Gamdias Hermes M3 RGB

It turns out, since my reunion with computers and gaming a few years ago with my first PC build in years, that I have become a bit of a snob when it comes to peripherals. Specifically the mice and keyboards that I use.

I used to be happy with the simple Logitech or Microsoft budget options. That was until I purchased a Cooler Master CM Storm TK+ with Cherry MX Brown switches. I found that keyboard to be the perfect mix of compact while still offering a numpad.

Well since then I have went through several keyboards including another TK+ with Cherry MX Blues, the very compact Drevo Gramr with Kaihl Browns, Turbot 87-Key with some kind of clone blue switch, Tesoro Tizona with Cherry MX Blacks, KBParadise V80 TKL with Cherry MX Blues and recently the Drevo Blademaster TK.

So that’s a lot of keyboards and I am convinced I have missed some. Regardless we are here today to talk about the Gamdias Hermes M3 RGB.

Continue reading “Gamdias Hermes M3 RGB”

Turn Backaround: Revisiting the Nintendo Switch

This is a quick return to the Nintendo Switch I thought would be interesting to those of you still on the fence about picking up a Switch. It turns out sales of the console have started to decay and there has been news of Nintendo bringing out an updated version in the near future.

So far the Switch is the console I have most used in this generation since I changed my trucking job a couple years ago. I don’t have a lot of time to play my XBOX One S or my Playstation 4 as I am only home for usually one day of the week. That usually leaves me time to do a podcast and play a little on my computer “ZPM”.

So mobile has become very big for me and that’s saying a lot as before this I had dabbled with the Nintendo Gameboy, DS, and 3DS (and Sonys PSP and Vita) but they were never more than Pokemon machines for me.

The Switch is something different. It has a ton of great console grade games that I can take anywhere with me on the road not requiring a television of any kind. That’s not to say the experience on TV is bad. It’s not. It’s just not where the Switch excels.

The battery life leaves me a bit wanting but other than that I am incredibly happy with the Switch. Games like Octopath Traveler and Super Mario Odyssey look incredible on the small and big screen alike and the games themselves are great.

Right now, if Nintendo had better third party support, I would tell you to buy a Switch. Period. No question. But the third party support is lagging. Yeah there are some newish games out there but when a game like Skyrim is like a big thing to be released on your console when the game itself was released in 2011 that really isn’t a big deal.

One does have to wonder why Nintendo still bothers with their 3DS/2DS line of handhelds. I can only surmise at this point that they are on life-support. I am guessing at this point if there is new Switch hardware in the works they will be giving us more battery life and going fully mobile with perhaps the option to still dock it if you want to play on the big screen.

What has your experience been with the Switch? Or are you still on the fence?

Virtual Reality On a Budget – Oculus Go

A couple years ago everyone was excited with the release of the Oculus Rift funded through Kickstarter and HTC’s Vive. Both are basically dumb high quality stereo displays with sophisticated sensors on board to detect what position your head and feet are in relation to things in a game.

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The HTC Vive.

Both the Rift and the Vive require a high end PC to be tethered to it to experience anything otherwise all you have is an expensive mound of sensors and displays. Continue reading “Virtual Reality On a Budget – Oculus Go”

Retro Fighters Brawler64 Gamepad

Its been a while since we have seen any new anything for the Nintendo64 but today we have something new. Retro Fighters launched a Kickstarter campaign last year to produce a much more ergonomic controller for the old console.

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Original Nintendo N64 Gamepad.

The original N64 controller was always a stinker to me. The three-handled hydra of a controller was always an ergonomic mess even though it was incredibly innovative for Nintendo. Today I find it hard to go back to playing any N64 games because of the terrible controller. Continue reading “Retro Fighters Brawler64 Gamepad”

It Turns Out the Nintendo Switch Doesn’t Suck…

Like may of us, I made a lot of purchases on Black Friday and my one and only big ticket item was a Nintendo Switch. And yes, I picked up the one with the neon blue and red joycons cuz FUN!

Since the terrible handling of the NES Classic edition and the current mishandling of the SNES Classic edition I had written Nintendo off. No, not in that I believed they would die because of this as I am well aware they are making a killing with the Switch. No I just was unhappy about their blatant approval of price scalpers on their NES and SNES Classic. I had decided I would not buy another Nintendo product.

Well I caved on Black Friday. There was a $60 off promo on Ebay for new Switches so I picked one up. It arrived while I was on the road but I when I got home I quickly opened it up and began exploring the console. Continue reading “It Turns Out the Nintendo Switch Doesn’t Suck…”

Sonic Mania – A Love Song to Sonic Fans

Sonic the Hedgehog has had a rough ride since the 1990’s era games and there’s no one better to tell you than myself. I gotta tell you a bit about my past so we can appreciate what Sega has given us today.

Back in the 1990’s I was a much younger lad that today and often to give our parent’s a break we’d be shipped off via FedEx to our grandparents and aunt’s for a week or two for “vacation”. Well I don’t know if Mom was in on it or what but we always had a blast at our grandparent’s. Sadly neither are around anymore to share this with though likely they’d just smile and nod as they never got in to video games.

Anyways, the thing we looked forward to most was, well actually was the water bed, but that’s not what this story is about. The second most important thing was video games. In the basement, our aunt had a lair. A lair full of intrigue and wonder.

Who am I kidding? She had an old school CRT TV (that I eventually inherited later in live) and hooked to that she had a Nintendo Entertainment System. That was something we loved to play ourselves and was our first introduction to Final Fantasy.

One year we arrived and after work she brought down something new to us. A model 1 “High Definition” model Sega Genesis. I wouldn’t be surprised if I drooled. Anyways she let us hook it up, as we were more than eager to do, and power it on with the first of many games she eventually purchased for the console – Sonic the Hedgehog.

We were blown away by the speed of the game. The fastest game we ever played was Super Mario Bros 3 on the NES and the only way to go fast in that game was to hold the B button the whole game. Sonic just went faster and faster and faster. The colour in the game too was so vibrant. And that speed. Oh yeah, I said that already.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was always my favourite. I liked the look of the sprites and backgrounds the best here. The levels seems to flow the best and the music. Oh the music. It was amazing! Chemical Plant Zone anyone?

The move to 3D was done on the Dreamcast with Adventures 1 and 2. I will always remember my cousins showing me Sonic running from the shark on that pier. Classic. After that though I lost my interest in 3D.

In fact the only 3D Sonic game I ever enjoyed was Sonic Generations. It took old school Sonic levels and made them 3D. Pretty good though the physics just weren’t the same.

In comes Sonic Mania. Christian Whitehead had done a few Sonic ports in the past on Gameboy Advance and he designed a prototype of Mania back in 2016 using the Retro Engine. Of course the game was just released on the Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. PC coming in a couple weeks.

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The game takes advantage of the power of the new consoles with fully animated sprites and more colour. Blessedly, developers had the forethought to keep the physics from the the original games. It feels very much like playing Sonic 2 or 3.

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The levels are great with nods to levels from the original trilogy and remixed versions of their level music. We also see remixed bosses throughout the game that queue memories of my past.

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I ordered the collector’s edition off Ebay and I gotta tell you, it was totally worth it.

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Awesome reproduction style cart.

The edition comes with a digital download code for Sonic Mania (there is no physical copy of this game sadly), a metal collector’s card, a dummy reproduction Genesis cartridge for the game with a metal golden ring inside and a foot tall Sonic standing on top of a full size Genesis replica that says “SEGA” when you add two double A batteries in the compartment underneath.

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Beautiful representation of the Sega Genesis Model 1 / Mega Drive.

The game sells for $25 CAD alone and I think it’s totally worth it. I would love to see perhaps some DLC with remade levels from the original games but this game is so good. I haven’t played a game so hard since, well, maybe Persona 4? Pick it up even if you aren’t a huge fan.

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The Sonic statue compared to my Aunt’s Sega Genesis.

Have cheer Sonic fans. Sonic Mania is finally gives us a Sonic the Hedgehog game to be proud of once again.