My Link to the Past: Pandemonium!

Pandemonium

This month, it’s about how one game eased the transition from the platformers of the 16bit era into a 3D world with the original Playstation.

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U D L R + A + Start.

levelselect

If you remember that code, you’ll certainly remember others you’ve used before.

Cheats have existed as long as the games industry has, but in a time of monetisation and DLC, they’ve become less about fun and more about profit. Continue reading

My Link to the Past: Demo Discs.

demodisc

A little different this month, as it’s all about the demo discs from magazines. Magazines in recent years have seen a downturn due to the rise of tablets, iPads especially. There are two magazines that I always used to look out for, which are still in circulation today. GamesMaster and Official Playstation Magazine (OPM). Without them, I would have no idea about the new games and sequels being released for the coming months. There wasn’t a PC with internet in the household until the turn of the century, and so these were what I solely depended on.

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Facebook No More.

venom

We, are, Venom.

If the story of Venom is unfamiliar, or you haven’t seen the third Spider-Man film released in 2007, then I’ll guide you.

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My Link to the Past: Tekken 3

tekken3box

I remember it being hyped for most of 1998. As I had the subscription to ‘GamesMaster’ magazine during this time, they would give guides to the arcade version, while eventually previewing the Playstation port, of which would eventually release in September of that year.

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My Link to the Past: Tekken 2.

tekken2boxart

The first of a two-parter, where two games of the Tekken series will be talked of in detail this month.

It began in July of 1997, where a Playstation arrived into the household. With every box included a demo disk. Back in the days of the Internet slowly taking off, the idea of a console being connected to a worldwide network at all times seemed implausible.

You’d have a selection of playable demos or a running video, and in order to fit all of these on one 800MB disc, some features would have to have been cut.

This is when one of these playable demos was a 3D fighter called ‘Tekken 2′.

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The Future of iTunes.

We have to make sure at Apple that we stay true, to focus, to laser focus. We can only do great things a few times. Only on a few products.’ – Tim Cook.

Ever since it’s introduction in 2002, its seen redesigns, introductions of podcasts and the App Store, and the iCloud service of ‘iTunes Match’.

But it’s become incredibly bloated. So much so, the iTunes name makes little sense for the app now.

Back in 2003, iTunes for Windows was made available, giving Apple the bigger market for its iPod and iTunes Music Store, which made it the most successful service for music. But in recent times, with the rise of streaming services and its lack of iTunes Radio in other markets, such as the UK, it’s seen to be lacking profusely.

But needing to have it ported to another OS such as Linux to help it succeed is a ridiculous concept now.

The devices are iTunes now, not the apps. It’s more of a service.

But iTunes Match needs work. Badly. I’ve subscribed simply because there’s not enough storage on my iPhone to have all my music on at once.

I’ve been visiting friends and family back in Lincoln for the past week, and while ripping a CD, having it available to all my devices is no less than total fustration.

Having to wait a whole day for it to simply show on my iPhone is ridiculous after adding it to iCloud on my Air, and there’s nothing more I can do than just closing the Music.app and hoping for the best.

Even though iOS 5 introduced ‘PC-Free’, having it all still stored in iTunes when syncing is a pain. There’s still complaints read of someone’s content being wiped when syncing it to iTunes after a long period of time.

If the App Store was separate to how the Mac variation is, that would be a great help. Or even if it was a web service, and you could install an app from there instead, similar to how Google and Windows Phone operates.

Spotify is a music service and nothing else. It’s focused on bringing the best experience to the customer in a streaming format, which means that it can be rolled out to many different devices, and not tied down to just one. It’s redesign of their apps have made it incredibly elegant on an iPhone/iPod Touch, with the iPad revamp screaming to be updated soon.

If the services were split, similar to how iOS does with ‘Podcasts’ and Videos, it would be a greater help.

This could be expanded as a ‘Control Panel’ to how it is on Windows, and it will still be easier to manage, as the Cloud would alleviate the confusion.

But then, a mere day into writing this, the news suddenly appeared with Apple in serious negotiations with Beats Music for a $3.5 Billion takeover.

It’s an interesting concept, and their biggest acquisition made since they bought NeXT for $400 million way back in 1997.

They wouldn’t gain many subscriptions compared to how many customers are on iTunes accounts, but the design of their app and the availability on more than one OS would be appealing.

There’s been so many opinions of this in under 12 hours, and a deal is rumoured to be announced in the next few days, but Apple won’t have just decided to buy them on a whim. Serious research into the benefits and risks would have been taken into consideration.

Hell, even Jimmy Lovine, the CEO of Beats, said he created the company inspired from Apple and iTunes, so for him to be an ‘adviser’ makes sense, and it could give iTunes the best shot in the arm its needed.

Go back to simplicity, make it about the music, nothing else.

Everything else will follow suit.

 

 

My Link to the Past: Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin

 

spideybox

Note: Originally published in Platform Magazine here.

This month, the sequel to the reboot of the Spider-Man series was released, introducing new fans to the character and his many enemies once more. But it also made me think back to when I first came across the series, back when a film of Spider-Man seemed almost impossible.

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Oculus bought by Facebook for $2 Billion.

Last night, news came through that Facebook bought Oculus, famed for the ‘Oculus Rift’, for $2 Billion.

Breaking that figure down, it would consist of $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook stock.

Mark Zuckerburg announced the news on his Facebook profile, and in a blog post. His reasons for purchasing the company were:

“Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow,” said Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.”

Oculus will not be moving to Facebook’s campus in California, rather they will stay where they have been since the beginning, and use the funding to set out prototypes and mass improvements to the final consumer model of the ‘Oculus Rift’ which could be released next year.

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My Link to the Past: Super Mario Land 2

mariolandbox

When growing up, I wasn’t just set to one brand and their allegiance. As I’ve said in previous ‘Past’s, I’ve had a Game Boy and a Mega Drive, so at a young age I was shown nearly aspects of what games from Nintendo and Sega were being released.

With Mario, some in my time discovered him through the Nintendo 64 with Super Mario 64, whereas some discovered him through Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo.

Having a Game Boy, I was introduced to it by Super Mario Land 2, a fully featured Mario game for the handheld space.

I received the game when the Game Boy arrived in the Christmas of 1995, where I was introduced to Mario and the power ups that he is known for.

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