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Squid Game: Season 1 (Netflix) – 2021

Where can I watch?: Netflix – https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/81040344

Length: x9 episodes (x1 hour each). 

You’ve probably heard loads about Squid game all over social media, on night talk shows like Jimmy Fallon and also perhaps seen the thumbnail for it in Netflix’s top 10 list if your a Netflix regular.

So what is Squid Game? 

Squid game is a Korean drama, TV show on Netflix directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, which was released earlier last month and has very quickly become (after just 10 days of airing) the fastest Korean TV show to take the #1 spot in Netflix’s top 10 globally.

There won’t be any spoilers in this review, as everyone really should watch it themselves, as its so well done. So what’s it about? In a nut shell, its about people, 456 to be exact, who are seriously struggling in life with debt issues, but they are offered a second chance to make a tonne of money to live a debt free life, by participating in a variety of basic, yet sometimes horrifically terrifying, ”kids” games. Think of it as a more barbaric version of Takeshi’s castle, a sort of, battle royale if you wish, where the last person standing ”wins”. If you lose, you lose with your life. Game Over. The rules are that simple. It actually reminded me of Battle Royale, a movie I watched back in university with some classmates which focussed on 9th grade students all taken to an island to basically kill each other in a ”game” under the governments revolutionary ”Battle Royale” act. If you haven’t seen that either, I’d highly recommend it.

So back to Squid Game, all 456 contestants are taken to this secret island off the mainland and are joined by similar characters, all whom are in some sort of serious debt issues. The island is run by guards with red / pink jumpsuits and black masks with shapes on them (denoting different ”ranks”) and  all operations are overseen by the ”frontman”, the person dressed all in black and the 3d black mask. After each game, the total amount of people eliminated = money deposited in the piggybank for all the remaining players, the last player standing wins the 45.6 Billion won.

You’re Invited: 456 Participants, 45.6 Billion won. (courtesy: Netflix)

Rapid Review

Although you could consider my viewing of this ”late to the party” since it aired back in September, I didn’t actually hear anything about this show – probably due to being off social media for a while. Scanning through Netflix last week though, I saw the Squid Game thumbnail and thought, hey, lets give it a watch, its something different after all. And…. Continue Reading

I’ve still not picked up a ”next-gen” console yet, and I’m still holding off strong until 2022, even though I’ve had a couple of opportunities to buy both. Since I’ve been playing a load of Forza the last couple of weeks again, I thought I’d do a post on Xbox’s gamepass service – which I think is amazing value for money.

If you are new to gamepass, its essentially a subscription service where they add games to an already vast catalogue of games and you can download them to your console and play them.

I managed to do the £1 upgrade from Xbox live Gold (3 year sub) to a Gamepass ultimate sub of the same 3 year length (includes Xbox on PC games also), some time back and I’ve been loving it ever since.

October and November is going to be an extra special month though, we have Back 4 Blood dropping in October, Visage (if your a horror fan like me, is a must play), and Forza Horizon 5 coming later in November as well. I’m particularly looking forward to Visage, as I’ve been eyeing it up on steam for ages now and I’ll finally be able to play it on gamepass tomorrow.

Have a look at the full releases below Continue Reading

I tried RGB modding my JVC TM-150CG PVM a while back with some help from the guide over on the Shmups forums, but wanted a cleaner, all round, better looking install / finish to what I had done.

After scouring reddit, someone suggested just buying the input card for it, which at the time (late 2019), the official ones were real pricey at around £200-£400, depending on where you bought them from. With a little bit of searching earlier this year in 2021, I came across the JVC IF-C01COMG RGB card from Retro Upgrades UK  (link) that was compatible with my model

So I decided to purchase the RGB unit from them. They also have the BNC (YPbPr) version for component connectors, all for £49.99 which are compatible with the following JVC monitors:

JVC TM-H150CG
JVC TM-H1750CG
JVC TM-H1950CG
JVC DT-V1700CG
JVC DT-V1710CG
JVC DT-V1900CG
JVC DT-V1910CG

JVC IF-C01COMG BNC YPbPr card for JVC Monitors – Image courtesy of Retro Upgrades UK

Simple plug and play setup, slide the card into the slot on the back of the PVM and you are good to go. It really is that simple. You also have the added benefit of using… Continue Reading

I know what you are probably thinking, or perhaps not thinking, but…PS2 in 2021, why? Well, why not? the PS2 is still an awesome machine, even in 2021. I’m sure loads of folk would agree.

I decided to dust off my PS2 slim after over a year lying dormant and started to test some of my backups, all of which were skipping FMV’s and crashing so i thought, the lasers probably on its way out. Sad and crying (not really) I looked into alternative options to see what I could do to get it back up and running with better performance. OpenPS2Loader is one solution which I’d highly recommend. I’d heard of this a while ago, so thought I’d finally take a dive into checking it out to see what it was all about, and its honestly the best thing you could ever do for your PS2.

There’s plenty of guides out there so I wont go into the details here, but check out the videos from Phoenix Media:

This is also heavily documented on https://github.com/toolboc/psx-pi-smbshare

There is also a huge community forum over at https://www.ps2-home.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=13&sid=c5a821159fe273c550ddf1044964bb54 – that shows you how to install themes / discuss game compatibility, issues, and so on.

What is it?

psx-pi-smbshare is a preconfigured Raspbian based image for Raspberry Pi 1, 2, 3 and 4. It runs a Samba share, a pi-compatible build of ps3netsrv, and reconfigures the ethernet port to act as a router. This gives low-latency, direct access to the Samba service through an ethernet cable connection between a PS2/PS3 and Raspberry Pi.

Essentially, you are setting up the Pi as a router (connected to the PS2. Pi ethernet port configured to talk to the PS2 ethernet port), then through the PS2 OpenPS2Loader app (when configured) the Pi will access the USB stick or HDD through this ethernet connection between the devices, allowing you to play your PS2 backups all through the neat UI on the PS2. This method is much better than running a HDD through the PS2’s USB 1.1 port for obvious reasons. Through the PS2 USB port you will inevitably encounter FMV and game lag plus sound stuttering due to how slow the 1.1 port is.

All you need for this is a USB drive (or externally powered hard disk drive – in my case), a raspberry PI (doesn’t matter if its a pi0,1,2,3,4 etc), and an ethernet cable, plus a soft modded PS2 (with free mcboot).

I used a really old raspberry PI B+ model (yes that old) and a 500GB SSD in an external enclosure (with external power) for mine and it works a treat following the guides / github above.

There is also a nifty tool (USBUtil 2.2v) that will prep / patch backup game files greater than 4.5Gb into smaller parts that you can copy to the USB stick or hard drive, ready to play. OPL manager is another program for PC which will gather game images / box art and so on so that all your games look sweet through the PS2 UI. Check out some of the screenshots of it completed and working below:

Testing with a USB 3.0 Stick (64Gb)

Completion: Using a 500Gb external SSD in a (powered) caddy connected to the PS2 via ethernet cable. Beautiful.

This mod, alongside the PS2 connected to my PVM with RBG is the ultimate PS2 mod in my opinion. To add new backups I just connect the HDD to my PC, run the games through the USBUtil 2.2 program, then OPL manager to gather the box art etc, then put them onto the drive, and then reconnect it back up to the PS2 via ethernet, turn it all on, and its good to go.

If you have a PS2 and want to ”save” its laser, or just fancy a little side project (like I did), give this one a go. You won’t be disappointed.

If like me, you were around a Sega MegaDrive (Genesis in the US) growing up in the 90’s, you’d probably be one of the ones hyped for the 4th instalment of the Streets of Rage franchise last week. Streets of Rage first launched back in 1992 on the MegaDrive and was a 16-bit, 2D, side scrolling, beat-em up game, it was fantastic.

Fast forward a whole 26 years, yes 26 years after the 3rd game was released, and Streets of Rage 4 drops on all major platforms. Is the game worth picking up? Was it a cheap nostalgia cash in ?

Read-more to find out….

Continue Reading

”Get over here !”

I just recently finishing watching the digital version of Mortal Kombat: Scorpion’s revenge and, well, ”how was it?” I hear you ask? Well, your in the right place, so kick back if you can and lets kick off the review for Mortal Kombat: Scorpions Revenge.

There are no spoilers in this review at all so everything is safe to read.

A fully animated, Mortal Kombat, film-first, from Warner Bros, that stays true to its origins with some light-hearted humour and an unmatched level of brutal fighting & fatalities ! Long time fans will not be disappointed !

Scorpion’s revenge is an origin story to the mysterious, yellow and black clothed ninja we’ve all grown to love (or hate).

The story begins with Scorpion, aka Hanzo Hasashi, a well-grounded family man having everything brutally taken from him in the blink of an eye by his greatest rival – Sub-zero. Hanzo is soon resurrected by Quan Chi in the nether-realm who strikes a proposition with Hanzo:  Return to the Tsang Sung’s temple to obtain a sacred key that will release Quan Chi’s master from imprisonment and ultimately seek revenge upon the enemies – mainly sub-zero – who took everything from Scorpion.

Back on earth-realm, familiar characters; Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, Johnny Cage and Jax, to name a few, are embarking to take part in a once-in-a-generation tournament, better known as Mortal Kombat, to decide the fate of their realm. The most accoladed fighters from different realms all battling it out for power. If one realm wins the tournament 10 times, they can merge with another realm, ruling the new realm as they choose.

We are shown brief insights into each characters lives and their day to day, notably Johnny Cage, who cracked me up throughout with his, I’m a huge asshole but rather hilarious sense of humour.

If you’ve played the Mortal Kombat games, seen the cartoon or the 90’s movie you’ll understand the humour throughout, it certainly keeps the balance, and trust me, its needed !

Other old faces, such as Kano, Reptile, Baraka, Goro and others, also make appearances which I thought was a great touch, theres something for old skoolers and new folk alike.

I wont go into climax / end-game spoilers here at all, so lets touch on the very essence of Mortal Kombat, the brutal fight scenes and violence, oh yes.

I’ve seen a few animated pieces in my time, and being a huge Mortal Kombat fan, Scorpions Revenge easily had the best and most brutally violent and entertaining fight scenes I’ve ever seen in an animation. Arms, legs, limbs being cut off, torsos being cut into shredded bits of meat, bone-shattering X-ray like slow-mo scenes we have seen in the game series and fatalities all come together to produce intense, high-octane fights that are extremely exciting for the viewer.

Overall I’d give this a solid 9/10 – Mortal Kombat: Scorpions Revenge stays true to its origins but also provides something new as well for long time fans. The light-hearted humour and an unmatched level of brutal fighting & fatalities helps keep balance throughout ! A mixture of new and old faces, an interesting story with twists and turns left, right and center and some shocking scenes from start to finish, fans will not be disappointed !