing on GamePass, but if you would prefer to own it on disc you can buy it here*. If you are on GamePass like me, this bundle of extras* includes both Hot Wheels and the next expansion as well as other content like extra cars.


Man of Medan - August Games

Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan – PS5

Played this story through with my girlfriend, after Until Dawn it did feel very familiar. It’s a really nice touch for these that you choose characters to control at the start though and then the game prompts you to take over when it is that characters part of the story. Looking forward to playing the next one now. Little Hope.

This game was free this month with PlayStation Plus, but if you missed it I think it goes on sale often on the eshop, or can be had physical for relatively cheap from Amazon* too.


Games played during August

Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 4 – Xbox Series X

Played a bit more of this alongside Forza Horizon 5 just doing some of the things I didn’t finish last time round, mostly on the Treasure Island expansion.

It’s still on GamePass, but also quite cheap here* if you don’t have that and want to check it out.


Mario Kart 8 Booster

Mario Kart 8 – Nintendo Switch

The next 8 tracks from the Booster Pass came out, although I think I only played three of them. Need to go back to it really.


Nintendo Wii

Nintendo Wii

I’d been having a bit of a craving to play some GameCube and Nintendo Wii games, I haven’t done much more yet than set the Wii back up but at least it’s ready now for when the craving strikes again.


Animal Crossing - August Games

Animal Crossing New Horizons – Nintendo Switch

As my girlfriend is playing Animal Crossing, I’ve found myself getting back into it too. I’m sure I’m still missing a couple of sea critters but they’re not back in season till March…


Destiny 2 - August Games

Destiny 2 – PC & Xbox Series X

Destiny 2 had a bit of an event launching the pre-order for the next expansion, got me interested to play with friends again. I picked up the previous expansion Witch Queen for my Xbox (also included in the pick-ups below) and Epic Game Store gave away the 30th Anniversary pack for free on the PC, so I’ve been playing a bit on both. I still have no idea what is going on, but I am enjoying myself.


Halo 4 - August 2022

Halo 4 (Master Chief Collection) – Xbox Series X

Thanks to my friend recently picking up an Xbox Series X and GamePass, we have finally been able to pick up our co-op playthroughs of the Halo games. Starting where we left off.


What’s been on the arcade?

Arcade Speakers

The Ten Pence Arcade podcast had a good game for August that I’d never previously heard of. Guzzler, an interesting but challenging maze game. I entirely failed to get a decent score, but very much enjoyed dabbling with it.


August Pick-ups

Warlock of Firetop Mountain - Switch

Warlock of Firetop Mountain – Nintendo Switch

This was like 80p. Suspect it may be terrible but it looked too interesting to pass up for that much.


Project Cars 2 - August Games

Project Cars 2 – PC

Heard good things about this in VR, and it was inexpensive. Just as well, I’m terrible at it and haven’t finished a race. I might come back to it, but it’s not Forza so…


Destiny 2 Witch Queen - Xbox Series X

Destiny 2: Witch Queen – Xbox Series X

With the event happening around Destiny 2, the expansions went on sale. Thanks to Microsoft Rewards on GamePass I had around £45 worth in store credit, so I used half of it to pick up Witch Queen and the season pass without spending any money.


They Bleed Pixels - August Games

They Bleed Pixels – Nintendo Switch

Another cheap pick up, this time for less than £2 in the eshop sale on Switch. I played it a lot on PC a few years ago. Not sure if I’ll play it again but for that price I thought I’d get it on the off chance.


Games Retired this month

Uncharted 4 - PS4

Uncharted 4 – PS4

This was one of my 2022 “to play” list. I enjoyed it for a few hours, though I think I’m just over this gameplay loop. The action set pieces are fun, but each time you move into a new area of enemies to deal with I just find myself wanting to do literally anything other than stumble over the clumsy stealth mechanics again. I tried.


*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me a small commission if you buy something.

July Games 2022

July Games

A good amount of gaming done, completions and more. Even bought a few new ones for a change…

Games completed this month

Ni No Kuni - April Games

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Nintendo Switch

In July I wrapped up my completion on this. Both the original ending with the credits roll, and then finishing off all the additional errands and bounties after. Excellent. Now just waiting for my group to both finish and we can start the next one.

At present it might still be on sale on the eshop, but if it’s back to full price or you’d rather have a physical copy, it’s available here from Amazon*.


Until Dawn - PlayStation 4/5

Until Dawn – PlayStation 5

My girlfriend and I completed our playthrough of this, really enjoyed it again. Lining up the Dark Pictures Anthology games to play next.

It’s quite old now, and regularly on sale digitally. Amazon* do still have the physical copy though.


Betrayal Legacy - Board Game

Betrayal Legacy

Okay so this is a board game, but since it had a full campaign that we played over 11 months I decided to include it here. My legacy board game group finished the story in July, and we were successful (although it was touch and go for a minute and came down to one last re-roll). Really enjoyed playing, and it’s nice that I now have a customised version of Betrayal that can be played for individual sessions. May be a while before I want to do that again though.

Think it may be out of print as my preferred stores don’t have this now, and there are copies on eBay for over £100. The 3rd Edition of the non-legacy edition is available here* though if you’re interested in the theme.


Games played during July

Forza Hot Wheels - July Games

Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels – Xbox Series X

The new expansion arrived and it’s great fun. I loved the Hot Wheels pack for Forza Horizon 3, and didn’t think they’d do it again. The content is pretty similar but that’s to be expected. I’ve been playing this, and still doing the weekly seasonal stuff in the main game.

Again I’m playing on GamePass, but if you would prefer to own it on disc you can buy it here*. If you are on GamePass like me, this bundle of extras* includes both Hot Wheels and the next expansion as well as other content like extra cars.


Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 4 – Xbox Series X

My recent return to Forza Horizon has seen me looking back at the older games too. Realised there is still quite a bit I didn’t do in Horizon 4 and its expansions, so I’ve been dabbling in that in between sessions on 5.

It’s still on GamePass, but also quite cheap here* if you don’t have that and want to check it out.


Ragna Rock VR

Ragna Rock – PC VR

I picked this up in a bundle of VR games a while back and never got round to trying it. One of the games I picked up this month reminded me I’d bought it so decided to boot it up. This is great fun, beating drums with hammers in time to the music to make your Viking warriors row faster.


What’s been on the arcade?

Arcade Speakers

I still didn’t play as much as I wanted to, but the new ten pence arcade game, Tinkle Pit, was new to me. It’s a fun maze game, and I think I’ll probably come back to it.


July Pick-ups

Dark Pictures Anthology - Little Hope

Dark Pictures Anthology – Little Hope – PS4

The first Anthology game “Man of Medan” was free on PS+ this month, so I grabbed it as it’ll be perfect to play next now we’ve finished with Until Dawn. I noticed this second game was on sale for £10 as well so I bought it ready. If we enjoy these I’ll look to pick up the other two games.


Audioshield - July Games

Audioshield – PC VR

This is the game I picked up that reminded me I owned Ragna Rock. It’s another music/rhythm game, and was only a couple of quid to buy in the Steam VR sale. Didn’t find it as much fun as Ragna Rock though so not sure I’ll stick with it.


Half Life Alyx - July Games

Half Life Alyx – PC VR

It was about time I bought this, still regarded as one of the best VR games available. Now I just have to find time to play it.


Death Smiles 1 & 2 - Switch

Death Smiles 1&2 – Switch

A bit of an impulse buy because this popped up for a good price as a physical edition. I really enjoyed the first Death Smiles game back on the Xbox 360, and I did also pick it up on PC so I could still play it. However I never tried the second game and it has been very expensive to buy on Xbox now. Not even sure if it is backwards compatible on the Series S/X anyway. I prefer to play shmups on my arcade machine, but since the Pi4 isn’t up to handling these games I thought I’d take a punt.


Games Retired this month

Seems a while since I’ve retired any, but these two were lurking around on my “currently playing” list and I just don’t think I’m going back to them.

Blacksad - July Games

Blacksad – PS4

A bit sorry to give up on this, but it’s just so slow and clunky that I wasn’t enjoying it. Such a shame as I wanted to love it. The world and the character are great. Maybe I’ll just read the comics again.


Nanotale - July Games

Nanotype – PC

Similarly I’m not sure why I never finished this one, it just didn’t hook me like the previous game although all the elements are there.


*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me a small commission if you buy something.

Black Friday 2021

Prime Day 2022 – Deals page

As usual, the best deals on Prime Day sales tend to be (unsurprisingly) on Amazon’s own products and services. To take advantage of these deals you do need a Prime membership. If you haven’t already, you can just take up a free 30 day trial and the deals will be valid.

If you are looking to buy books and would rather support independent local bookstores, then it may be worth looking into Bookshop.org instead.

The links here, like elsewhere on my blog, are affiliate links where I get a small payment if you use them and buy something. Thanks.

Amazon hardware

Amazon’s own range of devices are frequently a solid choice for personal electronics. I use a few myself that are on sale for Prime Day 20222 and easy recommends.

Kindle Fire Tablets

Although these can be a bit annoying if you want to use apps that are not available in the Amazon app store, it is relatively straight forward to install the normal Google Play store onto the devices. These days you can basically convert them to just run as standard Android tablets. That said, they are excellent value for money specially if you wait for them to be on sale. As usual they are reduced for Prime Day.

I have used a couple of these, and one is still in use as my main tablet now. I don’t do any 3D gaming on it, but use it for watching all the main streaming services, reading comics & PDFs and for playing card and board games.

My preferred choices:

Fire HD 10 Plus

This is the latest ‘plus’ version of the largest kindle fire, I currently have the standard model of these. For reading digital comics, the 10″ screen means the whole page fits comfortably on screen and is as close as you can get to the experience of reading a physical comic. Mine gets used every Sunday during the American Football season as I stream Red Zone on it while watching the Dallas Cowboys game on the big screen. Not to mention watching NetFlix in the bath. While I only have the standard version, the extra RAM and improved battery life of the Plus seems well worth the slightly higher price. It is likely to be longer before you’ll want an upgrade. (Wondering if I need one myself)

Oh and if you go for the one with Special Offers / Ads to save a few quid, you can always pay the extra later to have them removed.

Fire HD 8 Plus

As with the plus edition above, this is the equivalent of the smaller 8% form factor.

Although reading comics is much more comfortable on the HD 10, if you’re going to carry the tablet around a lot the HD 8 is probably the sweet spot for display size vs portability.

Fire HD 8 Kids

I don’t have kids myself, but now know a few people using these as an option for small children, Amazon flag them as suitable for ages 3 – 7. They seem pretty robust and have plenty of options for parental control. There is also the slightly smaller HD 7 option which is a bit cheaper too. For older children (6 – 12) there is now a Fire HD 8 Kids Pro too.

Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet - Prime Day

Fire TV

Firestick 4K Max

Increasingly redundant as more people move to Smart TV’s or connect other set top boxes with media apps like Blu-ray Players & game consoles, the firestick is still one of the better options for accessing apps on your TV. I’ve gone for the 4k Max model here, as even if you don’t have a 4k display, that bit of extra performance in the device should make it a bit snappier to use, and it also supports WiFi 6 which will be useful if you find yourself with a WiFi 6 router in the near future.

Fire Stick 4k Max - Prime Day

If you’re a bit of a techie there are plenty of modding options for Firesticks too, but personally I just have one set up to access Netflix, Prime and Britbox on my aging bedroom TV.

Kindle E-Readers

Kindle

The original Amazon device. Earlier models of these didn’t have any kind of light, with the “e-ink” displays doing their best to replicate paper. These now have a built-in front light. Not quite as nice as the ones below but still a solid choice for getting started with ebooks if like me you don’t enjoy reading on your phone. Oh and the free trial of Kindle Unlimited is well worth it. You can read quite a bit in 3 months. Just remember to cancel if you don’t wish to keep the subscription after that period.

Kindle Paperwhite

This is the kindle I use myself, and is the e-reader I’d recommend. The latest model of it even boasts being waterproof. The kindle oasis is nice but I’m not convinced it’s worth the significant additional cost, but it does at least have a discount this year.

Kindle Paperwhite - Prime Day

Alexa and Friends

If you’ve been following my adventures with this since earlier posts, you’ll know I’ve fallen into the Alexa life. Admittedly I mostly use it as a radio alarm and for her to lie to me about the weather. Personally I have an Echo Show 5 which replaced my old DAB radio in the bedroom. There is also the fancier Echo Show 8, probably worth a look if you’d like to have one of these for video calls.

I also have this Echo Dot in the kitchen, I discovered with 2 devices that the music nicely covers my whole flat using Spotify’s “Play everywhere”.

Otherwise, there are plenty of discounts across the whole range of Alexa enabled devices here.

Amazon subscription offers

Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited is a pretty good value proposition if you read a lot (and are not concerned about having books to keep on the shelf). Some of the included digital magazines are pretty nice too for reading on a tablet. New subscribers can currently get Three Months Free instead of the usual shorter trial.

Amazon Music Unlimited

I still struggle a bit with the way the music streaming industry treats artists, although I’m not sure Kindle Unlimited is much better for authors… However, they are a good way to discover new music, and listening to other people’s playlists is fun. Just remember if you want to support the bands you love, go see them live and buy their merch from them direct.

Prime Day has a free four months trial (instead of the usual 30 days) for new subscribers.

Audible via Amazon

The subscription model for audible is very odd. Rather than it giving you access to a library of books to just listen to (as you might expect) it is pretty much a subscription to get an audiobook a month to keep. If you are into audiobooks it’s certainly worth taking a trial and using it to claim the free books before cancelling. Given the high prices of audiobooks in general, the subscription is pretty good value anyway. The current offer should be three months for free, but I’ve had trouble getting it to work so far. If it does register, that translates to at least 3 free audiobooks during the period.

Prime Video Channels

Currently many of the various add-on Prime Channels for Prime Video can be had for 99p for the first month. This is decent if there are any you were considering trying, but in previous years the offer has been for the first three months, so a disappointing effort really.

The two channels I’ve used previously are Shudder and Starzplay, Shudder is a dedicated horror movie and TV show channel. Starzplay (not to be confused with the content from Starz that got added to Disney+) has a lot of current tv and its own content. Currently the only place to see the Power spin-offs, all of Black Sails and the surprisingly good TV spin-off of the Step Up franchise, Step Up: Highwater.

Other Deals

Xbox Series S/X Storage

The 2TB drive isn’t on offer, but the 1TB Seagate Storage Expansion upgrade for the Xbox Series consoles currently has a decent reduction. Currently £165 for Prime Day, best I could see elsewhere was £185 for the same drive.

Prime Day 2022 - Xbox Upgrade

Ninja Air-fryers etc

Seem to be quite a few people looking for these at the moment. There are a couple of models on sale, but as part of Prime Day the best deal is on this Amazon exclusive Copper coloured Ninja Foodi MAX 14-in-1. Currently £199, from an RRP of £279. The black model is available from a few places as low as £225 though.

Prime Day 2022 - Ninja Foodi

LEGO

There are currently some really good deals across the LEGO range at the moment, including some of the cool tehnic and star wars sets.

This Friends set was popular and is a great price again.

Prime Day 2021 - Lego Friends

Smart Watches

I personally moved over to Samsung for my smart watch, when I got one free with my Galaxy S10. The Galaxy Watch Active2 seems to be a good price for prime day. There are also discounts across the fitbit range if that’s more your scene. Including the Fitbit Versa 2 that I’ve heard good things about.

Prime Day 2021

Amazon Warehouse

Amazon Warehouse is where they clear out items that have been returned, for whatever reason. For Prime Day there is an additional 20% off. If you don’t mind things being “nearly new” it is certainly worth browsing. The goods are still guaranteed and the descriptions will tell you what condition to expect. I purchased my PSVR setup from the Amazon Warehouse Black Friday sale a few years ago, for about £100 less than RRP. The outer box was ripped but inside it was all mint, and the device still had all the plastic covers on.

June Games

June Games

One completion just scraped through at the end of the month, but I played and bought a few others.

Games completed this month

Turtles - Shredder's Revenge - Nintendo Switch

TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge – Xbox Series X

GamePass delivers once again, a standout title for the year and it’s available on the service from day one. This modern release is very much in the style of the old Turtles arcade games, and has many nods to those classics included. Like Streets of Rage 4 in 2020, this once again shows there is life in the genre yet. I played this the way your supposed to, all the way through in one sitting, with wine and a friend. I’m still not a fan of playing brawlers like this solo, but there are few better genres to play co-operative with friends.

I’m playing on GamePass, but it seems a good fit for the Switch too, Amazon have a physical copy for pre-order here*


Games played during June

Ni No Kuni - April Games

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Nintendo Switch

Unsurprisingly taking up a lot of game time, but not dominating the month as much as I’d expected. More on that story later. Anyway still very much enjoying it, although Drippy is an abomination and I hope he isn’t in the sequel.

At present it might still be on sale on the eshop, but if it’s back to full price or you’d rather have a physical copy, it’s available here from Amazon*.


Turnip Boy - Xbox Game Pass

Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion – Xbox Series X

I’m still enjoying trying things on GamePass that I probably wouldn’t otherwise look at twice. This is an entertaining if simple little action RPG. Quite enjoyed playing it for a while, although I’m stuck on a bit of an annoying bossfight, and not sure I’m bothered enough to keep playing.


Forza Horizon 5 - June Games

Forza Horizon 5 – Xbox Series X

Got heavily back into this during June, so much so that it slowed my Ni No Kuni progress and allowed my friends to run away in front of me. No regrets though, and they’ve finally announced the first expansion will be launching in July so I expect my gameplay to continue. The expansion is another Hot Wheels one like they did for Forza Horizon 3, that was one of the best packs yet so really looking forward to it. Although the expansions are not included in GamePass, there is a good bundle of extras* that includes both Hot Wheels and one more pack yet to be announced as well as loads of cars and in game perks.

Again I’m playing on GamePass, but if you would prefer to own it on disc you can buy it here*.


Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1&2 - June Games

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 – PlayStation 5

Revisited this after talking about it recently with my nephew. It’s really well done, and runs great on the PlayStation 5. I’m still pretty bad at it though. Did progress through a few levels, but as much as I have fond memories of the originals, I don’t think I was much good at them either. Don’t expect there are many who would agree, but my favourite Tony Hawk games were Project 8 on the 360 and Sk8land on the Nintendo DS. I’d love a remake of Project 8 to be honest, or even for it to just pop up on GamePass.

I have this PS4 edition available on Amazon* – however, I did pay an additional £10 for the PS5 upgrade. It’s worth it in the sense that it looks and feels much better, but probably not for me for how little time I’ve actually spent with it.


Until Dawn - PlayStation 4/5

Until Dawn – PlayStation 5

My girlfriend doesn’t play many videogames, but does share my love of horror movies. As suspected this has proven to be quite a hit, and we’re currently enjoying a playthrough of this together. Not sure how many of the cast will survive, but I had forgotten just how entertaining it is.


What’s been on the arcade?

Arcade Speakers

New ten pence arcade game is Pac-Land, not really my cup of tea, so I’ve been back to playing Bubbles, Robotron and Super Street Fighter 2 on the cabinet.


June Pick-ups

Grow Bot - Nintendo Switch

Grow Bot – Nintendo Switch

Application Systems Heidelberg are currently sharing codes with me faster than I can play them. This is an interesting looking little puzzle game though, again one that’s been out on PC for a while but is shortly coming to the Switch.


Panzer Dragoon Remake - June Games

Panzer Dragoon Remake – Nintendo Switch

With Nintendo running a pretty decent sale on the Switch eshop, I picked up a few this month. This was the first I went for. As remakes go it had respectable if not great reviews, but I’m a big fan of the original SEGA Saturn game and it was on sale for £2. Worth a punt.


Tales of Vesperia - Nintendo Switch

Tales of Vesperia: Definite Edition – Nintendo Switch

My JRPG group have lined this up to play after Ni No Kuni. We all enjoyed Tales of Arise, but had never played any of the earlier games so interested to see how this is.

If you don’t fancy the digital edition, Amazon do have the physical one*. It’s pricey on Switch but can be had much cheaper for PS4 or Xbox.


House of the Dead Remake - Nintendo Switch

House of the Dead Remake – Nintendo Switch

Why settle for one SEGA Saturn remake, when you can buy two? Jury is still out on this for me, but since I don’t currently have a PS3 or Wii set up in my lounge I was hoping this might fill the light-gun void. You can use the joy-cons to aim, but on first go it isn’t very satisfying. I’ll spend a bit more time with it and see how I get on.


Before Your Eyes - June Gaming

Before Your Eyes – PC

My one purchase from the Steam summer sale. I’ve been interested in this since hearing it mentioned on a few podcasts. I haven’t tried it yet but the basic idea is that it uses your webcam and that the story advances every time you blink. Looking forward to trying it.


PS5 Hard Drive and External SSD for Xbox Series X

Longer term, I want more storage for the Xbox as that’s where the majority of my gaming is done. However, I originally had the same setup for both of these consoles. That is, PS5 and Xbox Series S/X games installed on the internal hard drives (as they have to be to run) and all the PS4 and backwards compatible Xbox games on two external 2TB traditional HDDs.

My goal was to stop using the HDDs entirely for faster solid state drives. (I want to do the same with my PC in the long run, but costs are fairly prohibitive. It’s getting better.)

I bought this Western Digital SN850 M.2* drive for the PS5, adds an extra 1TB to the internal storage on the console. Fitting it was relatively straight forward, although taking the case off was a bit of a faff. As it happens it’s also faster than the standard storage it comes with. I moved the PS5 games onto there, and the PS4 stuff is now on the other internal drive. I’ve still got some space left for now and no need for an external one.

I got this Crucial 1TB external SSD* which I’m using with the Xbox for now to house all the backwards compatible stuff, because it’s much faster than the old HDD I was using. When the costs come down (or I run out of space on either machine), I’m going to grab this 2TB internal upgrade* for the Xbox and move the SSD to the PS5 to use for PS4 stuff.

Convoluted, sure. Makes sense to me though and I now have a couple of spare 2TB HDDs kicking around.


*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me a small commission if you buy something.

Myself and my Dad, dressed to attend a family wedding.

On the loss of my Dad

Not the usual blog content, and if you normally just read for the games, I won’t be offended if you give this post a swerve.

My Dad passed away on the 18th May 2022. My heart is broken, but like everyone who has experienced loss, we find ways to keep going.

I wrote a short eulogy for the funeral, which I wasn’t sure I’d be able to read on the day but I did want to share something. The vicar giving the service, Reverend Christine, invited me to email it to her in advance, and that she would read it if I didn’t think I could. Thanks in part to the kind words from Christine in reply to my email, and to a small dram of pre-church whisky, I did manage to read it. I’m proud of myself for getting through it, and grateful to everyone who took the time afterwards to tell me I’d done well. I’m glad because it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and knowing I could do it makes the idea of future public speaking feel a bit less daunting. So thanks Dad, still helping me be a better man even now.

What follows is the text I wrote for the day, shared simply because I want to keep it.

My Dad.

Growing up my Dad and I were always close, inevitably perhaps as the only boys in a household of 5 women. He was always supportive and encouraging of my interests and hobbies, however fleeting they may be, and if he was disappointed that my career as a professional cricketer never took off, he hid it well.

When 20 years ago I moved away to the South Coast, we stayed in regular contact via lengthy telephone conversations. We talked sports and I picked his brain for DIY help, as he in turn picked mine for help with the family computers. I would find myself watching reruns of Star Trek or the sitcom Cheers to feel closer to him, and Dad developed a love for American Football to share in my own enthusiasm. The day he came with me to watch an NFL game at Twickenham is a day we both treasured.

My Dad and I watching the NFL at Twickenham
This was the Rams v Cardinals game at Twickenham, I bought my Dad the Cardinals hat as his first bit of merch to connect him to the game. He shortly after declared himself a Cowboys fan though.

However, we didn’t always agree. When we talked politics or current affairs we’d often find ourselves opposed. His views leaned towards small c conservative, and well. Well I’m slightly to the left of Karl Marx… Anyway, whenever I would come back to Stoke for a visit, we always found time for a discussion / debate, that would sometimes get heated, but I know he enjoyed them as much as I did. Not so sure my Mum was as keen, and preferred to take herself away at these times.

The memory I wanted to share today though, was from one of these discussions back in 2013. It was a Sunday, and Mum was out at church. We talked all morning, at times arguing, other times putting the world to rights. Eventually though we bought it to a close, we both stood up and my Dad gave me a hug and he said to me, I’ll never forget this, he said to me:

“Son, I can’t tell you how proud I am, you’ve moved away and made yourself a great life down South. You’ve become your own man with your own views and opinions, and I’m just so proud. Even though obviously those views and opinions are all wrong.”

And that there is one of my favourite memories of him. I know I’m so lucky to have had a Dad who never missed an opportunity to tell me that he loved me, or how proud he was of me, but in that moment is the man many of you will recognise, and the man I am proud to call Dad.

My Dad giving two thumbs up
May Games 2022

May Games

An unusual month to put it mildly, but did manage to play a few games.

Games completed this month

Hue - Xbox Live Gold - May Games

Hue – Xbox Series X

Not a GamePass game this time, but one free on Xbox Live Gold. Apparently I already owned it on PlayStation as well, probably from PS+, but either way I decided to play it this month and played through the whole game. It feels a little like Limbo in art style but the puzzles are much more forgiving. Some of the later ones are a bit more of a challenge, but they do feel fair.


Games played during May

Ni No Kuni - April Games

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Nintendo Switch

Still playing through this with my group. Very much enjoying it for the most part, but I do keep hitting difficulty spikes that hold up my progress. Optimistic I’ll finish it though.

At present it might still be on sale on the eshop, but if it’s back to full price or you’d rather have a physical copy, it’s available here from Amazon*.


Little Witch in the Woods - Xbox

Little Witch in the Woods – Xbox Series X

This seems a fun little game that popped up on GamePass, it’s only in a sort of Early Access demo state though and it crashed on me a couple of times. I’ll have another look at it when it’s finished.


Trains - May Games

Various Train Games – Nintendo Switch

While browsing my Switch library recently I realised I’d managed to buy four different train games and barely play any of them. I gave each a bit more of a go to at least remind myself of which was which. The four I have are Loco Motion, Mini Trains, Conduct Together! and Paper Train.

Paper Train is the most eye catching and probably my favourite, but not sure my reactions are quick enough to progress through the whole game. I’ve also spent a bit more time playing Loco Motion, as it’s puzzles are a bit slower paced than the others.


What’s been on the arcade?

Arcade Speakers

I didn’t play as much on the cabinet this month with everything going on, but I did have a few credits on Galaga 3 that the Ten Pence Arcade guys are currently playing. Nice to have another shmup on there but didn’t have time to get properly into it.


May Pick-ups

Lamplight City - May Games

Lamplight City – Nintendo Switch

I played the PC version a while back at EGX Rezzed 2019, but the nice folk at Application Systems Heidelberg were once again kind enough to send me a code for the Switch version. I’d hoped to play this sooner so I could share some thoughts about it, but life got in the way. I’m looking forward to getting to it soon though, I really enjoyed the demo.


Devastator - PS5 - May Games

Devastator – PS5

Heard a few people saying good things about this, and then read the review in EDGE magazine that also suggested it might be my kinda thing. It’s a polished twin-stick shooter in the Geometry Wars style. I grabbed it for PS5 because I don’t really have much that I’m playing on there at the moment, seems good so far.


*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me a small commission if you buy something.

April Games

April Games

A whole lot of GamePass this month, buckle up.

Games completed this month

Guardians of the Galaxy - March Games

Guardians of the Galaxy – Xbox Series X

First completion this month was another from the 2022 playlist. I think Guardians of the Galaxy was a bit overlooked when it first came out, probably because of how badly received the Avengers game was. However, I really enjoyed this one. The writing captures the characters well, and it is one of few games where the chatter between the characters doesn’t get annoying. Very much worth playing, and great to see it on GamePass.

Easiest way to play on Xbox, Game Pass* but if you fancy it on another format or generally prefer a physical edition, they’re here on Amazon*


Life is Strange True Colors - April Games

Life is Strange – True Colors – Xbox Series X

Another game I wanted to try, as I really liked the first Life is Strange and the prequel Before the Storm. However, after not getting into Life is Strange 2, I was a bit reluctant to buy this new one. Was great to see it turn up on GamePass so I could try it, and I’m glad I did. True Colors is much more of a return to the form of the first couple of games and I pretty much played this entire thing over 2 days.


Boyfriend Dungeon - April Games

Boyfriend Dungeon – Xbox Series X

Started this out of curiosity as the premise sounded ridiculous but I’d heard good things on a podcast. It’s part simple dungeon-crawler action rpg, and part dating sim. The people you date also turn into the weapons you use in combat. It’s odd, but surprisingly engaging. I played the whole thing anyway and 100% completed it so…


Games played during April

Blacksad - March Games

Blacksad: Under the Skin – PS4 / PS5

I gave this a go, and will hopefully come back to it. The aesthetic is great but it is a bit clunky to play and the load times are criminal. I’ve moved it onto the faster SSD of the PS5 now but it hasn’t made too much difference really.

Available here* for PS4, Switch and Xbox


Puzzle Quest 3 - April Games

Puzzle Quest 3 – Mobile

I have been spending a bit of time with Puzzle Quest 3, but not sure how long I’ll stick with it. I do enjoy playing bejewelled as combat, and have liked a few of the previous puzzle quest games. My main issue with it is just that I don’t really like playing games on my phone.


Battletoads – Xbox Series X

Another game I tried on GamePass, and demonstrating the other benefit of the service. This is terrible. Move along.


What’s been on the arcade?

Arcade Speakers

I played a fair bit of Solar Fox for the ten pence arcade podcast this month, but never really improved at it. Definitely need a solution for 4-way joysticks that doesn’t involve unscrewing my control panel. The new podcast games are a couple of awful submarine based Scramble clones (and I haven’t enjoyed Scramble since I was 5) so I think I’ll give this coming month a swerve. Did play some Bubbles and Robotron 2084 though, still favourites to play on my machine.


April Pick-ups

Vampire Survivors - April Games

Vampire Survivors – PC

Raved about on a number of podcasts, this is an absolute steal at around £2 on Steam. It’s relatively simple to get into, there are a selection of characters and weapons that are pretty much lifted from the Castlevania series, and then you are just in control of moving the character while the weapons attach automatically on a timer. Very addictive and a lot of fun so far.


Zombie Rollerz - Pinball Heroes

Zombie Rollerz – PC

I noticed this was on sale, and as a big fan of Video Pinball games (talked about extensively on the video pinball episode of Maximum Power Up) I picked it up. Short-lived however, as the actual pinball physics felt ‘off’ and the art style and overall presentation really grated with me. This is now the second game I’ve ever refunded from Steam.


Ni No Kuni - April Games

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Nintendo Switch

After I finished Tales of Arise, I’ve been waiting for my little JRPG group to pick the next game. We settled on this, helped along by it going on sale for £8 on the Nintendo eShop. Not far in yet but it seems promising. This is a remastered version of the PlayStation 3 game, which I was intrigued by at the time thanks to it’s Studio Ghibli art, but back then I wasn’t playing JRPGs.

At present it might still be on sale on the eshop, but if it’s back to full price or you’d rather have a physical copy, it’s available here from Amazon*.


*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me a small commission if you buy something.

March Games 2022

March Games

Ticked off the first game from the 2022 playlist this month, and made substantial progress into a second. Also Game Pass continues to prove the best deal in videogaming.

Games completed this month

Tales of Arise - PS5

Tales of Arise – PS5

Fully completed this now, both with the main story “credits roll” at around 58 hours, and then with the optional extra stuff at about 90. Had a great time, but not sure it’ll break into the Top 5. I did even manage to pick up the Platinum Trophy, which is rare for me too. Think I have 8 so far spread across PS3, Vita, PS4 and PS5…

Thanks to my bout of Covid-related isolation in February I ended up finishing this ages in front of my friends (they’re still going now) and I want them to hurry up so we can find the next one to play.

I played on PS5, my friends are on PS4 and Xbox though and it seems like it’s great on them all. All formats are on this link*.


FAR: Changing Tides - March Games

FAR: Changing Tides – Xbox Series X

This was a nice surprise coming straight to Game Pass. I played the original FAR: Lone Sails on the PC back in July 2020. I really enjoyed that one but found it difficult to recommend at full price given the relatively short experience. As with Unpacking and Gorogoa recently though, Game Pass is perfect for this new one. The game is about 4 hours long, and is very much more of the same but with new systems to drive the vehicle along. Definitely worth a try if you have Game Pass.


Games played during March

Forza Horizon 5 - February Games

Forza Horizon 5 – Xbox Series X

Haven’t got as heavily back into this as I expected but I am still playing on and off. I imagine it’ll be when the first expansion pack arrives that I really get back on it.

Easiest way to play, Game Pass*


Destiny 2 Witch Queen - Xbox Series X

Destiny 2 Witch Queen – Xbox Series X

I finished the content up to where I needed to pay for the expansion and stopped. It was fun and I think I would like to carry on but couldn’t justify spending the money when I have so much else to play. I might come back to it later.


Animal Crossing - April Games

Animal Crossing New Horizons – Nintendo Switch

I took part in a book launch event that took the form of a treasure hunt on an Animal Crossing island. Was a pretty original idea and really good fun. The book itself is in the Young Adult genre, and if you’re interested it’s here from Waterstones – The Girl With No Soul.


It Takes Two - March Games

It Takes Two – Xbox Series X

After playing through A Way Out back in 2020 with my friend Phil, I had been intrigued to hear It Takes Two had a similar approach to co-op gaming. Once again the game showed up on Game Pass so we gave it a try. I think we’re only a couple of hours in but it is great fun so far, hoping to get back on it next month.

Easiest way to play, Game Pass*


Guardians of the Galaxy - March Games

Guardians of the Galaxy – Xbox Series X

Another game from my 2022 plan, although I originally intended to pick this up for the PlayStation 5. It came to Game Pass though, so a no-brainer to play on Xbox instead. I’m about 2/3 of the way through now so hopefully I’ll be including it in my completions next month. It’s an excellent game, really captures the characters well and manages to separate them from their MCU counterparts nicely. Kind of feels like a middle ground between the movies and the comics.

Easiest way to play on Xbox, Game Pass* but if you fancy it on another format or generally prefer a physical edition, they’re here on Amazon*


Mario Kart 8 Booster

Mario Kart 8 – Nintendo Switch

After my preorder last month, the first 8 of the new tracks came out in March. I haven’t spent a lot of time with them, but I played through the 2 new cups. I am most happy to have Coconut Mall from the Wii version back in there.

This is still a bargain from ShopTo, currently less than £17.


What’s been on the arcade?

Arcade Speakers

Not played much on the cabinet this month, mostly down to being heavily into Tales of Arise, and because In the Hunt turned out to be stupidly difficult. Jury is still out on the new Ten Pence Arcade game Solar Fox too.


March Pick-ups

Blacksad - March Games

Blacksad: Under the Skin – PS4 / PS5

I didn’t know this was a thing until I spotted the Xbox version on the shelf in Game. I really like the Blacksad comics so was intrigued about the game. A bit of a google has it being something of a 6 or 7 out of 10, but the gameplay elements sounded like a mix of the Sherlock Holmes games with the control system from Grim Fandango. That is my cup of tea, and it was on sale for around £6 on the PlayStation Store, worth a punt at least.

Available here* for PS4, Switch and Xbox


Tempest 4000 - March Games

Tempest 4000 – PS4 / PS5

Although I bought this when it first came out on PC in 2018, I hadn’t spent so much time on it, preferring to stick to TxK on my PlayStation Vita (the greatest game of all time). Tempest 4000 is essentially the re-released version of TxK but with approval from Atari. There are some gameplay changes but it’s fundamentally very close. Anyway, fast-forward to 2022 and I was scrolling the ‘coming soon’ section on the Nintendo Switch store, where I spotted Tempest 4000 was being brought over. The Switch is definitely a good place for it if unlike me you actually play it handheld, and I bet it looks amazing on the new OLED screen version.

However. Much more exciting to me was then remembering that the game came out on both Xbox One and PS4, and playing that on the newer consoles would mean Tempest upscaled to 4K with auto HDR. A quick online search later, and I found the PS4 edition for £9.99 so I went with that. I think I’d have preferred the Xbox one, but for some reason that is still quite expensive. It’s a real treat playing this on the PS5, and I’m looking forward to spending more time with it.

This is the one* I picked up, still on sale for a tenner at time of writing. Easy recommend.


*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me a small commission if you buy something.