Happy Birthday Sega Saturn

8 July 1995 saw the Saturn launch in PAL territories, including the UK. Happy birthday to one of my favourite consoles. The Saturn though for me was a little like John Carpenter’s The Thing, unappreciated at the time but in hindsight great. It launched ahead of the Playstation but a price that’s the equivalent of over £700 in today’s money. Eat that Xbox One X!

I’m now on my second Saturn and don’t have my original any more- I gave it to a charity youth club in the late 90’s. Altruistic but a mistake and I remedied it by buying a white Japanese Saturn a few years later.

Time has been kind to the Saturn. Kinder in a sense than it has been to the Playstation because the Saturn had pretty awesome 2D chops and the games that reflected it, while the Playstation was all about the fancy 3D and transparency effects. I had a Playstation some months before a Saturn and was able to trade a stack of already second hand PS games to get a second hand Saturn in early 1996. I wasn’t about to pay the £399 launch price!  Continue reading

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My letter, was only the start of it…

Fortunately, given that he turned out to be the paedophile from hell, I never wrote in to Jim’ll Fix It for him to make my dreams come true. It’s probably for the best really. I did think it was funny when it was announced BBC Television Centre was going to be converted into luxury flats:

Model of how the flats will look

Especially considering the starting price was £700,000. I could imagine the estate agent showing some young couple who nobody could rightly work out had that sort of money round while saying something like, “Right where your kitchen table is, Jimmy nonced a 13 year old back in 1978.”


Anyway, if you’ve read any or much of this blog, you will probably get the idea that I do a lot of writing. A conservative estimate across all the blogs I write puts me at over three quarters of a million words thus far, and if I factor in my still unfinished book (21 years in the writing so far), it’s creeping ever higher. Continue reading

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Dungeon Master on the Atari ST

Dungeon_Master_Box_ArtThis is the one. This is probably my favourite game of all time ever. There are other games I’ve spent longer playing- Championship Manager being the one that springs immediately to mind- but I don’t think there is a game that either holds such a place in my affections or had as profound an affect on me as FTL’s Dungeon Master. Heck, even though it ran fine on my 520STFM, those poor buggers with Amigas had to wait ages and then they needed a meg of RAM to even play it! Continue reading

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The world of magazines

There are still a few video game magazines that shift some issues in print, Edge and Retrogamer are the two that immediately spring to mind to me, but by and large it’s now mostly online sites. It makes sense of course, the immediacy of publication of news, and the ability to put streaming video in, have all contributed to the demise of the magazine. Comment sections and forums have too, although whether this is a good thing or not depends on your point of view. Personally I think the comment section of the vast majority of gaming sites are toxic hazards that should be avoided at all costs but that’s another story. Continue reading

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Gauntlet on the Atari ST

Gauntlet Atari STRed Elf shot the food! And a huge punch up ensued between my younger brother and me. It was 1987, I was 12, he was ten, and he wasn’t happy as that proclamation had been preceded by Blue Warrior needs food…badly!*  Playing Gauntlet was fun, and it was also fun to frustrate and thwart the person you were playing with, especially if he was two years younger and had a temper like a grizzly with toothache. Continue reading

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Populous on the Atari ST

populous 11989. What a year. Batman returned to the cinema after a 33 year hiatus, considerably less camp but no less peculiar, I was 14, hormonal, covered in spots and in love. With Populous on the Atari ST as well as a girl in my class at school. I never managed to ask her out on a date but 27 years later, we’re returning to Populous to see if it’s still as much fun as I remember. Continue reading

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Moving from a C64 to an Atari ST


As I’ve said before, I was late to the Commodore 64. It’s early days were well behind it when I bought mine. This was good in some ways; there were already established budget brands that weren’t just churning out rubbish but were actually re-releasing classics of yester year at pretty great prices. It was a good way to build up a cheap library of good, if not new, games. Continue reading

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1986 and all that

From reading our game play throughs, you would be forgiven in thinking I spent every single waking hour I wasn’t at school sat in front of a computer in the 80’s.

That wasn’t really the case though, mostly because the paucity of childrens TV meant we actually had a lot of spare time. Kids telly back then ran from about 3:15 until 5:35, starting with stuff for the little kids, and ending up with something like Blue Peter or right at the end of the decade, Rolf’s Cartoon Club and then Neighbours. I was forever missing Rolf’s Cartoon Club because that was invariably when my mum used to dish up dinner and we had to sit at the dining room table and eat. The torture. Continue reading

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Delta on Commodore 64

Odelta-c64-coverur brief sojourn with the Commodore 64 comes to an end with Thalamus’ Delta. Delta was one of the handful of games that Thalamus released between 1986 and 1991. At the time I didn’t realise the controversy that their games engendered- Thalamus had been set up by the publishing house that published ZZAP64! which lead to accusations of biased reviews. All I know is Delta was probably the game that I most associate with the C64, after Wizball at any rate. Continue reading

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California Games on Commodore 64

california_gamesWe started off this week by having a look across Epyx broad span of “Games”- Winter Games, Summer Games and California Games. After some deliberation we decided on California Games because it had that cooler vibe that Sam seemed to find hilarious. I mean, half pipe alone is hilarious if you’re 8. Slightly less so if you have to load each individual event in though…

California Games is a bodacious spin on the multi sports games that were popular in the mid to late 80’s. Starting with Daley Thompson’s Decathalon on the Speccy, a game that’s focus on excessive waggle broke many a Quickshot Pro joystick, 1987’s California Games was really the pinicle of the format. It focuses around some more gnarly sports. Well, some of them are gnarly- half pipe band surfing certainly are- but others like foot bag (hacky sack) and roller-skating are a bit comedy. And in now way should you ever call the flying disc Frisbee because that’s a trademark! Continue reading

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