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Alexlotl

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Everything posted by Alexlotl

  1. Just snuck in a quick five minutes while waiting for a brew (well, more like 2 minutes after the load times), and confirmed that, armed with the info in my spoiler above, it's fine, and feels fair again. I even managed to evade the EMMI using the cloak. So, an error of communication more than anything else.
  2. Started playing this yesterday, the experience is a bit mixed thus far. I love the flow of the exploration; as an experienced Metroid player the standard controls are all very familiar, and the addition of the slide to the formula feels very natural, and means you can really move quickly. I like the melee counters concept, although I'm lousy at timing it. What I'm not sure about is the EMMIs, but it may just be a specific cock-up in the game's flow. Spoilers for the third EMMI (green): I'm just not sure insta-death should be part of the Metroid formula, although I struggle to work out how the good parts of the EMMI sections would have worked without it. Grab Samus and stuff her down a garbage chute or something? Less of a sense of fear, but that sense of fear gets replaced with pissed-offedness when you get insta-killed for the 5th time in five minutes, anyway.
  3. Alexlotl

    Coffee

    At the other end of the price scale, I’ve been playing with this lot for the last week: Rather amazingly, we got this lot for free - the Gaggia from a friend who is moving cities and downsizing a lot, and the Krups grinder from the recycling group at my wife’s work. The machine is a 2011 Gaggia Classic, with an aluminium boiler and 3-way solenoid valve. It seems to have been well looked after, and occasionally descaled, and is flowing well. I’ve bought some Puly Caf powder and a blanking disc to try backflushing it, and some descaler powder, but right now it’s not broken so I’m in no rush to fix it. The grinder is the Krups GVX231 - burr based, but not conical burrs. It’s okay, although the noise scares the bejesus out of the cats and it’s a bit of a pain having to load the filter basket with a teaspoon. Coffee-wise, I’m sticking to the pressurised basket for now, and getting good cups. People do use these with unpressurised baskets, but it sounds like I’d need a much better grinder for that. I haven’t quite got the hang of the steam wand yet - I’m getting decent smooth micro foam, but need that little bit of macro foam on top for drawing at the end. It’s good fun! Years ago in NZ I worked at a coding shop which had a 3 group head professional coffee machine and a pro grinder, and got pretty decent at making a flat white. Looking forward to getting those skills back.
  4. This weekend’s obsession has been pre-emphasis, one of the weird bits of CDs early history that can sometimes cause problems even today. Potted history, as I understand it: - Technology limitations meant the first generation of CD players only had 14-bit DACs. This resulted in noise artefacts introduced when converting high frequency content. - As a workaround, if was found that if treble content was boosted in volume during mastering, then an analogue high frequency cut applied after the DAC, then then the signal to noise ratio was greatly improved. - This treble boost/cut process was baked into the redbook standard as “Pre-Emphasis”, with flags on the Table of Contents (TOC) and also in the sub-channel of each track to tell players to do the analogue treble cut. In the words of Hendrix, that’s was the good side… here comes the bad side. - As technology advanced, true 16-bit DACs arrived that no longer introduced noise when decoding high-frequency content, removing the need for pre-emphasis when mastering. It was pretty much dead on new releases outside Japan by 1985. - As a result, newer players stopped including the ability to read the PE flags and apply the analogue treble cut. CDs with pre-emphasis sound like tinny, treble-heavy disasters on these. - Record labels forgot about pre-emphasis, and managed to re-release pre-emphasised masters without the required flags, meaning they sounded like tinny disasters even on players that did support PE properly. - Support for PE on CD ripping software is patchy at best, with some rippers not knowing about it and others only checking the TOC and not the track-level subcode. The TOC flag is not always set! As a result, more tinny mess. - There’s at least one example of a pre-emphasised master being used to create tracks for streaming services, which unsurprisingly sound awful. I’ve known about PE for a long time, but not really engaged with it, beyond trying to avoid PE discs when possible. My Denon players actually handle it with no problems, perhaps because Denon’s CD label in Japan was one of the last to abandon the process. I use iTunes for most of my ripping, which (to its credit) detects both TOC and subcode flags, but apparently doesn’t do a great job on the treble cut. Anyway, my current obsession is late 70s/early 80s British synth stuff, and Pre-Emphasis is on quite a few of the Virgin releases, including the copy of Heaven 17’s Penthouse & Pavement I got in the post on Friday. This weekend’s project is finding a good method to detect subcode PE flags and to work out a good workflow for running them through SoX to de-emphasise them.
  5. Agreed, but in the past I have: Missed out on genuine bargains because I sent a question to the buyer before hitting Buy Now, while someone else just went for it. Got rare items cheaply by having a punt when the information is sparse/photo is lacking. Win some, lose some. The RCG 1&2 double-pack sounds like a happy ending, though.
  6. Yup, I also totally misinterpreted the original post as nicking a donation left when the shop was closed. Glad to be wrong.
  7. If you are aware of the forum FF threads, turn to 36. If you are unaware, turn to 112 to face the wrath of @Pistol.
  8. More! Hits: more Japan! The Ultravox is also excellent, a great companion to the Visage I found earlier in the summer. I only knew the title track, which is totally unlike the rest of the album. Misses: not sure the Secret Machines album is interesting enough to keep. I mainly bought it because I love Benjamin Curtis’ work with School of Seven Bells. Hits: Miles, Madness and the Jackson 5. I admit I haven’t had time to fully digest this haul. Misses: I bought Imagine Dragons for my daughter as she’s mentioned liking one of their tracks. But it’s pretty awful. Hits: Cocteau Twins, who I almost never see in the wild. The first half of the good, pre-Loudness Wars Madness comp I picked up the week before. Chvrches, who are popular with multiple family members. Misses: too early to say. The last boot was fairly small, and they’re definitely on the wane for the year. Winter is about doing targeted collection completion via eBay and World of Books, plus the occasional charity shop run.
  9. Charity shops and car boots are where 80% of my CDs come from. My collection swells in car boot season in particular, then I usually do a cull at the start of autumn. Speaking of car boots, it has been a while since I dumped my finds here, so without further ado… Hits: Japan and Sylvian, my best musical discovery this year. The Tom Tom Club CD is great fun and pretty rare, too. Misses: Lord knows I want to like Prince, but I think I’m too white and middle class to cope with tracks like the one which mostly consists of breathy-voiced ladies going “Ooooooh daddy”. PUSA haven’t aged that well. Hits: Bad is the original JP for UK CD, with untampered-with mixes, and sounds great. The Mika albums, 40p each, were the sound of car journeys with the kids this summer. Misses: The Young Knives sound like music generated by an AI trained on bands you randomly hear in session on Marc Riley’s show, think are okay, but never bother to follow up. I actually picked another of their albums up before finally listening to this one. They’re perfectly fine, but in a world of infinite music and limited shelf space, there’s no reason to own them. Hits: Dusty and Aretha, the latter seems to be a UK only single disc compilation using the great remasters from the US 4CD Queen of Soul set. Penguin Eggs by Nic Jones is also wonderful, really great folk guitar playing and voice. Misses: I bought the album Felt by Clean Cut Kid thinking it was an album called Clean Cut Kid by Felt. I’ve been too annoyed by this mistake to listen to it.
  10. Package arrived, and… it’s just the soundtrack. I’ve sent a message to the seller, will open a dispute if he doesn’t respond. Guess I’ll order the JP double pack from Play Asia.
  11. I'd happily pay full whack for Wind Waker, if they use the lighting engine from the Gamecube original, and not the juiced up version from Wind Waker HD that broke the cel shaded look and made everything look like plastic figures. Just the GC version in HD widescreen, please.
  12. Some recent arrivals, which I have wanted for about twenty years: Guitar Vader! From Dusk in particular is so damn good, and it's great to have it in CD quality finally. Need to get a new jewel case on From Dusk, but they're complete with all the mail-in cards, obis and other pointless guff that people obsess about with Japanese releases. Speaking of Guitar Vader in CD quality, if you search archive.org for "Guitar Vader FLAC", someone has done proper FLAC dumps of all their CDs apart from the Beach Panic single. There's also a FLAC dump of Die Happy! taken from the original cassettes, as that never got a proper CD release. It's much better quality than the old official MP3.com tracks from way, way back.
  13. Ah! That's good news, gives me a backup physical option if my package turns out just to contain a CD and/or a brick. I'm sure the LRG one will still be worth at least £20, because collectors. Worms WMD was about £2 on the e-shop last week, but the Super Rare Games version goes for £240.
  14. So after setting an eBay saved search for this and seeing copies ending at anything from £75 - £222, an allegedly sealed LRG copy came up last week for the unlikely price of £20. The photo only showed the soundtrack CD, but the listing clearly states it's the game and the soundtrack, so I took a punt, half expecting it to be cancelled. After radio silence for a while, I got a tracking number today, so we'll see what turns up. My only slight concern is that Shredder's Revenge has now thoroughly scratched my daughter's brawler itch, and she won't want to play it with me.
  15. I took my five year old a few weeks back, he found a chin-up bar for £2 and bought it with his pocket money. We've mounted it in the living room door and he now spends about 40% of his life hanging from it. He doesn't do chin ups, just swings on it like it's a monkey bar, then hurls himself off into a pile of cushions. I reckon he's grown about 2 inches in a fortnight as a result.
  16. I’ve never managed to get far in LttP. I think the problem is that I played Link’s Awakening first, which is a vastly superior game engine despite the inferior hardware. The total uselessness of the shield in LttP in particular drives me nuts, and the Mode 7 map, while pretty, is vague and imprecise compared to the grid based one in LA. I’ll probably play through it at some point, but for academic interest more than enjoyment.
  17. Did you beat the three bonus levels? They were my favourite part of the game. I haven’t tried Klonoa 2, but the GBA (and I think Wonder Swan) titles focus on puzzles and dexterity rather than trying to provide any sense of exploration, and they’re much the better for it. I think the bonus levels of Klonoa reminded me of the GBA games, as they’re similarly focused.
  18. Odd spot today - a cardboard box full of power supplies for classic micros. Sinclair and Amstrad era Spectrum ones (that +3 PSU is huge!), C64 and Amiga, and some Atari ones I didn’t recognise. Must have been dozens. No sign of the computers themselves or anything else related on the same stall. I had a nostalgic sift then moved on. Feels like I’m seeing more micro stuff lately, old games on tape and the occasional big-box Amiga game. I think the dealers hoover up all the console stuff, but these can slip through the cracks.
  19. I’ve also resorted to forensic questioning on Discogs after getting an incorrect item on my first purchase - an original Danish Crunchy Frog disc of Don’t Stop The Beat by Junior Senior, which turned out to be the bog standard Universal Europe CD with the crappy remixes. This has weeded out a few duds, but I’ve had two incorrect items sent even after drilling the sellers. They’ve always given me full refunds without having to return the item, though. It pisses me off, as the entire point of Discogs is the specificity. There’s a reason why there are 85 entries for this album; find the correct one. If you just want to move shit in bulk, go to eBay.
  20. FUND if it was the same as the PC. I thought of that one as soon as PRINCE.EXE MEGAHIT was posted upthread, as they were the two games that were on my dad’s Epson 386SX.
  21. Years on, I still remember that the cheat code for CJs Elephant Antics was to type ITCHY ARSEHOLES, and I never even played the game.
  22. Two things that now have me questioning my memory - first, this was from Amiga Action, which I don’t really remember ever buying. Secondly, I’d have sworn I was stuck at a point much earlier in the game. It’s definitely me though, trying to make it clear that I was very clever despite needing help. He’s wrong about the safe, it’s essential to see the painting inside to be able to identify the correct grail at the end of the game. But finding the combination relies on having picked up a painting from Henry’s house at the start of the game, and offering it to a very specific Nazi guard when infiltrating the castle. Such a flawed game, although I still love it a bit.
  23. I wrote into The One (I think - whichever Amiga mag had The Boggit!) asking for a hint for Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade, as I was stuck in the catacombs. They printed an answer to my question and I got unstuck, but I’d forgotten to put my name on the letter, so they also called me a numpty or something. I’d imagine there’s probably a scan of this moment of glory out there somewhere.
  24. From memory, Stu Campbell (before he went off the deep end) used to have a thing about the GBA version of Zoo Keeper being better than the DS, because the Quest Mode was based on skill rather than luck. It was certainly possible for the DS game to put you in a situation where you couldn’t win certain quest levels if the random drops didn’t contain enough of the right creatures.
  25. Same, I tracked it down but then didn’t play it much. The opening setting (being at your apartment) isn’t as compelling as Hotel Dusk, and the instant game overs felt a bit arbitrary. I hear it gets better, though. I still love that art style, and I’d love to see the series come back.
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