Unforeseen Incidents - Nintendo Switch Title

Unforeseen Incidents – Nintendo Switch Review

The fine folks at Application Systems Heidelberg once again gave me a preview code, and it proved to be very timely. At the start of the year I prepared the list of games I intended to play over the next 12 months and shared it via my 2022 in Games post. I included the Saturn version of the classic “point & click” game, Discworld, intending to play it with the mouse. I sat down to play it soon after, and immediately discovered that only the Japanese version of the game supports the mouse. Disappointed, I parked that idea for the time being (I’ve since come up with a solution, but more on that story later).

Enter Application Systems, pretty much the following day I received the invite to try Unforeseen Incidents. A striking looking modern Point & Click for the Nintendo Switch, that I thought might be a worthy alternative to Discworld. Being on Switch meant it passed the first test of being playable on my television, and I hoped being a recent game would be more playable with a controller than those 90s games were, they are not fun without a mouse.

Overview

The story in Unforeseen Incidents centres around a mysterious virus outbreak in a small town. As words like quarantine get thrown around, it does feel a bit on the nose in 2022. However, the game has been out on PC for a while, releasing back in May 2018, when the current pandemic was also ‘unforeseen’. This is a pretty good review of the pc version of Unforeseen Incidents. It was probably sensible to not have the Switch version appear at the height of the pandemic, but to be honest after the opening act the story moves on enough that the parallels disappear anyway.

In-keeping with the genre conventions of point & click adventure games, the gameplay is solving a series of puzzles by finding objects and interacting with them and the environment to progress the story. It’s these interactions that can cause problems, where previous games in the genre have occasionally got a bit esoteric (or simply ridiculous) in their puzzles. Fortunately there is very little of that here, there were only a couple of occasions where I looked up solutions and one of those I was just missing a step in what I was already trying to do.

Trailer

Controls

Very pleased to report that the control system for Unforeseen Incidents on Switch is excellent. I still think the best way to play these is with a mouse, but it is handled very well. I played most of the game with the Switch in the dock, using the Official Pro Controller*. The controls are intuitive, with left stick moving the player, and the right stick moving the cursor. However you can also play entirely using the right stick and then clicking to move the player, which will be more familiar to those used to playing with a mouse.

When navigating menus and choosing items, you can either point on them with the cursor, or cycle through with the d-pad. A simple button press brings up all the “hot spots” on screen, so you don’t miss anything you might be able to interact with. Also double pressing on one of the exits from an area will immediately take you to the next screen, so you don’t have to wait for the player to walk the whole way. All very comfortable.

I did the final chapter in handheld mode, I told myself that was so I could see how well it played that way, rather than simply being because it was late but I wanted to carry on playing so I took the Switch to bed with me. Pleased to report that the touchscreen is supported and worked well, although I still mostly used the same method I had with the Pro Controller.

Graphics

I love the art for the scenery in this game. To be honest it played a big part in me wanting to give it a try, and I played the vast majority of it on my television and it still looked great. I’m not a fan of how the main character is drawn but I think that is just personal taste, everything else is great.

The animations are nice and sharp, though the people walking can be a bit surreal at times. I decided I liked it, it definitely grew on me after a while.

Screenshots

Music and Sound

The music is unobtrusive and really compliments the art in world building. The voice acting was also a pleasant surprise and I enjoyed the dialogue exchanges. We’re a long way from the origins of the genre, where voice acting was a luxury reserved for the CD ‘talkie’ version of a game.

Thoughts

If the point & click genre appeals to you, then this is a fine example and a really enjoyable story. That’s also assuming you can handle a story about a pandemic in 2022. It took me around 7 hours to complete, but if you’re less familiar with this style of game I can see it taking longer. This style of game is a nice fit for the Switch hardware, and although I mostly use mine docked I’d still recommend it even if you mostly play in handheld mode.

Interested?

If you want to check it out for yourself, it’s on the Nintendo eShop and if you’d rather play on PC, you can get it from Good Old Games, or the Steam page is here.

*As ever, these are affiliate links and I’ll get a small commission if you click through and buy something.

2022 in Games

2022 in Games

Later than planned with this, mostly because I was having trouble finding 10 games I wanted to play this year. The struggle is real.

From the 2021 plan I only managed to complete 3 of the games. I did at least play Shadow of the Tomb Raider, but it was terrible so I gave that one up. For the 2022 list I’m going to keep Myst III Exile and The Last Express on there for another year, but I’m parking the others.

Super Metroid and Call of Cthulhu can just return to the backlog. Hollow Knight: Silksong seems to be never coming out, but if it does I’ll want to play it immediately anyway. Finally, I did almost get to StarCraft: Legacy of the Void, then the ongoing and awful revelations about Blizzard Activision as a company left me feeling unable to buy or play their games.

Before we get to the new playlist for 2022 though, time for a quick look back at the highlights from 2021.


Top 5 played in 2021

Forza Horizon 5 - December Games

1. Forza Horizon 5 – Xbox Series S / PC

No surprises here, could have almost called this a year in advance. The series just keeps getting better in my opinion. At some point I need to update my All-Time Top 5 Racing Games list, although I’d probably just lump all the Forza Horizon games together at the top.

Best way to get this is still to buy GamePass*


Bravely Default 2 - Switch

2. Bravely Default 2 – Switch

Forza Horizon may have been a given, but I did not see this one coming (or its friend lower down). I think it turned up at the right time, and playing alongside my ex-wife to compare progress with no doubt helped, but I had a great time with this.

At time of writing you can still get it with the stickers and things* from Amazon like I did too.


Spider-Man: Miles Morales - PS5

3. Marvel’s Miles Morales – PS5

I think I enjoyed this more than the main Spider-Man game. Granted it is much shorter, but also had a lot less of the open-world ‘busy work’ that I find tedious. Also helped that it’s all set in a snowy December. Probably the first time I’ve really been impressed by ray-tracing, the night levels look great.

This* is the edition I picked up, it’s a bit more expensive than I found it for on eBay though.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

4. Ori and the Will of the Wisps – Xbox Series S

As disappointed as I was that the Hollow Knight sequel, Silksong, didn’t come out in 2021 for me to play, this was a worthy alternative. The original Ori didn’t quite make my Top 5 Metroidvania games, but it was a near miss. I think the Will of the Wisps is a better game than the original, I’d still suggest playing them both in order though. Excellent and I was delighted / surprised that my Xbox Series S was able to play it in 4K at 60fps. Lovely.

As I played on the Series S, there is no point linking a physical copy to buy. Think I played on GamePass anyway. You can pick it up here* on Switch though, and Metroidvanias are always a good fit for that.


Octopath Traveler - Switch

5. Octopath Traveller – Switch

The second JRPG I completed last year, and caused me to update my All-Time Top 5 JRPG list too. I don’t think it’s as good a game as Bravely Default 2, but the art style is fun and there are a lot of good gameplay mechanics to it.

Realising two of the best games I played in 2021 were JRPGs, I’ve put another two on my list for 2022. Whether I play them both partly depends on convincing my ex-wife to join in too.

Sometimes difficult to find in stock this one, if Amazon have it, it’ll be here*. I ended up buying it digitally anyway when I couldn’t get a physical edition.


Also ran:

Control Ultimate Edition - PS5

Control: Ultimate Edition – PS5

I almost let this pass me by but I’m glad I gave it a go. Sort of X-Files the action videogame, I enjoyed Control quite a bit. Very much liked the various nods towards Alan Wake too.

This* is the edition I played. I had it free with PS Plus though, so check you don’t already own it before you buy.


10 games for 2022

The Last Express - PC

1. The Last Express – PC

Last time I’m allowing myself to keep this on the list. If I don’t get round to it this year it goes “back on the shelf”.


Myst 3 Exile - 2020 in games

2. Myst III: Exile – PC

The other game I’m taking forward, I do still intend to progress my way through all these. However long it takes. I did dabble a bit last year with the MYST remake on PC and Xbox but it had a few stability issues that I hope will be fixed with updates.


Final Fantasy VII Remake - PS5

3. Final Fantasy VII Remake – PS5

I did suggest I’d consider this one when I updated the All-Time Top 5 JRPG list. Sony gave the PS4 edition away free with PS Plus a while back, but it was exempt from a free upgrade to PS5. However, over Christmas they relaxed that and I was then able to upgrade for free, so I thought I’d give it a go.

The PS5 edition is available here on Amazon*, if you missed it on PS Plus.


Castlevania Advance - Switch

4. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon – Switch

In the continued absence of Silksong, I wanted a Metroidvania for the list. Since I’ve banished Super Metroid back to the backlog, I thought I’d try to make an effort to play the Gameboy Advance games I never finished. I’ll play them on the recent compilation for the Switch, starting with Circle of the Moon and see how I get on.


Guardians of the Galaxy - PS5

5. Guardians of the Galaxy – PS5

Haven’t bought this yet but I intend to pick it up early 2022. I’ve heard lots of good things and I am a fan of the characters.

Available here* but at time of writing it’s back at full price. Has been discounted a few times already so I expect to pay no more than £35.


Tales of Arise - PS5

6. Tales of Arise – PS5

Another I haven’t bought yet but I do want to play. I think my successfully playing this may be dependent on convincing my ex-wife to play too, so fingers crossed.

Available here*


Discworld - SEGA Saturn

7. Discworld – Sega Saturn

Haven’t played anything through fully on my Saturn for a while, and I had been thinking of replaying this game too. I’ll pop it on this list, it’ll be a good excuse to get the Saturn Mouse out.


C&C Remastered - PC

8. Command & Conquer Remastered – PC

I did get part way through the GDI campaign on this and get stuck. However I’d like to go back and finish that as well as play through the NOD one. Seems I should have an RTS on this list and since I’ve abandoned StarCraft now is the time.


Doom Eternal - 2022

9. Doom Eternal – PC

Almost forgot this existed, still haven’t got round to playing. I think I will play this year but I’m not completely set on what platform. Too much choice. I’ve set it for PC for now, but may change it up during the year.


Uncharted 4 - PS4

10. Uncharted 4 – PS4

Another one I forgot I never played… Happy to put this on the list as I think it should be nice on the PS5.


2022 releases I’m looking forward too


God of War: Ragnarok - PS5

God of War: Ragnarok – PS5

Can see this getting delayed again, but I’m keen to play it if it does come out. The first game was great.


Oxenfree II: Lost Signals

Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals

Again, loved the first game so was pleased to hear we were getting another. Not sure what platform I’ll play it on yet. Think the first one was on GamePass.


*these are affiliate links, I’ll get a small commission if you buy something.


December Games Header

December Games

Rounding out the year by finishing 4 (well more like 3) games. Finished with a more respectable total.

Games completed this month

Spider-Man: Miles Morales - PS5

Spider-Man: Miles Morales – PS5

Think I enjoyed this more than the main Spider-Man game. Granted it is much shorter, but also had a lot less of the open-world ‘busy work’ that I find tedious. Also helped that it’s all set in a snowy December, probably the first time I’ve really been impressed by ray-tracing, the night levels look great.

This* is the edition I picked up, it’s a bit more expensive than I found it for on eBay though.


Forza Horizon 5 - November Games

Forza Horizon 5 – Xbox Series S & PC

I think I ‘finished’ this in November, but forgot I’d achieved the Hall of Fame space that marked the end of the story. Wanted to include it so it didn’t get missed altogether, but I will be spending more time with the game anyway.

Best way to get this is still to buy GamePass*


Unpacking - PC

Unpacking – PC

A pretty short game, took around two hours to play through in one sitting. It’s a very satisfying “putting things away” sim, but with a lot of heart. Very much enjoyed my time with it, and it is definitely worth a look. Specially if you have GamePass.

Again, buy GamePass*


Cthulhu Saves Christmas - Switch

Cthulhu Saves Christmas – Switch

After finishing Miles Morales I was ready for another Christmas themed game and this was on sale on the Switch eShop for less than a fiver. Another short one at only 4 or so hours, but it was a lot of fun.

Games played during December

Animal Crossing - July Games

Animal Crossing New Horizons – Switch

Played quite a lot throughout December, enjoying the snow and festive activity. After only managing one perfect snowman out of 5 attempts though I gave up on that part.

Traditional Amazon link*.


Duke Nukem 3D - Vita

Duke Nukem 3D: World Tour – PS Vita

Had a bit of an itch to play the Christmas expansion pack for Duke, Nuclear Winter. I’d forgotten that it’s missing from the “Megaton” edition that came out a few years after this World Tour – 20th Anniversary one. So after firing up my Switch and discovering the version I have on there doesn’t have Nuclear Winter, I dug out my PS Vita and played a bit on there instead.


Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - December Games

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Switch

Of course it wouldn’t be Christmas without some local multiplayer and a few rounds of Mario Kart. Essential.

You don’t have this* already? For shame.


What’s been on the arcade?

March Games 2021

With all the Christmas going on, I haven’t been on the cabinet as much. I did play a fair bit of Super Pang for the Ten Pence Arcade game of the month, which is excellent. However I didn’t play enough to really improve my score so I’m going to be disappointed by the leaderboard I think.


December Pick-ups

Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection Vol 1 - Switch

Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection Vol 1 – Switch

A Christmas gift from my sister, I’ve had my eye on this for a while. I loved my Neo Geo Pocket Color, receiving it for Christmas the year it launched in the UK. This compilation plays perfectly with 10 of the games that are not available to play anywhere else. The fighting games and Metal Slug ports are worth it, but had been available separately from the Switch store. The real star here for me is Neo Turf Masters, one of my favourite ever golf games.

Amazon link* if you were interested in this one, it’s a solid collection but it’ll help if you have some familiarity with the system already.


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

November Games

November Games

Well look at that, I finished something, and also unsurprisingly played an awful lot of Forza Horizon 5.

Games completed this month

Control Ultimate Edition - PS5

Control: Ultimate Edition – PS5

Pleased to say I managed to push on and finish this. There were only a couple of times I got stuck on a fight and they didn’t last for too long. There is still plenty to do if I want to go back, but for now I’m happy to have finished the main story. I do at least want to play through the Alan Wake content in the DLC, but that will be for the New Year.

The physical edition of the version I’m playing is available here from Amazon*, although I have it digitally. I think the Xbox and PC editions are solid too, although I heard the older consoles struggled a bit with the framerate.

Games played during November

Animal Crossing - July Games

Animal Crossing New Horizons – Switch

Played a bit with the new content to open my coffee shop but not the hours I was expecting. Bring on snow.


Back 4 Blood - November Games

Back 4 Blood – Xbox Series S – GamePass

This was oddly disappointing. While it is no doubt a good game, and a worthy spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead, it’s so close to Left 4 Dead, that I felt like I’d seen it all before. Glad I didn’t need to buy it, in no rush to play any more of it.

Here* for all the main platforms if you want to buy it. I wouldn’t though.


Quake 2021 - November Games

Quake – Xbox Series S – GamePass

This has been great fun. Playing through the expansion packs in online co-op with a mate. Still remains one of the best games of all-time.


Forza Horizon 5 - November Games

Forza Horizon 5 – Xbox Series S & PC

This turned out to be almost everything I hoped for, and once again replaces the previous entry as my favourite yet. I’ve put quite a lot of time in already, my only disappointment (and I think many are sharing this) is that the multiplayer is still broken. It never really worked that well in Horizon 4, I hope it gets a robust update to repair that. I should push on and do the last couple of big races though to ‘complete’ the story.

Best way to get this is still to buy GamePass*

What’s been on the arcade?

November Games - Arcade

A fantastic month on the arcade. The game of the month from Ten Pence Arcade was Lode Runner, which turned out to be great so I played that a lot. Also my buddy Ross managed to visit for a few hours, and along with taking it in turns for Lode Runner credits, we also played a few other games including Robotron 2084 and some two player Raiden II.


November Pick-ups

Spider-Man: Miles Morales - PS5

Miles Morales – PS5

Found a bargain copy of this on eBay, so I could play it once I finished Control. Looking forward to getting onto it next.

This* is the edition I picked up, it’s a bit more expensive than I found it for on eBay though.


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

Black Friday 2021

Black Friday 2021 Deals page

Yes you can spend your money more ethically than with Amazon, but for as long as they continue to be the cheapest option and frequently the most convenient, it is hard to ignore. I’m posting a day early as most of these offers are live already anyway, but I’ll do a check around on Friday if there is anything worth adding or updating.

As usual, this is going to be a bit of a round up of Amazon’s stuff, but will include anything else good I spot. Also a couple of links to things not currently discounted for Black Friday, but may be a better option than things that are on sale. 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 Amazon links here, like elsewhere on my blog, are affiliate links where I get a small payment if you use them and buy something. Thanks. The rest of them are just ordinary links though so feel free to hit those without worrying about me benefiting…

Amazon hardware

Amazon’s own range of devices are frequently a solid choice for personal electronics. I use a few myself that are easy recommends.

Kindle Fires

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 Black Friday, but always reliable for a good deal on “Amazon Prime Days” too.

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

After last year adding the Plus model of the HD 8, this upgrade to the base HD 10 adds similar performance increases. At present I still use the older Fire HD 10 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. It’s also reliably in use every Sunday as I stream Red Zone on it while watching the Dallas Cowboys game on the big screen.

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

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. Again the Plus model is likely the way to go. The extra ram will keep it “zippy” for longer.

Fire Kids

There are a number of tablets aimed at young children that are also included in the sales. Have less first hand experience of these, but they are also included in the sale for a solid choice of inexpensive child’s tablet.

Firestick 4K Ultra HD

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 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. If you do have a 4K display you may want to consider the newly released more premium Fire TV Stick 4K Max. It’s that bit more powerful, and will probably last you longer.

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 for the apps my bedroom TV doesn’t have access too. Mainly Disney+ and NFL GamePass.

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. Still a solid choice for getting started with ebooks if like me you don’t enjoy reading on your phone.

Kindle Paperwhite

This is the kindle I use myself, and they have included it in the discounts this year for Black Friday. It is the e-reader I’d recommend, though I have seen the price drop below the current £105 in previous sales. The kindle oasis is nice but I’m not convinced it’s worth the significant additional cost, even with the current offer. Unless of course you are prone to dropping your devices in the bath / pool / sea. In which case the waterproof feature may appeal to you.

Alexa and Friends

I have changed my tune a bit on the Alexa front this year, after I purchased an Echo Show to replace my old radio alarm clock. Granted I do only use it to stream Radio 1Xtra and occasionally ask it about the weather, but I am happy with the device. If you are in the market for one of these, Black Friday is a good time to get a bargain.

A decent starting point if you mostly just want it for streaming music and playing things from your phone is likely the Echo Dot.

The Echo Show 5 is what I have, it’s decent as an alarm replacement although I personally keep the camera covered as I’ve only just come to terms with it listening to me, I’m not ready for it to be watching me too.

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

Not on Amazon, but if Google is more your thing, they’re currently doing their Nest Hub for £59.99.

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 for £7.99 the usual price of one month.

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.

Black Friday has a free three 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 is three months for 99p, which translates to at least 3 free audiobooks during that period.

Prime Video Channels

Currently the various add-on Prime Channels for Prime Video can be had for 99p a month for 3 months. The two I like 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 excellent Power spin-offs, Ghost and Raising Kanan. BMF, all of Black Sails and the surprisingly good TV spin-off of the Step Up franchise, Step Up: Highwater.

Other Amazon links

Core Grafx Mini

Comfortably the best of the ‘mini’ consoles, I still love mine. Should you pick one up, I also recommend the 8bitdo additional controller rather than trying to get another wired official one. They look the part, are very comfortable to use, and best of all are wireless with no noticeable input delay (I use mine to play pinball and shmups without issue). There is a minor discount on the console, but they’re still great value so happy to keep harping on about it.

PC Engine CoreGrafx Mini

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 Black Friday. 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 and usually for Black Friday there is an additional 30% off. This year is less generous at 20% but still worth a browse.

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.

Other sales to check out

Chaos Cards

A great resource for card and board games, and usually competitive prices anyway. Should be worth checking their Black Friday sale out, due to start at 10:00am on Friday.

Currys

Currys have come a long way in terms of competitive pricing and customer service in recent years. I’ve found myself using them quite a bit for games consoles, chromebooks and various general bits of tech. It’s still worth shopping around to compare prices, but I feel much more comfortable recommending them these days. Their Black Friday sale is worth a look.

Argos

As per previous years, Argos have a reasonable selection for Black Friday. Still best approaching for things you were going to buy anyway, but it’s Argos. You know what to expect.

GAME

Unsurprisingly, GAME have a tendency to have a more cynical approach to Black Friday, with items on sale being already available for the same price (or cheaper) elsewhere. Worth a look to compare prices if you’re after something specific, but definitely double check other places before buying there. I think this line up is even worse than last year.

October Games 2021

October Games

Another quiet month, although I did play quite a bit of a couple of games.

Games played during October

Animal Crossing - July Games

Animal Crossing New Horizons – Switch

Mostly just checked in with the Halloween event, expect to play a bit more in November with the new content. Looking forward to the coffee shop opening. Because Brewster.


Destiny 2 - October Games

Destiny 2 – Xbox Series S & PC

A friend brought me back to Destiny 2, and with all the expansions included on GamePass it was nice to have fresh content to play. Had a lot of fun for a couple of weeks getting through the new story parts while it feels like you’re making some progress. My appetite for the MMO grind appears to have left me behind though. Can’t bring myself to invest the hours.


Control Ultimate Edition - PS5

Control: Ultimate Edition – PS5

Only just started this as something else to play on my PS5. Seems really good so far, but there have been a couple of frustrating fights. Very much enjoying the world and all the X-Files style story elements though. Hopefully I’ll stick with it but concerned I’ll get pulled away by other games soon.


What’s been on the arcade?

MAME Cabinet - Finished

Another shocker from Ten Pence Arcade, the game was Frenzy and it was dreadful. I therefore just played some more Joust. Started planning a bit of an upgrade for the system. Mostly want to sort out the power solution, but also going to have another look at the sound system, maybe get a proper amp and speakers rather than the PC Speaker setup it has currently. Ideally I’d like to mount an external volume control too. Likely to be a January project I think.


October Pick-ups

Destiny 2 - October Games

Destiny 2 Season Pass

Mostly bought this as an incentive to keep playing. It worked for a bit but then I started playing Control, and Forza Horizon arrives 5th November. We’ll see how that goes.


Llamasoft

Llamasoft: Everything, Everything Bundle – PC

Find myself less excited by Steam sales these days, but this was a nice drop. I already had 3 of the 5 games in the bundle, so it meant I could grab the two games I was missing, Moose Life and Minotaur Arcade, for £2. Bargain, and some more VR content for my PC.

Retired during October

Metro Exodus - October Games

Metro Exodus – PS5

Well I tried, again and again. I did get much further than on any previous attempts but the open world just kills it for me. Found I didn’t want to play it, and was actively avoiding my PS5 as this was the game I had in progress. Oh well, hopefully I’ll stick with Control.


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

September Games

September Games

Pretty small update this month, not much gaming.

Games played during September

Animal Crossing - July Games

Animal Crossing New Horizons – Switch

Didn’t play a lot of this during September, but just enough to make sure I caught all the fish and bugs that were new for the month.


Pac-Man CE2 - September Games

Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 – PS4 / PS5

Stumbled across this in my PS4 games while browsing the PS5 library for something to play, put a couple of hours in. It’s great fun but a bit overwhelming with the content which seems a bit wrong for pac-man. Think I preferred the more streamlined original Championship Edition.


Everybody's Golf

Everybody’s Golf – PS5

Visited my mate for a week at the end of the month, we mostly played card & board games, but we did get in the obligatory couple of rounds of Everybody’s Golf.


What’s been on the arcade?

MAME Cabinet - Finished

My patience for the Ten Pence Arcade monthly game change was rewarded, and this month we were playing the Williams classic from 1982, Joust. Love that game so have played a fair bit of it. Might keep playing for a while though, I’m so close to cracking 60k points (I’d really like to put up more than 100k).


August Pick-ups

Castlevania Advance - Switch

Castlevania Advance Collection – Switch

A bit of a surprise release when this came out, it’s a collection of the three Gameboy Advance Castlevania games, and the adequate SNES version of Dracula X. It’s very much worth the cost of entry just for Aria of Sorrow, but as I have never completed any of the GBA games I thought now could be the time. I have at least played them all before, and discussed on the Castlevania episode of the Maximum Power Up podcast.


Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 - PS5

Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 – PS5

More of the same from one of the greatest puzzle games of all time. I had intended to get this on Xbox as it’s the only platform I don’t own the original game on, but it was 1/4 of the price on PS5 for a physical copy. Some new multiplayer stuff though so was happy to pick it up. Also amused me that this is my first physical PS5 game. Wonder if it has ray-tracing…

Not particularly cheap on Amazon atm, but you can get it here*. The do have it cheap on Xbox* at time of writing.


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

August Games

August Games

Late with my update again, partly because there was quite a bit to post. Nothing completed, but played a few games this month, including a good amount of multiplayer with friends in the same room. How our ancestors used to do it. Also picked up a few bits while I was at it.

Games played during August

Animal Crossing - July Games

Animal Crossing New Horizons – Switch

Ticking along in Animal Crossing. A couple more of my friends are playing now so I’ve been playing a bit with them, while still working on completing my collections of fish and bugs with the new months.


Metro Exodus - July Games

Metro Exodus – PS5

Still playing this, it looks incredible on the PS5 and I’ve gotten over most of the open world stuff I don’t like. I do tend to play it in smaller bursts though so it may take me a while to get through.

I grabbed this digitally in a sale, but you can get the complete edition is available physically from Amazon*


Black Ops 4 - August Games

Black Ops 4 – PS5

Had a mate come to stay for a few days during August, and Call of Duty has long being a staple game for us. I usually skip the Black Ops line though, and I just noticed I had this one in my library from PS Plus, so we installed it for a blast online. Had good fun with it for what it was, but I doubt I’ll play any on my own.


Worms W.M.D. - PS5 - August Games

Worms WMD – PS5

We were playing multiplayer so of course this came out. Always a good time.


Everybody's Golf

Everybody’s Golf – PS5

Another essential game for our multiplayer sessions, although we played it all that weekend thinking how good it looked on PS5, and it was a couple of days later I discovered the “4k” and “HDR” settings in the menus. Looks even better now. I’ve been getting back into the single player again, and realising how much of a better game it is than Mario Golf on Switch.


Wipeout Omega Collection - August Games

Wipeout Omega Collection – PS5

Rounding out the games played that weekend, we jumped into some Wipeout. Again it seemed to look great on the PS5 but not sure it was doing anything more than just upscaling.


Super Monaco GP Cabinet

Team Flicky Games Day

Also this month I had a week in Scotland, I took my Switch but the only game I played on that was Picross (see the pick ups section). I was staying near to a couple of friends though, so we met up and had a day of gaming together. There was a good amount of gaming on many platforms, even an N64 *shudder*. We played Puyo Puyo Tetris, Everybody’s Golf, Puzzle Bobble, Dungeon Explorer, Rival Megagun, Bomberman, which are the ones I remember anyway. One of my friends has an arcade cabinet sort of like mine, in that it plays emulated games, but unlike mine, is set up for driving games. It’s a converted Super Monaco GP cabinet, complete with wheel, gear shift and pedals. Was incredible to play some of the big Sega titles. Sega Rally and Daytona obviously, but a rare treat to be able to play Scud Racer and Crazy Taxi on a cabinet.

I also got to play a bit of Returnal on his PS5 which was helpful as I had been considering it for mine. It feels good to play, and looks amazing, but the gameplay loop of roguelike elements definitely put me off. I may pick it up when it drops below £20 but I’m in no hurry.

Was a solid day all round though, so nice to just enjoy games with friends.


Quake 2021 - August Games

Quake – PC & Xbox (GamePass)

This month saw the release of a sort of ‘polished’ version of the original Quake. Not quite a full remake, but adding lots of modern elements to the engine to make it a much better experience to play in 2021. It also came to the current consoles with cross play for the online multiplayer which was definitely a nice touch. The controls felt a bit ‘off’ to me when I tried it on the Xbox, but it is still great on the PC played (as it should be) with a keyboard and mouse. Quake remains my second favourite game of all time and this is a delight. It even includes expansion content from Machine Games. One pack which was previously released in 2016, Dimensions of the Past and the brand new Dimension of the Machine which was developed for this release.

What’s been on the arcade?

MAME Cabinet - Finished

This month we played some NBA Jam TE on the cabinet while my mate was over. Such a great game, but I don’t remember it being so as challenging. Perhaps as my main memories of it are the Mega Drive version. May need to revisit that and see if it was much easier, or if I’ve just become terrible. The tenpencearcade game for the month was Gorf, which I played a little bit of but couldn’t get into the groove with. I’m hoping for something better next month!

These could have gone in the pick ups section, but as it’s directly arcade related I’ll include it here. I got these fantastic dust covers for my cabinet from this etsy store. They look great.


August Pick-ups

PS5 Charger

PlayStation 5 Dual Charger

After buying the PS5 I traded my PS4 in at game and got a decent amount of store credit, much as I did with my Xbox One when I got the Series S. I mostly put the store credit towards funds for the digital storefronts on the consoles, but I did use some to grab this charger. It is a pretty handy purchase as the battery life on the controllers doesn’t seem great, helpful to have one charging while I’m playing.


Stardew Valley Switch

Stardew Valley – Switch

Finally got round to grabbing the Switch version of this while it was on sale. Still haven’t properly got into it, but it does suit the console nicely. Hoping that this is the time it clicks.


SEGA Picross - August Games

Picross S Mega Drive & Master System Edition – Switch

Never played a Picross game before, but with this SEGA theme I couldn’t resist trying it. There is a free demo to try on the store which sealed the deal. The puzzles themselves are logic based and very addictive. As I mentioned above I ended up playing this quite a bit while on my holiday.


Forza 7

Forza 7 – Xbox Series S

This was on sale due to it being about to be removed from GamePass. Forza 7 was one of the few physical games I still owned when I got rid of my Xbox One for the digital only Series S. Was quite happy to pay a few quid to just keep it in my library, I don’t enjoy it as much as the Forza Horizon games, but there is still plenty of fun to be had when I fancy a more serious race.


Pre-orders This Month

Forza Horizon 5 Add-ons Bundle

Used some of that credit I got from my PS4 to pre-order this. Since the game will be on GamePass anyway it didn’t make sense to buy the whole game like I usually do. However I really enjoyed having all the extra VIP content and DLC on Horizon 3 and 4 so was happy to put the money down for this.

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

July Games 2021

July Games

Played quite a bit on a small number of games, and managed to spend even more money than last month. Oops.

Games completed this month

Octopath Traveler - Switch

Octopath Traveler – Switch

Finished this off properly in July as planned. That said I didn’t do *everything*. The last round of optional bosses for the final side quest requires an inordinate amount of grinding to achieve and I wasn’t prepared to invest that time. Very much enjoyed the game though, clocking in at around 93 hours played.

I bought the digital edition to use up some store credit, but you can get the physical one from Amazon*


Mario Golf Super Rush - Switch

Mario Golf Super Rush – Switch

I know this game was disappointing for many who were hoping for a full golf RPG like the earlier Mario Golf games. I would have preferred that too, but it is still a lot of fun and I did enjoy the short story mode. Golf Story is a much better option if you want a bit of RPG with your golf though.

This* is the physical edition if you’d rather not get it digitally

Games played during July

Hotshot Racing - Xbox Series S

Hotshot Racing – Xbox Series S

A very enjoyable tribute to classic Sega racers such as Daytona and Outrun 2, Sumo Digital had a hand in making it which explains how close it feels to those games. Had a good time with this for a couple of hours, but the rubber-banding on the AI does make the harder difficulties feel unfair. It’s on GamePass though, so an easy recommend for a fun time playing through all the courses on standard mode.


Animal Crossing - July Games

Animal Crossing New Horizons – Switch

Yes I’ve returned to this, took a bit of an effort to get back into the routine, but I do want to finish collecting all the fish and insects. I stopped playing around this time last year, so by starting now I should get to play the seasons I didn’t experience last time round. It’s still as charming as ever.


What’s been on the arcade?

MAME Cabinet - Finished

Pretty much abandoned the podcast games this month, I didn’t have the patience to learn the patterns for Mr. Do and decided I couldn’t be bothered with MAME on my PC. If it won’t run on my arcade machine I don’t want to play. My cabinet has been playing a lot of X-Men: Children of the Atom this month. I’m not even sure what made me load that up but I’ve been having a good time with it.


July Pick-ups

PlayStation 5 - July Games

PlayStation 5 – Disc Version

After talking myself out of wanting one of these, I did crack this month. I stopped actively looking for one months ago, but during a particularly heinous work day I received the email from Currys informing me that I had ‘won’ their VIP sweepstake. (Basically back in March or something I registered on their site, and every time they are allocated stock they randomly select people from that list to be allowed to buy one). So I pretty much went to buy it to cheer myself up. Still took three weeks to arrive, but I’m glad to have it.

A big part of wanting the Disc version of the console was to replace the PS3 I was still using to play DVDs and Blurays, and the 4k upscaler built into the PS5 is great. Even breathes a bit of life into the aging DVD format. I got a second pad in the bundle (mostly because you weren’t allowed to just buy the console alone, I guess Curry’s don’t make enough money per unit…). In terms of games, thanks to PSPlus I already have Bugsnax, Astro Bot and Control Ultimate Edition, and after a bit of a faff to get the DLC to work, I also have the free upgrade to the PS5 version of Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate, using my PS4 disc.


Metro Exodus - July Games

Metro Exodus – PS5

Although I tried this previously and abandoned it back in October 2019 old blog, I did intend to go back to it but the open world elements put me off. I fancied trying it again on the PS5 with all the fancy 4k Raytracing etc. that they have added so here I am. I haven’t got far yet but it does show off the machine graphically, and I have made it passed where I gave up on PC so optimistic I’ll stick with it.

I grabbed this digitally in a sale, but you can get the complete edition is available physically from Amazon*


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

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 – PS5 Upgrade

The only other pick-up I made for my new console was to pay the £10 to convert my physical PS4 edition to the PS5 one. Pretty happy with that, it runs super smooth, looks great and the load times are basically non-existent. I’m not any better at it though.

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

Personal Goals – Couch to 5k

This is a sort of follow on of my post from 2019, Personal Goals and Single-Use Plastic. Looking back at that one, I have continued to build on my use of sustainable products and could probably do a new post about those. Also considering the things I talked about wanting to do in the future, I have achieved some of those too. Not least in finally building myself an arcade machine as a substantial hardware project.

As I wrote about in that previous blog, I still set myself goals every year, and have a reasonable success rate. They are personal though and not all ones I’d choose to share. For 2021 though, I decided to do something meaningful about those vague health ones. I decided to try the Couch to 5k programme. This got a particular boost when I realised that if I used the NHS provided app, I could choose to have Jo Whiley as my running buddy.

couch to 5k start

I originally started back in January, unfortunately I was only 4 runs in when I got sick with Labyrinthitis. After that it was a long time before I was even comfortable walking about again. I picked it back up in May, but I went almost back to the beginning and restarted with the second run in the programme.

The programme itself is fairly straight-forward. Running 3 times a week for 9 weeks, building on your progress. The first week is a series of 1 minute runs with 3 minute walking breaks. By the last week you’re running for a solid 30 minutes covering approximately 5k

Today saw me complete the programme, and I am pretty proud of that.

I still don’t actually like running, but I do like how I feel afterwards. I shall continue, aiming to just maintain running for 30 minutes 3 times a week.