Gaming misc.

Drifting again

The new Joy-Con drifts aswell… Damn…

Hardware writeups

Hori Joy-Con

I just got a Hori Joy-Con as a replacement for my drifting original blue Joy-Con. The first thing I noticed is that it is super light-weight, which is understandable since it does not have a battery.

It look pretty good, being a officially licensed product I’m not surprised. The plastic is kind of transparent. The Zelda print is cool. It is weird to not see the neon-blue colour on the left side, so that throws me off.

A nice-looking Joy-Con

The stick feels fine, the D-pad though, is very spongy. Which is not a good thing, it does not feel exact at all. Also the capture-button and the minus buttons are rubber and not hard plastic like the original which is also a down-grade. It is however a cheaper replacement for handheld play, which is why I got it.

The “inner” side of the joy-con does not have the L and R buttons, which is a no-brainer since the joy-con does not work in wireless mode, only attached to the switch.

No buttons on the inner side of the Joy-Con

One aspect I DON’T like, is the release button for the joy-con itself. It’s not as shallow as the original. This annoys me since the button actually gnawing on my finger when I play.

The release button sticks out. Which makes no sense to me.

All-in-all I’m pretty happy with it, but I have to get used to the notch sticking out into my finger. I am very happy to have a joy-con that doesn’t drift. It is no super cheap, but cheaper to buy a original, and since this is officially licensed I feel it’s fine. Being a fan of Hori controllers in general I was happy to learn they made the cheaper joy-cons.

Gaming misc.

Drifting joy-con

My left joy-con (blue) is drifting, which isn’t fun. So I ordered a new joy-con, but instead of buying a new pair I got a Zelda themed Hori Joy-con with a d-pad. We have Pro Controllers for when playing on the TV so this is only for handheld mode, which is good since it doesn’t work when not attached to the Switch.

This is mostly to prepare for vacation so I can play Paper Mario: The Origami King on the go.

I also bought a case for 24 Switch games so I don’t have to have loose card/cartridges in my case like I do have right now.

A some kind of “review” might be on the horizon in the near future.

Gaming misc.

What to play

I’m waiting for Paper Mario and the Origami King, but that’s not released until July 17th. So I need something to play for when I’m done with the Pokemon Shield DLC.

I don’t want to buy anything new. I have many steam games I haven’t played. They are however not that interesting. Perhaps I should pick Darksiders since I know a lot of people like it for its Zelda-like elements. I played it for a couple of hours many years ago and I consider it more of a hack ‘n’ slash game than an adventure game with exploration and puzzle elements. Perhaps I’m wrong and should give it another chance.

I also have Thronebreaker: A Witcher’s Tale which has an compelling story, but I don’t really like the changes they made to Gwent compared to the Witcher 3 gwent rules.

There is always Tales of Berseria and Tales of Zestiria. I don’t feel like playing a JRPG though, also Zestiria was boring when I tried to play that a year ago. Didn’t grip me the slightest. It is supposed to be a pretty weak entry in the series though.

I have been playing some multiplayer games, but that will never be the majority of my time played. I don’t enjoy multiplayer games as much as single player games.

Gaming misc.

First “all achievements” on Steam

Yesterday was an historical day, I got all achievements in a game on Steam. I am no achievement hunter, but I am known to go for Platinum (on PS4) in games that I really enjoy and are not done with when finishing the story.

After almost seven years I finally got the final achievement in Castle of Illusion (2013). September 7th 2013 to June 20th 2020, those are the days for the first and last achievements. It’s one of my favourite games, but I had never gotten a 100% save file. That has now been changed.

All Achievements in Castle of Illusion (2013) on Steam!

With me collecting all 800 diamonds in the I got the last achievement. Completely unneccessary, but fun.

Magician suit unlocked after collecting all magic playing cards

I wonder if there are achievements for this game on PS3 aswell. Would’ve been fun to have that on my PSN account. Would also be a very easy Platinum for me.

Explorer suit unlocked after collecting all chili peppers

I will probably not hunt achievements on Steam. I enjoy playing games in the sofa more than by the desk.

Gaming misc.

Photo modes in games

Something that’s more and more common in games is a photo mode where you can freeze the screen and take a picture to save and perhaps share with the world. Photo modes are not the same thing as screenshot, where you can’t change the picture like removing the HUD or changing the angle of the camera.

Example of a screenshot and not a photo mode picture

Some photo modes allow the player to manipulate the image, some more than others. In Horizon Zero Dawn you can for e.g. change the pose of the protagonist Aloy. It’s also possible to remove Aloy completely. Furthermore it’s possible to change the time of day to get the the perfect dawn light. This is a powerful tool for people with an eye for picture composition.

Picture taken using photo mode in Horizon Zero Dawn

Other games, like Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey are more restricted, where you can only change the angle and framing of the picture.

Picture taken with Photo mode in AC: Odyssey

Marvel’s Spider-Man also have a quite powerful photo mode. This is also an interesting tie-in to the franchise since Peter Parker is a photographer, even though the actual photo mode is not connected to gameplay. It’s possible to take selfies though, adapting modern trends.

Picture taken with Photo mode in Marvel’s Spider-Man

I have a difficult time taking nice looking photos with games’ photo modes since I completely lack skills when it comes to composing a picture.

Gallery of photo mode pictures I have taken

Music writeups Newer

Dimension Zero – Silent Night Fever (2002)

Back in the day I considered In Flames one of my favourite bands. This has since changed, but I am nostalgic to the Gothenburg Sound. The bands that share the melodic death metal sound that was pioneered in the early 90’s really changed the following decades. However one of the lesser known bands actually made an album that I consider as one of the better gothenburg sound records is Dimension Zero, Jesper Strömblad of In Flames-fame’s side project. The album is called Silent Night Fever.

Silent Night Fever was released in 2002 and with its heavier sound it felt like natural progression from At the Gates’ interpretation of melodic death rather than In Flames’ more melodic style. Which in my opinion is a very good thing.

With Joakim Göthberg (Ex-Marduk) on vocals the sound automatically becomes rawer. The riff based songs along with a lot of blast beats feels more timeless than the more melodic NWBHM-style that other bands opted for.

The titular opening song instantly engages the listener with its iconic “Just fucking go”. You know you are in for a ride, even though, in hindsight feel a bit juvenile. The album feels very together in the compositions, where are songs are a bit more melodic like Through the Virgin Sky and Your Darkest Hour with a lot of harmonising guitars. Silent Night Fever, Not Even Dead however beautifully contrast them with heavier riffs. The battery, the drums, are always active and gives a direction to all the songs, something that’s very important for me. The songs has to move forward and the driving force on Silent Night Fever is the drums.

There are a lot of good melodic death metal crammed onto just 31 minutes. Every melodic death metal fan should listen to this excellent album. Sadly the album isn’t on Spotify.

I picked up the album at a stall outside the festival area of Sweden Rock back in 08.

Gaming misc.

30-Day Video Game Music Challenge

I found this “challenge” on Twitter and I thought i looked like fun. I have done the “hard mode” version where you can’t repeat games. Instead of taking one a day I’m gonna list all games in the same post.

Day 1 – Title Screen Music

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Opening Theme

Day 2 – Opening Level Music

Journey to Silius – Stage 1

Day 3 – 8-Bit Music

Blaster Master – Area 1

Day 4 – Music From a Console Exclusive Title

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle – Ancient Gardens

Day 5 – Hub World or Overworld Music

Golden Sun – Overworld Theme

Day 6 – Music that make you feel relaxed

The Legend of Zelda – Intro

Day 7 – Music from an Indie Game

Shantae Half-Genie Hero – Dynamo

Day 8 – Music from a Shooter (First or Third Person)

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls

Day 9 – Music from a Licensed Game

The Great Circus Mystery: Starring Mickey and Minnie Mouse – Jungle

Day 10 – RPG Battle Music

Star Ocean: Till the End of Time – Cutting Edge of Notion

Day 11 – Puzzle Game Music

Adventures of Lolo 2 – Game Theme

Day 12 – Music That Make You Sad

Tales of Symphonia – It is sad

Day 13 – Music You Like From a Game You Don’t Like

Solstice – Title Screen

Day 14 – Music Featuring Vocals

Final Fantasy VII – One Winged Angel

Day 15 – Boss Battle Music

Final Fantasy V – Clash at the Big Bridge

Day 16 – 16-Bit Music

Super Mario World – Castle Theme

Day 17 – Music You Never Get Tired of

Jet Force Gemini – Opening Theme

Day 18 – Music in a Game Released the Year You Were Born

Chip ‘N’ Dale: Rescue Ranger – Zone J

Day 19 – Cover of Music by a Different Artist

Video Game Orchestra – Yasunori Mitsuda – Time’s Scar

Day 20 – Music From a Racing Game

Mario Kart 8 (Deluxe) – Moo Moo Meadows

Day 21 – Music You Associate With Frustation

Dr. Mario – Chill

Day 22 – Town/Village Music

Castlevania II: Simons Quest – Town Theme

Day 23 – Underrated Music

The Misadventures of Flink

Day 24 – Music You Constantly Have Stuck in Your Head

Mario Kart Double Dash!! – Baby Park Theme

Day 25 – Music That Gets You Pumped

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon – Awake

Day 26 – Music you like from a game you haven’t played

Persona 4 – I’ll Face Myself 

Day 27 – Music from a handheld Game

Advance Wars – Andy’s Theme

Day 28 – Music That Make you Nostalgic

Warcraft 2 – Human 1

Day 29 – Final Boss Music

Golden Sun 2: The Lost Age – Doom Dragon

Day 30 – Credits Music

Super Mario 64 – Staff Roll

Music misc.

Ripping CDs

I recently bought an external DVD burner. The plan is to rip all my CDs to FLAC so I have good quality rips. That way I can listen to MY CDs, without having to find the CD. Especially since I don’t have any means to play CDs where I have speakers. It is legal in Sweden to rip CDs for personal use.

After primarily been listening to streamed music and MP3s for such a long time, it’s very nice to listen to some good quality rips. I do however not have any really good headphones. I will get a DAC and some nice headphones in the future.

The Fall of Hearts is the first CD to get ripped

To rip the CDs to FLAC I use Exact Audio Copy (EAC) which seems to be the best way to make FLAC-files. I am currently ripping Katatonia’s excellent album The Fall of Hearts, which is also the first one to get ripped to FLAC.

These files will be transferred to a external hard drive and in the future to a NAS so they are accessible from all devices in the apartment. When the first rip was finished I noticed that it took 31 minutes to finish a one hour long CD. Even though I don’t have too many CDs, this will take a while.

I followed a guide on

Music writeups Older

Motoi Sakuraba – Gikyokuonsou (1991)

If anyone said that my most listened album the first half of 2020 would be japanese keyboard-based progressive rock with a lot of jazz influences I would’ve scoffed and continued with my day. The reality is however that, Motoi Sakuraba’s album Gikyokuonsou has been my steady companion to and from work a lot this year.

Motoi Sakurba being my favourite video game composer after enthralling me with the music for game franchises like Golden Sun, Star Ocean and Tales of. His unique style that always flirts with progressive rock has always caught my ear since it always challenges the listener. Having playing some of the games that he has composed for gives me an interesting insight in his “newer” stuff, making this record even more appealing since it’s older than any of the OST’s of his that I have listened to. Being released in 1990 it’s evident that he writes music that he likes even in the games he composes for. There are a lot of similar ideas and phrases on Gikyokuonsou and the games.

Starting with the positive sounding and bouncy Humpty Dumpty which opens like it would be an epic sci-fi theme. That illusion is quickly over and the main theme is presented. Quirkier theme is hard to find, but it’s son catchy and the track cements Gikyokuonsou as a progressive rock album. There are also some very dramatic parts, and a solo that reminds me of solos of the swedish prog movement during the seventies. The following part does however throw that likness out the windows and continues on with more traditional prog rock.

Following the quirky Humpty Dumpty, we have the rockier Tone Access, which almost sounds a bit like Deep Purple meet oriental notes. This can probably be argued to be the heaviest of the eight tracks. Most of the tracks all have a very serious sounding atmosphere that get resolved into something more playful. A solid track. The main theme is by far my favorite part of the song.

The next track Byzantium, reminds me more of solos by prog keyboard virtuosos like Jordan Rudess and Rick Wakeman, followed by a lots of chromaticism. The solos are accompanied by playful drums and the very heavy bass that can also be found in many themes in the Golden Sun games. Every song is an adventures of there own, being extremely varied, but still coherent. The way Motoi plays with chords being suspended then resolved into a new chord is very pleasant to listen to.

Motion is the albums marathon track, clocking in at over 8 minutes. It is some of the more jazzy-sounding songs, with a large portions of the song in a more traditional trio setting, grand piano, bass and drums, instead of synths. With parts that reminds me of bossa nova and other parts that rely heavy of chromaticism this makes for a very entertaining track. Unfortunately for me, it is also the track that contains the most keyboard masturbation solos, where it’s mostly show-off passages, that to be is less interesting than the more jammy nature of the rest of the songs. The catchy parts of the song are very catchy and it’s worth multiple listens. It it however, not one of my favourite track.

That title is earned, but not one, not two, but three tracks in a row, making the later half of the record my favourite. The trio of song are Paradigm, Narratage and Scrap and Build. The opening song of these three is the track that I would say sound the most like a possible video game song, possibly a fighting theme, with great energy in the more active parts. There is also a pretty weird, but cool slower solo part. It’s a bit out of place. It does however very contrast the main theme perfectly giving it extra impact when reintroducing the main bit, making the slower part a great addition to the song.

Narratage is a beautiful track, the introreminds me of ballads by power metalband like Sonata Arctica, it does however transition to a beautiful piano piece with a very nice active bass that complements the piano perfectly. Narratage does, like Paradigm, also have a clear video game music quality, which in my ears are a always welcome. The bass has some very nice descending parts, which makes this an outstanding tunes. The theme that’s introducing in the latter part of the song, is a very simple but extremely effective piano line, which surprised me a bit the first time. One of my favourite tracks for sure.

Now to the track that made me react so much that I had to send it to my father to listen to (he never listened to it though). As a bass player this is a very awesome track. The bass doesn’t just complement the rest of the song, it lives in a parallel world as the drums and the keyboard and creates a tension to the other instruments without feeling out of place. As with the two latest tracks, this also has the video game quality to it. Again boss music vibes. With tempo changes, polyrhythm and signature changes, this is the most progressive song of the bunch. There are also very jazz-inspired sections in Scrap and Build.

Closing the album is Drama Composition, a track with a lot of synth action going on. The heavy bass that I know Sakaruba for is also present, very rythmic and accent heavy. The atmosphere in Drama Composition is a very good way to end the album. The main theme of the song really benefits from its use of octave notes that really elevated the theme. The end is very abrupt, which is a bit sad, but it’s quite effective.