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Dancing To A Different Beat

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I started playing video games from a very young age, and it didn't take me long to imagine what it would be like to create my own game. I can still vividly remember two ideas I had back when I was in middle school in the late 1980s. One was an ultraviolent beat-em-up about cleaning up the streets with an assortment of weapons, both melee and ranged, because I was such a fan of Double Dragon. The other was an epic Mega Man sequel that included all the robot masters in a single adventure, one where players navigated a world map to choose their own path to reach Dr. Wily's castle.

While I spent hours doodling detailed layouts of these ideas in my Trapper Keeper, my grand plan to embark on a new career never took off. The odds were stacked against me: Everything I wanted to make was entirely derivative of established properties. Moreover, I had only a fleeting knowledge of BASIC programming, which was insufficient to create a complex consumer game, and I was 12 years old. I had the passion and enthusiasm to fantasise about designing a video game but lacked the means or opportunity to do so.

In honour of his 75th birthday this week, we shall talk about a man who was afforded such a chance despite his open hostility for the medium. A significant corporation assumed that getting a famous face on the box would justify developing a game around a celebrity, only for said celebrity to propose ideas that turned the project into an infamously obtuse puzzle few players could understand.

The man in question is Takeshi Kitano, and the game is Takeshi no Chōsenjō a.k.a. "Takeshi's Challenge."

In a pop culture landscape that is entirely celebrity-driven, Takeshi Kitano stands as one of the giants of Japanese media. He made a name for himself as part of a manzai comedy duo back in the 1970s, where he and a pal were collectively known as "Two Beat." While the pair have long since split up, to this day, Kitano is regularly credited as "Beat Takeshi" in his many, many TV appearances. We used to crack jokes about the late Bob Saget when he starred in two shows on ABC in the 1990s. Still, Kitano regularly hosts at least six programs on Japanese television as of this writing, with a list of past broadcast credits that reads more extended than most biographies.

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However, Kitano did not stick to stand-up, as he quickly found acting roles in a variety of genres. One of his earliest parts that garnered worldwide attention was that of a cruel prison guard in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, a beautiful but harrowing story of British POWs in World War II. Kitano delivers the final, titular line of the film in a moment I will never forget.

During this post-Lawrence period, when Kitano could not be more well-known, the comedian and Taito met to discuss creating a video game with his likeness. Accounts differ as to which party took the first step: Either Taito approached Kitano looking to license his name and image for a generic shooting game, or Kitano came to Taito and told them about a game he wanted to make. Whichever side contacted the other, everyone agrees that Kitano was not content to sign away his identity without creative input into the project.

The development process for Takeshi no Chōsenjō has a similarly contested backstory. Kitano claims that he met with the staff just once for an hour in a coffee shop and outlined his entire plan. Taito's people tell a different tale, one where they diligently recorded everything Kitano told them over drinks and pledged to include all his ideas regardless of how intoxicated he was. According to chief programmer Eiichiro Morinaga's personal blog, he recalls taking many trips to the top floor of a Shinjuku hotel to meet Kitano and coming away with an entire notebook's worth of material.

Whomever you choose to believe, the resulting game created under these disputed circumstances is a uniquely ambitious open-world adventure. In Takeshi no Chōsenjō, players control a nameless "salaryman," an icon of the Japanese bubble economy. He lives and works in Tokyo, and his in-game neighbourhood is teeming with options. Players can choose to visit his office, return to his home, go to the movies, stop by the bank, go shopping, play pachinko, sing karaoke, get drunk in the bar, plus many other potential activities. All these destinations, as well as the streets in-between, have other people milling about at all times; the salaryman can start a fistfight with any of them, and a few will attack him on sight (this includes his wife and kids).

The aptly-named "challenge" of Takeshi no Chōsenjō requires players to decipher exactly which tasks must be completed (and in what order) to advance the plot. The game offers no hints, and only wild experimentation or incredible luck will lead players to unscramble the dream-logic of this world. In short, the salaryman is unhappy with his life, and he must free himself of all his woes before undertaking a journey of self-discovery. Should he make the "right" choices, he can obtain a treasure map and embark on an international jaunt to uncover a hidden fortune. Any slip-ups or oversights lead to a Game Over screen featuring his smiling portrait on display at his funeral.

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Takeshi no Chōsenjō came out in late 1985*, after Super Mario Bros but before The Legend of Zelda. The Famicom craze was in its third holiday season, and Taito's gamble paid off; with Beat Takeshi's name and face on the cover, Takeshi no Chōsenjō sold about 800,000 copies. While that's not a figure that breaks any records, it certainly ranks among the system's most popular games.

Well, "popular" might not be the right word because Kitano's elaborate video game proved to be so challenging to play that audiences were upset, so upset that they inundated the publisher with disgruntled phone calls and messages. The company that produced the strategy guide received so many complaints that they printed a second supplemental book offering more tips (They also told people that the author of the first guide died, a story that I'm not sure if it is a diversion or a genuine tragedy).

Video game history is rife with stories of failure, and in the wild west that was the 1980s, there were undoubtedly more "bad" games than "good." Nevertheless, we tend to remember the ones that kept us entertained, the ones we played over and over, the ones that brought us joy. Takeshi no Chōsenjō achieved a level of infamy that few video games do by becoming synonymous with crap. In Japanese, the term is kusoge, a portmanteau of kuso (excrement) and "game," and thanks to its extensive sales and celebrity association, Takeshi no Chōsenjō is seen as the king of the heap.

I find Takeshi no Chōsenjō a fascinating piece of work as it offers players an unheard amount of gameplay choices for its era. It is so absurdly tricky that it enrages players when viewed as a task to complete, but I cannot ignore the degree of ambition and gusto that went into its development. Taito could have slapped Kitano's mug on any generic software and turned a profit, but instead created a unique interactive experience that no one will ever replicate.

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To the company's credit, Taito has never shied away from preserving Takeshi no Chōsenjō by letting it slip into the annals of abandonware. Before the service shut down, Takeshi no Chōsenjō was available for purchase on the Wii Virtual Console in Japan, and a mobile port for smartphones was released in 2017. I doubt it's any easier to play with a touchscreen, but I suspect that was never the goal of the conversion.

Many video games are ephemeral products of their time, and fame is a fleeting asset in our lives. Cutting-edge technology can become obsolete in a matter of days, and even the most prominent celebrities can fall into obscurity. Yet Takeshi Kitano endures: Thanks to his lengthy career in cinema, he is even more well known in more countries in 2022 than in 1986. His "challenge" also endures; despite over 1000 cartridges in the Famicom's library, Takeshi no Chōsenjō is still a game people talk about, struggle with, and love/hate even today. Call me a cynic, but I don't think anyone involved in its production had any idea their work would leave an imprint of this magnitude—least of all Kitano, sober or otherwise.

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Dipping My Toes In Game Development.

Over the last few months, I've had a real itch to make a game. I would love to make a story-driven RPG adventure like "To The Moon".

I'm wondering is it worth doing an online course in RPG Marker MV? Or should I just buy the software on Steam and figure it out by myself.

Has anyone here used RPG Maker? What did you think of it?


Back In The Gaming Saddle

Over the past few months, I've stepped away from games and just threw myself into my film hobby. I tend to go through phases where I'll dedicate more time to one over the other. So I decided to do the Film365 challenge, purely to make it through my movie backlog, and after six months of watching a new movie every day, I'm really starting to miss playing games.

Don't get me wrong I haven't completely abandoned games in the last six months, but the only game I've been playing is Rainbow Six Seige, usually just a match or two of terrorist hunt. So it's purely my 30 minutes to kill game. I did buy Far Cry 5 and God Of War but have barely spent any time with them, about an hour with Far Cry 5 and about 90 minutes with God Of War.

Now that E3 is just around the corner, I've really started to develop that gaming itch and kind of want to scratch it and by itch, I mean not just playing games but also blogging about them again and being part of a gaming community.

So besides Far Cry 5 and God Of War, what else have I missed in the last 6 months? Is there anything worth checking out, maybe a few indie titles or a triple-A game? Or should I just stick with finishing FC5 and GOW?

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Physical Versus Digital

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I was chatting the other day with a friend and he's moving home, and he was saying that he has to pack up all his games into boxes and such. Then he asked me jokingly, "How many boxes would it take to move my game collection?" I just said "One, I'm all digital since about halfway through the PS3's lifecycle. I can't even remember the last time I went into a Gamestop and bought a game."

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I buy all my games via PSN and Steam. So we chatted about the whole digital versus physical arguments as people tend to do and I concluded that the reason I'm all digital is that its convenience. I have high-speed internet so download a decent size game this generation doesn't take that long.

Then he threw a question at me, "Why haven't you switched to all digital when it comes to movies?" It's true my physical collection of films well outnumbers my digital side, and I started to think about it and came to the conclusion that physical is still the best way to watch a film.

When to buying games digitally it's the same product as the physical disc. The game runs at the same framerate and same resolution. If I had two PS4's running the same game side by side, one digital one physical, you would be able to tell the difference. But if you do it with a film, there is a difference.

I find there is a big difference in both picture quality and sound quality when it comes to watching a film either via blu-ray or iTunes or Netflix.

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Let's just get sound out of the way, while both Netflix and iTunes can both do standard Dolby Digital 5.1, the basic standard since DVD's came on the market in 1997, they create this sound field at a compressed bitrate of (usually) 640Kbps, which to 99% of the ears out there is fine and does the job. But with blu-ray, it's completely uncompressed with Dolby True HD and DTS-HD and averages out between 2-5Mbps. And now with the advent of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, the sound fidelity is getting even better, while digital platforms continue to stay at the standard Dolby Digital 5.1.

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With picture quality, and this is in regard to 1080p, I've noticed a big difference between the three platforms. Netflix streams at a bitrate of about 5Mbps, while iTunes streams at a rate of 8Mbps. So there is a slight bump in the image quality, it's noticeable in a few films but not every film. Physical, on the other hand, plays its media at a bitrate of 20-25 Mbps. To me, it's a night and day difference, and that's why I continue to invest and support physical media when it comes to films. Maybe it's just the film buff in me that wants to see a film with the best possible picture and sound, and try to recreate that "cinema experience" at home.

Why do you think? Have you gone all digital, for games or movies? Or do you continue to use physical media?


Should Valve Be Making More Of An Effort In Regards To Current Consoles?

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A lot of my favourite games from the previous console generation were from Valve, from The Orange Box, Portal 2 and the Left4Dead series.

Over the last few days, I've been on vacation from work and I started to get back into Team Fortress 2, I find it to be a fantastic game to play while listening to an audiobook or podcast.

And I started thinking, why haven't Valve ported TF2 to the PS4 and Xbox One? It's now a free to play game and now that both consoles are basically PC's you would think that a port would be an obvious idea. It would easily run at native 1080p and 60fps and maybe even at 4K, on the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.

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Thoughts? Would you like to see something like Left4Dead 2 or Portal 2 brought over to current consoles? Should a game like DOTA2 be brought to consoles? It's easy to hook up a wireless keyboard and mouse to the PS4 and play it.


Slides The Chair Back Over To My Desk

Sorry I've been away from this blog for the last few months. It's not like I didn't have stuff I wanted to blog about; it was more I just couldn't find the time to blog it correctly.

What I mean is, when I am writing something I will write it and rewrite it in my head a couple of times before I sit down and put fingertips to keys. Not every sentence exactly, but I will have a general outline of the blog and will then write it in one sitting.

So since work is starting to get busier and busier and I have less time to play games for the time being. I have even less time to sit down at my PC for thirty to forty-five minutes and write.

But anyway. I'm here now and typing and that's all that matters.

So a slight update on what's being going on in my gaming and non-gaming life.

I finally started to play an MMO, my friend Nanaka plays Final Fantasy XIV and while I've always been curious about the game, the whole MMO part was somewhat of a turn-off. Purely ignorance on my behalf as I have little to no experience playing MMO's. So I thought, fuck it, let's dive in the deep and we'll see if I'll sink or swim.

So I logged into the mog station and paid for an 180-day subscription. The reason being that I do plan to play other games while playing FFXIV, I just prefer to have long term subscription plan so that I can hop in and out of it freely and not worry about if my subscription was paid for this month. I would love if Netflix brought an annual plan, to be honest, one payment and you have it for twelve months. Same for the WWE Network.

I have picked up Persona 5 but have yet to sit down and play it. I'm thinking I'll probably leave it for late summer/early autumn as my sister is getting married at the end of July and things will be hectic leading up to that. So once that's over, I'll have plenty of free time in the evenings to sit down and binge play Persona 5.

In non-game related news, I'm thinking of picking up a region free 4K blu ray player. Amazon has one for £500 and it is the Sony one, which is getting some great reviews. It's something I've been putting on the back burner for about five or six years. I'll save up a little bit of money and then I'll buy a region free player and then finally I'll start collection the Criterion blu-ray's (as they are region locked) but every time I'm near the price, something comes up that has me putting the idea to one side and the whole "I'll get to that later" attitude starts to kick in.

I applied for a job at GamesRadar+, it's a writing and presenting job and if I am successful I will be moving from my current home on the west of Ireland to Bath in the south west of England. It will be a big life change if I do get it. I am somewhat pragmatic about it and if I can make it to the interview stage I'll count that as a small but positive victory. I will keep you updated on this.

We have E3 next week, which is now starting on Saturday with EA leading the press conference pack. I'm not even sure what to expect from it this year. Sure we'll have Destiny 2 and the new COD. Hopefully, we will have one or two major surprises. I just hope for some new interesting IP's to be shown instead of the usual sequel after sequel or remaster or remake, with the whole carrot on the stick of, "If you buy the remaster of this old game, then maybe we might give you that sequel you always wanted."

I will try to update this blog over the next week or so as much as I can with thoughts on E3.

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Why Do We Play Games?

Intro: Why Game?

I've been asking myself a question for the past few weeks, why do I play video games for a hobby? Is it because I am of a generation when video games started to break into the cultural zeitgeist with Mario and Sonic or were it something else that lead me to play games?

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Maybe a combination of both?

Who hasn't felt a tinge of regret after spending a beautiful Saturday afternoon shut away from the world with the blinds down playing games? Who hasn't wished they spent a little bit more time reading or maybe checking out that movie that everyone is talking about at the moment?

I know it's not an easy question to answer, when I asked this question to NeoGAF in research for this I did get some quick answers like "it's fun" or "escapism" but a lot of the two hundred plus replies I got were long and detailed and while I can sum why I play games in one word, there is something deeply fascinating to explore if you wish to dig a little deeper.

My Own Personal History With Games

Blessed are the geeks, for they shall inherit the Earth - Matthew 5:13

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I was born in the early eighties and cannot remember a time when we didn't have a computer or gaming console in the house I grew up in. My dad had bought a Telesport SD 050C (just rolls off the tongue) back in the late 70's which was basically a Pong knock off console. By the time I was born he had purchased an Atari VCS, the one that looked like it was made of wood. I do have a few flickering memories of the Atari. Just random images of games. I'm not actually sure if I was the one playing them or just watching my Dad and my older brother playing it.

The first video game moment I truly remember is visiting our neighbour's house and watching my friends older brothers play Barbarian on the C64. The bright colours and the sound effects had my complete attention. The game is a one on one fight to the death. You can play against the computer or against each other.

When my brother and I got home we begged our parents to get us a C64. My dad then went down and had a go at the C64 and I guess he must have liked it as when he came back he convinced my mother that buying one would be good for the kids as "it would be able to help them with their homework" I still have no idea how the C64 was meant to do this, but once the system entered the house all knowledge of the homework argument quickly faded and disappeared.

At the stage of my life gaming was something you did with other people. Either my brother and I would play together, either two player games, or if it was a single player game like Last Ninja 2, as soon as you died then pass over the joystick till he died.

I remember playing and finishing games like Double Dragon, Thing Bounces Back, Turrican, Bionic Commando, Platoon, Vendetta, Last Ninja 2 and Rambo First Blood Part 2 as a group of four plus friends all sitting on a couch and simply passing the joystick to the next person when your turn was over.

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Then one day my dad came home and told us he had bought a Nintendo game for the Atari, which had since relaunched as the Atari 2600. It was Donkey Kong. It was my first ever experience of hearing the name Mario (not that common a name in Ireland in the 80's) let alone the word Nintendo.

I heard from someone in the school yard that Nintendo was it's own gaming device as was better than Atari, I don't remember the reason why it was better but only that he kept telling everyone that it was cooler to have a Nintendo then an Atari.

I was seven years old at the time and was about to make my first communion, which was a huge deal growing up in Catholic Ireland. But I also knew, due to my brother making his the year before that the first communion was like a second birthday as you got cards and the cards would contain money from family members and I have a lot of aunts and uncles on my mother's side (my dad was an only child). My brother got £60 for his, which to us back then was a nearly a king's ransom. I think my brother spent his on an Irish soccer jersey as Ireland had recently qualified for the European Championship for the first time ever.

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I, on the other hand, had my sights set on loftier dreams. I knew what I wanted to do with my communion money, long before I ever held it in my hand. I wanted to buy a Nintendo. I was in Limerick with my mom and asked if I could go to the toy shop to "look around." At the very back of Smyth's Toy Store in Limerick was the game section. I was like a child in wonderland, all these games that I never heard of, and console I didn't even know existed. I asked the person behind the counter how much a Nintendo was and I was told £90 and it came with two games, which would turn out to be Mario and Duck Hunt.

I remember thinking that £90 was way more than I would ever get for my communion and if I didn't get enough then how could I ever get a Nintendo. Sure there may have been a war raging in the Persian Gulf at the time, but this was a real world crisis, well, to my tiny world.

A small sliver of light did lie in the distance. My birthday is in November and if I didn't spend my communion money right away (as was the style at the time) I could join it with my birthday money and then hopefully, even maybe, have just about enough to get a Nintendo just after my birthday.

The communion came, I got £60. When asked what I was going to spend it on I would just say "I haven't decided yet". Had to play it cool and keep those cards close to my chest, for if my parents found out what my master plan was they might say no and all my well laid plans would be ruined.

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By the time my birthday came around in November I got £50. So I was over the moon with excitement and joy and running around the house as if I had drunk too much lemonade. I asked if I could go to the Smyths toy store on Saturday. We went on a rainy Saturday and went to the games counter with my mom and asked if they had any Nintendo left. They said yes and I said I wanted one. My mom was someone puzzled, how could I afford this with my birthday money. That's when I played my trump card and pulled a small brown envelope that I had "borrowed" from my dad's work suitcase, and pulled out the three £20 notes. The console was mine.

When we got back to the car with it, I sat in the back seat and held it on my lap. My mom played her trump card when he leant back and said, "You're not allowed to play with that until Christmas." Christmas may have only been three weeks away, but to me, it was a near eternity.

Christmas came and I was allowed to open and play with my new NES. I was the coolest kid in the class when I went back to school in January. Suddenly kids who wouldn't normally give me the time of day wanted to hang out, and always at my house, never at theirs.

From there I lifelong obsession was born with games, and I thought that games would never get better than Super Mario 3, how could they? We heard that someone new had opened in out small Irish village, an arcade? And that there some game called Street Fighter 2 that everyone was raving about.

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The arcade was about a ninety-second walk from my back gate. So every Saturday morning my we would always make sure to be up early and be at the arcade at about 9:30 am as it opened at 10 am and we wanted to be first in line to play Street Fighter 2.

After that came the SNES and then the Nintendo 64. I was twelve and was about to go to secondary school. This is where gaming took on a whole new life for me. To cut a long story short I was bullied at school. Verbally first, then by the time I was fifteen, and my older brother had graduated, it had become physical bullying.

The summer before I had bought a Playstation, purely to play Tekken 3, Resident Evil 2 and Metal Gear Solid. So when things got rough at school I would go home and put on my headphones and get lost in games. It was the perfect escape, worlds where I was in control of things. Worlds when I would ignore everything around me and just get lost. My parents didn't think anything of it, as I was always playing games growing up and they just figured that it was just me being weird old me.

When I was in college and the whole Web 2.0 scene came on to the scene. I had just gotten broadband internet and my first ever laptop. No longer would I have to share my computer with everyone else in the house. This is when a whole new world of gaming opened up to me. I started to visit websites like Gamespot, IGN and 1UP to get all my gaming news and reviews. I joined 1UP and started to blog there until the site was closed. But during that time the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 launched and the world of online gaming came knocking at my door. Because of sites like 1UP, I was making new friends and we would play games together. I found out that I wasn't the only one, there were other people out there who went through similar shared experiences with games growing up. From people who grew up in California to people who grew up in Japan. We all had this shared experience of gaming. We would be able to talk about retro games from the NES and SNES era without having to provide context. We all knew it because we were all there.

So that where I am now. Sitting at my desk, which has both a gaming PC and a PS4 Pro sitting on it. Gaming is still a major part of my life. I still play games online with people who I consider friends but have yet to meet in person. I chat about games with some of the people at work, and with the advent of smartphones, gamers are more connected community than ever before.

Will I still be playing games in twenty years time?

I think I will be.

So now the question is open to you Dear Reader, why do you play games?


Sometimes I Don't Like It Hard

I was chatting with a friend of mine the other day and we were talking about what difficulty a game should be played at. He told he that he prefers to play all games on the hardest available level as he will garner the most trophies from his playthrough and "playing on the hardest level is how the developer wants you to play it"

I was always under the assumption that Normal was the way a developer wants you to play a game and hard was purely there to add a challenge to those who wanted to play through the game again.

So what do you think? Do you always go straight for the hard mode? or just stick with normal?


Those First 30 Minutes.....

A few years ago a friend of mine wanted to get into PC gaming, this is circa 2010, so I gifted him The Orange Box as a "Welcome to PC Gaming" gift. He had never played any of the Half-Life series but he had heard a lot about them and how good they are.

So a few days later I was chatting to him and asked him what he thought about the gift I sent. He loved Portal and Team Fortress 2, but found Half-Life 2 to be too slow and nothing happens. My first response was to raise my eyebrow and think, slow? nothing happens? Did you play the same game I did?

I know that HL2 doesn't have action from the start, but that's a good thing. You are drawn into the world, from watching and listening to all the other passengers, been told to pick up the can, to when you walk out into for the first time into the square and seeing the whole 1984 vibe the place gives off, to walking through the housing complex.

So my question to you dear reader is: Is a game better to have a big set piece opening? Like the ship invasion at the start of Halo? Or the opening of Uncharted 2? Or the Tomb Raider reboot or do you think that games would be better served with a slower paced opening 30 minutes? Like Half-Life 2 or Okami or the Bioshock games?

But then there's the other side of the coin, look at the fantastic opening to Doom (2016). The story is kept to a minimum and the action is put up front.

So your thoughts?


Cinema Versus Home Cinema

When I was growing up, we had two ways to experience movies, the cinema and VHS copies. For me, the cinema was always king when it came to the movie going experience. The bigger screen, widescreen, cinema sound, stuff you could never get a home in the late 80's early 90's. Until of course the advent of DVD's in 1997.

It's with DVD's that really started to collect films as a hobby, but I also started to invest in how I watched them too. I had a 32" Sanyo widescreen TV that weighed as much as a newborn elephant and was just as awkward to lift and carry. And I bought a surround sound setup. A Sony amp and 5.1 speakers for Dolby Digital sound as Pro Logic was on the way out. I made sure at the time that the amp could do DTS as a friend of mine who had one told me that while at the time the sound type was rare it was worth it when you did get a disc with that sound file. The region one edition of Saving Private Ryan being the torch bearer for what DTS could do (the region two edition only had Dolby Digital).

So over time, I upgraded my equipment time, the TV then became a 50" Panasonic HDTV when the PS3 came out, then became a 55" Sony Bravia for the PS4 launch, and is now currently a 65" 4K Sony Bravia. The sound system too got an upgrade, from regular Dolby Digital and DTS to their respected HD versions.

So for the past ten years or so, I would always think that my setup was just sub a cinema setup. All I was missing was the scale of the screen. And now with 4K I watching films at the same resolutions that most cinemas project their films.

So last night I decided to go see a re-release of Goodfellas at my local ODEON. A film I have seen a dozen times in various formats, from the crappy VHS retail to that god awful flipper DVD that Warner Bros first brought out (those glorious days before dual layering DVD's were the standard), to the current Blu-ray edition. It's a film I know backwards and have written essays about in film school. So to me, it was revisiting an old friend. I haven't seen the film in full in about ten years, I have the Blu-ray, but have never got around to watch it in full, outside of a few famous scenes.

I always used to joke with friends growing up that the reason the cinema is better than watching at home was that there's no pause button, so you have to give the film your full attention. But last night, the experience of watching Goodfellas on the big screen was beautiful. The projection has this beautiful grain that made me feel I was watching it on 35mm and there were at least one or two times when I glanced at the top right corner to see if I could catch a cigarette burn so that the projectionist would know when to switch reels.

But what really stood out for me was the sound. Sweet glorious sound. From the different sounds of people shoes walking along the pavement to the pounding, visceral soundtrack that just dragged you into the moment of the scene and would never let you go. From the opening song "From Rag To Riches" which plays over the iconic Saul Bass designed title cards to The Sex Pistols version of "My Way" that plays over the end titles.

During the film, I was able to somewhat watch the audience watching the film and you could tell who was watching this for the first time, and how they were on that amazing emotional roller coaster for the first time and how Scorsese's direction along with Schoonmaker's editing perfectly brought them along the dips and highs of the film.

If anything the above experience rekindled my love of going to the cinema and how it has something that a home setup can never capture. That audience feeling when everyone is invested in what's being shown on screen. I always think of two moments that come to mind. While watching David Fincher's Zodiac, there's a scene where Jake Gyllenhaal's character has to go into a basement to look at a poster and as the camera looks like the stairs to the basement, I could feel the entire audience lean ever so slightly forward to slowly peek into the darkness and see what was down there. And while watching the Steven Soderbergh film Contagion, about half way through the film someone in the audience randomly sneezed out loud and you could just cut the tension in the room with a knife.

Film has dream, film has music. No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul.

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