Something New in PlayStation 1 Emulators – DuckStation

I keep my eye on YouTube. I watch videos there. Gaming is one of the topics that I am most interested in. It doesn’t come as a surprise that there are countless videos about Xbox Series S. I found a very interesting information from one specific video that introduced a way to play PlayStation 1 games on your new Xbox.

This is possible through a new retro game emulator called DuckStation. I am not going to go to all the details of how playing PSX games this way is actually possible. After all it is possible. You have to enter to Xbox Series S in a “developer” mode. Then you will have to install DuckStation and tweak the settings. Of course you need also the BIOS and roms of all the games you are going to play.

DuckStation is a very powerful emulator application. You can enhance your graphics a lot and it is promised that you can play old PS1 games with a 4K resolution. Why would you want to use your new Xbox for this? Maybe it is because it has a limited hard disk space or maybe you just haven’t found the most interesting games for this new console. What ever the reason for you to be interested in DuckStation is it can provide you an experience on retro gaming once again with all your classic PS1 games. DuckStation is also available for Android and Linux and Windows.

I am not so interested in this way of using my new console for retro gaming. I prefer to play my emulated PS1 games on a PC. There are many reasons. One is that you can choose to use Dual Shock 4 controller through DS4Windows. I prefer to use my controller this way instead of using the new Xbox game pad. Playing PS1 games with Xbox’s controller? That’s definitely a no from me. When considering it this would be a good way to expand your collection of games a bit. Maybe you can play Xbox with a different controller somehow?

You can find more information about DuckStation from the link below:

https://emulation.gametechwiki.com/index.php/DuckStation

Gaming with Raspberry Pi

So I have this old Raspberry Pi 1 that I got back in about 2011. While it has many uses I haven’t utilized it in a while. What makes this interesting for the readers of this blog is that it can be used for retro gaming. While it is not able to run decently games that have 3D graphics it is perfectly good for playing retro video games like SNES games to give an example. Newer Raspberry Pis are capable of running some more advanced games that have 3D graphics. It is also not a bad choice to pick up a NVIDIA Shield if you are interested in emulated retro gaming and you want to be able to run games with 3D graphics. Shield can even run some Sega Dreamcast with Sony PlayStation games. If you want to be able to run PS2 games I think this is not, at least yet, your way to go.

So we have this Raspberry Pi 1. It has many ways that you can connect different equipment to it. It has two slots for USB. The connections are white which tells us that they are of type USB 2.0. This doesn’t affect us so much. The connections could be colored blue that only tells that they would be a bit more advanced and more effective in transmitting data through them. But for a USB controller or even Bluetooth dongle would work with USB 2.0s just fine. You can even expand these USB slots with an USB hub. It can provide you more USB slots.

If you don’t want to sacrifice one USB slot for Wi-Fi dongle you can connect your Raspberry Pi to your network and internet with an Ethernet connection. There’s no Wi-Fi built in the first Raspberry Pi but some newer models also have this feature included. So you might want to consider buying for example Raspberry Pi 4 instead of the first release. The first release also only supports SD memory card up to 32 GB. While this is just enough to support playing retro games, it might be too small for some uses. There is HDMI connection which delivers the sound and the picture from the computer to the display. There’s also a slot for video output and a small slot, actually a mini-plug connection, for audio output. Raspberry Pi also needs a power input that is provided with 5V micro USB connection. You can probably use your old smart phone’s cable for this, that is you have one available.

You get that Raspberry Pi needs a memory card  and a power cable to work. You will also need a keyboard, maybe even a mouse, a cable for Ethernet and an HDMI cable. That’s just for setting up. You have to install yourself a good operating system. For gaming I would go with RetroPie or Lakka OS.

Here’s some links:

https://retropie.org.uk/ and https://www.lakka.tv/

There are many ways that you can get the image file to your memory card. You can probably read some deeper instructions from those links that are above this text. It depends on your host operating system but I know that you are able to make the installation with Windows and Linux PCs.

After getting the software installed you need to fiddle around a bit with the settings. You can usually just connect your game pad and configure the controls. After that you only need to use the Raspberry Pi with your controller. You need to transfer the roms to your device also. This can be done in several ways. You can for example transfer them to USB stick or you can transfer them from your local network. I am not getting to this since this blog post is not actually a tutorial. I am only discussing about the possibilities and I am trying to give you a clear picture for what it is like to get your old, dusted, Raspberry Pi to work for you as a gaming device.

I really think that this is all about this subject. You can run your SNES, NES, Mega Drive/Genesis, Master System, DOS and Atari 2600 games like this (just to mention some of the most popular systems). I would recommend for your game pad Logitech’s or a USB SNES pad although there are plenty of possibilities. Some controllers might not work so don’t try to plug your PS4 controller in as it won’t probably work and would need some fiddling.

The Smallest Xbox Ever Released

I’m looking at it. I like it. It’s the smallest Xbox that is to this day released. It’s almost as small as PS2 Slim was or is. What got me to buy this thing? Well, I had been thinking about buying a newer Xbox for a while. My thoughts were centered to Xbox One. But why would I buy it for 250 euros when with 310 euros I’ll get a newer Xbox?

There are some things you have to consider when thinking about buying this gaming device. It doesn’t give you 4K video output when playing games. It only goes as far as 1440p resolution which is still a lot better than Full HD. To make this point clearer you can think about PS4 which gives you 1080p resolution and 1080 pixels being the actual height of the display. So, to make this even more understandable, Full HD means a picture that is 1920 pixels wide and 1080 pixels tall.

With not going in deeper details about the sharpness of gaming displays we shall continue this quick explanation about what are my feelings towards Xbox Series S. That’s basically what this thing is called. Why is it called this way? I guess Microsoft wanted to give it some basic name to make it clear what kind of a device it is. There is also another new Xbox model that was recently released. It is called Xbox Series X.

The main difference between these models is that S doesn’t have an optical disk drive at all while X has. X has also this 4K gaming display supporting ability. X is also a bit more expensive. It costs about 520 euros. The situation globally has been  tough. There haven’t been many opportunities to buy this new console be it the S or the X. I am also very satisfied that I got mine so fast as I’ve heard that some people have been waiting for their console for as long as six months.

What more would I want to tell you about this new console? It has been working nicely. The first game I bought for it was Remedy’s Control. I also bought Halo 5 and a remake of Final Fantasy 8. I wasn’t actually thinking about sales but I found out that there was, and actually still is, going on a sale in Microsoft’s Xbox Store. Getting a fully digital gaming console with no physical play and installation disks made me consider about getting faster internet connection. My solution to this problem was to let the game that took about 42 gigabytes to download over the night. I’m still considering updating my connection because I  might need a faster one.

I like the controller. The layout is your typical Xbox controller layout. I am not going to argue about if it is better than PlayStation’s. It is enough said that they differ a bit from each other. The controller works with two AA batteries. I am also considering some other solution as I don’t want to keep changing the batteries to it all the time. I think there is at least a cable available. That would be a USB-C cable that is at least three meters long.

One thing you should really think about is that this thing only has a bit over 500 gigabytes of storage. So you can’t really install so many games to it. You can actually buy storage upgrades. I haven’t thought about this so much as I have only three games right now and I think that is a lot for starting the experience and getting to know the device.

I went and bought this thing. Right now I am really enjoying it. I am very proud of it. One thing that really pushed the purchase for me was that there were only a limited amount of these devices available and that the price was actually as low as it was. Right now I’m playing Control. I hope I will get to know more about Halo 5 soon.

Studying Physics in Colin Mc Rae Rally 2.0

Colin Mc Rae Rally 2.0 is a very interesting game in many ways. I wrote recently about different strategies you can have in this game. Now I would like to return to the physics and how this part of the game is handled. I think this game was the first rally game and also among some first racing games that I really liked (Gran Turismo was also great) and got into. It was released for PC and PS1. I played both of them.

There is no doubt that the way CMR 2.0 handles the part of physical modeling was in its time revolutionary. I know lots about games but I also have studied a bit of physics. I have learned physics mainly through school and by studying it in a school of applied sciences. However I am not a physicist. I am more of a software designer. So I know about some coding stuff also. This might open this fact a bit of how I find thinking about these subjects extremely interesting.

I haven’t seen any source code from this game. This is a commercial game and its code isn’t open source. I think for many of the fans of this game this doesn’t come as a surprise. The game was hugely popular. Releasing it as a freeware would be, well, stupid, you might say. However there are some very interesting details that open up for me as I play this rally game.

Let’s think about friction. It deals with surfaces. In a car you can have different tires that behave differently on different surfaces of road. So this is one thing. While driving on icy or snowy road you might want to use chains with tires. While driving on tarmac you want to use soft tires. And on wet surface you use special tires that perform nice on for example wet tarmac. Same goes for muddy surfaces or roads that are of gravel. You have to have a good grip on the road you are driving and friction can give you this.

There is a force that is effective on any road that you can drive on the whole planet Earth. It is called gravity. You have to have good and sufficient suspension in your car. On roads that are bumpy you have to have more suspension for overcoming the differences of altitude. Too much suspension is not good either if you drive on flat road.

You can also break and accelerate. You turn the wheel in right direction at a right time. The key is to try to steer correctly or at least keep the car moving as fast as possible. If you don’t break at a correct time you get to grass or some other surface that slows you down. Crashing also slows you down. This has everything to do with a thing called momentum. If an object doesn’t receive any push to any direction it keeps moving with the speed it has to the direction it is moving. At different time there is different amount of push to the vehicle. If nothing gets pushed the car keeps moving. Bigger objects take more power to get moving and are slower to stop moving. So the more mass you have the slower you are.

I think this is enough physics. I repeat what I said earlier. This is not so precise of a study. I haven’t seen any source code and I didn’t describe my theory so thoroughly. I hope this motivates you to learn more about physics. You can find more information using your favorite search engine. I definitely feel that you will get more excited about this particular rally game.

How Did I Get Started With Call Of Duty

I first got into playing Call Of Duty games back in 2006 when I first bought then already a bit old gaming console – the original Xbox. So it was fourteen years ago. I started to look for games, mainly used ones, that were of good quality. I ended up buying maybe three games that I thought were interesting and CoD was one of them.

So there have been many games released inside this game series. I might not have played all of them but I can tell you that some good ones are the first Black Ops and also Modern Warfare Three. I liked the first CoD but I don’t think it’s the best. We had already seen games like Halo on Xbox. It wasn’t anymore so special to have a first person shooter on a console. I am talking about the situtation that we had in the end of 90s when players were thinking that you couldn’t really play FPS’s on gaming consoles and they would have to be played solely on PCs. So the first CoD wasn’t the first FPS on a console.

I have really enjoyed playing CoD series’s games. After getting into the first two of these games on Xbox I went on to buy some CoDs for my PS3. I even have played some CoD games on my PC. I think the newest game in this series is Ghosts for PS4. I recently grabbed CoD Black Ops 1 for PS3. I really enjoyed it. I also bought WWII for PS4 but haven’t yet played it.

I just liked very much how you move inside the game and how you can aim and move. This playing style combines realism and play ability and I think that was finally the thing that got me hooked. Action inside the game is supported with many different options of weapons and historical facts that are at least somewhat correct.

Still this series of games isn’t perfect. I was disappointed in one game of this series that I bought for PS4. It was Advanced Warfare. I just couldn’t enjoy it. The weapons that were used brought to my mind some clips I had then just watched that described how soldiers shot civilians in the Middle East. So I really couldn’t enjoy the game. I’ve heard some bad criticism on Infinite Warfare also and I do have witnessed as it was sold for 10 euros in many gaming stores.

So I hope this post gave you something. Whether it was a new point of view, a nice recommendation or review of a game you was thinking to buy or any other type of reason that you liked this article. It’s nice if you liked it. Keep playing them games!

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 gaming consoles

PlayStation Classic

I bought my PS Classic for 40 €. The price was so low that I figured I should buy it. This device flopped very sadly. It had only 20 games. Gamepad included has too short cable and it doesn’t have analog sticks. Games included were not so special though it had FFVII and Metal Gear Solid. If you consider buying this think seriously about modding it and don’t pay too much. The price was originally 120 euros.

Retro Trio HD+

This is cool gaming console. It combines NES, SNES and Mega Drive. What that means is that you can play all cartridges that you buy from gaming stores or you might have kept them for a long time. Retro Trios price was 110 € so I think it’s cheap. It also gives HDMI output so the graphics aren’t too messy. If you want play with older retro type television I don’t recommend this. In this case you should get original systems.

PS3

I didn’t really buy this one. It was a gift to my then-girl-friend-now-my-wife. It was expensive as new but now you can pick one, I think, for under 100 euros depending on games or controllers that are included. It has a hard drive. Depended on model the size of hard drive varies. There was also some kind of backward compatibility with PS2 and PS1 games which depends a lot about the spesific model of PS3. So yep, there were multiple models, for example Slim Model and so on.

PSOne

My first true console that brought us the experience of 3D graphics. I bought this one from flea market for as low as 15 euros. It didn’t have controller with it so that effects to the price of course. PS2 controllers are compatible with it so I just played with my PS2 gamepads. It requires memory card so I had to buy one for about 10 euros. Memory cards work with PS2 but PS2 memory cards don’t work with PS1. This is a smaller version of PS1. Very cool product I would say and definitely retro.

Xbox 360

I bought this one from a friend who sold it to me as she didn’t play so much and also her gaming console was becoming old. She hasn’t bought a new console. Not yet at least. I have maybe 30 games for this and I have mainly picked them up from flea markets and gaming shops. I invested 70 euros in this one. I first thought I would play and get all Xbox 360 only games so first games I played and also completed were Alan Wake and Halo 3. I also have Gears Of War, Mass Effect, Fable, Halo, Halo wars and so on. This system has backwards compatibility on some original Xbox games but not all. The list can be found Googling.

PS4

I bought my PS4 as my birthday present in 2014. That was also a moment I turned 30 years old. It cost me about 500 euros and I had Tomb Raider with it. So the game and console summed to this amount of euros. I didn’t really like this one so much. It had no backwards compatibiltity, I didn’t like so many of games that were released to it. It was a bit of a disapponitment. It had some good games. Games I played most were NBA2K14, Dirt Rally and Diablo 3. When companies like Sony keep coming up with new devices every six years or so I am currently thinking not buying fifth PlayStation but don’t you just follow me. Make that decision yourself.

PC

Personal computer was my first gaming device. It will always be there. I might play old retro games or the most new one. Provides large collection of controllers so you can pick your favourite USB gamepad. Easiest one to modify also if you want to upgrade your hardware or software. Much love to PC.

broken

– original Xbox

Yeah, so I broke my Xbox. I’m not going to buy a new used one to replace it. I now just have a large collection of games that aren’t supported on Xbox 360. So they lay now inside my dungeon and in my closet buried there. I’m not planing to sell them. Maybe some day we see Xbox Classic?

– PS2

This is sad one. It started to malfuction so I opened it up carefully. I tried to clean it. Finally I decided to try to fix it by replacing its optical drive. That didn’t go well as I had a wrong replacement part. So I just screwed back some screws and now it’s in condition that it starts up but you cannot boot a disc. So it’s useless. Maybe I buy a new used one or wait for PS2 Classsics release if there is one coming to us ever.

Diablo series – Are you already waiting for Diablo 4?

I first got in to Diablo as my brother bought it for PS1. My mom destroyed the game, but that’s another story…I played this, but got really deep in Diablo 2 couple years later. I played it on my PC. I don’t think it was released on any other system back in the day.

Fast development of my role character and action in this game soon got me addicted. One Saturday I played Diablo 2 for six straight hours and that was kind of an record for me as a young teenager. I finally got through the whole game. It took many years for me to return to this series of games.

I had heard rumours of Diablo 3 being in development. Had read an preview article about this game. Hype was very strong. I finally saw Diablo 3 on my friends apartments floor. I was surprised that it was already and finally released. I was so hyped that I almost instantly bought a copy. I had to update my PCs GPU but it only cost me some 50 €. I liked Diablo I 3 also.

I ended buying a t-shirt and a poster. I still have them. And I remember how much traffic was generated back then as the game needed internet connection to register the player and to get to playing the game. It was very popular game. Had me playing Diablo 1 and 2 again a couple of timesboth.

So I thought Diablo 3 was OK as a game. I am waiting for another Diablo now and it is number four this time. While there hasn’t been any information about release date we are currently waiting for the game to be published on PS4 and PC or at least these are the systems I am waiting it to be released for. It is somewhat uncertain and time will tell if it will be out on PS5 also.

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