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.

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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.

Thanks very much for reading this post about my time at The Video Game Market! If you liked it, then please follow this blog for similar updates in the future.

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Favourites – June 2018

After each previous month has ended, I like to make note of my favourite pieces of media from the past few weeks. This time, i’m looking at things from June 2018!

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Film – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

I’m going to be honest right now – I didn’t actually see many films this month. Saying that though, I did actually enjoy Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Like I said in my non-spoiler review, there are nods and winks to the other films which I always enjoy. In a universe where dinosaurs are not only back from the dead, but are now known to the world and trapped on an island, it’s getting a little difficult to swallow what is happening on screen, but i’ll roll with it for now. It isn’t the best film in the franchise, but I enjoyed it for what it was.

favs-jun-18-5.jpg

TV show – Luke Cage

The Hero of Harlem is back once again and this time he’s up against the villainous Bushmaster! There was no real competition for my favourite TV show of the month. Luke Cage Season 1 overflowed with themes of race and identity, and this new season follows suit. It’s a strong continuation of the Marvel The Defenders storyline and kept me engaged the whole way through. Even the inclusion of Iron Fist couldn’t ruin it for me.

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Game – Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King

Even though Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy technically came out in June, i’m not going to count it as it came out right at the end. Plus, I just want another chance to talk about Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King. This game is a bundle of pure nostalgia and charm, with adorable characters and an engaging story. It’s a same that the game is a little bit too easy for my tastes but other than that, it’s a very good time.

favs-jun-18-1.jpg

Song – The World Is Saved, Danny Wiessner

Written and performed by Danny Wiessner, The World Is Saved was subject to an awesome collaborative effort, spear-headed by IGN’s Ryan Clements. He pulled together several dedicated volunteers (pandamusk, Benjamin A. Smith, Michael Hruby, and Sam Alegria) to create this epic anthem for all video game fans around the world. If this song doesn’t make you feel proud to be a video gamer, I don’t know what will!

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YouTube channel – JessicaSmithTV

Even though i’m not that consistent at doing exercise (other than walking to work almost everyday), it’s nice to know that there’s a YouTube channel out there that offers a friendly atmosphere, some low impact exercise routines and a trainer who is down to earth. Some workout presenters are so over the top and full of cheese that it’s hard to watch, never mind work out to. I would wholly recommend JessicaSmithTV for all your exercising needs, beginner or not!

Thanks very much for reading my favourite pieces of media from June 2018! If you liked it, then please follow this blog for similar updates in the future.

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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.

Thanks very much for reading about my experience at the “15 Years of Sumo Digital” art exhibition! If you liked it, then please follow this blog for similar updates in the future.

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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…

Thanks very much for reading about me unboxing the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy & Crash Crate combo. If you liked it, then please follow this blog for similar updates in the future.

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The National Videogame Arcade is moving to Sheffield!

Here’s some fantastic news for the videogame nerds of Sheffield! After three years of being situated on Carlton St in Nottingham, the National Videogame Arcade will be moving to Sheffield after the end of its busy Summer schedule.

The NVA team has cited the current venue’s listed property status as the main reason for the move. The upkeep of the building has proven too much for the team. While they searched for a more suitable place in Nottingham, the decision was made to move cities. As a person who has spent most of his life in and around Sheffield, I personally think it’s a great thing.

The NVA offers visitors a very unique experience, as it is the only playable museum in the country. They have a great selection of interactive exhibits, and the location has hosted a variety of educational classes and gaming events. Not everything will be brought over though. They plan to keep an education and research facility in Nottingham, and the Pixelheads community will stay put too.

According to the Sheffield News Room they will be part of a new digital and tech space in Castlegate, and will open mid-October.

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Join me on Twitch for the “Next Up Hero” Streamer Launch Party!

For those of you who don’t know, Next Up Hero is a hard-as-nails 2D action game that’s finally launching to version 1.0 on 28 June 2018! To celebrate, there’s going to be a Streamer Launch Party at 8pm GMT. THAT’S TONIGHT! The aim is to get as many people to go live as possible.

Thanks to my partnership with HumbleBundle, I was deemed eligible by the publishers to get a free code! This stroke of good fortune has inspired me to make a Twitch channel so that I can get in on the party, and hopefully have a good time. This is going to be my first time streaming, so i’m sure it’s going to be quite the experience! Nothing can go wrong at all! Right?

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Anyway, chat commands are going to be enabled on Twitch, which means that you guys will be able to assists and/or assault me by summoning friendly AI or enemy AI straight into my game while watching me on Twitch! I’m not going to stream for too long, probably about 45 minutes to an hour as I will have work the next day but you are welcome to join me! Check out the list of chat commands available on Twich below:

  • !heal

  • !echo (Summon Yourself as an AI Assistant)

  • !shadow (Summon Yourself as an AI Assailant)

  • !ancient (Ultimate)

  • !specialrefill (Mana)

  • !stun

  • !slow

  • !freeze

  • !darkness : Next level will be darkness

  • !mayhem : Next level will be mayhem

If this sounds like your cup of tea, then join me on my Twitch Channel tonight at 8pm GMT!

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Getting to grips with Gioteck’s Duo Wheel Pack for Nintendo Switch

There has been a lot of controversies concerning third-party accessories for Nintendo Switch recently, such as the stories of how some third-party docks are either damaging or bricking the hybrid console. Details about how often this is happening and which docks are actually doing this are sketchy to say the least, but it’s pretty much stopped me from buying any third party docks for my Nintendo Switch.

This hasn’t stopped me from buying all things third-party though. Hence this review for Gioteck’s Duo Wheel Pack for Nintendo Switch! Even though a pair of official Nintendo Joy-Con wheels aren’t the most expensive things in the world as they only cost £12.99, I love to find myself a bargain. Check out my post about my Amiibo finds for more proof on this! During a visit to my local PoundLand, I came across something else other than Amiibo that i’ve wanted for a while. A pair of super cheap wheel peripherals to pop my Joy-Cons into!

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I must admit that the only two boxes left on the shelves were extremely battered, and one box only had a single wheel left inside but for £5 I thought it was worth the risk. When I got them home, the contents of the box were very barebones. The two wheels, a bit of cardboard packaging and a user manual type thing. I honestly don’t know if there were some things missing or not but that’s more the fault of whoever raided the boxes in the shop.

Regardless, the box itself was well designed, with a great red and black motif. It advertised the wheels in a way that promoted them to have a premium finish, to provide enhanced comfort for the player and that they were designed to be very ergonomic. Overall, I think my actual experience with them mostly matched to what was advertised. The wheels are solidly built from plastic, with a small amount of rubber situated on the bottom of the indented area which holds the Joy-Con very securely. Each wheel can hold either Joy-Con thanks to the shape and depth of the indented area which is a great little feature.

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The plastic is mostly smooth with a few small cosmetic details but no additional texture to help a person grip onto it, so they could be quite susceptible to falling out of a pair of clumsy hands.  The only moving parts are the shoulder buttons, whose motion translates well to the smaller Joy-Con equivalents. They are very noisy though, with no kind of noise dampening material applied to them. The size and shape of the wheel makes it easier to grip compared to the Joy-Con itself, and is much better than the small strap attachment that comes as standard with a Nintendo Switch. I’m very tempted to use them for other multiplayer games that only use one Joy-Con because of this very reason.

After doing a bit of investigating, I found that Gioteck also do a pair of wheels that consist of less plastic. The top and bottom arches of the wheel aren’t there, giving them a more sporty look. No doubt these are a newer model, but for what I spent on the ones I have, i’m really happy.

The Duo Wheel Pack is a great introduction for me to the things that Gioteck makes. If their more complex products are as solid and robust as these are, then count me as a fan. They have definitely made me more interested in buying their products at the very least but i’ll have to see what their other products are like.

Thanks very much for reading this review of Gioteck’s Duo Wheel Pack for Nintendo Switch! If you liked it, then please follow this blog for similar updates in the future.

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We watched The Descent in an actual cave!

There’s nothing quite like a British horror film. The (original) Wicker Man, Dog Soldiers, 28 Days Later, and An American Werewolf In London. All super entertaining. All memorable. However, nothing quite brings a sense of fear and claustrophobia like The Descent. After a spelunking adventure in an unknown cave system goes terribly wrong, six women get trapped deep underground.

While having to contend with the usual problems normally associated with getting trapped in a cave, it turns out that they aren’t alone! As you might expect, things get intense and scary. Obviously, the people at The Village Green Events Co. thought that the film wasn’t scary enough, as they decided to host a screening in the Peak Cavern (lovingly referred to as The Devil’s Arse by us locals) in Castleton! What absolute genius’ the people who host The Village Screen are!

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With the goal of creating and delivering exceptional experiences, it’s clear that this company is run by a team of very passionate people. Since first attending a showing of Home Alone a few years ago, my girlfriend and I have been to several other showings, and they’ve all been exceptional. While the main attraction is the massive pop-up cinema screen, there is plenty to keep people busy before the show starts.

A hearty combination of a selection of food vendors and live music is always a solid way to keep people entertained, and it makes a welcome change to the stale popcorn and over-carbonated drinks of mainstream cinema. Thanks to there being no less than six brick-and-mortar cinemas (The Light, Odeon, Showroom, Cineworld, Curzon and Vue) within a relatively small area, Sheffield is definitely not starved for movie entertainment. The Village Screen might not show all the most recent blockbuster films and it might not be as cheap as some of the other venues, but you definitely get your money’s worth thanks to the locations and the overall experience.

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The locations are as diverse as the films being shown, and they are always filled to the brim with other people who are really passionate about the particular film that is being shown. There’s something magically alternative about singing passionately along (with many others!) to Hakuna Matata in a barn or lol’ing at the mischievous antics of The Gremlins in an old picture house.

Our experience this time around was fantastic once again. Nestled deep in the Peak District, Castleton is a an impressively historic town and the ideal location to watch a film about being underground as the town boasts a number of caves. There was plenty of parking with two easy-to-access locations nearby, one of which was half filled with the entertainment and food vendors. These included Proove Pizza, Pie Eyed, Fizz and Fromage and Livvy’s Ice Cream. All great choices but sadly we could only have one main and one dessert each!

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My girlfriend and I both had pie, mash potato, peas and gravy from Pie Eyed. We’ve both had food from all the aforementioned vendors before so we knew what we were getting from each and just decided to go with Pie Eyed for our main as we knew it would be filling without being overly so, as we both wanted ice cream after! Livvy’s had a great selection on, with my girlfriend going for Raspberry Ripple and I for Chocolate. Overall, very satisfying!

It’s a fair walk between the car park and the Peak Cavern but it’s a very impressive looking one. Steep cliffs hang ominously over the quaint little cottages as you climb higher (and deeper) into the mouth of the cave. Once inside, a mass of slightly uncomfortable plastic chairs await, many with blankets and coats draped across them. As we arrived about an hour before the film was due to start, most of the seats were already taken. Usually we would have come a little earlier but we had house-hold chores to do.

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The absolute best advice that I can offer you for attending a Village Screen event is this. Come early, and come with AT LEAST one other person. As one person orders the food, the other can scope out some seats. That’s the absolute best way to prioritise your time, as these events are more often than not sold out.

The atmosphere when the film started was great. There were plenty of  scares in the film that got people jumping in their seats, myself included. Every so often a chuckle ran through the crowd after a particularly scary moment or if someone reacted in an over-the-top way. Like I said before, the people who attend these events seem to be more than your average movie-goers so that really heightens the enjoyment factor.

This was also the first +18 Village Screen event that i’ve attended. I don’t knock them for showing mostly family friendly movies to appeal to a wider audience and get more customers but it’s great that they have an adult’s only horror night. I hope they continue this trend in the future! In any case, I would highly recommend a Village Screen event. They really do go all out when it comes to locations and themes. It’s not just a big screen dumped in some random field.  A Village Screen event is a place tailor-made to show great films.

Thanks very much for reading this blog post about my experience at The Descent screening event hosted by Village Screen! If you liked it, then please follow this blog for similar updates in the future.

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