Lyonsden Blog

Tag - Kickstarter

Tanglewood: A New Sega Mega Drive Release

Tanglewood Mega Drive

In addition to my affection for Commodore’s range of computers I also have quite a soft spot for the Sega Mega Drive. I was really excited when I discovered that ‘Big Evil Corp‘ had developed a brand new game called Tanglewood and were planning to do a proper physical release. I pre-ordered it on the spot. That was 8 months ago now though so I’d almost forgotten all about it. Almost.

On Saturday morning I received a sturdy looking cardboard box in the post with the ‘Big Evil Corp’ logo on it. I instantly knew what it was and my excitement level peaked again as I hastily ripped the packaging open to reveal the contents inside. I was not disappointed!

 

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Although I backed Xeno Crisis on Kickstarter over a year ago, that has still not materialised so this is the first brand new Mega Drive game I’ve clapped eyes on in well over 20 years. Although lacking the Sega Mega Drive logo on the cover (for legal reasons) they have otherwise captured the essence of what a Mega Drive game box should look like perfectly. Opening the case up reveals a beautifully made full colour instruction booklet (remember them?) and the cartridge in all its glory. The box even has that annoying retail hanger on the top for the ultimate in authenticity!

 

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Although I own an original Sega Mega Drive and Mega Drive II console, the console I actually use 99% of the time is an AtGames Flashback HD. I know these AtGames clones get a lot of stick online but personally I think it’s a great piece of kit for the money, especially for a casual owner like myself. It has super crisp HDMI out, wireless pads, a proper cartridge slot and it also allows game save states which are a godsend these days. I do occasionally experience the odd minor sound glitch or stutter in some games but never anything that spoils my enjoyment.

 

Tanglewood Mega Drive

Tanglewood Cartridge loaded on AtGames Flashback Console

 

Why am I mentioning this? Well I must admit I was a little nervous when I inserted the cart and switched my console on. With it being a brand new cart I was worried they might have done things a little differently causing the game to ‘break’ on my console. Would they even know about the Flashback HD and would they have tested their game with such a clone?

Happily all my concerns were completely unfounded and the cart was recognised straight away. I sank a good few hours into the game and experienced no issues with it what-so-ever. I’m enjoying the game immensely too, it looks beautiful, has some great sound effects and music and the main character is endearing and beautifully animated. It’s just an all round charming and fun game to play. I’m sure it would have featured high in the charts had it been released during the Mega Drive’s heyday.

 

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Myst 25th Anniversary Collection Review

Myst 25th Anniversary Collection

It’s finally here, about 8 months after backing this on Kickstarter – the awesome Myst 25th Anniversary Collection animated linking book! I received the digital GOG versions of the remastered games quite some time ago and the physical DVD’s just a few weeks ago. However the linking book is what I’ve really been waiting for and it finally arrived in the post today!

 

Myst 25th Anniversary Collection

Contents

 

It’s turned out to be a lovely collectors item, just liked I’d hoped for. It really does look like a well worn antique book with the way they’ve finished it with faux cracks and worn out fabric and gilding. The linking part is something that only a video can do justice to though so here it is!

 

 

When you open it you get a fantastic fly-past of the game world along with the theme music. The image is crisp, sharp and vivid and the screen beautifully hidden behind the page. This video plays automatically so presumably there is a hidden magnetic switch somewhere that is triggered when you lift the cover.

Along the bottom and side there are magnetic flaps that open up to reveal three hidden drawers. There’s a long shallow draw that runs the full length of the spine which I assume could be used to store the pen if you purchased it (I didn’t). There are also two big drawers which open out on the right. The upper one houses the seven game DVD’s and the other is empty on mine but would probably have stored the inkwell had I been able to afford to add that to my pledge.

 

Myst 25th Anniversary Collection

Linking Book Hidden Drawers

 

Cleverly hidden away from plain sight under the little ‘stains’ and ‘marks’ on the linking screen page are a number of control buttons. These let you control the volume and allow you to switch to another video from a different game should you wish to. There’s also a button that will pause playback.

 

Myst 25th Anniversary Collection

Spot the buttons!

 

A tiny micro USB port hidden under the large flap can be used to charge up the battery for the LCD screen that’s hidden inside. Plug it into a PC and you’ll discover that the book actually has around 500MB of storage on board, most of which is used. There’s 4 folders on the device. One is used to store the actual video that plays when you open the book. The second is full of videos from the various games for you to swap in and out of the ‘play’ folder. A third folder contains a number of game screenshots and box art while the fourth is basically empty besides a readme that suggests you can store your own files in it. There’s also a handy link to re-download the video files should you ever need to.

 

 

Anyway I’m delighted with the finished product and will proudly display this on my gaming shelves for years to come.  I am a little disappointed that I couldn’t get the inkwell but it was around £80 extra and I had to draw a line somewhere!

Here’s a selection of photos from various angles showing the book and screen in more detail.

 

 

Zzap 64 Annual 2019

Zzap! 64 Annual 2019

How cool is this, just received the brand new Zzap! 64 Annual 2019 through the post! This really takes me back to my childhood when every Christmas I would get at least one annual in my stocking. I used to love receiving these as they were always crammed with content that I could while away the hours reading in my bedroom. This is no exception, in fact it may be the most jam-packed annual I’ve ever had with nearly 130 pages bursting at the seams with fascinating 64 related articles, reviews and information.

 

Zzap! 64 Annual 2019

Oliver Frey artwork on the cover

 

I backed this project on Kickstarter earlier this year and am so very glad I did. It’s probably one of the quickest (to finish) campaigns I’ve ever backed with the whole thing taking around 6 months from backing to receiving the goods. The cover had been kept under wraps so that it would be a surprise and features original artwork by Oliver Frey. Oliver’s work seems to be popping up all over the 64 scene of late, but needless to say it’s another quality illustration. There’s also a 2019 calendar included that’s packed with more of Oliver’s handywork and I can’t wait to display that on my wall come January.

 

Zzap! 64 Annual 2019

Contents page looks like it’s been lifted straight from an 1980’s copy of Zzap! 64

 

The art style and layout is instantly familiar. I’m delighted to see they’ve revived the little caricatures of the reviewers although they have ‘aged’ them to reflect the fact that these guys are now some 30 odd years older! But then aren’t we all…?

 

Zzap! 64 Annual 2019

Example of some the content

 

It doesn’t just cover stuff from the past though. There are plenty of articles and reviews about the current the Commodore 64 scene including an in depth look at The C64 Mini that released earlier this year. All in all it’s a fantastic read and one of the best projects I’ve backed on Kickstarter so far. If they decide to make another annual next year (which they are already talking about) then I’m all in.

 

Zzap! 64 Annual 2019

The C64 Mini gets an in-depth looking at!

 

Now that the  Kickstarter is over it looks like you can buy the annual directly from the Fusion Retro Books website for £15 although how many extra copies they made over and above the Kickstarter ones I don’t know.