My Favorite Coffee Mug

I usually start my day with a cup of coffee. In our home we have many different coffee mugs. Some are generic. Some have some meaning to them. For example a mug that says “Boss” would be perfect for a person in that position. The mug in this blog posts featured image is Fallout themed one. It reminds me of some good times I had back in the days playing the first and second game of this role-playing-game series.

I have also a PlayStation coffee mug. It is fun to have these kinds of mugs that are themed after some of my favorite subjects. My wife rarely drinks coffee from these mugs. So it’s also a sign of whose cup it was or is. These mugs seem to be very common as almost every game store has them. I have picked these mugs actually from supermarket. I don’t know if there are any left anymore as they seem to be very popular.

A mug like this costs a little under 15 euros, maybe 13 euros, or something like that. For me these products represent a bit of nostalgia. They are themed with these retro games that I liked to play or actually the PlayStation one represents a system I remember I played way back. I can hardly believe it has been already over 20 years. That’s how time progresses. And games do too.

If you think about PS1 and then think about PS2 and even PS3 you can definitely get the idea of how much there has been a progression. Although some things that were very meaningful to me then are still some of the most influential things I’ve had in my life. Of course there are big things in life but I will always remember how it was when I was a young teenager.

I am not going to tell you where to find these mugs. Here in Finland they have been popular for some time already. You can probably check your favorite game shop. I almost bought also a DOOM themed coffee mug. There was some variation to these themes. So if you pick up one you can have one that suits your nostalgic feelings the best.

Doom 64

Today was a day off since it’s Saturday. So in the morning I picked my Xbox Series S controller and figured that I would play a bit Doom 64. I have purchased this some time ago. I have played it and also advanced a bit. I am currently in level 21 out of 28 levels.

If you are interested in classic Doom this might be the best Doom version for you. It has this certain retro feel to it. So Doom 64 was first released for Nintendo 64 and that’s where the name comes from. This game has currently a price of 5 euros. So I encourage you to try this game. There really aren’t any ifs in this matter. I can recommend this for every type of a gamer.

The original Doom was released back in 1993 by Id Software. The graphics were mind blowing for its time. Playing the game can first seem a bit confined but you get the hang of things quickly. There are several different weapons in Doom. My favorite is shotgun but you can also shoot enemies with a rocket launcher, machine gun or plasma gun. You really cannot aim vertically and you can not jump. You can however in Doom 64 set running to automatic.

Shooting enemies is only one aspect of Doom 64. You have to solve some puzzles in somewhat complex levels. Sometimes you have to find a key card to open a door. In the end of the level you get some statistics about how many enemies you eliminated, how long it took to get through the level and how many secrets you found. The level of difficulty can be adjusted considerably.

I really like the Android app that Xbox provides. This featured screenshot was very easy to take and it was also easy to add it from to this blog post. So Microsoft has made things easy for me. Currently I have spent a bit over 9 hours playing this game.

There really isn’t so much in this topic. This is a great game. I think the quality-price ratio is very correct here. You also don’t have to take this game so seriously. I recommend if you think you are going to get this game to relax and explore it thoroughly. There are many thing different here compared to modern games which at times seem maybe a bit boring. This game was released in the days when we could witness a great progression in games we were playing. The era of 3D modeled games was only beginning back then.

Games That Brought Consoles to 2000s

I remember clearly my first steps that I took towards game consoles. My first device was Sega Mega Drive. I could keep playing for maybe two to three hours back then. Games were simpler than today. They were challenging but they were also very repetitive. Graphics weren’t anything amazing. Controlling your character with the game pad was simpler as there were less buttons to use than gamers today have.

I got to know PlayStation soon. I have gone over this already several times in this blog. It was about 1997 and I got my PS1. I got to play Gran Turismo. Racing seemed to be perfect genre for console players. I am talking about consoles here because there are clear differences between computer and console games especially in this time period. There was something great about games back in the 90s. It gave players a hint of where this field was heading.

I don’t see today anymore such a great difference between PC and console games. Back then we were excited about PlayStation. It was easy to plug in to the television. It had awesome new kind of game controllers that were never seen before. A bit later analog sticks made it possible to move even smoother inside the game’s three dimensional world. Consoles seemed to have conquered our living rooms while computers had their position in our home or work offices.

So PlayStation had ruled for a couple of years. It was clear that some day there would be even more powerful device in our living rooms. This was PlayStation 2. It had a capability to play DVD content. It had its flaws also. It didn’t have Ethernet or hard disk drive. But it had something we lack today and that was the extreme backwards compatibility of games and even memory cards and controllers. What were the games that pushed console gaming more and more towards the leap that was ahead?

I was a bit busy in my life this time. I was away from gaming for several years. Althought not completely but I made some choices that made an impact personally. I sold my PS1 and all my games and other accessories. I totally skipped PS2. I only got to know a bit about this era of gaming as I played some PC games and original Xbox games later. I was interested for a short period of time later about PS2. I have to say that I am not so interested in getting to it anymore. I enjoy newer games more and PS2 games don’t give me such a rush of nostalgia that PS1, NES and Sega Mega Drive are able to bring. But there were these great titles that I used to play. And now is a good time to get to them and to how they revolutionized console gaming.

If you think about it, it becomes more and more clearer. This was what would eventually happen. Games would become more and more popular and more and more acceptable as a hobby of an adult person. Think about titles like Resident Evil 2, Metal Gear Solid and Silent Hill. You can move in these games to any direction. There is a lot to discover and explore. They have a story in them. Graphics are as good as can be if you consider the systems that were running these games. This is finally what brought the need for new gaming device and that device was PS2.

Games were changing and improving in many sides. People were starting to take gaming a bit more seriously. It wasn’t anymore just a hobby for children. And I think this is what makes that era in gaming so important and special.

Gaming Has Evolved

I have been playing video games all my life. It all began in the 1980s. I first played some PC games on our family’s computer that was running some version of MS-DOS. I really can’t remember it so clearly but I played games like Bubble Bobble and Leisure Suit Larry. These gaming session were a bit short as a young boy was starting to get attracted to gaming. And games were different in those days.

I took another step in my path to being a gamer that I am today. It was probably 1993 as I got a Sega Mega Drive. This was something different. I had played some NES games with my friends. Now I had a 16-bit gaming console. The first game I played on it was Sonic The Hedgehog. It came with the system. I remember playing it and some other games for some hours. I maybe played for three hours. I never played longer than that.

Gaming was progressing but it was still mostly considered to be something for children. If there were some older people playing Sega or Nintendo they were considered to be a bit childish. And that’s how games were back then. They were mainly targeted for not so mature audience. What would you think? We had a plumber collecting mushrooms to become larger and a blue hedgehog that was running really fast. But there were some role playing, fighting and sports games that were going to make some adults gamers too.

I was beginning to mature. And so did video games. It was around 1997 when I got a PlayStation 1. It was the first gaming console that also a bit older people would play. It made way for gaming as a hobby for a person of any age. There were no limits anymore. You could find your friends father playing video games. And it wasn’t even that awkward. Not anymore. How exactly were games now different? They had much more to give for gamers. There was action. But there was also a sharp detail of graphics. 3D modeling brought better experience. Games also had a story that would keep you entertained for long period of time.

I played longer sessions with my PlayStation than I did with any other console earlier in my life. I remember playing Diablo for six hours one week end as I was a young boy. So the time I could spend playing had doubled. I remember that I had at least 20 games for PS1. It might have had even 30 games. I had beat most of them. I think I spend maybe 20 hours for a game. That’s a lot of playing video games for a young person. This was actually nothing if you think about how much time beating a video game today might take. To make a comparison I can tell you that I have recently played Diablo II Resurrected for almost 50 hours and Gran Turismo 7 for 30 hours. And I haven’t finished them yet.

You can have gaming as your hobby. You can also spend a lot of time playing games. There are several devices that you can play games on. There are gaming consoles, mobile devices, handheld consoles and computers. If you are good in playing video games there are things today like eSports that can transform your gaming hobby to being a professional competitive gamer. If you like gaming you can do like I do and write to a blog or even to some gaming magazine about games. So you can become a game journalist. If you are interested in the technical side of video games you can try to become a game developer or game programmer. You can even be a game designer that doesn’t even program. There are lots of roles in gaming industry if you want to make your hobby also a profession.

Gaming has really evolved. I started getting into gaming as a young kid back in the 80s. I grew up playing games. It has been a hobby for me for a very long time. On my path I have seen how games have become more realistic and the audience has grown and it has also become more diverse. Now everyone can play. It doesn’t matter that you are old. It doesn’t matter what gender you are. Everyone can play video games today. And that’s one great thing to keep in mind.

Next Nintendo Gaming Console in 2023?

Last year (2021) we witnessed the release of a slightly improved Nintendo Switch model. It’s price tag was about 400 euros and you can now get the version that was originally released in 2017 for about 300 euros. Switch Lite, the handheld console, was released in 2019.

There seems to be a repeating pattern here. It looks like we are seeing a new Nintendo gaming console every two years. As there is a lot of conversation conserning about the posiibility of a release of a Nintendo gaming console that can give the player a 4K resolution. There were rumours back in 2021 just before they released details of this new Switch console that it might have capability to give out 4K. It didn’t happen.

There are still lots of Switch gaming consoles for gamers to buy out there. It seems Xbox and PlayStation are loosing some of their users to Nintendo because of their worldwide delivery issues. This gives Nintendo some power that they might need. This is very interesting situation. And I am hoping that they really can bring a gaming console that is of high quality and that has as great performance as can be expected.

There are so many question. What will be the consoles screen resolution? Will it be 4k? Will it be even sharper? How much will it cost? Is it going to work as a  portable device? What games will we see on it?

As is common manufacturers of gaming consoles tend to compete with the final products price. They will sell it with a loss but after a while they get their profits from selling games for the system. This probably once again brings down the upcoming consoles price. It is weird to think that Nintendo Switch Lite was only 220 euros when there is a handheld gaming device like OneXPlayer S1 that has a price of 1420 dollars. This seems to be a trend now. So let’s hope the people working in Nintendo can get us the best device for the best possible price.

Are you already waiting for the console that might be released next year? I have been thinking, maybe even dreaming, about getting it. As I have earlier said I would have bought Series X but they weren’t as easily available as I was hoping. So this makes me think about Nintendo once again.

My Xbox Series S

I decided to write about my dear Xbox Series S. I bought this gaming console last years summer. I originally placed it inside that Ikea shelf that has eight places for consoles. This shelf holds now seven of my game devices. So I actually moved my Series S to the right side of my television. And one place in this shelf has a basket in it where I store my controllers and also some cables.

Why did I move my Series S to its current position? I was thinking that it might not get enough air flowing through it. Although I haven’t heard of cases where a new Xbox console would have overheated. I thought about it for a while. As I placed my hand on the console I felt that it was extremely hot. So I thought I should place it better.

The console never gave me any error messages but I  noticed that it was cooling way better. I couldn’t feel almost any heating after I had placed the console better. I first thought I would place it on the floor but came to other thoughts a bit later. This was finally a good place for the console.

I have enjoyed my Xbox Series S greatly. I think the price was suitable. I hate that my Xbox doesn’t have so much disk space but I guess if you can play at least two or three games at a time and have them installed must be enough in these situations we are currenty still facing. I would have surely bought a Series X if they would have been available.

Some games I have for Series S are Call of Duty Vanguard, Diablo II Resurrected, Control and Mass Effect Legendary Edition. I have been content in having all of my games digital. I would like to play some of my Xbox 360 games with this new Xbox but as my Xbox 360 still works this isn’t so much of an issue. I love playing older or remade games also on my Series S. I really like the controller. It must be compatible with also a PC. I haven’t really tested. I do have  a USB to USB-C cable for the controller so I don’t have use batteries.

I think I got, once again, a nice picture for this blog post. That small device that is placed to the right of the Xbox Series S is my HDMI selector. It enables me to connect several HDMI devices to my television. I definitely had to buy this because I have so many consoles and my television had only three HDMI inputs. I also have room for up to three SCART connections in my television.

I might some day take some more pictures of my collection and setup that I have for gaming in my home. I do have lots of games and so little room. I just other day moved some of my games to storage. I still kept most of my games in this gaming corner that I have.

Is it a Good Moment to Buy Nintendo Switch?

So, this is my first post of the year. Welcome to 2022 for all you that are right now reading this blog. Before Christmas I was thinking and actually seeing conversation about how Switch would be sold for something like 250 euros after holidays. It is not that I would need a new gaming console. It is that that it is sold for so low price.

I have also been waiting for Xbox Series X to be available. I am actually thinking if I should buy Switch while there is no Series X available at the moment. While newest PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles have had serious issues with availability Nintendo has been ready to bring their consoles to gamers worldwide.

The price for Switch gaming console has been for a while about 320 euros. The price didn’t, at least yet, fall so much as was predicted. When I made a search for the price it was about 270 euros right now. That is the current lowest price of the console here in Finland.

Should you buy a new Nintendo console instead of Series X or PS5? There is of course the possibility to get the new updated Switch OLED which costs a bit more. The curent price is 399 euros. This console doesn’t bring you 4K graphics or anything even near that. This is propably a good time to have a conversation on the topic.

Nintendo Switch keeps selling. Nintendo is bringing many games to their console. For consumers there is also an option. That means that you have to wait. Maybe you wait for the newest Playstation. Maybe you wait for the newest Xbox. Or could it be that you are already waiting for the newest, upcoming, Nintendo console.

While Nintendo is dominating handheld gaming Sony and Xbox are struggling for their spot in the living room of gamers. Is it cool to play video games with your smart phone? Whatever your question that you want the answer to is one thing is certain – there are many question here. It seems to me that waiting might be the solution.

 

About NVIDIA Shield TV

Some years ago I had a situation with my television. It wasn’t a smart TV. I wanted to watch more content that I liked from it. I tried to make this possible in several ways. First I tried connecting my old Raspberry Pi, the first model, to it. I found out that it wasn’t powerful enough.

What I tried next was to install a Linux distro to a computer and then hook it up to the television. So I got my hands on an old computer that was not used anymore actively. I installed many distros. I was most successful with first Lakka OS and then I also tried LibreELEC. I wasn’t satisfied.

I started thinking if there would be some other solution. My thoughts were first centering around Google Chromecast. It was cheap. Then I found this perfect solution. It would cost a bit but it would cost even more to get a smart TV. This solution was Nvidia Shield TV.

I have now written already three paragraphs in this blog post and we haven’t really touched the main subject yet. The subject of course is the device that allows you to run any Android app and in that way allow you to play games, new and also retro, and see any television programs that you like. The image related to this post displays the remote controller of Nvidia Shield TV.

There are two models of this device available. One has a price tag of about 150 euros and the other, Nvidia Shield TV Pro, has a price of about 230 euros. I have the cheaper one of these two. I also bought a 128 GB memory card with the device. IT connects to your network only with a cable. So that is a small minus. Otherwise I have been happy to use my Shield TV.

It connects to your television with a regular HDMI cable. So, as I said, you can install any Android app. You can hook up your favorite game controller through Bluetooth. I used Dual Shock 4, which is PS4s controller, and I also made sure that my controller had power for it. In this case Dual Shock 4 takes its power from a smart phones charging cable. It uses micro-USB.

There is an app for retro gaming and it is Retroarch. You have to copy your rom files through your local network which is very easy actually. I wasn’t able to play any PS2 games but I found that I could run any PS1 and Dreamcast games. So it is more powerful than your Raspberry Pi would be. And I think there isn’t any decently working Android emulator to be found at the moment (please correct me if I’m wrong).

I can recommend NVIDIA Shield TV to someone that needs a bit more power than the newest Raspberry Pi provides and wants to watch TV programs provided by any Android app. There are also features that let you mirror the games from some other device like a PC.

New 2 TB SSD for PC

I have a small SSD, it has 256 GB of space and I also currently have a HDD with 500 GB of space. While the space that modern games take is all the time increasing I decided to get some more space. I think also I should have thought about this issue before I bought my PC. I bought it a year ago. If you are thinking about buying a new PC I can say that you propably need a large SSD to store all your games.

I finally decided to upgrade my PC with a new SSD that has 2TB of space. IT wasn’t cheap. IT cost almost 200 euros. But I wanted to make this investment so that I could play also the latest PC games. I have a good PC to play these games with so why not make the upgrade.

One of my favorite games on PC is Dirt Rally 2.0. It takes almost 130 GB of space. So one game can take almost 200 GB of space. IT makes me think about if 2 TB is also enough. Would you need even a bigger SSD? That’s when you start to think about your gaming budget. This 2 TB SSD cost about 200 euro. There were larger SSDs of this same model but the price would be 380 euros for 4 TB and 780 for 8 TB. If I would like to build a computer of my dreams I maybe would put some more money into this but for now 2 TB must be where I draw the line.

It would be nice to purchase the latest hardware but it would be finally a huge investment of money. If you think about how much would CPU and GPU cost and what other parts would you need the cost would be enormous. And it would cost way more than you would spend for a new gaming console like PS5 or Xbox Series S/X.

I bought my PC a year ago for just under 800 euros. I had to make some compromises. I couldn’t buy such a PC that would be perfrect but this purchase I was actually very comfortable with. I use PC for many other things also than for gaming. I use it to program and make music also and those activities don’t require so much from the hardware.

I am about to replace my 500 GB HDD with this new 2TB SSD very soon. I hope everything goes nicely and I get to install some games. Thanks again for reading. It is also nice that there is a sale on Steam that begins tomorrow so maybe I also pick up some new PC games.

Xbox Documentary Series on YouTube

It’s been 20 years from the release of the first Xbox or should we call it original Xbox. This was Microsofts successful attempt to get into game business. The path was rough. There were several obstacles on the way.

So the history of this gaming console has been collected to a form of a documentary series. It has six episodes in it that are about 40 minutes per episode. It is possible to view this series from YouTube for free. I can definitely recommend this for someone that has been interested in gaming for a while or to someone that just finds this content somehow interesting.

I have watched five episodes out of six. They have covered topics like the dominance of PlayStation as a gaming device in consumers living rooms and how Microsoft felt that their business was in danger. They just had to react and go from producing software to creating some hardware in the form of a new game console. It wasn’t always clear that there would be a product like Xbox now is in the markets.

So the first chapters describe how Microsoft started in the gaming business. I think everyone that has been involved in consuming games can say that they remember these problems that Xbox 360 had. There were so many consoles returned. It was said that the console was rushed. It wasn’t properly tested. So lots of products ended up returned. Microsoft handled this problem as well as they could and it cost it a lot of money.

I am going to watch the last episode of this series soon. The story is now in the beginning of the battle between Xbox One and PS4 and how Xbox declared that its console would fit perfectly in almost everyones living room. It is also clear that Nintendo had to play its cards in this game also. Did you know that Microsoft made an offer to buy Nintendo way back? If you are interested in this documentary series you can find “Power On: The Story of Xbox” from YouTube.

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