A Retro Gaming Book About Nintendo GameCube

Yesterday I got to add a new retro game book to my collection of books. It is the book about GameCube, “GameCube Anthology”. This book is published by Geeks Line Publishing. I was very content when I found out that this book was available very easily from a well-known Finnish web shop. Now, I am not going to advertise here. Let’s just say that it was easily available. The price was 42 euros with the shipping.

There has been a lot of conversation about GameCube lately. It is a very popular console among collectors. This anthology consists of 360 pages. It is written in English. Through these pages the book tells the reader about technology and how the process of developing the console formed. There are games presented. Actually ALL games that were released, that makes the total of 647 games. It includes games that were exclusively released in Japan, USA or Europe. So, this is all good information for a GameCube collector.

I am not so familiar with Geeks Line Publishing. I did find also a book about Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES for short, and a book about Super Nintendo Entertainment System, or SNES. These both are available from the same web shop. I figured I am most interested currently in GameCube, so I picked this one up. Although a book about NES or SNES would sound interesting to me, also. As I browse through this publishers website I find that they have published similar books about other retro game consoles like PlayStation. All these books seem to be targeted for a collector.

GameCube is a very interesting system. It brings me closer to the feel of 2000s retro games that have this particular combination of game play and 3D graphics. I don’t have so many games currently for this system. I have all in all about maybe 15 or 20 games for GameCube. I have the remake of the first Resident Evil and RE zero, Super Mario Sunshine, Need For Speed Underground and Tony Hawks Pro Skater 4, just to name some games. There were several kind of “new” and “wild” ideas concerning the design of GameCube. First of all the controller was something other than those Dual Shock or original Xbox controllers we were used to. It was also something different to have these small 1,4 GB game discs instead of DVD game discs that had 4,7 GB of space for the game. There was no hard disk. You had to use a memory card. There were also four spots for a controller, so, you could play multiplayer on only one screen.

Why Nintendo did these decisions with the design? I think they probably wanted to stand out and create something unique that gaming fans would love. In my thinking this was a success. How otherwise would you still be playing these GameCube’s games after over 20 years since its release. GameCube sold almost 22 million units. It was manufactured between 2001 and 2007. GameCube was facing tough competition from Sony’s PlayStation 2, original Xbox and of course from Sega’s Dreamcast, that sold “only” 9 million units worldwide. PS2 was  the greatest gaming system back then when it comes to sold units. It sold over 150 million units.

I am hoping to read this book soon. I am currently reading some other stuff also. It definitely seems promising. Maybe I even figure some new games that I would like to add to my collection. It’s just that these games prices are a bit high right now. So, it’s not a good idea to spend all your money to GameCube games. Maybe we will get a GameCube mini console, soon, who knows?

Some Thoughts About a Book

There was a huge clearance at a very popular mall in Helsinki some weeks ago. I didn’t find anything except two books. The first one was about games and how they shape you and your personality. The another, in which I am not going to go so deeply in, was about astronomy. But I will tell you a bit about this book about gaming. I have read the book. It was written in Finnish and I don’t know if it is going to be translated or is translated. Anyways, I will write about it.

The book is written by Aleksandr Manzos. I hadn’t heard of him earlier and this was first book of his that I have read. I haven’t even read any of his articles. There is a note on the back of this book that introduces him as a journalist and especially some sort of a gaming expert. He has written many books. The book basically tells a story of how video games have made an effect to Manzos throughout his life.

The name, “Pelattu elämä – miten pelit tekivät minusta minut”, can be translated, a bit freely thought, into “how gaming formed me and/or changed my life”. There is a kind of a wordplay here also that cannot be easily translated. “Pelattu” means “played” and “pilattu” means “spoiled”, so he has changed that one letter right there in that word and he is making a slight joke there.

The book begins with a story about Fallout. You might know this role-playing game. So you get to choose your gender. And Manzos makes very clear that he likes to pick a female character instead of a male one. He then explains how he likes to play as a female. He likes to pretend that he is a she. He continues to talk about this and explains that this doesn’t affect his sexual orientation and he says he is a straight person in that way. He just likes sometimes to be a cute person just like the picture besides his note in the book that introduces him shows.

There are lots of topics that are dealt with in this book. There is lots of thought about the characters in games and how you in a way empathize with them. Manzos writes about video games in the 90s. He is born in 1988 so he is about the same age as I am and there are lots of same influences in games that I can share with him. He talks about Final Fantasy VII and how it brought FF series to European gamers. There is lots of history that he explains in this book. The reader gets to think about worlds of different games from shmups to roleplaying and also to Tetris and Mass Effect.

I have to admit that it was a bit awkward to first read about how Manzos felt about playing as a female character. It was a sort of thing that you have to process a bit. I enjoyed reading this book. I think this writer has many interesting thoughts about games and personality all in all. I kind of have to give him props for his attitude on his personality. I am a bit lame about this matter. I have enjoyed playing as a macho male character in many games. Maybe that isn’t always how people want to present themselves. And it is now crystal clear to me that he is truthful in a way that he even gets to talk about sexuality. This is a sensitive subject. It is easy to misunderstand someone that has opinions in this matter. There are so many people in the world and I think they are all unique.

There are lots of books about games and gaming available worldwide. I have a privilege to live in a country in which language this kind of a material gets published. There are also many journalists that also have a privilege to write about games here in Finland. One other writer whose books I really like is Juho Kuorikoski and he has written many good books. As I don’t know if this particular book is going to be released in English I don’t know what this blog post has to give to an international English speaking game fan. I wanted to write something about this book. It was an interesting read.

The Book About Console Wars

In the beginning of 1980s there were lots of games and gaming systems available. All of the products targeted for home gamers just weren’t good enough. Some of them were actually garbage. It didn’t take long for consumers to understand what was going on. Remember that E.T. game that is called the worst video game ever? Well, that’s what we are talking about right here.

This however wasn’t the end of home gaming consoles. Nintendo released their Entertainment System in 1983. As they kept in mind all mistakes that earlier game consoles had made with too low quality in released games they were actually able to release a gaming system that was good enough for consumer markets. Gaming became popular again.

The demand for a home gaming console was still there. NES delivered a good quality 8-bit console. They didn’t have so much competition. This was about to change as Sega released their new 16-bit system in 1988. This is when the console wars started to take their form. And this is what the book “Console Wars” is all about.

So as you can figure I haven’t yet read this book all the way through. I have currently read maybe 150 pages of it. The book starts off with a funny foreword by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. The book is actually written by Blake J. Harris and it was released in 2014.

As the book starts to describe how Sega entered the game with their 16-bit gaming console Sega Mega Drive it gives a view of what kind of a situation it was in the beginning of this console war. Of course Sega already had some experience of gaming markets as they had released Master System already. What really changed the scheme was the design of Sega’s own mascot Sonic The Hedgehog.

Sega got their idea for the icon of their gaming system through thinking about other cartoon figures and action hero’s of children and young human beings. There were several figures that influenced the shaping of Sonic. We can mention Turtles and Masters Of The Universe and even Barbie dolls. There is something also in these first 150 pages about Electronic Arts which had many very good quality sport games out there in the 1990s. Of course this gave its own influence in this console war.

Finally Nintendo answered and delivered for all of these gamers another even more powerful gaming console Super Nintendo. Of course there is also the battle between all these handheld consoles released. There were handhelds released by Nintendo (Game Boy), Sega (Game Gear) and Atari (Lynx). Game Boy finally became the most popular one of these three. It had some nice games and while Game Gear delivered a color screen their console battery life was way worse than Game Boy’s.

I find this book very interesting. I am glad that it is available for residents in my area (Finland). While it is written in English I still can understand it clearly. I find reading books written in English to work for my benefit. If you like to reminisce over some classic retro systems and are curious about how the actual history was written I can recommned this book for you.

How Has Learning Computer Science Changed?

I was reading this book about JavaScript programming as I thought came to my mind. The book was dealing how you can launch a new web browser window  and how you can do it in JavaScript. I started thinking a bit about this.

I have always programmed something on top of a heavy operating system like Windows 10 or Ubuntu Linux. I am able to create a new window inside a web browser. I am able to produce code that can manipulate the contents of a web page inside the browser. What about the machine level functionality? How computer works inside?

I came to think about this for a second. Earlier, like back in the 80s, computer hobbyists had a computer that they could program a bit simpler and deeper with. It was Commodore 64. This device was partly an electronic device and partly a early personal computer. You could learn programming in BASIC or you could, if you had the talent and will to learn, program in assembler.

Assembler means that you are talking to the machine as close as possible. You get to temper with how the machine uses memory and so on. Commodore 64 was a perfect device for someone to learn skills like programming.

Today we don’t have such hardware. We do have complicated systems running complicated operating systems. You might get yourself a Raspberry Pi but that isn’t the same thing. I recently watched a documentary that was dealing with this issue. Back in 1990s there were people going to study Computer Science in universities. Nearly all of them had some background with C-64. Now there just isn’t a good enough source that you could basically learn and build on to learn some more about this field.

Things in computer technology have been progressing. It has become more and more difficult to learn the basics. It is also required for you to learn more about frameworks and software that runs on these complex systems. But you must remember that there is always the user in this field also. That’s where you can learn a lot.

Learning Some Java

Learning to program takes lots of time. When I first got interested in it I started with basics. I started making small websites with HTML. Then I learned more about CSS and got myself into some basic image manipulation that I had to do to make my websites look nice. Back then I got curious about actual programming. I tried my hand at JavaScript and PHP. As I was trying to learn by myself and not in any school or even in a single course I didn’t get far.

I really got into some, so to say, “real” programming when I started studying in a local school of applied sciences. I completed a course that was named something like “Basics of Programming in Java”. I learned many new and interesting subjects. First thing you have to do when you are just starting is to learn how to set up the environment for the actual programming. You might be using Linux or maybe Windows as your PCs operating system. You might want to install an IDE which stands for Integrated Development Environment. You also have to install, if you are going with Java, Java. I recommend using NetBeans as your IDE. It enables you to do so many other things also.

Learning to make games is based on learning how to program. You have to master the basics first. Then you can slowly progress to some advanced matters. While studying programming you also get to see a lot about how the computer that runs all these games is actually working. This is one of the most interesting thing for me and it also motivates me. I have alwaýs been a bit of a holic learner. That means that I want to analyze what I am learning deeply and know the subject and figure out how it actually works. The opposite of this learning attitude is atomistic attitude. It means that the learner is learning some plain facts that are true about the subject being learned and trying to memorize these.

The picture related to this blog post represents the first Java book that I bought as I started my studies. It got me really far. It took me years to learn almost everything in this book. I haven’t fully stomached all of the contents. It has been about ten years since I bought this book. So that tells you a bit about the quality of the text. This book is now already a bit old. I think today Python has become more popular than Java for the first programming language.

Where you usually start in programming is that you learn what are variables, how you construct the code with control structures,  like if-else-statements, how to use the most common functions that the language provides, how to read in text from user and how to print it and also how basic arrays are used. This small list doesn’t include everything. How I started was that I basically started a short course. Then I started a bit more advanced course. And then another course about object oriented programming. Since we are talking about Java OOP is important. I think with Python this subject isn’t as important.

Programming is only one part of what a graduated software developer has to know to be able to work professionally. While studying I learned a lot about databases, user centered development, testing, communications, foreign languages, physics, electronics, mathematics and so on. I took a course about processors also. I deepened my knowledge in software development as I had to choose my main subject from telecommunications, embedded systems and software. This choice was made after one and a half years of studying.

One thing I would like point out about studying. When it is summer the school is closed. You have to figure how are you going to spend the time. You might be working. You might want to take some remote courses like I did. Just don’t be too lazy andjust  try make use of this time somehow. Otherwise it might be hard to start working on your studies again when the summer is over. So keep that in mind. Resting is required but a pause too long can be harmful.

A huge part of getting employed is how well you understand what it takes to be a professional. You have to find the best frameworks and the most useful programming languages. Teachers know a lot but always someone knows a lot about one thing and someone else knows a lot about other thing. Keep your eye on the companies that are doing the things that you would be interested doing. Make some hobby projects to display your skills. It might be a good idea to share your projects in for example GitHub. And remember to build your resume. You can even add some supplement pages that give the employer an idea about your skills.

If you are going to study programming keep in mind that it takes time. Keep your focus. It’s a long road. Go for it if you really are interested in it.

What’s going on with my professional life?

It had been a long time since I had wandered to our local library. That has everything to do with this still ongoing issue of Corona. For a long time libraries were closed or you could only go there to pick a book or two you had already booked. So yesterday, after I had finished my work day, I decided to go there. I found two books. One of them was a science fiction book. Other of these two was a book written in my native tongue that dealt management of media presence.

I was excited when I got home. I managed to read almost 80 pages. Today I have read about 30 pages more. On the cover this book is said to give a point of view to the field of media. This book is written in 2015. It’s not the newest book but I think it manages to give a reasonably good sense of the current situation in the field. I am very excited about this book although I don’t think it has given me new ideas to work out any business plans but it gives a nice perspective to what I have already witnessed as I have practical knowledge of social media and blogging.

If you think about this you can figure that things definitely have changed. There have been the transition from printed to online media just to mention one thing. I would like to tell you also something about what this has to do with me and my professional life or the way I am getting, so to say, food to my table. I was very interested in internet and gaming as a kid so it was natural for me to finally start studying information technology. Later I decided to get more into programming. My goal then was to get a job as a programmer.

That wouldn’t however be so easy. Two years after I had graduated from an university of applied sciences I finally got my first job. That had only a bit to do with my education. I started in a  position of a customer servant. I worked there for six months. After that I was unemployed, again, for a year. Then I got my chance to be a software advisor. I was on my way to gather even more working experience. I had failed my goal to be a software developer but I was also thinking ways to make a career of a different kind. At this time I also started writing this blog.

As I was working I got to understand what kind of a progress was going on as my employer, among many other companies, was moving to cloud based computing. This meant basically the transition in ways to work with tools that were provided by Google and Microsoft. So there were many transitions going on. And there still is. You cannot actually never get to say that things in this field would stay still.

Currently I am working in a webshop. My job is to insert the required information of a product to the database with a simple tool that has a simple user interface. I guess you really have to start somewhere. There were no positions available for me to begin my career in software engineering. However I am not so disappointed in this position. I am glad that I even have a job. You actually can never fully understand where you might be headed.

I am looking forward to learning more about our change as we move towards a more digital world. I enjoyed very much of the book I found from my local library. I am going to continue to work and keep active in social media and also keep writing this blog. Today’s life in work is very different from the one our parents entered back in the 70s or 80s. This topic has only a little to do with games but I wanted to bring this post to you the way I did. After all this is also a diary.

Interesting Book About PlayStation

My goal in this blog post is to introduce this subject and this book to my readers. At the beginning I have to make clear that this book is only available in Finnish so don’t get too excited. I am afraid that you won’t enjoy it if you can’t read Finnish text even if it would be possible for you to buy this book. I don’t know if any libraries in Finland have this book. It was pushed only a limited amount of copies and I am afraid that there aren’t enough books for everyone. But that’s not actually a problem for me because I received the book that I had paid already earlier. There were some problems in delivering the book but I think this is understandable since this publisher isn’t a big company.

But to get to the point – this is a book about how at first the first Sony’s gaming console, PlayStation, hit this country and how it was received. We are a small nation of only a bit more than 5 million people that are currently living here. But as players of video games we are very enthusiastic. So thinking proportionally there is a large amount of players in here. People in Finland are basically doing fine and the standard of living is good. To say it truthfully – we buy a lot of games.

PlayStation was a big hit in Finland as it was also world wide. It is said in this book that Finnish people are also faithful to the brand to some extent. The name of the book can be translated to “PlayStation People” or “PlayStation Nation” (rhymes funnily). There were PlayStation fans already waiting when it was time to release PlayStation 2. Have you heard of Sing Star games? Well, it was a series of games that was particularly popular in here. It started from games for PS2 and ended with a game or two released for PS4. It’s a bit sad that new games aren’t being released no more.

The book goes on to explain how PS3 was released. It also tells about a game company called Housemarque. It’s first hit game was Supreme Snowboarding. It developed lots of games for different PlayStations. It is still developing games for PS5 also. The book describes latest and greatest games for PS4. It ends with some words about the release of PS5.

I liked this book a lot. It has 184 pages and lots of pictures so it isn’t a long read. The books availability is a bit limited. I did order it in November and I received it in January. So it was a bit delayed. If you set aside these small problems it is a great book. I ordered a hardcover version of my book. There was also paperback version available when I ordered my book.

Masters Of Doom (Book review)

This book is written by David Kushner. It tells story of two creators of doom and also about id software company that was formed by them. Moving from how they first got into computers and gaming during 1980s to how they created first Wolfenstein 3D on which Doom was technically based. Quake was released by id software. Book ends as these two game developers go their separate ways.

This book was very interesting to read. I even borrowed it to a friend of mine who has been playing games like Doom nd Quake for many years. I can recommend it to someone who is interested in history of first person shooters and computers games as general. I think this book can also be interesting for people that make games themselves.

I have a pocket book edition and I bought the book for a bit under 20 euros. You can propably find more interesting books from my book shelves that have something to do about gaming. They include a book about Nintendo (and Super Mario), a history of SEGA company and some books about role playing games and these are just the ones that first come to my head. So…stay tuned and drop a comment if you want me to write more about gaming books.

I don’t want to rate this book. I also don’t want to make this a commercial so I won’t give a direct link to some web shop. You should find the book, if you actually want to invest in it, by writer and name but the ISBN number is 978-0-7499-2489-8. And remember to borrow from library or check if you can find a copy that is used. Thank you for reading and til the next post.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial