I’ve not really done a lot these last few weeks except feel tired a lot, as I said to Sian, when did I become the guy likes to have a half hour nap on his lunch break? I must be getting old. My sleeping patterns a bit off too and I seem to have permanent dark circles under my eyes (and my left eye is twitching a bit) and it is not helped by a bout of strange dreams, a fellow blogger Super Jan keeps a dream diary to set her mind at ease, not a bad idea except I can’t really recall them save for them being strange. I vaguely recall dreaming about the old tree we used to have in the front garden being blown down in a gale while the clouds were moving in the opposite direction… and apparently David Lynch was controlling the weather! Make of that what you will…
So I guess I have pretty much being coasting, I’ve been getting through Reggie Perrin quite quickly and so far have not once though of a Hippopotamus once and reading it, it reminds me a little of HG Wells book The History of Mr Polly as both of them essentially deal with a guy who loses his interesting the banality of ordinary life and fake their death to escape it, only Reggie Perrin is more entertaining and engaging as a character.
Well I’ve had bit of a spree ordering a few bits on bobs on DVD and Blu-Ray, first up was an old kids show from 1978 called The Clifton House Mystery which while the in-house production style of the time does date it on that front (not to mention the kids’ haircuts and flared trousers) I can’t help but observe how much more effort was made with Children’s shows back in the day, I think the secret it is that they didn’t talk down to the audience. It is essentially a pretty traditional Ghost Story in which a family moves into an old Victorian House they bought at auction only discover it is haunted and there is a hidden room within which they find a skeleton. On the whole it is an enjoyable romp though I imagine children of today would probably find the pace too slow and laugh at the fairly basic Ghost Special effects which are essentially CSO or in some cases done with the Pepper’s Ghost parlour trick.
The only cast members whose names cast any familiarity are the Mum who is played by the late Ingrid Hafner who played a recurring character al Ian Hendry and Patrick Macnee in the now (mostly) lost first season of The Avenge, and the in the latter half of the serial the Spiritualist Lecturer and amateur Ghost Hunter Martin Guest played by Peter Sallis who is best known as Norman Clegg in Last of the Summer Wine and as the voice of the human half of Wallace & Gromit.
Elsewhere I have perhaps over indulged in some classic horror movies from both Universal Studios and Hammer Studios and a few other bits and pieces.
The Mummy (1932) and the Ghoul (1933) both starring Boris Karloff
The Phantom of the Opera (1943) starring Claude Rains (I also have the silent movie with Lon Chaney on order)
The Invisible Man (1933)
The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1953)
The Mummy (1959) with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee
Man of Steel, The Iron Giant, The Day the Earth Stood Still (the 1950s original), Thunderball and Goldeneye and the Iron Giant, the latter being an animated film based on one of my favourite books as a Child: the Iron Man. A lot of these were on special offer or at reduced rates so it hasn’t been quite the huge dent in my income it looks.
Recently I have been rediscovering the joys of the Dizzy Games, which I loved as a child, thanks to the advent of the fan game, some of which lovingly recreate the feel of the old games in game play and sticking to recreating the Spectrum 8-bit graphics as well. The games are mostly in the style of the puzzle games though a few more arcade style games have been produced too, but for me the Dizzy games were always about solving problems and talking to characters. Other games have opted for the 16-bit stylings of the Amiga and more then a few have taken a more ironic tongue-in-cheek approach to the games with plenty of nods to popular culture between the late 1980s and now.
In the sense of the traditional style I would favour Swampland Dizzy and Winter World Dizzy, both of which recreate the feeling of the games hey day and yet are more then just a bit of nostalgia and have puzzles more akin to the current age of fans rather then back in the day.
For something a bit different I quite like Sunken Castle Dizzy which feels like the sort of game that would be made now if they were making official games anymore, but I warn you it is very hard and to stir things up a bit the game play changes each time you start again which is both clever and annoying.
Then there is Knightmare Dizzy, which is based on the Kids Adventure Challenge show Knightmare and manages to get the spirit of both and even manages to recreate the dreaded passage with the Buzzsaws.
Finally, is Dizzy and Seymour: The Dark Wizard which allows you to play as either Dizzy or Seymour and who you play as affects the game play. Within the game there are minigames where you play various other characters. I warn you though the controls are a real bugger to play with so when starting off I suggest you use the Casual Mode which gives you many, many more lives.
Now there are many, many fan games on the site and that is only a snapshot of them, the site also allows you to play the original games online. So, if you want a nostalgia fix or merely just want a peek at retro gaming, you have a good place to start.