Princessology: Erata, Enchanted Etc.

Spoliers ahead

Erata

In my previous Princessology post I did thorough work to determine the scope of the study. Must of the usual suspects makes the cut and then there are several honorable mentions who didn’t make it to my list, for example because they aren’t animated or because they are not princesses at all.

One young lady I summarily excluded from the study was Giselle, the protagonist of Enchanted, on the grounds that the movie wasn’t animated. I realize that I should have been more precise: I obviously meant “fully animated”…

That said, further study into the character reveals that while Giselle not only wears a dress and has an animal sidekick, but also has most of the characteristics of the classical distressed damsels like Snow White and Cinderella, she lacks a defining trait: She is not a princess and neither does she become one during the movie. Therefor she is stricken from the list in any case and get to hang out with Mulan instead. I can imagine worse company. However, there is another character in the movie who might pass that criterion depending on the scheduling of wedding and coronation, but as already pointed out the movie must be fully animated.

Good to have that cleared up now.

Enchanted

I enjoyed casually watching Enchanted. It was interesting to see Amy Adams in one of her earlier roles before her career really took off. Also, watching and not just listening to Idina Menzell (the voice of Elsa) was interesting. It is fair to wonder what the ambition of the movie is – is it a retelling/mashup of the classical Disney fairy tales, or is it a satire of these movies, showing how absurd they are when watched through modern eyes? It may be age or movie watching experience, but I believe the latter, and as such the movie is fine – just think about the cleanup/singing scene – brilliant. I’ll rate it 3/5.

Etc.

Probationary Princess

Upon further consideration, Megara has been moved to probationary status. While hooking up with the Son of Zeus, King of Gods certainly count towards princess status, the fact that Hercules gave up his god-hood to be together with her counts against him being a prince, and her princesshood as a consequence. More research is required.

Likewise, Jane Porter needs to be reviewed, since she is romantically involved with Tarzan, who is often referred to as the King of the Jungle. This might make Jane a queen (but skipping the princess stage entirely). However, if Disney’s movie doesn’t make clear reference to Tarzan being king, the Esmeralda rule will be applied, since only the movie version count.

Rewatching Frozen II

When I published my previous Princessology Update Frozen II had just premiered on home video and as expected I have watched if several times since. A few times with the kids, several times by myself. I like the movie very much.

I guess there may have been many possible plot-lines to choose between, including the most obvious one with some new antagonist arriving and the sisters teaming up to win the day for Arendelle. Instead the relationship between sisters is explored and resolved. Maybe the creators took input from the senior Pixar people who receives thanks in the end credits. Especially if watching the movie through a neurodiversity lens, it tells story of the challenges sisters that are different may experience as they grow up. In that sense, Frozen II is not just a kids’ movie, but a movie for everyone with an interest in how siblings grow up and it is well worth watching. I’ll rate it 4/5.

Featured image

A landscape photo from Thy, where I just had vacation with the family. The landscape is something special, the light in midsummer is something special and the weather was cold and rainy, which was bad for beach trips, but great for photographing landscapes with interesting clouds.

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Princessology Update

Princessology Update

Beware, spoilers ahead

As I write this (mid-May 2020) the time of waiting is coming to an end. Specifically, the wait for the home video release of Frozen II, which, given the demography of my household, will probably run almost non-stop on the TV for the foreseeable future. This is a great time to make an update to my princessological study of Disney princesses.

Princessology being the study of princesses, just like geology is the study of the earth and climatology the study of the climate (the abominable misuse of the term “methodology” in situations where “method” will do just fine shall be ignored – it will get its own post some day). The subject is not generally taught in schools where I live, but it is part of the curriculum at Ever After High and that is good enough for me).

This began as a speech to a niece at her confirmation some years ago about princesses as role models. I started out with real life examples like the daughters of  English Henry VIII and Valdemar IV of Denmark, after which I turned attention to Disney royalty. First as a as a chronological walk-through so that I could demonstrate how the characterizations of princesses changed over time, but with 22(!) princesses on my list that didn’t work in practice and did not do justice to the better written characters. Below is what I did instead and at the end of the post some additional thoughts and personal observations.

I know there a plenty of post like this one out there, often either discussing how horribly old-fashioned some of the female characters are portrayed, or celebrating the modern portrayal of other (newer) characters. I find it worthwhile to look at them all – to confirm both the new and the old views, and find something interesting in-between.

Definitions and Scope

What is a Disney Princess anyway? The short reply is “depends :)” and Disney has at least two answers themselves: According to Maui (Shapeshifter, Demigod of The Wind and Sea, Hero of Men) you are a princess if you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick; and then there is the official Princess Squad (numbering 12 as of May 22, 2002). I am not going to argue with a flashy demigod, but I also have issues with the princess squad list as being both too inclusive and too exclusive. Specifically: Mulan, for all her personal qualities and potential as a strong, female role model, just is not a princess nor does she become one. Likewise, there are several perfectly fine princesses-by-birth who could be added to the list if Disney should choose so, for example Vanellope von Schweetz and Kida.

Examples of alternate princess squads from the Internet: The Disney Princes ‘B’ Club and The Disney Princes B-squad

To arrive at a more accurate list of princesses I consider only female characters in Disney theatrical animated features who are of royal either or noble descent, or become royal or noble by marriage. As mentioned above, the nobility requirement this eliminates Mulan from the list, but I do include chieftains’ daughters like Moana and Pocahontas.

Next, limiting the study to a specific list of Disney movies also scratch several candidates from the list, starting with Merida who is great, but a Pixar character. If she was added to the list, then we might arguably add characters from Blue Sky Studios movies, since that studio became part of Disney as part of the Fox Deal (it actually looks like Blue Sky has managed to avoid princesses in their movies so far, although I am not going to watch all Ice Age movies to confirm it). This also removes Sally Nightmare  from the list (stop motion is technologically closer to the vintage animation of the movies from CGI was introduced, than today’s CGI productions).

Then, by considering only theatrical features we not only remove the (also) excellent Elena of Avalor from the list, but also Sofia the First and all the other pupils from Royal School of Enchancia school (as well as Princess Ivy and, if one considers the Amulet of Avalor a princess summoning device: Olaf the Snowman). It also leaves out direct to video sequels and the new remakes.

Finally the study stick to “animated”, which leaves out not only Giselle, but also any other Princess showing up in a theatrical Disney production. 

A good test is the Leia Criterion: Don’t include a character in the list, if including that character would allow include Princess Leia. 

Through this the list of princesses has been reduced considerably. I do not, however, see any reason to limit the study to human characters: I think Vanellope and Nala are both very fine princesses.

Furthermore, the study is limited to female characters. Disney Princes may warrant their own study post in the future, just think about the story that could unfold if Frozen III picks up the story about commoner Christoph being married to royal Anna (in Denmark media have been ripe with stories about the trials of a prince consort; or watch The Crown on Netflix for a British perspective).

Finally, the study only consider the characters’ story within the context of the movie, so while Esmeralda marries Captain Phoebus in the Disney adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and he is a noble in the book, I will not cheery-pick that single nice fact and ignore Victor Hugo’s vastly different character story arcs.

All said, the list of princesses making the cut follows below. There are less than 22 because I leave out the three Pixar princesses Merida, Atta and Dot.

NameMovieYearPrincess byNotes
Snow WhiteSnowwhite1937Birth
FalineBambi1942Marriage
CinderellaCinderella1950Marriage
TigerlilyPeter Pan1953Birth
AuroraSleeping Beauty1959Birth
Lady MarionRobin Hood1973Birth
EilonwyThe Black Cauldron1985Birth
ArielThe Little Mermaid1989Birth
BelleBeauty and the Beast1991Marriage
JasmineAladdin1992Birth
NalaThe Lion King1994Marriage
PocahontasPocahontas1995Birth
MegaraHercules1997Marriage
Kida (Kidagakash Nedakh)Atlantis: The Lost Empire2001Birth
TianaThe Princess and the Frog2009Marriage
RapunzelTangled2010Birth
Vanellope von SchweetzWreck-it Ralph, Ralph Breaks the Internet2012, 2018BirthPrincess by initialization
AnnaFrozen, Frozen II2013, 2019Birth
ElsaFrozen, Frozen II2013, 2019Birth
MoanaMoana2016BirthAlso called Vaiana in some regions.

A mentioned the study started out as a rumination of the feminist development of the Disney princess over time, and while that is an important point, I eventually divided the princesses into four different categories:

    • The Damsels 
    • The Driven
    • The Responsible
    • The Rebellious

The first group is the usually reviled group of pretty girls waiting for Prince Charming, but the other categories are a reminder that there are sgreat characters out there with more interesting stories to tell.

The Damsels

This is the home of the first,classical Disney princesses: Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora (Sleeping Beauty). Beautiful, loving girls who can mange a household while waiting for Prince Charming to show up. Lady Marion is saved and Faline is conquered, saved and get to bear the next generation.

All characters don’t do much in their story except wait to be saved and then presumable become good wives and queens and live happily ever after.

The surprise member of this group is Belle from Beauty and the Beast’, because although she is introduced as an intelligent and bookish girl who wants more from life than what her village has to offer, she succeeds through goodness and love. The pivotal character saving the day is the boy Chip, who has the technical savvy to make farther Maurice’ contraption work. Of course the title of the movie and name of the character gives this away, but it still seems like a wasted opportunity to me.

The Driven

The next group is less likely to live happily after after, but if they do, then it is because they made it so. They are driven and ambitious and their royalty is a secondary trait. Consider self-made business woman Tiana, whose prince gets to entertain in her restaurant; or Vanellope von Schweetz who will rather drive racing cars than rule her kingdom.

Who knows if that ends well?

The Responsible

I expect it to end well for the responsible princesses, who experience a crises and use their wit and charm to succeed against the odds. Anna, who journeys through ice and snow to bring summer and her sister back to of Arendelle belongs in this group, along with Nala who asks Simba to drop ‘hakuna matata’ and become a proper Lion King. Kida from Atlantis gets to rebuild her society from almost nothing. I also put The Princess Eilonwy and Tigerlily in here, although their story arcs aren’t great (for Eilonwy’s complete story read The Chronicles of Prydain).

Final member in this group is Moana (or Vaiana, depending where you live), whose journey both across the sea and personal discovery is driven by a desire to save her island (of course she is a Chosen one, but while she is attracted to the unknown, she does return to (and for) her people).

I am confident that these women will do well.

The Rebellious

Exciting stories are those of the rebellious princesses. Like Jasmine, who meets Aladdin after running away from tradition and arranged marriage. Instead, when she gets marries it is to a commoner. Megara, on the other hand, confronts the bad decisions of her past.

Some princesses rebels against there parents. Rapunzel, who pursues her Dream (well-) armed with a frying pan, the little mermaid Ariel and chieftain’s daughter Pocahontas, who follows their love heart instead of duty.

Finally I now confidently place Elsa in this group. In the original (non-posted) version of the study I was reluctant about placing Elsa in this group. She does leave behind her place as queen of Arendelle to go on a journey of self-discovery and -realization. But then she is back home again, creating skating fields.What happened to the girl who ‘Let it go’? Of course she had a rough time in the movie, but ending her story there never felt credible to me. I was optimistic when the sequel was announced, and after watching the movie also delighted that Elsa’s story arc is concludes in a satisfactory way.

Final Thoughts

The study may be whimsical, but at the core it is about thinking critically about the entertainment that we allow our children to watch and emerge themselves into. Who should be their heroines and heroes? Which stories catches their attention and when do they need guidance and when should their ideas and understanding be challenged? The study could be written about any piece of entertainment featuring a diverse cast of characters. Who is the favorite pub of Paw Patrol (Everest, if you ask me, no competition even close), The greatest superhero? (Batman, of course, but what if we play Marvel only?) And so it goes, on and on, but as long as they take it seriously, I as parent will do the same.

The number of universes created and pushed upon children is enormous, but I find it worthwhile to at least follow which ones my children watch and enjoy. It is something to share with them and I hope that if we can share the funny things now, then they will also share the less funny stuff when that day comes.

Featured Image

Closeup of crabapple flowers.

Playing Roles – My Brief History #5

The years from 2003 to 2012 are a distinct period where I focused mostly on Role Play Games. As far as interests go it is a natural development from my earlier interests, it is only because of new hardware that I see it as a different period in my gamer career. The end, on the other hand, is definitely marked by the birth of my first child. Playing computer games too k a backseat for a long time after that.

I have always loved playing computer Role Play Games (=cRPG or just RPGs). I wonder why – probably a mix of the pacing (slow, player controlled), the scope (10s of hours per play through), the storytelling and the degree of complexity (not  simple and not overly complex, just right). fairly high, but not the purpose). I was hooked on Wasteland and never really stopped since, although 1993 – 1998 were dry, until Baldur’s Gate and Fallout revitalized the genre.

(By the way, I also love playing pen & paper RPGs, but that’s for another post)

My brief history of gaming #5 – Playing in the 2000s

Writing about my hardware in the 2000s it strikes me that whereas upgrades in the 1990s were primarily driven by adding CPU power, in the next decade it was more about additional features like USB connectivity and affordable portability (i.e., laptops).

My first PC (from 1993) lasted until 2002. Then it couldn’t escape obsolescence any longer. hit it. There were no more compatible upgrades available. Motherboards no longer came with the AT/Din5 keyboard connector that my PC case required and after 9 years the cabinet was worn and scratched. It was also too small for multiple hard disks and optical drives and had no easily available  place for USB connections (eventually provided by a PCI card on the back of the case – a must-do if I wanted a mouse, since PS/2 connectors were not possible either)

PC gray was out of fashion now and I went for black instead. I do not remember all specs well but it was based on an AMD Athlon XP 2000+ CPU and I remember adding 2x 80 GB harddisks for the multi-boot setup – initially it ran Windows 98, Windows 2000 and Linux (probably CentOS) – but it wasn’t long before the older Windows were replaced by Windows XP. Initially it had a modem for dual up networking. It wasn’t intended for gaming, and the most exciting feature apart from the two USB ports on the font was the monitor I bought with it – a 14” flat-screen, which was just becoming affordable at the time (that would be at 4000 DKK at the time (about 540€) – it is strange to think back what a huge difference it made to get rid of the big CRT monitor and swtich to flat screen, also at a a time when 1024×768 resolution was still OK.

The 2002 PC didn’t get a lot of upgrades (a faster CPU and new graphics card is all I remember), but then I also started working on laptops more and more. The older PC sometimes acting as a terminal for remote desktop connected laptops, so it wasn’t until 2009 that it was replaced with new hardware – a system bade on a Core 2 Duo. Not a bad rig (it is still running after upgrade with SSD and Windows 10), but while I had it, it had some stability issues (both in Win XP and In 7, but gone in Win 10) and it didn’t support SATA3 and USB 3, so in 2011-12 it was gradually replaced by the 2500K system that I am still running (which has done well with some good upgrades, but is showing its age now).

Memorable games

This is a funny list – very focused on Bioware and Bethesda products, with appearances from Obsidian and Troika (which are all related now). Just proves the point made in the beginning of this post.

  • Battlefield 1942 – yes, I did play a non-RPG during this period!
  • Sid Meyer’s Pirates: An enjoyable remake of the C64 games I used to play
  • Icewind Dale 2: The last of the infinity engine games and fun to play, even if the game style was getting old. I am glad I played it then. There is little chance of seeing a Beamdog ‘Enhanced Edition’ remake since the source code is lost, but there should be mods available to make it run on modern systems and resolutions.
  • Morrowind: My first experience with a Bethesda Elder Scrolls game and one of the better ones, even if interface and game-play is a bit heavy-handed by modern standards. Also, playing the leveling system optimally is tedious and much bookkeeping. Still, the sense of exploring a vast world at my own pace is what I remember the most.
  • Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR): This game brought me back to PC gaming after some hiatus. I liked it a lot and played it through at least 4 times (including one game on Android phone)
  • Knights of the Old Republic 2: More playing jedi and generally enjoyable. I recognize the quality issues that plagued the game, but the game was fine and the ambition paid off.
  • Planescape Torment: When I finally played this in 2005 it was 5+ years old but still a great experience and a classic that I, as RPG enthusiast, would not want to be without
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines: Another RPG that is well.known for quality issues. I played a patched version and had fun.
  • Jade Empire: A new universe from Bioware, but the game felt a lot like KotOR in a new, eastern setting.
  • Fallout 3: The first Fallout game after Bethesda acquired the IP from Interplay. As expected and feared by some, it felt much like a post-nuclear Elder Scrolls game and that works fine for me. 
  • Oblivion: The fourth Elder Scrolls game, following Morrowind. I think I played almost the complete game, except finishing the Shivering Isles DLC. Generally enjoyable, but while it kept the bookkeeping gameplay of its predecessor, it felt less like an open world, due to its focus on the Oblivion threat from early on.
  • Mass Effect: Another new IP from Bioware, this time set in a SciFi universe. Another fine game which I played twice and enjoyed both times. I should still play at least the first sequel (I tried once at it felt to fast paced though)
  • Dragon Age: Origins: I finally finished this game last year, but I played it first in 2011 but never finished.Thinking back I blame the dwarven part of the game and one more boss-fight than needed.
  • Skyrim: Great, immersive and beautiful. Didn’t feel quite as open-worldy as I remember Morrowind being, but Bethesda got rid of the old leveling system.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: Another game that I tried completing several times, but never did. The last attempt was just before my daughter was born and all that remained was the last boss fight. Thinking back I should just have changed the difficulty settings and completed the game that way, but it is too late to do anything about that now. I may give it another go at some point, either playing from install DVD or pick up a fully digital version from GOG.

It was also during this period that I played Eve Online. A whole lot of it, actually. I will write on that in the next post in this series.

Feature image

Evening sky with just after sunset – with something rare these days: Contrails. It is strange how you don’t see those at the moment – a symbol of a new age.

Related posts

Thoughts of Games – My Brief History #1

Becoming a Gamer – My Brief History #2

IBM Compatible Gaming – My Brief History #3

What about Consoles? – My Brief History #4

2019 Goals Retrospective

It is the season for retrospectives – both for 2019 and for the 2010s. And since this I actually did draw up a list of goals for 2019 it feels good and worthwhile to write about it and share it for inspiration.

My list was inspired by the 18-for-2018 list by Gretchen Rubin from the Happiness Podcasts, but see here for variations: Fuck New Year’s Resolutions and Goal Setting. What was important to me was to have list of tangible achievements for the year which would make me happy and satisfied, and, in various ways, a better person for having achieved them.

Below are some of the items from my 2019 list and how it went.

2019 and how it went

Watch 19 movies

I barely made this one in time. In the past I have had a ‘to-watch’ list of interesting movies which I filled from reading reviews, blogs etc., but in 2019 years I lost touch. Part of the reason surely is that I switched to digital newspapers only (another 2019 goal successfully met), which meant that I didn’t keep up with new releases as well as I used to do. Also, my goal of playing at least two computer games naturally disrupted my movie watching.

What helped me reach the goal none-the-less was two things: First, I wanted to see all the Marvel MCU movies before Avengers: Endgame and there is just so many of those that it got me half way to 19. Second I have been buying up animation movies for the kids (yeah, sure – for the kids : ), so there was also some easy options there.

As a result I got my superhero appetite sated for a long time (some of those movies are quite good, actually, but 5 in a week gets a bit much, especially because they are not that different). I also watched Cars 3 and was positively surprised (I didn’t care about Cars the Fist and disliked Cars 2, so that bar was low), Ralph Breaks the Internet (less satisfied, and I suspect it well age less well then its predecessor with all those culture references to the Internet of 2018). To finish the goal I watched the refreshing Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse and Lego Movie 2, the latter mostly buried beneath two happy kids, so I will surely have a similar goal for 2020

Watch a TV series

These past years TV series have been all the rage with people raving (more or less) about how great it is to see a series universe be established over time and the characters’ long term development etc. I have been holding back a bit for the same reason: It is a lot of time to invest i a series to see the universe get established over time and watch the characters develop. But I pulled myself together and downloaded the first 2-4 episodes of various series to my tablet before going on summer vacation and ended up watching Lucifer. I am also going to watch The Witcher, but that premiered so late in the year that I didn’t sett more than half of the first episode. And watching a series takes more than that. Right now I am working with the criterion that I need to watch one entire season of a series and then one episode from the next season before it counts as a series watched. Single-season mini series are of course exempt from the second rule.

Play 2 new video games

I put this item on the list because I had rather enjoyed playing through Fallout 4, and wanted to make sure that I had a couple of equally enjoyable experience. I then went on to play through F4 twice more, which was fun but didn’t help me goal-wise. In the third play through I pulled myself together and skipped the final quests and started Dragon Age instead. I have tried that game several times but never completed it. This time I did and enjoyed that very much. Next up I gave Crusader Kings II a go – I even bought a bunch of expansions which I’d been told was necessary to really enjoy it. But after a couple of weeks I must conclude that it just isn’t kind of game. Still, that’s two out of two.

Buy a new jacket.

Checked and done. Levi’s has served me well once more.

Cancel blogs

I made 2 out of of 3 (because here we are : ) That said, I did get close down a couple of activities that I wasn’t only not enjoying anymore, but also paying yearly to keep running. Also, I reconsidered about this blog and realized again, that I do like writing it and I like the point of mastering my own domain and owning my own content on the net. Facebook, Twitter and the lot will have their time and eventually fade away, taking your content with them. This blog is mine and will stay up as long as I want it so. And I own whatever I publish here, not subject to any nefarious terms and conditions. Finally, as I inevitably have a public, digital presence, it just makes sense to have a vCard that I control myself.

19 water changes in the fish tank

Best practice is to change 25% or more of the water in a fish tank weekly. For many years I got away with doing it every second week (most of the time, obviously, or I wouldn’t have this goal), but getting a smaller tank with more and bigger fish made that unsustainable. Blooming algae have spoken the clear, green/brown language. Good news is that I can confirm that adjusting water change schedule really helps deal with those black beard algae.

Stop printed newspaper subscriptions

For many years we subscribed to a printed news paper at home, but didn’t read it as much as we felt we should, preferring online news-sources instead. Still, we liked the traditional idea of having our children grow up in a house where news papers. After a particularly bad streak of unread newspaper I began considering the counter-argument: Don’t have our children grow up in a house where natural resources are wasted just for show and adherence to tradition. The latter argument makes better sense in many ways. Less environmental footprint, less cost, readable on the same device as my other news sources. Also, whereas the elder generation may prefer the traditional way, we will eventually be judged by the younger. It still leaves it to us parents to teach our children good (internet) news reading habits, but keeping a printed news paper is an awful excuse for not doing that.

Read two books of fiction

After a couple of attempts I finally got started, gripped and completed Robert A. Heinlein‘s ‘The Moon is a hard Mistress‘, which is excellent and holding up remarkably well, especially considering that it was published in 1966, before Man set foot on the Moon! I am qualified to say that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

I also read ‘The Consuming Fire‘, second book in John Scalzi‘s Interdependency series. Very enjoyable too.

I also had the goals of reading one management book and one self-help book and eventually (December) went for Sun Tzu’s The Art of War (done – a fair target if you stick to the main text) and ‘Getting things done‘ (which I ironically didn’t quite 🙂

2020 goals

In the new year I plan, among other things, to:

  • Watch more movies – some with my wife, some with my kids, some for myself (the latter category so far including Captain Marvel, Tully and Toy Story 2, in case you misunderstood : )
  • Read the (weekly) digital news paper at least 20 times
  • Build a play house for the children
  • Read more books
  • Go to some concerts
  • Prepare some candlelight dinners at home.

and so on and so forth. It is going to be a productive year, hopefully with some great achievements. I can already see that I am going to fail on some of my goals too. So be it – until now I am failing for good and well-considered reasons. More about that in my 2020 goals follow-up, coming to a blog near you.

Featured Image

A frozen flower of the Pink Fairy rose.

What about Consoles? – My Brief History #4

When I started writing this series of posts about my life as gamer I didn’t expect to do a post on console gaming. Why not? Because so far it has been a significant part of my gamer experience. I expected to give it honorable mention in a wrap comment, along with mobile gaming. Yet here we are and I am writing this. What happened? The short answer is that I got myself an Xbox One for Christmas, so one way of the other, a console will be part of my life for a while coming, and before that happens it makes sense to take a status on my console experience so far.

The longer answer to the ‘why get a console now?’ involves retrogaming, media centers and surveillance cameras and the Raspberry Pi. Here is how: As mentioned in a previous post I am the generally happy owner of 3 Pis. Two are media centers, the third is used for various experiments.

Now, we have a spot in the house that we want to be able to check occasionally when we are away from the house. A quick solution for the budget aware person is to grab a Raspberry Pi, connect a camera and DIY. That’s what I am gonna do and that’s gonna set me back one Pi.

Then, regarding media centers: I have two Rasperry Pis running Kodi (one per TV) and that is a fine solution, except that one of the pies is not performing well and I want at the very least to have a backup. That could be another Pi, but trying out heavier hardware could be interesting.

Finally, as my first post in this series indicates, my heart still beats for old arcade and early computer games. Fortunately emulators are available that provide the opportunity to reply these games, either on a PC or *something* else. Again, the quick solution for the budget aware person involves a Raspberry Pi and, for example, an installation of RetroPie – a Linux package specifically build to run RetroArch on a Raspberry Pi. A great idea in principle, but I never was happy with the result, with the main gripe being controller setup. I just can’t get a stable setup with a wireless BlueTooth controller. So next step for me is to try building on hardware with native wireless controller support. I was already starting to look into options for building a NUC-based solution for this, when it occurred to me to check current costs of a gaming console. Turns out that both the PS4 and the Xbox One are now reasonably priced. Then, while I am not a fan of the Black Friday concept, I still checked if an Xbox could be bought at a reasonable price. Turns out it could. Directly from Microsoft even. No doubt to lock people into their games eco system before they get a Stadia or switch to Play Station 5 instead of getting the Xbox Series X when it arrives in 2020. And apparently also to keep people from buying more Raspberry Pis. In any case, soon I will unwrap my new Xbox and grow much wiser in the way of consoles. Time will tell if I succeed with my projects and whether gaming catches on – at least for the kids.

My brief history of gaming #4 – The Consoles in my Life

I am pretty sure that my earliest gaming experience was on a neighbor’s Atari 2600, some sort of tennis game and since then console gaming has always on the edge of my gaming universe, with a few trips inside. We shall see what my Xbox will do about that, but That may be a out to change, but I’ll start at the beginning.now I start at the beginning.

After the Atari next experience was the small handhelds with LCD screen. Nintendo’sGame & Watch: Octopus and Trojan Horse and Towering Rescue from Gakken. Very simple games by today’s standard, but quite exciting for a kid in the early 1980s and more than enough to make you want more.

I then took the Commodore path of 64 and the Amiga path and didn’t pay much attention to the console alternatives. I suspect that many consoles weren’t marketed very well in Denmark either – probably the market is too small.

What finally brought me to consoles was SSX Tricky and Dancing Stage Megamix, (played on floor pads) on the PlayStation 2. To me the biggest thing on PS2 was Final Fantasy X, my first experience with a JRPG and that way of telling stories, I also tried out Final Fantasy X-2 and Final Fantasy XII. However, I only went fully into FFX, possibly because of an unfavorable relation between the sofa-tv distance and the screen size, or perhaps the risk of tripping over the controller cable or the noisiness of the console. in any case, my PS2 experience topped with FFX and I haven’t played console game since. So on the eve of unpacking my Xbox One, this is the time to make status.

Memorable Games (that I played)

  • Half-Life – this is the only time I have played this classic game. Something missing in my education, I know.
  • SSX Tricky
  • Dancing Stage Megamix
  • Final Fantasy X

Memorable Games (that I would have liked to play but didn’t for various reasons that won’t fit in this headline)

Looking back, it would have been great to play some Mario games and meet Sonic the Hedgehog.

Also, I might have played more of the Final Fantasy games as they came out. I have tried the ports of Final Fantasy VI and VII (not the upcoming 2020 remake)

Little Big Planet also looks fun – maybe next time.

I also missed the Nintendo Wii – it looked fun as a party game, but I was never convinced how it worked in other situations – perhaps I should take a look at the Switch. but first things first, I’ll go unpack my Xbox One.

Featured Image

The featured image shows the fruit bodies of a annosus root rot fungus colony I found during recent walk in a nearby forest. It was a great trip and I really enjoyed the fall forest with my kids. They helped my find lots of different fungi – the best of which are shared in my Instagram feed.

Related posts

Thoughts of Games – My Brief History #1

Becoming a Gamer – My Brief History #2

IBM Compatible Gaming – My Brief History #3