Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Headhunter Review for the Sega Dreamcast.

Sun, Jan 26th, 2020

So I’ve beaten Headhunter, and now I want to talk about it.

I was not able to take any screenshots during the game, so I’m going to steal them from Gamespot.

For those not aware, Headhunter is a game released in 2001 on the Dreamcast by Azure. The Dreamcast version was only released in PAL regions, but it was later ported to the PS2 in North America and Europe.

I would describe the game as an open world stealth game. There are motorbiking sections where you drive around from level to level, and upgrade your license, more on that later.

The story is set in mid 21st century, where there is a crime league where crime fighters capture and arrest criminals to climb up the ranks.

There also legal and black market organ harvesting in there somewhere as well, and the emphasis on saving organs to sell, and weapons that only shut their brains down without damaging any of the organs.

The game’s graphics look great for it’s time especially for the Dreamcast! They look like a game you would have seen in 2004 on the PS2, Gamecube and Xbox, but here we see them from 2001.

Both versions of the game look close, with the Dreamcast having the edge of better texture and shadow quality.

However, due to the Dreamcast’s relatively low RAM, it has to load almost every room you enter, and it gets annoying after a while. The PS2 version’s rooms are split the same way.

As for the gameplay, there are 2 sections of it, one, like I said, where you ride around what looks like Southern US on a motorbike, and the main game, which is where you run around levels, sneak up on people or just shoot them down.

The controls take some getting used to, you press Y to back yourself up to a wall, but you need to press it again to get off it, and the fact that the Dreamcast doesn’t have a second analog means that you need to aim and hold X to turn the camera. This takes getting used to.

Luckily, the game autoaims to your enemies by pressing x, so it isn’t a problem either way.

Not much else to say, you’ve probably played many action and stealth games that play just like this, so there’s not much to learn or get used to.

https://gamespot1.cbsistatic.com/uploads/original/mig/5/4/6/4/415464-headhunter_039.jpg

The driving section also take get some getting used to. One’s natural instinct is to push the R trigger all the way down, but that causes you to wheelie and crash into walls. You have to lightly push it to be able to ride around properly. I approve of this future, as it’s more realistic.

You can’t damage your vehicle, or even properly crash. You just stop. In fact, this entire section seems pointless, and is just there to look cool.

It does, so it did it’s job.

The game also has FMV news sections that are scatterted throughout the game. I’m a sucker for cheesy FMV sequences, so I loved these!

https://gamespot1.cbsistatic.com/uploads/original/mig/4/7/9/5/414795-headhunter_003.jpg

And also pre-rendered CGI scenes, which don’t look as nice.

https://gamespot1.cbsistatic.com/uploads/original/mig/5/4/3/2/415432-headhunter_007.jpg

They were compressed by what is called the 4x codec, and it looks terrible in some places. Particularly, with bright colours, it’s just a mess!


The game is very story focused and linear, which works for me. I’m not a fan of games that are too open.

Later in the game, you start to encounter bosses, and they won’t go easy on you. They’re mostly trial and error. For example, there was a boss where you had to leak gas pipes to damage them, but you could also shoot them, but doing that only takes like a pixel from their massive health bar, and the gas pipe thing isn’t very apparent, so I’m willing to say that some people probably just shot it to death, which would have taken *ages*.

Around the same point, I had to copy a pattern that was 10 foreign characters long, that circled around a knob, to another similar looking knob. I had to write it down, as there was no way I could have memorised it. I hated that.

The final boss was frustrating at first, but later, you get into a flow and I really enjoyed myself at this part!


Overall, the game felt very solid for the time, and was a very enjoyable game to go through. For those who own a Dreamcast or PS2, definitely pick this one up!

Robo-Pit Review for the Sega Saturn

Sun, Dec 29th, 2019

So I got Robo Pit for the Sega Saturn for Christmas, and I completed it yesterday, and thought I’d give me thoughts on it.

For some reason, this is one of the few multiplatform games that is cheaper on the Sega Saturn compared to the Playstation, in all regions. In fact the only game I can recall that costs more on Playstation is hi-Octane, but that was because that version was far better.

Robo Pit looks the same on both, except for totally different menus, and some even say the Saturn version is the better of the two! So why it costs less is beyond me.

Anyway, onto the game. What attracted me to it was it’s resemblance to Robot Wars and the like. You build robots, which can have wheels or tracks for locomotion, and you attach weapons to the robot to damage your opponent with.

That’s where the similarities really end, the game is a 3D beat em up with tank controls. Doesn’t sound like the recipe for a good fighting game but surprisingly, it works well. Whenever I sat down to play a game, that one game turns to like 8, and I have to force myself to stop playing.

If you win a match, you win the opponents weapons (or by the looks of it, one of them in the Playstation version), and if you lose, they get yours. Naturally, you don’t want to lose, and whenever I did, I reset the game and loaded my progress.

That’s my main complaint of the game, you lose your good weapons, it’s all over. Especially if you are a beginner. Your fists are more or less useless compared to the weapons you unlock thoughout the game.

Speaking of, the weapons to fall into 4 (maybe 5) categories.
You have your close range weapons, like fists, hammers and axes.
You have your long range weapons, that shoot out, but get pulled back to you. Like the mace.
You have guns, some with ammo, and some that are unlimited as they bounce back to you.
Lastly, you have the shields, which increase your defence.

You fight your way up the ranks, starting at rank 101, and you work towards getting the top spot, which is easier said than done.

Throughout the game, you come across bosses who have no data and you only see their silhouettes in the menu. You fight them in special arenas and are harder than the other robots. Obviously.

<spoiler>

When you reach the top rank, a rank 0 is revealed. This is the final boss. This guy is the most bullshit hard boss I’ve ever faced! One hit takes a 5th of your health away! I had to constantly circle strafe them and hit them when it looked like they had an opening. Even this took a dozen tries!

After this, you get a credit sequence, showing what I think are replays of past victories.

</spoiler>

The music and sound effects are for the most part, forgettable, except the robot building music, which is the kind of abstract robot music you hear in the 90s, complete with sounds heard from devices at the time, and the line “Sorry, the number you have dialled is not available!”

The graphics are about average, too. They do look a little better on the PS1, as expected, but even then, nothing much to them.
You get these cute eyes, faces and head shapes to put onto your robot, they’re purely aesthetic, but they do give the game a bit of personality!

All in all, for the price it fetches, it’s definitely worth the money, in my opinion! As someone whose entire childhood was consumed by Robot Wars and Battlebots, I was satisfied, and if I had this as a kid, I’d have absolutely loved it!

I might even get the Playstation version and compare the two.

There is also a sequel exclusive to the PS1, but this one doesn’t come by often, and when it does, it’s £20 for a loose disc…

Anyway, that concludes this review, I hope you enjoyed it, and until next week: A’m oot!

Hot take: Die Hard is a better Christmas film than It’s a Wonderful Life

Sun, Dec 22nd, 2019

Just a quick post that I felt like making.

So it’s that time of the year again where we watch decades old films where kids taught that Santa isn’t real see Santa and believe he’s real again!

I love watching Christmas films every year, and have quite the Blu-Ray/VHS collection of them, but there was one thing, or rather 2, that have always puzzled me about them.

To most people. It’s a Wonderful Life is a Christmas film, but Die Hard isn’t. I disagree with that. Read the rest of this entry »

Telltale Games – A retrospective: Sam & Max – The Devil’s Playhouse

Sat, Dec 21st, 2019

Continuing my series of Telltale retrospectives, I played through Sam & Max – The Devil’s Playhouse.

This time around, the game is DRM-free, and has even provided screenshots for me, which is smashing!

The disc also provided some screenshots for me, which I will scatter on this blog. No more running through Steam and remembering to take screenshots now and again! At least until the next game I cover… Read the rest of this entry »

In Defence of Shenmue III

Fri, Dec 13th, 2019

So I finally got to play Shenmue III, a game I’ve been anticipating since I played the first 2 in the 2000s.

After deciding to just get the game on PS4 instead of getting a refund after their Epic Game Store controversey, my Kickstarter copy being shipped a week after launch.

Even then, all I got was a flimsy slipcase that only had a logo on front, and nothing on back, and a DLC that was only 1MB big. (Shows how much Deep Silver cares about the Kickstarter backers, huh?)

So I popped it in and played it for 5 miunutes.

I actually really enjoy it.

It plays almost exactly like the first 2 games, but with better controls, thanks to finally having a 2nd analog! QTEs also seem to be gone!

Then I found out a lot of people people are shitting on the game, and I just don’t understand why.

For the record, I understand that people are entitled to their opinion. Shenmue isn’t for everyone, it’s slow paced and very story focused, but the way people are going about, it feels like they’re trying to make it sound objectively bad. Here’s an interesting fact:

People can enjoy things you don’t. People have different tastes.

I know, it’s shocking! It’s a lot to take in, I understand. Want a minute to sit down and think about it? Okay, I’ll be here when you let it soak in.

In all seriousness, I think if you’re saying that the game is boring, you’re not it’s target market.

A lot of people compare the series to Yakuza, and on the surface, that makes sense, as both were published by Sega and both are RPG-like games that take place in Japan, but the deeper I look at both series, the more I find it isn’t really far. (Especially if we’re comparing the Dreamcast Shenmue to the PS2 Yakuza, both are barely even remotely identical!)

It’s like the equivalent of comparing a visual novel to an arcade beat-em-up, solely on the premise that both are set in the same country in the same decade.

Both games serve different purposes and appeal to different markets.

Yakuza is more focused on action and outlandishness, whereas Shenmue focuses more on story and immersion.

Both games have elements from the other. Yakuza has a good story, and Shenmue has some fun beat-em-up segments, but ultimately, as much as I enjoy both series, I don’t really think they can be compared.

So why do I enjoy Shenmue 3? Well, it’s for the reasons many don’t. It’s slow paced, you’re exploring the in-game world, being able to interact with literally everything and progressing a big story. You do jobs to pay for things like capsult toys and to play games.

You’re essentially living life in a different world. In the past, in another country.

I’ve always wanted to see Japan, but to see it in the 80s! Count me the fuck in!

As well as just being fun, I enjoy games for their plot. They provide an interactive story, which gives you more immersion, and I think Shenmue provides exactly what I’m looking for, plus the added realism gives me more oppurtunity to immerse in the world it provides.

Telltale Games – A retrospective: Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space (a.k.a. Sam & Max Season 2)

Sun, Dec 1st, 2019

I finally played and beaten the second season of Sam & Max, and this time, I have screenshot to accompany my words! I ran the game under Steam.

This game was released on PC in late 2008, and got ports to all of the 7th gen systems afterwards, so there are quite a few ways to play this.

I’ll try to be as spoiler-free as possible, but I can’t make any guarantees.

So I had trouble even running this game. The game uses SecuROM, so that would explain why nothing happened.

I tried to download “cracked” exes of the game, and all it resulted in was this.

fa0nob4

I was about to give up hope, and tried to download a pirated version of the game (I own a legit copy, so don’t say I robbed anyone of their money), and… it worked.

I noticed the splash screen was different in this version.

As it turns out, there are 2 different versions of this game, one named “Sam & Max – Season 2” and the one I have “Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space”. The former from what I gather was only sold through Telltale’s site and the latter was the full retail version.

Both use SecuROM, but there are only cracked exes of the former. So I had to go with that. I burned a copy of this version for future use because it seems to be really difficult to find online. I’ll probably keep looking, though.

IMG_20191127_1256361

So anyway, I got it working in the end. Like the first season, I found this a lot easier to figure out second time playing, but struggled near the end. I enjoyed this season a lot more than the first one, too! The stories were way more supernatural, but not edgy, and covered topics I love in a story, such as portals and time travel!

The game is also natively widescreen, (though as far as I know is letterboxed in 4:3 resolutions) and include hints during the game to help you out. Sadly the latter didn’t work very well. More on that later.

So I can adress the game one episode at a time.

So let’s begin. Read the rest of this entry »

So I finally completed Sonic Adventure, 20 years after the game’s release

Sun, Nov 24th, 2019

Scots synopsis below

So I decided to play Sonic Adventure again some weeks back, and this time, complete the entire thing.

I decided to play the game on Dreamcast as opposed to the PC port, which I also have, because I want the original experience, and plus I’d much prefer using the Dreamcast controller than the Xbone’s.

For those not in the know, somehow, Sonic Adventure was a Dreamcast launch title in North America and PAL regions in 1999, originally a Saturn game, moved to the Dreamcast after the Saturn was declared “not their future”, and is essentially a 3D Sonic with overworld segments.

Read the rest of this entry »

Happy 25th Anniversary Sega Saturn!

Fri, Nov 22nd, 2019

This article is available in English and Scots, Scots version is further down below.


This will be a quick post, as I literally found this out 5 minutes ago.

On this day, 25 years ago, the Sega Saturn was released in Japan. For this not in the know at this point, the Saturn was Sega’s 5th generation console, made to compete with the 3DO, Jaguar, PS1, and N64 among other systems.

It was released in North America and much of Europe in mid 1995, months prior to when it was supposed to, leading to a disasterous launch, with some stores refusing to stock the console.

It was a castrophic failure in North America, but was a huge success in Japan, and even faired pretty well in many European countries. Over here in the Western European Isles, it did okay. I know as many people who owned a Saturn as I do people who owned an N64.

Much like the Dreamcast, I didn’t have one back in the day, but playing it now, I love it! In fact I prefer it to the PS1, which was what we actually had!

If we didn’t have a PS1 and instead got a Saturn, I probably would have been a bit of a Sega fanboy, and stuck by them to the bitter end… and perhaps the gap between the Saturn and Dreamcast.

The reason I love the Saturn is because it has so many arcade games. I’m a huge arcade buff, so how could I not love it?

My favourite games include it’s port of Batman Forever, which is the best home version of the game, and is an absolute blast to play! I still play it with my friend now and again!

Another game I love is Fighter’s Megamix, which is like Smash Bros before Smash Bros. Perhaps we should be calling Smash Bros Nintendo’s Fighters Megamix! I mean you can play as Hornet from Daytona USA. That’s right, A CAR! What more could you want?

And in general ports of Sega Rally, Daytona USA, F1 Challenge, Sega Touring Car Championship, Manx TT Superbike and much more are great for short brusts of fun!

It also of course had versions of many popular PS1 games, including games you don’t hear about being on the Saturn, such as Croc, Destruction Derby and Wipeout+2097. The 3D weren’t as good as the PS1 versions, but if you only had a Saturn, I imagine they did the job.

With 2D games, however, the Saturn shined and outperformed the PS1, Batman Forever, as mentioned earlier, was one such game.

However, one thing the Saturn did lack was really any 1st party games worth playing for more than 10 minutes. Sega Lord X made a great video about this, watch that below.

Not to mention no flagship Sonic game, the closest we got was Sonic Jam’s 3D world, which was fun to go around, but only took me a day to beat it.

It did have NiGHTs, however, which is excellent! It even supported widescreen!

One last thing to mention, the mascot in Japan is Segata Sanshiro, A man that beat up anybody who wasn’t playing the Saturn, and was one of the reasons the Saturn did so well over there. He’s a total badass!

So anyway, those are just my thoughts on the console. It’s one of my favourites ever, and definitely in my top 5 consoles ever made!

I’ll be setting up my Saturn and playing it all day in celebration!

That’s all for now, bye!


‘Is’ll be a swift post, A juist fund oot aboot this 5 minute ago.

25 year ago the day, the Sega Saturn wis pit oot in Japan. Fur fowk that dina ken bi nou, the Saturn wis Sega’s answer tae the PS1 an N64. (As weel as the 3DO and Jaguar)

It wis pit oot in North Americae an mony pairts ae Europe in mid 1995, wey b’fore it wis said tae, an that got store bylin, cause thay warna telt aboot it an didna git ony consoles tae stock, an some refuised tae stock the consoles at aw.

It wis a pure massive failyie in Americae, but thrived in Japan. Didna dae ‘at bad in Europe, aither. A ken as mony fowk here that haed a Saturn as A dae fowk that haed an N64.

A lot like the Dreamcast, A didna hiv wan back than, but playin it these days, A pure luve it! A actual prefer it tae the PS1, the console A haed!

See gin A haed a Saturn insteid ae a PS1, a prolly wad hae bin a Sega fanboy, an fendit ‘aim tae the verra end.

A luve the Saturn cause it haed loads ae Arcade ports. A’m pure mad fur arcade gemms, sae why wad A no luve it?

Ma favourite gemmes include hit’s version ae Batman Forever: The Arcade Game, which is prolly the best version. Hit’s a pure blast tae play, an still play it wi a mate somethmes the day!

Anither gemm A luve is Fighters Megamix, which is like Smash Bros b’fore Smash Bros. We should be cawin Smash Bros “Nintendo’s Fighter’s Megamix”. Ye can play as Hornet fae Daytona USA in it. Ay, ‘at’s richt, A MOTOR! Whit mair dae ye want?

General-like, juist gemmes like Sega Rally, Daytona USA, F1 Challenge, Sega Touring Car Championship, Manx TT Superbike an loads mair ir smashin fur quick bursts ae fun!

It haeds ports ae mony PS1 gemms, includin gemms ye wadna think haed Saturn ports. Gemms like Croc, Destruction Derby, an Wipeout+2097. Leuk ‘aim up, thay exist!

Maist 3D gemms warna as guid on the Saturn, but A imaigin gin he ainly haed a Saturn, thay’d dae.

Wi 2D gemme, thay war actual better on Saturn, cause it haed a dedicatit CPU fur it unlikr the PS1. Batman Forever is wan ae thae gemms.

Haunaiver, the Saturn didna hiv any 1st pairty gemms that war warth payin fur mair’n 10 meenits. No tae mention nae real Sonic gemme. Sonic Jam’s 3D warld wis the closest we got, an e’en than, as fun as it wis, it ainly teuk iz a day tae beat it.

Tho thare wis NiGHTs, which is brilliant! Supportit widescreen an aw!

Wan last hing tae mention. Segata Sanshiro wis the Sega Saturn mascot in Japan, ‘at battert anyb’dy that didna play the Saturn. He’s pairt ae the reason the Saturn did awfu guid in Japan!

Ay onywey, A juist wantit tae gie yese ma thochts on the console. It’s wan o ma favourite consoles fae ‘at gen an wan ae ma favourite iver! Lang mey the Saturn’s lum reek!

A’ll be gittin ma Saturn oot an playin it aw day tae celebrate!

Cheers fur readin ‘is, ’till nixt time, A’m oot!

How would the Dreamcast have faired against the PS2, Gamecube, and Xbox, had it not died so early?

Sun, Nov 17th, 2019

So I’ve been thinking recently about the Dreamcast, thanks to the 20th anniversary celebrations, and wondered: What would have happened if the Dreamcast didn’t die. Could it have kept up with the other next gen machines, and if so, for how long?

I’ve been having some discussions about this from both Sega and Sony fans, and figured it’ll be fun to talk about it here.

Now at first glance, looking at the specs of both machines, the PS2 looks almost better in every way.

Also looking at the polygon counts:

firefox_naFibiV73l2

See? 75 Million vs 5 million. It’s an open and shut case! The PS2 absolutely blew the Dreamcast out of the water, right? Well, not quite.

How about for the sake of completion, what the polygon counts of the Gamecube and the Xbox.

Hmm, something seems off here, right? Apparently, the PS2 is almost 7 times as powerful as the Gamecube…

That’s because the PS2 and Xbox numbers are innacurate. In short, they didn’t actually test the systems, just made estimates. I’ll quote the PDF itself to explain in more detail.

We’re unable to accurately compare the specifications for the below consoles because the method the companies used to measure performance are so different. Sony and Microsoft’s numbers are unrealistic and denote the raw (read: not real) performance of their respective systems, while Nintendo’s and Sega’s numbers are based on real performance during gameplay. With that said, the figures you see are just smoke and numbers. We refer you to compare the actual games.

Here’s the full version of the chart above:

GameCube: 6 to 12 million polygons per second (conservative, but realistic estimate)
PlayStation 2: 75 million polygons per second (realistically first-gen games are more like 3-5 million)
Xbox: 150 million polygons per second (does not consider real gameplay environments)
Dreamcast: Roughly 3 million polygons per second

You’ll find similar numbers all across the internet, this PDF was just a nice concise way of displaying them.

Fun fact, the record for the highest polygon count of the generation actually belongs to the a Gamecube game: Star Wars Rogue Squadron II, which is rendered at 20 million polygons a second!

Anyway, I noticed something interesting here, the PS2’s launch titles shown that the PS2 was capable of 5 million a second, only marginally more powerful than the Dreamcast. In fact you had Dreamcast games also pushing 5 million a second by 2000. Le Mans 24 Hours, or Test Drive Le Mans in America, was one of them.

The Dreamcast was also far better at teaxturs than the PS2, with double the VRAM, and in general, could pack in about as 4 times the textures as the PS2, at least with PS2 games until 2003.

So we’ve established that, at least when the PS2 launched, both systems were roughly as good as one another, but that isn’t the main focus of this article, is it? The article is about if the Dreamcast could have survived beyond that.

It’s fair to assume that because the numbers on the PS2 specs are much higher, the Dreamcast would lag behind, and I would certainly agree that eventually that would happen, but I think the first few years would have been a totally different story.

If anyone studying gaming history would have figured out, is that specs aren’t everything. No point in having all of that power if developers can’t access it, right?

If you compared the 3DO to the Jaguar, the Jaguar looks to be the more powerful system, but games looked better on the 3DO. You’ll also see this with the PS1 vs Saturn, and Xbox 360 vs PS3. That’s because the former systems were far easier to develop for, so developers could push more out of them.

As it turns out, we see a similar case here. The PS2 was reported to be frustrating to program for, while the Dreamcast was pish easy. If both systems were given equal attention and games were developed for both, this would have given the Dreamcast the advantage.

Focusing on Xbox 360 vs PS3, we see a similar scenario. PS3 is more powerful, but hard as nails to program for. (I don’t think the PS2 is quite as difficult, but still)
As a result, I’d say up until 2010, multiplatform games were better on Xbox 360, they fan faster and looked clearer. Developers such as Gabe Newel even ranted about how frustrating the PS3 was to work with!

I can imagine the same happening to these 2 systems. I mean it took your average 3rd party PS2 game until like 2004 to finally outdo what the Dreamcast could have done.

So what about the games that were available on both systems? Well, they seem to support my theory. Dead or Alive 2 looks better on the Dreamcast. The only thing the PS2 has going for it is that the cutscenes are 60fps, vs 30 on the Dreamcast.

Rayman 2 is a game that, in my opinion, is far better on Dreamcast. It runs at 60fps, and supports VGA and widescreen, The PS2 version is enhanced graphically, but only runs at 25fps and as far as I know, only supports an interlaced picture. (could be wrong, though). However, the PS2 has some enhancements that some players may prefer, and that’s totally fair. I just don’t think it was anything the Dreamcast could have also done.

With Quake 3, the Dreamcast version has superior texture quality and better effects such as shininess. Whereas the PS2 version allows more players and bots in a game.

There are examples of the PS2 outdoing the Dreamcast, though, such as NBA 2k2.

Unreal Tournament had unstable framerates on both, but the PS2 version was locked at 30fps, whereas Dreamcast could go up to 60fps.

Other games, such as Ready to Rumble Round 2 and NBA Hoopz, look absolutely idential on both.

So we can see that in general, both systems had their ups and downs, but it looked like Dreamcast versions had the upper hand most of the time.

Another thing to take into account is if the least powerful system is the most popular or at least relevant enough, multiplatform games will centre around that and just port to other machines. The Gamecube and Xbox were never pushed to their limits because of this.

So how do I think the Dreamcast would have faired? I hear nobody ask.

Well, I think in the early 2000s, the Dreamcast would have had better versions of games, though inferior to the Gamecube and Xbox. Then by, say 2004, it will hit a wall. Developers have pushed everything they could out of it, in which case, the PS2 would gradually overtake it.

By then, the PSP will have come out, which has similar specs to the Dreamcast in terms of what developers were allowed to use at the time. (It was only in 2010 where developers were allowed to fully utilise the PSPs power) So it would be likely that the Dreamcast would have then be receiving PSP ports at that point.

By then as well, it would have been likely that Sega will have also came up with a successor console anyway, so either way, it wouldn’t matter.

Anyway, I hope you guys had as much fun reading this as I did writing this. I might do more articles like this in the future.

Untill then, A’m oot!

Telltale Games – A retrospective: Sam & Max: Save The World

Sun, Nov 10th, 2019

So I decided, after watching a documentary video on the Rise & Fall of Telltale games, I decided to play all of the Telltale games I possess.

ima_9d99b7f

Of which I have quite a few

Starting with the series that introduced me to the company: Sam & Max Save The World. Read the rest of this entry »

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