Tekken

The game that put the PlayStation on the map for fighting games.

Select Screen, with the mysterious Wild Card fighter

Plot

So the backstory is, Heihachi Michima throws his kid (Kazuya) off a volcano as a test to see his sons strength as a test to see if he is a worthy successor for the Mishima Ziabatsu corporation. Kazaya (who is 5 years old at the time) nearly dies but makes a deal with the devil. He swears revenge on Hitachi for throwing him off the volcano and enters the iron fist tournament. Clearly this family feud was beyond Jerry Springer…
There also a bunch of other fighters who enter the tournament for money or to prove themselves, including a robot and a bear.

Gameplay

Each character corresponds to the face buttons on the PlayStation controller, with two buttons being assigned to the left/right hands of the playable character, with the X and O buttons for the left/right which can be used to issue kicks to the opponent. Guarding is done by holding the left, or right depending on where your character is facing the opponent. Some moves cannot be guarded against.

During the first 9 seconds of the fight, you can press the select button to switch between different views (1P Start on the Arcade version)

Arcade mode consists of nine stages, for the first seven stages these are opponents picked at random, on the eighth round you will fight against a rival, depending on the character chosen. The 9th round puts you against Heihachi, and after winning the match the end credits will play. The arcade version runs through a montage of KO replays for each round, whereas the home version will show the characters ending FMV.


Tekken featured different fighting game stages that are based on different real world locations, and each location has their own background theme.

Characters

Nina Williams: An assassin. Rival is sister Anna Williams
• Michelle Chang
Paul Phoenix: A biker who has a killer fist, also a judo expert
Wang Jinrei: Standard old guy who is an expert in Marshall arts
Yoshimitsu: The Ninja
Prototype Jack: A robot who is slightly altered from the regular Jack
Marshall Law: Bruce Lee who can’t keep his mouth closed
Lee Chaolan: Step-brother to Kazuya
Kunimitsu: A kleptomaniac Ninja, rival to Michelle who she stole a pendant from
Kuma: A bear
King: Mexican Catholic wrestler who has a head of a Lion/Tiger for a mask
Kazuya Mishima: Seeks revenge against his dad for throwing him off a volcano,
Jack: A robot cyborg
Anna Williams: Sister to Nina Williams
Armour King: Rival of King
Ganryu: Plus sized Sumo wrestler
Heihachi Mishima: The final boss of the game

All characters have an alternative costume that can be selected by pressing Triangle/Square, instead of X or O. There is also Devil, who is Kazuya but serves as the final boss of the game. He can be unlocked and become playable character by completing the Galaga mini-game at the start with a perfect score.

There is also an unused charicter that exists, known as Wildcard. Believed to be Kazuya’s long lost twin, he grew up and was raised by Yoshimitsu who adopted him into the Manji clan where he learnt how to fight. He entered the iron fist tournament to reunite with his family, but after learning of the devil gene and Kazuya’s heart of darkness, Wildcard left and was never to be seen again.

Versions

Arcade: The arcade version runs on the PlayStation based Namco System 11 board, which is very similar but with a different sound processor, the Namco C76 and C352 which was also used on their System 22 arcade board. This version only allows a limited amount of characters to be selected and playable compared to the home PlayStation release.

PlayStation: Released 1 year after the launch of the PlayStation, this version included FMV based endings for each of the character which explains the back story. Like other Tekken games, the home version has a revised soundtrack, but has the option for the arcade original soundtrack also.
The home release of Tekken 5 features an arcade version of the first Tekken game, which looks and play exactly like the actual arcade release, no improved textures or effects. I’m not sure if these are ports for the PS2 hardware or if they’re tapping into the PS2 PlayStation backwards compatibility.

Other Differences

The only other noticeable difference is the question mark animation spins on the arcades character select screen, whilst it is static on the home release. An animation also plays when a character is selected on the arcade, but does not display on the PlayStation.
On the stadium stage, a screen can be seen in the background that shows a copy of both characters fighting, the arcade has a static texture in place of this. The stage name is also different, referred to as Marine Stadium in the arcade, and Stadium in the console version.


In Monument Valley, the sun sets in very round for the arcade version, but in the console version the sun sets only one, and stays down for each round

These differences may be due to the arcade version having a larger amount of VRAAM compared to the PlayStation version, 2MB vs 1MB. However the main system RAM remains the same (2MB), along with the main CPU and the GTE (33.8Mhz, although MAME shows this to run at 67Mhz since the PSX CPU divide the incoming clock signal by half, so its still running at 33.8)

Originally Tekken was known as RAVE WAR which appears on a couple of Ridge Racer cars on both the arcade and PlayStation. Also to note the game was originally in development for Namco System 22, which Ridge Racer and Time Crisis had run on.

Rave War – Unseen64

BT Youview – TV Box Pro

BT has been trying to reinvent its TV service by overhauling the software and recently have introduced new hardware, the BT TV Box Pro. Content is mainly provided by NOWtv, In addition to its own set of subscription channels (AMC and BT Sport).

Like the previous Youview box, the TV Box Pro makes use of the users aerial to deliver Freeview channels, with the subscription channels coming through the BT Broadband connection. If the customer does not have a working aerial, BT can install one for a charge of £40

From NOWtv comes the Sky basic channels, MTV, Comedy Central, Nat Geo and GOLD. An odd section considering you only get one MTV channel, where is MTV Base/Music/Classic? Or any of the other Discovery channels?

Funny thing is BT offered its own bundle of TV channels ( Previously BT Max, now classic entertainment package, which has now been phased out) which continued to offer channels that were not in NOWtv, which mainly deals with Sky channels with a few extra third party channels.

Its clear that the service is tailored to those who don’t watch much linear TV, or for those who prefer streaming / On Demand since BT it a telecommunications based company.

The BT TV Pro Box

The Pro box is quite wide compared to the previous model and bares a resemblance to the Sky Q box. It’s very low profile with no standby LED or indicators, instead the BT logo lights up purple when out of standby and there are three LED’s which indicates when the box is recording and if there are any network connection issues. Whereas previous models were manufactured by Humax, the TV Pro Box was produced by Sagemcom, who have also supplied BT with their Homehubs, now known as SmartHubs.

The Youview software is in full use here, and benefits from the improved hardware along with the supported applications.

4K output is supported through the use of on demand, and the BT Sport Ultimate channel, which offers sport events in 4K. This is not BT’s first box to support 4K or HEVC, but is now a standard option since the previous models have now been discontinued, except for the basic non-recordable box. HDR is also supported, but I’ve not been able to find which type of HDR that BT use (HLG, Dolby Vision, HDR10?)

New Features

WiFi: A first for BT and Youview boxes which have always lacked the support of Wifi, likely due to the issues of delivering the multicast IPTV channels (Although Powerline wasn’t any much better in that regard). Wi-Fi is only functional when the ethernet cable is disconnected from the unit, and only 5GHZ networks can be connected.

In terms of performance it works well, but the multicast channels will break up on three signal bars or less, depending on the throughput of the broadband router. Meanwhile on demand service will work since they adjust the bit rate and the resolution depending on your bandwidth.

Overall if your gonna use Wifi, ensure the box is relatively close to the router, or just use ethernet.

Bluetooth Remote: Like Sky Q and the Virgin 360 remotes, the BT remote now connects via Bluetooth instead of IR, and features a microphone hole that has yet to be activated. This gives the possibility of giving voice commands to the remote to control the interface.

Quad Tuners: Up to four Freeview channels can be recorded simultaneously, along with two IP subscription channels. That’s a total of six channels with four Freeview and two subscription.

Good to Know

The box retains the Youview software and apps, so you will be able to upgrade with ease. Familiar services like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Britbox and NowTV are all supported, with some being bundled through TV packages.

Missing Features

Multiroom streaming: You still cannot watch recordings to another box, like to a regular BT TV box, nor can you stream programmes to another device like a Tablet, Smart TV or your Smartphone. Virgin already pioneered this by the time the V6 had launched, where most recorded programms could be watched on another Tivo box, or a smart device (except for a smart TV, a device you actually want to watch shows on. i don’t know why operators think I want to watch my shows on a 8-12 inch tablet screen?

I don’t see why this cannot be offered, My Humax Freeview recorder lets you stream recorded programmes over your own network using DLNA, allowing you to use any comparable DLNA enabled deice (Xbox and PlayStation consoles have support for this, and most network enabled TV and Blu-ray players have a DLNA client included)

Really if you are after a proper multiroom service, you need to look for Sky Q or Virgin 360 service, or if you don’t like subscription services, the Humax FVP-5000T or the HDR-2000T paired with the Humax Expresso is a better solution, and works on any ISP. The Humax solution includes your regular Freeview Play services, along with popular pay services such as Netflix/Amazon Prime.

Failing that, Panasonic also offer capable network ready Freeview recorders also.

Apps and Services:

PlutoTV, VEVO, Discovery+, Disney+ and Acorn TV are services that are missing from the service, and Youtube/Odysee/Rumble are also not offered for web streaming.

Channels & Services offered

  • NOWtv Entertainment: Contains all of your basic Sky channels, along with MTV/GOLD/SYFY/Comedy Central. You can watch both the channels or watch the box sets via on demand (Some programs like Veep are only available via live TV, and are not on demand, and I have no idea why?)
  • NOWtv Cinema: All of Sky Movie channels
  • NOWtv Sports: All of Sky Sports channels with political propaganda shoved in. At least you can record and fast forward through the adverts (For now)
  • BT Sport: BT premier sports channel packages, features WWE/UFC/Boxing and Soccer. Like Sky Sports it comes with very political adverts shoved in between
  • BT TV Store: A store to purchase TV shows and movies, some are offered as part of a subscription.
  • AMC: A bonus movie channel by BT that comes bundled if you have either BT Sport or one of the NOWtv packages
  • Box Nation: Comes bundled with BT Sport, just boxing in glorious SD resolution
  • NOWtv Hayu: Not a TV channel but a reality TV boxset service, adds the Kardashian’s to your NOWtv collection

BT TV’s store, where TV show boxsets can be purchased and streamed. Personally I prefer to purchase the physical versions o these show, like a Blu-Ray.

Lack of ITV2/3/4 in HD and E4/More4 HD is a major omission, considering these channels could delivered over BT’s IP network and are considered to be popular channels, they could be a popular perk to BT TV customers considering the NOWtv offerings can be had on the standalone service.

There’s also a few channels offered in the BT Entertainment package, which is a legacy package no longer offered by BT in an effort to move customers onto their NOWtv packages. Channels in this package include Discovery, TLC, Watch, Alibi, Eden and Animal Planet. You cannot subscribe to both the entertainment and the NOWtv package simultaneously, which makes no fucking sense.

Conclusion

Whist the box itself is a nice upgrade and brings it more in line with Virgin 360 and Sky Q, if your looking for a complete TV service, go look somewhere else because BT TV packages are not really tailored for that.

Current software as of Dec 2021

The mobile app

Running on a Sony Xperia 5II

Setting up the app for first time use. If there are multiple boxes on the network you have the option to choose which box you want to use. Once set up you can set recordings remotely and view TV listings and On demand events from BT.

Recordings that are saved on the box appear but cannot be watched on the device itself, You must watch on the box itself. BT TV Store shows and events can be rented and streamed on the device itself, regardless if the user is connected to their BT Broadband or if they are using another provider.

The Sims Livin It Up

Also known as Sims Livin Large, not sure why they changed the title but Livin large sounds like a fat acceptance movement slogan…

The first of many expansion packs for The Sims, and a must have since the base game was quite barren for content. Lets see what’s been added:

Multiple neighborhoods can coexist, and the expansion ships with 5 extra goods for up to 50 different lots/families. More can be added by navigating to the games system directory, and creating a new Userdata folder (up to 99 supported). Each hood has its own set of lots and families, and with later expansions they also have unique NPCs what show up on their lots. Sims from one neighborhood will not appear in another, and the appearance cannot be customized, unless you mod and load an altered bitmap has the hoods background screen, but I think the game only allows one background bitmap to be set for all hoods. You would still be stuck with the name neighborhood background.

Objects

Genie Lamp: When rubbed, will summon a genie who give the choice of two wishes. Unfortunately they have a chance of going wrong.

Here you can chose between two random choices

A nice result, our wish was granted and we got a free high end TV

Unfortunately it was the exact same model that we have already had.

Wishes can go wrong, I’m not sure on the change (Possibly 50/50) but when a wish backfires it can result in something drastic, like an object being set on fire or overdue bills being spawned. Always save before making a wish

Vibromatic heart bed: A bed that increases comfort and is where the magic happens. Costs 20 to use the vibration function each time which sucks considering its an expensive bed.

Telescope: Can be used to increase the logic skill and satisfies the fun meter. There is a chance your sim can be abducted by aliens. When this happens they will be returned with a new randomized personality.

When an abduction occurs, all sims will walk to the telescope, cry for a minute and then go back to what they were doing.

Moosehead: Shows the current mood of the lot, its ankers are based on the average mood off all sims and is useful for later expansion packs like House party to judge if a party is going well.


The Concatenation Station: A chemistry station where sims can make potions. This is created at random.
Blue: The most likely potion to be made, fills 3 needs bar which are chosen at random
Orange: Sims become invisible for the next 12 hours
Light Green: The one to avoid, this causes nearly all needs to plummet to low levels
Dark Green: Makes an evil clone of your sim who will perform bad interactions with other Sims, causing their relationship to suffer
Red: Makes a random sim fall in love with them
Purple: Turns your sim into a monster
White: Will cure any sickness, only creatable by a sick sim
Yellow: Inverts the Sims personality for all points
Creating any potions runs the risk of a visit from the police complaining about the smell, and you may be fined. The chemistry table also has a risk of exploding and must be repaired before it can be reused, this will not cause a fire however.

Servo: A robot that acts as the Maid, Gardiner and repairman all in one NPC, one of the most expensive objects in the game. However he has to manually turned on by your sim, he doesn’t come out automatically when a mess has been made but he can be instructed to serve meals.

Voodoo doll: This can be used by sims to annoy or frustrate another sim which results in their comfort level dropping. Useful to get rid of unwanted guests (Not NPCs)

The little bugger itself (not the sim), be careful when you own this

The gerbil painting, which helps cure the disease.

Whilst your sims cannot communicate with the dead, or look into the future, Instead your sims will be given a quest, of which they will be rewarded with a change of personality.

NPCs

Grim Reaper: Appears when a sim has died, can be pled with who will either ignore, resurrect the sim, or resurrect them as a zombie.

Monster: Resembles Frankenstein, Should your sim drink a specific potion, they will temporally turn into a monster and will break all items on the lot and will need to be repaired, however they seem to like painting. If there is an easel on the lot they will paint until they turn back.

Tragic Clown: Appears when your sims has the tragic clown painting and your sim is in a bad mood. If installing on a fresh install, his painting will appear on prebuilt lots.

The tragic clown in action. The only advantage he brings is you can socialize with him to boost your social motive, otherwise he will become a hindrance since he will wake your sim up if they’re sleeping.

Other additions

New floors and walls have been added that allow you to theme your Sims houses as if they were from a certain period, there’s a medieval look, or a retro 50/60s look to a interpreted future theme, complete with teleports that act as stairs or spaceship like doors.

Sickness: Guinea pig, this was one of the more controversial features that was added to this expansion pack, since its possible for your sim to get sick and die which was not known to many players at the time leaving them to wonder why their sims kept randomly dying since the game only informer when your sim has died, but not the cause of death. This disease is caused by having your sim play with the guinea pig whilst its either hungry or if its cage is dirty. Once your sim has been bitten their energy motive will begin to decay faster, and sims will start coughing and sneezing. To cure, the ill sim must have plenty of rest and motives should be kept as high as possible.
The disease is contagious, and can be passed to other sims via contact.

Roaches: Another annoying feature, they appear if your lot is dirty. If there’s dirty dishes or a lot of trash on the lot.

The Sims Deluxe Edition

This SKU was introduced in 2002 and replaces The Sims, And the Livin It up Expansion pack since it combines content from the two games. This became the new base game as the previous titles were discontinued, and further deluxe bundles were introduced in specific markets that combined certain expansion packs, like Triple Deluxe which bundles House party and On Holiday.

The neighborhood screen has been slightly altered with the top bar being added for for use with future expansion packs (Hot Date and On Holiday)

Deluxe Edition also comes bundled with the Sims Creator which is used for creating Sims faces for use in the game. You can also import a photo and paste it onto a Sims head for use in the game. Also most downloadable objects that were released on the EA website were included, but not the downloadable families like the Hatfield’s or the Jones. Deluxe edition still ships with the premade sims, including the Mashuga’s from the Living It Up expansion.

Version information and the build date

The Sims

Where it all started…

Jump to the console version

Neighbourhood

The streets that raised me

The main screen that shows the playable lots in the neighbourhood, clicking on a house will load that lot. The first game supported only one neighbourhood, with multiple ones requiring an expansion pack. The default install ships with five pre-made families and six houses.

  • Goth: Bella, Mortimer and Cassandra – An easy house to start with, although during the first few nights they have an annoying trait of mourning near the gravestones, usually that stops after a few days
  • Newbie: Bob and Betty, Tutorial household, a nice introduction to The Sims
  • Roomies: Chris and Melissa, another small household, this family is vacant and can be moved into any lot they can afford.
  • Bachelor: Just a single sim, Michael, typically moved into 1 Sim Lane
  • Pleasant: A hard family to play since they have two kids and not much money, and you have to move them into a household. With two adults working two jobs you should be able to progress nicely.

There are also five other families that could be download from the Sims website. Although the website is now offline but mirrors exist to download from. These families can be added to the base game or to any install expansion pack but wont work for the console versions.

  • Hatfield: A very hard family to play. They are poor and don’t have a very good house with basic furniture, but at least both parents are working. If you can get the kids grades (there are three of them) to an A+ you can earn a (random) bonus for good grades.
  • Jones: straightforward family to play with two adults (Edward and Barbara) and a kid (Bobby), similar to the Goth house only less extravagant
  • Valentino: Rudy and Julia, who live in a large house
  • Snooty Patooty: Chip and Buffy, supposed to be a parody of a wealthy couple
  • Maximus: A bizarre family, only two adults and the weirdest house you will ever play

Game elements

Relationship

How well your sim knows other sims and if they are friends, lovers or enemies. Some jobs require you to have a certain amount of friends in order to progress to a promotion. The base games has a simple bar that measures your sims friendship from 1-100, with 100 being the highest. In the base game there is only one relationship bar, with two being introduced with the later expansion packs.

Should be notes if you want two adult sims to share a bed they will need a relationship of 50 or higher

Marriage: Sims can move in and get married if their relationship is high enough, this will move the sim into the household, along with any kids if they live with the sim and that sim is the only adult. Same sex sims have the option too move in instead. That said, the game has a very loose concept of marriage, since its possible for one sim too be married to multiple sims, although if they perform any romantic interactions they can become jealous (and the Woody Woodpecker sound plays)

Skills

  • Cooking: Helps prevent fires, and improves the quality of your sims cooking which increases the effect on hunger. The noise the sim makes will also change when food is cooked at a higher cooking level. When playing a sim for the first time its advised to raise their cooking skill level to two bars or higher to reduce the risk of fire.
  • Mechanical: For repairing items, the higher the mechanical skill the faster they will repair the item. Sims can get electrocuted if they repair an electronic item with a low skill level
  • Creativity: Play the piano or paint on the easel, which is useful since sims with a high creativity skill can sell paintings for a lot more money.
  • Logic: Playing chess or looking through the telescope increases this, only useful for job promotions
  • Charisma: Increased by talking to yourself in them mirror, supposed to help with how your sims interact with others, but is mainly useful for job promotions.
  • Body: Helps keep your sim fit, but this has no affect on their appearance. Its mainly useful for carers and winning fights if your sim has enemies

Disasters

  • Fire: Occurs when your sim tries to cook with a low skill level (2 points or lower) or when you have objects near a fireplace. Buy a fire alarm which will summon a firefighter to extinguish the fire automatically.
  • Burglar: Randomly comes during the night, but can come during the day of the sim is at work. Buying a burglar alarm help the police to capture them when they enter your lot.
  • Floods: If a toilet/sink or the dishwasher breaks, it can cause a flood which must be cleaned up by the sim.
  • Aliens: looking through the telescope at night has a risk of being abducted by aliens, who will randomize the sims personality upon return.

Sims can also leave the game autonomously, adults will leave if they get into a fight multiple times with a sim and have a serious degraded relationship. Kids will leave if their grades fall below D- and will be sent to military school. When these occur the sim is deleted from the game upon saving, and cannot be restored unless you exit without saving.

Jobs

The base game comes with ten careers (Six in the console release) with 10 jobs in each. Each job can be accessed by having your sim promoted by fulfilling the job requirements. Certain jobs will require you to have a set amount of friends, and a set level of skills.

Phone Services

Services can be ordered by using the phone, an NPC will then arrive on the lot

  • Maid: A maid will come from 9am every day, and will always leave by 5pm every day. Cleans the lot.
  • Gardener: Waters the plants, comes every 3 days
  • Repairman: Repairs all broken items on the lot
  • Police: No reason to call them unless a burglar comes on your lot and you don’t have a burglar alarm.
  • Fire Service: Only used if a fire breaks out on your lot and you don’t have a fire alarm, can be fined 500 for a false emergency.
  • Pizza: Delivers pizza to your house, costs $40

The game offers a help systems that pops a question mark symbol in the corner, informing the user that a tip is available.

Buy Mode

Where you can purchase items for your sim. Items are grouped by category – Seating, Surfaces (Tables), decorative, electronic, plumbing, appliances, lighting and miscellaneous (items that don’t belong in any category. Clicking on the buy mode icon again switches to room category view

Releases/Versions

PC Release

The Sims: Original base game

Deluxe Edition: Base game with the Livin Large expansion

Complete Collection: Includes all expansions

Mac Release

The game was ported to the Mac platform in 2000 by Aspyr and was for the PowerPC platform. This version was very similar to the PC release.

The Sims (Console)

A console adaption of the popular PC game but I would consider this as a remake, The Sims are rendered entirely in 3D graphics complete with new lighting effects and redesigned objects. A new game mode, Get a Life is added which featured level type gameplay where the player has to progress from house to house, building up their career.

The console version was released for the PlayStation 2 first, with an updated build being released for the GameCube and Xbox. Compared to the PC release there are a few differences due to the consoles typically having less memory compared to the PC, and with no expansion packs available what you see in the game is what your stuck with. You also cannot download and install objects or families from the PC version.

Get A Life

In this mode you create your own sim, who lives in their own rags to riches story as they start off in a basic house. The aim of this model is to reach the dream house stage, which can be achieved by completing goals that consist of getting certain promotions at work, cleaning and upgrading the houses and throwing parties that sims enjoy.

Whilst this mode seems easy at first, it will get progressively harder as it taker longer to raise your sims skills, jobs will require more friends in order to get promoted and you have to battle with refilling your sims needs quite often.

The Xbox version saves directly to its hard drive and has seemly unlimited save slots, memory units are not directly supported. The PS2 version can save as much as its memory card allows, with each save consuming 1.1MB. The GameCube version is limited to 1 save file per card.

Levels

  1. Moms House – Starter level, objectives are to repair the TV, gain two cooking skill points to make a meal, and borrow 800 bucks from ‘Mom’ who is a pain in the arse and will randomly complain and refuses to clean and cook
  2. Reality Bites – This level can be a bit lonely since its just your sim, Dudley (Mimi if your sim is a female) will occasionally pop round but cannot be interacted with unless you invite him. Thankfully Mom can be invited and two neighbours (The Peacocks, Pauline and Pierre) pop round. Get two job promotions, clean and fix everything and spend $1000 upgrading the future to progress.
  3. Party Animals – You have a new roommate, the snag is its Dudley or Mimi (depending on your sims gender) who are a pain to live with. Like Mom they wont cook or clean, and skill building is out of the question so getting a job promotion is a challenge. But it can be done, Dudley/Mimi can build his body skill using a swimming pool which is enough to get promoted two times. The house itself is quite large which makes navigating it time consuming, you may wish to alter its design as part of the $1000 improvements. Two new neighbours are available to meet, the Froofraw (Fran and Freddy, fuck knows how they came up with that surname), along with Dudley’s Roomies friends (Leon, Carlos, Betty, Layla) which you must befriend one of them in order to move out to the next level. There is also a bonus sim, Bobo the Bum, who walk past your house every morning. Give him food and you can unlock a 2 player mode games.
  4. Hot to Trot – You start with the sim that you chose to move in with from level 3, like the previous levels you need to earn two promotions and spend money on upgrades for the house. Again you will be introduced to more of your roommates friends, only this time you have to choose which one you want to marry. This will always be the sim of the opposite sex, as gay marriage wasn’t a thing until the later games. Once completed you will move onto level 5.
  5. Who loves ya baby: The worst level with the worst designed house. Here you have to earn another two promotions and you have to raise two babies to kids. When you first play the lot, you have to manually rearrange the furniture since tis all condensed into two rooms. The worst part is having to raise two children which seems to drag on, you basically need to feed and sing them to sleep every 8 sim hours.
  6. The last Simoleon: You move into a dream mansion. Being the final level, the objective is to reach the max promotion for your career, have 20,000 in your savings and get your kids grades up to an A+ level which will send them to boarding school. Once finished, the end credits will play and you will be returned to the main menu.

Bonus Unlocks: making friends with neighbour sims unlocks certain create a sim cloths and hairstyles or accessories

Play the Sims

Sandbox style gameplay like the original PC version of the Sims, although you have much less lots to play with, having only 6 lots from the 10 that PC version offered. You are also limited to 4 sims per lot with the PC version supporting 8, however the game internally supports 8 sims when using a modified save file.

Game saves in this mode are the same as the Get a Life versions, with the PS2/Xbox being ale to save multiple games deepening on the storage capacity, but the GameCube version being limited to a single save per card.

In the PS2 version the default neighbourhood has no defined name, and the player must enter one when first created, the Xbox/GameCube prepopulate the name with ‘Willville’ but this can be changed by the player.

Up to 2 players can play on one console using a split screen method, however the lot must have 2 or more sims on the lot.

The premade sims are the same as the Pc version, with the Goth, Pleasant, Newbie, Roomies and Bachelor families being present but with a slightly different appearance and personality. The lots have also been amended since the console versions only support a single story. The Goth, Roomies and newbie families are already moved into a lot, but the Roomies house is unfurnished.

Bonus

2 player mode is supported with the use of mini games, similar to the 2-player mode in Play The Sims mode, but in this mode each level has specific challenges that must be completed by each player, and the player that completes their goals first wins. There are 8 in total:

  • Handyman’s House
  • Maid’s House
  • The Park
  • The Frat House
  • Party Motel: Unlockable only by a cheat, Enter PARTY M in the cheat box
  • Club Abhi
  • Taylor’s Place
  • The Museum

Comparison with the PC

  • Console versions only has a single story houses, the PC supports two
  • Console used 3D rendered graphics for everything, PC version only the sims themselves are 3D with the world being an isometric 2D design
  • No online exchange support for the console
  • No 2 player mode for the PC version, whilst the console versions support split screen like multiplayer

Gamecube

Xbox

PlayStation 2

The PS2 version was a fresh copy, Play The Sims mode is unlocked after starging and saving in Get a Life mode

The options menu

Slight difference with the font display on the PS2 version with larger line spacing

Create a Sim mode, The Xbox version will ask you to confirm the changes upon pressing the B button, the PS2/GameCube versions do not

The GameCube and Xbox version comes wit the name prepopulated

The level start screen

Example of the user interface, the directional pad has a different appearance on each version

The first level, some minor difference in the details. It’s possible the game was built for the PS2 and was the lead development platform and was then ported to the other consoles.

Family selection screen

Buy mode, all versions have the same object limiter

The Xbox version seems to be the best one with its sharper textures, but its graphics ae slightly zoomed in, like the FOV is different compared to the Gamecube/PS2 releases

The Xbox version has bonus loading screens if the game takes too long to load. You will only see this if the game disc is dirty and the console is struggling to load

Glitches

PCem seems to have issues playing the game with certain emulated graphics cards.

Utilities

EA AutoPatch

A utility by EA that checks for updates and downloads them, no longer functional.

Sky Interactive – Part 3

Music Choice

Music choice is premium music channel subscription service. Two channels were offered, Music choice on channel 480 was included in the Sky family Pack, whilst Music Choice Extra was on channel 481 and offered 40 different channels centered on a specific genre or theme, and was a separate subscription service that could be added. Both channels featured a press red prompt which would open and lead to the main interactive service where the channel could be selected, and information on the currently playing song along with artist and album information.

Playjam

PlayJam was the other main gaming service offered on Sky Digital, and could be accessed by pressing the interactive button, then selecting option 3. Playjam featured exclusive game of which they developed, and operated on a pay 2 play scheme like Sky Gamestar offered where the Digibox would use the telephone line to order and unlock the game or to submit a high score. PlayJam also offered competitions that users could join.

QVC

QVC offered a shopping service to supplement the main channel by advertising the products on offer and allowed for a way to order through the interactive service. QVC made extensive use of Sky interactive platform.

Sky Movies Active

Sky Movies Active offered movie trailers for the movies that Sky Movies was showcasing, and upcoming relates and behind the scenes commentary of the movies.

BBCi

BBCi was offered on all BBC channels and could be access either by pressing the red button or by pressing text. The service is very similar to what’s offered on Freeview and Cable, as BBC at the time wanted to remain platform neutral across the different providers.

Sky Active

Sky Active was treated to a rebrand in 2004, with the service being focused on news and articles that you would normally find on the MSN or Yahoo homepage. There’s less focus on shopping or ecommerce and is more to enhance the Sky service by adding value.

An interpretation of the popular board game Scrabble

One of the many Tom & Jerry games on Sky Active, If I remember correctly this game required you to play as Jerry, and navigate the (large) house and collection cheese, whilst avoiding Tom and his friends. Keys could be collected to unlock areas of the house

Theme Hospital (Multiplayer maps in CorsixTH)

Note: This isn’t a guide on playing multiplayer games in CorsixTH, more like loading the maps in single player

Theme Hospital shipped with a few multiplayer maps that were intended to be used with network play, which were not intended to be played in single player. With the original PC release, there is a way to force the game to play them, after a while this can cause the game to crash since the game does not know how handle the maps in single player mode. Also there are two bonus maps which were used for the bonus rat levels, that are also discussed here.

A very busy first level, with all rooms available

In CorsixTH and the use of the map editor, we are able to import these maps and convert them pack to single player use, for which we can play then in single scenario.

2 Player Maps: large sized hospitals intended for two players, in the range of Level 20-24

3 Player Maps: larger sized hospitals for 3 players, uses level range 30-34

4 Player Maps: huge sized maps intended for 4 players, level range 40-44. Unfortunately I could not get the game to load these maps due to a lua script. Seems CorsixTH does not recognise 4 players (or maybe the original came counted from 0 and CorsixTH counts from 1?)

Bonus Maps: two maps are bonus maps that were used for the rat killing levels, these are Level 13 and level 14. They are rather small but functional as a basic hospital, Although the second one has a few graphical errors, like a misplaced water tile.

  • Level 13: Looks similar to level 1 at the front of the hospital, possible this was an early design  of it that was later reused. Has a rear door with a path that leads no nowhere and has no mapping data so it wont be used by patents
  • Level 14:  Another that has the same entrance path design to level one, this hospital is highly symmetrical.

Along with the maps came with was the SAM files, which contains level variable data such as the type diseases, rooms available, emergency and pandemic probability. The bonus levels do not have these as they were not intended to be used as a regular hospital.

Converting the maps for CorsixTH

To do this the legacy map editor was used from the 2014 release (Version 0.4.0) where the map was opened, and then saved which converted the map to the new format. The original game did not use a specific extension, with files being named as Level.L01, LEVEL.L31, etc. CorsixTH uses the .map extension.

Whilst the 4 player maps will open in the map editor for this version and can be saved, trying to open it on the latest build results in an error.

The levels seem to have their own names, CRUDSVILLE, NICEVILLE, Emergency!, RUMBLETOWN and ST. SCAVENGERS. I don’t know if these names ever appeared in game, the only reference to them are in the SAM files for each level.

The newer CorsixTH builds don’t recognise the maps files from the original game unless you amend the file extension to .map however i still cannot get the game to load the 4 player maps this way.

Download

Download (Box)

Extract into the Levels directory in the CorsixTH folder, maps can be played using the single scenario menu option

ONdigital – More Interactive services

ONgames 1

Whilst Sky have Gamestar, Ondigital had its own set of games that were delivers on the service. Unlike Sky, Ondigital games were accessed by going to channel 45/46 and pressing the red button. There was no interactive button

Tom & Jerry

A simple cat & mouse game, basically Connect4

Treasure Hunt

IIRC you had to locate the treasure based on the items uncovered in the squares, kinda like minesweeper

Pigloo

You have to push the snowballs into the holes

Vegas Poker

ONgames 2

Forest Fire

Objective of this game was to put out the forest fires before time ran out

Dr Quiztoast

A Quiz based game where you had to answer the questions correctly

Memory Jnr

There were other games available which were not captured here, I remember one SunnyD basketball game which ran at 2fps on a Nokia 9850T

ONoffer

Similar to SkyBuy, provided limited time offers which you had to call a phone number to order. You couldn’t place orders through the set-top box. The keyboard in the bottom right is the ONmail keyboard.

ONmail

The ONmail user interface where users could send and view emails from the ONmail server. The ONmail service required a separate adaptor to be connected to the receivers serial port, and I’m not sure if all boxes supported this given the Sony and Toshiba receivers did not get the later software updates.

Active Service Screenshots

This isnt part of interactive service, but is still cool to look at whilst the service was still active. pressing the info button called up the now and next screen, which would only display what was currently shown. You can browse listings for other channels and view information on the programme being broadcast, but you can only see whats showing now and the next programme. In contrast to Sky who offered listings for the next 6 hours via the search and scan banner, with 7 days being provided through the main EPG…

..which ONdigital also lacked, at least inside the STB itself. ONdigital did provide a monthly magazine with listings for all channels, and there where a few MHEG services that offered a guide, typically for the next 7 days.

The service itself competed well with Sky’s analogue service, but falls short compared to Sky Digital, and when the cable companies launched their digital services alongside ONdigital was really looking antiquated. Still the service was attractive to people who wanted the popular channels that where previously unavailable to terrestrial viewers and did not want, or could even have a dish. Once Sky analogue shut down it was pretty much considered the bottom tier of TV, perhaps except for analogue cable. Still it had its own unique selling point being that it was plug and play and did not require instillation (in theroy, chances are you needed an aerial upgrade since the signals were transmitted at a lower power, we had to go through 2 upgrades before we got an actual signal)

Nowadays BT TV and TalkTalk TV have a very ONdigital feel to them givern they are DTT based, but feature IPTV delivery for the subscription channels, adn they have a limited channel selection in comparision to Virgin or Sky

ITV Digital Services

ONdigital rebranded itself to ITV Digital in mid 2001, and launched a couple of Sport Channels along with acquiring the premiership rights to football, in the hope that more people would give the finger to Sky and subscribe to their service.

Spoiler: It didn’t, the company was Pepsi’d in 2002

ITV Select

Channel 50 was changed, with ONrequest being changed to ITVSelect with a rebranded interface. The offerings were still the same, with 5 PPV multiplex channels. Channel 20 was also changed, with ONview being replaced with the ITV Digital channel which displayed upcoming services and events via an interactive MHEG applet.

A minor software update was issued to amend the ONrequest option to ‘Order an Event’ when the guide menu is displayed. The service itself was also rebranded with a harsher colour scheme. Funnily ONmail was never changed, but ONnet was changed to ITV Active

ITV Sport Select

During football/soccer game a quick quiz could be played whilst the advert was being displayed. ITV Sport Select was the PPV Box Office channel for live events.

BBCi

A look at the BBCi bar, which you could access that would give now and next information whilst the channel was being displayed.

Interactive – Freeview and early DTT

Back when digital TV first launched many broadcasters were free to experiment with the benefit that digital tv had to offer. Not only did we get an avalanche of channels, we also got interactive services which were to extend what Teletext/Ceefax offered.

These screenshots were captured and were uploaded to a site DTT NEWS, which has long gone offline. They have been archived here for a look at the early days of Freeview and interactive digital TV. Sadly what the screenshots do not capture is the long time it took for the ONdigital box to load the pages. Also some boxes didn’t support interactive at all, with the Sony and Toshiba lacking any MHEG5 support. I’m not sure why these boxes didn’t get interactive support, maybe Sony & Toshiba didn’t stick to the specifications and were not able to port the MHEG5 API? Memory limitations?

These screenshots are of Freeview/ONdigital DDT only, and will differ from what was offered by Sky or the cable services of the time (ntl/Telewest)

Teletext

The digital successor to ‘analogue’ text which was promised to be faster and more efficient, the drawback was the early ONDigital boxes had slow CPUs (The Nokia 9850T has a Texas Instruments 40Mhz ARM CPU) which meant it was slower than the analogue Teletext, Teletext was later axed and only the holidays branch remains.

I should mention that analogue Teletext/Ceefax itself is actually digital, its just transmitted within the vacant PAL lines, whilst digital teletext are MHEG applets that are part of the digital transport stream. You can also have both analogue and digital text at the same time, and have the STB regenerate the analogue teletext signals which are decoded by your TV, this also worked for subtitles (888)

Channel 4

FourText was Channel4’s digital text service which also covered FilmFour, now known as Film4. Like ITV’s services, these complement Channel 4’s programming.

BBCi

BBCi, previously BBC Text and now known as BBC Red Button was the replacement for Ceefax and made use of the MHEG functionality offered by DTT. The BBC operated three interactive channels known as 701, 702 and 703 which were used to offer extended coverage of sporting events and behind the scenes interactive features.

The BBCi bar was used to locate and find listings across the 6 BBC digital channels, it only functioned on the BBC channels.

Saturday Show

The Saturday Show was the replacement for Live&Kickng and competed with SM:tv, a few games and activities are offered with this service while the show was being broascast.

ITV Brit Awards

To complement the yearly ITV Brit awards, the interactive service offered updates, simple games and sponsor zones.

This Morning

This Morning was sponsored by LearnDirect, and was advertised on their interactive text service. LearnDirect is a company that offered course for people to learn from home int heir own time, and this service was designed to promote that by giving details that their adverts were not able to provide.

ITV Sport

To complement the ITV Sport channel, an interactive service was launched with offers additional activities like a quiz, and a match predictor that was sponsored by Littlewoods, who still operate as an online retailer.

SMTV

If you get bored of Ant & Dec that you could access the SM:tv interactive services that featured information in relation to the current show, any competitions and KFC, back when fast food joints could sponsor kids shows until Ofcom stepped in

ONdigital Interactive & Services

Throughout the years that ONdigital had operated it had launched several interactive services to enhance and compliment their channel line up, and to make their service more competitive compared to Sky Digital and the cable operations by ntl and Telewest at the time. ONdigital used the MediaHighway and later MHEG5 interactive standard.

Several of the screenshots were hosted on DTT NEWS which has long since gone offline, they have been archived here for future refernce.

ONview

ONview was launched in mid 2000 as a replacement for the channel ‘FirstONDigital’ which broadcasted slideshows of upcoming news and service launches for the ONdigital platform on channel 20. ONview however was supposed to be the central portal of all ONdigital customers and operated as an MHEG service, I guess to entice non subscribers using IDTV’s to subscribe? At this point you could buy IDTV’s of which some came with ONdigital firmware loaded (with some being nothing more than a Nokia Mediamaster box being stuffed inside), some TV’s (Sony) did not feature this software and had their onw, which would explain why ONdigital moved from the MediaHighway middleware to the MHEG middleware.

ONguide

The ONdigital EPG, a tacked on MHEG5 app. The ONdigital boxes only featured a Now and Next style EPG built into their firmware, and was reliant one either a monthly magazine or a couple of interactive guides offered by BBC, ntl or Teletext.

Compared to Sky and cable its very poor, with no ability to set reminds unless you manually set the timer in the main menu. Meanwhile this is what the completion TV guide looked like…

ONinfo

ONinfo, with information about ONdigital’s services and how to subscribe, a later revision is shown on the right with information about ONmail and ONrequest

ONprizes section, where details of competitions and how to enter them.

ONsport – Sport highlights for ONdigital’s dedicated sport channel

Information on movies and event on ONrequest are promoted here and information on how to order from the service.

ONrequest

ONdigital’s Pay-Per-View service, where films could be ordered and screened across 5 multiplexed channels. Customers could access the service by going to channel 50 and pressing the text button when prompted.

A common thing you see with Onrequest is sweets, or sweet wrappers. I’m not sure on the connection between sweets and per-per-view movies

This part of the service is where you can view information about the movies that are offered, followed by a description of the event and the actors and director involved, along with the age rating.

To actually order the event you had to press the guide button and then choose option 2, which would load the actual PPV application where the customer could order the event, as long as their box was connected to the phone line. This was all done in the second part below.

The screen where you order the event itself. This looks like a MediaHighway applet.

This banner appeared when you entered an ONrequest channel whilst an event was currently being shown. Customer could see a 10 min preview of the start of the programme to entice them to order

Sometimes things went wrong