The Evolution of Meks – Consoles

It’s been over 30 years since Mummy Meks and Daddy Meks produced little old me!   A lot has changed in 30 years,  VHS is now Blu Ray,  Microwaves are no longer the size of bungalows and I can no longer pop into my local Woolworths, Our Price or Kwik Save!   Consoles have changed a lot since I was born so I have decided to chart the evolution of Meks the gamer by showing you all the consoles I have once called my own.  So sit back because where we’re going we don’t need roads!

 

Atari 2600

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My first ever console which was bought by my mum and dad one Christmas when I was about 6 or 7.  Really if they are honest it was bought for them as I remember being unable to play the thing for the first few months while they played Pac Man Jnr.

It was pretty basic compared todays modern systems however it still has good memories for me.  I loved playing Yars Revenge, Centipede, Pitfall and Ghostbusters!   I was also given some game paddles and a game called Circus in which you basically had to move a see saw around catching the falling men. 

C64

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This was another gift bought by the parents for the parents.  It came with the Dizzy Collection!  5 games about a lovable egg called Dizzy who went on a Treasure Island, Fantasy Island and any other Island you can think of.   I loved that little egg and if there was one character I can blame for my love of all things gaming it would be that little dude.  Some other classics I played were a game called Creatures, Rainbow Island and the original Street Fighter which had a different version of the same game on each side!  

Sega Master System II

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Ok this is a sore point.  I basically asked Santa for a NES however it fell on deaf ears and I ended up with a Sega Master System II.  I had my revenge on old Saint Nick but due to legal reasons I’m unable to say more.  At the time I loved going round to my mates and playing Super Mario 1, 2 and 3 and really really wanted a game glove but alas it was not meant to be.   To be fair the Master System II was a good console and had built in Alex the Kidd in Miracle world.  I played this game so many times and loved the underwater levels and the scissors, paper,  stone games however to this day I can still hear that damn song in my head!  Other fantastic games I had were Mickey Mouse & Castle of illusion, Golden Axe, Lemmings, Lucky Dime Caper with Donald Duck, Rainbow Island and Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker (Grabs his groin and hollers)!

 

 

(Ok at this point I would mention the Gameboy and classic games like Tetris, Super Mario Land and various others however I technically didn’t own a Gameboy as it was my brothers.   I just used it an awful lot!   For the purpose of this post only consoles I owned will get a mention.)

SNES

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Picture the scene its Christmas morning and you run down stairs in your blue flannel PJ’s to find Santa has emptied his sack on your floor.   No that’s not the details of the court case St Nick vs Mr Meks no I am taking about the day I came down to find a very large box under my tree.   I unwrapped the box and tears of joy filled my eyes when it revealed my very own Super Nintendo with Starwing (or Starfox depending what country you’re from).   The Snes will always be the console which has the fondest memories for me.   It was out at the same time I was coming of age and was an exciting time in gaming.  Memories like the time I had chicken pox and had to stay at my Nans.   I took my Snes with my and a copy of Super Mario World however my Nan only had a black and white portable in the back room.  It didn’t matter and I completed that game in a day!   There was also a local game swap shop that would let you swap games for a fiver!   The Snes introduced me to classic games like Fifa, Mario Kart, Yoshi Island, Zelda A link to the past, Secret of Mana , Street Fighter 2 and Zombies ate my neighbors!

Playstation

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On to the Playstation!  Released in 1994 this became a big part of my teen years.  One minute I was crashing cars in Destruction Derby the next being a demonic Ice cream truck in Twisted Metal.   The Playstation also introduced me to some classic franchises like Metal Gear Solid, GTA & Crash Bandicoot however Final Fantasy 7 will also be the stand out game.

Xbox

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 My next console was the Xbox.   With its black and green design and backed by Microsoft it had to be a winner.   The Xbox introduced me to other franchises which I would come to love.  Halo was a classic and had me hooked and I just love Fable so much!  Jet Set Radio rocked however my all time favorite xbox game has to be Knights of the Old Republic 1 & 2. 

Gamecube

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I bought it from a Cash Convertors for £20 as I wanted to try Animal Crossing however found some classic games for it like Super Monkey Ball and Super Mario Sunshine!

 

Xbox 360

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Now it’s hard to believe but there was a gap when I didn’t have any consoles!  But about 7 years ago I purchased my beloved xbox 360.  I had 3 in that time, First one died the dreaded three red rings of death, the 2nd was given to a nephew and replaced with the Xbox Elite!  There are so many games I have owned and played in that time.  Fallout 3 & New Vegas, Skyrim, Dragons Age, Halo 3, Alan Wake the list could go on and on.  The last game I owned was the amazing GTA 5 which was a fitting way to say bye to my beloved 360.

Xbox One

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And here we are! The Xbox one is in da house!   I can sit here and shout “Xbox watch BBC 1” and not have to lift a finger while the Xbox turns the Tivo to ITV 1.  Ok so there are still some bugs to work out but it’s the dawn of a new era.   I have only owned the console for ten months and I have played some great games like Assassins Creed – Black Flag, Watchdogs and Battlefield 4 and Titanfall.   As I sit typing this I have just received my copy of Destiny which I hope to fall in love with.   Watch this space and wait and see!

Mr Meks Remembers ….. 80s Board Games

I love buying my children toys!   At heart I am a big kid really and I love to buy them the latest gadgets or gifts advertised on TV.   Christmas & Birthdays bring memories too of my childhood and the toys and games I grew up with.   With this in mind I have decided to start writing some blogs about what childhood toys I use to play with.   I hope they stir up happy memories with you as they do with me!

Ghost Castle

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I was bought this for Christmas in the 80s and it was a classic. You play one of four characters who are lost in a ghost castle.  Each spin meant you were closer to the exit or close to death!  The premise was the same as Mousetrap where traps are set on the board around a very cool glow in the dark mini skull.  In fact I feel so nostalgic about this game I am currently watching one on Ebay.  Expect more info if I win!

Mr Pop

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Poor Mr Pop has been born without a face and its your job to give him eyes, nose, mouth and improve his lifestyle.  Beware however as Mr Pop may wake up from his general anesthetic resulting in him jumping up and knocking off all his newly acquired face implants!

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Screwball Scramble

What fun can you have with a metal ball, Some magnets and a timer.  Quite a lot in the 80s thanks to Screwball Scramble.  I remember having hours of fun with this but I admit I never used the timer 😉

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Kong man.

While I was looking for pictures of Screwball Scramble I came across this other gem from my childhood which I had totally forgotten about!  Basically the same concept as Screwball but required batteries and was also vertical rather than horizontal.  Another one added to my ebay list (Don’t tell the wife)

Tomy Super Cup Football.

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Before we had Fifa and Pro Evo and before we even has Sensible Soccer there was Tomy’s Super Cup Football.   Basically the players could only go up and down in a certain line and it vibrated like mad but I loved it so much that I brought it in for toy day at school and it impressed all my mates!

Minecraft Xbox One

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Minecraft is back!   Today Minecraft was released for the Xbox one which means hours of my life wasted while I try and recreate historical buildings in blocks!

I owned it on the Xbox 360 and it took a big chunk of my life!   It is also one of the few games that I can play with my daughter and we both encourage each other to try and build bigger and better things.   She even has access to a Minecraft club at her school!

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I have only played it for an hour however it is more or less the same as the Xbox 360 version except it has a few more features added and the worlds are now bigger.   Unsure why the need to increase the size as I thought the 360 version was big enough!  I am also told that the split screen mode has been improved meaning that if the eldest and middle daughter both want to play then it won’t end up in screams of “its my turn its my turn!”.

I am a big fan of Minecraft as its just a all round creative family game. I guess it’s like playing with Lego except you can have access to unlimited blocks, it takes up less space and also you don’t feel the anger when you stand on a stray piece in the middle of the night!

I will try and upload some pictures or videos of me and my daughter’s creations… unless a creeper gets us!

EGX here I come!

I’m off to London baby yeah!   This month it’s EGX (Eurogamer Expo) and I will be attending again… on my own!

I think this year will be my last as I feel I may be getting told old to attend these kinds of conventions!    I find myself being more interested in the BBC Good Food Show which is ideally catered for the middle aged fat man like me!  I will however make sure that I will enjoy it even if I am going on my billy no mates again!

I have decided that I am going to priorities my visit this year and make sure that I get to play the following five games as these are more then likely going to be the ones I will purchase in the coming months.

Sunset Overdrive –  This is one of those games that makes me drool every time I see it being played however I need to play it myself to be convinced If it will make its way into Mr Meks game cupboard.   I have been stung before buying fantastically good looking games but then to find out I am not a fan of the gameplay.  Metal Gear Rising was one type game that looks glorious but wasn’t my cup of tea when I came to play.

Evolve –   I was a big fan of Left 4 dead and its sequel and this has all the hallmarks of being that good.   Let’s face it any game that lets you fight or be the Kraken wins my vote!

Alien Isolation – This game scares me and I haven’t even played it yet!  It scares me in two ways; firstly that gameplay is basically you in a ship trying to hide from one scary arse Xenomorph.  It reminds me of the first time I watched Alien behind the sofa at the tender age of eight!  Secondly after the mess which was Aliens Colonial Marines I worry that this game is going to build up my expectations and then rip my heart out like a chest bursting demon!

 

The Escapist –  I saw this game on the Xbox media brief at Gamescom and I am unsure why but I really want to play it.  You basically play a prisoner trying to escape by crafting items and using them to try and escape without alerting the guards.   My only criticism is that they should have used the theme tune from the great escape for their gameplay video and not the theme from Alton Towers!

 

Shadow of Mordor – What can I say I love Lord of the Rings however the only game I have played in Middle Earth involved Lego.   The gameplay looks fantastic therefore I will give it ago and see how it goes.

I hope I get to play these five fantastic games however whatever games I play I am sure I will enjoy and hopefully this year I will come back with some well-earned free swag!

The Shakespeare Express

As a treat for the kids before they go back to School we decided to take a trip on the Shakespeare Express!    Taking advantage of a Living Social deal we only had to pay £18 for a family return ticket (Jess goes free!) to ride an authentic steam engine from Snow Hill up to Stratford Upon Avon.

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Firstly as a guy who grew up with Hornby Train sets I love steam trains!  There is something magical about riding on an old fashion engine instead of an electric smarties tube.   I also love the fact that the train was manned by elderly volunteers who are spending their retirement caring and attending to the trains they love and grew up with.   My kids however did not feel the same way and were clearly bored halfway through the journey!

Less than an hour later we arrived at Shakespeare’s Birthplace and decided to walk down to the center.   Our first stop was a shop The Creaky Cauldron which is this fantastic shop and museum filled with all things magical and wonderful.   They also serve their own version of butterbeer which tasted lush!

Then we popped into the Christmas Shop which sells all things Christmas every day of the year.  It reminded me of a similar shop we went into when we went to York and left me wishing it could be Christmas everyday.

We also stopped off next to the River and near by the Royal Shakespeare Company and had a spot to eat before we made our way back.   Alas we did not go into the museum to see Shakespeare’s place of birth or rest however both me and Jo decided that we will make a return trip one day but just the grown ups!

Eurogamer Expo

Well My first bit of good news to report on my blog is that I am going to Eurogamer Expo in London at the end of September!   I am really existed and can’t wait!

 

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For many years now I have waited and watched the yearly event which is known as E3 from the comfort of my laptop or xbox wishing I could attend such an event.   Seeing all these games being shown off and watching the big 3 game consoles conferences waiting for the next exciting revelation of which game or hardware I will need to get next.      

In the last 5 years I have dreamed of going to such a conference but just never had the bottle to go alone.   My friends are not game fanatics and nor is my wife which meant that the only way I was able to go was to go on my billy. 

The wife and I have been to the Baby Show.  At first I was a bit wary of going but being a modern father that I am I gave it ago and enjoyed it very much!   Now don’t get me wrong I am not into baby clothes, cloth nappies or organic baby food made from 99% soya!   No I enjoyed it because of all the free crap that you get given at these events!     The 3 times we have been, we have left with bags full of toys, food and nappies to stock our kids up for years. 

It wasn’t just the freebies that impressed me.   It was the independent retailers who were passionate about their products that I liked.   I mean the big boys were at the show like Fisher Price, Pampers and Mothercare but it was the small sellers that made it, like a lady selling natural menthol sticks for babies or the guy selling Happy Hopper bouncy toys (I bought two!).

This is why I can’t wait to go the Eurogamer Expo.  Not just because it will be the first chance to play some fantastic games like Batman:- Arkham Orgins, Battlefield 4 and the Elder Scrolls Online but I get to play some new Indie hits and hopefully if I am lucky pick up some fantastic  Freebies!