All pages filed under "gaming"

Broken Games - Part 1

Aug 27, 2021 muse gaming retro

In the ancient lands of Moo-Moo it is commonly known that modern games are always broken only to be repaired at a later date with patches and DLC and Retro games are perfect, always worked as intended and never required a patch or re-release. Of course in actual reality the entire previous sentence is complete and utter crap.

I have recently had the great pleasure of playing and completing the awful, unfinished, buggy disaster that is Aliens: Colonial Marines. Only issue… it was really good! Yes, there is a typo in one small section of the code that “fixes” the Xeno A.I. but I played assuming this was now fixed and really had no issues beyond the occasional glitch, that was when I realised I still had to change it myself. Do the ALANS move better now? Yes, but it was not game breaking. Far from it.

I completed the game after roughly 9 hours of tense battles, slightly iffy stealth and the occasional firefight with some Weyland humans, which was also very enjoyable and broke the game up in to around four seperate styles of gameplay. I am currently part way through the same game but now in co-op with a freind, who just happens to be called Hicks IRL due his affinity with the movies. The code typo is fixed and its blistering good fun! This is the game that many rate as the killer of all Alien games and… It’s just not true. Is it the greatest game ever created? Don’t be daft, that goes to 3D Deathchase on the ZX Spectrum! But, its easily a 7 outa 10 kinda experience.

The story could end there and the cynics could go back to living in the lands of Moo-Moo but I also got in to another game this past couple of weeks that has a very similar reputation to Colonial Marines, but for very different reasons. Star Citizen has had and is still having a Free-Fly Week so I jumped in expecting to be very unimpressed and… yeah, I bought the game now.

WHAT!? But Hitch how could you do this? Star Citizen is only backed now by idiots who have already spent way too much money and can never admit that its truly awful, a scam, an unfinished mess that shall never be completed! I mean, maybe? I won’t deny that I thought the same and still do in some ways.

Is it a scam? Lets clear that one up first. No. Anyone who has invested even just a few days in the game to a real extent will happily say the game is in no way a scam. its a fucking money sink but no, not a scam.

So? Buggy? Incomplete? A mess? Never be finished? I cannot answer the last one so I leave that to the game Gods but as for buggy, incomplete and a mess? For fucking sure, lol. Thing is, like Aliens: Colonial Marines, what you do get is fun, frantic and glorious to play when it all works (which is about 80% of the time so far for me). It has issues but like Aliens I will say no more than you often get with a Bethesda game, and we keep buying those don’t we? Even the truly awful ones, but what you do get is pure gameplay heaven for the likes of me who wants to live in a reality that is not my own where I get to fly space ships and land on moons and planets my real eyes will never see.

There is more than enough content in the game right now to satisfy most players and lets not forget this is still an Alpha, though that excuse for some bugs doesn’t work for me after nearly 10 years… It IS still in said Alpha, like it or not. At the end of the day this game is no more broken than some Creed games have been but offers far more when it works.

One huge thing the game has going for it is the community. I expected a bunch of bitter vets, like my end game experience with EVE-Online but so far, they are just helpful and nice, even the pirates! Honestly, maybe the pirates are even more helpful because they want you to play the game! And yes, piracy is an option I am looking at too. I will certainly be taking the PVP route at some point because… well, ex EVE-Online player who did much more than carebear in Empire… cough. So yes, community. Just now I had a guy travel from a Moon to land at my spaceport to take a lift to my floor because I had a ghost elevator, aka it wasn’t there and I was stuck. He just shouts in global chat that he is coming to help me. On the way we picked up a guy who was also stuck on a different floor, then we talked about going to kill Xeno terrorist groups as a team. Not many games do this anymore.

I guess the entire point of this post is to say, do not judge a book by what others say. We all do it, I have done it many times! And if a game is broken, it doesn’t mean its a bad game, it just means it broken, just like all those Retro Games that “always came working as intended…”. Yeah, that’s for part 2 :)

Safe flying Citizens! Unless you are after a little more anyway!


Jun 25, 2021 gaming life

How sad it is that some people feed off negativity by trying to force it upon others. In all walks of life we will, at some point, have to deal with those who can only feel good by trying to make others feel bad but for me most comes during streams on Twitch. It’s not the first time I had to deal with it and it will not be the last but as ever I deal with it the same way, by taking the negative losers and instantly stopping them from continuing the behaviour.

What I find worse than those however are the ones who try to pass it off as a joke. It is not funny. You are not funny. You are merely a disruption waiting to be dismissed. These pathetic excuses for humanity either forget, or simply do not care, that some may feed on those negative comments and it not only offends but also disrupts lives. Many people teeter on a knifes edge of depression and trust me, it takes little to topple people over the edge.

I have covered this in my blog and stream before and we covered it a lot in last weekends immense charity stream for Safe In Our World and Mental Health awareness. I will not let my safe haven be an open battle ground for this behaviour. I do not feel that I am some white knight and yes, sometimes people do have to just deal but not always and not in my channel.

Feel free to not watch me if this upsets you. Feel free to not subscribe to me. Feel free to think that this upsets me to the point that I write this post. Nothing you do or say matters. How does that make you feel? I already know the answer, enjoy yourself and the pretend smile you are currently placing on your self, Mouth breather.

Unlock The Source

Jun 23, 2021 gaming fluff

I have a pet hate. Heck, I have a few but for this entry I have just the one. Blogs. Yes, I know I am writing this in a blog but the blogs I refer to are gaming blog sites pretending to be news sites. I am not digging at the sites in general though, more the way I am linked to them instead of the actual source of the article. Am I alone in wanting a direct source link instead of some egregious website thats only concern in life is to get hits.

Please, link me and everyone else to the source if you think they will find something interesting. Not only does it stop nefarious websites with zero talent pushing personal agendas (and most do) but it also takes people direct to the information they want, written by the people who just want you to say, play the game they made. Consider taking that extra step out of the equation for the person you care enough about to think they would find it interesting in the first place.

On the subject of blogs in general that pretend to be News sites, do people find them interesting? 99% of the articles written are just copy-pasta of the original article of interest anyway with zero thought or effort placed upon it by the ‘writer’. There are some better ones out there of course that attempt honesty and do not court deletion of things that they do not agree with, but these tend to be staffed by actual journalists and not self loathing little boys.

Free the source!

Playing Favourites

Jun 12, 2021 gaming retro life

Hitch, what is your favourite console?

I am asked that a lot due to the nature of most peoples relationship with me, aka retro streaming and communities. Problem is its the wrong question. I could answer it and the answer would be the SEGA Saturn and Panasonic 3DO but its still the wrong question.

OK OK! hitch, what is your favourite retro system?

YUS! the Spectrum, K thanks bye. Specifically the ZX Spectrum 128k +2A (herein known as the speccy).

As anyone who knows me fairly well will testify to, I have had a loving relationship with the (best) micro-computer since 1981(2) and it all started with the humble and amazing best selling computer of all time, at the time, the ZX Spectrum. I had previous Sinclair computers the ZX80 and ZX81 but the speccy is the one that showed me the true power of the computer. Its ease of use, its excellent BASIC (which was perhaps done better by the BBC B but thats all opinions and doesn’t count), its incredible software (games?) and its entry price point.

I am not alone, everyone had one! If you didn’t you were just an outlier back then with Dragons and the like, and as such your childhood circle grew with tape sharing, advice, programming help, Ice Cream Sodas and Beans on Toast at your mates house by the mum you would later in life learn was to be called MILF. Hey, deny it but you all know its true!

Recently I recieved my very first Speccy 128k +2A and… Why did I wait so long? Was it fear that my humble 48k would be left in the cold faster than a political opponent of Putin? Well, if so it is certainly feeling those Siberian winters because frankly put, the 128K Spectrum with its GLORIOUS AY sound chip is the greatest 8-bit Computer of its age and this age and any other fucking age that shall come to pass! Nostalgia you say? Never had one so not really but yes, some plays a part from the 48k days and I am unashamedly now a bloody fanbois. I christen myself as such and stand proud alongside the rest.

This past week I have re-lived the glory days of Deathchase, and beat my old high score! I have mined with Manic, I have landed on hostile Planets to put my broken ship back together and fuel it with… wooden crates of fuel that fall as if a miracle from the sky! I have gleamed alongside GULF and had more than one Alter Ego whilst climbing the Old Tower. I have rocked my socks with a vibrant Demo Scene and pogo’d with viewers to the cruel sounds of 90s Techno. I can honestly state that this nerd has now lived the high life like a blister in the sun. Thank you speccy. I heart you!


May 28, 2021 gaming streaming life

Words are amazing things. Using words we can illuminate, educate, enhance, exasperate, decimate and more. We have, of late all learnt that words we used a decade or more ago are no longer acceptable in general society and so we learn newer words to describe things. I say newer though most are far older than the shorter, often insulting words we used later in human history. We do this not because we are inhibiting others but rather we are freeing them by not placing undue limits upon them. We are not black or white, we are neither stupid nor too smart for our own good. We are all on the spectrum in some way or another and so we, or at least I, learn to use other expressions that define with more clarity than before. Someone is not just gay, they can be many things that one word covered twenty years ago and was never enough. Someone else is not just disabled, they are inpaired in a wholly different way than the next person with a disability.

I, as a streamer feel that whilst I am no vanguard of humanity I do hold a certain responsibility to people who watch my streams and as such I choose to give them a safer place to be. A place where they can, if they so wish, express themselves to others without being name called or shamed in some way, be it verbally or other and because of this I draw lines in the sand that you cross at your own peril. This is my World and like it or not, my rules. I like to think my rules are just based around common decency for others. I will warn you and if you continue you shall be treated like you choose to treat others, with disdain.

Today, in my stream that line was crossed. Two people were banned. I do not time-out, I warn then they go or apoligise and move on. I do not time-out because it is a pointless excercise in futility. If you are homophobic or a mysoginist, if you choose to hate or degrade then me or my mods timing you out will not change your behaviour. If anything it will only increase your hostility as someone dares to challenge your outdated operandi modus and so, we ban. We cut you off, we forget about you, you cease to exist in our World and your hatred has less room to fester and propogate. Too all of those who dislike this, we do not care. We care even less that you end up caring more about being silenced.

Words are amazing things. You can use them how you wish and you have and always will have the abillity to use them as you wish. Just remember, we have the ability to use ours in the same way. We have the ability and right to ignore your hate or misplaced hostility.

I draw my line in the sand on all of your words. I draw a line at homophobics. I draw a line at racism. I draw a line at mysoginism and I draw a line at insulting those who are inpaired physically or mentally.

Move along.

Why Do We Retro?

Apr 9, 2021 gaming retro life

Why do we retro? In this case my meaning is more specifically, why do we retro game? Why do we suffer the indignity of getting old games to work on older machines?

I highly suspect there is no one answer. No catch-all for this specific question. We, the retro-gamer live in a world filled with nostalgia, rose tints and memories of a life that was simply… better. Of course all those reasons are anecdotal at best but maybe that is the whole point of retro in general, in all aspects. If I wear old reading glasses or dress in vintage clothing it is the same as listening to music of a different generation. It speaks to us on very different levels and this changes across the vast spectrum of humanity and, in my humble opinion is why retro is important to all of us, or at least most of us. I would go so far to say that if you are a reader of this blog or not you will at some point look at something in the past and smile with recollection and this dear reader is why the above question is simply impossible.

If I take my own self, the only self I am actually qualified to contemplate then I would answer that I retro because it makes me feel safe. When I play retro-games I tempt myself back to a time that, in the moment, is a good place to be. I would equate it to being in a Cat Stevens song. There are sad moments but even those are a warm memory. There is the prospect of sorrow but one we are prepared for because we already lived it, we are here right now reliving those memories. We beat the game, the video game and the game of life and we can smile inwardly and outwards as we tackle one more level, one more course and godamn it feels good! We listen to recordings of the past and sing along, we read old fiction to get a glimpse of what we miss or what we wish we had missed and it makes us smile.

Those who did not live through that particular game, or generation can still re-live the experience and joy because we as humans are by our very nature empathic to others and their experiences. So when someone tells you that the kids will never experience… blah blah, tell them how wrong they are. Go one step further and show them how to pass on the joy of retro instead of gatekeeping an experience they only feel is for the entitled few.

So, back to the question. I answered. Now it is your turn. Why do you retro? What do you retro? Find me, tell me. I am sincerely interested.

Stream Downsizing

Mar 31, 2021 gaming streaming retro

It seems I am no longer a variety streamer… I guess I am a retro variety streamer now? Its a little depressing to be honest.

So, looking at my viewing figures it would appear that people only come to watch me if I stream retro gamnes, aka PS3 and down. Now whilst that is not the worst thing to happen in regard to my Twitch stream there are moments when I either cannot think what retro to play or I fancy something modern… and on the very rare occasion I simply don’t want to play anything old. What is the problem I hear you ask? Why are worried about viewers? Play what you want! There is a point in streaming that, if you wish to take it seriously, that it just doesn’t work that way.

I can, and have streamed for 5-10 people and at the start of all this that was fine. You have to grow, nobody can just walk in and suddenly hit a magical number that says you “made it” but after a long period (think years not months) you start to expect a little more and I have reached that period. I stream for many reasons including community, education, enjoyment and… growth. I want to grow. I want to reach more people. I crave, nay, thrive on the feedback and interaction with others. It shows on my streams. When I get real feedback and conversation I relax, slip in to calm mode and really enjoy myself. You cannot, or at least I cannot do this with 5 viewers.

I am not being disparaging to those who do stream to a handful, I am merely stating that I want more, I expect more and I honestly think I deserve more in a non-egotistical way. I worked bloody hard to 40-50 and when that turns to under 10 overnight due to the game I play, well it hits me hard right in the feels. I feel like I am wasting my time and when that happens I ponder why I am bothering and so, I am forcing myself to only play retro, preferably on real hardware from this point onwards.

What is really strange to me is the fact that I have been pushed in to a corner with this. I know of other streamers who get boxed and packaged as a “Siege Streamer” etc but never suspected for one minute I’d only be entertaining if I was playing old shit! I guess old streamer, old systems? I have always identified as a variety streamer, I could never limit myself to one system or genre of game and whilst that is still true it feels slightly enforced at the moment and that is something I will have to live with, or quit… for real this time! lol.

So, I begin yet another chapter in my streaming years. So many years… Haha! I am not down about it, I am disapointed but not in the people who watch, or do not watch in this case. I am disapointed in myself that I don’t have enough character to pull off being a true variety streamer. Maybe it’s my own fault for being so damn good at retro? yeah, let us go with that so I keep the smile :)

In Space Nobody Can Hear You... Die!

Mar 27, 2021 gaming

In Space Nobody Can Hear You… Die? Is a complete and utter lie! If playing the wonderful game of EVE Online anyway! Trust me, we all hear the whines and cries of the Carebear death as we drown in the tears of their failures. Harsh? I thought you were a nice guy!? Let me introduce myself before you judge.

I am Maestro Ulv. Teacher of Wolves. CEO of the space corporation Phaze-9. Friend to Ushra’Khan. Killer of the CVA. Warrior of AAA. Defender of The Great North War. Black Ops Stealth Specialist. Capital Ship Pilot and most importantly, Carebear Destroyer.

Basically if its been done in EVE, we and I have done it. Heck, we even mined to build our own ships or kill a systems market for our own abuse. I changed sides many times. I killed an entire alliance by becoming a head of the organisation and then seeding doubt before laying the final blow in a battle that ended any hopes of power. They were Sylph, they were unworthy. To sum up my experiences of EVE Online, its fucking great!

Why am I talking about EVE Online you may ask? Well, I recently finished Wing Commander III on 3DO and that got me talking about Star Citizen. Created by the very same man, Chris Roberts, but a very different experience. A very… incomplete experience with seemingly no end in sight. Be it a scam or other I leave that to you all to discuss away from me but I assure you, it shall never be the experience one can have within the EVE Universe, it won’t even be close and this saddens me beyond measure. I long for that experience again and know that it shall never come. Games can recreate it if they really wanted to but it is not just the desire that seems to be lacking it is also a lack of interest in the developers and publishers. EVE doesn’t make the kind of money that all these people seem to desire nowadays. It simply is not capable of making the quantity of money they feel they must make and deserve. The same goes for the vacuum that is Elite Dangerous, a content less game with a billion stars and nothing to do with them. You can defend games like ED, or you can just admit they are empty, dead experiences compared to the games that came before. The really sad thing is some gamers think this is OK. It isn’t.

What ever happened to gaming experiences that went beyond the pale? When did the ideal of open world nothingness where we controlled the narrative become the un-creative haven for the sad and desperate who just wish to make money? Why do we let them? Or more to the point why do YOU let them ruin the gaming experience of so many? Why do you sit and play mediocre with no demands? Yes, I do blame you, most of you. At some point you sat there numbed into submission, happy with your lot and we all are now paying the price. Are you satisfied now?

I sit here and look at the new releases and no longer wonder why Retrogaming is such a huge part of my life. I watch clone after clone of Ubi, EA and more as we reach “Game #7” in the same godamn series and watch you all praise them so highly and I pity those of us who warned you this would happen and yet… You don’t care. You have your game, you enjoy your game. You sit awaiting your day one patch. Your DLC highlights and skins. Your twitch stream after twitch stream of the same dross over and over and…

Fuck it. I am Maestro Ulv. I sit on the gates of space and await the moment you step through. You are locked and that rapid ping you hear is me watching you self destruct our gaming lifes.

The High Seas of Emulation

Mar 7, 2021 retro emulation gaming

I am a little lost in the tidal waters of emulation and the piracy that surrounds it. I never used to be, I was always in the ‘It’s fine!' camp but things have changed considerably of late with a massive influx of mini-consoles from SEGA, Sony, Nintendo, NEC etc plus the additions from SNK, Capcom and the licensed full sized cabs that are out there now. Throw in the AntStream service and, well, piracy IS a service problem and there is no problem with the retro gaming service anymore. We can now legally purchase many of the best games and play them on well made hardware and applications so are we justified to pirate roms still?

It isn’t an easy question to answer, and trust me when I say that whilst I do pay for legitimate retro gaming in many ways, from the aforementioned mini-consoles and the AntStream app I still pirate some games be they old or new. The new stuff I really do ‘try before I buy’ and if I really enjoy a new game I WILL purchase it, though many times it is when the sales come around. As a PC gamer for many years, sales are key to many of my enjoyments. Retro however is harder. You can purchase it and as already stated I do pay for a lot of it and I do feel better as a person when playing something legit that gives the IP owners some money, even if the IP owner is now a chip shop in Wolverhampton and had nothing to do with the game. They own it, they should get something for it, simple.

So what is the problem? The problem is FOMO…

The Fear Of Missing Out. Let me be honest here, if you suffer from FOMO you are basically a selfish shit who thinks the World owes them something and… here is the downer, we all feel this way over something and we justify piracy because of it. “It won’t hurt anyone”, “the real Devs don’t make money from this anymore”, “Who the hell cares now!?”. I’ll tell you who cares, the people we are ripping off. Like it or not, and most will not like it at all, piracy is taking money from the hands that we are supposed to be respecting. We play that pirated retro game because we love it, it was our childhood, we cared about this game for fucks sake and… Well it seems we care less than we think we do, because we do not care that they do not get paid despite all our professed love for the developers otherwise we would pay them! For the record, “I bought the game 30 years ago!” does not count. I am not preaching here, every single excuse above has been given by myself over time too and I feel bad about it but guess what, I still do it.

So, I made myself and maybe some of you feel bad. I probably made some of you mad that I dare tell the truth, which is a good thing because it means like me, you also care. But what do we do about it? How do we fix it? Easy solution, stop thinking you need to own every single game ever created and stick to the ones that are out there in various legally and morally available solutions. Think you can do that? Yeah, me either damnit. The simple truth is that despite all the solutions available there are some things we still want to play that we will probably never be able too legally. Licensing issues abound for one thing. I know a little something about trying to aquire a license for retro games. I am still trying to get myself the rights to Deathchase on the ZX Spectrum by Mervyn Estcourt and it seems like the game and the dev have both fell in to a black hole. The publishers know nothing, the dev has dropped off the face of the Planet and the chances of me grabbing this are roughly zero. So, does this make it OK to pirate it? If no money can go to the dev or publisher, if the rights to the game are seemingly out in the wilds of nowhere and nobody is getting ripped off, is this OK? If we say yes, what happens when Mervyn pops up and says “OI! Gimmie my monies!”? I feel as if what I am about to say is one of the many excuses we already used above but, I think this is allowed? Am I just doing what I accused you and myself of doing anyway?

I think there are no solutions to all of the quandaries I have raised but perhaps whilst we cannot solve everything in a legal matter we can at least be, mostly, morally decent. I do my best to purchase legal roms. I supplement them with illegal ones but I do not feel a need to have every game ever made just to have them. It’s the best I can do and I feel it is all I can do without never playing some of the games I really enjoyed and I promise when a real solution to ALL retro gaming comes around I will support it!

I am Hitch, I stream games on twitch and I LOVE retro gaming. I am a pirate, and I feel bad about it.


Dec 14, 2020 computers life gaming lgbtqia+

Firstly, let me say that you won’t find me using the lgbtqia+ very often. Reasons are simply that I feel most use of it is personal but this one time at least I feel something needs to be said because everyone else (outside of mainstream media) seems terrified to say it. Cyperpunk 2077 is good. It’s a good game. It has good gameplay. It isn’t perfect however it does one thing more than any other game I have played. It makes transphobia stand out and be counted!

Now, I write this as an ally of the lgbtqia+ community who is not trans or queer or even bi in practice (work out from that what you will) but I have always stood up for the rights of the community and more importantly I try to be there for anyone that needs a shoulder. Some may say that I do not know enough because I have not experienced it first hand, those people need to stop right now. You have no idea what I have experienced and likely never will because again, its personal and I do not need to validate myself to you or anyone else to make what I say true.

There has been some debate of late about the game and how it is transphobic or the devs and artists have done transphobic things. Complete and utter tosh! Pretty sure near everyone upset by this is white, middle aged and straight as a fucking ruler whilst the actual trans people (not all) are like “Yes! I can has dick/vagina, finally”. Again, not all is perfect for example the gender pronouns are not what they could be and the voices needed more work as this is often a massive issue for someone transgender but, and I state this as much as I can when talking about this subject… It is a Video Game. It is also a video game that pushes norms in the way we need them pushed. As for that advertisment in game, sorry snowflakes but every trans person I know finds it hilarious and a leveler to the straight norms found in every other video game.

Not saying you have no right to be righteously indignant but as with most cases of this ilk, you are wrong and need to step back. Please, let this be the stepping stone we need for more of this entertainment so the other white, straight middle aged housewifes and husbands finally realise its just normal humans doing normal human things. That is the point of gender equality after all.

Anyway! The above was meant to be just a small part of this blog entry…

I am a gamer. If you are reading this then you are probably fine with this statement but today I discovered some are not and for some unknown reason the gamers seem to care.

So I was reading this discourse in a Twitch chat. A place where gamers be gamers but it looks like some of us are secretly embarassed by this fact. Why? When it comes to dating, talking to work mates etc saying you’re a gamer is a bad thing. Why are you accepting of this societal norm? If you go around looking for a relationship whilst not explaining your own personality then it WILL end in disaster and it WILL be your fault, not his or hers. Look, I am no Love Doctor (Will Smith I am looking at you for your awful portrayal of moi!) but common sense dictates that if you hide your personality from your wanna be significant other than you are lying to them and yourself. Not a good base for a solid relationship is it? Tell them you game! Tell them you also do other things. You work. You probably read on occasion. Pretty sure 99% of you also watch Netflix or movies. Do you eat? What do you like to eat? “I’m a gamer…” Come on! If they look at you in disgust then why the hell are you trying to date them? Get some self respect FFS.

If this person doesn’t game, doesn’t watch movies or Netflix and doesn’t eat then they have issues mate as do you if you really only game. Its not a relationship you seek, it’s help.

There is, probably, someone for everyone out there. Sometimes we have to look outside our box but we also have to place the things we enjoy in the box so we can play together. Don’t lie. Don’t sit there with this egotistical idea that you as a gamer are the only right way in the conversation.

For the record, I am a gamer… I am also a Cyclist, a reader, a lover of Sci-Fi and Crime dramas, a Chef, a lover, a debutant and a beard. I also look damn good in a dress and find Gerard Butler hot!