Pro Controller for Nintendo Switch

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Nice Gaming Magazine

I have subscribed a gaming magazine. Oh my. Since I have a day off today, because it is the national independence day here in Finland, I decided to continue writing to this blog. I have been thinking about getting a subscription of some game related magazine. There aren’t so many available here in my home country. So it was this time easy to pick which one to order. I thought about getting a foreign magazine named Retro Gamer but I found out that it was discontinued and I was not able to order it.

The price was cheap. Much cheaper than what it costs if you buy these magazine as individual copies. “Pelaaja” is the name of this gaming magazine. It is written in Finnish. “Pelaaja” can be translated to “Player”. What a nice name, don’t you think? Pelaaja has been published monthly for about twenty years already. There have been many other video magazines but none of them seem to last so long in this field. Oh, and there is a competitor here in Finland. It is a magazine called “Pelit” which if translated means “Games”. So we have very nice and simple names for out magazines here.

I made a subscription now for a year. I was glad that this issue dropped to my post box yesterday. I don’t have to go to the store to see if there is a new issue available. For a years subscription I get ten issues and two fully digital issues. It’s a nice deal. I am not going to advertise here so I won’t tell where I ordered it. It was about 80 euros per year. If you get a permanent subscription you probably will get it cheaper also.

One issue of this magazine costs 10,90 euros. As you can figure, it is a nice deal. In this December’s issue there are stories about the new God of War, WRC Generations, the new Cod and also stories about many other subjects. I have to make clear that it is completely written in Finnish. I don’t know so many English video game magazines. But I decided that it was time to give Pelaaja a go.

So this blog post was again a piece of my thoughts and it shows something about my private life also. I am glad that so many of you are currently enjoying reading this blog. I hope you also follow me on Instagram. I have also a Facebook page for this blog but it is not so popular. I think that’s the story for today.

What the Heck is MAME (and Why Should I Care)?

You might remember video games like they were in the 1980s or 1990s or even earlier. Games were mainly played in arcades. You had a device that looked like a large cabinet that had on one side a large screen and some controls like joystick and some buttons. You might have some other controls also, like a wheel and pedals or maybe a light gun that you could point to the screen. I mean, who doesn’t recognize a character like Pacman or a game as familiar to you as Pong. Do you know Asteroids? These all were first playable back in the days in arcades.

If you are a young person you probably haven’t been to a real arcade. This experience however left a permanent mark in my memories. It might have been the pizza restaurant that had a Pacman game in it. It might have been the supermarket that had Street Fighter II in it. It might have been one of those gas stations our family visited as we were driving to country side to meet the rest of the family. It definitely happened when I was in a realm actual arcade playing some Mortal Kombat with some friends. As a kid from the 80s I couldn’t have missed this.

Even if you have never been in an arcade you can still find some really nice games to play that were originally made to be played in an arcade. We actually have an open source application called MAME that is short from “Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator”. You can install it to a Linux or Windows PC. For you to play a game you also need a rom file. As you can expect I cannot post a link here to any rom file because of these legal issues. But you can look up some videos about MAME from YouTube or you can also search for games to see what kind of games it is possible to play on MAME.

There are problems if you really want to play games with an emulator like this. Capcom released some time ago a Home Arcade console that featured 16 games and some controls for two players. It can be connected to a display with HDMI. I am actually a bit reflective because there are so few commercial products available. And MAME could be a good personal project for someone looking to build something out of a basic PC with a custom made controller interface. Imagine if you had a gaming cabinet somewhere i n your hoime that you could play several of these games originally made for gaming arcades. That would be cool!

As time has progressed we have seen the rise of home gaming consoles taking the main role in our living rooms. We are getting more and more hardware that is meant to be placed in our apartments. If you are into emulators why not try also MAME. I am definitely going to get to this a bit more. I remember so many wonderful games from my past. It might be a good time to consider buying some more controllers that are capable of bringing the experience for you. Consider a joystick for fighting games, a racing wheel for driving or maybe even a light gun for shooting. Just remember this thing about light guns – they don’t work with modern displays so be careful not to mix these technical things.

You can definitely try to search for more content on this topic. I found good information from Google and also from YouTube. I think Bing or some other search engine can provide you also with some articles. I mentioned some titles in this post. There are so many games that you can play on MAME that  you have to go and see for yourself for the gems. So go ahead. Maybe you find something that you haven’t played before and that you really like.

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.

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.

Dreams of Making a Video Game

I woke up today a bit early. I put on my headphones and started listening music and browsing internet. The sun was rising. I just had to take this picture with my phone and share it with you. But let’s get to today’s subject. Have you always dreamed of making your own game? Well, I have.

It started with playing games as a kid. As I grew older I started to get a sense of what gaming really was. I wanted to make a game. I was also fascinated with designing websites. While I was studying in high school I started to think about my future and what I would want to study after it. I though a lot about trying to study something that required creativity. I was also a decent math student. Finally I decided to go for math and physics instead of studying art.

My life has been a one big trip. I finally got to studying computer science in 2010. Since I started I had a dream of some day developing a game or at least a nice looking dynamic website. Things didn’t actually go that way. After graduating I found out how hard it was to get a job in the field. However I did program a game. It was text based adventure game.

This wasn’t the kind of game I had dreamed of making. The game I imagined was graphical adventure game that had discussions, small puzzles, some kinds of graphics and lots of interactivity. I wanted to create something special. I lacked skills in creating graphics and programming.

The dream didn’t seem to disappear. I still have it. I know some programming but the task seems to be too difficult. I have tried to get into Python (PyGame), Java and JavaScript but it seems to be too hard for me to learn effectively. I don’t know what happens to this dream as the time goes forward all the time. I admit that it’s a bit sad.

So designing games hasn’t been the job that would fit me perfectly. But maybe that’s why you dream. You can imagine what you might some day achieve. Just remember that it’s hard work to learn something so deeply. And before you try your hand in programming just remember that it’s hard to get into. But if you are really talented just go ahead. I know some very talented programmers that have made it. And keep dreaming even if you achieve your goals. There are so many different ways for a person to develop himself or herself.

Do You Necessarily Need A Television?

So the world championships for ice hockey this year begun last Friday. I have so far got to see two of Finland’s games. In the first game Finland took a victory against U.S.A. but at the moment we have lost to Kazakstan in a very tight game. Both of these games were real thrillers. Kazakstan had many players in their roster that are playing in KHL which consists of many teams from many countries including Russia and Finland.

This yearly tournament receives very much attention here. I am not so in to ice hockey but it’s hard to miss world championships because it’s such a big deal in here where I live. Although NHL is more popular in northern America. How this is relating to what I have as a subject in this blog post is that yesterday I was at my friends apartment and we decided to watch the game – Finland against U.S.A. My friend doesn’t have a television at all so we thought that we could watch it, you know, online somehow. That would have been possible but we encountered an issue about having to register for a certain account that required all of my friends contact details and also his bank account number. That was stupid in my opinion and we decided to head back to my place to watch the game from television that is connected to regular cable television.

This made it clear that in some cases you do need a television. Since we are still dealing with the corona virus it isn’t, I think, a very good idea to gather to some bar to watch ice hockey games. I don’t know if it’s already legal for this kind of gathering to take place but at least I personally think this is not possible. Last year the whole tournament was cancelled. And Finland won the championship two years ago.

I also know one person that I had a discussion with about not having a television at all. He only had a computer and he also had Nintendo Switch Lite. I have connected all of my retro and also my newer gaming consoles to a television. I also have a computer for playing games and I also have a Nintendo Switch Lite.

A television can be the center of the whole home of yours. There can be limitations. You might not just have room for such a device. Some people might even have reasons, maybe religious or in some other way ideal, for not to watch television at all. And why should everyone have a TV? As internet keeps getting faster and even more common it is nowadays possible to keep track of the most important events reading news online. Do we need a television in every home? Some people manage to survive without it.

 

What’s Going On?

This blog is mainly about gaming. It’s also my dear hobby and it always tells something also about me. So I dedicate this blog post to describing what has been going on lately in my life. I still try to write here as frequently as possible. It just seems that I don’t right now have so much time for video games. But I do have played a bit of Skyrim. Well, I have played it for about six and a half hours. I also started working again. I was unemployed for just about three weeks. So I got my next job almost instantly. It’s been keeping me busy but at least I don’t have to work on weekends.

There are lots of games available today. I chose my next game to be Skyrim. If you haven’t played it or if you are considering whether to get your hands on it, I can describe it a bit here. It might first seem that this game is some kind of an action game. That’s not completely true. I would compare to the first Deus Ex. It combines action and roleplaying elements cleverly. It’s not turn based but the game play is strongly depending on things like developing your character. Your character develops as you do different things and gather the actual experience. In the beginning of the game you get to choose your characters class and of course you have to modify the look and feel of your character visually and of course you have to give the character a good name that you can relate to.

There are many skills in Skyrim that you can develop. There’s too many for me to start telling something about them. Let’s just say there are maybe hundreds of them. There is also some magic skills that you can learn and use. You have to choose do you want to battle with two handed weapons, one handed weapons using also a shield or maybe you want to use ranged weapons like a bow. You can carry a limited amount of equipment with you. If the limit is reached your characters get slow. You can save your game any time you want and you can even use one quick save slot.

To this day I find this game interesting. It isn’t the newest game around. And the version I am playing is for PS4 so it is a HD remake. I already had this game for PS3 and Xbox 360 but I bought this latest remake so I could enjoy a bit better graphics. It was, again, in sale so I decided to buy it. Well, I also ordered one very interesting game at same time. It was actually Tetris for NES. So I made again a small purchase that had, again, very interesting games in it.

Maybe that is all for now. I hope I don’t get too tired and get to spend also time playing more video games as I do have free time sometimes.

The Meaning Of Highscores

What is the true meaning of highscores in video games? I may not have so accurate details but I can tell you my points and views on this issue. I sure do have experiences about playing very different kinds of video games…or computer games (What would you call them?) in arcades and in a living room. So let’s dive in.

I did a quick Google search with phrase “highscores in video games”. I found articles about a movie called “High Score” but there weren’t any articles about this topic. So this is my idea to write a bit about this topic. I came to this as I was playing Commando Arcade, a C-64 game, that had a high score table in it.

To me high scores haven’t been so important. Today we have characters inside games that have a lot of features which is telling about the diversity of todays games. There is more data moving while you play. But back in the age where Commodore 64 was the best there was a different time.

So high scores in games like these were actually very important and they told the player a lot about how they were doing in the game and how much they had progressed. And if you were playing in an arcade and you had a high score on some machine it was a good way to build a reputation for yourself (or actually for your nickname or anything that could be displayed on the list as a name back then).

Today, we have so many measures to discuss about your character in your favourite video game. For example you have experience points. Many modern games have these features that were introduced in the form of role playing games. They are now mixed with sport games so they have a character that can develope it’s abilities. Games have become more complex as the power of the systems has increased.

Sometimes I don’t feel like playing the newest games. Then it’s time for me to get relaxed playing some retro games that are somewhat more simple. That’s why I like these old games. And it also takes me back to feel some nostalgia.

What Makes Gaming So Appealling?

Why do you play? How long did you play that game this time? You should get a better hobby! These are some comments made by people that are not so much into gaming. I get this sometimes. This blog post is trying to explain what it is in gaming that keeps drawing our attention and some reasons why it is an enjoyable activity and why do we spend so much time playing games.

Playing video games has been popular since the first known video game. I am talking about a certain game here. It was called “Tennis for Two”. It was introduced in 1958. Here’s the link to Wikipedia if you want to go read some more facts about this game. As a game it was as simple and basic as can be. Let’s think about this for a while. In 1958 video games were something new. There must have been something very interesting here for a human being. What games have that draw our attention? What makes us want to play more and more and until we are exhausted and tired?

One thing is our natural rewarding system. When something positive happens on the screen or when we accomplish something very meaningful our nerve system gives us a small dose of dopamine. This dose becomes larger when a person uses some sort of drug. This leads to a kind of a malfunction with this system and makes us depressed for a short period of time. This is how this natural system that has been built to our brains functions. So achieving our goal in a game gives us a reward.

I have also one point about collecting games. Why do we want more and more all the time. You know how this is. You get many great games. You are satisfied for some time but eventually you want more. You buy more games. And this, let’s give it a name that is somewhat related to programming, “loop”, keeps repeating. This has something to do with our human beings natural behavior. We are collectors by nature. That’s how human beings started their path. They were hunters and they also collected things they found from their surroundings.

These points can be true. They might be true and they might explain something. This however doesn’t take away all the things that make you or me enjoy playing video games. I have my reasons why I keep playing. It gives something for me. For me it is a way to get loose from the stress I get from studying or working. Is gaming expensive? I would say no because it isn’t as expensive as some common hobbies like ice hockey for example is. It isn’t as healthy if you think about the matter. Is it childish? I think today gaming is becoming more and more a hobby for a person of any age. There are already some very old people that play video games. I think today games have a very diverse content and they make people more active and this makes our entertainment more challenging for the growing audience.

So there are things that can explain this phenomenon. It still doesn’t take away things a player has learned while playing. I for example gained lots of skills in a foreign language that was actually English. Gaming is lots of fun. Collecting games can draw you away from using drugs or alcohol. We have our reasons to behaving how we do. Gaming is a hobby for lots of people. They have a reason to play. And I think we can learn a lot about human nature also by playing the games that inspire us and keep uplifting our minds. So, let’s keep on playing!

 

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