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Posts tagged “Video Games

My history with Digital Pinball

Pinball is a very physical game, the skill that you need to hit the ramps at the right point in time and be able to nudge the table just enough while avoiding activating the tilt switches is a real skill. Pinball machines date right back to the 1930’s, my attraction to actual machines probably started in the 1980’s where I remember playing on them in an arcade while I was on holiday with my parents. Now the history of Pinball itself is something that is well documented on the internet so rather than tell you something that you can just go and look up I thought I would tell you about my personal history with the digital version of the same game.

Early days

It all started for me around 1992 when I first played the hit game Pinball Dreams on the Amiga. Programmed by a small Swedish company called Digital Illusions, eventually, they were made a subsidiary of Electronic Arts and most people might know them now as EA DICE. I have already written about my love for the Amiga in general but I am sure that Pinball Dreams and the games that followed it contributed significantly. The game shipped with four tables that all had a theme, they were called Ignition, Steel Wheel, Beat Box and Nightmare, all of which were well designed with plenty of room to learn where the combinations, modes and jackpots were. I had played other digital versions of pinball before then and the thing that made Pinball Dreams so different was that the ball actually felt like it had weight. You could aim it, even juggle it between one set of flippers and another with some ease. Remember that this game was made way before the Havok physics engine existed and the processing power of the machines in those days was rather limited.

In the latter months of 1992, Digital Illusions released the first sequel Pinball Fantasies, needless to say with the amount of time that I had put into Pinball Dreams it was almost an instant purchase for me as soon as I could afford it. It was not just pinball games on the Amiga that I enjoyed, in 1993 one of my friends owned a Sega Megadrive and we clubbed together to buy the crossover game Sonic Spinball. There was something very oddly playable about Sonic Spinball. They had added a mechanic where you could actually control Sonic in mid-flight which allowed you to get a greater amount control over the game.

It took Digital Illusions two more years to come out with a new pinball related game and it was to be the final one that they would release named Pinball Illusions. Again I must have put hours into this game challenging my friends’ scores by uploading them to a bulletin board. My obsession with the digital version of pinball did not stop there because in 1996 a new batch of developers took up the mantle by the name of Liquid Dezign as they produced Slam Tilt. As far as I am aware this was the only game that they ever made.

Today

Finding a good digital pinball game today is a tricky thing to do. If you have a powerful enough Apple-based mobile device then you might want to check out the work of Cowboy Radio Apps who has remade both Pinball Dreams and Pinball Fantasies in normal and HD. I have no idea how accurate or good these are but if I had an Apple-based phone they would be on my list of things to try. However, if you have some version of Windows or an XBox then I can highly recommend Pinball FX 2 and now the more recent Pinball FX 3. Let’s put it this way, I think I have Pinball FX 2 for both PC and XBox, that’s how much I liked it.

There are several reasons as to why I like the game. The newest version is available for free via Steam and you get a single table to try out, the game itself is graphically pretty, it plays smoothly even on low-end machines and the ball has that weighted feeling that allows you to do trick shots once you get used to the mechanics. As a bonus, if you already own tables for Pinball FX 2 then you can use them in the third version at no extra cost. As a slight criticism, the cost of a single table can range from £1.99 to £7.99 per table so you will find it is best to buy packs of tables and/or well worth waiting for a sale to pick up your favourites.

I do have one bit of advice for you if you are planning on playing Pinball FX 3 on a Windows machine. Turn off sticky keys. The defaults for the game are the left and right shift buttons to use the flippers and it only takes Windows a few moments to offer you the option of “sticky keys” and if you don’t turn it off then it can get quite annoying. Have you played any good Digital Pinball games or are you a pinball purest sticking solely to the physical form? Get in touch with us in the usual way of dropping us some comments or via Facebook, Twitter and Reddit

Love and multi-ball jackpots to you all
– Chris


GeekOut Bristol Meet – 11th November: FANTASTIC FANTASY Gallery

Fantastic – That’s the word I’d use to describe this past GeekOut Bristol Meet. Another month has gone by and another meetup Gallery is here for you. This month however, my camera died! How inconvenient; however help was on the way in the form of Dillon Keith Diep, who came along with his trusty Canon camera! So with the criteria for a gallery sorted, we had a night filled with Fantasy and… Oh god… I made the wrong decision when I decided we needed a Fanfic writing competition.

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Bristol Comicon and Gaming Festival – Coming March 4th

Itching for something truly geeky to do this coming March? If so, you may be pleased to hear that Bristol is about to become even more geeky, so if you’re from the South-West of England, now’s the time for you to get your cosplays planned! Bristol Comicon and Gaming Festival is coming to the City Academy Sports Centre soon. But hold your horses there folks – You don’t even know anything about this event yet! Buckle up and read on:

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AmeCon 2018: Let’s Get Hyped!

Once a year, I go to meet up with Joel and a bunch of our friends at one of the large two conventions we attend annually. This year was Kitacon, where we did some relatively ambitious stuff, such as an in-convention podcast for a Top 10. Next year, we’re going to be attending AmeCon as we all managed to get ahold of tickets.

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Top 10 – Old Games Companies We Loved

GeekOut Top 10s

Ladies and gentlemen, geeks and nerds, we are gathered here in memoriam of those we have lost but not forgotten. This is a sad Top 10 to have to write, because the games companies we have assembled below have all contributed titles to history that have inspired and driven creative minds world-over to go into games design, or in some other way create incredible works. For reasons beyond their own control these companies have fallen by the wayside to create no more.

Join us, one and all, as we mourn the Top 10 games companies who are no longer with us. (more…)


YouTube Channel Update

It’s been a rather long time since we spoke about our YouTube channel, so I wanted to actually let you all know why that is and what we’re doing to make content for this in the not-too-distant future. As well as this, I’ll actually let you know why there’s been such a lack of updates on the channel. If you’ve ever watched my Stonekeep videos, or wanted to get more into the Final Fantasy IX Let’s Play I was recording, then read on!

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GeekOut Bristol Meet – September 8th: TECHY TEACHINGS Gallery

We really do love technology; that much is certain. We proved how much we love our tech, by showing off our new Raspberry Pi Arcade! However, that wasn’t all we did, as once again the geeks of Bristol gathered around for a night of fun and games; of both board and video variety. We drank together, we sang together (seriously, that happened) and overall we had a great time together. But hey, you’re here to see some pictures of the event and to learn a bit more about what happened. Along with seeing the pictures, we’ll share the competition so you can have a go if you’d like to!

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Top 10 – Righteous Heroes

GeekOut Top 10s

The Righteous Hero is someone who has a rather strong sense of justice; to the point where you question how they can be so… Well… Righteous! They’re often overbearing, self-promoters who talk a big game. Worse still, typically these do-gooders know how to back themselves up.

But hey, you’re here to see who our favourite Righteous Heroes are – So buckle up, this is our latest Top 10!

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GeekOut Bristol Meet – September 8th: TECHY TEACHINGS

18+ Event

Oh robot, just because you’re made of nuts and bolts, doesn’t mean we don’t love you. Just because our computers and our smart phones are made up of chips, doesn’t mean we don’t want them in our lives. Just because TV is attached to our walls, doesn’t mean they’re not a part of our lives.

Whether or not you’re a big tech fan, we’re back for another great GeekOut Bristol Meet. So come along, share your passion for technology (and all of your geeky interests) and show us what it means to be the ultimate tech-head!

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FOODIE PRE-MEET: 12:00-13:45 (Wagamama’s Cabot Circus)
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That’s right, we at GeekOut South-West believe in having a good nomming session before we start the night off of fun, games, drinks and great company!

We’ll be meeting at middat at Wagamama’s in Cabot Circus after another winning outting for that venue; so if you’re around on Friday before the starting point, you know where to find us! We’ll be meeting up inside at midday, but if you’re coming along, we’ll be meeting outside of the venue for up to 15 minutes in advance.

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MAIN EVENT: 14:00-Midnight (Old Market Tavern)
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We’re getting technical, as we celebrate all that is tech. So whether you’ve debated about the best Operating System; if you’re a Raspberry Pi lover; if you love LEDs; if you love to play with electronics of all kinds, then this is the meet for you.

However, just because we’re getting techy doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate going low-tech! We still love a good board game, we still love to read books and comics, we still adore our cosplayers. So, whatever your fandom, come join us for a night of fun and games!

PLEASE NOTE:
Food & drink can NOT be brought in with you to the Old Market Tavern. If you are caught with food and drink not bought at the premises, you will be asked to leave until you’ve disposed of your food or drink.

There will be a food menu at Old Market Tavern in the evening! The food is very cheap and it’s absolutely delicious! Trust me, I’ve eaten there enough times… But regulars of the event are also fans of the food! The food is homely and freshly made as well, so it’s simply scrummy! Food is usually available from 5pm.

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BOARD GAMES (& a dash of video games)
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Board games swamped our meets.

As always, we’ll have a large selection of board games available, so please do check out what we have:

  • Bears vs Babies
  • Bucket of Doom
  • Cards Against Humanity (UK Edition + Expansions 1, 2 and 3)
  • Cash n Guns
  • Chess
  • Code of Nine
  • Fluxx
  • Goat Lords
  • Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit
  • Jungle Speed
  • Love Letter
  • Pokemon Monopoly
  • Rogues to Riches
  • Scrabble
  • Star Trek Settlers of Catan
  • Star Wars Guess Who
  • Three Wishes
  • Unusual Suspects
  • Zombie Munchkin
  • Zombies!

AND MANY MORE!

We won’t be bringing every game listed above with us: If there’s a specific game you want to see, please let me know in the comments below.

Also, bring along your devices – Quiplash, Quiplash 2 and Drawful 2 are played throughout the day. These are games where you connect with your smartphones or tablets (Or anything that can connect to a browser really). We also sometimes play other games, such as Worms and people with 3DSes can pick up StreetPasses and of course play games with other 3DS players.

Our new game for the month is Unusual Suspects; a game where you try to make heads or tails of what a witness says about some suspects. We’ll be doing a full review of this game next week.

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BOOK & COMIC SWAP
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One of our most unique features is our Book & Comic Swap, a collection of books and comics are strewn across our table in the conservatory available for people to take a book, or to leave a book for others. These are books that have been donated, or are from my old repository. Pick up or borrow a book and get reading!

PLEASE NOTE: Books you saw last month might not be present this month, unless you have a specific request for books. A new request system will be put in place, in case you want a book to be present to take home or just to browse whilst at the GeekOut Bristol Meetup.

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COSPLAYERS (Group Cosplay Picture: 6pm)
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If you’re a techy cosplayer and want to show your chance to enjoy your favourite tech-based character, or if you just want to come along in your favourite costume, then come along!

For anyone in costume, we’ll start to host a specific time for a group photo opportunity; So if you are with us by 6pm, you’ll be able to show your costume off with everyone via a group cosplay snap!

*CHANGING FACILITIES* If you want to change into a costume when here, please note there are no changing facilities. There are just standard toilet cubicles – Which are fine to change in, but you might want to consider this first.

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SOCIALISING
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We’re one of the geekiest events in the South-West. We get people together to play board games and video games, share a pint and discuss what they enjoy in geekdom. Books, comics, music – Anything that you’re passionate about, you’ll be sure to meet fellow geeks who are into the same thing as you!

We do not discriminate – But if you ever find you have a problem with anything at the event, just let the host (Timlah) know and he’ll sort it out!

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COMPETITION: Times TBC (To Be Confirmed)
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Everyone loves a good competition and this month will be no different.

This month, we’re going to be talking about tech in an educational way. In other words, the competition needs to be techy to some capacity – So the competition is going to be a question sheet (or two) which will be handed out. Attendees will get just one hour to complete the whole sheet, starting at 8pm, then finishing at 9pm. All entries after the 9pm limit will not be counted. Answers will then be checked over and we’ll share the results with everyone!

Consider yourself a techy? This might be the one for you! This sheet covers everything from electronics and circuits, programming, gadget news and much more!

Oh yeah, I guess you’d like to know about this months prizes? That’s a reasonable request! Here they are:

1st Prize: Physical Prize To Be Confirmed, £25 cash, 3 Steam games from our list and a GeekOut Poster of your choice.
2nd Prize: Physical Prize To Be Confirmed, £15 cash, 2 Steam games from our list and a GeekOut Poster of your choice.
3rd Prize: Physical Prize To Be Confirmed, £10 cash, 1 Steam game from our list and a GeekOut Poster of your choice.

Note: Occasionally, there may be even more on the day!

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There is so much to do and see at this months GeekOut Bristol Meet, so please do come along, bring a friend or a member of your family and come for a geeky night out.

As part of our commitment to being a great night out, we do not discriminate based upon age, gender, race, religion or sexuality. If at any point you feel you need to speak to someone about another’s actions, please grab the host (Timlah) and we’ll sort it out!


Top 10 Shocking Deaths

When you’re engrossed in a work of fiction, nothing is certain. From what direction the antagonists are going to take the story, to the sudden, tragic loss of a major character that you’re deeply invested in. Many of us have watched series, played games, or read books where a character is taken away from us just far too soon. We’re here to share with all of you our Top 10 Shocking Deaths in all forms of media.

GeekOut Top 10s (more…)