Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Memorable Adverts / Flyers #3

Cybernoid by Raffaele Cecco / Hewson Consultants (1987) - Various Formats

If you were the owner of an 8-bit home computer here in the UK during the mid-80's, particularly a Spectrum, it can't have been long before you played one of Raffaele Cecco's games. He didn't develop many but the ones he did bestow upon us were warmly received, at least partially on account of the splendid colourful graphics he squeezed out of the humble Speccy. One of the most celebrated of his games was Cybernoid, a flick-screen shooter which featured swarms of irritating aliens as well as plenty of obstacles to test your timing as well as your trigger finger.

Why is it memorable?
Like most of the best adverts of the day it was hand-drawn. Sadly I don't know the name of the talented artist in question but it was certainly an eye-catching piece of work, arguably even more so the game itself or the many glowing reviews it received in magazines of the day (a whopping 96% in Crash!). As with many other adverts around that time (such as Driller which I looked at previously), it's drawn in a wonderful 70's sci-fi style and shows a cool-looking red spacecraft zooming over an alien installation of some kind towards the 'camera', an explosion behind it obscuring the starry background. Even the 'futuristic' font was cool. It made you want to get stuck in straight away which is exactly what it any good advert should do.

Friday, 22 September 2017

First Look TV Show #1

The Orville (2017)

I don't normally do these posts for TV shows but the arrival of a new sci-fi show is always something to herald as far as I'm concerned and I've had my eye on this one for a while. Like most sci-fi fans, I had some minor reservations but it was looking good from its trailers so I was cautiously optimistic. For those who don't already know, it's the brainchild of Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy amongst many other notable achievements. He's renowned as a bit of a sci-fi geek so the passion will undoubtedly be there, but he has also cast himself in the lead role of Ed Mercer, the new captain of the Planetary Union's mid-level exploratory vessel, the U.S.S. Orville. There has been a question mark over his live-action acting ability for a while, never mind his leading man potential, so I was curious to see how he did, and how appealing the show is generally as well.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Speccy Homebrew Games #2

Circuitry (2017)
By: John Blythe / Rucksack Games Genre: Platform Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: ZX Spectrum First Day Score: 368k

Splendid loading screens always make a game better...
When I first started this feature a few months back I thought I was pretty lucky to find a single-screen platformer to start it off - they are one of my favourite types of game after all - so imagine how happy I was to find another such example just recently! This one was made by John Blythe, a.k.a. Rucksack Games, using Jonathan Cauldwell's Arcade Game Designer and casts you as Nan'O'Bot, a tiny robotic AI which you must use to infiltrate the mainframe of Revanox, the R&D branch of military contractor SecuriCorp, and save as much of their data as possible from a rogue AI activated by a heinous hacker before Revanox cut their losses and pull the plug. This is done by hopping around twenty appropriately-themed single screen stages, each of which features two 'data packets' which come in the form of floppy discs (both 3.25" and 5.25" varieties) or cassettes. Hopefully these are just symbolic though - I'd hate to think of an R&D dept using such outdated storage media nowadays!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Film Review #101

Colossal (2016)
Director: Nacho Vigalondo Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens, Austin Stowell, Tim Blake Nelson

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 110 Minutes

Tagline: "All she could do was save the world"

While amazingly popular in Japan since the fifties, giant monster films have never really seemed to catch on around the rest of the world for some reason. Indeed, the genre is even known by its Japanese name - kaiju - but that doesn't mean us Westerners don't get the odd example here and there. The latest one is Colossal, an original effort from acclaimed Spanish director/writer Nacho Vigalondo and stars Anna Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis as Gloria and Oscar respectively, childhood best friends who are suddenly reunited when the former moves back to her home town after being booted out by her latest boyfriend Tim (Stevens) for being an alcoholic waster. Oscar now runs his dad's old bar and invites Gloria to work for him, and after closing time the two stay up drinking with his buddies until morning, with Gloria usually engaging in some sort of drunken tomfoolery that she later regrets, if she even remembers it at all.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

First Look Xbox #1

Mojo! by FarSight Studios / Crave Entertainment (2003) - Xbox

Since I've been collecting for the original Xbox, a lot of the games I've encountered have been ones already familiar to me - I'm sure you all know the big hitters as well as I do - but it's finding the more obscure titles like Mojo! that I've enjoyed the most. It cost me a mere £1.50 so it was undoubtedly a bargain and I was really looking forward to giving it a try. It's a platform/action/puzzle game which places you in command of a ball of some sort, much like the splendid Kula World. The objective here, however, is a bit more destructive than it was in the PS1 classic, but also somewhat simpler - just destroy all the colourful cube blocks on each stage by rolling into them. You have to change the colour of your ball to match the blocks you want to destroy using special 'infuser' transformation things but there isn't a great deal more to it really. Sounds like it could be a lot of fun!

Friday, 1 September 2017

Awesome Nature #20

Type: Marsupial Lives In: South-West Australia Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Most of Australia's creatures have become famous over the years due to how unusual they are, but the Quokka is apparently different. Hardly anyone has even heard of it for some reason, even though it's just as worthy of attention as any of the rest. They kind of look like a cross between a wallaby and a wombat, with large hind legs/feet to hop around on and also a short, broad head, but being around the size of a domestic cat, they are more agile than both creatures and can even climb trees. Perhaps their obscurity is more down to how few of them there are. Destruction of their habitat as well as introduced species such as foxes and dogs has seen their population drop to around the 15,000 mark, all of which are found only in the extreme south-west of the Australian mainland as well as on a few small islands. Their plight doesn't seem to bother them too much though - just look how happy they seem!

Why It Is Awesome: It's always happy!