Dec 6, 2017
Ghost in the Shell.
I haven’t had the chance to watch the newer Ghost in the Shell movie when it came out, but because I’m a fan of the original anime and manga, I wanted to see it, so it’s done now.
I’ll get it out the way: I didn’t like it.
The story is based on parts of the original anime/manga and parts of the Stand Alone Complex story of the animated series (and other sprinkles here and there), and they’re great stories originally, but it’s very hard to take two stories, and condense it into one good and profound story. It feels shallow and rushed, unlike the source material.
Some scenes are a carbon copy of scenes in the original anime, and they are actually well done, but they seem to have been grafted into the movie without being backed by the story, leaving a sense of disconnection through out.
Not all is bad, the visuals are impressive, the casting is ok and the music is inspired from Kenji Kawai’s awesome music from the anime (his main theme is included).
Unfortunately the movie crumbled under its own weight, lacking the magic, feel, depth and philosophical themes of the original source and that’s a shame.
Nov 3, 2017
They are back!
I loved the first season of Stranger Things, so my expectations were pretty high for the second season and although I wasn’t disappointed by any means, I must say that my favorite season is still the first, but by a narrow margin.
Having said that, I loved it. The second season did add more depth to the story and old characters, new great characters (mostly) and more of those awesome 80’s references.
Not all was perfect, I’m a bit divided about the infamous episode 7 and would have liked to see more of the Upside Down, but overall it’s a great season that left me wanting more once again.
Now hurry up with season 3.
Oct 1, 2017
The “Super Nintendo Entertainment System Nintendo Classic Mini”. That’s a big name!
When Nintendo announced the NES Classic I was pretty excited, not because of the NES, but because I was almost certain that they would be doing the same for the SNES. I had one when I was a teenager and I have very fond memories of the thing, so I had to grab one, since it includes many of my favorite games on this console.
Update: On the series of half-assed reviews, here’s one for the SNES Classic.
Sep 29, 2017
Peugeot 505 4x4 Dangel.
Dangel is a small french company specialised in 4x4 conversions for regular 2-wheel drive cars, mostly Peugeot and Citroën. Even though Dangels were available to anyone, most were bought by french government agencies that needed vehicles to access remote places on mountains (police, fire fighters, military and so on).
For the 505, they took the regular production car and added a reinforced subframe, new suspension, 4x4 transmission, a transfer gearbox with low/high gear, locking differentials, big wheels and some trim and fender extensions to make it look cooler. The 505 was already a big car and these modifications made it look even bigger.
My father bought his 505 Dangel on a French Embassy auction where they regularly sold the embassy vehicles. He used it mostly for work but it was also a pretty decent family car .
Old and grainy photo of my father’s 505 Dangel.
It originally had a 70 horsepower 2.3 diesel engine that lacked power and torque, but it was swapped it for the turbo version of the same engine with an additional 10 hp but way more torque, that doesn’t seem like a lot but it made all the difference displacing the 2-ton machine. With its locking differencial and low/high gear it was really good offroad and could handle most of what was thrown at it despite the very long wheelbase.
In the end of its life the car was pretty beat up and had developed a nasty transmission vibration that was difficult to fix because parts were almost impossible to find, so my father ended up selling it.
I was a teenager at the time and I thought it was a really cool car (and I still do). I also learned to drive in it on mountain dirt roads somewhere in Morocco. I loved that car.
Sep 19, 2017
The 944 in the mountains at dusk. Pop up headlights are always cool.
I bought my 944 four years ago. I intended to keep it for a few months and then sell it, but fell in love with it and now I don’t think I’m going to sell it even if their value has more than doubled or tripled since I got it. I’ve had good offers to buy it from more than a bunch of people. Even the former owners regret selling it.
It’s been a really great car, way better than I expected. I love to drive it, and even though I don’t drive it as much as I would like, every time I take the wheel I feel like a little kid again.
Now that my father is in town, I took the opportunity (and his know-how ) to replace the rear crankshaft seal that was left leaking from the clutch job last year . It’s a massive job that requires the removal of most of the transmission out of the car. It took us a few days, but it’s done, it doesn’t leak oil anymore and the car is back on the road again.
I’m all bruised of working on the car, but pretty happy!
Sep 9, 2017
I still think the Switch is one of the best consoles ever made.
After almost two months with the Switch, I still think it’s a really great console. I’ve been playing Breath of the Wild almost everyday. I have a few more thoughts about it:
TV / Handheld
I play more on the TV, but it’s really great to be able to take it elsewhere, either in the house or outside. My play ratio must be about 80% on the TV and 20% as handheld. Even if 20% doesn’t sound like much, being able to do it is something really special.
The Switch performs pretty good, but sometimes I do wish I could play PS4 games on it, and I sometimes wonder how absolutely amazing Breath of the Wild would have looked on PS4-like hardware. Breath of the Wild is still very beautiful on the Switch, and it makes you forget the Switch’s specs while playing, but you still wonder anyway…
Even though I love the design and simplicity of the Switch OS, it lacks some pretty important features, mostly related to the friend list. There’s no way to message friends in your list, manage a game party or voice chat with players in your team.
There’s an iOS and Android app for some of these functionalities, but you shouldn’t have to use another device to play a game on the Switch. This is a ridiculous solution to something that should be implemented in the OS. I really hope they add this in an update.
Also, Nintendo is still insisting on Friend Codes!
I’d love more battery capacity, as 2.5 to 3 hours doesn’t seem enough. To be fair, I’ve never really used the Switch for more that 2 hours in handheld mode, but it’s always a concern whenever I take it elsewhere.
Breath of the Wild is such a great game, that even though I haven’t finished it yet, I definitely want more.
Development cycles for home console Zelda games have taken 4 to 6 years, but if you include handheld games, a Zelda game has been launched every other year. With the consolidation of development teams around the Switch, it may be possible to get one or two more Zelda games over the lifetime of the Switch. I wouldn’t mind that they’d reuse the Breath of the Wild engine for future Zelda games, because it is so good.
I like the Switch controllers, I think they found a nice middle ground between a home console controller and a handheld controller, and it works great once you get used to it. I would have liked an analog shoulder trigger though.
Jul 25, 2017
The beginning of Breath of the Wild. You can go anywhere.
I first played a Zelda game on my SNES and it left such a big impression on me that I became an instant Zelda fan. I haven’t played every game of the series but I played a bunch of them . When Nintendo announced the Switch with a Zelda game on launch, I was pretty excited because it was a console I’d be interested in.
I’m only about 30 hours into Breath of the Wild, I’m a slow player, I like to explore every nook and cranny so I haven’t gone very far both in the main quest or uncovering the map (climbed 3 towers so far). If you’re like me, you’ll take a long long time finishing up with this game. The world is massive and you keep getting sidetracked – you go for one thing and you see something that grabs your attention and you go there and another thing happens, and this goes on and on.
Dawn in Breath of the Wild. It’s a beautiful game.
Even if technically it is not Horizon Zero Dawn, textures are not the best in some places, there’s some aliasing and some rare frame drops, but they make it up with a carefully built world. The world is beautiful, interesting and fun to traverse. If you see something, you can get there, everything is climbable and reachable. They managed to build a coherent and organic world, full of wonderful details with explicit and implicit beauty. The design and animation of characters, monsters and wildlife is one of the best I’ve seen in a game. The way the wind moves foliage and grass or Link’s hair always gets me. The sound design also helps the immersion in the wilderness, with really good sound effects and an understated music that isn’t always on but appears here and there depending on the context or location.
Sunset in one of the villages in Breath of the Wild.
Breath of the Wild is an unforgivable game, it’s hard and there’s not much handholding. Be prepared to die a lot, and I really mean a lot! You just have to accept it, it’s part of the game. Careful planning does help though.
It’s unmistakably a Zelda game, but with a massive open world. Nintendo did their usual thing, but it looks like this time they allowed themselves to be influenced by other games like Shadow of the Colossus, Skyrim, The Witcher, Metal Gear Solid and even Nintendo’s own Animal Crossing, and that resulted in one of the greatest Zelda games ever.
I’m loving every minute I’m spending in this version of Hyrule and I think this might become not only my favorite Zelda game, but my favorite game ever.
Jul 14, 2017
I’ve been trying to hold on to buying a Nintendo Switch, but I finally succumbed to the desire of playing the copy of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild that’s been laying around on my desk for weeks (don’t ask).
Finally, the Switch in my hands.
I got the grey one, not because it’s my favorite over the red/blue one, I actually like both equally and was a bit divided about which one to choose. I think the grey one has the edge on looks, but the red/blue has more personality and is more fun (these colors are the iconic Switch colors now). One can always get a new pair of Joy-Cons if you get bored of the colors. Also, the SNES button color hack is very tempting, but I don’t know if I’m willing to risk a Joy-Con.
The Switch is basically a console with smartphone hardware, and even though it has pretty decent capabilities, it doesn’t have the processing capacity of other current generation consoles, so it might be unreasonable to expect it’ll get those big AAA third-party titles and be a direct rival of Sony and Microsoft’s consoles. I don’t expect that, and that’s why I also have a PS4.
The thing that will make or break the Switch is Nintendo itself. They have really good and unique IP, if they can keep up with great games, all is good. Although I like almost every franchise of Nintendo and I’m interested in a bunch of them, I’m a big Zelda fan, give me more Zelda games of Breath of the Wild’s calibre and I’m a very happy customer. If the Switch gets one or two more Zelda games in its lifetime, it’ll be fantastic.
Here’s my half-assed review of the Switch.