I just got the šit qiked out of me...

Thankfully, this demonstration makes for a more impressive screenshot than my attempts at playing

I haven't got the foggiest of ideas what it is, but reading up on Qix (pronounced 'Kicks'), it's plain to see that this game is unlike any other I've played from this list so far. It doesn't involve shooting anything, it doesn't have any real world analog, but it requires quick thinking and reflexes, as well as a bit of strategy and luck. It's a fast paced puzzler of sorts.

The aim of the game is to fence off sections of the playing field, enough to block out more than 75%. You can draw fast or slow, with slower sections - marked in red - scoring you more points.

That would be a dull game were it not for the Qix, Sparks, and your own stupidity getting in the way of things. The Qix is a kind of spiralling, dancing, mess of a threat. Sometimes it hangs out well away from you before expanding and reaching right where you don't want it to. If it touches you, that's one life down.

The Sparks travel along the available playing field, and if they catch up to you, it's another life down. It's best to get moving before they arrive, even if it's just to avoid them with a small section of the playing field.

Finally, appropriately for a three life format, is your own foolishness. If you dawdle while drawing, your line becomes a fuse and you don't want the fuse to run out or that's one more life down. If you get yourself into a bit of a pickle, or a 'spiral death trap' as the introduction calls it, you're done for. Go home, you've lost all your lives.


Donkey Kong

Characters in video games? You're having a laugh.

I'm faaairly certain that the first time I encountered Donkey Kong was on my Game Boy, way back when. It was simple, it moved smoothly, it didn't make too much sense and you were often caught out by physics-defying barrels thrown by an angry gorilla, but it was fun. It held my attention for a while, not that I ever completed it.



It's only just 1981 and we're resorting to padding the list with sequels...

Source // Wikipedia

I could have sworn I'd played Galaga not too long ago, but no, I played Galaxian, the first of a number of space shooters that strove to do the whole alien menace thing in its own way. Galaga then serves as the sequel and is, on the surface, not much to write home about.

The graphics have been improved and the layout stays the same so we all know where we stand. And then the aliens introduce some new technology and tactics.


Raspberry Pi Part 3 - The Great Pretender

Back in Part 2, I had one RetroPie, one working controller and one game to play. I also took more photos, so this part will be text heavy. Well, not so much 'text heavy' as 'all text'. Apologies.

My next steps were to move ROMs across so that I'd actually have something to play, then scrape the Internet for some metadata about them, including box art, developers, release dates and descriptions. Games stick in our memories, of course they do, but trying to remember the exact title in the world of 'Super' this and 'Super' that... I wanted to at least help my future self by scraping that data.

After that, I'd try to connect up some different controller options, including a PS3 controller, and hope to get a second player up and running.


Raspberry Pi Part 2 - It'sa me! Mute-io!

In Part 1, I managed to set up a Raspberry Pi, turn it into a RetroPie and then completely cock up various network settings that meant I couldn't connect to it to do anything with it. I was in a bit of a mood, annoyed at myself, when along comes heavenly salvation.

Everyone needs a Player 2, and when not talking about Pokémon, she has soothing words of encouragement (and not so soothing words - I can be a bit of jerk when I'm focused on getting something done). More importantly for the project, she has a USB memory card reader that I desperately need.

Graciously giving up a bit of her limited lunch break to go and grab it for me (I believe I owe her a Ponyta card or two), I run through the road map of what I need to do in my head - reformat the card (to be doubly sure), reinstall the RetroPie image, reconfigure my controller, then hope I have an IP Address at the end of it.

Don't take photos of TV screens

Raspberry Pi Part 1 - Failure to Connect

Every now and then when browsing the Internet, I would come across an article or video saying how easy it is to make a retro video game console with a Raspberry Pi, the dirt cheap credit-card sized computer that can run all manner of projects.

The idea sat in the back of my mind for a while until, eventually, I deemed it possible. It was an achievable goal for someone who hasn't built anything electronic for a decade and a half and hasn't got a clue how to put a computer together. Achievable despite all that because the Raspberry Pi is meant to be an entry into this world, so simple a child can understand.

After a bit of searching for what I needed, I slapped down around £80 to get the necessary parts (and a few more to give some options), before waiting until it was time to get unboxing.

What's in the boxes?

A Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, an 8gb MicroSD card and SD Card adapter, a USB Power Cable, an HDMI cable, an Ethernet cable, a USB WiFi adapter, a USB keyboard and mouse, two USB SNES gamepads and a plastic Pi case (not called a Pi tin, unfortunately).

I wouldn't even use the Mouse in the end

What's not in the boxes?

The SD card image for Retro Pie, which is what we'll be using to do anything with, as well as various apps for formatting SD cards, and an FTP client like Cyberduck so that files can be transferred to the Raspberry Pi over the network. You'll also need a computer and monitor.

I don't know if the card builder also did the job of the card formatter, but I'm playing it safe rather than sorry

Pick up all of that and you're up and running. You don't need it all, the WiFi is optional, you may have keyboards laying around, the controllers are up to you and so on, but that will get you going. Cost will vary depending on what you need or want, but it likely won't break the bank.

It's not pink, just reflective



How have I never known of this game?

Source // Wikipedia

"Centipede?" I ask myself. "That's gotta be an early version of Snake, right?"

Oh how wrong I was. Though Centipede does feature long, thin creatures that look a bit like snakes, they're called centipede's here... and they do move a little like the snake in Snake. A bit. I'm clutching at straws here, delaying the fact that this game was so far off my video game history radar that you'd need to invent whatever the successor to radio is just to give me a chance at coming across it.

The entry in 1001 Video Games mentions that Centipede is the game to bring female players into video games, and upon reading that I thought 'ok'. The 'huh's only sounded upon reading that it involves centipede herding and pest control in a garden.

You play as... a character, possibly a garden gnome or elf, who can fire upon a centipede, damaging it to creating point scoring mushrooms which then affect how the rest of the centipede moves around the garden.

Simple, really.