Is Gran Turismo 4 The Greatest Racing Game of All Time?

Although I have still not finished Resident Evil Village I picked up Gran Turismo 4. I have thought about playing GT4 for a while now. It is said to be maybe the best game in the series and it is definitely a very good racing game. It is definitely the best racing game for PlayStation 2.

Another very good racing and actually a rally game of this era is Richard Burns Rally. It was for propably a decade the most realistic racing simulation to be found. It was released also for PC and original Xbox while Gran Turismo 4 was released for PlayStation 2 with exclusive righs. Richard Burns Rally lost its spot as the best rally simulator since there were newer games released in this genre. I can mention titles like Dirt Rally and its sequel Dirt Rally 2.0 just to name some games.

I am playing GT4 with a game pad. The game supports also many tpyes of driving wheels. It would be nice to play it this way. I do have a driving wheel  but I am too lazy to try to learn using it. I would also like to have a decent driving chair. I currently don’t have one. But the game supports driving wheels and why not pedals also.

In Gran Turismo 4 you start with no license and also no car. You have only 10 000 credits. I started with getting a driving license. The first license and also the easiest to get is B license. There are several other driving licenses that give you access to competititons.

You have to upgrade your car if you wish to get some credits. Then you can upgrade your car more and maybe after a while you get a new more powerful car. Sometimes the game gets a bit repetitive because you have to compete in same chllenge for many times to get enough credits so you can make some progress. This can be dull at times.

Gran Turismo 4 has hundreds of cars. Getting a good car can be hard at times. You have to buy some upgrades to get to fiddle with your cars settings. The first thing I got to adjust was the transmission. You can set your car to have a high maximum speed with a lower acceleration level or the other way around. So, you can also make your car accelerate fast which then lowers the maximum speed. This can be handy in tracks that have lots of slow corners and not so much straights.

Graphics are a bit dated. Controls defnitely aren’t. There could be more decent music tracks in the soundtrack. I am talking about these nice tracks that we had in the first Gran Turismo. If you are thinking if you should return to the first game we can consider that if you haven’t played Gran Turismo 1 or 4 at all I think the fourth game would be a good way to start getting into Gran Turismo. I also liked very much the latest game of this series, Gran Turismo 7, that was released last year for PS4 and PS5.

Some Thoughts After Beating Max Payne

I finally had time to beat Max Payne. This is the first game in the series which consists of three games. I don’t know yet if I am going to play Max Payne 2 – The Fall of Max Payne or if I am going to try to play the game all over again with an increased difficulty level. After you complete the game in one of two easier difficulty levels you unlock these harder difficulty levels. All difficulty levels from easy to hard are “Fugitive”, “Hard-Boiled”, “Dead on Arrival” and “New York Minute”.

There was a kind of a problem right at the end of this game. This was the only time I had to look for a clue from a walk through that I found online. Actually that walk through was a YouTube video. I am not going to spoil the ending in any way if you are also interested in this game. This game was released for multiple gaming systems including PC, Xbox and PS2. I am not sure if there are some other ports. I prefer Xbox version since it gives you a nice feel of controlling and you can also save anytime you want. In PS2 version of this game there is only an automatic saving that really pisses the player off many times as the game is saved in a situation that makes it impossible to continue playing. This feature has everything to do with the fact that PS2 doesn’t natively have a hard disk.

I completed the game in “Fugitive” mode. This is the easiest difficulty level. I found out that I didn’t remember all the details that were in the plot. The story is simple but it is fun to follow. The world that Max Payne is placed in is very realistic or naturalistic in a certain way that also describes some urban scenery. There are guns, violence and drugs as well as deep and even satanistic clubs in which the action takes place in this game.

The game is very enjoyable. There is lots of action. The game owes much of its success to action and sci-fi movies like those directed by John Woo and Matrix. You get to view the world from 3rd person view. There are plenty of weapons. Shotgun is a nice weapon but it is very slow to reload. Then there are two types of hand guns. There are also some sub machine guns, a sniper rifle, grenades and an automatic shotgun which is a very powerful weapon. There is a limited amount of ammo. You get to use pain killers to increase your level of health. You have also an option to slow down time. There are two ways. You can first activate this bullet time effect and move to any direction or you can jump to the side as the time slows down. This can be very effective and it gives you more time to aim.

Graphics are very nice. Sound acting is somewhat confident. If you think some games that have a low quality of voice acting, like the first Resident Evil released in 1996, Max Payne does a way better job. The fact that Max loses his family in the beginning of the game gives lots of motivation for the player to progress in the game. You are on a mission. You have to survive in a cold world.

I don’t want to give Max Payne a score. It was something revolutionary back in 2001 when it was released. Today it is still relevant as a video game. It was also the game that made Remedy Entertainment famous. If you are looking for a retro shooter that isn’t as realistic and serious as today’s ultra realistic shooting games you can definitely pick up Max Payne. I can definitely recommend it. There is also lots of replay value. I might even play it through again with increased difficulty level. And don’t forget that this game has also two sequels.

Where It All Begun (And Where Are We Now) With Gaming

I am a game hobbyist that started playing video games as soon as I was old enough to interact with a keyboard and a mouse. Some years later I was gaming on a Sega Mega Drive and some years after that I got my PlayStation. This was the beginning of my hobby.

Today video games are more popular than ever. There is a large amount of money involved. There are also many independent developers. There seems to be some people that really love video games. There seems to be a lot of games released mainly for making lots of money.

There was once a time when video games were a true form of art. You can take for example the game I am currently playing now. I also wrote a blog post about this game. The game is Remedy Entertainments Max Payne. You can see that this title was a success both artistically and financially.

I think I don’t have to point out any of these big companies that try to release very big games. It seems that when the stakes are too high there is a strong propability for the game to also fail completely. The failure will be financial and you definitely wouldn’t call it art in any way.

The involvement of money is one thing that is effecting the whole industry today. I kind of miss the artistic side of gaming. I have nice memories of playing all those PlayStation 1 titles. It is said that playing PS1 is kind of listening to rock music. And playing Sega Dreamcast is like listening to jazz music.

Why was Dreamcast a failure? To put it simple it didn’t sell that well. It did sell 9 million units. That wasn’t enough. We can compare this to how PS2 sold. That was way over 100 million. Even Xbox and GameCube sold over twice of what Dreamcast ended up selling. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are the leaders of todays game console markets as Sega has already made it clear that they aren’t going to release another new console.

Does it seem that you are getting fooled? This might not be the case afterall. If consumers keep buying those titles that they find the most satisfying there might be a brighter future for gamers and gaming. You just have to be aware of the situation. If you are a gaming hobbyist like I am you definitely want to keep up with this field. There is the mainstream. But there definitely does exist an opportunity to pick the games you really want to play. I think that there is a way to have good experiences in gaming. There is an alternative.

There are loads of games, old and new, for you to choose. Don’t have the latest console? Don’t worry about it. You can pick yourself a Xbox 360 or some other older console. It doesn’t cost you as much and you can have a really good time. There are many ways to get some good quality games for your personal computer.

There is always a way and also a place for art inside gaming. It might not be the deepest art you will ever see but it does have a value for gamers. Observe your possibilities. What you are buying is usually a way for also a gamer to influence what is going to be available in the future.

Getting Back Into Max Payne

Max Payne is a shooting and action game released in 2001 by Remedy Entertainment. This well known game development company has also come up with titles like Control, Alan Wake, Death Rally and Quantum Break. The company is based in Finland. I have tried to apply to there as a junior software developer some years ago. As you can figure I didn’t get that job back then, but it was well worth trying.

I played Max Payne back in 2001 with my personal computer. It was the first video game that featured an element of game play called “bullet time”. This effect made the main character to slow down. Actually the time was slowing down for a moment. This way the player had more time to make an accurate aim. The player had his or her choice of weapons. These included many different hand guns, uzi, shotgun and even a baseball bat for close encounters.

Max Payne was somewhat a masterpiece that can well be called art. This was to my knowledge also what they were aiming for as game developers. It did sell well too. Max Payne does own a bit of its success to action titles and movies like Matrix and those action films directed by John Woo. The game also includes a joke in which this movie directors name is used. You can find this joke easily if you play this game.

Max Payne featured Sam Lake as the main character. He has also written the whole plot of the game. As I know a lot about this game it doesn’t come as a surprise that he has some background in producing movies. The game doesn’t have so many cut scenes and I think this was because the games release would have been delayed too much. There are many funny details in this game. In overall the game is very entertaining. You can go a long way using your skills and experience from many of first person shooter games. This game has a view of the third person.

I am getting back to this game in early 2023. It did cost me 15 euros. I bought it from Xbox store. This game is compatible with Xbox Series X if you still own a copy of the original Xbox game or if you find it from a game shop. I didn’t this time get a physical copy of the game. I got it as a digital copy. I also bought the sequel, Max Payne 2, The Fall of Max Payne and Resident Evil Village. So I spent 15 euros for Max Payne 2 also and 20 euros for Resident Evil Village.

The game plays very smoothly on my Series X. Graphics look just fine. Controls are good. I did turn invert aim off. Otherwise controlling was made easy. It did take some time to get used to but after a while everything was great. The only thing I am a bit unsatisfied with is the lack of cut scenes which are replaced with these comic slides that feature some audio also. I have only started playing this game once again. I have earlier finished it about 2 or 3 times. This time the featured image displays a screenshot.

The Launch of PlayStation 2

Hello to my readers! This is the first post in this blog this year. This year is surely going to be exciting. Diablo IV got a release day. This is 6/6/2023. I am also waiting to get into playing Forza Motorsport 8. I have also a topic for this post so let’s dive in.

I am once again writing about the gaming console that has sold to this day the most. It has about 156 million units sold. It is, ladies and gentlemen, PlayStation 2. In the last post I swore I wouldn’t buy another PS2. Guess what? I got my new unit just yesterday. I had to tell you the truth. I couldn’t resist the thought of playing once again these great games that PS2 has to offer for all the gamers worldwide.

When actually was PS2 released? The year was 2000. Some people were very excited about it. I remember that I had just some months ago sold my PlayStation 1. I had a PC that I used for playing video games. Or is it correct to use a term “computer games”? I don’t know and I don’t actually care. I had just started studies in a high school. I was very keen on studying and the future was looking bright. My favorite game of this era must be Diablo II.

Of course there were competitors. Sega, Nintendo and a new comer, Microsoft, released their own game consoles. Finally, if we look at sales, we can figure that Sony was this time the dominant winner in this struggle to win hearths of gamers. GameCube sold 21 million units, Dreamcast sold 9 million units while Xbox sold 24 million units. How many units did PS2 sell? Once again we can say that it sold actually 156 million units.

Why did it sell so much more than its competitors? There are many reasons. I remember how some of my friends were against the idea that Microsoft as a huge technology company was getting into also the game business. PS2 had also a DVD player. It was sold for a low price. The price was 300 dollars. DVD players were more expensive than that. This must be one of the many reasons.

PS2 has a huge library of games. There were many of them that were released at the launch. The featured image of this blog post presents one of them. It is SSX. One of my friends went and bought PS2 when it was launched. The console was popular to say the least. We were talking about people getting in line hours before the system was released to make sure that they would be able to also buy one.

SSX is a decent snowboarding game. I remember seeing the graphics of the game. I don’t remember if I palyed it. It might be that I tried it for a while. It was the first game that this friend of mine bought. We watched some rented DVDs with this system. Televisions were heavier than today. They also couldn’t present sharp graphics we are used to today.

My other favorite games for PS2 are Metal Gear Solid 2, Colin McRae Rally 3, GTA III and Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3. PS2s game library contains thousands of titles. I think there are some hidden gems and I also think I haven’t gotten into them yet. There were some space shooters that I definitely would like to play. Also there are games like Forbidden Siren that I haven’t yet touched to this day. What about driving games? You can definitely trust Gran Turismo 3 and 4 in this matter.

My PS2 cost me 110 euros. It is now fresh and I am going to use it. I have thought about what can I do if I break it. What happened to my last PS2? It was working for about two years. Then it just started to ingore loading a game disc. There are actually very easy ways to fix this problem and you can definitely find help from your search engine if you face these issues. What did I do when my PS2 broke? Well…I tried to fix it my self and went on to order a replcement part. I took my PS2 apart and found out that I had ordered a wrong part. The model was different. So now I have a working PS2 that doesn’t have a disc reader in it at all.

It might be that my PS2 will last for 2 years. It might be that my PS2 will last for two months. I don’t know the answer. We will find out. I know also that know is the time to really enjoy this gaming console. I already have over 50 games. It seems that I kind of missed PS2 back in 2000s. I am right now waiting to get my hands on that Dualshock 2 controller again. Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Moving Slowly Towards Wirelessness

Wireless controllers have been around already for a long time. I have been a bit slow in utilizing them. I first encountered this issue back when PS3 was the most powerful PlayStation console. The battery life wasn’t so great back then. I went and bought two three meter long cables for my two Dual Shock 3 controllers so I wouldn’t have to charge them all the  time. If there were some practical charging stations I am sure that I didn’t have one back then.

Back in 2014 I removed PS3 from my setup completely and replaced it with PS4. As you can probably imagine I didn’t have any retro consoles or at least I didn’t include them to my setup. I have talked about this earlier in some other posts in this blog so I am not going to go through this again.

So I got a PS4 that had a wireless controller. I wanted also this new Dual Shock 4 controller to transform into a wired type of device. I used the cable that I already had and bought an adapter. I had to do this since Dual Shock 3 had a different connector than this new Dual Shock 4 controller. This however wasn’t enough and I went and bought another three meters long cable. The point here is that I didn’t like wireless controllers.

I got many retro consoles. But I didn’t get a new latest console until I bought Xbox Series S. This was in 2021. It had a very good wireless controller. I was still a bit unconfortable with it being wireless. For a long time I had a cable for this controller. It was only when I got a good charging station that also had modified lids for battery slot and also two batteries with it that I got really into using wireless controllers.

If you read my last blog post you already know I got a Pro Controller for my Nintendo Switch yesterday. It is wireless. It came with a short charging cable. The first thing I did was that I charged it. It takes six hours for it to charge fully. I am trying to use it mainly as a wireless controller.

The controller feels nice. As mentioned earlier it doesn’t have those annoying trigger buttons at the back of the controller. I played some NBA 2K with it. If there would be some good quality charging station for this controller I would have a use for it. I haven’t found one at least not yet.

Many retro consoles do have wired controllers. For a younger gamer it might seem odd that I am so used to playing video games with a wired controller. There is also a one difference in Pro Controller of Switch and the one that is for Series S and X. That is that Xbox’s controller has a removable battery which makes it more modifiable compared to the Pro Controller. Also PS4 and PS3 controllers don’t have a removable battery in them. I haven’t opened a controller like this so I don’t actually know if the battery can be somehow be replaced.

This was once again such an interesting topic and I wanted to write about it. So, thanks for reading and have a very merry Christmas my Dear Reader!

Pro Controller for Nintendo Switch

I got myself a Pro Controller for Nintendo Switch. I first played with joycons and then got a cheap wired controller but since I wanted to get the best possible gamepad and not pay too much of it I made my decision. The controller cost 70 euros. I also bought Grand Theft Auto 2 for PlayStation. I got my package just some hours ago.

I connected my new controller to my Switch with a cable that was included. It isn’t a long one. It takes six hours for the battery to charge fully. The controller feels nice. You don’t have to worry about hitting accidentially these trigger buttons that my old controller had. It was a bit frustrating to have those buttons and they were only making things difficult. I kept pushing them for a long time but got used to them a bit. I didn’t find them to be practical.

So this is a licensed Nintendo Switch product. Even if it’s already 2022 Nintendo keeps assuring the quality of devices produced for its hardware. This was one of those actions that led to video gaming becoming popular again back in the 1980s after Atari effed up almost everything. If you don’t know what I am talking about we can make it clear. I am talking about the video game recession that happened because there were too many games released and a lot of them were of poor quality. You can probably once again use your favorite search engine to find information about this.

I am going to try this controller after it has charged fully. How do I like Nintendo Switch compared to Xbox Series X or PC (those are the only “new” game consoles I have)? The screen resolution isn’t comfortable in Switch. There are however lots of games released for it that aren’t released on any other console. I really like Switch because it enables playing in handheld mode. I have regretted about buying Switch lite two years ago. Currently I don’t have use for it.

There is just something charismatic in Nintendos whole brand. I mean that this is the company that brought us Nintendo  Entertainment System some decades ago. Nintendo Switch was released in 2017. It has been almost six years now. There have been rumours already about the new Nintendo console. While we are still not ready to see it there is always a possibility for a gamer to get a Switch. Currently available are Switch, Switch OLED that has a price tag that is a bit higher and of course there is Switch Lite that works only in handheld mode and cannot be connected to a televeision but is also much cheaper.

Why would you buy a Nintendo device? Because it keeps amazing us gamers. There are always new games released for new gamers and also for those that have been Nintendo fans for several tens of years. I highly recommend Nintendo to all those players that want to know more about video games.

Why Am I a SEGA Person?

Sega was my key to this whole video gaming hobby. I think it was 1993 when I got my Sega Mega Drive. I played a lot of it. This was of course making me not to play so much NES, SNES and even later Nintendo 64 and GameCube. Lately I have tried to catch up on Nintendo’s retro stuff. I have even studied some Game Boy games.

Nothing created such a rage inside me than a Mega Drive game that I was trying to beat. You can say that Mega Drive games are a bit repetitive in their nature so you had to be perfect on a try and if you failed you had to start all over again until you eventually would run out of lives and after that continues. Yeah. We didn’t have lots of memory for saved games back then.

Sega also made me to be angry to my mates that were playing some Streets of Rage 2 with me in collaboration mode. It became aggresive so suddenly. As I was playing with my brother we had many arguments. We were told that we took the game too seriously. We were separated and we both couldn’t play Mega Drive for that day anymore. This made me think even when I was a small ten-year-old child. And I didn’t take it so seriously. There was just something about how Sega made players a bit frustrated. I think that is some of the appeal of this franchise.

After Sega my life with Nintendo’s gaming products was again pushed towards later times because it happened that I bought a Sony PlayStation in 1997. This of course made me distant also to Sega Saturn. I have only lately been again interested in it. As PlayStation had real 3D games I thought it would absolutely have so much more to offer compared to Saturn. This thinking has changed, maybe just this year, and I have been interested in Saturns games which aren’t actually so much 3D games but it has some very interesting titles that Sony doens’t have.

So these choices made me to play certain games. Today I understand that the variety of different and good or decent game titles are from many different consoles and every consoles have at least some good or decent games be it that many of the best games are released on certain systems. This makes me definitely interested in exclusives. And this interest hasn’t faded when it comes to modern consoles.

What I was essentially missing a lot as a child were mainly NES, SNES and Game Boy titles. Later I missed some Saturn titles and N64 and GameCube titles. I also didn’t ever get a Dreamcast. So what caught my attention was first Sega and then Sony. Did I follow Sony a lot? Maybe not. I never had a PS2. Can you think about this? I hardly can.

All in all we can say that there are for all of us these gaming consoles that brought us to the hobby or maybe to some to the profession. It is your own curiosity that makes you want to dig deep and try to discover some old games that you haven’t yet played. And this is also what makes video gaming interesting.

Who Is This Guy (Super Mario)?

What’s the game you start to play when you want a nice platform game and you don’t mind if it is a bit retro? Of course you play Super Mario Bros or Super Mario Land or Super Mario Bros 3 or the New Super Mario. Whatever your choice is one thing is certain – there are lots of options here. That’s basically because there seems to be no limit to how many and how varying game titles have been released in this video game characters lifetime.

The featured image of this blog post is the cover of a book about how Nintendo and Mario “conquered” USA. Of course this character made its way into the minds of all gamer’s across the whole wide world. Super Mario was chosen to be the main character that represented the whole Nintendo as a company. There are lots of games and also some other material in which Super Mario has been used.

But who is this guy actually? We get to understand that he’s a plumber. He has a brother named Luigi. I think he’s a plumber too. Mario has the tendency to try to be a hero and he is always trying to save the princess. Mario is a bit softer than Sega’s mascot Sonic. Basically Mario is a product of the beginning of 80s while Sonic seems to be from the end of 80s and also from the beginning of 90s.

Of course all the real hardcore retro gamers know that Crash Bandicoot took the title of the most fascinating video game mascot back in the 90s. But you have to realize that Mario was the first of them. Nintendo was the brand that made gaming great again after Atari had effed up the whole game with it’s foolish strategy on releasing poor quality video games. Basically, back then, Atari just got too greedy.

And only Nintendo is able to come up with this kind of material. At the same time it seems a bit naive and childish but do you know what kinds of mushrooms he actually is able to consume? A mushroom that looks like Amanita Muscaria and makes him to grow. Wow! How did that happen and how did it happen so fast. Maybe there is something more to it than we at first can observe. Maybe parents should look after their children despite the fact that Nintendo seems to be so settled with its in game content.

Super Mario remains as a character that is a bit mysterious. You don’t get to talk with him in deep conversations. You might remember him from your childhood. Is he the one that is responsible for luring all these people in to video gaming? There haven’t been so many interviews or story lines in games that would have described his personality. Yet you definitely recognize his voice as he says “It’s me…Mario!”.

Why are things this way? Maybe it has everything to do with how under developed video games were. We had two dimensional pixel graphics and the audio quality was poor. There just weren’t enough space for this character to form some kind of a more progressed image in our minds. I think this is also a strength for him. He is kind of abstract figure. He was made to be simple and easy to approach. So Mario is at the same time very simple and also very attractive in a mind of a determined retro gamer.

THPS 4 on GameCube

I can definitely say that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is close to my hearth. I have been involved with playing it since the first game came out in the late 90s for PlayStation. THPS series has many games and they have been released for several different gaming consoles and also on PC. So there are lots of systems that you can play THPS games on. That also means there are different ways to control the character inside the game.

It goes almost without saying that I am used to playing some THPS with a PlayStation game pad. About two years ago I wrote a blog post here in this blog about how the THPS 1 + 2 HD remake felt like on PS4. Of course the way how you could use a modern DualShock 4 controller was amazing. I was very pleased with this pair of remakes. The graphics were also very nice. I felt like these games really respected the original games.

This time however I played THPS 4 that was released for GameCube. If you take a PS1 controller and compare it to a GameCube controller you start to see all these differences. But when you get to playing the controller feels almost the same. There are some differences. There are also many similarities. Basically there is a group of four buttons on the right. There is also only one trigger button on the right side and also on the left side.

I really like playing THPS 4 on GameCube. I also like very much of this era of gaming. THPS was released for GameCube in 2002. There is a certain appeal to the games of this time. There were more games released and while the graphics weren’t anything you could really compare to today’s games they still make an impact to me as a retro game hobbyist. I like the feel that GameCube’s controller gives.

I am very happy that I decided to buy this game some time ago. It gave me some value and I mean something else than financial value. Tony Hawk once said that THPS games cannot get you to learn actual skateboarding but they can give you an idea of how skateboarding feels like. I am also content about having some free time to get into this game.

I have currently completed, I think, 22 percentage of the game. I get to spend some hours playing this game during last weekend. I have also played some WRC Generations on my Xbox Series X. It seems to be a decent rally game. So, maybe I write something about it the next time!

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