Tuesday, 19 September 2017

My Videogame Soundtrack Collection

Many times, I have mentioned that I really value the music and art of videogames. Sometimes I find these things more interesting than actually playing the games themselves but I digress. Like a lot of gamers, I listen to gaming music on Youtube all the time but there's something extra special about hunting down a physical soundtrack CD for your collection. Typically there are two barriers to buying these sorts of CD's.

Firstly, they tend to be import-only so obtaining them from Japan via places like ebay is usually the only option. The other issue is that they can be expensive! Naturally, soundtrack CD's are a little specialist so they aren't often produced in huge quantities like general, commercial CD's which quickly become worthless and are printed numerous times, always being available from somewhere. You also have to consider that game music (especially for older stuff) isn't readily available from the likes of itunes or other digital music vendors so unless you are going to download the music or torrent it from somewhere, an imported CD is sometimes the only legit method of treating your ears to some great tunes.

I personally think that it's all a matter of perception with people seeing a CD that costs more than £10 and believing that it isn't worth it just because it is a CD and CD's rarely retail for more than £10 brand-new in the charts. The point that they are missing is that soundtrack CD's aren't mass-produced and actually have collectable value to them. It's the same for a lot of movie soundtracks too. For all intents and purposes, they are a completely different product.

I don't have a big collection of videogame soundtracks myself but I do really appreciate them and am always after more as and when funds permit. Here is what I have so far...

Tekken 2 Strike Fighting Vol.1 + Vol.2

These two CD's contain all of the arranged music from Tekken 2, one of my all-time favourite games. The arranged OST for this game was simply stunning with each theme being distinct, atmospheric and memorable. This was Namco's sound team on a real high and it sadly went downhill from here. Tekken 3 was decent and while the following sequels all had a few standout tracks, the OST's as overall products never impressed me quite as much.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Collection Downsizing

I suppose a lot of gamers have been here: that stage when you take a look at your collection one day and wonder to yourself, "what is the point of all of these games?". It's perhaps something that a collector might not see but as somebody who buys games with the intention to play them, it is inevitable that the amount of time required to get through them all will - at some point - suddenly become apparent. It's a bit of a reality check and if you are the kind of gamer who is fine with the excess because it's a) a collection and it doesn't really matter if you play everything or b) you would just rather that the games be there in case you suddenly fancy playing them then I guess you may not see the big deal.

Personally, there are a number of reasons that totally justify a major downsize for me. Those reasons being:
  1. Storage Space - Games take up a lot of room. I'm not the kind of person who believes in simply creating/finding more storage to house more stuff. It's a get out of a jail free card and doesn't encourage any sort of focus. I have two shelves (two rows deep), multiple crates rammed with stuff and other random bits everywhere. It's too much and I want to aim for a bit more minimalism with things in correct places and no more having games and consoles stacked up anywhere just because I can.
  2. Money - I could do with the money for other things and when I have games sitting around that are worth decent money and I don't think I will get around to playing them then it's time to cash in.
  3. Materialism - Recently, I have taken a good, hard look at a few aspects of life and realised how unimportant "stuff" really is. We are all materialistic to an extent and - exceptional circumstances aside - I believe that it would be impossible to fully cast it away but I don't think it's healthy and I would much rather put more of myself into the 'real' things that matter rather than pursuing more material goods that won't make me happy. We're getting a bit deep here but stay with me - please.
  4. Time - As mentioned in the intro to this post, there simply isn't the time to play and complete all of these games, especially when my time is increasingly being consumed by other things. Owning lots of huge time-sinks doesn't really make so much sense with that considered.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The importance of gaming forums/communities

Let us begin with the obvious: forums in general (not just those dedicated to gaming) are dying, being starved of fresh blood and contributions by the almighty killer that is Social Media. The likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become the go-to places for people to discuss anything or keep tabs on people/companies that interest them but today I want to talk about forums and the communities that they nurture. I bring this up now because I felt that it was a worthwhile topic to promote given how I recently received a fair few games for free from people on forums - people I have never met in real life and may never do - who have displayed incredible generosity and selflessness in giving stuff away to those they consider would get more use out of it. I'm not just talking cheap things either: I've received no end of stuff that the sender could have easily sold on the likes of ebay for decent money but instead, they saw somebody who might enjoy it and decided to spread the love. For this, I am extremely appreciative and so I want to talk about why such communities are good for the gaming scene.

Just like social media platforms, forums are full of people which means - also like social media - there will always be some utter dicks, trolls, keyboard warriors waving their "huge" virtual penises around and people you will simply never gel with. I want to open with this in case anybody is rolling their eyes and expecting me to praise the pants off forums while slating the likes of Facebook. The truth is, I haven't used Facebook since 2011-ish so while I have heard of gaming discussion groups of selling groups dedicated to gaming, I don't know what the scene is like over there which means I am unable to pass judgment. I have however spent rather too much time on gaming forums over the years so feel qualified to point out the positives and big them up. I have been a member of a fair few in that time and will attempt to list them in the order I joined...

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

My opinion on the Photobucket meltdown

I suppose this isn't very much a gaming-related subject but since I've largely used the free image-hosting site, Photobucket, for uploading pictures of games to forums and such, I thought it was at least semi-relevant. The way it worked is that anybody could sign up and have access to a certain amount of free image hosting (10GB last time I checked) with greater storage and options costing money via a subscription. You could also purchase prints of people's photos through the site but I imagine that the majority of Photobucket's revenue would have come from the ads (as is typical of a lot of sites offering services for "free").

Recently however, Photobucket did something that has outraged the internet. Essentially they placed a block on people's images displaying wherever they were linked, said images being replaced by messages informing potential viewers that the owner had to upgrade their account if they wanted their photos to display correctly. Such a move was of course an irritation for anybody using Photobucket casually but it was worse for anybody who had hundreds (or even thousands) of images linked to money-making websites or blogs. Not everybody can afford their own web-hosting or knows how to go about it after all so a site like Photobucket became the perfect solution over the years. However, by becoming reliant on it, users suddenly found their images effectively being held to ransom by the site. You COULD download everything in bulk from your account to retrieve it but from what I have heard, the process was slow and glitchy and had to be performed in small chunks.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Recent-ish Purchases #6

Okay so in the last post, I promised "thought provoking" topics and not the usual crap about purchases and so on but here I am immediately breaking a promise. Worry not for I will begin work on better things shortly but I still intend to give some time to the "classic" types of content. I actually haven't bought many games or related items for some time now with many new releases of games I did actually want to play completely passing me buy (Tekken 7 and Valkyria Revolution to name two current-gen titles). In the last week or so however, I have picked up a few bits and also been on the receiving end of some incredible generosity so some new additions have found their way into my collection.

I'm going to start with the only brand-new, modern items which are...

In a shocking - but most welcome turn of events - TWO new Yakuza titles have been released this year. They slipped out with little fanfare as per usual but considering that the last few installments have really struggled to justify a Western release (and that Yakuza 5 ended up digital-only) it is very amazing to hold these two in my hand. Yakuza 0 is (as the name suggests) a prequel while Kiwami is a full-blown remake of the original PS2 game that kicked off one of my most treasured gaming series'. I still need to finish off Yakuza 5 on PS3 first so I won't get around to these for some time but I had no issue paying full RRP for these and supporting a most worthwhile cause.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Return

That's right: just like everybody's favourite most despised "oh why won't you just fucking die!" Street Fighter boss, I'm getting my resurrection on and bringing this place back from the dead. Well...it was probably always a little dead anyway but regardless! I am back and intend to supply the internet with some more word vomit. In all seriousness, I want to try and produce some more thoughtful or topical posts rather than "look what I gone bought" or Angry Rant #357 and while that may be difficult to associate with a blog that has Morrigan's considerable happy balloons displayed on the left side, I would like you to humour me. I am a man (and therefore a pervert) but I do have thought-provoking material somewhere inside - honest!

If you read my last post, you will probably deduce that me somewhat falling out with gaming was likely the reason for my hiatus but the truth is that a lot of things have conspired to oppress my love for writing. As well as an apathy towards videogaming there has also been loads of overtime at work, female-related grief and my side-project of buying/selling trading cards as a business venture. I've also (largely as a result of the aforementioned items) been very tired and dealing with a lot of personal crap which has - at times - invited some pretty miserable periods of depression into my life. But hey, there are so many people worse off than I am and so I am trying to dust myself off and keeping moving.

So if anybody has stopped by in the last few months - even just to glance at anything I've written up for this places - then to you I say "cheers". I'm going to start putting together a few posts after hitting the "Publish" button on this one so there should be a steady trickle of stuff over the next week and from there on, who knows. Let's see where I can go with this.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Tired of modern games

It's been a looooong time since my last post but I have been pretty busy lately (possibly to be expanded on in a future post) and in all honesty, I just haven't been bothered to update DS90Gamer. I've definitely experienced a slight falling-out with the hobby of gaming of late and simply haven't been gaming that much at all. This is partly down to personal/time-related factors (which - again - I may or may not go into in a future post) and partly because I just feel tired with the modern gaming industry. I actually do have a lot of topics that I want to talk about but I don't really know how to air my feelings on them in written words. I also fear that the resulting posts may just come off as a load of moaning.

Loads of new stuff added to games I've left to gather dust...
My first wall when it comes to picking up a a game are the system/software updates that inevitably ensue upon powering up the PS4, Wii-U or even my 3DS. Now, I may play my PS4 a couple of times a week (not for a lack of wanting mind but, as I alluded to earlier, there are life reasons) but if I'm playing something else instead for a week or two then the PS4 will be hit with a deluge of updates that need installing. Specifically the games! I genuinely can't be bothered to jump back into the likes of Street Fighter V, KOF XIV or Dead or Alive 5 because of all the updates, notifications and other crap that I will need to deal with before actually playing the game(s). You might suggest that I set the PS4 to download and install updates in 'rest' mode but I'm the kind of person that tends to power everything off at the wall if it isn't being used and leaves nothing in standby mode. Partly because I'm conscious of malfunctioning power supplies and partly because if I may not use something again for a week or more, it's just going to be sitting there sipping electricity (albeit, a minimal amount).