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Game Beaten: Super Metroid (SNES)

Permalink - Posted on 2018-12-14 20:12

Ah, yet another game to check off of my "games I need to beat before I die"-list.

It was a breeze once I wanted to play it and found a good guide: Super Metroid 100% walkthrough under 3 hours with no walljumping. I have saved it offline and might even print a copy of it.

It was a surprisingly short game. I was expecting it to be much longer. Or maybe the walkthrough was just that good.

Other than that, there's not much to say. I love the music and graphics and all that stuff, it's peak SNES stuff.

Screenshot 1

Screenshot 2

I hate the controls, and I always have, and probably always will. Every setup will have compromises.

I'm probably gonna try to do another playthrough some day. Ideally I'd remember every step of the guide so I can beat it on command.

Time Percentage

I played it on my Super Nt with a SD2SNES. While I do have a cart of the game, the SD2SNES is just much more convenient. And I can backup my save file! (and I'm gonna do that right now because I just remembered it!)


Game Beaten: Tetris Effect (PS4)

Permalink - Posted on 2018-11-24 18:53

It's an annoying version of Tetris that is optimized for OLED TVs. Really nothing special at all.

I prefer NES Tetris any day.


Seinfeld - Original vs Widescreen Aspect Ratios

Permalink - Posted on 2018-11-13 15:33

Should you watch Seinfeld in the original aspect ratio (4:3) or the newer widescreen (16:9) format? That is a hard question.

On one hand, the 4:3 aspect ratio is the way the show as originally intended to be shown.

On the other, 4:3 looks kind of dated on a modern TV and the quality (DVD tops) is much lower.

But the 16:9 versions you can find on Hulu, Amazon Prime etc are much higher quality! They're 1080p! Much higher than the ~480p of the DVD versions. And you can see a little bit more to the sides!

So why even consider the 4:3 versions?

Well, to get a 16:9 frame from the original 4:3 alot of video had to be cropped:

DVD 1

Wide 1

Or even better, both frames overlaid (courtesy of someone on Reddit, I lost the link, sorry):

Compare 1

Do you see how much is lost from the bottom on the Widescreen version? The top too, but the bottom is most noticable. Elaine's hand is gone in the widescreen version for example.

Another episode:

DVD 2

Wide 2

Almost all of the floor and Jerry's shoe is gone in the Widescreen version. But notice the sides! You are not missing much.

DVD 3 DVD 4

Her head barely made it.

Conclusion

I think we can objectively say that the original aspect ratio is the way to go if you're looking for content.

But on the other hand, the quality is much lower and it looks weird on a modern widescreen TV.

So what do we do? I don't really know. It's up to you!

Personally I think I'm gonna keep both versions and watch whichever version I feel like. Maybe if I'm on my TV I'll watch the Widescreen versions and when I'm watching on my iPad I'll use the 4:3 versions.

Bonus: What About Other Shows?

Investigating Seinfeld and seeing how much is missing, I started wondering if it's the same for Friends?

One of the few mistakes I have submitted to Moviemistakes.com is when a camera is visible in Widescreen version:

DVD Friends 1

Wide Friends 1

But apart from that, you can see that not much is cropped from the top and bottom. There is a little empty space under her elbow in the bottom, and you can see the top of the wall decoration in the 4:3 version. But it is not as bad as in Seinfeld. And compared to Seinfeld, there is a ton more content on the left and right sides (for worse in this case.)

I was wondering if maybe the case is different for the first seasons, but it doesn't seem like it. Here is the very first episode:

DVD Friends 2

DVD Friends 2

Again, there is some empty space under Joey's shoe in the 4:3 version, but in the 16:9 version you can see the guy reading the news paper on the left and the girl studying to the right. So the Widescreen version has way more content on screen.

So for Friends, I think you can watch the Widescreen versions without worrying about missing out on the top and bottom.

Unfortunately, there is another caveat to Friends which is that the DVD versions are "extended" and have alot of extra lines and scenes that are completely gone from the Widescreen versions. Because of that, you can't really win.

Either you'll watch the DVD versions which are really bad in quality, but get more content, or you watch the Widescreen versions which look a lot better and you can see more to the sides, but maybe one of your favorite one-liners is missing. Or maybe an entire plot is missing.

That '70s Show

This is the last show I can think of that I have both standard and widescreen versions for, so I can compare:

DVD 70s 1

Sorry, my encodes for the DVD versions have the subtitle burned in, can't remove it.

BluRay 70s 1

DVD 70s 2

BluRay 70s 2

Here we have a clear winner for the Widescreen version I think. Doesn't seem like anything is lost on the top and bottom, and in fact you see more of the top and bottom on the widescreen versions, in addition to all the extra on the left and right.

There is only one scene I remember that looks a bit weird on the Widescreen version though, and it's the very first episode where Eric is talking about the car. Donna appears a bit earlier in frame than she should.

70s Gif

But apart from that, I think the Widescreen version is the clear winner. Unless you're a purist who wants to watch the show in their originally intended aspect ratio, which I totally respect.


Jurassic Park (1993) in 4K Video Quality

Permalink - Posted on 2018-11-10 22:58

I watched Jurassic Park(1993) for the first time today. I watched the 4K Blu-Ray of it on my nice LG OLED TV.

For the most part it looked pretty good:

Good Quality 1 Good Quality 2 Good Quality 3 Good Quality 4

But then, during some scenes, usually the ones with special effects, looked pretty terrible, and really stuck out to me (you should probably full screen the images):

Bad 1 Bad 2 Bad 3

This one is especially bad.

Bad 4 Bad 5 Bad 6 Bad 7

The dinosaurs just look wrong. They look blurry and pasted in.

They look extra bad here as frames, but even when you watch the movie they stuck out to me. Even though I hadn't seen it before it just immediately struck me whenever I got one of those "bad" scenes.

However, if you downscale them to 720x400 (which is roughly DVD quality) they look pretty good:

SD 1 SD 2 SD 3 SD 4

As frames, especially after you've seen the full resolution 4K frames above, you can still see that they look wrong, but in motion it probably looks a lot better.

So what am I trying to say?

Well, nothing really. Just that the DVD version might be preferable in some cases. But I'd still probably prefer the 4K version and just enjoy the '93 special effects.

As for the movie itself, I enjoyed it! Like a 8.5/10 maybe. I would've liked more of the enjoyable ("holy shit this is amazing") parts and less of the dinosaurs hunting people.


iPhone X - One Year Later Review

Permalink - Posted on 2018-11-10 13:25

I said a year ago that I was gonna do a more in-depth review after I had the phone for a while. Well, a year is quite a while so let’s go.

And well, it’s a good phone. I am very happy with it. It’s so good that the new iPhone Xs is very uninteresting. The Xr is more interesting, but I don’t want that either.

X Features

The best part about these X-generation phones is the swipe navigation. Swiping to go home, swiping between apps, it is so much better than the old way of clicking the home button. I rarely switched between apps before, but with the swipes I do it all the time.

Face ID has gotten alot better over the year. It is super fast for me. That is really all I have to say about it. It works 99% of the time for me and it’s really fast. I don’t miss Touch ID anymore. I did disable the attention aware thing and notification obfuscation. Been very happy with those settings.

I’ve gotten used to OLED. It’s nothing special anymore. I wouldn’t mind if my next phone doesn’t have OLED. It’s nice in theory but in practice it doesn’t make much of a difference. Atleast on the phone. I love my LG OLED TV.

Physically

I’ve used the phone with and without a case. I’ve mostly been using it in both the Apple Silicone Case and Apple Leather Case and both are equally great. I think I slightly prefer the silicone version but they’re not very different. Sometimes (like right now) I use it without a case and it feels very fragile and slippery. I honestly kinda hate it but I also hate the bulk of a case.

There’s no way to win this battle with this phone.

However, with the new iPad Pros being squared off like the old iPhone 5-design I have hope that maybe future iPhones will be the same. I’ve been really close to buying an iPhone SE just because of the form factor. It is so much better to hold.

To summarize, I am not very happy with how the X feels in your hand.

I also don’t like it in my pocket. It feels very big, especially with a case on, which makes it uncomfortable sometimes.

Oh, and the notch? I never think about it or notice it. It’s fine.

Performance

The phone is still really fast. I never feel “ugh, this should be faster.”

Battery has gotten worse over the year naturally, it’s down to 95% on the battery health page but it’s still plenty for me. I put the phone to charge at night with about 20% left usually. And that’s without using Low Power Mode. If I used LPM it would probably be alot better.

————————

In summary I am very happy with this phone. It’s been great and I never think “I wish this was better.”

However, it’s the physical aspects I dislike about it. It’s too big and slippery.

A while ago there was this iPhone X SE concept and I love it.

Iphone X SE Concept

I wish that phone will be real someday, because it seems perfect.

But in the meantime I’ll keep this phone.

It’s easily the best phone I’ve used so far.


If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It

Permalink - Posted on 2018-11-09 23:01

I started dabbling with Jekyll today and was starting to consider replacing my own trusty lambblog with it, but in the end I decided not to.

While it would be nice to use something that other people use, that has tons of documentation and plugins, I don't really have a need for it.

Sure, it would be nice to use Front Matter to have a nice organized way of handling post metadata, instead of doing my "natural" style:

Date
Title

Body text.......

Sure, it would be nice to have tags. I even tried them out on Jekyll and yeah it was great.

Maybe someday I'll migrate over to it. I even tested the RSS importer and yep, it could import my whole blog good enough. It had some issues but it would be ok. Big problem is that it doesn't get tags or anything so I'd have to add that in post.

But for now I'll keep on using lambblog. I have a Jekyll environment setup so I'll mess with it whenever I feel like it. Maybe tomorrow, maybe never.


My First Mac 2012-2018

Permalink - Posted on 2018-11-03 00:44

Well, something really unexpected happened: My mid-2011 Mac Mini died. Outta nowhere.

It was just sitting there, running Pi-hole inside a VMWare VM. And all of a sudden I noticed the internet wasn’t working on anything. So I went to check the router and eventually I realized the power light on the Mac Mini wasn’t on.

Soon after that I realized nothing happened when I clicked the power button, and all I could hear from the computer was a very quiet clicking sound, which I have no idea where it comes from because only mechanical thing in that computer is the CPU fan, and that was not moving. I uploaded some clips to Twitter.

So, it’s dead. My first Mac is dead. Honestly, that’s fine. I got it in 2012 and I used it as my main computer, and then somewhere around 2014 I started using it as my first Plex server and running the Plex Media Player app on it too to make it a HTPC essentially, for a year or two. Eventually it just sat around in my closet, only occasionally being brought out to create a macOS install USB for Hackintosh purposes. And as mentioned, this last month or two it has been running Pi-hole (and iOS content caching server but that was more or less useless).

I don’t really have much nostalgia for it. I never really liked it that much, because right after I got it they got a 2012 refresh so it was instantly old, so I didn’t really develop any emotions for it. I just remember working during the summer of 2012 and getting money. For some reason I had gotten into Apple stuff so I bought the cheapest Mac that was available. I also got 8 GB of RAM for it, which was easily user replacable (and officially supported) and I ran with those sticks for its entire life. Some years later I also got a SSD for it, which made a huge difference and made it usable until today.

Getting a New One?

The irony in all this is ofcourse that this week Apple finally announced updated Mac Mini’s and they’re great. I won’t be getting one.

Sure, I wouldn’t mind having one, but I think they’re too expensive. When I bought my Mac Mini in 2012 it was like $500 or something, really cheap. The new ones are about 2x more.

And I really don’t need one. I went back to running Pi-hole on a Raspberry Pi 2.

I just think it’s so funny and almost scary that the week Apple finally updated the Mac Mini, my Mac Mini died... is it a sign?


RDR2: My Final Decision

Permalink - Posted on 2018-11-02 18:57

I’ve given it some more time and now I think I can give my final verdict.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is not my Game of the Year.

I really like RDR 2, and it’s absolutely amazing what Rockstar has managed from all aspects: technically, story, details, audio, animals, characters... just everything is tip top and absolutely deserves all the praise it gets.

Can I say RDR 2 is the best game of the year and Spider-Man is the most fun game of the year, and since I value fun over best, I’ll say Spider-Man is my game of the year?


More on RDR2 (Spoilers !!!)

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-31 20:01

If you don't wanna get spoiled leave now. Heavy spoilers will follow.


I have a problem with RDR2, more specifically how the story played out. I feel betrayed and struggle with playing it after beating the game.

Picture this:

You are Arthur Morgan. A cowboy. You hang with the Dutch Van Der Linde gang. You meet lots of lovely people: Charles, Micah, Bill, Abigail and Dutch himself of course, and many more (I'm bad at names apparently). Throughout out the 40+ hour game, you develop feelings for these characters. You like them all, you don't want anything bad to happen to any of them. You go talk to the people in the camp sometimes to hear what they've been up to and how worried they are about what's going on and what's gonna happen.

Throughout this story you go on memorable trips and missions:

  • Sadie joining your gang
  • Robbing a train
  • Setting up the first camp in Horseshoe Overlook
  • Taking the girls into Valentine for the first time
  • Rescuing one of them from a hotel room
  • Going hunting for the first time
  • Breaking Mikah out of jail
  • Going fishing with the youngest boy on camp
  • Having to move to a new camp because the law is on to you
  • Setting up the new camp and discovering the new town of Rhodes
  • Taking Sadie into Rhodes and discovering she's not afraid to fire a gun
  • Learning about two families where there's a Romeo and Juliet thing going on, and helping "Romeo and Juliet"
  • Burning huge tobacco fields
  • Stealing fast horses
  • Taking out a gang that resides in a big house, and then set up camp in that house
  • Robbing a bank in a big city and everything goes bad
  • Breaking out John out of prison
  • Flying a hot air balloon to scope said prison
  • Getting friendly with a mafia boss, only to kill him later on
  • Wade through water in a swamp while its dark and there's a monster out there
  • and much, much more...

The story missions of RDR2 are quite fantastic and very memorable for the most part (there are a ton of missions where you just need to shoot everything but whatever, they're ok).

On the side of this Arthur helps out a old love of his, which develops his character even further.

Now here's the problem: Arthur dies. That is how the main story of the game ends. The guy you just spent playing 40 hours with dies. He's gone.

Now starts a epilogue where you play as John Marston, a guy that Arthur helped "get out" of the cowboy business. John Marston is the guy you play as in RDR1 by the way, in case you're wondering. RDR2 is a prequel to RDR1.

Initially, John and his wife (Abigail) and son (Jack) relocate to a farm out in the middle of nowhere, where you do farm stuff, like milking cows and shoveling cow crap. Eventually, trouble finds it's way back and John more or less becomes a cowboy again. Although a bit lighter one. However, Abigail is tired of John "not growing up" and leaves him and takes Jack with her.

John really loves Abigail so he gets a farm that Abigail had mentioned was for sale earlier. John takes loans to get the farm and he builds a house and barn and everything and eventually Abigail and Jack comes back. They're really happy together and get engaged and take nice photos together. It's quite a lovely story.

Eventually John kills the big traitor from the main story and the credits roll.

Fine, it's a very epic game and story that is very long. But very memorable and fun.

My Problem

So what's my problem?

I hated John during the story. I hated his scratchy voice. I dunno why but I just really disliked him, and now Arthur is gone and I'm forced to play as John, unless I make a new game and start over.

Now, I never played RDR1 so I went and read a plot summary of it and as I understand it, something very similar happens there: John dies, and you play as his son Jack. And as Jack, you hunt down John's killer. Very, very similar. Had I known this happened in RDR1 I would probably be less surprised when this happened in RDR2. But alas, I didn't. I guess it's the RDR formula: the main guy dies and you're left with a replacement.

But even if I somehow start enjoying playing as John, that's not the entire problem: I still miss the camp and the rest of the gang too. I miss going around in camp and donating funds and seeing what everyone was up to. I liked eating the daily stew that was cooked. But, all that's gone.

So I'm kind of sad that I can't continue free roaming (and maybe getting 100% completion) the way I liked it. It feels like the game got worse after I beat it. Much worse. The comfyness of Arthur and the camp is gone.

Sure, I could start a new game but I know that eventually I'm gonna have to get Arthur killed and play as the character I dislike again.

I'm considering playing RDR1 instead. Maybe by playing that I can like John better during the earlier parts of RDR2, so that eventually I don't mind playing him in the end game.

But yeah. I'm just sad that the character I invested a lot of time into died.

I think this is one of the first games, movies or tv shows I've consumed where the good guy didn't win. Breaking Bad was similar, my favorite guy died and one of my least favorite guys drove off.

RIP Arthur. I made a lot of memories with you throughout this game.


Game Beaten: Red Dead Redemption 2

Permalink - Posted on 2018-10-29 16:00

This is another game that I wanna write a whole essay about, but I’ll keep it short for now.

I still haven’t played RDR 1 by the way. I might though. It’s a lot shorter.

RDR 2 is a revolutionary game. It’s packed with content and stuff to do, it’s hard to be bored in the game.

The world is beautiful (especially on Xbox One X). I beat the game but I haven’t even explored all of the map yet. I have barely done any side activities.

The story was pretty good. I’ll admit I had tears at some points. It is a very, very long game though, took me about 40-45 hours. However, nothing felt dragged out so I guess it’s alright. I feel like every mission had story elements.

So what about the bad stuff? One of my gripes is scripted walking speed. Let me run whenever I want. Let me jump whenever I want. Don’t artificially slow me down when I’m in some places.

There were some missions that was just shootouts, which you get tired of eventually. The gunplay is nothing special.

I also had some bugs here and there, and there was a lot of clunky movements when I did certain actions but overall it’s solid. I also wanna give a shoutout to my Xbox One X that was on for over 48 hours but never crashed and was silent at all times.

It is truly amazing what Rockstar has pulled off from the technical side. The game runs at a rock solid framerate at native 4K resolution on the X. I am very eager to play a new GTA game with this engine.

Writing this and thinking back on the game, I am suddenly remembering and feeling nostalgia for missions I did only a day or two ago, but it feels like it was years ago because so much happened in the game. Almost all of the missions and moments were memorable.

Title

Title

Title

Title

It’s hard to argue with the reviews the game’s been getting. I’m leaning towards a 10/10 too.

I took a day off work to play it on release, and played the entire weekend. I loaded up with snacks and everything. It will probably be memorable.

Title