Tag Archives: arcade

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.

February Games

February Games

Poor impulse control strikes again in the pick ups, but still plenty of games played so I’ll count it as a win anyway.

Games completed this month

Blood & Truth PSVR - February Games

Blood & Truth – PSVR

Finally connected the PSVR up to the PlayStation 5, and went back and finished the Blood & Truth campaign. Still one of the best action games in VR, and looks even better driven by the PS5 rather than my old stock PS4. Using the PSVR with the PS5 is annoying though, I am definitely considering the PSVR 2 and its single cable connection.

I bought it digitally, but available from Amazon*


Dagon - PC VR

Dagon – PC VR

While I was in a VR mood I remembered hearing about this free VR game / experience on Steam. It’s only half an hour or so long, and is a mildly interactive retelling of the H.P. Lovecraft short story, Dagon. It was fun and nice to use the headset I have for my PC too. You can play it without VR as well, so worth a look for free if you’re interested.


Games played during February

Tales of Arise - PS5

Tales of Arise – PS5

Fully caught up in this now. Approaching 60 hours in and maybe nearing the endgame, although it’s a JRPG and it looks like I’ll still have a few things to do after. I appear to have gotten quite ahead of the JRPG support group though, and I could do with them catching up so was looking to play other things for a bit. Is the excuse I tell myself for spending a lot this month.

I’m playing 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*.


Tetris Effect Connected - February Games

Tetris Effect Connected – PSVR

Seemed rude not to play a bunch of this while I had the headset hooked up to the PS5. I still haven’t tried the new multiplayer modes though. I’ve heard good things about the Switch version of Tetris Effect, but I can’t imagine playing it not in VR.

I have this edition* although it is still on GamePass and playing on PC supports VR there too.


Rocket League - PS5

Rocket League – PS5

This has joined Worms W.M.D. as a regular multiplayer session, and while we continue to be dreadful, we still have a lot of fun. We tend to stick to casual matches though, those people on ranked are taking things too seriously…


SEGA Picross - February Games

SEGA Picross – Switch

Had a long weekend away in February and took along the Switch. Got back into this a bit but the puzzles are getting a bit trickier now. I think I’ll still drop into it from time to time, but gone are the early times of smashing through 10 puzzles in half an hour.


Sine Mora EX - Switch

Sine Mora EX – Switch

The other game I played while traveling, it was quite nice to get back to Sine Mora. I last played this when it first came out on Xbox Live Arcade for the 360. It’s an interesting shooter, although in handheld mode some of the enemy bullets feel almost invisible. Not sure I’ll play much of it now I’m back, but I might return to it for future holidays.

I’ve got this physical version*, but it goes on sale digitally for less than a couple of quid.


Forza Horizon 5 - February Games

Forza Horizon 5 – Xbox Series X

Bit of a spoiler for my pick up this month, but now I have the Series X I was keen to get back to Forza Horizon 5 and enjoy it in 4k at 60fps. Still my favourite racing game and now looking even better.


Destiny 2 Witch Queen - Xbox Series X

Destiny 2 Witch Queen – Xbox Series X

I haven’t bought the expansion yet, but did feel like checking it out on the new Xbox. So far I’ve just been enjoying the new story quests they’ve added to Free to Play but I may grab the DLC.


What’s been on the arcade?

Arcade Speakers

The Ten Pence Arcade podcast extended the previous month’s game into February. I’d gone off “Up N Down” though so I had been playing a bit of 1942 on the cab. The new podcast game was announced towards the end of the month as “In the Hunt” though, so I’ve had a few credits on that too. It’s just as brutal as I remember it being on the Saturn. Maybe I’ll improve enough to make the leaderboards.


February Pick-ups

Xbox Series X

Xbox Series X

Here we are, the latest impulse purchase. Had got so used to them being impossible to find at RRP that when I spotted Currys had stock I just jumped straight in. I mostly went for the upgrade from my Series S because I haven’t been gaming much on the PC. The PlayStation 5 has become my platform of choice but I think that’s because everything just looked better than on the Series S. Decided to get the X to put them more on a level pegging. Pretty pleased with it so far and a friend bought the Series S from me which offset the cost a bit.


Pre-orders

Mario Kart 8 Booster

Mario Kart Booster Pass

I couldn’t resist the prospect of more tracks for Mario Kart, and ShopTo have a good discount on the pre-order. Although this content is included in the Nintendo Online Expansion Pass, none of the other content appeals to me so for now this seemed the better option.


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

Tales of Arise - Cover Image

January Games

First of these for the New Year, and we’re off to a pretty good start. I completed some stuff. Granted, not as many as I did in December but still good going by my standards.

Games completed this month

Gorogoa - GamePass

Gorogoa – PC

Heard about this on a podcast a while back, I was interested in the idea of “solving puzzles by sliding pictures over each other”. Didn’t really visualise how it would work in practice though, and I forgot about it. Once again though, GamePass* to the rescue, the artwork is gorgeous and the puzzles very well designed. I think it might be best to play on a mobile device or a Switch with the touch screen, but I found it worked well enough on PC with a mouse. The whole game is only around 2 – 3 hours long which makes it a perfect fit for GamePass.


Unforeseen Incidents - Nintendo Switch Title

Unforeseen Incidents – Nintendo Switch

As evidenced by my Unforeseen Incidents review, I also completed this last month.


Games played during January

Final Fantasy VII Remake - PS5

Final Fantasy VII Remake – PS5

Until I got distracted by the next game on this list, I was making decent progress on Final Fantasy VII Remake. I don’t have too much nostalgia for the original Final Fantasy VII, since back in the day my memory card corrupted not long after I made it onto the world map. However the characters and story are familiar, and it looks great. I’m probably only around 10 hours in, but I do want to come back and finish the game as it is on the list for 2022.

Available on Amazon*


Tales of Arise - PS5

Tales of Arise – PS5

It seems my 2022 blog did the job and my ex-wife picked this up in January as planned. I immediately dropped Final Fantasy as this is the game I wanted to be playing. Another of our friends is now playing as well so we have a JRPG support group. Enjoying it so far although the characters are a bit grumpy. Lots of owls though.

I’m playing 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*.


Animal Crossing - July Games

Animal Crossing New Horizons – Switch

Played on and off during January, still failed to catch a lobster and I think they’ve gone now till April. Oh well.

Traditional Amazon link*.


Aliens: Fireteam Elite - PC

Aliens Fireteam Elite – PC

Prime GamePass fodder. Difficult to call this a great game, particularly on PC where it feels like a clunky console port. However, playing online with a couple of friends was good fun. We’ll probably play a couple more times before we move on to something else.


What’s been on the arcade?

Arcade Speakers

In January my arcade play was mostly on SEGA’s Up N Down, the Ten Pence Arcade podcast monthly game. As much as I sort of enjoyed this, I really couldn’t get to grips with it and never really progressed beyond the second level. Next!

At the start of the year though I did pick up a proper amp and speakers* for the cab and fitted those. I got them from Arcade World* who supplied most of the components when I built the machine. The sound is much better now, although it does have a slight hum that I need to eradicate. Plenty of people seemed to have a similar problem with the Pi, so confident I can deal with it next time I have the cabinet open.


January Pick-ups

MYST and More Bundle

MYST & More Bundle – PC

Couldn’t resist grabbing this bundle of MYST goodness. Yes I did own all the games already, but my Steam library was missing MYST 3, 4 and Obduction, so at least I have them all in one place now…


Snowball! - PC

Snowball!

My one purchase from the latest Steam sale, saw someone mention this little indie pinball game, would have been rude not to for 49p. It’s not on sale any more, but even full price it’s only £1.99. Worth a look if you dig Video Pinball like me.


SCUMMVM - RetroPie

ScummVM & RetroPie – RaspberryPi 3b+

Okay so this isn’t really a pick up as I owned it already, but I wasn’t sure where else to put it. As I mentioned in my Unforeseen Incidents review, I had intended to play the classic Point and Click game Discworld this year. As an alternative to using the Saturn version (which I found out doesn’t support the mouse) I decided to use one of the RaspberryPi 3b+ models I had spare so I could still play on my TV using a mouse.

I’ve basically just installed the usual RetroPie and setup ScummVM to play Discworld and a selection of other games supported by the engine. As a bonus I’ve also started configuring DosBox to run a some other games of a similar era, mostly other Point and Click games not otherwise supported by ScummVM. And Jazz Jackrabbit, because why not.


*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me 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.

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.

MAME Arcade - Finished

Finally, another project – MAME Arcade – Part 2

Following my previous post, helpfully referred to as Part 1, I thought I’d just run through the build process. The assembly was partly done in order of when items arrived, and partly what I felt up to doing. Realistically, this could be all done in a day if you had all the parts to hand. I spread it out over a few weeks.

Software

The first thing I did was start to configure the RaspberryPi 3b+* I already owned for use inside the cab. After I’d ordered the bulk of my parts from Arcade World*, the flat pack kits had a 5 day lead time while they were being cut to order, I was excited and wanted to make a start. The RaspberryPi was all I had to hand while I was waiting.

I took the Pi out of the arcade stick housing it was in before and took a couple of minutes to adjust the cabling of the stick so that it is now just a usable USB arcade controller to use with my PC or whatever. I used this stick for the initial config, and also later when it came to testing the monitor I picked up.

In choosing the front end for my system, I had a bit of a look around all the pre-built images on Arcade Punks etc. to see if I could find one with a suitable collection of mostly arcade games along with a theme that wasn’t ridiculous. I could not.

I chose to just build my own setup, with a basic install and curate my own game selection. A few people were suggesting alternatives to the RetroPie software for me to consider, namely Recalbox, Lakka, and Batocera. Fortunately this comparison article was handy for just running through the differences, and after a bit of reading, I decided RetroPie was still the most appropriate for me. I did a fresh install of the latest version of RetroPie as the one already on my SD card was a couple of years old.

I’d only got it hooked up to my working from home monitor, but knew I would be putting a 4:3 or 5:4 ratio screen in the machine, so I played a bit with the shaders in the setup to find something suitable for that screen. It looks a bit silly in the pictures below, but I’m really happy with it in the finished system. Scanlines and a bit of a curve to the display, to get it looking close to how the games would have looked on an original cabinet.

After copying over a starter collection of ROMs, mostly just my favourite shmups and brawlers, and a complete set of NEOGEO games, there wasn’t much else to do except play Neo Turf Masters, and wait for parts to arrive.

Start and Coin Buttons

Fortunately I didn’t have to wait too long, my Arcade World* delivery arrived about a week later. All the buttons and joysticks arrived a day before the flatpack kit, along with the button decals I’d ordered from eBay. So first up, adding the art to the buttons. Fairly simple to do, just be patient prising the button caps off and try to line the decals up where you want them. Happy with how they turned out, even if Player 1 is slightly losing his head.

Riser

Once the kit had all arrived, I decided a sensible place to start was the separate riser. Nice small parts, easily done on my own sitting on the floor. Also the joins are all done using modesty blocks, which is the same for the full cabinet. Was a bit of a practice before the main event. With the ongoing vertigo symptoms I was not in a hurry to work with the bigger panels of the cabinet.

Control Panel

Next up, and one of the most fun parts, putting the buttons and joysticks in. This was also the only part I needed to break out my drill. The control panel has holes pre-drilled for the buttons and joysticks, but when the mounting screws go for the joysticks are only part drilled as there are different fittings available. I just had to line up the correct ones for my mounting plates, and finish the drilling through. Was straight-forward, and I had a spare piece of wood handy that I put under panel while I drilled to reduce the likelihood of damage to the control panel surface.

I also played around with configuring the IPAC2 interface before I attached it to the panel. Didn’t entirely register what I was doing though, but once it was all assembled I hooked the Pi back up to my work monitor and figured it out. Quick shout out to my good buddy Ross here, for sharing the below image before I started, using this I managed to orientate both sticks the right way up first time (up, down, left and right aren’t labelled but each need a wire connecting to the IPAC2.

Joystick Wiring Guide

T-Molding

Initially hated doing this, but after I’d got used to it I quite enjoyed myself. I did the riser box first then the control panel, and gradually some of the panels for the cab itself over the course of a few days. It wasn’t too bad, but I did need to buy a rubber mallet. If anything it is nice to now own a rubber mallet. It was also fortunate that I owned a hot glue gun. As much as all the guides say you don’t need glue, and the t-molding will just stay in place, they’re wrong. (Likely that’s true working with ‘proper’ cabinets, but with the grooves cut in this board, it just popped back out when you went near a bend). A bit of hot glue in the trouble spots soon sorted it though.

Cabinet build

Now we’re talking. I was still held up waiting for the monitor to arrive, but with the drama in getting that I mentioned on the last post I decided to make a start without it anyway, and assembled the basic frame over a couple of days. Again it was probably only an hour or two of work, I was just taking it steady.

MAME Cabinet - coming together

Screen

When the screen finally arrived, I first set it up on the table, using the Pi and Arcade Stick mentioned above. Wanted to do a bit of testing before I went through the process of mounting it inside the cabinet. Was delighted that the HDMI to DVI cable I already had just worked and required no extra effort. At this point I settled on the “Arcade 1Up” 5:4 theme for Emulation Station. I was also testing the speakers from PC, I know a lot of people complain about “hiss” using the 3.5mm audio output on the pi, but there was no sign of that here so I decided to stick with these.

The monitor has a built in USB hub, so I moved the flash drive with my games up to that, immediately solving the problem of it running hot and raising the temperature of the Pi. Also provides convenient power for the marquee light (and also the Pacman lamp that now sits on top of the cab). Both lights now switch on when I power up the cab, and switch off when I shutdown RetroPie and the monitor goes into standby. Perfect.

That done, I took the screen and mounted it to the backing panel to fit into the cabinet. Again this was easy just standard VESA fittings. I also moved the cabinet out into the lounge as we approached the final stretch. Knew I wasn’t going to feel up to lifting it onto the riser on my own, so I gave it a temporary home till I had help. The T-molding on the base of the cabinet means it also slides easily so I didn’t need to lift it at all.

Assembly

The real fun, putting it all together, and everything working. There was a bit of a delay while I waited for the art for the marquee to arrive, so it was in place for a couple of days without the art, but playable. I’ve since taken the top off the little Raspberry Pi case to help keep it cooler, haven’t had any temperature issues anyway. Once the art was added I was able to get it lifted in place onto the riser and get on with the business of playing it.

Surround

The one bit I’ve done since writing the last post, my friends were kind enough to pick up a few sheets of this heavy black card from The Range. I may have another go and do it a bit neater, but my first attempt at cutting out a screen surround / bezel went well and I am pleased with the results.

MAME Cabinet - Finished

Final Comments

The machine is pretty much ‘done’ although I’m sure I’ll continue to tinker with bits here and there. I’ve been investigating the Raspberry Pi 4 models, and it seems that the 8GB version doesn’t offer any benefits for RetroPie so I may upgrade to the cheaper 4GB model sooner rather than later. Mostly as it is able to run a few later games than my current system.