Review : Armageddon 2018

So, after I said I wasn’t going to Auckland Armageddon this year, I ended up going on Sunday courtesy of the wife winning some free tickets. Thanks NeonTV!

The TLDR version of this review is, I’m glad I didn’t pay.

Armageddon has lost its mojo.

I’m just going to go through a basic list of what I thought, and you may or may not agree, which is fine.

  • PBTech and Playtech were not present – these guys have been there for the last few years and always seemed to be busy, and had great deals on.
  • Toyworld not present – they always had great deals, but not a large range of items, but was always great for picking up stocking fillers etc.
  • Cosplayers seemed to be very minimal this time – last year (and before), cosplayers were out in abundance, but this year there seemed to very few present – those that were there, had some fantastic outfits.
  • The regular stalls had the same stock and same deals as previous years – come on, do something different.
  • The number of repeated stalls was amazing – must have been about half a dozen t-shirt stalls selling the same t-shirts. One candy store had multiple stalls scattered around. Or if it wasn’t the same stores, it was repeats of the exact same stock.
  • Chinese counterfeit goods stalls were present – was 2-3 I saw selling knock offs of popular boar games etc.
  • Noone “famous” present on Sunday that I’m aware of – used to find a popular author, or artist or something sitting somewhere doing free autographs, or meet and greets, but nope, nadda, zilch, nein.
  • Didn’t see any “play” areas for card games such as Magic etc – maybe I missed them.
  • Very little gaming orientated merchandise – XPDJunior struggled to find any Overwatch themed clothing.

It just wasn’t the same and I feel its lost its mojo.

I hope it was just a bad year and things pick up again next year, but wont hold my breath.

 

Slack poster I know….

Umm yes….we’ve been a tad slack on the post side of things lately.

So what we been up to ?

Well, the TOR gang got together for a small LAN a couple weeks back, had some laughs, watched the league, burnt some meat on the BBQ, played some games, including Overwatch, CoD4:MW, and because timing was right, got to try out the latest Battlefield game, BF:V.

I was actually surprised how well BF:V ran on my system – impressive game to play, even on my “new” old box. Tough game though if you’re new to the series or just out of touch with it. Could tell those who had played a lot.

64 players aside made it fun tho – would I buy it ? Not really – I’m not a massive FPS fan so would probably get dusty on my Steam/Origin shelf 😉

Looking at all my games in Steam etc, I really havent completed many of them. So Ive uninstalled a good 80% of my games, and will concentrate on just a few, and will play them to the end. I’m starting off with Final Fantasy 7 (Steam version) – absolute classic, which I owned on Playstation on release, but never actually finished it. Cloud FTW

My RetroPi unit has been on the backburner for a while, but now I have two new 32GB SD cards, I can dedicate a card to the Pi and get on with it. So plan is to have the RPi 3 setup for RetroPi, and the older RPi as an Amiga emulator. Should be fun.

And thats it for now…….ciao!

Easy as Pi Emulation

Recently I was given a Raspberry Pi, inc case, power, wifi and SD card. Plan was for my eldest daughter to play with it and see if its something that would interest her going forward…. she showed a lot of interest, more so when she found Retropie.

Since then, she started hassling me to help her get it running to play some old games….so I did.

And guess what ? It was damn easy.

Just dump the latest Retropie image on the SD card, and away you go. The only thing we had issues with, was getting through the initial controller setup. It didnt seem to like my budget USB game pad, so ended up using an Xbox One controller.

Now, since this is an original Pi, its not amazing at emulation, but runs the early arcades such as PacMan, Space invaders, Donkey Kong well, but anything else can be hit and miss. My daughter fired up Super Mario Kart (SNES) and while it did run, it wasnt great.

Copying new games was easy as copying some ROM’s into the relevant folders onto the SD card over the network.

So now, I’m hooked on this little box for emulation purposes, but looking at obtaining the latest Pi which apparently handles most stuff without a problem. Being so small, its portable, which makes it great for throwing into a bag when you go away for a weekend and the kids start going “Im bored” – find an HDMI capable display and you’re away.

Now, this does make my RetroBox project rather redundant………  I may still do it, I’ll see how the new Pi goes.

 

Check out : Retro Asylum

If you’re into retro gaming and listen to podcasts, I’m pretty sure you would have come across Retro Asylum.

It’s a great podcast with a group of guys who love their retro gear and gaming and have a great sense of humor.

I’ve been tuning into them for about 8 months now and find it fascinating listening about all the systems they’ve come across or own, a lot of gear we never saw officially in New Zealand.

They cover all aspects of retro gaming, from hardware, software, peripherals, newly developed games (inc Amstrad!) and more.

I highly recommend checking them out. You can find them on all the usual social media platforms, including Discord – but the bugger about discord is that we’re usually asleep when they all come to life 🙁

 

Review : Ready Player One

When I first saw the trailer for Ready Player One, I was like “wow, this looks cool”, being geek and game related. Steven Speilberg being involved as well, “WOW”.

So I waited… and finally it was released here in NZ last week in time for the Easter break.

Was it worth the wait ?

Not really.

The CGI, sound, acting were all great, but the story itself was quite messy I felt.

Lets start with the first part of the story, where Wade (the main character) takes part in a race to obtain the first key (of three) – this race does not exist in the book (well, I will admit I’m only about 1/3 the way through). OK, so they decided to make it a bit more exciting and understandable to today’s viewers who wouldn’t understand the “Joust” aspect that was in the book.

From there on, the story was pretty predictable.

However, to me it seemed like there were two teams working on the writing. One was keeping everything “PG” and friendly, and the other was out for some “M” action. So one character would be all happy happy joy joy, then the next scene, the character would be “murder death kill” – there was no consistency across the scenes.

I’ll finish the book as I enjoy this sort of story, but for the movie, I’ll give it 6.5/10.

Are You An “Unlimited Backup” Hoarder ?

“Unlimited” cloud based backup systems. Do you feel guilty about how much you actually use ?

Yes, they all offer “unlimited” storage for your data backups, and say its no problem etc but I personally feel kind of guilty about how much space I actually use with my backup supplier (BackBlaze) – yet, truth be told, I’m probably on the lower end of the scale in terms of data storage used with them.

The data I have selected for backup totals about 750GB, but only about 30GB of that probably changes in a week – its things like photos, documents, emails, purchased apps, along with a Veeam backup of my server C drive which really only houses one thing of concern, the email system.

Yet I find myself each week cleaning up the usual suspect folders (temp folders, downloads etc) to keep the back ups to a minimum – one bonus to doing this, is that it takes less time to do the cloud backup.

Do you use a cloud based backup solution ? Do you feel guilty how much you actually upload ? Is it all “legit” data, or are you using them as your personal “linux image collection” storage container ?

Digital cleanup

I like to keep my systems (well, primarily the home server) fairly “clean and tidy” as they can be in the digital world.

This means a regular run of CCleaner, check disk status (errors, usage etc), remove any software/files that are no longer required. And for this work, the server keeps ticking along, with very few software related issues.

This also keeps the backup’s size down to a more manageable level as well. (I use Veeam to backup the local C: disk to another physical drive, which is then uploaded to BackBlaze)

Recently I was cleaning out some folders and happened to run TreeSize Free, and to my surprise, found the following folder containing 8GB of log files.

C:\ProgramData\Intel\SUR\QUEENCREEK\inteldata

Turns out these files are generated by the Intel Software Driver package which a lot of users install to keep their system drivers etc up to date. And to be honest, I probably had it installed at some point. But I cant find it now.

However these files were dated on the day, and some I could delete because they are in use, indicating that the software is still running somewhere. (I’ll dig into this at a later date)

I just deleted the files anyway and reclaimed 8GB back, and shrunk my backups in one hit.

So, if you’re wondering why you have such a large ProgramData folder, this could be one reason why.