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Solo: A Star Wars Story – The Quintessential Review

28 May 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Story is not quite the Star Wars story you expect. Unlike the superb Rogue One, which was an expansion of a part of the main Star Wars story itself, Solo is an expansion of a character, and it’s in this difference that some viewers will find Solo as not quite the movie they were looking for. There’s zero mention of the Force, for example, scant reference to the Empire, and locations are so unfamiliar that it could be any futuristic movie. That’s until you realise the setting of a galaxy run by crime syndicates and smuggling operations is very much part of the Star Wars universe at the time, something already hinted via Jabba The Hutt in the original trilogy.

Solo: A Star Wars Story - the quintessential review - movie poster

Where Solo excels is weaving the many nuggets of information gleaned from the original trilogy into a fully fleshed and sustainable story that fully exposes the development and lifestyle of Han Solo as we saw him in Episode 4: A New Hope. Jabba The Hutt, Corellia, the Spice Mines of Kessel, the Kessel Run, Han meeting Chewbacca, Han meeting Lando Calrissian, Han acquiring the Millennium Falcon, and even how Han Solo got his name. It’s all there. So, too, the reason why it’s wise not to upset a Wookiee! For those craving an epic Star Wars moment, you even get a bit of that at the end. So much so that Star Wars geeks will want to explore branches of the Star Wars story outside the main films, especially about the primary female character, Qi’ra.

The two main negatives of Solo are not a great detriment to the film overall. Notably it seems slow to get going, and some of the casting could have been better. Part of the problem with the pacing is that the setting seems so alien to Star Wars as we know it, and stripped of that, you’re mostly watching some smug young punk engage in a series of mundane scenes and activities as he tries to escape his existing life and set up his new one. Once the key mission is in full process, notably the acquisition and then fight over canisters of hyperfuel (the most valuable commodity in the galaxy), then Solo flows to a breezy and surprising conclusion.

The casting was hit and miss. Alden Ehrenreich was simply unsuitable to be a convincing younger Han Solo, while L3-37, the new droid, was a trainwreck. Ehrenreich couldn’t capture the cool and suave style of the Han Solo character that Harrison Ford portrayed, and rather than the confidence and minimal fuss of the Han we love, we got someone childlike and overtly too arrogant. It seems the producers were more interested in the physical look than the mannerisms and speech style that really epitomised Han Solo, and even then, Ehrenreich appeared more goofy than serious when trying to channel the real Han.

Just like with the mistake made with K-2SO in Rogue One, L3-37, a female droid, was humanised way too much to be an interesting droid. Actually, the level of humanisation was ridiculous. Not only in mannerisms and personality, she was given long legs, wide hips and even walked like a super model! It took until the second view to stop seeing Woody Harrelson as Woody Harrelson, while the hits were Donald Glover as Lando – so authentic and believable! – and Emilia Clarke was superb as the stunning and mysterious Qi’ra. Minor characters of Dryden Vos and Val were also good, plus there was plenty of the lovable Chewbacca.

For a movie with low expectations, and especially after the disaster of The Last Jedi, Solo proved a fun, interesting and worthwhile movie. Seeing many of the places referenced in previous movies, how some of the great legends happened, not to forget the excellent action scenes, there’s plenty in Solo that most Star Wars geeks should find it eminently enjoyable, while others will see a satisfying action/adventure movie. You just need to be aware of its limitations and aware of its setting before going in, then a good blaster by your side will be with you.

Star Wars Ranking

Since Solo steps outside the main Star Wars story rather than be a part of it, it’s difficult to really rank it. It doesn’t advance or reveal anything essential, and there’s little mystery to it other than the future of Qi’ra. Without the inane waffle and gratuitous pointless scenes that mired The Last Jedi, it edges in front of that despite them being about equal on entertainment value.

01) Ep5: The Empire Strikes Back
02) Ep2: Attack Of The Clones
03) Ep4: A New Hope
04) Ep7: The Force Awakens
05) Rogue One
06) Ep4: Revenge Of The Sith
07) Ep6: Return Of The Jedi
09) Solo
10) Ep8: The Last Jedi

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Never ride a Kodama shinkansen (bullet train) in Japan

2 April 2018

One of the key attractions for any visitor in Japan is to ride the bullet train, or shinkansen. They’re a marvel in not only their speed and comfort, they’re a also a marvel efficiency and punctuality. The biggest initial surprise with them is their effortless nature to catch. My first time I figured they’d sitting on the platform for 20 minutes in advance, there’d be extra ticket checks and even staff to guide passengers. No, you walk to a platform that looks as normal as any other, you line up at the marked door areas on the platform, the trains roll up about a minute or so before departure, you get on and take your seat, and they leave right on the second. No fuss!

Shinkansen bullet train Kyoto Japan

Shinkansen arriving at Kyoto

My first visit to Japan was a 3 day stopover in 2008 coming home from Europe. I’ve been back for dedicated holidays in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2017 – on all occasions riding the shinkansen. No doubt most foreign visitors will use a Japan Rail Pass to do this. It entitles you to unlimited use of the shinkansen throughout Japan, plus almost any other Japan Railways (JR) train and ferry, for a set period of time, currently 7, 14 or 21 days. The cost for 7 days works out to a return trip between Tokyo and Osaka – the most likley trip you will make. If that is your only trip, it’s still worthwhile got a pass as you can use it for all your local JR lines, and JR airport trains.

General Train Information

It’s worthwhile noting that many rail companies operate in Japan. While JR is the main one, especially for intercity connections, in larger cities like Tokyo and Osaka, the subways are run by other companies. In fact, Tokyo has two subway companies, although, you’ll only ever need Tokyo Metro. The main difference between the trains is the JR lines run almost entirely above ground while the subways are obviously below ground. At major stations, changing between the two can typically be done within the same building – albeit there’s still a walk through a series of corridors for up to a few hundred metres. Some of these stations are huge! If you do have a JR Pass, then, particularly in Tokyo, the JR local trains will suffice for most attractions and tourist areas.

There’s also many private lines, notably to the airports (yes, the rail companies compete, whereas Australian cities like Melbourne can’t even get one line going), driverless trains, like the one that crosses Tokyo Bay to Odaiba. Not that this matters much, as the most common smart card in Japan, the Suica, works across all these companies, and indeed for using lockers at train stations and general purchases at many shops. You can buy this card easily on arrival at major airports for 2000 yen (less than 20 USD), which includes 1500 yen worth of fares (about 10 short trips). The Suica can be sold back at any JR station office to get your 500 yen deposit back if you don’t want to keep the card as a souvenir, or re-use it on your next trip!

The Shinkansen

The most important information to know with the shinkansen is there’s typically three types of trains, based on the amount of stops they make. Ignore that the announcements in the train call them all “superexpress”, they are not. Between Tokyo and Osaka, and even onward to Hiroshima and Hakata (Fukuoka), Nozomi is the fastest, barely making any stops, and takes 2 hours between Tokyo to Osaka. Next is Hikari, which is just under 3 hours between Tokyo and Osaka, and stops at major stations. Kodama is the slowest at 4 hours, and stops at all stations. The line between Tokyo and Osaka is known as the Tokaido line and there’s typically 6 trains every hour, 3 of each type. Between Osaka and Hakata it’s known as the Sanyo line, the Hikari equivalent is the Sakura, so it’s a change of trains in Osaka when travelling from Tokyo to beyond Osaka. Most important of all with the JR Pass, you CANNOT use Nozomi at all, so it’s either Hikari or Kodama.

Shinkansen bullet train timetable board in Tokyo, Japan

Never ride a Kodama – Act 1

On my first use of the shinkansen in 2011, as I arrived at the platform, a Kodama arrived, and I thought, “what the heck, I enjoy train travel, so what’s an extra hour, and I don’t have to wait around for the next Hikari”. It wasn’t so much that the train stopped that often, it’s that it would wait around, sometimes up to 10 minutes, for the faster express services to pass. Let me say, there’s nothing more boring than sitting around at a station! At speed, watching the scenery whiz by, I can do that for ages. Idle at a platform, no! From that moment on I swore never to ride a Kodama again.

Never ride a Kodama – Act 2

Fast forward to 2015, and after a few days in Hiroshima, it was time to return to Osaka. This is a short trip of about 1 hour and 40 minutes, and with a Kodama about to arrive, I figured there aren’t that many stops for it to make, so why not? At most it would be 20 minutes slower, which was about the time for the next Sakura. No! The stops this time were interminable. Especially at Okayama (about halfway between Osaka and Hiroshima), it seemed we were there for at least 20 minutes as we watched shinkansen after shinkansen shoot through. The trip was an extra hour. When the time came to return to Tokyo, a Spanish guy asked us for which trains to use to Hiroshima. I directed him to another platform, and kept repeating: never ride Kodama, never ride Kodama. I’d been burnt twice.

Shinkansen bullet train from Kyoto Tower, Japan

Shinkansen from Kyoto Tower, Japan

Never ride a Kodama – Act 3

November 2017, and it’s my fifth visit to Japan, and this one would involve the most amount of use of the JR Pass, for we’d go from Tokyo to Nagasaki, a trip of about 9 hours if doing it without a break. On the way there, we’d spend a few days in Fukuoka (Hakata station), so we were looking about 6 hours of pure travel time by shinkansen. Except, we were stopping in Osaka for a side trip see the “Super Station Master Cat”, Nitama. The original cat, Tama, made news in 2015 when she died, and Nitama was its successor. Tama became famous for helping to save a railway line, and now the ride to the terminal station of Kishi has become quite an attraction itself, complete with themed trains (including a Tama one), the rebuilt Kishi station shaped like a cat’s face, and a small museum and gift shop. You need to allow four to five hours for this trip, so we had left Tokyo at 0700 to be in Osaka at 1000, and then back to Osaka at about 1600 for the train to Hakata.

If a little bit of knowledge can be dangerous, then quite a bit of knowledge can be super dangerous. I firmly believed the terminal station for shinkansen going south from Tokyo line was Hakata, so when it came to catching a train south from Osaka, I was looking for a Sakura to Hakata on the electronic board. One was leaving in 10 minutes, to Kagoshima, which I figured was a station short of Hakata, or even another destination. I was tempted to get on it anyway, before deciding to see the next Sakura that would appear on the board. Also on the board were Nozomis to Hakata. Departing in 25 minutes was a Kodama to Hakata. With it past 5pm in the evening now, I figured trains between Osaka and Hakata might be less frequent, and with the next scheduled Sakura also heading to Kagoshima, I reluctantly boarded the Kodama, again figuring there can’t be too many stops.

Wrong again! At Okayama it sat around forever. I was actually tempted to get out and pick up a Sakura. Unfortunately by the time this idea entered my head, one had already been through. So I checked the PDF timetable I had downloaded at the hotel and realised we would not arrive at Hakata until 9.30pm or so, meaning a four trip all up. Ridiculous! I also noticed the timetable extended PAST Hakata, and onto Kagoshima. Kagoshima was beyond Hakata – way beyond it – not before it! It’s actually almost at the tip of Japan on the island of Kyushu. The thing is, beyond Hakata, the Sanyo line becomes the Kyushu line, even though it’s the same Sakura train making the trip from Osaka. At Hiroshima I realised the Kodama would wait around there for about 30 minutes, so we got off as soon as the train arrived, picked up the next Sakura, and arrived in Hakata about 50 minutes earlier than had we stayed on the Kodama. Had we picked up the Sakura in Osaka, we’d have been in Hakata a further 70 minutes earlier.

Shinkansen bullet train map Japan

In fairness to my blundering self, the system is a little confusing with trains terminating at different places. Nozomi and Kodama run between Tokyo, Osaka and Hakata, whereas Hikari only goes as far as Osaka, where the Sakura begins. Sakura then goes to Kagoshima whereas Nozomi and Kodama terminate in Hakata. Their equivalents between Hakata and Kagoshima are Mizuho and Tsubame. So on the timetable boards in Osaka, the Nozomi and Kodama trains all read as “to Hakata” whereas Sakura it’s “to Kagoshima”. Although, the boards typically do mention the major interim stops underneath the main message as well, so whether I just happened to miss that by my fixation on a Sakura train to Hakata station to appear, who knows! It’s possible some Sakura do terminate in Hakata and I saw that at one point as well and contributed to the confusion. Anyway, it’s all part of the fun of travel. Just remember…

Never ride a Kodama!
Never ride a Kodama!
Never ride a Kodama!
Never ride a Kodama!
Never ride a Kodama!

More Train Tips

When should you use Kodama?

Never! Wait. Obviously use it if you’re going to one of the smaller stops. Otherwise, only if going a short distance, like to Yokohama or Odawara (for the Hakone/Mt Fuji region) from Tokyo, or to Kyoto or Kobe from Osaka.

When can you use a Nozomi or Mizuho?

Never! Wait. If you plan to visit Kyoto (you should!), it’s best to bunk yourself in Osaka, especially if you’re seeing that city too. Hotels are much cheaper and far more plentiful, and then travel to Kyoto each day. It’s only 10 minutes by shinkansen, and there were two occasions back to Kyoto a Nozomi was waiting. I used it and stood in the end sections. The conductor walked passed both times and is unlikely to check your ticket or pass anyway. The regular rapid train takes over 20 minutes, while the local commuter train takes 40 minutes.

Seat Reservations

Shinkansen are typically super long, up to 16 cars, and include green cars (premium), reserved and non-reserved. Unless it’s a super busy period like school holidays, or one of the very few train types and lines that do require it (none on the Tokyo-Hakata run do), there’s no need to reserve seats. Reservations are free too. Your pass will be stamped and you will be required to use this seat! Only once have I encountered a seat shortage, and that was a morning run between Osaka and Hiroshima. We had to sit separately for a few stops, that was all. Typically, at terminal stations, it’s never a hassle to get a seat. Trains fill up along the way, and then typically empty when approaching the terminal station. Note that along each route are several cities of millions of people, the trains are not only for a terminal to terminal run. When talking about the possibility of such trains in Australia, specially between Melbourne and Sydney, Australians only have this terminal run in their minds. For such trains to be anywhere near viable, you need at least two Melbournes or Sydneys, two Brisbanes and an Adelaide or two in between, and need to be able to run six trains an hour. It’s not happening.

Airport Trains

Whether it’s Tokyo or Osaka or even Fukuoka, there are JR options. From Tokyo (Narita Airport), the JR Narita Express (NEX) is the most expensive, so only use it with your pass. If you have a late arrival or an early departure and want to extend your JR pass as long as possible, stay at hotel near the airport. Twice I’ve had departures around 11am, so the previous day I used the NEX to go to airport and then used the free shuttle bus to the hotel. Similarly if arriving late, stay at or near the airport, and then activate the pass the next day to use the NEX. The other benefit of the NEX is it stops at Ueno (north), Tokyo and Shinagawa (south), and obviously connects easy with other JR lines. Travel time is just under an hour, so it’s actually quite slow. Note that Narita is 60km from Tokyo.

If you’re saving your JR pass, then use the Keisei line from Narita. The “Skyliner” is the fastest option, and about 40% cheaper than the NEX. It takes about 45 minutes to Ueno (north of Tokyo), or 35 minutes to Nippori (further north). They also have a local train, which takes about 70 minutes, and is half the price of the Skyliner. If you have time to kill, take that. Note, Tokyo is a huge city and it’s really a giant collection of city hubs. From Nippori you can get to the JR Yamanote line for an easy passage to any of these hubs. Since it’s a bit cheaper to go to Nippori, I’ll typically do that, especially if then heading to Ikebukuro, Shinjuku or Shibuya. For Ueno, Akihabara, Kanda, Tokyo (including subway lines to Asakusa and Ginza) or Shinagawa, take the Keisei to Ueno.

In the main arrivals lobby at Narita, sometimes there are queues at the ATMs and the train ticket counter. If so, just head down the escalator for more ATMs and other ticket counters! If you’ve bought a Suica, you can use that on the Keisei line anyway. Make sure you’ve added more money to it if you plan on using the Skyliner. If for some reason you have insufficient funds on your card and the exit gates block you from leaving the station, there are fare adjustment machines before the exits. Same if situation with a single-use ticket and it wasn’t sufficient for the journey, use the fare adjustment machines to get a new ticket. Insert the old ticket, input the cash difference displayed, and a new ticket is issued. Fares are by distance, and it’s quite common to miscalculate the fare required, especially when smaller stations only show the fare map in Japanese. When in doubt, buy the cheapest one and use the fare adjustment machine at the end.

Only a few Asian airlines fly into Tokyo Haneda Airport. Haneda is the old airport and much closer to the city, and the monorail is the best and nicest connection to the city! It’s covered by the JR Pass too. It’s worthwhile having a ride on the monorail even if you have no need to go to Haneda.

At Osaka’s Kansai Airport, the situation is similar. JR trains are more expensive and a bit slower, or the Nankai line. Most likely you’ll use the JR because it goes to Osaka (metro station) and Shin-Osaka (intercity station), and even beyond to Kyoto, while the Nankai goes to Namba. To reach central Osaka proper, you’d need to change to another line (no hassle as it’s all in the same building and there’s plenty of signs). If you’re staying elsewhere in Osaka, Namba is well serviced by other lines so then it’s worthwhile.

Osaka Nankai Airport train.

Japan know how to make wicked looking trains. Osaka Nankai Airport train.

Osaka Nankai Airport train.

Osaka Nankai Airport train

From Fukuoka Airport, you’ll use the subway, which only takes 5 minutes to Hakata station. Suica is valid. At the time of writing, only Hiroshima, Kyoto and Nagasaki didn’t take Suica on their public transport, which is mostly trams and buses, so cash was used. Protocol is you enter through the rear on trams and buses, and leave at the front, depositing your yen into a machine near the driver. There’s typically exchange machines on the buses and trams if you don’t have the exact money, so do that before your stop. Kyoto was the reverse, where you pay as you get on at the front.

Stations

Just as important as the right train, it’s the right station exit! These stations can be huge so using the wrong exit can dump you into a totally unfamiliar spot. Most attractions with transport guides mention the exit to use, and take notice of it because it will save a lot of walking. If you don’t know your exit, don’t just wander out of any exit. Signage is excellent in the stations, and they’ll typically include major sights and attractions and their required exits. I’ve never been to a station without a working lift or escalator either. No need to carry heavy luggage up stairs.

– Any questions about train travel or Japan in general, feel free to ask in the comments.

Stop Fining Healthy Transport – A protest against helmet fines, not helmets

15 March 2018

On Saturday across Australia and New Zealand, Freestyle Cyclists will be running a Stop Fining Healthy Transport protest bicycle ride. Contrary to the belief of many, this is not a protest against helmets, it is a protest against helmet fines. Indeed, the ride is helmet optional! At the heart of the issue is Australia’s egregious mandatory bicycle helmet laws. Once seen as a “good idea” with trivial fines and limited enforcement, they’re now a rigorously enforced weapon with massive fines that have only laid a path of destruction against an activity that was once seen as fun, safe and convenient, and one that is normal in 99% of the world. Tired of the poor state of cycling in Australia and the ever increasing condemnation, marginalisation and police persecution of anyone that dares not wear a helmet, cyclists will ride to overturn this harsh and draconian law, while simultaneously trying to correct the misconceptions about cycling and cycling safety that the mandatory helmet law has created.

Stop Fining Health Transport - Protest Bicycle Ride - Freestyle Cyclists

Stop Fining Health Transport – Protest Bicycle Ride – Freestyle Cyclists

Cycling is NOT dangerous

Easily the most damaging effect of compulsory helmets and the scare campaign accompanying them is the perception that cycling is inherently dangerous, if not suicidal. This scare-mongering even extends to riding slowly on a separate path or through a park, and the belief that not only is crashing frequent for cyclists, it’s likely to be catastrophic too. People aren’t stupid. If this grossly exaggerated risk is embedded into their psyche, they’ll simply ignore the bicycle as their choice transport. This will be a subconscious decision too. If an activity requires protective gear, instinct automatically drives them away from it. Consequently a generation of cyclists have been lost, leaving a population mostly of enthusiasts and sports riders.

Cycling safety is NOT most enhanced by helmets

Another gross exaggeration is the protective value of helmets. These flimsy foam hats of barely an inch thick are only designed for low to moderate impacts of 20kph, and that upper limit is only to the crown of the head, and only if the helmet is the correct size, worn snugly and straps are tight. Often this is not the case so the impact rating is half of that, if not less. Against a car they are useless, not to forget there’s the rest of the human body that can receive fatal injuries. While the helmet obsession continues, the real safety measures of separation from traffic is ignored, and people that otherwise wouldn’t ride on dangerous roads do so due to the mythical qualities promoted about helmets. Given that Australia’s cycling safety record remains deplorable, especially compared to Europe, it likely means the mandatory helmet law has killed more people than it’s saved.

Cyclists do NOT need a law to wear helmets

Before helmet laws were introduced, Australians were already beginning to wear helmets, notably when riding on roads. Overseas, particularly in less cycling-friendly countries like the USA and Britain, helmet wearing is high without a law. Even in the cycling utopias of Denmark and Netherlands, sports cyclists wear helmets, and even some urban cyclists do. People know when the risk is high that a helmet might be warranted. Indeed, Australia’s helmet law was most likely aimed at those on busy roads anyway. The problem is such laws do not discriminate, leaving anyone, anytime, any situation on a bike, a criminal, and therefore the target for the heavy hand of the law. After 25 years of helmet laws, there’s still thousands fined each year, which is obviously only a fraction of those riding without a helmet, so clearly there’s a significant constituency that dislike wearing helmets. Instead of fining them, let them ride.

bikehelmets-stats

Further reading:

Living under a mandatory bicycle helmet law regime

Australia – the land of cycling hatred

Terry Mulder Letter On Bicycle Helmet Legislation

What about “Man” and “Woman”, Justin Trudeau? Peoplekind depend on it!

7 February 2018

In light of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s assertion that “peoplekind” is the preferred word to “mankind” because it’s more “inclusive”, maybe it is time to find new words for “woman” and “man” too. It’s not even the case that Trudeau is so entranced in his vacuous social engineering drivel that he forgot “humankind” is already the politically correct term, it’s that he’s so subservient to identity politics to comprehend that “man” refers to the human species, not the male human, so in essence it’s men being cheated by a lack of a gender-specific word. Explaining it to him? Don’t waste your time. These people have such entrenched agendas that there’s simply no capacity for reasoning or rational thought.

Justin Trudeau representing peoplekind

Justin Trudeau representing “peoplekind”. Image: bbc/reuters

Of course, “human” and “humankind” contain “man”, as does “woman”, so it won’t be long until the likes of Trudeau is triggered into saying that calling a woman a “woman” is not inclusive. So it’s best to intercept the problem before the it becomes even more ludicrous. Curiously, these problems still persist despite the recent progress we’ve made with gender fluidity and self-identification, where a man can be a woman and a woman can be a man, and therefore “man” now is gender neutral, just as it always was before the feminist and socialist elites attacked it as a symptom of our alleged sexist and misogynist civilisation.

In finding a new word for “man”, let’s all note we we are talking about “man” the species, not the male human. Therefore the male human will stay known as “man”. Whereas for “woman”, it is explicitly for the female human that we have seriously, cataclysmic problems, for it contains “man” and therefore suggests women are a subclass of the male human. We’re also not interested in the even more nonsensical attacks on words like “history” (contains “his”) and person (contains “son”). Although, with the new word for man the human species, there’s nothing stopping those words evolving.

Let’s meet our new words!

Wirl – formerly “woman” (as in female human)

Yes, to all you wirls out there, embrace your new word! It’s merely “girl” with a “w” replacing the “g”. Don’t worry, the etymology has been checked and “girl” has always been female, possibly even gender neutral in some languages from which it was derived. There’s also no other common use for “wirl”, and the current abbreviation of “w” for woman can remain. So for all women, or wirls, out there, it’s time to embrace your new, unequivocally gender-specific word. Wirl!

Gog – formerly “man” (as in the human species)

No thought or reasoning behind this, it simply popped into my head as something unique, distinctive and short – and can easily substitute for “man” in any word. Even better, there’s no current use of the word so we gogs can own it. Remember, we’re not changing human to hugog because, in time, “human” will fade in general language as gog assumes control. In words containing “man” that are gender-neutral or relating to the human species, “gog” is the replacement. Example: gogkind, gogpower and gog of war jellyfish.

What about “male” and “female”?

Drop the “ale” from female and you have “fem”! “Fem” is already such a common prefix for words relating to women, or wirls, that it should become a word of its own. Not only that, wherever “man” or “men” form parts of a female-related word, they should be replaced with “fem”. Example: femstration and femopause. Too easy!

 

Change the date of Australia Day – Change to what?

26 January 2018

Every year the howls become worse. It’s time to “change the date” of Australia Day. One problem: no one ever offers an alternative date. There’s certainly no alternative pushed as part of any campaign, so no wonder the “idea” is treated with great suspicion. Without an alternative the campaign is really “problem with the date”, and merely the latest attack on the status quo by inner city socialist elites, obsolete celebrities trying to make themselves relevant again, and token (predominantly white) urban aborigines. Almost none of these people have have anything to do with real aborigines, whose attitude to Australia Day as a legitimate grievance would be “that’s some white fulla’s day off work, it’s nothing to do with us”.

ausday18log

Why no alternative? Because a larger agenda is at play here. Changing the date would not change their key grievance – that of a country built predominantly by white, European, Christian, straight man, and to find a suitable alternative date that didn’t involve this nasty beast is almost impossible. As with any socialist tendency, they hate the status quo, and power is obtained by railing against it and the destruction of it. Hence their passion for “diversity”, and constantly on the prowl for victims. If there’s not enough victims, they’ll even create them, and all the while they live in their predominantly white inner city enclaves and mingle with their predominantly white, elitist friends. In truth, under the socialist utopia, there’d be no diversity, everyone would be a victim of the regime, and as for aborigines, they’d be given a tin shed, food rations, and told to shut up. Understanding this backdrop is key to understanding the attack on Australia Day. With it being on 26 January, they have an easy attack too.

ausday18tw1

Make no mistake, Australia Day has its problems. None of them as severe as the elitists claim. While many aborigines can justifiably claim it as “Invasion Day”, the notion of genocide, and even “ongoing genocide”, is absurd. No armies were brought and, in fact, attempts to build relationships with the local aborigines were more important than slaughtering them. As the colony expanded over the years, that’s when tensions rose and many aborigines were killed, often in organised massacres, while countless others succumbed to European diseases. Sadly that’s human history all over the world, and let’s not forget, if the British didn’t arrive then, someone else would eventually. A later landing by any foreign power would far more likely been in the name of conquest than settlement, and any indigenous rights like native title would have vanished – if there were any indigenous people left.

Australia Day - Change The Date - Change to what?

The real problem with Australia Day is that it’s a nondescript day and has almost nothing to do with the formation of Australia as a nation. 26 January 1788 was the day the First Fleet arrived at Sydney Cove to establish a British Colony under the governorship of Arthur Philip. It wasn’t even the first time the British arrived – with Captain James Cook discovering the east coast of Australia in 1770. From there, as essentially a Foundation Day for the state of New South Wales, it was mostly celebrated in Sydney, and would become widely known throughout the country as Anniversary Day. In the decades following Federation in 1901, it began being recognised as Australia Day, although, not always celebrated on the day. For a significant part of its history, Australia Day was celebrated on the Monday after 26 January, to ensure a long weekend. The Bicentennial in 1988 was the turning point, with the government of the time keen to make a big deal of the occasion. In 1994, 26 January was officially declared as the nation’s official day, and celebrated on that day, and Australia Day has grown in popularity since.

If Australia Day marked a major event in history, something integral to the formation of the country, then there’d be no debate. In fact, many countries don’t have an eponymous national day. USA has Independence Day, Britain has St George’s Day or Queen’s Birthday, and France has Bastille Day. Canada would be our closest analogy, with Canada Day of 1 July celebrating the enactment of the Canadian constitution, and it formally being called Canada Day in 1982. Before that it was Dominion Day.

Australia Day Change The Date - Change to what?

Changing the date of Australia Day is only the start. Image: indigenousx.com.au

Recent polling shows Australians don’t have a “problem with the date”, with support for a change barely passing 10%. They don’t have a problem with British colonisation either. In fact, it was fundamental to the accommodating, multi-cultural and successful nation we are today. Changing the day won’t change history, so whenever Australia Day is held, it would be impossible to celebrate Australia without acknowledging British settlement. So it really is a fringe issue of the loony socialist elite more intent on destroying national institutions than genuinely care about the issue. They hate Australia Day as a concept, and even Australia, period. Using the Aboriginal Rights movement as their pawn, once Australia Day is eradicated, next step is change the flag, and then begin the talks about treaty, even sovereignty. Not that they really want this – socialist elites are globalists and ideally want no countries or individual sovereignty. It’s all to upset the status quo and portray the entire country as racist.

Let’s presume Australia Day should be changed, to which date should it become?

1 January – Federation Day (1901)

This was the day the six British colonies (now states) agreed to federate into one nation. This would be the perfect day if it didn’t fall on 1 January. That being New Year’s Day and during the busy Christmas holiday period, it might get lost, as too would the notion of losing a separate public holiday at another time of the year. Also, Federation could be seen as “white construct” from those nasty British colonists, and still attacked by the same nutters attacking 26 January. If Federation Day became the day, New Year’s Day Holiday would move to 2 January. You’d find the nation would quickly adjust, and with it the start of the new year, the day would actually gain extra significance and celebration. Shouldn’t the importance of the day override its potential for the best festivities anyhow?

Last Monday of January

This borrows several things important to the nation’s history as part of a broad celebration: Federation being in January, the First Fleet arriving in January, the late January tradition of the existing day, and the tradition when Australia Day was deferred to a Monday for a long weekend. As a long weekend, the festive occasion would be enhanced too. 26 January would revert to its original meaning of either Anniversary Day or Foundation Day, while 1 January stays Federation Day and would be the country’s official birthday.

3 March – Australia Acts Commenced (1986)

Most people are unaware that Australia is a 100% independent nation, formally severing all ties with Britain in 1986. Sadly, this notable event in our history gained minor media attention, and it would be doubtful 1 in 1000 Australians would have a clue about the Australia Acts. Still, with an education campaign and inaugurating the day with a big celebration, that would quickly change. It seems a perfect fit for the anti-British socialist elites too.

9 May – First Day of Parliament (1901)

This is essentially a deferred Federation Day – when the new nation of the Commonwealth of Australia first sat in parliament – and generally suggested because of the 1 January clash of Federation Day with New Year’s Day. That’s hardly a great endorsement of the day, and does the nation really want to celebrate a day about politicians?

27 May – Recognition of Aborigines and Torres Straight Islanders as Citizens (1967)

Conducted by referendum, it passed with 91% support. While it is an important day, most people would be clueless about it, it has nothing to do with the formation of the country, and ideally should be a day that stands on its own, as a Recognition Day. Then you don’t need to mess around with the mostly useless proposition of constitutional recognition. The archaic Queen’s Birthday Holiday in early June could be dropped for it.

1 September – Wattle Day (1992)

Australia’s official flower is the golden wattle and Australia’s official, popular and enduring national colours of green and gold come from that. Most importantly, they are indigenous to the country, and became popular of their own momentum, before being officially declared in 1984. In the words of Terry Fewtrell, president of the Wattle Day association: “The Golden Wattle has been witness to the whole Australian story. It has been in our land for more than 30 million years and welcomed us all – Aboriginal, colonials, post-war and 21st century migrants. It has no historical baggage. It is our national colours – the green and gold.” 1 September is the suggested day because that’s the first day of spring and therefore when the golden wattle is in full bloom. Such a day would also raise the profile of the national colours, as many Australians see them as “sporting colours”.

3 September – Flag Day (1901)

The day was officially declared on 28 August 1996 and has never been celebrated. Again, most Australians wouldn’t know we have a Flag Day, much less know its day. With the British Flag on the national flag, the day would present the same problems as 26 January… unless the flag changed… then you’d use a new day anyway.

Monday before the First Tuesday in November – Melbourne Cup Eve (1861)

Originally run in 1861 and first run on a Tuesday in 1875, it’s the race that stops a nation. The Melbourne Cup is easily Australia’s most popular and endurable cultural and sporting event and a national day before it would be the perfect lead-up. With Melbourne Cup Day also a public holiday in Melbourne, it would make an extra long weekend for them and reduce that other great Australian tradition of “taking a sickie”.

The Day Australia becomes a Republic

You can almost guarantee that this day would become a holiday. The question is whether Australia would ever become a republic. To most Australians, it’s a trivial issue, would not affect our lives in any way, and for all intents and purposes, Australia is already a 100% independent country (see the Australia Acts). The British monarch is only a symbolic head of state. The real one is the Governor General.

Choose The Date

Ideally, 1 January Federation Day should be the day. Recognising its problems, especially the desire to have your national day stand alone from other holidays, I would make Australia Day the last Monday in January. It would be a new date for one, would have no real baggage, can encompass several events important in the nation’s history, while preserving the tradition of a late January holiday. All the other options would need some selling before they were accepted, with the Australia Acts the next best candidate, followed by Wattle Day.

One year of Donald Trump as President – Pros & Cons

22 January 2018

Despite all the insane warnings of an economic meltdown, more wars and terrorism, mass deportations, women losing all rights, global warming running riot, and general worldwide catastrophe, the world and the USA survived Donald Trump’s first year as president. Yes, all those predictions were serious too, and to think it’s Donald Trump the one critcised for hyperbolic and grandiose statements. The hysteria and derangement was never justified, as anyone with even half an active brain cell would know, the US president has very little real power. The greatest democracy in the world simply has too many checks, balances, rules and downright Washington obstinance, that even with someone as bellicose as Trump, or before him someone with the charisma of Barack Obama with his first year goals of immigration reform and closing Guantanamo Bay, they face extreme difficulty to progress their agenda.

trump-fna

USA President Donald Trump. Image: gop.com

The most stark example of Trump’s frustrations is the travel ban against several despotic and mostly muslim countries. It was constantly challenged in lower courts, and while one was eventually implemented, Trump remained frustrated by the courts on other issues. Then there was Obamacare, the “repeal and replace” Republican dogma for nearly 8 years, even with a Republican house and senate, it couldn’t be done. That’s because members of congress are not rigid to their parties. The loyalty is more often to their district or states. It’s a stark contrast to the likes of Australia where a member of parliament will vote like a zombie as dictated by party policy. That’s even despite a direct mandate from their district to do otherwise, as was seen with the recent gay marraige plebiscite.

On the positive side, Trump can celebrate three key achievements: the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the supreme court, the tax reform law, and the demolition of ISIS. Undoubtedly that Trump named several potential judges during the presidential campaign helped him grab the evangelical christian vote, and that he followed through with that, including many appointments for lower courts, has held the support of this key voting constituency. Tax reform, along with the many cuts in regulations, will be judged on its economic effect. With big cuts to the corporate rate to make the USA more internationally competitive, obviously the Democrats hate it. For citizens, the fact is nearly all Americans will get a tax cut, with those potentially a bit worse off being those in high taxing states where the state tax rebate was eliminated. Rightly so! Why should the federal government be subsidising tax rates of individual states? They should reduce their rates to allow people to keep more of their hard earned money. States like California and New York are two of the highest taxing states, while several states have no tax rate. Low-income taxpayers are served well with their standard deduction doubled and child tax credit increased. The blazing stock market means a bonanza for retirement schemes for everyday Americans, while unemployment is at records lows, even for blacks and hispanics. Finally, ISIS is almost done. Trump’s “bomb the shit out of them” has worked.

A fourth achievement might be the withdrawal of the Paris Climate Change Accord. This is more symbolic than anything, that the USA wants no part of a ridiculous agreement more about global socialism than a binding, worldwide agreement to cut emissions. It was never a repudiation of the USA’s role in emissions reductions as climate loons claimed, as the USA is way ahead of its targets thanks to gas exploration. Trump’s “America First” mantra continued with trade agreements cut or reworked, and sticking it to the United Nations by reducing their funding. Recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and finally moving the American embassy there as all recent presidents had promised, was also a masterstroke.

Trump even made a dent into Obamacare by removing the individual mandate (a fine for not buying health insurance) as part of the tax reform bill. That will accelerate the death of Obamacare. It’s already in a so-called “death spiral” as high premiums force people out, which raises premiums more, which forces more people out. Note, Obamacare (primarily a bloated bill designed to subsidise insurance companies, even to maintain their profits) has been designed to fail from the start. The hiccup was the Democrats losing elections, so now it’s up to Republicans to deal with it. Most likely a government funded scheme for catastrophic injury or illness will arrive, with private insurance to deal with the rest. Essentially we have that in Australia. There’s no such thing as universal health insurance, only a universal safety net.

The most fascinating part of the Trump presidency is him dealing with illegal immigrants, and notably on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the so-called “Dreamers”, most of whom are all adults now. Essentially it defers deporting illegal immigrants that were brought in as children, and it was expanded and extended by Obama by executive order. So it’s not amnesty at all, only an order not to execute a federal law for certain people and only for a certain period of time. Then a new DACA deadline must be set. That was directly opposite to Obama initially saying he’s “not a dictator” so can’t act on immigration alone. Once re-elected in 2012 and without facing another election, he acted. The problem with an executive order is the next president can immediate reverse it. Trump has done that, saying (rightly so) DACA should be handled by a bill out of a congress, and the deadline is March 2018 when DACA expires. The genius of this is has shown Washington in all its ugliness as the Democrats tried to use DACA last weekend to help pass a budget bill. The government is shut down and it’s all the Democrats’ fault as they are exposed as using illegal immigration to hold the entire country to ransom. Trump and the Republicans knew they couldn’t be wedged, as DACA has nothing to do with funding the government, so the longer the Democrats sit on it, the more they are exposed as obstructionists and hypocrites. DACA is also the key bargaining chip in Trump getting his border wall. If the Democrats are so concerned about these “Dreamers”, surely extra border security would be an easy compromise, or will they be thoroughly exposed for using these people, and immigration in general, as a political weapon? Remember, immigration was meant to be Obama’s year one big achievement, and even with a super majority in the senate, did absolutely zero.

The most intriguing and entertaining part of the Trump presidency is his behaviour. His tweets are often hilarious, and nicknames like Sloppy Steve (Bannon), Cryin’ Chuck (Shumer), Leakin’ James Comey, Crazy Mika and Psycho Joe from MSNBC, and the best, Pocahontas for Elizabeth Warren. It’s staggering that after a year much of the media still hyperventilate over his antics and language. Remember, “take Trump seriously, not literally”. They do it the other way around. His tweet about his nuclear button bigger than Kim Jong Un’s was his way of saying that the USA is more powerful than North Korea, and they’re not afraid to act. Yet the media somehow thinks Trump really has his hand on a button ready to push. Such a thing doesn’t even exist, and his power is only in approving the request from generals. Then the “shithole” remark. It says enough that instead of Democrat senator Dick Durbin confronting Trump in the meeting about the language, that he chose to keep it for the media. While CNN used the hearsay of a vengeful political opponent to proclaim Trump a racist, the truth is the plan meant to make DACA permanent also increased chain and lottery migration, not reduce it as promised to Trump. A double-crossed Trump then raged about America always taking people from shithole countries, not places like Norway. Again, this is his style. He’s been a vulgarian since the day he announced he was running, yet so much of the media gets caught up in the histrionics of it. Probably it makes good ratings – probably the main point of it.

Trump gets the last laugh, and is beginning to thrive in his role as president. While the promise of his Fake News Awards had his media opponents salivating for a mention, he eventually revealed twelve actual and serious moments of fake news and general media bias, with CNN winning four awards. Personally, the most galling was the claim by Time magazine that Trump removed the bust of Martin Luther King from the Oval Office. This was barely a day into his presidency and yet the media were already trying to prove him a racist. It really highlighted their agenda, and from there it’s become worse, as opponents try and out-do each other on their various cable news shows. The division they apparent loathe is division they are fuelling, and merely a continuation of the divisive “basket of deplorables” identical politics Obama and then Hillary Clinton trafficked in. Trump is actually the product of that, and continues to fight back in his own inimitable style.

Rest assured snowflakes, Trump can’t really do much damage. Cries of fascist are absurd for someone that was democratically elected and, indeed, potentially could see his domestic agenda thwarted if the Democrats win the house in this year’s mid-terms. Yes, this great democracy has elections every two years to keep politicians to account. For those not taking it all so seriously or taking it all so personally, jump on the train, enjoy the ride, because this is already the greatest presidency ever!

Obama’s Legacy – The Reality Check; Trump’s Inauguration

Donald Trump is President – What the heck just happened?

 

Warrior’s Video Games of 2017 & Game of the Year

7 January 2018

2017 will definitely be known as year of Nintendo. Not only was the phenomenal Nintendo Switch released, it was accompanied by a line-up of stunning games. Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2 and Mario + Rabbids Kindgom Battle, not to forget a constant stream of smaller downloadable games on the e-shop. Then there was the 3DS still going strong, particularly with Metroid: Samus Returns a huge highlight. The Super Nintendo Classic Mini arrived during the year, and even the NES Classic Mini trickled in during April for those that missed out in 2016 and could quickly snap one up (yay!). Let’s break it down.

Nintendo Switch

Zelda: Breath of the Wild won just about every conceivable gaming award for 2017, and for obvious good reasons. It’s a stellar title – possibly the best in the series ever – and has been supported with excellent extra content too. The only complaint: I haven’t finished it yet! I’ve been so busy, and then other games came out. Mostly on the Switch I’ve played Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, FAST RMX (an F-Zero style of racing game), Blaster Master Zero (an excellent remake of an NES classic) and little bit of Super Mario Odyssey.

Nintendo Switch – Hardware Review

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review – Pros & Cons

3DS

Metroid: Samus Returns 3DS box

Metroid: Samus Returns. Nothing more to say. With Metroid my favourite game series ever, Samus Returns was a salivating release this year. It came out of nowhere too. Announced middle of the year for a September release, I was frothing at the mouth as I rode to the local shopping centre (no helmet naturally) to purchase it on its release day. Strangely, I thought it wise to shop around for the best price. Checking first that JB Hi Fi had some on the shelves, I then went to Big W and Target, which are usually cheaper. Neither had it so back to JB only to see none on the shelves anymore. I was furious! I thought I’d ask at the counter as they don’t display all inventory, and yes, I got one, and a JB-exclusive poster that I never knew about. Bonus! After picking up the special edition Samus Returns 3DS system on pre-order at EB Games (which will become my spare), I rode home and played Samus Returns for several hours non-stop, then a few more over the weekend. Suffice to say I’ve not finished it either. Although, I’ve made much more progress than with Zelda.

From the 3DS Activity Log

Pokemon Shuffle was against the most played game of the year at almost 280 hours. The year before that was 275 hours and before that 199 hours. Almost 750 hours all up is a ridiculous amount for a free title. While I have purchased gems a couple of times during this period, which help you proceed through the game when impatient, it’s only been occasions when 6 bonus ones are offered if you buy 6 or more, which I’ve done twice, and mostly to reward the developers for all the hours I’ve played. I never needed them. Only once have I needed a gem, and it was only after I just failed to beat a Pokemon after using a bucket load of coins and had leftover funds in my account. The gem allowed 5 more moves and increased the catch rate for remaining moves (I only needed one move and caught the Pokemon). Total money spent on Pokemon Shuffle is under $15. I wish I could say I’d get that value from all games.

Pokemon Shuffle 3DS Charizard

Then there’s my old, small 3DS, where I have Pokemon Shuffle running too. Time logged is 207:19 hours for 2017, for a total of almost 470 hours for the past 3 years. So that’s over 1200 hours for one game. The only game I know that rivals such time invested is Audio Surf on PC at almost 800 hours.

Metroid: Samus Returns is next most played at 14:37 hours, followed by StreetPass Mii Plaza at 10:48, Super Smash Bros at 2:35, 80’s Overdrive (a game bought late December) at 2:03 and Mario Kart 7 at 1:50. I really must get back into Mario Kart 7. The year before I didn’t play it all. Unacceptable! After Mario Kart DS, MK7 would be my second favourite version, followed by MK8 Deluxe on the Switch.

Mii Plaza has really dropped off compared to 22 hours last year and 127 hours in 2015 and 33 hours in 2014. I’m simply done or bored with the mini games, so much so I rarely carry the 3DS around anymore to accumulate StreetPass hits required for the mini games. Total steps is 180,586, compared to 1.1 million in 2014, 521,117 in 2015 and 221,171 last year. Most of the steps this year are from trips overseas to Europe/USA in May/June for 45608 and 32852 steps, and then to Japan in November for 58,895 steps. It’s worth taking the 3DS overseas because international hits fill in national maps on your system, and that’s fun.

Super NES Classic Mini

After the debacle with the NES Mini, I didn’t take the chance and decided to pre-order the SNES version. As it turned out, I could have walked in and bought one on the day. Nintendo kept their promise of plenty of stock. Indeed, there were several lying around at the JB Hi Fi near my office during the week of its release, and I’ve seen at other times too. Note that supplies do often run out quickly, and during a 2 week visit to Japan in November, I never saw a local one anywhere, so it’s clear Nintendo could sell more if they could have increased production even further.

Super NES Classic Mini

First game to play on the SNES Mini was Star Fox (originally Star Wing in PAL territories) so I could unlock the bonus Star Fox 2. The mixed reviews of that proved true: it’s a bit of a clunky game and would have been far better sticking to the original on-rails formula, not free roaming. I’ve dived into most of the other games since, and I’m pleased with the collection. My only gripe would be there’s too many RPGs on it, and do we really need a Street Fighter 2? While it’s obviously a “Nintendo classic”, it’s been on everything else for the past 20 years. Also, why not Super Street Fighter 2: The New Challengers – the one with the four extra characters that Japan got? While Turbo could be argued as the purest Street Fighter 2 experience, it’s not the definitive one.

The five RPGs on the SNES Mini are Zelda: A Link to the Past, Earthbound, Final Fantasy 3 (FF6 in Japan), Super Mario RPG and Secret of Mana. We easily could have done without Secret of Mana, and possibly Super Mario RPG. There’s also two Kirby games on it, which is at least one too many. Glaringly missing is a shooter or two, and some sports games. UN Squadron (Area 88 in Japan) would be the obvious inclusion, with Axelay another option. International Superstar Soccer Deluxe (Fighting Eleven in Japan) is the obvious sports game required, while another could be Super Tennis. NBA Jam would also be good.

A conventional driving game would have been good to sit with Super Mario Kart, with Top Gear probably the best option. While sequels Top Gear 2 and Top Gear 3000 are no doubt superior, Top Gear is the more familiar one to most people. Plus, it’s a classic! Instead of Street Fighter 2, how about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4: Turtles in Time? Adding some of these games also would have boosted the system’s multi-player capabilities. Or, given there’s no technical limitation to restrict the total of games at 21, why not just add all these games anyway? Maybe Nintendo didn’t want it to make the NES Classic Mini seem second rate. Speaking of which…

NES Classic Mini

Arguably there’s not really any obvious omissions on this system, only suggestions that would improve it. Games like Balloon Fight and Ice Climbers are really old school, while who has heard of Star Tropics? Curiously they have Super C and Double Dragon 2 instead of the original Contra and Double Dragon, yet persisted with Tecmo Bowl, Gradius, Ninja Gaiden and Castlevania ahead of the clearly superior sequels of Tecmo Super Bowl, Life Force Salamander, Ninja Gaiden 2 (there was also a third) and Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse. Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest is also on the system, and while it could be argued as the weakest of the three, since it’s an RPG style of Castlevania, it definitely deserves its place. Besides, where else can you pay the ferryman? It is a tricky decision. You really need the first game for its “classic” status, and you don’t really need three, so the two selected are probably right. If you missed out on the NES Mini, Nintendo will resume production middle of 2018.

NES Classic Mini

SNES vs NES – Classic Battle

Overall, you will get more out of the games on the SNES despite nine fewer than the NES. Those RPGs will take eons, while Super Metroid is a long game and Super Ghouls & Ghosts is really hard. Even I struggled despite beating it at the time. Newbies to the Castlevania series will find Castlevania 4 a bit tough. Plus, if you’ve never played Street Fighter 2 before and get hooked, that is endless hours learning all the characters.

The other benefit of the SNES is two controllers in the box. Cables are also much longer than the NES, though, not long enough to station the system too far away from the couch. Personally I use a HDMI extension lead and keep the systems near me, because the other shortcoming in both is the reset is via a button on the box. There’s no controller shortcut. The SNES controllers are also much nicer to hold, and the bonus is they work on the NES. So if you require extra cable length or need an extra NES controller, your problem is solved with the SNES Mini.

In terms of interface, both are the same, and support 4 save-states for each game. Be aware some SNES games had battery back-up too, so if you use that function within the game itself, make sure it’s at a later point in the game than your save-state in the system, or only use the one save system. Otherwise you will confuse yourself! The SNES also has several themed borders to make the 4:3 ratio of games look better on modern wide-screen TVs, which is nicer than the black bars of the NES, and are good for your plasma TV, if you still have one like me.

Graphically, the NES games actually look much better than the SNES ones. This is all to do with pixels, and with the NES using much more blockier pixels, they expand much cleaner than the more detailed ones on the SNES. It is quite a shock when first playing a SNES Mini game that it’s so pixelated. You barely notice this on the NES Mini.

Elsewhere

While I do have a PlayStation 4, it’s been a bit quiet there other than for some favourite series like Gran Turismo Sport and Wipeout Omega Collection. Both are superb games, especially Wipeout. It’s the quintessential collection. Sony keep adding stuff to Gran Turismo, so there’s far more to it now in single player mode. Curiously when I bought that at JB, they were selling GT-themed controllers for only $40 extra. It’s been a year of the bonus too. Bonus!

Game of the Year

Simply because it’s so damn good, it’s part of my favourite game series, and it’s been 15 excruciating years since the last one of its type, it must be Metroid: Samus Returns.

Warrior’s Video Games of 2016 & Nintendo Switch Preview