Tag Archives: Playstation

Podcast 19: Resident Evil 2 (#92)

Format: Playstation Genre: Survival Horror Released: 1998 Developer: Capcom

It’s been quite a journey for this podcast. Way back in early 2008, right at the very beginning of the blog, Ian decided he was going to write a post about a Resident Evil game. Problem was he couldn’t decide which one. Do you go with the original? Or Resident Evil 2, the game of the series he probably played the most? What about Resident Evil 4? Arguably the best of the series… Although saying that Resident Evil 3 has its moments as well.

Welcome to Raccoon City!

So rather than make a decision Ian did what he has done so many times with this blog. He didn’t bother. Flash forward to early 2011 and there are less than 10 posts left to do. Time is running out so he knuckles down and chooses Resident Evil 2. Ian finds it difficult to write though. What’s his ‘hook’? Can he restrict himself to just talking about Resident Evil 2? What can he say that’s not been said a thousand times before? So, again, he doesn’t bother starting. Eventually Lewis suggests ‘Let’s just do it as a podcast’.

I don't care what people say, anything called 'Licker' must be friendly.

So welcome to the 19th 101 Video Games That Made My Life Slightly Better podcast. A testament to Ian’s laziness and Lewis’s limitless patience. Enjoy!

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Podcast 19 Resident Evil 2

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Oh, and before we go here’s a clip from ‘Spaced’. Other than the cheap speed and the fact the bean bag was green not blue, this is pretty much Ian at University.

Ian & Lewis


Filed under 1998, Capcom, Playstation, Podcast, Survival Horror

Podcast 16: Best Ever Console Final

Welcome to the 1st BEST EVER CONSOLE FINAL! I think we would all agree it’s a been one hell of a journey. Over the weeks we’ve seen Japanese women slapping each other, Big Daddy, Miss World Competitions, the image of Lewis in a red bikini, a picture of Shigeru Miyamoto with a turnip for a head and our first swears. There’s been some laughs… and some tears. Finally we reach the, er, final.

So fans (cough), enjoy this slightly poor sound quality podcast. Who will win? There’s only one way to find out, listen! Or just ask one of us. Whatever.

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Podcast 16 – Best Ever Console Final

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Here’s the way things look at the Final stage:

Ian & Lewis

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Podcast 15: Best Ever Console Semi Finals

The Semi Finals of any competition are always stressful. So close to the final yet so far. The Semi Final of The Best Ever Console Competition is of course no different.

If anything, it’s worse. If you think the pressure from the tabloids is bad on the England football team, you should try picking up one of the Video Game mags. ‘The Official Playstation Magazine’ has photographed the Playstation in a nightclub drinking before a big match, Edge has had feature after feature on consoles’ WAGs (with lots of pictures of course!) and just look at Official Nintendo’s front page:

It’s not easy for our judges either. You try to think of new things to say about a console after already discussing it three times.

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Podcast 15 – Best Ever Console Semi Finals

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Here’s the way things look at the Semi Final stage:

Ian and Lewis


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Podcast 14: Best Ever Console Quarter Finals

It’s the Quarter Finals of the Best Ever Console Competition on 101 Video Games! More importantly it’s the swimwear section of the contest. Unfortunately the ‘PC’ brigade have nothing better to do than attack an innocent competition, somehow suggesting that forcing consoles to parade in front of our judges showing as much flesh as possible is demeaning and sexist. Poppycock!

Pictured: Lewis and Ian pose with last year's winner of the Miss Best Ever Console Contest

Still, that’s the world we live in. To show that 101 Video Games is not asking the consoles to do anything Ian and Lewis wouldn’t, our hosts will also be dressed in swimwear. So join Ian, dressed in a tasteful, mint green one-piece costume, and Lewis, in a risqué, cherry red bikini topped off with a delightful red bow, as they judge the prettiest and loveliest consoles in the world!

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Podcast 14 – Best Ever Console Quarter Finals

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Here’s the state of play at the Quarter Finals:

Lewis & Ian

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#87: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

Format: Playstation Genre: Extreme Sports Released: 2000 Developer: Neversoft

Back in the year 2000 I was halfway through my English Literature degree in Southampton, but during the holidays I could usually be found propping up the sofa at Paul, Phil and Richie’s house, which we affectionately knew as ‘Foxhill’ (after the attractively named road it was located on, in the not-so-attractive environs of North Watford). Along with regular visitors Gav and Curly, I busied myself over those summer months in creating a buttock crevice in the Foxhill sofa while watching various kung-fu films and episodes of Alan Partridge (that is, if I could see the TV screen through the fug of cigarette smoke – the eventual ban on smoking in the house came as a welcome relief).

Foxhill was a bloke paradise really: the walls were graced with engaging bloke ephemera (I distinctly remember one wall had a pair of nun-chuks next to a homemade Kylie calendar), the whole house was wired up to a LAN network for multiplayer PC gaming, and the living room played host to an enormous TV complete with every bit of audio-visual equipment you could ask for. Not only that, a full wall was taken up by DVDs, and next to that stood an absolutely enormous beer fridge that Phil managed to get as surplus from the bar he managed (sadly though, it was only ever turned on intermittently after the first month owing to the ridiculous amounts of electricity it used).

I have very fond memories of Foxhill, and looking back it feels like I spent practically all of my time there when I wasn’t at university – although I know I had a summer job, so obviously that isn’t the case. In fact, I don’t really remember anyone going to work – it feels like all we did was stay up till three in the morning watching Bruce Lee movies every night.

Well, that’s not all we did – we put some serious time into playing video games as well. In fact, there were a few games that the denizens of Foxhill invested silly amounts of time in: Gran Turismo 3 was the sole topic of conversation for months at one point, and Paul became so obsessed with it he even went out and bought a £100 force feedback steering wheel before going on to unlock every single car in the entire game. Alien Versus Predator on the PC caused a similar stir when it arrived, mostly because it did a bloody good job of scaring the crap out of us. Picture the scene: four grown men stood around a PC, the only sound the increasing ‘ping’ of a marine’s motion detector… ‘BANG’! A pipe falls from the ceiling of a corridor, causing four grown men to shriek like girls and wet themselves.

Shogun: Total War was another one: Paul and Richie got pretty obsessed with playing this against each other – I’d often be in the living room, watching TV while Paul played on the PC, when suddenly he’d erupt in an explosion of cursing, accompanied by the sound of maniacal cackling coming from Richie upstairs as he decimated Paul’s army with his archers.

But the game that probably clocked up the most hours of play time was Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. The level of devotion to this game at Foxhill was just phenomenal – every time I visited, THPS2 seemed to be on the Playstation, and often the sunken eyes of the current player would indicate that they hadn’t actually been to bed the previous night, such was the level of commitment to Tony and pals. But the thing about THPS2 is that it doesn’t really end – although there’s only a finite number of characters to unlock (Spider-Man being the obvious house favourite), there’s no end to the pursuit for high scores, and we’d sit for hours patiently taking it in turns to beat the score records for each level.

The key innovation of THPS2 was the introduction of the ‘manual’ – balancing your skateboard on two wheels – which allowed you to link tricks together in an unbroken train and achieve some utterly ludicrous combo scores (I seem to remember Curly was particularly skilled at this). But the brilliant thing was that it was almost as much fun to watch others performing tricks as it was to do them yourself, so waiting your turn to play was an entertainment in itself.

Ten years down the line, the residents of Foxhill – although still in touch – have gone their separate ways, and looking back, those hours spent playing games seem like a world away. Where did we find the time? Easy I suppose – most of us were single and didn’t have much responsibility, which meant we had loads of spare time and cash to spend on pursuits like learning intricate trick combos and practising nose grinds. They were good times, and although I wouldn’t change anything about my life right now, I sometimes miss those carefree days of blokeish pursuits…

…but then I remember about Gav’s fungal foot infection and suddenly the past doesn’t seem so rosy.


(Screenshots from giantbomb.com)


Filed under 2000, Extreme Sports, Neversoft, Playstation

#84: Spider-Man

Format: Playstation Genre: Action Adventure/Beat-em Up Released: 2000 Developer: Neversoft

‘Greetings True Believers! It’s me, the Sensational, Surprising, Staggering Stan Lee! During the 60s I (co)created loads of iconic Silver Age superheroes and villains – The Fantastic Four, X-Men, the Hulk, Thor, Daredevil, and many, many others. Then after the 60s I just made up loads of rubbish ones. Anyway, today my good pal Ian is here to talk about maybe my most fabulously famous creation, the Amazing Spider-Man! Over to you Ian’

Thanks Stan. Stewart Lee, in his excellent ‘How I Escaped My Certain Fate – The Life and Deaths of a Stand-Up Comedian’, mentions how much he loves Marvel comics and how Spider-Man’s code – ‘With great power comes great responsibility’ carries far more moral weight for him than the various commandments and declarations of the world’s major religions. Though I’m not massively into comics (I don’t really buy any titles regularly, just getting the occasional trade paperback) the Spider-Man love resonated with me. For me, Spider-Man is not only the best superhero created, but one of the greatest fictional characters of the 20th Century. Yes. Better than Batman.

Similar to Batman though, Spider-Man has not had the greatest vintage when it comes to video games. Back in the day both characters were often stuck in dull side scrolling beat-em ups, with only a token effort made use the unique abilities and powers of those characters. In fact Spider-Man the game and Batman: Arkham Asylum share a lot in common – they really reflect the spirits of their characters. Whereas Batman: Arkham Asylum was a game with a dark and twisted atmosphere, Spider-Man is joyous and fun, just like the title character normally is (between bouts of teenage angst of course). Both make full use of the universe the characters are in, using many of the supporting characters from their respective comics, films and animated TV shows. Both featured as many iconic villains as possible but used them all in a brilliant way. Both tapped into the ‘collecting’ urge of the average nerdy comic book fan by having various secret items to collect. And finally both are brilliant.

Not enough computing power to create the streets of New York? Don't worry, Dr Octopus has luckily released a yellow gas into the streets. Phew!

The game itself is great fun to play. I distinctly remember how exhilarating it was the first time you jump off a building, start to fall before shooting out a web and gracefully swinging over to the next building. Or the buzz you got as you realised what classic villain you were going to face now (I was stuck on flippin’ Mysterio for ages). Or indeed which classic hero was going to make a cameo appearance – everyone from Daredevil to the Punisher to Captain America pops by.

When I got Spider-Man I had lost interest in the character and comics in general (the ‘Clone Saga’ had just about finished me off I’m afraid) but the sheer joie de vivre of the game made me fall in love with Spidey again. The game feels like a comicbook, from Stan Lee’s typical verbose opening narration, to the bright colours of the levels, to Spider-Man’s sarky comments as he punches Rhino in the face. Not only that but the sheer number of various characters and comic book references crammed into the game reminded me why I had liked the comics in the first place. Plus I could look all knowledgable (and tragically geeky) in front of Lewis and our friend Paul as they played it and asked me who ‘such and such was’ or where the ‘Bag Head’ costume came from.

As usual Ol'Knuckle Head - J. Jonah Jameson has got himself into trouble and it's up to Spidey to save him. This time, from the Scorpion.

Sadly the game’s sequel, and the various Spider-Man (Spider-Men?) games that followed in its wake over the years failed to capitalise on the original’s innovations and they never matched the simple fun of that first game. It’s telling that the latest Spider-Man game – Shattered Dimensions – is still being compared to the 10 year-old Spider-Man. I still hope that a new game will come along and match the originals sense of fun and get the old spidey-sense tingling once again.

Oh, it also had a fantastic ending:



Filed under 2000, Action Adventure, Fighting, Neversoft, Playstation

Podcast 12: Best Ever Console Round 1

It begins. The already legendary 101 Video Games Best Ever Console Contest! Or Competition! Or Thing! To be honest we’ve not properly agreed on a title.

Anyway, listen as Lewis and Ian discuss, debate, argue, call each other names and play rock paper scissors stone through 12 rounds of red-hot console on console action. And if you think that sounds dirty and disgusting you should have been at the recording.


Lewis and Ian's debate over whether the Amstrad 6128k is better than the PS2 becomes heated.


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Podcast 12 Best Ever Console Round 1

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WARNING – We do swear a bit in this podcast. The debates we had became very passionate and strident and we sadly couldn’t stop our language occasionally reflecting that. Plus we drunk quite a bit of beer and got a bit silly. Sorry.

We want to hear your thoughts (please let us know you listen and you like us, pleeeeease). Do you violently disagree with any of our judgements? If so, really? Violently? Just calm down, it’s only video games. But do tell us, we’d love to hear from you! As always the best comment wins a 101 Video Games pencil.*

* N.B. Still no pencils available.

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#73: Gran Turismo

Format: Playstation Genre: Racing Released: 1998 Developer: Polyphony Digital

Last month, after a year of carefully preparing the case for why we should upgrade to high definition, I finally persuaded my girlfriend that we definitely,  definitely needed an HDTV. She was a little sceptical at first, but after we’d watched a couple of World Cup matches in glorious HD she agreed that the new telly was a huge improvement over our old (nay, ancient) 32-inch CRT TV (which incidentally was so heavy that it bent the shelf we had it on).

However, it was only when I connected up my Xbox 360 to our spangly new TV that this welcome new addition to our flat began to show its true colours. Flipping over the settings on my Xbox from standard definition to 1080p was an absolute revelation – I swear a chorus of angels struck up outside the window as heavenly light played across the screen and angelic trumpets heralded the dawn of a new era. It was like the scales had fallen from my eyes and I was seeing the true colours of the world for the first time. All those fuzzy edges I’d taken for granted suddenly disappeared, to be replaced by an image as crisp as a freshly pressed shirt manufactured by Walker’s. Truly, ’twas an awesome sight.

I experienced a similar revelation when I played Gran Turismo for the first time: I’d already been wowed by Ridge Racer and its ilk, but GT was in a class all of its own. At the time, I remember watching the GT replays with my jaw on the floor, astonished that the innocent little grey box under my telly was pumping out photo-realistic graphics that were barely distinguishable from watching racing IN REAL LIFE. Of course, a quick glance at the screenshot above proves that this clearly isn’t the case, but at the time it was simply amazing, and leaps and bounds ahead of anything else out there.

I’ve never been a huge fan of driving games, but I was absolutely hooked on Gran Turismo, and the ability to collect cars and tune them up was the clincher. In fact, GT was more like an RPG in which hunting for rare swords was replaced by hunting for rare cars, experience and levelling up was replaced by tuning engines, and grinding through low-level enemies was replaced by grinding through the lower circuits. Looking back, it feels like about half of my time playing GT was spent on those first few circuits, completing the same courses again and again to raise enough money for some new addition to my favourite car. But somehow it was still fun.

What I loved about the tuning system was that the modifications you made had a real effect on the way the car drove, and it was easily possible to overtune a car to the extent that it was practically undriveable. I remember one time I tuned my beloved Subaru Impreza to the point where the acceleration was so quick and the suspension was so stiff that it took off every time it went over the slightest bump, which meant I spent most of my laps ricocheting off cliff faces and ripping through grass, whooping like an American GI dishing out nylons and chewing gum to sexually repressed British housewives. And I don’t whoop very often, so this game was definitely doing something right.


(Screenshots from http://www.gamefaqs.com.)


Filed under 1998, Playstation, Polyphony Digital, Racing