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Analogue Mega Sg Lets You Play SEGA Mega Drive Games in HD

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You can now play your old SEGA Mega Drive games on your HD TV lag-free! Imagine!

Analogue first came to my attention with the super sleek aluminium Nt Mini which is a luxury version of the NES Mini. Unlike the various clones of the NES Mini on the market it wasn’t an emulation. It played all your old Nintendo and original Famicom games plus various add-ons and extras where you could essentially customise the console in look and sound. With the success of the Nt Mini and Super Nt, Analogue have now set their sights on SEGA with the Mega Sg, and I for one am way too over excited!

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Due to be released in March 2019 and costing around £150, you can get your preorders in now. There is no need to drag out a heavy CRT TV to experience retro gaming, as you can now play in HD without losing out on video and audio quality. The Mega Sg which can play over 2180 classic cartridges, will make the knock off retro gaming toys out there look very silly!

I am a big SEGA Mega Drive fan. I transitioned straight from the daddy of retro game consoles, Atari, to a Sinclair ZX Spectrum to a 16-bit revolution with a Mega Drive. Yes, I had my dalliances with a Nintendo Game Boy and enduring chronic thumb fatigue playing Track & Field, but receiving a Mega Drive for Christmas with a 6 in 1 game cartridge with the likes of The Revenge of Shinobi, Columns and Golden Axe was and still is my happy place.

Here’s the science!

This bad boy is NOT an emulation machine like the other plug n play systems. This means no lag with video output and 1080p Hi Definition graphics all engineered with FPGA technology. The FPGA is a chip that simulates the original Mega Drive hardware instead of an emulation with software. The audio packs a 48KHz 16 bit stereo which essentially means the sound is upscaled to the highest digital quality. So no more complaints of distorted, variations of sounds when you’re trying to beat those “I only have one move” flying kick bitches in Streets of Rage!

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The use of such high-end tech and precision engineering allows the Mega Sg to be free from compromises allowing you to play all the games as they were intended to be played all those years ago.

“We design systems to celebrate and explore the history of video games with the respect it deserves,” – Analogue.

As well as SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis cartridges and of course the Sega Master System, you are also able to use an original Mega-CD with the Sega Sg. There is a connector concealed in the expansion door that allows you to plug in and get going!

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Analogue are all about preserving the rich gaming history of old skool video games and the consoles of our childhood, so of course they have thought about everything! And by everything, I mean, game cartridge adapters for Game Gear, Mark III, Sega MyCard, SG-1000 and the SC-3000. So, you can play even more retro games and avail of the sophistication and accuracy of FPGA.

With the Mega Sg you can use your old SEGA controllers but if you don’t have them then you will unfortunately have to purchase the control pads separately for roughly £20. But that’s not so bad as Analogue have super fancy wireless 8bitDo M30 controllers that come in black in white… and they look the business!

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I know I know, historically speaking wireless controllers used with retro gaming consoles have always been a taboo matter, mainly down to the fact of the annoying lag you can experience with gameplay, but these wireless 2.4GHz control pads (not Bluetooth) are lag-free. Of course! Even though I have original Mega Drive gamepads, I still think I will purchase these… because reasons!

If you’re a SEGA fan and you want to invest in a bit of tech that we make you cry nostalgic tears of joy… then you need to hit up Analogue post haste!  

General Spec of Mega Sg

Colours

*USA, Europe, Japan and White.

Dimensions

*138mm (L)

*168mm (W)

*47mm (H)

 What You Get in the Box

*Analogue Mega Sg

*Analogue SEGA Master System Cartridge Adapter

*USB Cable

*HDMI Cable

*USB Power Cable

 Compatibility

*Mega Drive/Genesis and Sega Master System Cartridges

* Game Gear, Mark III, Sega MyCard, SG-1000 and the SC-3000

*Mega-CD

*Region Free (PSU: 100-240v, 50-60hz)

 Audio

*48Hz 16-bit

*Digital audio via HDMI

*3.5mmm Headphone Jack

 Video

*HDMI 1080p/720p/480p

*NTSC and PAL Support

*Zero Signal Degradation, Lag Free

 Special Features

*Original styled controller ports for Mega Drive/Master System

*Original connector for Mega-CD

*SD Card Slot for Firmware Updates

 8BitDo M30 Game Controller – 2.4g Wireless Receiver

*20hr Battery Life

*Auto Sleep Mode After 15 Minutes

*Lag-Free

 

10 Fabulous Retro Prizes From Bullseye

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Game shows in the 80s and 90s played huge roles in weekend telly watching. It was a time when you only had four channels and you were probably the remote control as a parent made you get up and manually change the channels. Imagine! The classic Bullseye was a Sunday afternoon treat! A darts inspired game show with an animated mascot called Bully, that ran from 1981 to 1995. It was hosted by comedian Jim Bowen with an intro that went a little like this…

The basic object of the game was to throw a few darts to see what you could win! Ok, so there were more rules and penalties and pounds for points, BUT all in all it was about the excitement and thrill of… darts!

 See! Absolutely delighted with life!

See! Absolutely delighted with life!

But most importantly, it was about the prizes! Here are my top 10 picks of amazingly retro Bullseye game prizes!  

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INNNNNNN One – A music system with a couple of ‘gold’ pens.

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Because I’ve always thought, “do you know what would be really lovely when I’m trying to record the top ten off the radio… some pens.”

Two – A neon flashing phone.

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In fairness, we all wanted a novelty telephone at some point in our lives! If it wasn’t the ‘cool’ plastic see through phone, it most definitely was the burger phone from Home and Away!

Three – An elegant carriage clock.

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If your mum didn’t have one of these kicking around the sitting room, was she really your mum?!

Four – It’s a cuddly toy!

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I mean sure. Soft toys are nice, but I’d probably swap it for the phone.

Five – An electronic knitting machine.

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I would be 100% furious if I won this. Jim mate, you’re taking the piss.

Six – A set of encyclopaedias.

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Unless that vintage bookshelf comes with it, then I’m just not interested Jim!

Seven – A 14” TV

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Now we’re talking Bully! A telly suitable for your bedroom so you could watch Eurotrash in peace!

Eight – Wedgewood Dinner Service.

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Oh good. Another set of crockery that your mum will never let you use because they’re super fancy.

Nine – Luggage.

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Winning ugly luggage sounds as much fun as winning an STI.

Ten – A speedboat! Of course.

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I always loved the nonsensical giant leaps from winning an electronic knitting machine to a luxury, and entirely unnecessary speedboat! Like how the feck was Barry from Ipswich going to get that home on the bus Jim?!

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Why Is Retro Gaming So Popular : The Science Behind The Fun

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The average age of someone who identifies as a retro gamer is apparently 34 years old. And by ‘retro gamer’ I mean someone who likes to get overly animated when it comes to the old skool classic consoles of Atari, Sinclair Spectrum, Amiga and of course the more well-known Nintendo, SEGA and Sony PlayStation. Playing video games that date back to the 1980s and 1990s is not just an aimless meander down memory lane for those who are hiding from the 21st Century. (well… ok… sometimes this is true!) It’s more about the nostalgic feels that makes us warm and fuzzy as we indulge in our whimsical childhood memories. Memories of button bashing the hell out of Street Fighter or advancing through levels of Sonic resonates with the adult version of you.

The earliest game console came on the scene in the 1970s. It was called a Magnavox Odyssey and was the first commercial home gaming console. The monochrome screen brought the delights of the classic game Pong. In the late 70s/early 80s you had the explosion of Atari with such titles as Asteroids, Centipede, Breakout, Pitfall and the first game I ever played, Frogger. You may have also embraced the 8-bit likes of a Commodore 64, Sinclair Spectrum or Amiga. And then moving into the 1990s there was the great console wars between SEGA and Nintendo.

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As we entered the 21st century, ‘old’ gaming consoles were considered obsolete and terribly uncool with many folk opting for technological advancements with enhanced graphics, better audio, faster processors and the need for an immersive, layered story when it came to their gameplay experience.

 We’ve come a long way from the simplicity of Pong to the latest stunning visuals of Zelda!

We’ve come a long way from the simplicity of Pong to the latest stunning visuals of Zelda!

Collaborative games became ‘a thing’. Online gaming was where the party was at… And if you could play games on the move from your mobile phone, then you were winning at life. Convenience and speed were considered paramount in a world where we desperately needed to experience every-damn-thing in real time. Nobody had time for loading a game anymore or troubleshooting a heavily pixelated frozen screen by blowing into the cartridge!

The big game developers were consistently creating award winning games and even indie game studios were regularly releasing huge hits. The gaming industry was doing just fine… but as if from nowhere, people began dusting off their old childhood consoles and scouring the internet for second hand classics.

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There was a resurgence in vintage items and memorabilia, and with that forgotten names like Atari, SNES, SEGA Mega Drive and Gameboy were once again thrust into the public over 30 years later. What the hell was happening and what brought this huge wave of popularity with retro gaming??

Money

Some say that the expense of modern game consoles like Xbox, Switch and PlayStation are making the 30-something year olds revolt back to simple, cheaper forms of gaming. To be a modern gamer you have to be willing to spend your fun tokens on add-ons, expansion packs, upgrades and in-game purchases just to complete a game. Whereas old skool gamers can play a retro video game from start to finish with only being out of pocket for the price of the game itself.

Resilience

Durability is also a huge pull for vintage video game systems. You should be able to dig out a SEGA Mega Drive from hibernation in the attic with a little wipe, and then kick off a game immediately. Whereas the newer gaming consoles would probably have a system meltdown if you tried rebooting it after it was dormant for 20 years. There is a warm reassurance you get with older game consoles that is completely absent from the fancy pants machines we have now.

Superiority and Simplicity

Another argument is that the old games and consoles from the 80s and 90s are just better and gamers are simply favouring these over the modern titles. It’s not just about the technology and build of the games and the consoles, but also about the characters like Pac-Man, Link from Zelda, Sonic and Mario who all captured the imagination of an entire generation which can be lacking in contemporary games. Yeah sure the graphics are immense… but if the narrative sucks then what’s the point? Many retro gamers also champion the simplicity of gameplay from back in the day. There were no online video tutorials or walk through cheats to download. You had three lives and you kept on going no matter how hard and fast the game evolved.

All of the above are of course factors in the ever-rising reputation of retro gaming, but I think it’s the power punch of nostalgia that has made us want to rekindle the magic!

Nostalgia is understood to be a mix of bittersweet emotions both negative and positive. They are anchored to memories of meaningful events and intrinsically linked to relationships. There are also two main triggers. External triggers can be a song on the radio throwing you right back to a school disco or a smell which reminds you of Sunday lunch at your nans. Internal triggers are the emotions that are brought on by feelings of boredom and loneliness. The number one thing that nostalgia has been proven to do, is to promote well-being and mental health especially for those living with dementia.

The force of nostalgic marketing is fierce! Gaming companies jumped on the idea of bottling nostalgia and they did it well by reproducing old consoles with new tech like the SNES Mini and SEGA plug and play consoles. You could now play 16-bit classics on a modern HD television with wireless controllers if you wanted to. It was seen as the picture-perfect marriage between old and new. When Nintendo released the NES Classic in 2016, they sold out of all 2.3 million of them. This Christmas the classic Sony PlayStation mini version will be available and is already tipped to be just as popular.

We get excited about classic video games just like we do old films and music. Kids of the 80s and 90s are now reliving their youth through fairly inexpensive retro game consoles, and we are now old enough to be able to afford the art of playing! The pleasure of indulging our nostalgia has paved way for the huge hype in all things retro with no clear signs of it being ‘Game Over’ anytime soon!

 

 

Why Subscription Boxes For Geeks Are The Best

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If you’re not a retro nerd enthusiast, then this website is probably not where you want to be right now! But for those who like to swim in the sea of nostalgia and laugh out loud at childhood memories from the 80s and 90s, then please deposit your fun tokens here! There’s a rising appreciation for all things vintage that leaves a warm fuzzy feeling inside. In an age where we are drowning in new technology, social media and the digital desperation to stay “on trend” and current, there is an affectionate revolution especially amongst the 1980s kids, for analogue, youthful memories… and I fully support this! Nostalgia marketing is popping up all over the place and so it wasn’t long before the business of subscription boxes got in the mix!

How do monthly subscription boxes work?

Essentially, you’re signing up to a lucky dip box posted through your letterbox every month. Subscription boxes are an e-commerce business model that offer an ongoing regular delivery of certain items in a niche industry. Depending on what you’re into, whether it’s men’s grooming kits, anime or gluten free snacks, you can receive a bunch of goodies as a fine present to yourself or as a gift for someone else. One highly popular niche is geeks and gaming which can cover anything from board games, graphic novels and video games.

One of the most popular monthly subscription boxes that excited a lot of gamer geeks and comic fans is Loot Crate. These nice folk offer subscription boxes for pop culture collectibles, anime, WWE, gaming apparel, official Marvel stuff and even J K Rowling inspired wizardry products. All you have to do is pick your crate/box, Loot Crate then create a pick n mix bundle for you and you get a new delivery each month (or a card from the postman saying they tried to deliver even though you were home the entire time!)

Now as some people may or may not be aware of, I am a huge geek for retro t-shirts. It’s an illness that I quite enjoy… like salad cream sandwiches! There are so many amazing designs that tickles me right in the nostalgic feels that I just can’t help but purchase as many as I can. (Aaaand then weep ever so slightly at my overflowing wardrobe space!)

 I needed them all because… reasons!

I needed them all because… reasons!

Now what would be awesome is marrying the idea of original-geeky-retro-inspired t-shirts with a subscription box! Please enter… Monthly Tee Club!

These guys based in the UK offer various no contract options with the fab t-shirts they ship out each month. Simply tell them your interests, and they will work their tee magic for as long as you want to be making your mates jealous! You only pay the monthly fee and then simply crack on with being a bit of a legend!

Pros:

  • If you truly believe that the gift of tees are a burden on your life, then cancelling your subscription is always a super easy option. (The wrong option… but still!) So, you won’t be put on hold, fobbed off with radio silence, endure guilt-ridden emails or have some muppet trying to up-sell you alternatives or a timeshare in Tenerife!

(Fun story: I tried to end a phone contract once. It didn’t work. I ended up with another mobile phone and a MiniDisc player!) 

  • Referring your pals gets you a free t-shirt! We all like free stuff!

  • The box of t-shirt goodness fits through the average letterbox so you don’t have to schedule a fictitious doctor’s appointments just to stay home and await your parcel!

  • Monthly Tee Club are all bout charitee! Every month members of their Tee4aTee Project are subscribed, the team will donate a t-shirt to someone who would benefit from fresh clean clothing, something that we all take for granted. This little high five and support to those who really need it makes Monthly Tee Club a brand we all need to get behind.

 Cons:

  • If you’re away on your holidays there is no current way to pause your subscription.

  • You will have numerous envious people stopping you in Tesco asking where you got your tee from!

 

The Best Misheard Lyrics From The 80s & 90s

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There is nothing quite like maxing your speakers to your favourite old skool song (from when you were able to get up off the sofa without hurting something!) as you perfectly execute a few choice dance moves… in your kitchen… while holding a cuppa… and getting a stitch because you’re no longer 17. You then scream the lyrics as if shouting makes the hideous display of your crumbling youth any better! Kitchen dancing is one of my favourite pastimes. So is singing wildly out of tune to my Spotify playlists that are full of 90s hits from pop to RnB, 80s power ballads and that one time I experimented with Metallica and then realised I was too black for that! Some people say, “Hey Shem, what new music are you listening to?” and then I reply, “Hey friend, sorry I couldn’t hear you over Gangsta’s Paradise from 1995!”

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My other favourite pastime is misheard lyrics. There is an actual science to mishearing song lyrics and it’s called Mondegreen. There is essentially a breakdown between the sound and the part where your brain tries to interpret the sounds and give it significant meaning. If the sound is unclear, then this then opens up an ambiguous area that needs to be filled with pure guess work. With song lyrics there is usually a lot of noise to get through especially if you are listening to a tune on a radio for example because you can’t see the singer’s mouth. Throw in various different accents, stresses on words and the ‘joy’ of musicians forcing certain words to rhyme, it’s no wonder our brains get muddled and take creative liberties with lyrics!

After chatting to some friends, I pulled together the top 10 best (and funniest) misheard lyrics from the 1980s and 1990s all for your viewing pleasure!

Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit 1991

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What you hear: “Here we are now, in containers!”

The actual lyrics: “Here we are now, entertain us.”

 

Boyz II Men – I’ll Make Love To You 1994

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What you hear: “Pour the wine, like a child!”

The actual lyrics: “Pour the wine, light a fire.”

 

Corona – Try Me Out 1995

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What you hear: “Tie me up! Please baby tie me up!”

The actual lyrics: “Try me out, please baby try me out.”

 

Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer 1986

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What you hear: “It doesn’t make a difference if we’re naked or not!”

The actual lyrics: “It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not.”

 

Bryan Adams – Summer Of 69 1984

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What you hear: “I got my first real sex dream!”

The actual lyrics: “I got my first real six-string.”

 

Gala – Freed From Desire 1995

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What you hear: “My love has got no money, he’s got his trampoline!”

The actual lyrics: “My love has got no money, he’s got his strong beliefs.”

 

Will Smith – Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It 1997

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What you hear: “Kick a chicken with it!”

The actual lyrics: “Gettin’ jiggy wit it.”

 

C+C Music Factory – Gonna Make You Sweat 1990

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What you hear: “Everybody’s dead now!”

The actual lyrics: “Everybody dance now.”

 

Spice Girls – 2 Become 1 1996

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What you hear: “Wanna make love to your baby!”

The actual lyrics: “Wanna make love to ya baby.”

 

Robert Palmer – Addicted To Love 1985

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What you hear: “Might as well face it, you’re a dick with a glove!”

The actual lyrics: “Might as well face it, you’re addicted to love.”

5 Classic 80s & 90s Scary Films With Twist Endings

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It’s that time of the month where people get aggressively passionate about their favourite scary movie. Some go for the classic sweet childhood feels of Hocus Pocus, others mention how the first Scream movie formed part of their teenage years, and then you get those who take it far too seriously and tell you about some obscure Japanese film that is not only terrifying but banned in 76 countries! Either way, Halloween is upon us and with that comes spooky themed blog posts that yell, “I’M TRYING TO PARTICIPATE IN SEASONAL MERRIMENT! but I also have a hangover so please be patient with me!”

I’m personally frightened of films that are certificate 15 or above! (12A can sometimes go a little too far but I power through!) The scary movies of the 21st century thus far are usually too messed up for me because they’re the kind of stories where you genuinely think the bonkers scenario can happen to you. Yes sure, I can be dragged to hell or possessed by a demon BUT I can also have my white girlfriend’s family lull me into a false sense of security so they can try and implant their brain into my black body!

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I prefer the scary movies of the 1980s and 1990s because I can usually distract myself by focusing my energy on the holes in the far fetched storyline or the excellent 90s fashion choices of the cast.

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It’s always easier if I can somehow intellectualise the plot by saying, “that would never happen because… a) her heels are too high b) he definitely would have noticed that bloody hand print on the wall or c) black people would never go and investigate strange noises in a basement!

I’m not going to list my top 80s or 90s scary films, I am however instead going to mention 5 movies whether horror or thriller with a punchy “WTF I didn’t see that coming!” ending. **This blog post is littered with spoilers… but the fact that these films are at least 20 years old makes me think that you only brought this upon yourself as you should’ve watched them by now!**

Se7en 1999

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Plot: Starring the slightly above average in the handsome stakes Brad Pitt and the vocal god of all narrators himself Morgan Freeman, comes the story of two cops trying to bring down a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi. The movie is spiralling into an epic climax until box-gate!

Twist: A delivery van drops off a box containing Pitt’s character wife's head.

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The killer (Kevin Spacey) then confesses that he did so not just for shits and giggles but because he was envious (the sixth sin) of their family life. Now after seeing his wife’s head in a box, Pitt using his wrath (the seventh sin) shoots the psychopath dead, which is exactly how the killer orchestrated this whole messed up predicament in the first place.

Scream 1996

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Plot: A lot of attractive high schoolers (who are clearly in their 30s but are being casted as teenagers!) are picked off one by one by the serial killer Ghostface. This film directed by horror legend Wes Craven, popularised the teenage slasher movies of the late 90s and brought a sense of satire and dark comedy often taking the piss out of original horror tropes and movies like Halloween and Friday the 13th.

Twist: There is not one killer… but TWO! You assume that it’s just one mentalist but it’s in fact two friends perpetrating the same sick game.

Friday the 13th 1980

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Plot: A lad named Jason has an unfortunate accident at Camp Crystal Lake. Soon after, two counsellors are murdered so naturally the camp is closed down (because that’s just a media shit storm everyone needed to avoid)! Jason's body is never found. 22 years later, the camp reopens, only to have someone casually killing counsellors once again. Has Jason returned…?!

Twist: The killer turns out to be Jason’s mother Mrs. Voorhees… But wait, there's more! The last standing counsellor, Alice, kills Jason’s mum. Job done. Sorted! BUT as she goes for a light paddle in a canoe, Jason's now decaying body jumps out of the water and drags her under. The police eventually pull Alice out, but Jason is nowhere to be found… until the next sequel!

Sleepaway Camp 1983

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Plot: A simple film about teenagers at another summer camp (I sense a theme!) who obviously begin to mysteriously get murdered. The main protagonist is shy, introverted Angela who is bullied by basically everyone. This movie is laughable with the same quality, dialogue and direction as one of your dad’s home videos of a family holiday to Lanzarote in 1988. It is however infamous for the best/most ridiculous slasher movie twist purely for the big reveal at the end.

Twist: Angela is in fact a boy! He’s called Peter and has been brought up as his dead sister by his eccentric aunt! Totally normal. Sure. The final scene shows “Angela” stark bollock naked revealing his male genitals, whilst holding the severed head of his latest victim.

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The Sixth Sense 1999

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Plot: A child psychologist tries to help a cute young boy who thinks he sees the deceased. This movie directed by M Night Shyamalan is still renowned for being that one film which stumped a lot of viewers as the clever ending tricked us all! And of course the line “I see dead people” is instantly recognisable and has been parodied many times.

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Twist: The psychologist (Bruce Willis) is in fact… A GHOST! He just never knew he was dead. And neither did we damn it! And those who sat back with a smug look on their face and said they totally saw it coming… are liars!

Retro Gamers Buying Guide For Beginners 2018

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Whether you have a nostalgic itch to scratch or you are a serious retro gamer who laughs in the face of the mini classic consoles that have exploded in popularity over the last couple of years, there’s no getting away from the fact that retro gaming is big business right now. Personally, I fall into the retro geek camp of 30-something year olds who yearn to stop the ageing process by playing with games from my childhood… because adulting is just too hard! I’m not an expert on the technical spec of every old school video game console from 1977 and I’m not going to scoff at those who have jumped on the bandwagon of retro gaming in recent years. I own an original SEGA Mega Drive because it epitomises my childhood and I’m a sucker for nostalgic marketing! But I also have a SNES Classic Mini because my motivation behind playing video games has always been fun even if it comes in a teeny tiny all in one game console that fits perfectly in the palm of my hand! If that kinda logic offends you then…

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My point is, however you wish to get your pixelated kicks is up to you… because retro gaming snobbery doesn’t live here!

The accessibility to retro gaming has never been easier but I understand that deciding to invest in this hobby can be slightly overwhelming with so many options and opinions. Plus, there’s the eye candy distractions of gaming rooms like these, where you convince yourself that you need immediately! (You don’t. Chill out!)

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You also want affordability when settling on a particular console of yesteryear. One that will suit your budget, because we’re at the age now where we have bills to pay! So, this guide is aimed to help the novice amongst you who want to effectively figure shit out before they throw fun tokens at experiencing the classic gaming world again.

The Original Purist

If you just want to jump right in and you are an all or nothing kind of person, then getting your hands on an original game console is where you want to be. The best way to experience vintage video games is to go straight to the source of origin which means investing in the genuine game cartridges, accessories, controllers and of course the original Atari, NES, SNES, Mega Drive or perhaps Sinclair ZX Spectrum! This route is considered more for those who are into the idea of being a serious game collector and not for those who just want to dick around for a few hours playing Mario Kart for sentimental reasons.

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Obtaining a classic gaming system with all the peripherals is fairly simple especially on the interweb. The likes of eBay and Amazon are the obvious big online merchants to find second hand retro gaming goodies, but look out for sites like Gumtree, Adverts.ie or a quick Google search to find gaming specialists in your area. I prefer the face to face transaction from those who actually know what they’re talking about like the guys at The R.A.G.E in Dublin rather than rudeboy_92 from some obscure online forum who over uses emojis! You can also look into retro gaming exhibitions and events near you like Retro Games Fair or Play Expo Manchester which essentially brings together a load of gaming enthusiasts under one roof, including retailers who are showcasing a lot of retro consoles and games for you to pick up and take home. Winner!

Just be aware that if you are wanting to go all guns blazing down this route, you will have to invest a few quid financially. Original games in decent condition are considered rare and so will come with a higher price tag. You also need to consider the space and storage for your multiple consoles and a possible CRT TV.

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The majority of us have a fancy HD television sat in our living room which now come without such trivial things as an ‘archaic’ scart connector. Imagine! So, if you’re resolute about the bona fide gaming experience that comes with a retro game console, then you’re going to need the old school kit to go with it. And a HD telly is just not it! Most serious gamers who play original video games have a CRT TV like you had when you were younger. This is what the consoles were designed to be played on so if you’re wanting authenticity, then this is the best way to enjoy it. You will also not be able to use a light gun which you would use to play classics like Duck Hunt on the NES because that will not work on a modern LCD TV.

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Just be wary of trying to marry old tech with new tech, because when your AV TV scart cable for your SEGA Master System doesn’t match with your 65” Smart HD TV with laser beams and a unicorn, there will be tears!

All in One Game Consoles

The all in one retro game console has been boosted in reputation over the last few years with the big names in the gaming world bringing out their own plug and play retro consoles. Notably Nintendo with the SNES Mini Classic which had people salivating with excitement over its release and now the new PlayStation Classic which will be here in time for Christmas. They both come with around 30 memorable and popular in-built games and mimic the look and style of the original consoles and controllers but with upgraded parts made for your modern life. For example, USB ports and HDMI connections.  

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I find these little bad boys fab for the part-time retro gamers out there who are looking to relive your youth without the commitment to an original retro gaming system as mentioned above. The only drawback is that with the all in one console like the SNES Mini Classic, there are no straight forward work-arounds of playing your old game cartridges. The miniature consoles are just an attractive model version. Unless you are a bit of a tech whizz and know how to jailbreak it in order to load more games onto it, then you are stuck with the pre-installed games.

The only plug and play game consoles that are designed to accommodate your old game cartridges, seem to be the Atari Flashback with 101 games installed and the SEGA Mega Drive that has 80 games ready to go. This to me makes perfect sense and it’s a shame that Nintendo and Sony have not allowed this magical hybrid to happen.  

All in One Video Arcades

If your idea of retro gaming is heading to the arcades with a pocket full of coins and button bashing until your heart’s content, then getting yourself one of these mini arcades could suit you best. Not only can you have up to 1000 classic retro games pre-installed on one machine, but you also get to experience the look and feel of having an arcade in your home. Let’s face it, they look awesome! There are various models on the market from legitimate brands but some unfortunately are a poor man’s version. For example, there has been comments about duplicated games on the system so you’re not getting the promised number of games as advertised or there’s a lag in gameplay where a cheaper joystick has been installed. To distinguish between the good and bad, I would suggest that you read all the reviews available to you online before you tap in your card details. These types of plug n play video games are on the pricier side due to their optimised hardware, gaming catalogue, size and of course the stylised graphics.

You will also have to consider where the hell you will put this in your gaff as they’re not as portable as a mini SEGA Mega Drive with a couple of dangly controllers. A mini arcade will be more of a permanent fixture that can’t just sit on the dining table!

Emulation with RetroPie

This option is very popular amongst the hardcore gamers who like the idea of a DIY project where they have control over what games they play and on which platform. Essentially, an emulator simulates the original gaming hardware from all the great retro games consoles like Nintendo, Atari, SEGA, Commodore etc. It can play infinite amount of classic games and with the help of the RetroPie app that can be installed on a Raspberry Pi, you can have all your childhood games stuffed into one neat computer! The actual games remain untouched in quality but if your emulator doesn’t replicate a true likeness to the original game, for example if it runs at different speed or the audio is off, then that’s when it can cause issues. 

The reason why so many gamers enjoy emulators is because they get to tweak and customise the gaming system to their liking. You can add Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities and even use your controllers from Xbox or PlayStation. There are also tons of guides and helpful YouTube videos to get you setup and troubleshoot any problems you may have.

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The only real downside for using a retro gaming emulator would be the fact that you have to build it yourself. It is more powerful than an all in one game console with a few built in games but with great power, comes a lot more effort and fiddly parts! You also have to be careful about illegally downloading certain games from the big names like Nintendo. This is technically piracy and gaming companies are becoming more vigilant with stopping users downloading ROMs that they don’t own.

5 in 1 Consoles

Now in theory these appear great and convenient for those who require flexibility and are on a budget. The idea is that instead of having many retro game consoles you can just have the one universal console that can play more than one gaming platform. It’s like a Swiss Army knife of consoles! However, be careful as logic suggests that the more games you can play on one system, the more that will inevitably go wrong with it. If you have one machine that is dedicated to playing the compatible games that it’s designed for, then you’re looking at a better quality of gameplay. If you know that you will be playing specifically one retro system, then get the console which supports that. However, if you don’t want to invest in various different game consoles and you genuinely have a vast array of games for different systems, then these 5 in 1 may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Points to Remember

  • If you’re buying an all in one type plug and play game console, don’t get too carried away with the modern advancements like a wireless controller. These can cause problems with gameplay and they tend to lag. Go for connected controllers or the originals.

  • If you are wanting to go for the full retro gaming experience, then you need to consider space in your home to accommodate this hobby. A gaming room/den might be necessary with appropriate furniture and the correct storage in order to keep your consoles and games in tip top condition. Dust is the number one killer of vintage video game systems!

  • When you’re scouting for new games it’s best to go to a dedicated retro game retailer rather than a random seller on the internet. This is because you are much more likely to be purchasing the genuine article with original hardware and not a knockoff emulation.

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10 Awesomely Ridiculous 80s & 90s Fancy Dress Ideas For Kids

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Halloween is here any minute now and with that comes watching Hocus Pocus on loop whilst being wrapped under 14 blankets on the sofa. Your phone is beeping but you’re still casually ignoring your Whatsapp messages of some Keen Ken who is trying to organise a Halloween party that you have no interest in because a) that requires leaving your house! And b) fun doesn’t live here anymore!

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So, what do you do to get yourself in the mood for all things spectacularly spooky? Dress up a small person in a fancy-dress costume from your childhood of course! Why? Because you’re an adult and they have zero say in the matter. Plus, imagine all the Instagram worthy photos you can take of your little darling purely for the entertainment of you and your friends! #parentinggoals

Goonies Sloth

Hey You Guuuuuuuuys! The Goonies is a classic 80s film that only fools would find something wrong with. Persuade your child to ditch the latest superhero character that all their friends are imitating. (And if they begin to have a full-on meltdown at your dictatorship, tell them that one of their toys is possessed by the spirit of a maniacal, disfigured, Japanese, orphaned, drug addict, who will haunt them in their sleep if they don’t get their shit together!) Encourage your little ones to stand out from the crowd and be their own superhero… let them be SLOTH! Yes, he’s not as handsome as Captain America and he can’t lunge real low like The Black Widow, but Sloth CAN save a bunch of entitled kids on a pirate ship! So, your move Marvel! 

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man

The original Ghostbusters is a solid 1980s benchmark of a movie that lives in the memory of every 80s child. Especially every 80s child who was Forest Gumping their way through puberty and felt sexually intrigued by Dana/Zuul.

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The cast ensemble is superb, the concept is amazingly bizarre, and it spawned many young folks boldly declaring that they wanted to be a Ghostbuster when they grew up! However, don’t go for the obvious with this fancy dress outfit as that’s too easy. Go for the one character in the film that nearly destroyed New York City. It’s all about the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!

Mario

This little Italian plumber has been kicking around since 1981 and is one of the most recognisable faces when it comes to retro gaming and Nintendo. I know your child probably doesn’t care enough and is flipping you the finger whilst scrolling through their expensive iPad you bought to pacify them, but this fancy dress costume should win prizes! And if it doesn’t, then I think a strongly worded letter to whoever is in charge of this shit show of a fancy-dress competition should do it!

Oompa Loompa

Raise your hand if you feel personally victimised by the strangeness of the original Oompa Loompas from Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory?! (And yes, I am fully aware that this is from the 1971 film but this was a staple in my childhood so I’m ignoring it!) Now if these small strange beings still make you feel ever so nervous, then this Halloween outfit for kids will work out perfectly for your small person. I’m also fairly certain the bright orange face paints will ruin all your soft furnishings in the house… but that’s what you signed up for with this parenting gig! Destruction and mayhem.

Yoda  

I mean. Just look! This Halloween costume is perfect for babies and toddlers because they get to work the cute factor while simultaneously having no idea what the hell is going on! The words Star Wars are just incoherent sounds to an infant, but to those indoctrinated into the way of The Force, this is geek goals! If anything, this Yoda fancy dress costume is enough to make us all point, laugh and coo “that’s adoooorable!” while your small child laughs at the ceiling, cries for no reason and shits themselves.

Chucky Doll

I’m not going to lie. I’ve watched maybe 10 minutes of the film Child’s Play and decided that it was a magnificently giant NO from me because I just can’t cope! We all know the horror story of how a doll comes to life and murders people just for LOLS, so why not bring the essence of an iconic slasher movie to the youths of today!

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If dressing your child as a serial killer is not your bag, but you wish to drown them in glorious memories from your childhood, then The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a pacifists dream! Where we lack in scares, we gain in cuteness! This was a favourite book of mine when I was a kid and now as an adult I only have respect and admiration for a gluttonous caterpillar who eats its way to beauty! #FitLife #FitFam

Edward Scissorhands

This Tim Burton fantasy costume is always a fab go-to when it comes to Halloween. It’s a quintessential look that is easily identifiable, and if it’s pulled off then it’s just the right shade of scary… but in a friendly hairdresser kinda way! Although Edward Scissorhands is meant to be male, this outfit is re-imagined for a girl because sometimes us ladies want to look dark and cool. (Not covered in pink or frills or… projecting heteronormative gender roles!)

Beetlejuice

Another Tim Burton dark comedy classic that does the rounds every Halloween. Beetlejuice is a much-loved movie that scared the crap out of me as a child but also made me love it in equal measure. It’s time to make your little ones decide if the smutty, crude, poltergeist will actually scar their tiny impressionable minds, or will they embrace him and laugh out loud. Nervous laughter is also ok! Either way, this fancy dress outfit is all kinds of awesome and needs to be seen!

Toby From Labyrinth

You remind me of the babe! If your child is not even walking yet and you want to participate in the peer pressure Halloween dress up but you’re feeling incredibly lazy, then this stripy onesie is a winner! Toby is the baby from the definitive 80s film Labyrinth and he is the reason why shit gets real and people nearly die in order to save him… while he’s off having his jollies with the Goblin King David Bowie! You can dress your cute person in this red stripy number and recklessly throw him or her around the living room whilst dancing! Fun.

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Retro Game Review : 112 in 1 Sega Mega Drive Game Cartridge

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So recently I came across a product on Amazon that I rolled my eyes so hard at I’m fairly certain I sprained my cornea! It was a Sega Mega Drive game cartridge for 112 games in 1.

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The fact that it was £15 made me think that it was nonsense, or it was full of 112 obscure games with many many duplicates. As described, the game is for only genuine Mega Drive consoles and not compatible with the all in one Sega emulators that also take cartridges. So, as I have an original and I was clearly procrastinating the crap out of my day, I figured I would read on. And by read on, I mean check the reviews.

It has an overall rating of 3.5 stars out of 5 but scrolling down the product page, there is a mixed bag of 1 and 2 star reviews muddled with a handful of 5 stars. My spidey sceptical senses were tingling especially when some folk were saying “Avoid, scam!” or “If I could give this a 0 star I would.” But, my disregard to flaws and always wanting to fight for the underdog, I decided to trust the better reviews and throw money at it because it was payday and I was a little drunk! Yay drunk online purchases!

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And let’s face it, 112 Sega Mega Drive games for 15 quid does sound super attractive.

A few days later my game arrived in an Amazon cardboard envelope. There was no fancy packaging just the cartridge wrapped tightly in bubble wrap and a small plastic bag.

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I eagerly booted up my Mega Drive, inserted the game cartridge… and I honestly waited for it to either blow up, melt or just show me a black screen with ERROR stamped across it! However, once loaded I simply was greeted with the menu of a shed load of games.

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As I scrolled through, I recognised some classics from serials like Streets of Rage, Shinobi and Sonic. But as I got further on in the list I realised that I had stumbled into no man’s land of games I had never heard of. 

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I decided to ignore that for now and figured the only way to see if this was worth anything, would be to actually play it! So, I started with Streets of Rage 2 and I quickly realised from being a die-hard original Streets of Rage fan, why I never really liked this sequel. But apart from my loyalty to the original game, there was nothing abhorrently wrong with the gameplay. The soundtrack still made me feel like I was tripping out in a Japanese electronic dance club, and there appeared to be no glitches. Winner so far.

I then hit restart and played the classic Sonic the Hedgehog. I wanted to see what it was like compared to my original Sonic game in audio and picture quality. I took a couple photos and videos for comparison and then tried to detect any differences.

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I couldn’t find a difference between the original Sonic the Hedgehog and the Sonic installed on a cartridge stuffed with 112 games. Now I’m not a pro retro gamer. I have never pretended to be completely schooled in the fine art of vintage video games. I play because it’s fun and I rarely pay attention if the graphics or audio are slightly amiss from the original. As long as the gameplay is good then…  

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After my little test I scanned through the list a little more and got far too overexcited at a few Sega platform games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Captain America. However, I would need more procrastination tokens to give these games a real go.

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In conclusion…

Pros of 112 in 1 for Sega Mega Drive Game Cartridge

If you’re a casual retro gamer like myself looking to pass some hours for nostalgia’s sake, then this is a great 16-bit buy. When you think that a standalone game can be easily upwards of £20, then £15 for a fair few decent games is bargain town! It’s a fab little journey down memory lane for all you button bashers who enjoy keeping active by consuming alcoholic beverages whilst screaming at your TV screen!

Cons of 112 in 1 for Sega Mega Drive Game Cartridge

If you’re a purist retro gamer, then you probably will hate everything that this stands for! The cartridge does look like a dodgy rip off from Wembley Market circa 1995! And yes, you do get some classic games like Contra, Golden Axe and Double Dragon to dick around with… but you also get a load of games listed in no particular order (which will ruin your OCD!) that are also spelled like someone sneezed!

Overall rating: A solid 7/10

The N Word Project: Music Therapy For Dementia

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We’ve all been there. Aimlessly staring out of the window of a bus with our headphones on, watching the raindrops chase each other down the glass as we genuinely believe that we’re in a music video! And then all of a sudden, a song from our youth leaks into our consciousness and unexpectedly makes our heart thump with pleasure. The first few bars, verse or an 80s power ballad key change evokes a feeling that is impossible to replicate at will. It’s a song that punches you right in the adolescent feels and you bloody love it!

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Music has the extraordinary ability to transport us all to a place usually in our childhood or a vivid nostalgic memory. It triggers a scene in your head where you can not only see the moving pictures, but you can feel the raw emotions that particular song has sparked especially if the memory is a sad one. I can still hear Blackstreet ‘No Diggity’ blasting from the car stereo of a lad’s Ford Fiesta after I told him I fancied him when I was 16… and he responded with turning the volume up! The salty sting of humiliation is still strong 20 years later!

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The idea of a ‘memory bump’ or a ‘reminiscence bump’ is a psychological term used to determine the age at which we would have likely had an emotional connection to music. This has been identified as being between 10 – 30 years old with a higher concentration of memories in our early 20s. For example, if someone wanted to unlock my brain and pin point the type of music I instantly resonate with (that could also potentially make me fall off a treadmill at the gym in a euphoric frenzy), it would be 90s RnB with a little bit of early 2000 cheesy pop from my hazy days at university.  

This is my nan Theresa. She’s 86 years old. She wears layers on top of layers which never made sense. She always asks me if I’ve eaten. She used to make amazing curry goat with rice and peas. She repeats the same questions every few minutes. She’s hilarious. She’s still very much awesome. She has dementia.

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The last time I visited her we had great chats and laughs, and she knew exactly who I was. The next day my uncle said, “So you got to see Shem yesterday!” And she replied with a blank stare as if he was making outlandish statements. She had no recollection of me being there and it’s shit like that which hurts my heart.

My nan loves nothing more than sitting in her armchair listening to gospel or country music. That is where she’s happiest and when she’s more like the nan I knew. I once wrote in a story, “Music was a time machine. It had the power to pick me up like a claw machine at a seaside arcade and then drop me down in a memory I thought I had lost.” And I have never felt those words more than I do when I look at my nan smiling at a music DVD of Daniel O’Donnell!

By 2025, 1.1 million people are expected to be living with dementia in the UK.

The power of music therapy connecting with an individual and unlocking a part of their brain they never knew still worked, is old news. Yet, even with this knowledge only 5% of care homes offer a decent music program for dementia patients. There are however some care homes leading the way with music programmes that are created by dementia charity Playlist For Life. And those nursing homes advocating and implementing these musical activities have recorded big reductions in patients using anti-psychotic meds to control their dementia with as much as a 60% decrease.  

Playlist For Life is an awesome resource that not only allows you to create a musical playlist for people living with dementia, but they have tools and training to help carers integrate music into an individual’s life. They have also recently collaborated with the BBC to bring Music Memories which is a website designed for those with dementia to re-establish a link to memories. It’s essentially a database of 1800 songs from the last 100 years including TV theme tunes. After selecting a genre and decade, you are given a list of songs to play. You can then share your playlist (with a few personal background details) to help others discover music that may help someone else. 

A video went viral in 2014 from the documentary Alive Inside that featured an old dude called Henry with Alzheimer’s whose face exploded with animation after listening to his iPod. That clip not only made me ugly cry, but it also proved exactly how the force of music drags out the person who we think maybe lost, when in fact they’re just taking a little nap until their jam comes on!  

If you know anyone who is living with dementia and you’re finding it hard to verbally communicate with them, then throw on a CD you think they would love or create a bespoke playlist just for them… and let the music form a conversation.

 

10 Things You May Not Know About Back to the Future I & II

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If you’re a big retro movie geek who finds delight in watching classic 80s films over and over until your eyes bleed with satisfaction, THEN the Back to the Future trilogy should be in your arsenal. Fact. I’m still waiting for Santa/The Tooth Fairy to hook me up with a hoverboard from Back to the Future II. And these ‘hoverboards’ you can buy which look like I probably would end up in hospital, do not count!

But I digress.

My favourites from the BTTF trilogy are the first and second instalment. I mean, the third movie is grand… but lets say that I can have it on in the background on a casual Sunday afternoon… while I refresh my Instagram feed for a distraction! Everything about Back to the Future part I and II from the concept, the futuristic gadgets, special FX and the awkward incestuous moments you pretend never happened, makes it one of the best film franchises… ever!

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This quintessential Sci-Fi heavyweight was never meant to go past the original first film in 1985. But Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg and Bob Gale basically smashed it and the rest is history! 

I have watched the films so many times that I would genuinely ruin the experience for anyone else who wanted to watch it with me. Why? Because I’m that kind of tosser who can’t help but recite/yell back at the TV certain iconic lines from the movies.

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You may already know the plot (which stays pretty consistent in theme throughout all three movies!) but for those who don’t, it goes a little something like this:

Teenage boy has a close friendship with an old mad scientist (that nobody seems to question!) who builds a time machine from a car. Teenage boy with the help of his scientist pal, dick around with his past and future with almost catastrophic consequences. Hilarity ensues.

However, what some of you may not know about Back to the Future I and II is thus:

One - The script was rejected over 40 times with Disney not being a fan of the incest storyline in reference to Marty’s 18-year-old mum kissing him when he travels back to 1955. Listen Disney, I’m fairly certain nobody in their sane mind is an advocate of incest BUT it’s funny you said this seeing as you were down with Star Wars who is all about sibling love! #justsaying

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Two - Eric Stoltz was set to play the lead Marty McFly in Back to the Future and filmed a fair few scenes. But he was considered too serious of an actor for a role that required more of an upbeat comedy vibe. It cost the film $4 million. Gutted! Also, Ralph Macchio from The Karate Kid turned down the role and I’m glad he did!

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 It’s a no from me!

It’s a no from me!

Three - Crispin Glover who played George McFly did not appear in any of the sequels. Another actor with prosthetic makeup was used which turned out to be a bad move for Universal Pictures, as it ended with Glover suing because he wasn’t being paid for any old footage with him in. This case led to The Screens Actors Guild introducing a new rule about the illicit use of actors.

 It’s uncanny!

It’s uncanny!

Four - An uncredited Mark Campbell sang Johnny B Goode in the first two BTTF films. I know right… it wasn’t Michael J Fox! But he did take guitar lessons, so he wouldn’t look like a complete novice.

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Five - The judge who says Marty’s band The Pinheads is “too darn loud” is Huey Lewis from Huey Lewis and The News, whose song Power of Love is featured in the film.

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Six - In Back to the Future II when Marty is looking in the shop window that sells 80s items, there’s a Who Framed Roger Rabbit stuffed toy which is a nod to Robert Zemeckis other awesome film he directed.

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Seven - Elijah Wood of Frodo Baggins Lord of the Rings fame, made his onscreen debut as one of the kids playing the arcade in Café 80s in Back to the Future II.

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Eight - The time machine for Back to the Future was originally imagined to be a fridge rather than the much cooler Delorean car. Am I the only person who would love to see a film about a time machine fridge?? Make it happen!

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Nine - The head of Universal Pictures suggested the movie title to be changed to Spaceman From Pluto. Steven Spielberg however soon put him in his place by thanking him for his ‘joke’ memo.

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Ten - Back to the Future II was the first film that managed the big fancy pants special effect of VistaGlide. Say what?! This basically means that we see the same actor interacting with themselves in the same scene. Ooohhhhh!

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Top 5 Inappropriate Cartoons of the 80s & 90s

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I think it’s safe to say that parental guidance and political correctness was not really something anyone paid attention to in the 1980s or 1990s. I’m gonna put it out there that in fact… nobody actually gave a shit and I can’t decide if that was a good thing or a bad thing! The logic was generally thus: if you’re hurt or offended or both… SUCK. IT. UP! (Followed by a barrage of abuse like “stop being a pussy!”) I grew up watching a lot of martial arts and action films on VHS that were full of violence, nudity and the F-bomb being dropped throughout the dialogue. Some of these movies were amazing but seriously full on. I remember watching Blood Sport starring Jean Claude Van Damme and witnessing the character Chong Li casually snapping a dude’s neck.

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Despite the uncensored “stop crying… what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” attitude we all had to popular culture in the 80s and 90s, the media we consumed was apparently deemed not quite full on enough… because some smart ass figured, “Do you know what would be an awesome idea… to take ultra-violent, twisted franchises and create kid friendly cartoons!” Genius.

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Rambo: The Force of Freedom 1986

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He’s an ex-soldier with violent tendencies who fought in Vietnam… aaaand has a touch of PTSD after watching all his pals being horrifically tortured and killed. Throw in some giant guns and what could possibly go wrong here?! So the next logical step for a certificate 18 film was children television because ya know… kids love nightmares!

Police Academy 1988

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This film franchise was a classic example of “Please for the love of god stop making sequels!” especially once we got to around Police Academy 17! However, the first movie is definitely a laugh out loud iconic movie, full of inappropriate jokes, smutty behaviour and some fruity language. So sure, making a cartoon from this slapstick-nervous laughter-formula of outrageousness simply screams all kinds of child friendly yes. Clearly.

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Conan the Adventurer 1992

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I know what is totally suitable for kids… a cartoon based on a movie where we see decapitations and a crazy sex scene with Arnold Schwarzenegger and a witch! But lo and behold, Conan was made into a caricature of kiddie friendliness… and we all just got on board because nonsensical development of a mental film into cartoony fun… is a thing!

Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm 1996

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When this video game was released in 1993 on the SNES and SEGA Mega Drive, there was panic on the streets! And by panic on the streets, I mean our parents were all of a sudden concerned for our wellbeing and young impressionable minds. (Where was this outrage and distress when I was allowed to stay up watching intense brutal Kung-Fu movies…on a school night?!) Mortal Kombat is renowned for its ultra-violence of bones crunching, neck snapping, internal organs ripping carry on. The film itself also depicted scenes of impaling’s and general ridiculous fatalities. So naturally what would come next is the animation series… because associations to death and gore is a lesson all children need to know immediately! 

Beetlejuice 1989

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This cult classic film is still so bloody good! It’s mainly the dark humour and glorious special effects that pushes my buttons. However, Beetlejuice is not exactly the greatest role model for young kids. Yet they made this Tim Burton film with layers of wild supernatural fantasy and horror into an animated series. I mean, Beetlejuice is a crude, pervy, poltergeist… so fair play lads for actually getting away with this!

Top Maintenance And Storage Tips For Retro Gaming Consoles

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Do you remember receiving your first gaming console as a kid in the 80s or 90s with the jubilation, high pitched screaming and undiluted hysteria as if it was a big fat Christmas miracle??

 Quick mum help I'm having an overexcited stroke!

Quick mum help I'm having an overexcited stroke!

Did you then think long and hard about where exactly you were going to safely store it to basically end up having a setup similar to this…

 Why... because fuck you that's why!!

Why... because fuck you that's why!!

As a grown up and a lover of retro game consoles/refusing to move on from my childhood, I too showed little respect to my Sega Mega Drive that is currently squashed between a Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, SNES mini, Virgin Media TV box and some stray DVD's that I can't be arsed to put back in their case… And now when I want to play, my precious Mega Drive will decide if it will work or not and I am pretty sure my negligence has contributed to it being temperamental as feck! So, I’ve decided to take it down to the guys at The Rage in Dublin who will have a look and try to fix it, but I also need to have a long hard look in the mirror and think about how to store and maintain my retro game consoles if I want to continue playing them until I'm at least 85 years old.

Location Location Location

Any high-powered gaming system needs ventilation. So shoving it on an enclosed TV stand or cabinet screams all kinds of no. The heat from the consoles need to go somewhere so let it out damn it! You also want to eliminate as much dust as possible getting into the game consoles and dark corners are dust mite friends, so avoid. There are a few entertainment centres and TV stands ideal for gaming consoles but of course it depends on your budget and where in your home it is intended for. I mean sure, a stand which is practical with ventilation is great, but you also would want it to look good too. Here are a few of my top picks.

Budget - Basic Chrome 3 Shelf Unit £29.99

Mid Range - 4 Cube Shelving Unit £37.50

Ok lemme throw some more cash at this - Wood TV Stand 2 Shelf Storage Unit £45.99

Pricey enough - Glass 4 Shelf Unit £84.06

Console Maintenance

The easiest and laziest form of cleaning a gaming console is to simply blow the dust away from the system. Yeah… stop doing that! All you’re doing is moving the pesky dirt sprites from one surface to another. So, yes you may think that you’re clearing away the dust from your SNES, but you’ve probably just blown all the shit from the vents onto another electrical device! Use a vacuum cleaner. Presto! Pull the dirt out and away every 6 months. This may seem tedious and annoying, but in the long run it will certainly help.

You can also find a local retro gaming specialist near you who should be able to run a diagnostic check on your system to see that it is operating as it should. Retro gaming consoles today are considered a rare vintage item and so we should treat them with care like an archaeological find fit for the Antiques Roadshow. Because remember, when they're really broken, you can't just pick out a new one in the Argos catalogue and hope Santa will hook you up!

Here’s a few takeaway tips you should always adhere to if you essentially don’t want to fuck up a good thing!

* Do not stack game consoles on top of each other. The heat emitted is zero fun and can cause the gaming systems to have a meltdown.

* Use storage shelves and entertainment units for your game consoles that have open backs. This helps the air circulate so the system doesn’t overheat.

* Dust and electronics do not mix. Keep your retro gaming console clean with a vacuum cleaner.

* Retro gaming consoles are notorious for those long ass controller leads that drape across the floor. When you’re not playing, pack these away carefully. As watching someone catch their foot on the lead and drag your entire console down to the ground in slow motion… is truly heart breaking!  

 

 

13 Of The Best Classic Board Games

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There’s nothing like a little ‘friendly’ competitiveness when it comes to board games! I have many 'fond' memories of caravan holidays, pretending to be the Waltons family… huddled around a poxy folding table and knocking out a game of Connect 4! I mean, what else are you to do when it’s the Great British summer and it’s pissing rain?! Board games were a staple in my childhood throughout the 80s and 90s. And even now there's a resurgence! People have jumped on the nostalgia of playing classic board games with iconic TV shows or films we all loved from yesteryear.

 Oooohhh sparkly retro-tastic memories!  Check them out here! 

Oooohhh sparkly retro-tastic memories! Check them out here! 

Now throw a little alcohol in the mix and you’ve got yourself a perfect night in! With a little throwback to those ‘fun’ times when tables were overturned in game rage, dead legs and Chinese burns were inflicted by older siblings just because you were winning… I've compiled a list of the top 13 classic board games that are timeless. Unlike me, myself and copious amounts of grey hairs!

Scrabble

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The word game that will usually make you look like a fecking illiterate idiot if you’re not careful! You lost me at double and triple scores because I generally couldn’t care for your nonsensical words. I acknowledge your supreme status as a classic board game, but that doesn’t mean that I have to like you!

Yahtzee

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I once attempted to play this game with a friend in a Norwegian café. Cool story bro! We didn’t know the rules so kind of guessed them. And then half way through the game we found another dice in the box that I’m fairly sure we needed at the beginning! I spent most of the time randomly shouting “YAHTZEE!” because it made me feel like I was somewhat invested in our made-up game!

Connect 4

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This game is either really quick and fun or long and really boring. There is no in between! If you’re playing someone who is quite good at it, then the game will go on forever until you run out of counters, you’re hungry and have forgotten why you decided that it was a good idea to play in the first place! However, if you’re playing your 4-year-old nephew who just likes the colour red with zero concept of the game, then it’s always amusing beating a small child at a game!

Trivial Pursuit

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This game is just a quiz and the board and pieces are just a wild ruse to make you feel like it’s entertaining. It’s not. This game always seemed like homework which was never any fun. “What bird is named after the Ugandan word for photosynthesis??” Ugh! Stop trying to make my brain learn new things!

Draughts/Checkers

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Whichever variation you played of the games they both can be described as ‘definitely not chess.’ This traditional board game felt like chess for dummies, so naturally I quite enjoyed it! It made me feel sophisticated when the rules of chess flew right over my head.

Chess

This board game has to be mentioned despite the fact I never played it growing up because my brain melted when a friend tried to explain the rules to me. Of course, there has to be a reason this classic strategy board game has been kicking around for thousands of years, and still attracts lots of fans. I suppose.

Guess Who

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Now you’re talking! This game provided hours of entertainment. Does she have ginger hair? Does he wear glasses? Does he look like that creepy politician who probably belongs on the sex offender register?? The variations to deduce your opponent’s person were simply endless!

Operation

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This was another game that appealed to me. Picking out fiddly body parts from a naked dude with a bulbous red nose was super fun! The only problem was that the small fiddly parts meant that they always went missing so the game was never complete, and you had to substitute the funny bone with a bit of blu-tack!

Cluedo

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When you grew up with the Spy File and Sunday afternoons watching Murder, She Wrote and Columbo, Cluedo was always a must-have board game. The rules were very simple: find out who dunnit… the murder weapon used and in which room. I always felt like a smug Poirot bastard announcing, “It was Miss Scarlet, with the lead pipe in the study!”

 I loved it. You loved it. We all loved it! 

I loved it. You loved it. We all loved it! 

Ghost Castle

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This board game classic was always on my Christmas wish list to Santa, but I never got it! I did however spend a lot of time playing it at my friend’s house and soon realised that I was more excited about the cool model setup of a haunted castle rather than playing the actual game!

Mouse Trap

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If you have an interactive game with moveable parts, then every kid is going to love it regardless of the rules! Mouse Trap was a cult classic in the board game world. It was bright and fun and looked like something Kevin in Home Alone would setup to piss off some burglars!

Screwball Scramble

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The ultimate obstacle course that required skill rather than strategy. I loved this game! Granted, once you had figured out how to get the chrome ball through the course, the gameplay went dramatically downhill… BUT it was an awesome immersive game that deserves a nod in the memorable board game genre!

Monopoly

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The 83-year-old board game that continues to have a bad reputation for tearing families apart! It is also known as a game that never actually ends. Nobody needs to be aggressively negotiating a hotel on the Old Kent Road for 4 hours of their life! Again, this iconic game was one I played with friends where we blatantly made up the rules because none of us had any idea about buying and trading property. And any 8-year-old who claims to know about resource management is a liar!

5 Retro Bikes From Your Childhood

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Going for bike rides as a kid was one of my fondest memories. Grabbing my red BMX from the shed with my older brother and leaving for the morning to go on epic cycling adventures around our estate, made the summer holidays for me. Zigzagging through alleyways, mounting cracked pavements and dodging broken glass/dog shit simply upped the level of dangerous fun! (I mean, if you didn’t ride through, step in or fall into dog crap as a kid, did you really have a childhood?!) I remember watching BMX Bandits with Nicole Kidman's giant hair and trying to emulate being a crime fighting BMX pro racer… and failing miserably! Thinking back to the retro bicycles that made my childhood, here are my top 5 picks!

Raleigh Chopper

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Now this bike was a little before my time manufactured in the 70s, however I cannot disregard the seminal status of it. I remember a friend of my older brother had one of these and to me being a small child who clearly knew nothing, thought that it looked so hideously uncool.

 Me as an adult realising I have blasphemed against the Chopper gods... and being beaten accordingly!

Me as an adult realising I have blasphemed against the Chopper gods... and being beaten accordingly!

All I know is that going on bike rides with my brother and his mate always slowed us down because the big clunky thing was rubbish at getting up and down curbs!

Raleigh Burner

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This supreme bike was first launched in 1982. It was iconic in the BMX craze of the 80s where everyone had some sort of variation of this model, and if you didn’t… then you only wished you did! It didn’t matter if you couldn’t ‘do tricks’ because fashioning a plank of wood over a few stacked bricks... and then trying to ride over this without it breaking was BASICALLY the same as doing bunny hop 360!

Raleigh Street Wolf

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This little BMX was on another level of futuristic amazingness and I would 100% still ride this bike now! Released in 1987 this was a coveted possession of many children and created a shit load of jealousy amongst those (like me) who never had the pleasure of owning one. The main pull of this bike was the electronic sound box device attached to the handlebars, which obviously was used when trying to roleplay your favourite shady-government-undercover cop show.

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Racing Bikes

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This was a bicycle that was specifically designed for competitive road racing and was huge in the 80s and early 90s. However, there was approximately zero people I knew growing up who owned a racer to compete in anything! The thin wheels used to always boggle my brain and for some reason flipping and reversing the handlebars was deemed ‘cool’.

 But why though?!

But why though?!

For me and my pals it was just another bicycle trend that we salivated over in the Argos catalogue hoping our parents would have a word with Santa!

Mountain Bike

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This bike was designed for off-road action and traversing difficult terrain. Yet I rode mine to the corner shop and back and for a 'Cycling Awareness' at school! In the 1990s owning a mountain bike was just standard protocol. Racers were out, and mountain bikes were in! They usually came with a ‘jazzy’ frame design (splashed with an impressive name like Apollo) and you pimped it out with clashing neon toe clips, a water bottle holder and handlebar extensions that were all entirely unnecessary!

 Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading!

The N Word Project : Nostalgia Marketing

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The wave of nostalgia in the form of tech is at its highest. Big brands and bloggers like myself are tapping into the sentimentality of childhood memories. The difference with me versus some of the big businesses is that a) I only share things I believe are genuinely cool and think my audience will like and b) I'm Forest Gumping my way through with no real plan! Here is a visual representation:

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Remember those wistful hours spent playing your favourite video game? Well advertising companies are essentially punching us millennials in the feels, so we empty our wallets... and it's working! With releases of classic game consoles like the SNES Mini and other retro gaming emulators that offer you a gazillion video games, the strong stench of a yesteryear is here, and the world of advertising is cashing in. Yes fine friends, nostalgia marketing is a thing!

Companies for a long time now have recognised the value of nostalgia in the media and getting us hooked!

 Well... obviously! A fine example of nostalgia being awesome and super popular!

Well... obviously! A fine example of nostalgia being awesome and super popular!

With technology especially gaming, the brains behind a marketing campaign figures that if they can evoke the playful feelings of you button bashing Track & Field on the Game Boy, then they will use this to make you throw money at whatever they are selling. Is it a trap? Yes. Is it clever? Yes. Are you still going to buy an Atari handheld gaming console? Shut up and take my money!

The trickery brands use to gain the interest of the consumer is simply to form an emotional connection to whatever they are selling. If the brand can resonate with positive memories, then the battle to sell us stuff we never thought we needed is already half won. Basically, the better we feel when using a product coupled with shouts of “Oh my god I remember that!” the more likely we are to add it to our basket when shopping online. #drunkonlinepurchases. The thing is… even though I know it’s all marketing wizardry set out to piss off my bank balance… I’m still probably definitely gonna buy into it because I lack self control!

Conjuring emotions for an inanimate object is a very powerful marketing tool. We know that buying a retro games console will give us an immediate fuzzy glow of satisfaction as soon as we slam Super Mario Kart into a SNES! It's these warm comforting emotions that encourages us to spend all the money on things we never need but simply want… because reasons! 

Studies on nostalgia tells us that it has the power to combat loneliness, anxiety and even boredom. As well as making us feel lightheaded and physically warm, nostalgia can make us more understanding, tolerant and generous to strangers. Old happy memories have also been noted to aid us in difficult transitional moments of our lives and help us feel more resilient in stressful situations. In short... nostalgia is a kick ass, potent, psychological phenomenon which makes selling us retro inspired shit so damn easy! The concept is so very easy, but super powerful!

  I HAVE THE POWEEEEEEEERRRRR!

I HAVE THE POWEEEEEEEERRRRR!

Nostalgic strategies employed by advertisers help mask over the complexities of our current life with a giant, rose tinted, blast from the past plaster. In a world where instant gratification is deemed the holy grail of adult life, the N Word plays magnificently into that concept.

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So, continuing with the second round of The N Word Project is Naoise O’Hare from Retro Gamer Ireland who basically is a retro gaming extraordinaire from Dublin. I stumbled across his blog and got insanely jealous at his Instagram account that showcases all his retro video game consoles and games. Go check him out post haste and follow him all the way to the Shangri-La of retro gaming wonderment!

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Have you always been into retro gaming or did you pick this up later on in life?

I started out playing the Nes, then Snes and so on. Over the years I went along with the times and played modern gaming and left the oldschool stuff in the past. It wasn't until about 5 years ago that my girlfriend surprised me with the gift of a Super Nintendo that my love of retro games was sparked.

What made you want to start your website Retro Gamer Ireland?

I was having a lot of fun  using Instagram as a micro blog but wanted to share more in depth thoughts on retro gaming. I tried YouTube but it wasn't for me so I tried writing blogs and loved it so started the website.

What do you think it is about old skool games and consoles that makes it still so popular?

One word... Nostalgia.

What was your first gaming console?

The Nes and a copy of the Duck Hunt/Super Mario Bros cart. It's still one of my favourite consoles today.

What was your favourite video game?

The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I have so many fond memories playing it as a kid, and still love it to this day. It's a game that I will keep going back to for the rest of my days. 
 

What retro game throws you right back into being a kid again? (Mine is Streets of Rage on the Mega Drive!)

So many games take me back to the good old days, anything that I played as a kid will get the nostalgia flowing. One game that takes me all the way back is Super Mario Bros, one or my earliest memories is playing this game with my older brother Aodhan.

For me nostalgia and childhood memories make me feel like I’m hugging a hot water bottle or placing a warm towel over my eyes. What kind of emotions or imagery evokes nostalgia for you?

Any video game that I can remember playing as a kid will always fill me with nostalgia. Then certain tv shows and movies like the first 2 seasons of Pokémon and Power Rangers The Movie.

Do you think retro gaming will ever become uncool and die out as new technology booms (and the machines take over – Terminator style?!)

Haha, machines are already taking over! It wouldn't bother me if retro gaming became uncool because I'd be able to get retro games for cheap again if they did :D

If you had a time machine/Delorean, which age would you go back to and live for a week and why?

Probably the Christmas of 1997 which would make me 10. This is when my brother and I got the Nintendo 64 and it was one of my favourite Christmas holidays of all.

Do you think that it is unhealthy to still live in the past, using retro inspired toys, music and pop culture as a form of escapism?

Not at all. I'm definitely a creature of habit and I love playing the same old games over and over. I don't live completely in the past though as it's a hobby that I do in my spare time. For the most part I live very much in the present time and I'm not constantly trying to relive the past.

Does nostalgia and reminiscing about the good old days prevent us from moving forward and grabbing new adventures and opportunities?

I can't speak for others but it has never prevented me from moving forward and taking part in new adventures. Blogging about retro games has opened up so many new doors for me that I would never have been able to get to had I not been reminiscing of times long past. 
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5 Of The Best Gaming Chairs Every Retro Gamer Needs

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I bought Road Rash II for the Sega Mega Drive the other day, and as I got overly excited and placed my buttocks on the dining room chair (because the controller lead wouldn't stretch to the sofa and I haven’t sat crossed legged on the floor since a school assembly circa 1994) I realised that my poor attempt of a gaming chair sucked. A lot. After approximately 20 minutes of using a stolen chain as a weapon on a police officer (in the game. Obviously!) my ass went numb. I recognised then that I owed my retro gaming antics more. I owed my consoles and games the respect they deserve with my undivided attention… and that means to be sat on a chair that doesn’t ruin my butt cheeks in mere moments!

I was thinking of a gimmicky chair that said "Hey everyone! I'm fun, retro AND hilarious!"

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But the harsh right angles on this would certainly not make hours of shouting at Sonic the Hedgehog to go fuck himself whenever I died, any fun on my aging body.

So alas I poked around on the interweb and found the best gaming chairs that my money could buy! And also, a super outrageous shout of a gaming chair that would require me to sell a kidney on eBay to even afford a deposit. Here’s what I found… the jury is still out!

DX Racer 1 £201.22 

This German best seller was one name that kept popping up when I was researching, with many folks saying how super duper fly it is. Or words to that effect! From the outlook the design appears to be very similar to many brands who have the sports racing car feel, and some may argue it's just an expensive replica. But there’s a lot more going on than a glorified office chair which seems to warrant its price tag.

-    Fully adjustable backrest
-    2-dimensional armrest
-    Gas lift can hold the weight of approx. 100kg
-    Lumbar cushion
-    Adjustable headrest
-    Tilt mechanism angling to 170 degrees
-    Assembly approx. 5 minutes

Big Joe Dorm Chair £159.72

If you’re looking for a seat that you can set up camp in and refuse to move… then this ridiculously comfy beanbag chair is your winner! Yes, I know it’s essentially a beanbag but it won’t sink to the floor if you try to stretch out and reach for your snacks! And it has pockets damn it!

-    SmartMax Fabric (Stain resistant, water resistant)
-    Built in handles so you can transport it wherever you like. 
-    Built in pockets so your alcohol/smartphone are always nearby.
-    Double stitched fabric with safety lock zippers.
-    Filled with UlitmaX Beans which adjust to your body. Also refillable.

X Rocker Pro 4.1 £229.99

If you’re looking for that slick techno friendly vibe in your games room, then I’m fairly certain that this padded faux leather gaming chair would work a treat! I almost expect Dr Claw from Inspector Gadget to be sat in a chair like this waving his metal fist in the air!

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The main pull for this brand is the mounted audio system within the chair and the fact that it can be connected wirelessly to various devices. The X Rocker comes in different models like the Infiniti 4.1 PlayStation which is great for all the hardcore PlayStation gamers, but for retro gamers like myself, who will be button bashing on a Mega Drive or Mini SNES, you can skip that fancy pants version!

-    Audio system with subwoofer mounted in the backrest and headrest.
-    Wireless capabilities connecting to any audio device or game console. (Optical, USB or 3.5mm connections)
-    Bluetooth connectivity for smartphones and tablets.
-    Tri-Motor vibration that allows for a fully immersive gameplay.

Drian Workstation Game Chair £6039

This is the king of drunk online purchases that screams Flight of the Navigator, so naturally I want it! If you plan on never leaving the fictitious bubble of gaming and assimilating into the real world, then this bad boy would do it! There is a lead time of 4 weeks after buying this with fun tokens you either stole from a pensioner or by selling your soul to Satan, which makes sense as it’s a beast! You may not be able to afford to feed your family after purchasing this, but who needs family?! Because with an eye watering, extravagant highly unnecessary gaming chair… you will already be winning at life!

-    Posture adjustment switches.
-    Angle adjustment switches up to 140 degrees.
-    3 level seat warmer and cooler.
-    Lumbar support.
-    Adjustable headrest.
-    LED lighting.
-    Premium leather seat.
-    Integrated keyboard tray.
-    Mountable monitor brackets with up to 3 monitors.
-    Frickin’ laser beams! (I made that up)

IntimaTe WM Heart £64.99

Sometimes we need to just strip it back to the basics and keep things simple and real. This budget gaming chair is the cheapest of a great bunch but just because the price tag doesn’t aggressively shout “bankruptcy” in your face, it still offers the main positives you would need. I mean sure, does it look like a generic padded office chair… yes! But the ergonomic design makes sitting for hours and screaming at your TV a complete dream for your neck… your back! (insert rude hip hop song here!)

-    Ergonomically designed with high density foam like a racing car seat.
-    Load capacity up to 120kg.
-    Tilt function.
-    360 swivel castors.
-    Upright lock function.

 

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The Best Retro T-Shirts for Millennials

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So, I have a problem. A problem that I am in no way, shape or form willing to rectify. I’m that idiot/nerd/self-proclaimed retro ninja who wears 'ironic' old skool t-shirts with my favourite nostalgic memories stretched across the front. It started off with one harmless Goonies t-shirt from the amazing website TruffleShuffle.com when I was 22, and then the obsession spiralled well into my 30s. 

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While my friends were getting married and making babies… I was (and still am!) dealing with adulting by refusing to move on from my formative childhood years! Some may say it’s a sickness… but maybe they’re just jealous… right?!  

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Whether it’s 90s pop culture references, retro gaming, 80s movies or a homage to Button Moon, I need it in my wardrobe. If you happen to be a millennial coined by the media as those born between 1981 and 1996, then you too might fancy wearing awesome retro tees that makes people point and laugh/high five you in public. If so, then you absolutely need to check out these top 10 nostalgic t-shirts post haste!

Back to the Future – Flux Capacitor 

The Back to the Future trilogy is arguably one of the most iconic and most recognisable point of references when talking about classic 80s films. The first and second instalment also happens to be one of my absolute fave movies. The third film I tend to watch more as background noise because Michael J Fox’s Irish accent is offensive! 

Bill and Ted – Wyld Stallyns  

Another classic movie starring the ageless vampiric Keanu Reeves. Their bodacious band the Wyld Stallyns will be making a comeback and so this retro t-shirt will be ahead of its time when Bill and Ted 3 hits our screens! (Please don’t feck it up… please don’t feck it up!) 

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If series linking every episode of Murder, She Wrote is wrong… then honey I don’t wanna be right! This sleuthing-writer-genius-extraordinaire and all round busybody got me through many “I don’t want to write my dissertation” days at university. You know when Jessica Fletcher is in town, some murdering shit is about to go down! 

You Can Call Me Al  

The Paul Simon song that makes everyone lose their shit in an inebriated jubilation at a wedding! It’s also very entertaining when you actually have a friend called Al and you drag him into a dance circle pointing and laughing at him as if he has never ever experienced this before! Hilarity ensues for you and your friends… but not for your mate Al. Poor Al. 

Brucey Bonus – Bruce Forsyth 

The late great legend himself who seemed to have stayed the exact same age from my childhood of Bedknobs and Broomsticks right up until his last toe tapping moments on Strictly Come Dancing. Powder pink is also apparently the colour of millennials, so this t-shirt is the perfect combo! 

Teletext 

Remember checking football scores, the top 10 music charts, booking last minute cheap holidays and of course Bamboozle! Now trying to explain Teletext to anyone born past the year of 1995 is like trying to explain quantum physics to an infant. “But why did you not just use the internet…” **ROLLS EYES SO HARD I SPRAIN MY CORNEA**

Art Attack 

Getting home from school and watching Neil Buchanan create an absolute masterpiece from a few toilet rolls, kitchen foil and a scuba diving kit casually lying around! Art Attack made me beg my parents for PVA glue and poster paints that subsequently destroyed the kitchen table all in the name of art! 

Fun House 

Another after school classic that filled me with intense jealousy at the kids who got to drive those go-karts! It was like a giant soft play arena with a little Gladiator-esque assault course thrown in for good measure! With Pat Sharp’s mullet, the delightful twins and semi competitive/aggressive gameplay… there was nothing but love for Fun House!

Street Fighter II  

Street Fighter is the ultimate button basher retro video game! Remember that one time when you didn’t have a clue how you just pulled off a Ryu special move triple combo (just made that up!) but acted like you totally knew what you were doing? Yep. This game also evokes the demonic spirit of game rage when you’re getting your ass handed to you by Chun-Li’s shitty little kicks! So sure, why not get the t-shirt and remember the good times!

Trap Door 

Don’t you open that… TRAP DOOR! Not going to lie, the intro to this classic 1980s animation actually still scares me a little! The theme song is instantly recognisable as is the lead character Berk (“Allo!”) which should make your childhood come flooding back to you! And if it doesn’t… did you even have a childhood?! 

10 Retro Air Jordan Trainers From 1985 - 1995 You Can Buy Right Now

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Before you had your Kobe Bryant or LeBron James you had Michael Jordan. If you have to think of an iconic basketball player of not just the 20th century but of all time, you have Michael Jordan.

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He was not just a game changer within the sport, but he was a brand. I remember buying a red Chicago Bulls basketball to just carry around the playground at school, bounce occasionally... and then stop because I didn't want to scuff it! Every kid back in the late 80s and 90s wanted a pair of Air Jordan kicks regardless if you had ever seen a basketball game! Nike Air Jordan trainers were a fashion statement and owning a pair today is still considered cool as hell!

You can still buy a pair if you are willing to throw a fair few folded notes at the expense! Here are some top picks of classic Nike Air Jordan trainers from 85 – 95 that you can add to your shoe collection right now!

Nike Air Jordan I 1984/85

Designed by Peter C Moore these trainers were banned by the NBA because they didn't have enough white on them! (A rule later which was later repealed)

Nike Air Jordan II 1987

Designed again by Moore and Bruce Kilgore and running on from the success of Air Jordan I, these trainers were made in Italy. It was the first Air Jordan's without the Nike swoosh, and also included a Nike air bubble for more comfort.

Nike Air Jordan III 1988

Designed by Tinker Hatfield and the shoe that made Michael Jordan change his mind from leaving Nike. It featured the visible air bubble in the heel and the new Jumpman logo. Jordan wore these at many events including the 1988 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

Nike Air Jordan IV 1989

The first Air Jordan shoes released globally and designed by Tinker Hatfield. The ads featured Spike Lee and also got screen time in the director's film Do The Right Thing. The Spiz'ike IV were created to show love for the friendship between Michael Jordan and Spike Lee.

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A new look by designer Hatfield but with some unmistaken elements from Air Jordan IV. Apparently inspiration for the design came from World War II fighter planes. Other features included reflective tongue and translucent rubber soles.

Nike Air Jordan VI 1991

This new design by Tinker Hatfield featured reinforcement around the toe and a much needed heel tab on the back of the trainer which Jordan insisted on to protect his Achilles tendon. The Air Jordan VI were featured in the film White Men Can't Jump and The Chicago Bulls won the 1991 NBA final against LA Lakers with Jordan wearing these!

Nike Air Jordan VII 1992

With the huarache technology that helped shoes adjust to the individual's foot, this design by Hatfield got rid of the air sole, translucent soles and Nike Air logo. The ad campaign featured Bugs Bunny (and later inspired the 'classic' Space Jam movie!)

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This particular design was known as the Punisher. There was a lot more detail with the Jumpman, crossover straps, ankle support, enhanced traction and a full length air sole. It was brought out for the 1992 - 1993 NBA season.

Nike Air Jordan IX 1994

This new Air Jordan trainer was the first design released after Michael Jordan retired. These kicks were sparked from baseball cleats that Jordan wore when he played minor league baseball. These shoes are also the ones that were chosen for the statue of Michael Jordan outside the United Center in Chicago.

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Released in eight different colours and included a lightweight Phylon midsole with Jordan's accomplishments on the outsole. The original had black lacing and tongue with red inner lining and inserts.

SNES Classic Mini versus Raspberry Pi with RetroPie

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Over the last couple of years there has been a revival when it comes to retro gaming, 80s and 90s video games and especially retro game consoles with built in games. Last year I was gifted the SNES Classic Mini and even though I was never really into Super Nintendo as a kid (I loved my Mega Drive too much!) I was delighted at playing some classic old skool video games like Street Fighter 2 and of course Mario Kart! Even though I own the SNES mini and I have an original Sega Mega Drive, I wanted to know if there was a gaming system that encompasses all the retro games my hearts so desires from not just one, but various video game consoles.

I did entertain the idea of bagging one of these Pandora’s Box which not only looked epic with the feel and touch of playing retro arcade games, but it was reasonably priced and it could sit pretty anywhere on a surface without taking up too much space in my compact flat.  

Then my imagination spiralled a little and decided that I had all the fun tokens (I don't!) and I should just go big or go home with a table top video arcade machine I had played one similar at the 8-Bit Gaming Conference in Dublin last year, and I may have got over excited screaming at the inanimate object!

But then I decided to calm myself down and think about something different that could satisfy my unhealthy obsession with wanting to play retro games all the live long day! That is when I came across the DIY starter kit for Raspberry Pi with RetroPie. It’s essentially a tiny computer where you build and install yourself that can run a shit tonne of games from so many consoles that you can find in a museum! The price was also cheaper than buying just one retro gaming console, so it seemed like a no brainer! However, before I embark on this little project of actually building my own retro gaming system, I decided to see if it was worth it by comparing it to my SNES plug and play gaming console. With a little research and asking all the questions, here's what I found!

Why the SNES Classic Mini is awesome!

If you’re all about the simple life, the SNES is the way to go. You can literally play this out of the box with no need for stress. It also has that authentic feel you will only get from a genuine Nintendo product and your nostalgia levels will go through the roof!

Why the SNES Classic Mini is a bit of a nightmare!

Yes, you can plug and play straight from the box, but you are rather restricted to what you actually have to play. Unless you know how to modify your console which can be tricky or daunting for a novice, then you are stuck with the 21 pre-installed games. There’s also no game slot like the original SNES or like the Sega Mega Drive all in one console that allows you to use original game cartridges.

Price: £69.00
Number of games: 21
Connections: HDMI, Micro-USB (Power Supply)
Includes: 2 controllers, HDMI cable
Processor: Quadcore ARM Cortex A7
GPU: Mali - 400 MP
Memory: 256 MB DDR3
Storage: 512 MB

Why Raspberry Pi with RetroPie is awesome!

The obvious reason why Raspberry Pi is great for retro gaming nerds is the fact that you can play an infinite amount of classic games from Nintendo64, PlayStation, SEGA, Gameboy, Atari to name a few. By downloading RetroPie you can add all your fave retro games and thousands more. It’s a lot more powerful than your pre-built gaming consoles and can be tweaked and customised to your exact liking. You also can configure and use your controllers from say your Xbox or PlayStation, so purchasing the ‘retro styled’ gamepads are not necessary. The Raspberry Pi also has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity which makes all round usability with different tech (keyboard, controllers etc) a lot easier. It may seem like a daunting DIY project to build your gaming emulator, but it’s quite straight forward with many guides online to help troubleshoot and run you through the basics.

Why Raspberry Pi with RetroPie is a bit of a nightmare!

You will have to spend at least an hour out of your day with the initial setup. It is a project fine friends and not a pre-built gaming console like the SNES Classic Mini, so there’s no getting around that. Sorry not sorry! Also, you will have to pirate certain ROMs for SNES games which is simple enough, but as you don’t own them from Nintendo, you will be illegally downloading.

Price for the starter kit: £64.99
Number of games: Infinite
Processor: Quadcore ARM Cortex A7
GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV
Memory: 1 GB DDR3
Storage: Micro-SD
Connections: HDMI, 4x USB, Ethernet

In conclusion…

The SNES Classic Mini is faster (with very little lag in gameplay) and simpler. It looks all shiny, authentic and retro from the get go. It’s also 100% legal with Nintendo’s blessing! On the other hand, RetroPie is more powerful, flexible and heaps more customisable.

If you want to get a quick fix of a nostalgic high, then the SNES Classic Mini is your best option. However, if you take off your rose-tinted-retro-specs and see past the need to have a replica of an old gaming system, then with a little patience and configuration the Raspberry Pi with RetroPie allows you to re-discover all the classic games from your childhood from so many fab old skool consoles at your fingertips.

I think I’m going to give RetroPie a go and see if I have the will power to build a piece of tech without losing my shit/starting a fight with a screwdriver! I'll let you know how I get on!