Gaming
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Nintendo in 2020 - The Fun Games

9 September 2020

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Disclosure - this post contains affiliate links. These add no extra cost to you but if you do buy through my link I may earn some pennies.

A selection of Wii GamesThis year both Microsoft and Sony will be releasing the next generation of Xbox and Playstation. What are Nintendo releasing? Nothing.  There are rumours of a Switch 2 or Switch Pro but nothing will be released in 2020.  Does that mean that Nintendo are ahead of the competition following the updated Switch Lite release late 2019, or are they behind?  Are they even in the same competition? 

I have owned Nintendo consoles since the early days of the Super NES, Nintendo 64, Gameboy and Gameboy Advance.  Right up to the later releases of the Wii, Wii U and more recently the Switch. That said, Nintendo have never been my favourite consoles and often left me thinking "how much better that could have been", although many people would disagree with me. 

However, there is one thing about Nintendo consoles that still ring true today, they have fun games. Fun games that I find myself returning to, to play with the family, especially on the original Wii.  There are so many game releases these days that look amazing, offer huge gameplay times and detailed storylines but actually miss out on the whole point of gaming.  In my opinion, the fun. 

That is why, these days, where we spend more time at home than anywhere else, I recommend you dust off your old Wii or Wii U console.  Boot it up and then play some of the games below to rediscover what fun gaming is all about. 

wii u and switch



 1 - Wii Party.  (Wii) An absolute classic and the reason why Wiimotes are still for sale on the likes of amazon. The original Wii Party has so many games modes to choose from, made up of mini games that are really fun to play for all ages and accessible to all.  We still play at least once a week and this game has been in out home since 2010. 

2 - Nintendo Land (WiiU).  Another mini game orientated fun set of games.  Makes use of the Wii U control pad to add an extra layer to the mini games.  The extra screen on the control pad is really useful for hide and seek type games. This is also played on regular basis here, originally released in 2012.

3 - Super Mario Bros. U (WiiU)  / Super Mario Bros U. Deluxe. (Switch).  There isnt much to be said about Super Mario Bros that hasn't been said a thousand times before. The game is much the same as it always has been - why change what isn't broken?

4 - Mario Strikers Charged Football (Wii). Another game that has been with us for a while. In fact since 2007 around the time we first got a Wii console. This game offers a replayability that even the most up to date Fifa can't match.  Its frustrating and fun all at the same time. 

5 - Wii Sports (Wii). The original Wii sports came packaged with our Wii in 2006. Its another one that comes out time and time again.  The Tennis is the best of the games, although the bowling is a close second. If you are looking for some quick sports action that is really fun - then look no further. 

You can still pick up most of these games for a reasonable price on amazon, however if you are looking for a Wii or WiiU you may best looking in some car boot sales or charity shops as the prices on these are really high at the moment as they are no longer made. 

Whichever you choose, there is no doubt that Nintendo still have a recipe for a fun game, and its this quality that keeps gamers coming back for more, no matter the generation of console they are using. 

Do you still own any older devices? What are your fun game recommendations? 

John
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XBox Series X - Casual Gamers Guide

2 September 2020

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Xbox Controller



Most things are now known about the XBox Series X release, due before the end of 2020 and hopefully in time for Christmas this year.  There is a lot of focus on Power, Components and many comparisons being made between the new Xbox and a high powered PC, but what does this all mean for the casual gamer, and will the Series X be an upgrade that the casual gamer needs?

There is a lot of talk around 'Teraflops' - This is basically the ability of the processor that is central to the operation of the console.  To give you a basic idea - the Xbox One S has 1.4 Teraflops of processing power and the Series X will have 12.  That is a huge increase in processing power.  Whilst the Xbox One X was more powerful than the One S, it doesn't have the power that the Series X will have. 

So power aside, what else is new? Loading speeds are going to be much faster. I'm not sure how much this affects the casual gamer, as having been playing since the days of the ZX Spectrum, loading speeds now still impress me compared to a fifteen minute loading time from a tape.  But to some it will be important and a significant improvement.   This is mainly through use of an internal Solid State Drive, with the ability to buy expansion Solid State Plug in drives to hold anything above the already included 1 TB.  This is one area that I feel could get expensive to make the most of.  I currently have an 8TB External Drive plugged into the back of my Xbox to hold all my games and those I have downloaded from Game Pass.  With games likely to be significantly larger in size than previously, 1 TB wont last long. As an example Red Dead Redemption 2 on currently generation was nearly  89GB, that is almost a tenth of your storage gone with one game.  That said, existing drives should still work, but may not take advantage of the faster load times.   One idea could be to have the games you are currently playing installed to the Console and those on the 'waiting list' or played less on your external. 

What else do we know? The console isn't everything.  Microsoft are heavily promoting the game pass service, to the point where X - Cloud is included, and all Microsoft Studios games, including Halo Infinite, are going to be available to game pass subscribers from day one, without having to purchase the game itself.  Game Pass works as more of a rental service, where you pay a monthly fee and have access to the games on game pass at that time.  As new games arrive, older ones leave and you have an ever changing library of games to play.  These are all digital games, removing the need for physical discs, and also any chance of trade in you may once have had. 

Backwards compatibility is always important. The Series X will run all Xbox One games (except those that required the Kinect) and all games from Xbox 360 and Original Xbox that are already backwards compatible so thats good news from Microsoft. 

What we don't yet know at this point are prices. And if there are likely to be any variants of the console. Sony have opted for two PS5's at launch, one with a disc drive and one without so it will be interesting to see if Microsoft do the same.   Prices are expected to range from £400 to £500 for the console, however this is yet to be confirmed. 

Although I am a casual gamer, I am hoping to be able to buy a Series X at launch. The two things that appeal to me are the new games (including Halo Infinite) and the processing power of the console. 

What are your thoughts on the next generation of consoles? 

John
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Moving On From Fortnite

21 October 2019

9 comments
*This post contains affiliate links, they work at no cost to you however can help towards the running of my blog.* 

fortnite figures
It's been well over a year now since Fortnite started to dominate the boys Xbox time. Big J started first and at the time John and I knew very little about the game. Big J would play it in his room and we had no need to know about the game or anything else until little J started to talk about it. He hadn't learnt about it from his big brother, it was his friends in school. He would come home and talk about characters and dances and was desperate to play it. John and I limited his Fortnite time but it has been his 'go to' game ever since when he has Xbox time until recently, he's starting to drift towards other games and is desperately searching for another game as popular as Fortnite.
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Days Out | Play Expo Manchester

15 May 2019

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Disclosure - We were gifted tickets for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. 

Play Expo returned to Manchester last week to a new location at the Central Exhibition Centre. This was Little J's first visit to the gaming exhibition and he loved it more than I expected!
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Tech | Are Your Children Staying Safe Online - Fortnite

9 January 2019

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Everyone has heard of Fortnite, the online multiplayer shooter phenomenon that even allows players to play across different consoles in the same game. Maybe your child is playing Fortnite right now, do you know who they are playing with, what they are hearing or being told, the ages of the people they are playing with?  Probably not - in fact I would say definitely not. After all the Battle Royale game is based on 100 people online together on one map, playing in teams or alone - and these 100 people could be from anywhere in the world.
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Review | Paw Patrol On a Roll Xbox One Game

27 November 2018

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Little J has watched Paw Patrol for a few years now, and the release of a Paw Patrol On A Roll video game for the major consoles isn't a surprise given how its popularity has increased in recent times. It's an interesting release as it surprises me that there are enough children old enough to play console games, but still young enough to enjoy Paw Patrol, to warrant a major game release. Having said that Little J loves his Xbox time, so maybe gaming is more popular with small children than I would have thought.
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Christmas 2018 | Gift Guide - Fortnite Fans

17 November 2018

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Fortnite has been the gaming sensation of the year.  Playable on most devices, even your phone, it has captured the hearts and minds of most children and a good many adults too. If you have an Xbox or Playstation at home then I would be surprised if your children's Christmas lists don't have something Fortnite related on them! So here's some ideas that we think will make your Fortnite fan happy on Christmas morning.
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Tech Tuesday - Nintendo Switch : Do We Need Another Console?

31 January 2017

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The Nintendo Switch is being released on 3rd March in the UK.  With a price tag of £279.99 for the basic package it will be interesting to see how this fares with gamers. I remember buying the original Wii console not long after release.  It was expensive at the time, I can’t remember how expensive, but expensive enough for us not to have bought at initial release.  Honestly, with Wii for us did bring us years of enjoyment, mostly on Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort, but also with Wii party, played almost exclusively at Christmas - but so much fun.  Wii Fit was also a firm favourite - even it was just to tell me I have put another pound on.

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Tech Tuesday - Xbox One S Review

10 January 2017

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I am a Xbox owner after converting from the PS2 to the original Xbox a long time ago.  I still have PS consoles, but the Xbox has been my favourite for some time. I bought the Xbox One on initial release date in 2013 - the Day One edition. I have had no problems with it at all, other than running out of storage space. Luckily the Xbox allows external hard drives to be connected in a plug and play style to improve the capacity overall. 
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Minion Lab Review

20 August 2015

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During the Summer months we spends lots of time travelling around in the car visiting different attractions and days out. Although we do try and be out and about as much as possible there are days when we just stay at home and chill. Especially on rainy days the boys can become bored quite quickly so I am very organised when it comes to making sure that the boys will be entertained.


Although both boys love playing with toys and games together there are moments when they both  listen to music on big J's phone whilst playing games on the iPad. Big J loves games such as Football Manager and Stickmen but he does like to take advantage of free Minion games too.
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PS4 Peripherals | AD

27 March 2014

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Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration. 
Black Playstation 4 Console, PS4, Sony, controller
Being a big gamer I was excited to be fortunate enough to be able to secure a PS4 for launch date in the UK.  One of the things I really enjoy with a new console is the unboxing, opening of console and add on PS4 peripherals, and then taking my time to get the set up perfect ready for the first switch on.  
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