My Story

Oh. Where do I begin. I was born in 1984. Two years later my little brother was born. As any parent my parents noticed how clever I was. Or so they thought about it. They thought I was special. We lived in Helsinki for the first four years of my life. We moved to Vantaa in 1988 as my father got a job in high-tech electronics factory. He ended up having a thirty-year career in that company. Later I got to solder some components together but that’s another story.

So it was about 1987 when my father bought our family our first personal computer. I was very interested in it. I started to figure out some characters from the keyboard and I even wrote something with a keyboard before I learned to read. Our family didn’t teach me or my brother to read until we went to school and we learned to read and write actually there.

I was about nine years old when I got my Sega Mega Drive. I really liked Sonic The Hedgehog, Streets of Rage II and NHL 94. I had already played some Sierras games, some casual games, like Space Commander and many others. Space Quest, Larry, King’s Quest, Indiana Jones, Operation Wolf, Bubble Bobble, Sim City and so on.

This was only an introduction to the world I said Hello to as I got a PlayStation. Playing Mega Drive was fun. But the cartridges didn’t bring so much content. You can think about it. A Mega Drive game is about 1 MB. There is about 650 MB on a CD-ROM. So you can figure out how the games would be more longer and they also had more to offer as more and more people and even adults became aware of this situation.

PlayStation really sparked things for me. I played. I enjoyed. Other things in my life were playing basketball and going to junior high as I was studying here in Finland. I really enjoyed life. I even got myself a skateboard and actually also a snowboard. We hang around in Helsinki or Vantaa at parks and had really fun time. It was a fun period in my life.

I played so many games. I had about forty titles and I was eager to loan any games that my friends had. I didn’t get to modding then. I played Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, Gran Turismo, Oddworld, Colin McRae Rally, Medievil, Fear Effect, Final Fantasy, Silent Hill and Diablo.

I finally sold my PlayStation for so little money. I don’t recall the actual sum but it was about 120 euros. Damn. For all those 40 games, memory cards, two controllers, cables and everything else included. I would have liked to save them for me to use later. But I didn’t think about it then.

I went to Finnish Army in 2003. I had just graduated from high school and I had a place to study in a university. So things were looking up to me. I was not home playing games. I was shooting targets in the woods. So there were some years that I was, lets say, “lost in the woods” with my plans and my life. I believe this is not uncommon at all. I was then 20 years old.

Then in 2006 my mother found an original Xbox in sale. She bought it for me. The first game was Need For Speed Most Wanted. I was back in the game. Later I got to know my wife. She had a PS3. So I bought Final Fantasy XIII to it. I started really getting into gaming again. I started a school in programming. It was a school of applied university from which I graduated in 2016 at last.

So this brought me to my roots again. I started collecting retro in 2017 when I got a PS2 for me. Today I have a bit tens of devices and hundreds of games for them. I enjoy playing. It is my work, hobby and the thing I get most out of.

What is your story? I would like to hear something from you, my readers. Please leave a comment here or contact me some other way.

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.

History Of Optical Drive (inside gaming)

Optical drives have existed in gaming consoles for tens of years. The technology existed way before it was used in mainstream game devices. Back in the 90s there were several consoles that were equipped with optical disc drive. One of the earliest was the expansion to Segas Mega Drive called Mega-CD.

As Compact Disc technology gained ground there was a strong change coming in the form of 3D technology. Sega maybe was one the firsts to make use of new technology but it made a slight mistake. It didn’t have a gaming console capable to produce 3D models and/or graphics. Later Sony made its entry to gaming business with PlayStation and claimed its spot as the developer of the most popular gaming system.

During this period there were several devices released from Philips, Atari and Panasonic just to name a few. The competition was tough. We can compare the amount of data that game cartridges had to what was possible through CD technology. An average CD-R disc holds 700 MB. Nintendo 64s cartridges hold only about 35 MB. This meant that there was 20 times more space for any game to be developed.

First CD-ROM made its way and later came DVDs in the form of Sonys PlayStation 2. This was back in the beginning of 2000s. DVDs offer about 4,7 GB of space. This format was followed by Blurays that hold data from 25 GB up to 100 GB depending on which technology it uses or to say more precisely how many layers the disc has. Blurays are used in the latest generation of gaming consoles but this is about to change as PS5 and Xbox Series X are making their way to the markets later this year.

Todays games can take up so much space that you have to download a large update during the installation of the game. As speeds of internet connections keep developing it is today possible to produce gaming consoles and computers that don’t have, or don’t need to have, any optical drives. This gives the consumer an ability to just pay the game and install it directly to the hard drive. Of course this makes it easier to manage game collections but maybe something is lost as there is no physical material to collect or showcase. All in all digital gaming makes manufacturing gaming devices cheaper and it also shows this way to the consumer. PS5 will be released as all-digital version and a version that has an optical drive just to mention an example.

Service Games – The Rise and Fall Of SEGA (Book review)

Sam Pettus wrote a book about “the rise and fall” of Sega. This book was published in 2013. Sega has been releasing some games but the latest console was DreamCast. And it was released in 1998. So the book is some years old but if you think of this subject, how Sega conquered and commanded the markets first with Mega Drive and later with other consoles, you find out that this content is not outdated. It might be currently relevant as being part of console gaming history. And in my opinion – this is something that every gamer should know about. So what was and is Sega and what kind of an impact it made on gaming and how it can be seen even today?

This book begins the journey to Segas history from the beginning to the fall. The first console released was SG-1000. I have never seen this console. The breakthrough for Sega came as Master System, a well-known gaming system, was released. This was the beginning of console war between mainly Sega and Nintendo. This happened in 80s as there first appeared to be two greatly popular gaming consoles on the same market. Atari 2600 was already considered older console and it was replaced with these newer consoles. Atari had its consoles but they couldn’t compete with Sega and Nintendo.

Sega was active and brought many machines to use in arcades. As Mega Drive was released at the end of 80s Sega promised to bring, finally, arcade quality gaming to mainstream consumers homes. The war raged on and the battle continued. Nintendo brought SNES to markets a few years later. These systems all failed to compete with PlayStation that conquered home gaming console markets from the middle of nineties to the end of the decade. But that’s enough of 3D gaming and PlayStation. Let’s get back to what happened inside gaming world in late 80s and 90s.

So Sega had Mega Drive, that was called also Sega Genesis in some parts of the world, and Nintendo had to compete with its NES that was not as powerful as Mega Drive. NES challenged Sega by making some quality games as Super Mario was the main character to lead Nintendos effort to beat Sega. Sega later came up with Sonic that was the main character and represented Sega in this battle. Nintendo tried to make games that were more propriate for children. Their main focus was to bring high quality games and make them be as non-violent as can be. And in some way they succeeded in this. Sega released games also that had violence in them.

Sega had its success with Mega Drive. They had a bad strategy with pricey products that consumers weren’t so interested in. So there was SNES released by Nintendo. Sega released 32X and Sega CD that both failed to gain popularity. After that Sega came up with Saturn that had a tough job to compete with PlayStation. And after that Sega gave its very strong effort to bring to the markets potentially the best console ever made. And some definite fans of Sega are saying that they accomplished just that.

DreamCast did sell but it didn’t sell enough as Nintendo had released N64 and PlayStation 2 was on it’s way. DreamCast ended up selling “only” 9 million consoles worldwide. For a comparison I can tell that PS2 sold more than 100 million consoles. So PS2 sold more than ten times more. So it clearly was a failure for Sega. They ended manufacturing the console as it had only been in the market for just a few years. At the same time PS2 sold steadily and continued in producing. There are many reasons why Sega failed. And many of them were not that they made mistakes but in fact the case was that they had to compete with some very good console manufacturers like Sony and also Microsoft that released also their console at the beginning of the century.

This book is very good. I had fun reading it. It tells you the whole story of Sega as a company and opens up some ideas of how they succeeded and finally failed badly and left the gaming console industry. If you are a Sega fan this is an important piece of gaming history. I am myself a big Mega Drive fan beginning from games and music that was made with and for it. This is not, I repeat, a paid or other type of commercial but more like a recommendation for gaming and Sega fans around the world reading this blog. We will be back, soon, with the next article.

The Story Of Remedy Entertainment

I chose to write this post about Remedy Entertainment. It was formed in Finland and I am born and living now in Finland. This makes me somewhat proud because I loved Max Payne series and Alan Wake. I evenn played Death Rally back in the days. I am not so familiar with latest releases but I can believe that they are of high quality. Latest games that were released include Quantum Break and Control.

Remedy was formed in 1995 in initiative of Samuli Syvähuoko. It was based on Future Crew that was a demo group. Demos were small multimedia type programs that actually didn’t have any interaction so they weren’t full games or anything else you could play. Demos we’re developed by underground coders, graphic artist and electronic musicians. This scene was popular in Finland in the 80s.

Remedy started working in Syvähuokos parents garage and there was no salary offered to the team developing their first game. Their first game was called Highspeed. Apogee became interested in this game. So it was later released by Apogee. The name was changed to Death Rally as Apogee wanted at some more content to this game. This is also the first game of Remedy that I got my hands on. I remember playing this with keyboard that I shared with my friend. The game was good and very entertaining. It ended up selling over 100 000 copies. This was only the start for Remedy.

As Remedy was successfull they started to form ideas for new games. In 1996 they started to develop first game of Max Payne trilogy. The game was first introduced to public in 1998 at E3 fair. The game was 3D and it reminded of Tomb Raider. Max Payne was released 2001. I remember the first time that I played it and I remember it clearly. Graphics were good, games environment was appealling and “bullet time” had me shaking my head on how good the game actually was. I couldn’t understand how this kind of piece of art did actually come from my home country.

Max Payne became a brand. There were two more games released in this series and there was a movie called Max Payne also. So it was a big thing all over the world. Then came a game called Alan Wake. That I remember playing on PC and later on Xbox 360. The game was good but in my opinion it didn’t have same feeling in it as Max Payne, a police working in New York, had. Game was althought good and I liked it. So there was lots of work that they did together with Microsoft as Alan Wake was released only on Microsofts gaming systems (PC and Xbox 360). The year was 2010. Alan Wake sold about 4,5 million copies worldwide.

In 2013 Remedy was already working with Quantum Break which was finally released in 2016 to Xbox One and PC. It is the biggest production in history of Finnish videogame industry. After that they started working with their next game that was called Control. This game was released last year (2019) and was very anticipated by gaming fans all over the world.

I have been interested in gaming since beginning of nineties. Remedy makes me still proud as it was formed in Finland – my home country. It made me have fantasies of becoming a game developer. But I found out that I’m not the only one that wants to work there and it is a big company. I have to admit that since they have office in Finland I have submitted some job applications, believe it or not, there. It is very hard to get to work there and you definitely have to have talent and skills if you really want to work there. This might not be a surprise since I have a background in programming and Remedy is very popular company and even bigger in Finland.

My history in gaming – How it all started

My father ifluenced me as his profession was engineer. I somehow remember as he brought an old personal computer to our home. My mom was a bit concerned but finally agreed that it would be good for me to learn some skills with this piece of technology. So I started with PC.

First games I remember playing were Bubble Bobble, Sierras adventure games and Prince of Persia. When I first started at school being seven years old NES wasn’t the most powerful gaming console anymore. So everybody had Segas Mega Drive and I wanted one also. I think it was 1993 when I finally had saved money to buy this thing. I played Mega Drive for several years. My favourite games were Sonic, Streets Of Rage and NHL 94. It was 1997 when I got myself Sony’s PlayStation.

During PlayStations era gaming was becoming more popular and young adults were getting in to gaming more than ever. Before this gaming was thought to be a bit childish and stereotype of a player was a young child. This changed and when PS2 came out gaming started to be a very common hobby for consumers at every age.

At about 2000 I played Diablo 2 with PC. I enjoyed 3D gaming. I was studying in high school then and a profession inside gaming became a dream job for me. After high school I was living with almost no touch to gaming for some reason or another. 2006 I got original Xbox as a gift from my mom. I started playing it. My girl friend, who is now my wife, also had PS3 back then so I got back to gaming. I missed PS2 and I’m little bit sad that it went like this with my dear hobby.

I played many years with PS3. I then got PS4 maybe in 2014. I bought many classic retro consoles and took my Mega Drive back from my parents house and after moving to another appartment in 2018 I got myself television lever from IKEA and placed 7 differnet consoles to our living room. That was awesome. This is the tip of my gaming hobby. I also worked for half a year in store that was dedicated to gaming.

I have understood that there are lots of games around there. It’s important that you experiment and find the ones you like because there isn’t enough time, in humans living span, to play all of them thoroughly. I find best games to be sometimes retro and sometimes newest ones. But now all games don’t get me excited anymore. I have bought games from game stores and from flee market. I have also a friend who sells used stuff like games so I sometimes buy them from him. I have a nice collection. Some PC games as Big Box. I currently have these consoles, I play all of them, PlayStation Classic, PS3, Super Retro Trio+ HD, PSOne, PS4 and Xbox 360 and of course my PC.

History of survival horror games

In this blog post I am going to tell you my experinces about survival horror games. I first started getting in to this genre by playing Resident Evil. I haven’t palyed so many of any earlier games. I know there must be some games that are somehow related but we are concentrating on more modern ones here.

Alone In The Dark influenced very much Resident Evil which then again inspired some elements to Silent Hill. Resident Evil and Silent Hill series were more popular ones inside this genre. We have also games as Forbidden Siren and Clock Tower.

Resident Evil, released 1996, brought anxiety to gamers with camera angels, too low amount of ammo and ability to save rarely. These effects are not so common inside horror games today. So you might find it interesting to try to play some of these older RE games of this series. My favourites are parts one and two.

Silent Hill challenged RE at the end of 90s. In this series there were lots of games released and many of them were released as PS2 games. It’s sad that we haven’t seen new SH games after, I think, Downpour. I recommend first, second and third but you may find some other games also to be very interesting.

PlayStation 2 had a lots of good survival horror games that had all their own different flavours. Some modern survival horror games include Resident Evil 7, remakes of 2 and 3, released soon, Evil Within (of which I have no experience) and Until Dawn. The Last Of Us has to be mentioned also. I myself have a PS4 version of this great game.

If you are looking to find more games of this genre and discover the roots of this survival horror gaming you might find some more earlier games that I haven’t covered here. I focused on games released after Alone In The Dark. Please leave a comment if you will and you can also share some links if you wish. Thank you for your time and we will return for more reading in next blog post!

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