JOURNAL 2017 - 2019

November 29th 2019, Friday

So it seems the universe is conspiring against me winning in Raiden Fighters:

I was well into good practice in stage 6 when the above happened.

As it usually is in cases like these, the reason is an idiotic one. The remote for the TV in the bedroom wasn't working, so I tried to take the TV out of the rack to check the model and find a troubleshooting guide for it. Since I couldn't do it (one of the support brackets was stuck), I decided to do it on the living room TV, which is identical. I removed it easily and leaned it on my lap as I took the picture of the model and put it back.

It turns out in the end I didn't even need to do that. What got the remote back was downloading an app in my cell phone, using it as a remote and then restoring the TV to its factory default settings. Bingo, the remote started working again.

A few minutes later, when I got back to the living room, I came across that hideous surprise. I can't hook the 360 in the bedroom, and the only other large HD TV is packed away with so much stuffing around it that it'll only be feasible to unpack it when I move to the new house.

Meanwhile, I've been spending the available time with the games from the La Calice Cup Winter 2019. Mahou Daisakusen in special is a charming title I've come to enjoy because of the tournament. I wonder if it will finally get a retail edition on the PS4, given the fact that it received a digital release with the name Sorcer Striker.

October 31st 2019, Thursday

With the ladies away for two weeks, I decided to spend some serious time to properly learn one of the games with the steepest learning curves I've ever seen as far as scoring goes.

I'm talking about Raiden Fighters, of course. A title I've tried to actually play in the past but always annoyed in several different ways.

Who knows, perhaps I might make it this time? Last night I finally entered stage 4 on a single life, in full throttle 100K medal max rank. And I'm using the Aegis ship because, you know, overpowered secret ships are for pussies.


August 28th 2019, Wednesday

As a shmup fan, I've always had a special appreciation for shmup soundtracks. Great music can lift the enjoyment factor of any game, no matter how good or bad it is. And shmups have often been home to great tunes since the dawn of the 8-bit video game generation.

If you think the same, you might as well take a look at a project called It's an Internet radio station that exclusively broadcasts shmup music 24 hours a day, in great non-stop quality. It's been my radio of choice whenever I get the chance at work.

I definitely recommend giving it a whirl, and while you're at it you might as well contribute to the project through Patreon.

July 29th 2019, Monday

Serious shmupping hiatus for now.
Stinger emulated on Nestopia last night does not count.
Need to sort things out urgently.

June 7th 2019, Friday

Tomorrow I'll be moving to a new home. Again.

Since a new job in a new company awaits me, this time it won't be just a matter of getting everything transported to a new house in the same city. The new home is 2.000 km from my current one, more precisely in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Everything is set for me to depart this weekend, then the wife and my little girl will follow in one month from now.

The "everything is set" part of the sentence above is, of course, quite elusive when it comes down to the game collection. Everything is now packed in boxes I organized myself so that I don't have any problem unboxing them when the time comes. The masterplan however is to rent an apartment for a few months and only then moving to a definitive house, which means most of these boxes - if not all of them - will remain closed for a long while.

In the meantime I have carefully separated a few PS4 games to have fun with during the starting stages of the transition (hotel, etc.). A few days ago I succeeded in beating Deathsmiles II X mode + extra stage and TLB though. I would very much like to try and improve my result a little more, but I have only today to throw a few attempts and then pack the game and the console for the move as they're not coming with me. Such wonderful games to play, so little time...

April 10th 2019, Wednesday

Time has been scarce for gaming lately, and on top of that other diversions have come up to eat away the little I have left of it.

At least I made a fine discovery last night. It just happens the bosses in KOF Sky Stage can actually be defined by your own actions when playing, so away goes the random nature that always had me fight their hardest incarnations. Such as Goenitz in stage 4, I can't get comfortable with his attacks no matter how hard I try.

Wait for me now, Orochi!

February 28th 2019, Thursday

After not playing them for so long I had to practically relearn stages 2 and 3 of KOF Sky Stage. Trying to perfect the routes in the last couple of levels of such a demanding game can do that to our previously laid-out plans.

Time hasn't been kind to me lately, and I have pretty much avoided playing this game unless my focus is 100% intact. The stakes are just too high, failure is definitely guaranteed if I'm too tired or if I'm already starting to see even the faintest light of that endearing torch held by our dear friend Sandman.

But yeah, the loop is definitely coming. I can feel it.

January 24th 2019, Thursday

Yesterday I could finally unlock the loop for KOF Sky Stage. In doing so I also decided to finally start attempting full runs. It's always great when we feel ready to tackle complete credits in tough games, when victory might come at any moment YET it might also be deterred by our own pride and greed.

Such a wonderful genre this one we love, ain't it so?

Yesterday was also the day I finally purchased my PS4, in a process that has given me much grief for the last couple of months due to poor delivery service from a well-known online retailer (Carrefour). I wonder what PS4 title I'll try to beat first. The natural choice would be Darius, but let's see how it goes.

December 12th 2018, Wednesday

Well, for the first time today I have reached stage 4 in KOF Sky Stage. I certainly deem it as a medium to long term project now, especially because I'm aiming for full stage chains. On top of the game not having a focus shot speed decrease (damn you Cave for spoiling us!) and no extends at all, you have the probability of facing one out of two bosses in three stages of the game, which makes practicing even more elusive. Oh, and there seems to be rank too, but I have to check that further.

I haven't put my Xbox 360 online so I can't have a comparison as to where my performance stands. I have also decided not to do that for now, since I want to learn the game completely for myself without watching any sort of expert play.

It will surely be an interesting outcome if I can achieve victory in this one.

November 8th 2018, Thursday

Last week I was pushed into replaying XDR - X-Dazedly Ray.
Expected shittitude aside, I managed to quickly beat my previous high score by 19%, and didn't even manage to reach the 3rd loop (died in level 2-6).

Anyway, the day after a coleague found out the game's actually broken for score: in the 5th stage die against the boss, replay the checkpoint and collect the 1UP again for a neverending scoring loop if you will. Thanks, Cláudio!

This short episode left me thinking about adding little flags to my collection list pointing out all games that have a broken scoring system. Let's see if I can add those till the end of the year.

July 19th 2018, Thursday

In an effort to document some of the most obscure parts of my shmup collection, this week I decided to see what Dezaemon Plus on the Playstation was about.

I even took the time to translate the Japanese titles of the non-translated sample games to English so that I can refer to them by name when needed. Basics of Kanji OCR 101 and voilá, it's done. If the translated names turn out to be wrong or complete batshit I hope someone can point me the correct ones. After all I couldn't find anything anywhere about these names.

And since the original version of Daioh Gale is included as a hidden game in Dezaemon Plus, what does this make of the SNES Dezaemon cartridge? Yes, redundant and useless. Future/potential buyers/collectors take note.

July 12th 2018, Thursday

The house move is done and the game room is ready, finally.

Some pics for historical reference:

Now it's time to resume playing!

April 20th 2018, Friday

Sometimes taking care of unfinished businesses takes more time than we anticipate. I've been itching to finally tackle some TATE games, but the last bit of the new room depends on a detail the furniture crew will only install in a couple of weeks. And that's where the TV should be, so yeah, I need to wait just a little longer.

Speaking of unfinished businesses, I was finally pushed into replaying Grid Seeker on the correct speed, which should finally validate an achievement that dates back to when I started this blog. For those who don't know, PAL Taito Legends 2 runs all its games more slowly than they're supposed to run.

January 19th 2018, Friday

A brief hiatus on console gaming hit me the last couple of weeks, filled only with Dodonpachi on MAME for a friendly contest. Since the start my goal was to at least loop the game by fully chaining stage 2, an objective that was eventually achieved albeit with a partial combo and a puny fight against the last boss (I barely fulfilled the loop criterion with a 286 max hit for ship A-L).

I also managed to record my chain, so next time I don't have to relearn my strategy all over again and I'm free to focus on other in-game improvements; such as fully chaining stage 4, for example. The truth is that getting better in games like these is something that can only be done in a long term basis, but perhaps this will serve as a good preamble to finally play Dodonpachi Dai-ou-jou with a clear/loop in mind.

November 29th 2017, Wednesday

Just a word of note out there for those who might notice that the shmup collection link is down: the company that hosted my website for over 10 years just decided to raise the yearly cost of the service in almost 800%, so I obviously said NO THANKS and GOODBYE. As a consequence, and while I try to get the site running again in a different host, everything about will be offline.

Hopefully it will be a short downtime, let's see.

On another note, I'm moving to a new house soon. I expect to post pictures of the new game room here when I'm done.

September 15th 2017, Friday

Once again my bet for a current video game generation was off.

Back when the Playstation 3 came out I was sold on the perspective of Gradius VI coming out for it, so I bought the console right away during a quick trip to New York. It turns out the game never saw the light of day, and the actual number of retail releases for the platform would amount to a shameful joke. Then I purchased a Japanese Xbox 360 a few months later and bla-bla-bla, everybody knows the rest of the story.

During the next generation, which we are living right now, I didn't want to get two new consoles so for obvious reasons my allegiance was with the Xbox One. Guess what happened to the retail releases? So far we only have that disappointing Raiden V and a recently released Sine Mora EX, both of which are also on the Playstation 4 alongside a meatier library that will only grow in the next years.

End of story: I have already bought a handful of Playstation 4 shmups but I played none of them because I don't own the console. Thankfully the Christmas season is coming so I might get lucky.

July 17th 2017, Monday

So yeah... I've been sucked into Blue Wish Resurrection. I sort of bumped into it, and only then realized Windows finally started to run the game in fullscreen at a regular 60 FPS instead of the awful 30 FPS it was displaying until very recently. Something must have reconnected in Windows 10, so now I can also play all the games that had the same problem on Steam (such as RefleX and the eXceed series).

I was also about to be done with BWR and return to Gradius IV (I know, I know), but then it came to me that having auto guard ON was a very puny way to play the game. Besides, a little reading here and there opened my eyes to the fact that there's more to learn in this outstanding free bullet hell PC shooter.

The only downside is that the game doesn't recognize the D-pad in my controller, only the analog stick. It's not ideal, but I've gotten used to it already, so yeah... Blue Wish Resurrection, here we go again.

April 20th 2017, Friday

And I thought Big Core Mark III "kai" would be my biggest problem during the boss rush of Gradius IV... It turns out the evolution to Tetran, here named "Covered" Tetran, quickly became my nemesis there. My last couple of credits ended on him, and I needed LOTS of continues to get past the prick and finish practice for the rest of the game.

On another note, despite the extremely reduced time for gaming I think I can already see the clear coming. Each gaming session, no matter how disastrous, is good to iron out all those necessary details that help make the run more consistent. I still die a lot in the moai level, but I'm also able to get back up without much trouble.

Rest, stamina and focus.

Die, moai, die.

April 7th 2017, Friday

A few weeks ago I was getting tired of only getting through the moai level in Gradius IV on the basis of luck or of an enlightened gaming session. On Monday I decided I wouldn't allow that anymore, so I hammered the moai stage for a whole evening on the search for a fixed route I could use to defeat those petrified shmucks.

It turns out the strategy I came up with works! I still need to close the gap in the 2nd half of the level in regards to the last checkpoint, but I just played another credit where I died there and got back up on the next life. Now my task is to perfect the final stretch of this route so that I can achieve a 99% success rate on that dreaded stage.

Aside from complete credits to test my stamina, in the next sessions I'll be practicing the fortress level. Wish me luck!

March 6th 2017, Monday

For a learning process that's obviously slower than usual, I think I'm making decent progress in Gradius IV.

On Saturday I had a couple of good runs through the moai level, and I believe I'm starting to get consistent at dealing with them. Then I took the opportunity in my last credit to practice the checkpoints in the following stage (Cell) and a little of the high speed level.

I have also set up my Japanese Mega Drive with Thunder Force IV, but only turned it on to see if it's working. If things get too dire with Gradius IV I already have a diversion to go to.

February 14th 2017, Tuesday

After a few quick learning sessions and a couple of attempts I finally unlocked Stage Select on Gradius IV by playing on the easiest difficulty with maxed out number of lives and completing the game on a single credit.

Now the real process of getting to know the game begins! Stage layouts are already familiar due to the previous practice. What lies ahead of me, I wonder?

On another note, last week I tried to get a selfie with my daughter in my gaming room, but she wouldn't look at anything other than the TV running Gradius IV... Is that a sign that she'll want to play with me in the future?

February 2nd 2017, Thursday

Last night I fired up Gradius IV on the Playstation 2 for the first time with a 1CC in mind.

I've been itching to play this game and I've also been warned about how hard it is, so I'll be taking my time to learn it. The little I have of it, anyway.

I'll try to chronicle my evolution here whenever possible.
Let's see how long it takes!

Click here to see journal entries prior to 2017

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