oOo Ascension – Nintendo Switch game review

Starting life as a Ludum Dare competition entry back in April 2017, oOo Ascension (otherwise known as ‘Triple O’) is a game tailormade for speedrunners and other people who want to spend all their time getting good at a particular game. I actually got the review code for the Nintendo Switch version from Kenny at Extra Mile Studios back in February 2020, so apologies for the absolutely massive delay in reviewing this game. I’m usually quick off the mark at releasing videos, and I always try to follow up on a review code, especially when i’m the one who requests it.

One of the main reasons why I requested a review code for this game is because i’m a huge fan of both bright neon visuals and a thumping electronic soundtrack and, happily, I can say that this game does deliver those things. I think the music is a tad generic and not as heavy or frantic as it could have been, but its still some good background noise to listen to as you play, especially with some headphones on. The gameplay is pretty hectic, especially on some of the more obstiable-filled levels, and I just don’t think the music reflects that as much as it could.

With 90 levels split into 9 sectors, there’s plenty of challenges on offer. Whilst each level is confined to a small spherical play area, the abundance of obstacles like spinning blades, moving platforms or just the walls themselves all contribute to the task of getting the ship from point A to point B all that much harder. Sure, that might seem like a pretty easy task, but when trying to get through things that can potentially one hit kill in the shortest amount of time possible, things can get hard (and pretty frustrating) real fast.

oOo Ascension follows that tried and true style of the quick restart. Yes, the player might die 100’s if not 1000’s of times as they play through the game, but there’s hardly any delay to get back into the action. A split second after dying, a new ship is ready to go. This let me quickly and easily experiment with ways to get through the levels, something I feel is extremely important in these types of games. If I wasn’t happy with my current run, I could also restart it at the press of a button. The challenge and frustration surrounding this game isn’t from waiting an ice-age or two for each additional chance to run through the course again. It’s from that old-school style of having extremely punishing level design, that could theoretically be navigated in a few seconds or so, if only the player was skilled enough to get through them efficiently.

The ship that has to be navigated around the levels handles great. It’s swift and responsive and its speed can be increased and decreased with the press of a button to wind between objects. As there are no obstacles to get around by jumping like in a 2d platformer, this variation of speed really helps to bring some variety to how the ship can be controlled.

Outside of the bog-standard single-player mode, there’s also a local co-op mode playable with or against another player. There’s even ghosts of previous attempts by the player for each level, which is a nice visual reference when trying to shave extra seconds off.

Whilst there is an abundance of levels as previously mentioned, it’s definitely not a game I can play for hours on end. It’s not that the game is boring, I just don’t tend to gel with games where you have to do things over and over again, with sometimes very little progress made. I also definitely had to put my Switch down every so often to calm down. This may actually be a positive for the game though, especially with the portable nature of the Switch. For someone who just wants short bits of challenging gameplay, and likes to perfect a game before moving on to the next, I think this is a good fit. It’s a game where the player can pop some decent headphones on for the music and chip away at the levels and have an enjoyable yet frustrating gaming session.

So yeah, those were my thoughts on oOo Ascension. If you enjoyed this video then by all means, like comment and subscribe, all that social media goodness, and always keep living that best nerd life.

BestNerdLife is now on YouTube!

Hello everybody!

Just a quick little post to let people know that BestNerdLife is now on YouTube! I don’t have any videos on there at present but i’ve got plenty of plans for some fun nerdy videos!

I plan to schedule one major video per week, with several smaller videos whenever I have something interesting to talk about.

Below is a list of potential ideas I have for future videos.

  • LootCrate unboxing
  • Charity shop/car boot sale finds
  • Product reviews
  • Game/film reviews
  • Lego builds
  • Pixel art time-lapses
  • Event coverage

As you can probably tell, I have a lot of ideas that I want to try out. I’m pretty much gonna throw lots of videos of things I like to talk about at the metaphorical wall and basically see what sticks.

I have so much love for the hobbies that I have and i’m always trying to find new ways of sharing that love!

It would mean the world to me if you could subscribe to my channel, as you have done with this blog. Just click on the link below or at the top of the page to become subscribed! My first video is coming very very very soon. Stay tuned!

BestNerdLife YouTube channel

Thanks very much for reading this post about this blog expanding to YouTube. If you liked it, then please follow this blog for similar updates in the future.

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PlayStation Trophy totals for December 2018

[This blog post contains potential Trophy Description spoilers]

Earned in December: 389

Total Trophies: 544

Here’s the round-up of all the PlayStation Trophy totals that I earned in December 2018! It’s been an absolute monster of a month. I discovered PlayStation Now, which is a wonderful thing for someone who is new to Sony’s gaming machine. So many games to play, but so little time to play them all! I use PSNProfiles for my stats. I would totally recommend using it!

Games played: 19

(Bolded games are the ones I completed 100%)

  1. Abzu
  2. Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion
  3. Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition
  4. Burly Men At Sea
  5. Dark Cloud
  6. Destroy All Humans! 2
  7. Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth
  8. Fallout 4
  9. Final Fantasy X HD
  10. Final Fantasy XV
  11. Flower
  12. God of War
  13. God of War II
  14. God of War III Remastered
  15. God of War (2018)
  16. Moonlighter
  17. Outlast
  18. Spyro The Dragon: Reignited
  19. Tearaway Unfolded

First Trophy of the Month

God of War (2018)

Like Oil and Water – Complete all of Brok and Sindri’s Favors

Last Trophy of the Month

Final Fantasy XV

Dark Clouds – Completed Chapter 5

Thanks very much for reading this post about all the PlayStation Trophies i’ve earned in December 2018. If you liked it, then please follow this blog for similar updates in the future.

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Sunshine Blogger Award!

First off, I want to say thanks to Skylar-Mei and WesleyWhale for nominating me for a Sunshine Blogger Award! It’s always a lovely surprise to be nominated for a blogger award, and a great way to interact with the blogging community.

Rules for the award:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate (up to) 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Without further ado, let’s get this thing started!

1. If any gaming controller could work with any console, what would be your preferred gamepad?

I’m not going to lie. I recently bought a PlayStation 4 and I absolutely adore the controller. After living for so long with the bulky Xbox One controller that needs batteries to function, it’s nice to have a sleek and sexy controller that can just be charged via USB.

2. Has there ever been a time where you gave up on a section in a game and never looked back?

Actually, this happens quite frequently. I’m a very fickle person when it comes to gaming. If I don’t almost immediately enjoy the game that I’m playing, I’ll trade it in and buy a new one. Life is too short to do things that you don’t enjoy, so what’s the point in playing something that you aren’t engaging with?

3. What is your favourite name of an achievement/trophy?

Without a shadow of a doubt, it’s the ‘One Does Not Simply…’ achievement/trophy from Lego Lord Of The Rings. I’m a massive fan of references, memes and Sean Bean. Do I really need to say anymore?

4. What is your favourite video game soundtrack?

This is a very tough question. I don’t think I can pick just one! I can narrow it down to either Final Fantasy 7 or Skyrim. ‘One-Winged Angel’ from Final Fantasy 7 and the ‘Dragonborn Theme’ from Skyrim are two such iconic tracks. Quite cliché choices but I find them both so epic and inspiring.

5. Which game has the best loot system?

The Monster Hunter series immediately springs to mind for having a pretty engaging loot system. Is there really a better way of getting a new weapon than hacking off the body parts of a big scary monster and building it yourself from said parts? I’ve heard that a lot of long-time fans of the series were turned off by the newest iteration (Monster Hunter World), but I thought it fixed many of the small problems that I had with the series.

6. What’s the most difficult game you’ve ever beaten?

To be honest, I don’t really enjoy playing difficult games. I appreciate them for what they are, but if there’s an easy mode, I’m gonna play that. I’m much more interested in an entertaining and heart-felt story. Not really an answer to the question I know, but I don’t think I’m qualified to answer this one.

7. Which game have you played the most and approximately have many hours have you spent on this game?

The game that I’ve spent most of my time on is definitely Stardew Valley. It’s the only game that I’ve triple-dipped. I bought it on Steam when it first came out, on Xbox One when it came out on that, and then on the Nintendo Switch, because having a portable version of Stardew Valley is just something everyone needs. I can’t give a solid answer to how many hours I’ve spent on it, but I’m going to say that it’s definitely in the hundreds.

8. Was there ever a game that made you think “I really want to play more games like this”?

I can’t really think of a specific game in mind, but I’m very into small experimental indie games. Ones that defy genre tropes. Ones that are self-referential or make the player question themselves. I became bored of big massive open-world games a long time ago.

9. Hard copies or digital?

I’m a ‘hard copy’ kind of guy. Like I said before, if I don’t engage with the game, I value the option to trade it in. There is the option to get a refund on Steam, but nothing quite beats having a physical edition. That said, I don’t shy away from digital versions. If there’s a game that I can only get as a digital download on a console, then I bite the bullet and buy it.

10. Since it’s nearly Hallowe’en, what’s your favourite horror game (or film if you haven’t played any)?

My absolute favourite horror game is TECHNICALLY not a horror game, but it is based on horror characters, so i’m including it for this question. Back in 2000, a fantastic little game came out for the PlayStation 1 called ‘Muppet Monster Adventure’. It features Robin the Frog (Kermit the Frog’s nephew), going on an adventure to save his uncle and the rest of ‘The Muppets’ cast from the evil Baron Petri von Honeydew. It’s wacky, fun and a solid platformer.

11. As we’re both fairly new to Twitter, who should we be following?

Meeeeee! Haha, obviously i’m joking. Although if you want to then that’s awesome, thanks for the love.

I do have a few Twitter handles to recommend for real though. If you are a bit of a pixel nut, I would recommend following Pixel Dailies. Every day there’s a new prompt for a piece of pixel artwork for people to do. It’s a fun little thing to do every day. If you want something cute, then consider following ditto as electrode. Lots of very cute images a plushie Electrode with Ditto’s face. Lastly, if you want something a little bit strange but informative I would recommend Progress Bar. This account divides the year into 100 pieces and then informs you how far along in the year we are in percentages.

And now that I have answered my questions I nominate these bloggers:

StrangeGirlGaming

Megan // A Geeky Gal

Andria (TurnBasedTurnip)
To answer these 11 questions!

  1. What is your favourite movie that was based on a game?
  2. What is the best ever sequel to a video game?
  3. Who is the most annoying NPC that you’ve ever encountered in a game before?
  4. What in-game gadget would make your life easier?
  5. What is the achievement/trophy that you are most proud of getting?
  6. If there was one game that you could take around with you in hand-held form, what would it be?
  7. What is the first game that you remember playing?
  8. If you could spend the day in a life of a video game character, who would that be?
  9. What is the thing you find most annoying about being a gamer?
  10. Following on from the previous question, what would you do to fix that one thing about being a gamer?
  11. Halloween is just around the corner! What character would you like to dress up as?

Thanks very much for reading this post about my Sunshine Blogger Award nomination! If you liked it, then please follow this blog for similar updates in the future.

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Fortnight…trading cards?

It’s safe to say that Fortnite is pretty big right now. This cartoony shooter is basically dominating the Battle Royale genre at the moment. With several seasons under it’s belt there is enough new content being added frequently enough to keep the hardcore players entertained.

As with many big-name properties, merchandising is soon to follow initial success. Clothing, accessories, toys, collectable items, and, if they are very, very lucky – trading cards. These rectangular bits of cardboard tend to be big money. Anyone just has to look at Pokémon cards to see the massive amount of potential trading cards have of making money.

It was very unsurprising then that on my holidays on the sunny Costa Blanca, I came across packets of Fortnight trading cards for €1. Usually, I wouldn’t question the legitimacy of trading cards, especially ones in foil packets, but as I found these in one of the many Chino shops, I think I had every right to. For the uninitiated, there are a high number of massive Chinese warehouse-sized supermarkets across the Costa Blanca in Spain, where an absurdly large amount of slightly dodgy goods can be bought for insanely cheap prices.

fortnightCards2

As is the case of legitimate cards, these ones came in a foil packet, like I mentioned before. Interestingly, the back of the packet had a short snippet of text that helped to set up the scenario…

“In a land inaccessible to the rest of the world, the premier Dueling high school “Duel Academy” educates promising young Duelists to their full potential. However, little does the school realize that things are about to change with the arrival of the greatest duelist of all…”

To be honest, I have no idea if that bit of lore has any connection to the actual game, but it does seem a pretty generic scenario. Although I guess it’s hard to build lore around a game that sees 100 players drop down into a landmass and shoot each other until there’s 1 person left. In fact, does this trading card game even need a backstory? Probably not.

Anyway! Inside my pack, I found 8 individual cards. I could immediately tell that they were of a much higher quality than the Pokemon trading cards I bought in Spain. The reverse side had a distinctive and rather cool shot of the flying Fortnight bus. The combination of the bright colours and the crisp imagery gave an air of legitimacy, but as I turned them over, my confidence in the cards wavered lightly. While the images on this side shared the same quality as the reverse side, they were covered in a layer of textured shininess. Not that I mind a bit of shininess, but every single card? It made them look tacky.

Regardless, the actual artwork on the cards was well realised. A good variety of characters, accessories and weapons were present, with a damn fine looking Halloween themed card being a highlight. Thanos even made an appearance, a fact that I found highly amusing. Luckily, I knew that he had already featured in Fortnight for a limited time, otherwise I would have been very confused.

fortnightCards1

Mechanically, the gameplay seemed quite perplexing. Each card featured a simplified approximation of a hand in the form of either Rock, Paper or Scissors. That part was very self-explanatory but the inclusion of 4 digit Attack and Energy stats just confused things. Another annoying thing I found (at least for me), was that the front of the cards was portrait, and the reverse was landscape. This is purely an aesthetic choice my Graphic Designer brain just couldn’t agree with, and was of no real consequence anyway.

Overall, those Fortnight cards were pretty impressive. Aside from a few minor details, they seemed pretty legit. As I have done absolutely no research into if they are the real deal, I am struggling to decide whether or not they were actually genuine. As a card game, they didn’t seem to be in the same league as something like Pokemon or Final Fantasy Opus, but for the die-hard Fortnight fan, they would do nicely.

Thanks very much for reading this random post about my experience of opening a packet of Fortnight trading cards that may or may not be dodgy! If you liked it, then please follow this blog for similar updates in the future.

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Check out these amazingly dodgy Pokémon cards!

I, like many other people, enjoy a damn good bargain. The Chino supermarkets that litter the Costa Blanca in Spain are a veritable goldmine of super inexpensive items. For the uninitiated, there are a high number of massive Chinese warehouse-sized supermarkets across the Costa Blanca, where an absurdly large amount of random goods can be bought for insanely cheap prices.

These can range from umbrellas and phone cables, to plug sockets and beyond. Many things are either badly made, or knockoffs of existing brands but for a person who enjoys cheap sorta-good items, it’s a great place to shop. One example of these knockoff items are the Pokémon trading cards that they sell. For the unknowing parents or small child these cheap cards can be very enticing.

During my time holidaying in Torrevieja over the summer, I managed to pick up a packet that contained 31 Sun & Moon Ultra Prism cards for only €1. I have no idea if that is the correct amount of cards as each pack was already open, with no seal to preserve them. This means that it’s highly possible that some cards can be lost or taken out. This lack of protection should be an alarm bell straight away for any potential buyer. All brand new and legitimate Pokemon cards come in either seals foil packets, things like sealed tins, and their own individual plastic sleeves.

Obviously, the cards inside weren’t legitimate cards. They weren’t even close. There are a multitude of ways to spot fake cards like finding simple spelling mistakes, or by checking that the blue is the right shade on the reverse side of the cards. I could immediately tell that they were printed on an inferior batch of cardboard, and the shades of blue on the reverse were all wrong. They were also slightly smaller than genuine cards. The sad thing is, all this information was gleaned from only a quick glance at them.

backColours
Fake on the left, real on the right

So what other things could have been wrong with them? Let me start by listing what cards I received…

  • 004/066 Piplup x3
  • 006/066 Turtwig x 1
  • 012/066 Leafeon GX x1
  • 013/066 Mow Rotom x1
  • 014/066 Shaymin x1
  • 017/066 Shinx x1
  • 019/066 Monferno x1
  • 019/066 Luxio x1
  • 020/066 Infernape x1
  • 020/066 Luxray x1
  • 021/066 Heat Rotom x 1
  • 022/066 Salandit x1
  • 022/066 Rotom x 1
  • 031/066 Darkrai x1
  • 032/066 Alolan Diglett x1
  • 033/066 Alolan Dugtrio x1
  • 043/066 Solgaleo x1
  • 044/066 Dusk Mane Necrozma x 2
  • 044/066 Garchomp x1
  • 045/066 Dialga EX x2
  • 045/066 Palkia EX x1
  • 048/066 Eevee x1
  • 060/066 Gardenia x1
  • 064/066 Mt. Coronet x1
  • 066/066 Unit Energy x1
  • 072/066 Looker x1

Weirdly, there was also a 27/122 M Gyarados EX from a completely different set shoved in there too.

Yeah. You may have thought that I made some mistakes whilst listing them, but sadly, you would be wrong. For a start, the Sun and Moon Ultra Prism set has 156 cards in it. There are also multiple cards that have the same number. For example Dialga Ex and Palkia Ex are both 045/066. One cards (072/066 Looker) even goes past the number limit. Looking even deeper, the numbers on real cards aren’t even formatted like they are on these fake cards. Even better, the Shinx, Luxio, and Luxray evolution family skip a number, going from 17 to 19 to 20. Not that this nonsensical order matters, as they are all in the wrong order anyway, compared to the real set.

Up to now, i’ve only concentrated on aspects of the cards that are shared between them all, like the quality of the cardboard on which they are printed, and the number order. This was to stop me analysing every card to the last tiny detail, as I could probably go on for quite some time. Plus, I don’t really want to waste my weekend going over all these obviously fake cards. A minor detail I did notice is that each Pokemon is classified as either “Angler Pokémon”, “Pokémon Tadpole” or “Tadpole Pokémon”. In reality, the world of Pokémon has wildlife that is much more diverse than this.

To conclude, there is a whole host of better and more legitimate ways to buy Pokémon Cards. Don’t be conned into exchanging your euros for some dodgy cards. Or maybe do buy them. I bought mine out of morbid curiosity and I can’t fault any of you for wanting to do the same.

Thanks very much for reading this random post about my experience of buying completely fake Pokémon cards on the Costa Blanca! If you liked it, then please follow this blog for similar updates in the future.

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Pricing up my FREE Final Fantasy Opus III cards from HyperJapan 2018

With the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game geared up for the release of the Opus VI series of cards, Square Enix had a dedicated space for players to sit down and duel it out at HyperJapan 2018. There were several large tables set out, and staff on hand to help and distribute free goodie bags.

While i’m a fan of the Final Fantasy franchise, the card game has never really interested me. I only have room for one trading card game in my heart and that’s not going to change anytime soon. My girlfriend isn’t a fan either so we declined the offer to play, but took a goodie bag each anyway. You know, free stuff! We were both expecting a pen or two, and maybe a lanyard or something. Neither of us expected the four booster packs of Opus III cards that we found inside! I know that Opus III only came out in July 2017, but it’s still awesome to get given free things.

It did make me wonder about the amount of money Square Enix had invested in being at HyperJapan 2018. Then I started wondering about the worth of the free cards that we had been given. I decided to hop onto BigOrbitCards to find out. BigOrbitCards is an awesome provider of CCG singles based in Evesham, UK. I’ve bought several lots of Pokémon cards from this place, and i’ve been impressed with what I received. They do buy cards, but for this little experiment, I wanted to see what it would have cost me to buy them individually.

Each card that I got is listed below, along with the price. There are a few duplicates as well, so if you see any that are repeated, it’s not a typo! Prices were accurate on the day that I looked (14th July 2018)!

  1. Red Mage (3-001) £0.15
  2. Imaginary Brawler (3-005) £0.15
  3. Bard (3-007) £0.15
  4. Bard (3-007) £0.15
  5. Amarant (3-013) £0.45
  6. Black Waltz 2 (3-015) £1.00
  7. Cannoneer (3-021) £0.15
  8. Machina (3-022) (Foil) £3.10
  9. Qator Bashtar (3-027) £0.65
  10. DGS Trooper 1st Class (3-040) (Foil) £0.55
  11. Deepground Soldier (3-041) £0.15
  12. Deepground Solider (3-042) £0.15
  13. Deepground Solider (3-042) £0.15
  14. White Tiger l’Cie Qun’mi (3-045) £0.55
  15. Cannoneer (3-047) £0.15
  16. Mystic Knight (3-048) £0.15
  17. Dancer (3-052) £0.15
  18. Ranger (3-053) £0.15
  19. Thief (3-055) £0.15
  20. Seven (3-057) £0.30
  21. Diablos (3-061) £0.85
  22. Chaos, Walker of the Wheel (3-071) £1.85
  23. Ursula (3-073) £0.15
  24. Ursula (3-073) £0.15
  25. Masked Woman (3-076) (Foil) £0.95
  26. Krile (3-078) £0.95
  27. Black Tortoise l’Cie Gilgamesh (3-080) £0.85
  28. Segwarides (3-083) £0.15
  29. WRO Member (3-084) £0.15
  30. WRO Member (3-085) £0.15
  31. Brandelis (3-093) £1.30
  32. Rydia (3-096) £0.60
  33. Gilgamesh (3-103) (Foil) £2.95
  34. Queen (3-104) £0.15
  35. Black Waltz 3 (3-105) £0.15
  36. Zangetsu (3-110) £0.85
  37. Nine (3-113) £0.60
  38. Cannoneer (3-115) £0.15
  39. Lightning (3-118) £2.55
  40. Dragoon (3-120) £0.15
  41. Ephemeral Summoner (3-125) £0.15
  42. Eiko (3-127) £0.55
  43. Quacho Queen (3-132) £0.30
  44. Summoner (3-134) £0.15
  45. White Mage (3-136) £0.15
  46. White Mage (3-136) £0.15
  47. Knight (3-139) £0.15

For some strange reason, I only got 47 cards out of the booster packs, rather than the 48 that I should have. Very strange! In any case, the total worth of all the cards came to £25.80 if I had bought them as singles. That’s nothing to be sniffed at! While a lot of them are common cards worth 15p, there are some notable rare cards. The foil versions of Machina (3-022) and Gilgamesh (3-103) would have cost me £3.10 and £2.95 respectively. Not all foils are created equal though as the foil versions of DGS Trooper 1st Class (3-040) and Masked Woman (3-076) both came in at below £1. My favourite card, Lightning (3-118) came in a £2.55.

Getting these cards was a nice little perk. I know that the goodie bags were designed to get me interested in playing the card game, and it might just work yet! There’s a tutorial on their website so I will probably have a go when I have some spare time.

Thanks very much for reading this random post about my little pricing experiment! If you liked it, then please follow this blog for similar updates in the future.

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Visiting the UK’s Biggest Retro Gaming Market

With the gaming industry slowing becoming obsessed with digital only products, retro game collecting might become a distant memory of the past. Until that time though, events like the Video Game Market will continue to thrive! Toted as the UK’s biggest and longest running gaming market, the Video Game Market opened its doors again at the Doncaster Dome a few weekends ago , which isn’t all that far away (by car at least) from where I live!

This bustling market offers visitors a broad range of items to peruse, including recently released games, handmade items, retro toys and games, and collectible cards to name a few. I didn’t exactly have any items in mind whilst browsing aside from maybe boosting my Pokémon card collection and my adding to my recently acquired Amiibo but that was actually a blessing in disguise. Rather than rushing past each stall trying my best to find what I wanted, I made a point of stopping and having a careful search through everything.

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The organisers offer a very helpful early entry ticket that can be pre-booked from their website, costing a measly £4.34. A slightly odd amount of money, especially as the regular adult ticket, costs £2 but the 34p is a fee charged by EventBrite. This early entry ticket allows admission from 10AM as opposed to the usual 11AM and is limited to just 500 people. I’m not sure if they sold all of these tickets but we arrived dead on 10am and the queue to get in was already impressively long, so I think they probably came close! It did go down quite fast and it didn’t detract from my experience in any way.

While there was a huge amount of stalls to browse around, two particular ones caught my eye. Deadpan Robot offers a massive selection of items to modify and customize all versions of the Nintendo Game Boy. From modification kits to spare parts, these guys have you covered. I don’t want this to sound like an advertisement for them but I was genuinely impressed with the selection they had to offer.  The prices were also really fair, something that is always positive.

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Deadpan Robot

Another super interesting stall I came across was that of the craft designer and animator, Dogtor Who! This table consisted of a fabulous array of hama bead creations, anything from Harry Potter to Pokémon and Star Wars. There were even some creations with more dimension, with characters attached to stands. All were super adorable! I had a little look on the DogtorWho YouTube channel too and found a delightful selection of crafting videos and some animated ones too! My favourite video was the stop-motion recreation of Super Mario World using hama beads. It was very well animated and each frame of each sprite was meticulously made. It was a pleasure to discover both Dogtor Who and Deadpan Robot, and if you ever cross their paths, I would absolutely recommend supporting them both!

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Dogtor Who

As I mentioned before, I didn’t really have a clear goal in what I wanted to buy. I did set myself a maximum amount to spend though, as I usually do when attending events such as these. I find that this is generally a good thing to do. Aside from it being a fun challenge, it also saves my wallet from all that wear and tear!

This time, I decided on the rather conservative budget of £50. There’s plenty of other events that i’m going to attend in the near future, so i’m trying to limit what I buy at each venue. Plus, I always enjoy the challenge of finding some absolute bargains!

  • Cloud Strife (Player 1) Amiibo – £15
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Collector’s Edition Guide – £5
  • Pokémon Sun & Moon Set Booster Pack – £3
  • Pokémon Ocean Bomb Sparkling Water £2.50
  • Scyther Pokémon Card Jungle Set – £1.50
  • Pinsir Pokémon Card Jungle Set – £1.50
  • Dark Hypno Pokémon Card Team Rocket Set – £1.50

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I think I got a great little haul for £30. Obviously, i’m really happy with my Amiibo and Pokémon card purchases, but the Wolfenstein II guide and the Pokémon drink were an unexpected bonus. Even though I could have spent a lot more money during my time there, I have no regrets getting the things I did. I will absolutely be attending again because it really helped scratch my nerdy itch.

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Celebrating “15 Years of Sumo Digital”

Although Sheffield isn’t a massive bustling hub of game development, the city has definitely provided some very notable additions to the gaming industry. One pretty big addition is Sumo Digital. Founded way back in 2003 after the closure of Infogrames Studios Sheffield/Gremlin Interactive it has since handled some big titles. They’ve had a long standing relationship with SEGA, helped to create Disney Infinity 3.0, and have been heading up the development of Crackdown 3. Not a bad portfolio of work.

To celebrate 15 years of Sumo Digital, they hosted a game art exhibition between 25th – 29th June 2018 at the Showroom Workstation that showcased 12 historic pieces from their archives. The best part? It was open to the public and completely free. Plus, it was about a minute’s walk away from where I work, so I had to go visit.

The exhibition was situated towards the back of the main foyer area of the Workstation, spanning two walls. I will admit, if I hadn’t explicitly known that it was there, I could have easily missed the entire thing as it wasn’t very well sign-posted at all. It was also unmanned, aside from the person at the Workstation reception desk.

The exhibition didn’t span the entire history of Sumo Digital, with some of the earlier games not present, but it gave clear snapshots into how the studio has grown and developed in recent times. While there were plenty on show, a fair few pieces were from what would be later known as the SEGA: All-Stars franchise. This included SEGA Superstars Tennis, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed.

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Little Big Planet 3 and Doctor Who were also featured, as well as Snake Pass – their first self-published title. After having such a fun time with Snake Pass, it was nice to see the various concepts behind Noodle’s final design. These concepts were alongside the beautiful print of the game’s main title art, created by Creatives In The Attic and later edited by Jack Newbert.

Most of the artwork was accompanied by a plaque detailing things like who published the game, when it was released, and some insight into what roles Sumo Digital played. One notable difference to this trend was that of the Crackdown 3 print. While it looked absolutely fantastic, there was no information at all. This is probably due to some kind of non-disclosure agreement, and it’s a nice little tease for when this long awaited game is released. No doubt Sumo Digital has a lot riding on this game, and it’s definitely one of their most high-profile ones to date.

In short, the “15 Years of Sumo Digital” game art exhibition was an enjoyable if understated ode to a games company that is as every part of the cultural landscape of Sheffield as Henderson’s Relish and Def Leppard.

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Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy & Crash Crate Unboxing

Initially released on the PlayStation 4 way back in June of 2017, the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy received favourable reviews and sold an awful lot of copies. Fast forward 12 months and it has finally arrived on the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One! As a massive fan of the original three games, I decided to pre-order both the game for the Nintendo Switch and the limited edition Crash Crate from Game UK in Sheffield! Priced at £29.99 and £24.99 respectively, I didn’t think they were a bad deal at all. Plus, I got £5 off because I bought them both together AND I even got a little extra off thanks to some Game UK credit I had accumulated from past purchases. ANOTHER bonus came in an A2 poster that I received because I pre-ordered them both.

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They didn’t technically come together in the same package (as the separate prices might have suggested) with the game arriving as you would expect any other Nintendo Switch game to arrive. However, the Crash Crate was a pleasure to open. The outer box was sturdy enough thanks to being made from hard card but my goodness, how incredible would it have been if the box was made of wood? Obviously, they wanted to keep the cost super low, and I really appreciate that though. No doubt someone, somewhere has built a custom-made wooden crate for themselves.

Usually, I don’t pre-order random gaming merchandise, with the last one being the Fallout 4 Pip-Boy Edition but the Crash Crate really spoke to me. It was filled to the brim with items that I would actually use in real life. The box includes a messenger bag, a snapback cap, a wallet, a keychain, a drinking glass and a lanyard. Just about the only item that I don’t really see myself using is the keychain. The snapback cap can protect my head from this harsh heatwave we are having the UK at the moment. The wallet can hold my non-existent cash (thanks to me buying these things), I can use the drinking glass for…drinking (duh!), I can use the lanyard for work, and I can carry my Nintendo Switch and the N.Sane Trilogy around in the messenger bag. The crate can just sit on my shelf looking awesome.

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The variety artwork used for was slightly disappointing, with only two main designs shared among all the items. More variety would have been nice, but yeah. The entire bundle cost me less than £50 so I can’t really complain. I really dig how all out Game UK has gone for the release of these ports. Alongside the actual game and the Crash Crate, they’ve also released a Nintendo Switch Controller, a Golden TOTAKU figure, a 7″ Action Figure, t-shirts, coasters, and EVEN A WUMPA FRUIT SCENTED CANDLE!! These are all things that I want in my life but I just can’t bring myself to buy anything else.

Ok.

Maybe I’ll buy the Wumpa Fruit scented candle…

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