Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Halloween Candy 2012 Part 1

While I struggled to put together last year's feature, given how little Halloween candy I was able to turn up, this year should have been different. I was on the candy beat in a couple of different stores, on multiple occasions. Unfortunately, all I managed to find was a couple of bags of Haribos, only one of which I hadn't seen before. The situation could have been dire, but this time I had a back-up plan - a terrible, terrible back-up plan.

Haribo Spooky Ghosts

Well, this was it as far as new, locally-available candy went. In here we've got gummy orange and blackcurrant ghosts, as well as softer vanilla-flavoured ones. Tasty flavours all round, and I think the two slightly different types of candy compliment each other nicely. Good job, Haribo. 4/5

And that's where I'd be wrapping things up, if I hadn't taken the likelihood of this happening as an opportunity to do something dumb I've wanted to do for a long time: take this feature to it's logical, inevitable conclusion by ordering this big, €50 box of American candy for the occasion.

My body is ready.

Mayfair Candy Corn

Everything I kew about American candy is wrong! For some reason I always thought candy corn would be a hard candy that probably tasted a lot like barley sugar. Imagine my surprise when I popped one in my mouth and discovered something in taste and consistency that's pretty close to a fudge. Not that I'm complaining though; this was great, and I'd almost consider giving it full marks if it hadn't been for the amazing candy corn lurking a little deeper in the box. 4/5

Mayfair Mellocremes

Of the three bags of candy corn here, this is the only one I didn't like. This may not taste terrible, but it's extremely bland, which surprises me given that this seems to be made by the same people as the candy corn above. Don't know what went wrong here. 1/5

Brach's Milk Maid Caramel Apple Candy Corn

From the initial hit of tangy apple to the rich caramel flavour that follows, these taste freaking fantastic. Hands down, the best candy corn I got with this order, and well worth your time checking out. 5/5

Brach's Assorted Halloween Mellowcremes

Another offering from Brach's. In here we have four Fall-themed caidies made from the same stuff as candy corn, which I suppose is mellowcreme, to get technical. Running through the candies: There's a brown, chocolate-flavoured bat that's easily the worst, least convincing chocolate flavoured thing featured in this part; There's a fairly bland orange-coloured pumpkin that I'm assuming is supposed to be candy corn flavoured; There's a yellow-coloured moon, with your typical fake banana flavour, which I'm actually quite a fan of for some weird reason; And finally, there's a toffee flavoured, and coloured bundle of wheat, which I was quite a fan of. So, all in all, a mixed bag. *gets shot* I'll give a three out of five for the two candies I liked, and hey, even the blandish pumpkin is decent, unlike the Mayfair Mellocremes. 3/5

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Quite liked the filling in these; it was exactly the sweet, but slightly salty peanut flavour I was hoping for, with a nice mix of smooth and crunchy textures. The chocolate coating though, is kind of nasty. It's got a very artificial, over-sweet flavour with a weirdly chewy texture. It reminds a lot of the cruddy chocolate and raspberry icing on those awful Demon Slices last year. I'll give these a three out of five for the filling and nothing for the chocolate. 3/5

White Reese's

These are almost exactly what you'd expect, with the same filling as the regular ones, but with a white chocolate coating that's actually pretty tasty this time. That should be a recipe for success, but I just didn't think the two worked well together. The filling overpowers the white chocolate flavour to the point where it might as well not be there, which is a pity.

Out of the two versions of these I tried though, these are definitely the ones to go for. This coating might get lost in the mix, but that's infinitely preferable to tasting the crud on the outside of the regular ones. I'll give these a 4 out of 5. 4/5

Halloween Peeps

Texture-wise, I thought the gritty sugar coating and the marshmallow interior of these worked surprisingly well together, and they look great. Unfortunately, they also taste like freaking disinfectant. Maybe this lot are just defective somehow, but if these are the Peeps I've heard so much about over the years, colour me disappointed. I'll have to give these a big, fat zero out of five. 0/5

York Peppermint Patties

For the uninitiated, these are round candies with a soft, peppermint fondant filling, coated in a thin layer of dark chocolate. While I wish the peppermint was a little bit stronger here, the dark chocolate/mint mix is a great combination of flavours and I really liked the consistency of the fondant: firm, but still a little chewy. I could happily go through a bag of these in one go, providing I wasn't already feeling nauseous from having consumed pounds of candy over the course of a few nights. 4/5

Tootsie Roll Midgees

For the unfamiliar, these are chocolate-flavoured chewy candies. As such, these don't really have the most convincing chocolate flavour, but they're tasty enough and certainty provide a solid, satisfying chewing experience. I'll give these a solid three out of five. 3/5

In Part 2: Taffy!, non-reviews of expired products, chocolates that taste like vomit, and an exciting bonus international section. Continue >>

Den Magazine Issue 16

In late 1994 RTÉ put out a magazine based on its popular children's programming block The Den. Aptly titled "The Den", it was a mix of pop culture news and interviews, cartoon strips and educational content, leveraging characters from, and contributors to the show throughout.

Aside from its (kind-of-terrible) video game coverage, I don't remember ever particularly enjoying it, but as a fan of The Den itself, I still picked it up whenever I saw a new issue. Being a bit of a hoarder, I still have all of them, and I thought it'd be a neat idea to scan a few of them in and post them here. Classic literature they ain't, but I'm sure someone out there will enjoy them.

Kicking things off is Issue 16 from November 1995, which features, among other things no one cares about, interviews with D:Ream and OTT, guides to ghosts and endangered animals, reviews of the Batman Forever and Demolition Man games, and all the hot news on First Kiss' second single.

Download (53.3 MB)

Note: The magazine is in CBR format, so you'll need CDisplay or something similar to view it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Clearoutageddon Part Two: Free Junk!

Whatever faint possibility there was of someone buying a VHS copy of Titanic in 2011, would anyone really want to take a bunch of wrecked PS2 discs or a pile of obsolete software off my hands, much less pay for the privilege of doing so? Well, mostly no. But there were a few surprising exceptions, as I took to some classifieds sites last year to unload some more clutter.

On first inspection, it looks like we've got a set of perfectly good PS2 games here (also, Sonic Heroes). Flip the discs over though and... can see they're all scratched up pretty badly. Not unusual for used PS2 games of course, but in all my time hauling stacks of cheap PS2 games out of my local GameStop, these were the only ones that flat out didn't work. I guess I could have returned them, but given how little I paid for them, it never seemed worth the hassle. Instead I hung onto them in the hope that I'd be able to repair them later. Well, with something other than toothpaste anyway. I'd already tried that with unsuccessful, yet minty fresh results. :D

Tired of hanging onto them, I put up an ad up last September to see if anyone would take them off my hands for the cost of postage. And someone did. Or at least it looked like they were going to. Then they pulled out citing of a funeral in the family. As a newcomer to this classifieds site I thought "fair enough", but after the second time I had someone do that, I started to suspect that this was a go-to excuse for pulling out of a deal there. That, or a very strange coincidence.

In the end I wasn't able to get a taker for these so they found their way to the bottom of a bin bag.

I mentioned back in 2009 that I had a launch GBA that just randomly died while I was in the final stages of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. This is that GBA. At the time, I assumed that the whole system was fried, but after a bit of experimentation, I discovered that it was just the screen that had died. Replacements seemed to be relatively expensive though and I wasn't too confident in my ability to put in a new one, so I just put it aside.

Three years later, I decided I'd put up an ad for it and maybe let someone else have a crack at repairing it. I really wasn't expecting much interest, but within minutes of posting it, I was swamped with offers. In the end, I sent it to this guy, who seemed much more concerned about the (pretty well-preserved) box and the manuals than viability of the unit itself, so much so that I wondered if he was just planning to flip it as an "as new" handheld onto some unsuspecting sucker. Man, I really hope not.

I made this video to show that it really was just the screen that was broken, in case anyone needed proof. I guess I didn't need to bother. :)

007 Spy Files was this crappy, in-universe Bond magazine aimed at children from 2002. As such, I can't really explain why I picked up ten issues of it. I don't remember enjoying it in any capacity and I certainly had no interest in the Top Trumps style cards they were giving away with it. I guess there was precious little else to buy on the news stand of my local supermarket back then.

While I was initially surprised that someone who appeared to be a grown woman was interested in picking these up, it made much more sense when she mentioned they were for her nephew. I guess they finally found their way into the right hands. I have to wonder though, if he's only got into the series via Daniel Craig, will he have any idea who the Irish guy is on most of the covers is. :)


These, I got as fucking Christmas presents one year. Someone thought "Hey, you know what JiliK just loves? Knowledge. In CD-ROM form" Well, fuck that. These things ended up sitting in a pile of junk for a good decade or so afterwards. :D

A quick trial on Windows XP last year revealed that they probably wouldn't work on a modern PC, but I put an ad up for them anyway. Maybe someone, somewhere would be able to knock some use out of them. The same day, I did get one person willing to pay the postage for both these and all the French stuff below. After a month of waiting though, the guy never come through with the payment and into the bin they went.

I mentioned before that I had to learn French in secondary school. One of the most time-consuming parts of that, homework-wise, was always looking shit up in a French dictionary. A computer-based alternative would have been a godsend. Unfortunately, the Learn to Speak French set above was all I could get my hands on, but it absolutely wasn't what I needed.

Also included in the same ad as the above set was a French phrase book and tape I randomly picked up in a supermarket in 1999 and another bloody CD-ROM, that the same relative gave me the Christmas afterwards, still not grasping that PCs were for playing Doom, not learning. Out of these, the cassette/phrase book ended up going into the charity shop box and everything else got binned.

deviantArt Update 16/07/12 *Updated*


I spotted a really gorgeous sky outside on Saturday evening, so I grabbed my camera and took a few pics. I think this was the most interesting-looking one of the lot. UPDATE: Just put a few more photos from this batch up on Flickr. Thought this would be the best place to put them. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Let's Recycle an Old Picture (in Excruciating Detail)

In June I took an old, sun-bleached picture we had, and reused the frame to hold a poster-sized print of one of the photos I took last May. For some reason, I documented the process with my digital camera, so I guess we're doing that now. :D

Here we have the picture in question. My grandparents used to have it over their fireplace. I'm not sure exactly when they got it, but it's got to be at least twenty years old. As you can see it wasn't looking too hot.

Flipping it over you can see the tape's gotten pretty yellow too. It's going to have to come off so I can dismantle it.

The next thing I needed to get out of the way was the board behind the picture itself. Unfortunately, there were complications here. The board was kept on by these metal pins embedded in the frame. Some I managed to bend back successfully, others snapped off, taking small chunks of the frame with them. Whoops.

Inside was the picture, attached to a card mount with only a single bit of tape. Cheapskates.

After carefully pealing the tape away from the mount, I was able to get a good look at the print itself for the first time.

You can get a good idea of just how much it's faded over the years here.

Right. With the old picture out, it's time to put my own one in. Several minutes and numerous measurements later though, I realised the print I ordered is far too big the size of the frame. Welp, back to Snapfish I guess. :D

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Photos: Break of Dawn X2

Back in the Summer I was lucky enough to catch two quite specular dawn skies. I'm not sure if the above pics really do them justice, but it was like 4:30 in the morning. Under the circumstances I think I did an okay job. :D

Cooking: Backlog Edition

I've been so busy over the last few months that I've got quite a backlog of posts to get through now, not to mention a big-ass box of candy. ;) Let's get things rolling with a couple of culinary adventures I never got around to posting from a few months ago.

Lemon Tart

When life handed me a lemons, that had previously been de-rinded for a cheesecake, I opted for a lemon cake rather than the obvious. After a little research though, it became apparent that it was the rind, rather than the juice that I needed to make a cake, so I decided on this lemon tart instead. I only had a carton of single cream at my disposal (one that turned out to be out of date on later inspection. Oops.), but everything turned out fine. The filling was nice and creamy, with a good lemoney flavour, and the crust was just right.

Tomato Soup

A month later, in early July, I made some tomato soup based on this recipe. I didn't stray too far from this recipe either, only adding a couple of red peppers and a bit of garlic that I wanted to use up, and replacing the fresh bay leaves with dried ones. The resulting soup was pretty great, much tastier than any tomato soup I had before from a tin or a packet and not at all over-sweet like most of those are. I'll definitely be making this one again.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Clearoutageddon Part One: The Analogue Purge

Since 2008 I've been on a bit of quest to replace my small collection of analogue media with disc-based counterparts.  Around this time last year, with my mission nearing completion, the question of what on earth I was going to do with this mounting pile of obsolete cassettes and VHS tapes finally came up.

Although it was pretty unclear if they'd even take this kind of stuff anymore, I decided to chance my arm and try dropping it off at one of the local charity shops. And while I was making the trip, I thought I might as well take a look around and round up any other old junk I could. Thus began The Clearoutageddon - a much needed purge of all the useless shit I've been holding onto for one reason or another over the last fifteen years or so.

And having recently wrapped things up on that front, I thought we'd take a a retroactive poke through a bunch of my former stuff, stating off with the pile of tapes that brought about the clutter end days in the first place.

Although I've often claimed in the past that The Masterplan by Oasis was the first album I ever bought, that's not entirely true. Actually, the first purchase I ever made in a record store, in December of 1998, consisted of that and Now 41, which I would have gotten a world of shit from my mates about if they ever found out I'd picked up such a naff pop compilation. But, to be honest, I really enjoyed it. :D

Having access to only a Walkman at the time, of course I grabbed both on cassette, something I continued to do for the next two and a half years until I finally upgraded to a portable CD player. Before then I'd picked up all but the last three tapes above, which wasn't a whole lot of material to listen to over such an long span, but unfortunately I didn't have the cash for much more. As a result of that, I played most of these albums to death, to the point where the print on the cassettes themselves had worn off almost completely from sliding them into and out of my trusty Walkman. I give you exhibit A:

Still, even after all that repeat play I can still pop one of these on today and enjoy it, which is exactly why I went about replacing them. Mostly with used CDs off eBay mind (sorry, record industry). The last couple of cassettes I bought were Driving Rain, Paul McCartney's 2001 album and Standing on the Shoulder (ugh) of Giants by Oasis, which I picked out of the last handful of tapes they had, in the last record shop around that had them in July/August 2004. Not too long before the Panasonic personal stereo I bought to replace my old Walkman also gave out on me, definitively putting an end to my cassette-listening days.

Another (double) cassette I got rid of, which, technically, I only partially owned was an audiobook version of an early Oasis biography by Paul Mathur. Me and a buddy went halves on this, picking it up on a school tour in 1996, thinking it was some kind Oasis anthology we'd never heard about. We were both fans at the time, but he was definitely the bigger one, blowing through this in no time. On the other hand, I really couldn't summon the interest get through it and spent many, many weeks doing so, much to his disbelief. After fifteen years though, I kind of doubted he'd be back for it, so into the junk box it went.

Two years after I bought my first  couple of albums, I also started picking new(ish) movie releases I really wanted to see here and there, starting off with The World is Not Enough in December 2000. As you might have guessed, a VCR was the only playback mechanism I had access to back then, so of course it had to be on VHS. Much to my surprise I also ended up with a copy of Diamonds are Forever out of this transaction. Apparently there was a buy one, get one free promotion running at the time for Bond movies and I guess anyone who didn't pick up an extra tape got a random one chucked at them at the counter. I ended up watching most of it on Christmas night in 2000, right after my N64 died a few hours into playing Perfect Dark. What a fucking depressing night that was. :D

The next tapes I got were the Fellowship of the Ring in September '02 and freakin' Attack of the Clones in December '02. Ugh! At the time I had actually just seen the pre-Clones Star Wars movies for the first time at age 18. (How crazy is that?) The verdict? I really enjoyed the original trilogy for the most part (fuck those ewoks though). And The Phantom Menace? Well, after two viewings I think I knew deep down that it was bad, but riding on the high of seeing the original movies, I'd convinced myself that, yeah, it was alright, that I probably just needed to watch it a few more times and I'd finally get it. Watching Clones initially, I thought it was a big improvement, but even after several viewings I still couldn't make sense of the plot and I never managed to get through the entirety of any of those fucking awful love scenes without reaching for the fast-forward button.

Now I think they're both bloody terrible. :D

The last two tapes I bought at full price were Die Another Day and The Two Towers, both in 2003. Man, Die Another Day I enjoyed quite a bit at the time for how over the top it was, but any clip of I see of it now just makes me cringe, so I'm kind of doubtful it holds up in any way, shape or form. The Two Towers I still love though, but it wasn't long after I bought it that we finally picked up a DVD player, at which point I immediately regretted shelling out €20 for this over the identically-priced DVD copy.

The Ali G and the Ash concert tape, on the other hand, were both cheap pick-ups from one of the local record shops ever dwindling stock of cut-price VHS tapes in 2004. And yes, I did actually replace the Ali G movie with a VHS copy. What can I say, I have terrible tastes. :D And speaking of which...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Retromags Release (Sort of): NOM Issue 79

Retromags may be having some problems at the moment, but that hasn't stopped me scanning some more old magazines (at a sub-glacial pace). Freshly uploaded is the April 1999 issue of Nintendo Official Magazine- as the name would suggest, the official UK Nintendo magazine at the time. This one features reviews of Beetle Adventure Racing, Monaco Grand Prix and Castlevania 64, as well as previews of Hey You, Pikachu!, Pokémon Pinball and Quake II.

It's also pretty terrible, with the writing coming off as desperate attempt to appeal to the young teen audience it seems to be aimed at. Something that could apparently be accomplished by replacing every instance of "your" with "yer", "loads of" with "loadsa", and sticking an apostrophe anywhere it'd possibly fit.

If that sounds like a good time to you, I've put the full 100-page scan up here on MediaFire.

Oh, and if you're wondering what I ordered, it was Pilotwings and Super Street Fighter II for the SNES from Excitement Direct and Doom 64 from Gameplay. Unfortunately, Pilotwings  was the only game Excitement Direct had in stock and Gameplay wouldn't take the cheque I sent them. Ah! The joys of mail order. 

Also, I wonder if Excitement Direct could have come up with a more porn company sounding name if they tried. Always made getting a sterling draft down at the post office a dodgy prospect. :D

Friday, August 10, 2012

Archive Raiding: Just Pants

In the Summer of 1999, after messing around with Cool Edit for a bit and hearing about the likes of eJay, I was on the lookout for something that would be a cross between the two, and preferably at a fraction of the cost. A tall order perhaps, but without even trying I came across a bit of mixing software that did just that, on the budget PC rack of my local supermarket of all places. With a 20-track mixing program, a library of samples and a sound editor, it was exactly what I wanted for messing around with at the time. Over the following three years I got quite a bit of use out of it, and while I can't say I cranked out anything amazing during that time, I certainly had a lot of fun trying to. :) As promised/threatened back in January, below is the complete set of surviving tracks, and more!


Year: 1999 | Last Modified: 15 November 2005, 17:21:58 | Download

Once again exploiting SimCity 2000's rich sound effects library, the original version of this would be the oldest thing here, dating back to the Summer of '99, but I lost it in a botched system restore the following year. This is a remake from 2000, now with extra dolphins, for some fucking reason. Named after the time of day I originally finished it, this appeared for a while on my old web site as the equally generic sounding Liberation. A release I even slapped together some janky, low-res cover art for. Behold!

Hairy Ass

Year: 1999 | Last Modified: 15 November 2005, 17:25:52 | Download

This is the tune featuring my mate that I mentioned back in January. One Saturday when he was over I jammed a microphone in his face, to which he delivered an impressive stream of obscenities. The next time he was over I surprised him with the unpleasantly-named, cacophonous mess that I'd turned it into. I think we were both pretty pleased with the outcome. :D

Sitar and Synth

Year: 2000 | Last Modified: 04 July 2000, 22:00:36 | Download

A riff on the name of the 1999 Yomanda track, this does indeed feature samples of both the sitar and synth varieties. Probably one of the better tracks I came up with I think. It''s still extremely short though, and just like the others, it still jumps around from sample to sample like a kid hopped up on industrial-grade Pixy Stix. :D

Trigger Happy

Year: 2000 | Last Modified: 15 November 2005, 17:23:40 | Download

Oh dear. Another dark chapter in my war against learning French, this starts off with a sample of someone from a Learn to Speak French CD-ROM getting gunned down, before turning into a trance-y orgy of violence. Having also appeared on my old web site, this also had some amazing cover art accompanying it at the time; this time made from a magazine screen shot of GTA2.


Ladies and Gentlemen

Year: 2000 | Last Modified: 15 November 2005, 17:23:40 | Download

This one I remember starting work on the Sunday before I returned to school after the Summer of '99, the ticking clock representing the inevitability of said return. :D Somewhere along the way I added a generic talk show host sample to the mix. I don't know; I'm sure it made sense at the time. :D


Year: 2002 | Last Modified: 03 May 2002, 18:44:16 | Download

And just like that we've pretty much come to the end of my glittering array of floor-fillers. Like all my other dumb endeavours of the late 90's / year 2000, working on my crappy little web site at the time drew me away from messing around with this stuff almost entirely. And this was the last tune that I was aware of, at least until now. One that I remember tinkering around with ages to try and get it exactly to my liking. Something I'm not sure if I actually managed to do or not in the end.

Graphics I made to accompany the tracks I put on my site in 2008. The more things change, eh?

Master archive raider that I am though, I did actually find another rough, but complete track buried in a zip file from ten years ago. One that I never finished back in March 2002 and that I'd completely forgotten about since. Rather than going to the bother of inventing a name for this one I'll just go with the bad-ass codename I was using for it at time. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Song X:

Song X

Year: 2002 | Last Modified: ‎10 ‎March ‎2002, ‏‎21:44:14 | Download

Obviously an attempt to go for a longer track here. I don't think it quite succeeds in that respect and it's a bit messy in general, but still, I kind of like this; it's got an interesting sound to it. Unfortunately one that was a bit overpowered by some of the samples I had chosen at the time, so I had to dial some of them back a little before I put the finishing touches to this. And while I'm delving into some deep cuts, I thought I'd close things out with a selection of drum samples I made with the limited, but neat drum beat generator that came with the other programs. Most of these I don't think ever got used used in my illustrious mixing career for one reason or another. I'm guessing because of the terrible names. :D


Last Modified: ‎22 ‎April ‎2000, ‏‎23:04:20 | Download

Drum Beat 1

Last Modified: ‎22 ‎April ‎2000, ‏‎23:24:04 | Download

Close Hi Hat

Last Modified: ‎29 ‎April ‎2000, ‏‎19:51:26 | Download


Last Modified: ‎04 ‎July ‎2000, ‏‎20:02:16 | Download

Turbo Beat

Last Modified: 10 ‎July ‎2000, ‏‎22:25:20 | Download

Drum Beat 2

Last Modified: 24 ‎November ‎2001, ‏‎18:40:12 | Download

DJ JiliK out!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Let's Get Battle for Naboo Running on Windows 7


Like a number of games I've tried since I switched to Windows 7 64-bit, Battle for Naboo itself runs perfectly on it, but its 16-bit installer doesn't. To get it up and running with only the game's CD-ROM to hand, we need to both create an installation directory for it and add an entry for it to the Windows registry. So let's get started.

1. First we need to go to C:\Program Files [not C:\Program Files (x86)] and create a folder called Battle for Naboo.

2.  Now go to the Battle for Naboo CD-ROM and copy BattleforNaboo.exe from the root directory (D:\) and paste it into C:\Program Files\Battle for Naboo.

3. Next we need to build the rest of the installation directory by copying files from the Install folder on the CD-ROM and pasting them into C:\Program Files\Battle for Naboo. Here's what your finished installation directory is going to look like (folders are bolded):

  • C:\Program Files\Battle for Naboo\
    • BattleforNaboo.exe
    • data_pc\
      • saves\
      • bfn.exe
      • data.bin
      • data.hdr  
    • Install\ 
      • back.wav
      • click.WAV
      • doc.exe
      • launch.bmp
      • LecSetup.dll
      • license.txt
      • open.WAV
      • readme.rtf
      • readme.txt
      • setup.ini
      • start.WAV
      • syscheck.exe
      • trouble.rtf
      • trouble.txt
      • url.exe
Again, all the files you need are in the Install folder on the Battle for Naboo CD-ROM.

With the game's directory created, we now need to add an entry for the game to the registry. Normally this wouldn't be necessary, but unless the Battle for Naboo launcher detects that the game is installed on your machine, you'll get an "Install" option instead of a "Start Game" one, which is of course totally useless to us.

This is what we need to see.

5. So, open Notepad and paste the following into it:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC\Battle for Naboo\Retail]
"Analyze Path"="D:\\Install\\SysCheck.exe"
"CD Path"="D:"
"Executable"="C:\\Program Files\\Battle for Naboo\\data_pc\\BFN.exe"
"Install Path"="C:\\Program Files\\Battle for Naboo"
"Launcher"="C:\\Program Files\\Battle for Naboo\\BattleForNaboo.exe"
"Source Dir"="D:\\"
"Source Path"="D:"
"UninstallString"="C:\\WINDOWS\\uninst.exe -f\"C:\\Program Files\\Battle for Naboo\\Install\\DeIsL1.isu\" -c\"C:\\Program Files\\Battle for Naboo\\Install\\LecSetup.dll\""

6. Save the file as something.reg, making sure to select All Files from the Save as Type drop-down menu before you save it. I've called mine naboo.reg here:

7. Next we need to open the Registry Editor.
  • If you're using the 32-bit version of Windows 7: Go to the Start Menu, type regedit into the search box and hit enter.
  • If you're using the 64-bit version of Windows 7: Go to the Start Menu, type %SystemRoot%\SysWOW64\regedit.exe into the search box and hit enter. Just typing "regedit" here won't work for this. (The 64-bit version of Windows 7 has two different versions of the Registry Editor. Just typing in "regedit" here will only open the 64-bit one. It's the 32-bit version we need to use for this.)
You can check which version of Windows 7 you have by going to Control Panel>System and Security>System. It will be listed as System Type in the window that comes up.

8. Drag and drop your .reg file into the Registry Editor window and that should be it.

9. Launching C:\Program Files\Battle for Naboo\BattleforNaboo.exe show now present you with a "Start Game" option. Hooray! It's probably a good idea to make a shortcut to this now so you don't need to go poking around in Program Files every time you want to play the game.

And we're off. You'll probably need to switch the controls from inverted too. Who on earth thought that was a good default for Mouse and Keyboard?

Well, hopefully that should do the trick. Bear in mind though that I've only tested this out on Windows 7 Service Pack 1. Who knows what will and won't work on Windows 8 and beyond.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

World Rally Fever: The Road to Victory Finale

 Part 1 Part 2Part 3

31/08/11 - Currently banging my head against Kyoto in the Pro Cup. If I don't make some progress soon, I think I'm going to throw in the towel here. - JiliK's Backloggery

I'll level with you guys here. A few days after I scrawled this on my Backloggery, with no progress to show, I did throw in the towel. When I started writing this feature up, I hadn't actually touched this game in almost nine months, and as much I saw the need to finish it now that I'd started this, I really didn't think I was up to the task. The Hawaii tracks aside, this cup started off with easily the two most insane courses I'd encountered in the game up to that point, and as much experience as I had playing this game, I just wasn't able to crack them.

I planned to take on the Pro Cup again at some point before I finished this feature, but then something happened that not only got me back playing the game immediately, but also kept me motivated all the way to the final chequered flag: someone beat me to the punch. Out of the blue, another YouTube user started, and finished the game over the span of like, a week, handily beating my efforts and leaving my precious nerd cred in tatters. :D There was only way to redeem myself now: I needed to beat this fucking game for once and for all, no matter what it took.

France (Pro)

Remember how I mentioned this game's love for putting walls where they just don't belong? Well, this track's the poster child for that. The four interlocking walls halfway around the track are the main culprit in this respect, requiring some very tight, careful manoeuvring to take at speed; something that only came to me after a lot of trial and error. The sets of walls jutting out from the side of the track look harmless enough in the video above, but I found myself being rammed between them much more than I'd like by the the AI, loosing precious acceleration in the process.

Being the first track in the cup and as such, the first one I managed to master, it was pretty much vital to grab first place here before proceeding in order to have any hope of winning

Kyoto (Pro)

The Pro-Am version was bad, but this is that on crack. As if the tricky area with the indoor wall wasn't difficult enough to squeeze through the first time, in fine Human Centipede fashion they grafted another identical area onto it, giving you twice the walls to weave around and exponentially more opportunities for the even more aggressive AI to ram you into them. If I came out of the starting grid anywhere in the top three, I could be guaranteed to be slammed into the first wall by the cavalcade of turds behind me, coming to a dead halt and spending the next half a lap in seventh or eight place if I was lucky and a distant eight place if I wasn't. Eventually I adopted a strategy of stopping outside the area and waiting for the AI horde to pass me by before going in. It might have left me in eight, but at least I wasn't so far behind the pack that I wouldn't make any progress for half a lap.

The sliding doors also returned from the Pro-Am track, this time in greater numbers. But after racing on the track a few times, I noticed something interesting that helped me negate a lot of the frustration they previously caused: I noticed that every time an AI racer passed through them, they immediately flung open for them. Rather than setting the disc on fire after learning the game was even more cheap than I had previously imagined, I used my new-found knowledge to piggy back on my adversaries through the freshly-opened doors as much as I could. Something I couldn't do if I got left behind after that first bloody indoor area.

New York (Pro)

16/06/12 - Time to take this one home. Feeling pretty good about the France and Tokyo Pro tracks now. Working on New York at the moment. - JiliK's Backloggery

As a returning area from the Rookie Cup, I was hoping that this track wouldn't be too bad and really it isn't. The trickiest section is by far the the one with the three gaps in quick succession. I had a lot of trouble here trying to nail down the timing of the jumps here. After a lot more trial and error, I managed to finally suss it out, even discovering that if if I ignored the final gap, my momentum at that point would take me across it. With the AI's penchant for leaving that bullshit confusion power-up (that only they have access to btw) right in the path of my jump, that was quite a helpful discovery.

Other than that section, the only problem with this track is its relatively short length. Without long laps to catch up after making a mistake, there really isn't much room for error here.

Himalayas (Pro)

22/06/12 - Still working on the Pro Cup. I'm pretty close to beating it now, if only I could avoid being constantly screwed over by the AI characters. - JiliK's Backloggery

And here it is, folks: the end of my winning run through the Pro Cup. A run I only discovered I wasn't recording a few seconds after this race started. Eleven and a half years after my only glimpse of this track on the back of box, I was finally hurtling towards victory on it.

For the last track in the game, this is an astonishingly straightforward one. With the Himalayan setting too, you could easily see them cramming all sorts of bullshit into this one from falling rocks to avalanches to narrow, twisty paths with falling rocks and avalanches collapsing onto them. That's what I was expecting anyway. In reality though, the obstacles here come in the form of trio of jumps more generously spaced out than in the previous track, and a cave area that may be narrow and may have some rocks to manoeuvre around around, but it's in no way as insane to get through as sections of the first two tracks in this cup.

The gaps early on do take a little practice to get around successfully, with rocks placed in some quite evil positions within their vicinity and a cliff on the left side of the track, but once you don't screw up there, it's not too hard to grab at least second on this track. Whether that gives you enough points to wrap things up is another matter of course. I'm not sure if it's noticeable, but I cut out a part here where I paused just before the finish line to try and figure out just that. Even though I'd had a blistering run through the previous tracks, and I was pretty convinced second place would be enough, I had to be sure; I was too close to finally beating this to screw up now.

26/06/12 - Done and dusted. In your face, Chuckie J!

Indeed, second place was more than enough; I had a whole extra point to spare! Having crossed that finish line, I'd finally laid the first entry in my backlog to rest. Almost a year after starting this campaign, having spent a solid week of playing this for hours, night after night after night, I couldn't have been more excited about that fact. Who ever thought an obscure racing game I picked up at random a decade ago would turn into such an ordeal? :D

Monday, July 16, 2012

SNES RGB Testing

So, last year I still had my SNES hooked up to an old TV card in my PC. The picture wasn't amazing, but it saved on space and it did the job whenever I got the urge for some Super Mario All-stars. This year, after clearing out a bunch of junk, I not only had room for my new(well, six-month-old) HDTV, but I also finally had space to hook up my SNES to a TV again, specifically that one.

Pop'n Twinbee via composite. Could be worse, but it doesn't look great either.

Of course the first thing I tried was hooking it up with the cheapo composite cable I picked up last year; the results weren't exactly great. The picture was too bright, blurry and just generally cruddy. After a bit of research, an RGB scart cable looked like a possible solution to my audio-visual woes, so I took a chance on one for £5 on Amazon.

Super Metroid via RGB. Surprised to see my save files were still intact.

While I haven't had a chance to play anything at length yet, I popped in a few games last week to check it out and grabbed a few dodgy-looking photos while I was at it. I've got to say, I'm really impressed with the improvement. Everything looks nice and crisp, the colours look right and I haven't noticed any ghosting or other glitches so far; £5 well spent. :)

Fuck yeah, Super Mario World.

More photos here; not great ones though. :D

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Backlog Assault: 2011 Wrap Party Finale

In the last few years I've built up a pretty crazy gaming backlog. This year, I've decided it's high time I do something about it. Join me as I begin to regret more than ever all those impulse Steam buys and 99 cent PS2 bargains: (/nostalgic intro)

Metroid Fusion:

Platform: Gameboy Advance
Bought: 03/12/09  From: eBay  Price: €9.50
Beaten: 02/10/11

Backloggery Dump:
  • --/12/09 - I've just entered Sector 6.
  • 15/07/11 - I've just gotten the space jump. Now, where to next?
  • 16/07/11 - Ugh, trying to beat Nightmare at the moment. The third boss in about fifteen minutes of game time and another pain in the ass too.
  • 01/10/11 - Finally managed to beat Nightmare, collected a few power ups and now I'm back in Sector 6.
  • 02/10/11 - SA-X? More like S-U-X.


While I don't think this was quite as well-crafted or as memorable as the Super Metroid follow-up I was hoping it would be, I thought it was quite a solid Metroid in it's own right, and well tailored to playing on the go, with a more guided, streamlined structure than the other games in the series. Some of those bosses though: bloody hell. :D

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle:

Platform: Wii
Bought: 01/08/10  From:  Price: £17.49
Beaten: 11/11/11

Backloggery Dump:
  • 01/10/10 - I'm getting my ass beaten by New Destroyman at the moment.
  • 07/11/11 - Chasing after No. 4 on the rankings list now.
  • 11/11/11 - Gave Jasper the beating he richly deserved tonight. Cheap little bastard. :D

As far as the core game goes, NMH2 is more of the same simple-to-grasp, but satisfying combat wrapped up in all manner of batshit-insane Suda 51 madness. Of course the big change this time around is the omission of the open world, which certainly helps streamline the game, but I can't help thinking it takes away a little of the game's personality. Couldn't they have just worked on improving it? I miss kicking dumpsters to get new t-shirts. :D 

Gone also are most of the motion-controlled jobs, required to earn money in the  original game, this time replaced with a set of pretty entertaining 8-bit games that make earning some cash way less of a grind this time around. Less entertaining is the 8-bit gym training. Requiring some ridiculously accurate timing, I found this leaving me out of pocket without any stat boosts to show more often than not. Also slightly less-than-appreciated by me was the game forcing you to play as Travis' sort-of- protégé, Shinobu for two or three missions. It's not that those sections were bad though; I just much prefer how Travis handles. Despite those minor niggles, I enjoyed my second trip to Santa Destroy quite a lot, and I certainly wouldn't mind another visit on the Wii U.

Max Payne:

Platform: PC
Bought: 30/12/09  From: Steam  Price: €1.87
Beaten: 19/11/11

Backloggery Dump:
  • 12/11/11 - I'm about to board the ship in Part 2, Chapter 3.
  • 16/11/11 - Up to Chapter III, Part 4. It was kind of a slow burn at first, but I'm really liking this a lot now.
  • 19/11/11 - Screw you, helicopter!


Having looked forward to playing this for about 10 years, I was a bit disappointed to find the bullet time mechanic wasn't nearly as overpowered or as useful as I was hoping for, even if it does look pretty cool. Aside from bullet time at all though, this was a really enjoyable shooter. And I was pleasantly surprised to see some puzzle moments mixed in there, calling for some unexpectedly outside the box thinking to solve. Even more of a pleasant surprise was how trippy the less-than-enjoyable dream sequences become when you add some blaring dubstep to the mix. :D But don't let that give you the wrong impression about the game's own soundtrack; that title screen music: amazing.

Well, that's finally it guys, probably for good (I mean I did make this sweet graphic.), but feel free to check out these other classic entries in the Backlog Assault series:

Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: the Crystal Bearers
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Lego Star Wars
Star Fox Adventures
Mario Kart Wii
'Splosion Man
Peggle Deluxe / Puzzle Agent / Screamer / Red Faction
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
GTA: VCS / New Super Mario Bros. Wii / Everybody's Tennis / SSX 3
Perfect Dark Zero