Monthly Archives: January 2022

The Simpsons Road Rage

Crazy Taxi with a touch of Simpsons

The first Simpsons game on sixth generation consoles, Simpsons Road Rage is a combination of racing with taxi driving. If you’ve played Crazy Taxi before, you will already be familiar with the games concept, but for those who aren’t, the objective here is to pick up passengers and drop them off at their desired location within the time limit, all whilst avoiding traffic obstacles. There are six locations, and over 20 different characters to choose from with slightly different mechanics.

A lot of references to previous episodes are in the game

Story of the game is Mr Burns has brought out the local bus company and has filled the buses with radioactive waste, which are wrecking havoc across Springfield (You will see why in the game)
Simpsons basically predicted Uber.

Moleman gonna Netflix n chill with Patty and Selma

Road Rage

The main mode of the game and the one used to earn money to unlock characters and locations which can be done by dropping passengers off as fast as possible for bonuses. If you fail to get a passenger to their destination on time, you sill get to keep cash accumulated so far.
As soon as you start a game you will have to pick up a passenger by stopping within the blue rings that surround a character, an icon of the destination will appear on the left of the screen, and a hand will appear at the top which will point in the direction where you need to go, along with a point marked on a mini map. The passenger time limit is also displayed.

Avoiding traffic gives an extra bonus

Reward

Slow: Between 0% and 20% of the timer left, $25 bonus only
Normal: Between 21% and 35%of the timer left, $50 and 1 second added
Fast: More than 36% of the timer left, $100 and 3 seconds added
Safe Driver: Awarded when the bonus randomly appears, you have to avoid and NOT hit traffic three times. If you hit three cars then you lose this bonus. $250 and 5 seconds added
Road Rage: Awarded when the bonus randomly appears, you have to destroy a certain amount of objects before you drop the passenger to their location. $1000 and 10 seconds added

The Safe Driver bonus is triggered when ‘Avoid Traffic For Bonus’ appears when you pick up a passenger, the Road Rage bonus is similar where upon picking up a passenger, you are prompted to destroy a set amount of objects by running your car into it.

When the time runts out, its game over. You will return to the score screen to see how much you have collected, then you are promoted to enter your initials if you have a high score, then the game auto-saves and you can then picked a different character or location.

Be Mindful of

Mr Burns will randomly appear during the game, (you will hear him say ‘Get them Smithers’) who will then try to drive into you to disrupt your driving, but due to the poor AI will either miss you completely, or crash into another car or bus.
The Buses, These wreck havoc around the town, and will leave a trial of destruction in their path such as cards and objects which can be of hindrance since you will have to drive round them to avoid them slowing you down.
Transit Stops, Knocking over these add an additional 2 seconds to your time, and you can hit them on your way to your passengers destination
Obstacles: Some objects like billboards are solid and will cause your car to crash which impacts your speed. Some billboards can be knocked down but others are solid and will cause your car to collide with them.
Physics: The game doesn’t have the best physics engine, and sometimes you car can crash into something that isn’t there due to a faulty hit box detection, or when you drive into the air, your car may land at a weird angle which will take some time for your car to correct. Not something that you want when your trying to beat the time limit. Best thing is to ty and straighten your car as its about to land.

Smithers has had enough of Mr Burns

Sunday Drive Mode

The chilled mode, here there’s no time limit or fares. This means you can explore all unlocked locations at your leisure, and find new shortcuts for road rage mode (There are loads) You cannot unlock anything in this mode since you don’t earn any fares.

Marge had a bit of road rage

Mission Mode

A series of 10 missions where you have to complete an objective within the time limit. Most of these missions consist of knocking over X amount of objects within a set time, or just getting a passenger to their destination at a specific time limit. There’s little variety here and you only unlock the special car for Homer when you complete all 10 missions. Also these missions are very short, with the games loading screen taking more time to load than the game-play itself, at least on the PS2 version.

Locations

Evergreen Terrace: The location that contains the iconic Simpsons House, along with the Kwik-E-mart, Springfield Church, Retirement Castle and the Elementary school. This is the only location that’s available at the start of the game.

Entertainment District: Where Moe’s, Duff Brewery, Mini Golf and the Rusty Barnacle are located. Plenty of shortcuts but due to the tall buildings its easy to miss them.

Springfield Dam: The infamous Spring Dam, This locations has no transit stop so you will need a fest vehicle to get the faster times, this is despite having plenty of transit buses? Destinations here are quite far apart, so make use of the shortcuts. You can drive down the damn itself into the water to get to Rancho Relaxo faster. Kamp Krusty, Jittery Joe’s Coffee Shop (From the season 5 episode where Marge and Ruth Powers meet) and the Stonecutters lodge are also here

Nuclear Power-plant: This is an odd location, since half of it is for the Power-plant with the other being for the Springfield Mall. As a result many character locations will be parts of the Plant itself, like the cut off valve or the cooling towers, which makes no sense as to why a character would want a taxi there. At least there’s a baseball stadium that you can drive through, and an Ikea knock off with the Springfield mall.

Totally not Ikea

Downtown: Various familiar locations are here like the Clown College, Androids Dungeon, the Police Station and the Monorail. This location can get a bit busy with a lot of traffic and objects, and there’s plenty of items to destroy when you get Road Rage bonus.

Springfield Mountains: The final location, set in a rural area like the Springfield Dam. Burns Mansion is located here along with Springfield Gorge. A hard level to make any money on since everything is a large distance from their destinations, there are very few short stops.

Versions

The game was released on all three major console platforms (GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, with no native PC port). There’s very little difference between the three, with the Xbox version having the most detailed textures and stable framerate. The PlayStation 2 version is an earlier build and has a few extra passenger locations which were removed since these could be exploited to gain faster time, you could pick up and drop off the passenger, the race back to the same pickup location and since the destination is very short, you could easily make time by exploiting this.

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