Thunderbirds and I

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I love Thunderbirds and always have ever since I was a wee glow cub. I’m talking about the original Gerry Anderson series and not any abominations that have been made since. No we shant talk about those.
The stories, the voice acting, the attention to detail and the amazing soundtrack was all part of the perfect recipe for a show the whole family could watch and it still is a treat. Imagine my surprise many years later when I found out, that there weren’t just one or two video games based of the series, but quite a few.

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The only games I actually played as a child were the handheld Grand Slam games. Right now those games can be found on ebay and the sealed ones go for quite a high price. I only had one (the pink one), I never realised there were more. I remember it was a basic racing game, where you played as Lady Penelope, though probably Parker her chauffer as you fled or chased after villains. I think it was quite repetitive but I did play the heck out of it before I went to sleep. The others in the Grand Slam series, have you control Thunderbird 2, 3 and Brains.

The Atari, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad was home to a successive series of basic Thunderbird games where you were take with controlling Thunderbird 1 or 2 and navigating a labyrinth. Not entirely sure why that was the go-to choice of story, when Thunderbirds tagline was IR which stood for International Rescue and little rescuing was done in these games.
As I traversed through ebay looking at Thunderbird merchandise I found that Japan had quite a love for the series and produced a lot of toys, collectibles and also a few video games too. The Super Famicom released a Thunderbird game called Kokusou Kyuujotai Shutsudou Seyo! (try saying that 6 times fast) in 1993 and it was exclusive to Japan.

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It would then be a couple more years before we would get Thunderbird title, appearing on a handheld, with a Gameboy Colour version released SCi Games in 2000. The Gameboy Advance followed suite with Thunderbirds: International Rescue. Subtitles for these games weren’t really high on anybodys priorities it seems. A second GBA game was related by Vivendi, but that was a tie in with the movie that we promised we would not speak off. Then that last game to grace consoles was for the Playstation 2.

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SciGames were responsible for a F.A.B Action pack which made for an impressive box to add to your collection, but the actual gameplay, was lacking in gameplay. It was essential a multimedia collection, with some quizzes, desktop schemes and very barebones desktop games.

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Sadly what all these games have in common, apart from the title was that they weren’t great games at all. The basic games on the handheld consoles were the best and I think if you were Thunderbird fan, at a young age these would have been great to play. I know that if I had of had a chance to play them when I was younger I would have thoroughly enjoyed it. Because that’s what happens when you’re a child, you appreciate things, even if they’re rubbish because they’re associated with something you treasure. Nowadays I find it a bit hard to get through some of these games, though I will admit that International Rescue is quite playable, though I’ve had a copy that had severe sound issues.
A flash game whereby you took control of the Mole, a sub vehicle that was one of multiple choices to be loaded onto a Thunderbird 2. You had to drill through the ground. It was the height of browser based excitement, I can assure you. I really have no idea what is going on with that game.

So that’s the gist of Thunderbird games that are out there and while I can safety say none are examples of gaming excellence, they are worth checking out if you are a die-hard fan of the series. The original. The only. The true.

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Video about Thunderbird games I did as well

NIGHT SHIFT

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If Ryan Gosling liked puzzles

Night Shift is a driving puzzle game. That description may be straightforward, the game itself is not. Though it can be obtuse, its mysterious ambience keeps the player driving.

There’s a brief silent opening narration. Darkness has set across the land and it’s up to you to find the light. That’s the goal, but whether it’s the goal of the driver or the car itself, I’m not sure. I felt more like the car than the driver, as if Knight Rider‘s Kitt became very philosophical.

The driving controls are simple, but they work fine. The only options are accelerating forward, reversing, and turning. There is partial controller support, and that seems to be the way to go. With the digital input of a keyboard, it’s either full acceleration or nothing, so the only way to control speed is tapping. Holding the accelerate key causes the car to move too quickly and pressing the key in bursts results in it jerking forward.

Night Shift does not offer the most complex puzzles, but it doesn’t hold the player’s hand either. This is apparent from the moment it officially begins: I was driving with no clear direction and suddenly realized I was in a puzzle. While this can be an interesting take on introducing the player to the story and gameplay, it felt a little too vague for my tastes initially. The puzzles reinforce the fusion of something otherworldly, yet human in the terrain. Sometimes I was wandering aimlessly, finding ghosts, flashing them with the headlights, smashing through them to help trees grow, all the while trying to figure out if I was supposed to keep doing it or try something else.

A lot of the screenshots look similar to one another because the heads-up display takes up a lot of the screen. The dashboard does have little added touches, such as a speedometer or other animations that give life to the motorized shell the player sees the world from. It’s lonely out there on the road, but there is life to be found in random moments of luminosity.

The graphics are simplistic but evocative of Driver and other neo-noir Giorgio Moroder backdrops, though the environment is more like a barren Mad Max meets Cabin in the Woods landscape. Without the music and sound design, it may have been less tolerable to keep playing. Dance with the Dead’s music hits from the menu screen, and it sounds great throughout.

This is a game I’d recommend spending $4.99 on whilst watching Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace on a Friday night with the lights down. It will be interesting to see what is next from developer Brandon Brizzi, as Night Shift is a unique entity with an unusual style of player awareness. It uses its original story and turns it into an almost haunting Driver game homage.

6/10

Dragon Age Irish Legend Lesson

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One half of Scary Granules and Destructoid writer Glowbear has made a video to help people learn more about the lovely language that comes from Ireland, via vidjagames. On previous peisodes of the SG podcast it’s been brought up that Dragon Age features many Irish nouns and most are mispronounced, so sit back, pop on your headphones and get Irishmucated!

Let’s Play Aliens Vs Predator 2 – Complete Walkthrough of All Campaigns

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Panzadolphin went through every xeno-inch of this game and it serves as a fun walkthrough with great commentary.