Saturday, November 29, 2014

Castle Master - A Walkthrough

I love castles...  Wandering through ruins and taking in the history.  Well, today I've been revisiting one of my favourite castles from my childhood.  It was a place I loved to visit after a long day at school...  No tourists....   No entry fee....  And no pushy English Heritage representative trying to get you to sign up for a subscription.  Just spirits to destroy, and a twin sister to rescue.  Welcome to Castle Eternity, a virtual castle stored within 64kb of RAM as seen in the classic Commodore 64 computer game, Castle Master.

Now, I'm not going to talk about this game here - I've already done that in a previous post which you can view if you click here.  Instead, sit back and enjoy me playing through this wonderful game. 

Since it's the first time in awhile since I last played Castle Master, it took me a respectable 1 hour and 10 minutes to complete.  However, due to the slowness of Freescape on the Commodore 64 I have sped it up to a much faster frame rate.  Also, I completely forgot where the key to the Spirits Abode room was, hence why it took me a little longer than planned.  I remembered in the end though!
Still a great game.  I think I'm going to replay Castle Master 2 - The Crypt next.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Songs that remind me of my childhood Number 30 - Cardiac Arrest (Madness)

For my 30th song that reminds me of my childhood, I've gone with Madness and Cardiac Arrest.  In all fairness, I could have gone with any of their major hits from the early 1980s as I always enjoyed listening to my Dads "Complete Madness" album when I was little.

Now, why have I gone with this one?  Simple really....

a)  I really like it
b)  It pretty much sums my life at the moment.

From what I can work out, the song is about a family man (average husband, with wife and kids) who lets his work take over his life and who has become a workaholic.  He is shown becoming rather agitated and stressed over simple things like the bus running late, and getting to work for an important meeting.  Ultimately it ends with him suffering a heart attack on the way to work.

Yep, that sounds like my life, just without the heart attack...yet! 

Sound advice really - Don't let work take over your life and ruin your family time.  Perhaps I should heed the advice given from Suggs and rest of the gang and change the way I look at work.

Easier said than done. 

Anyway, enjoy.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Games that remind me of my childhood Number 27 : Mission Mars (Commodore Plus 4)

One of the (many) good things about spending a few days back home in Laindon is the opportunity to rummage through the family game collection and to reminisce on old Commodore Plus 4 classics.

So for this visit, I bring you Mission Mars, from 1985

Mission Mars...  The type of game where the box art makes the game look reasonably good (complete with a tagline saying that the game is 100% machine code!), but upon getting home and loading the game, you realise that you've just blown a good sum of money on a rather naff game.

That said, I do have fond memories playing this game which is why I have included it here.  The game is very simple and has you control a small space ship through vertical tunnels, avoiding various obstacles that get in the way.

That's it! 

Ok, the game description is as follows.

You have been sent on a mission to raid the caverns on Mars.  However, these caverns are known to be filled with booby traps.  Your task is to reach the centre of the caverns and land your ship.  Each cavern has 5 stages to survice and you will need a lot of skill to do so.
Hmmmm.  Basically the game has 5 stages which repeat over and over again once you reach the end of stage 5.
Stage 1 - Fly down the cavern, shooting enemy installations.
Stage 2 - Fly down the cavern, shooting randomly generated spaceships

Stage 3 - Fly down the cavern, avoiding randomly generated bouncing balls!
Stage 4 - Fly down the cavern, avoiding what I assume are comets.
Stage 5 - Fly down the very narrow cavern, avoiding the walls.
Sounds exciting eh?
Once you reach the end of Stage 5, you don't even need any skill to land the ship - just let it hit the wall at the end and then you're greeted with the following message...
Once you press the fire button, you get to do it all over again!  No change in the game difficulty, no change in stage order.  You can literally finish this game in 5 minutes.

End of the game?

Oh yeah....  That was worth it!
Now, for the reason why I have included the game here....  I remember playing this game once on a little black and white portable television in the corner of our living room at my parents house, amassing a huge score just from playing the game from start to end, and restarting again with each completion on stage 5.  I wish I took a note of my final score

The box cover

The tape

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Techie tip : Revocation Check Failed when adding a certificate to a Microsoft Exchange 2013 installation

One for me to refer back to in the future in case it ever happens again.  We had a new Microsoft Exchange 2013 server installed during the school summer holiday and due to the school changing its name to "The De Montfort School", I had to purchase a new wildcard certificate for the domain

Anyway, after applying for the certificate, and eventually installing it, I got the message "Revocation Check Failed"

To cut a long story short, when running the following from a command prompt, I received this.....

C:\>netsh winhttp show proxy
Current WinHTTP proxy settings:
Direct access (no proxy server).

Essentially, Exchange wasn't using my servers proxy settings, so therefore could not contact the Revocation servers at Comodo (the supplier of our certificate).

Running the following command imports the proxy settings from Internet Explorer.  Once done, the server could perform the Revocation checks, and all of my certificates are now showing as valid and working....

C:\>netsh winhttp import proxy ie
Current WinHTTP proxy settings:
Proxy Server(s) :
Bypass List     :  (none)

Easy when you know how!!!!!!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Songs that remind me of my childhood Number 29 - Atmosphere (Russ Abbott)

Possibly the cheesiest song ever to come out of the 1980's...    Yet it is so much better than the utter rubbish that continues to fills the charts today.

Russ Abbott was quite a celebrity during the 80's.  He had several primetime comedy sketch shows on the BBC (Remember Cooperman, C.U. Jimmy, and Basildon Bond).  He also released a number of (unremarkable) singles, the most popular being this one.

Yes, the image of Russ Abbott arriving to a party on a bike, wearing a sweater, and showing us his moves on the dance floor will forever be imprinted in my memory until the day I die (and many others too it seems since it managed to peak at number 11 in the charts during February 1985 - obviously quite a few people went out and bought this).  It's a fun song, and not to be taken seriously. 

Come on, who is going to admit to having this in their vinyl/cassette singles collections?


Proof that good ol' Russ was actually beating Bryan Adams, Phil Collins and even Tears for Fears for a time.  Go Russ!

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Songs that remind me of my childhood Number 28 - Raumschiff Edelweiss (Edelweiss)

Erm....  Where do I start with this one?

I'm feeling a bit down at the moment and while going through my vast library of songs on my hard drive, I was trying to find some tunes to cheer me up and put a smile on my face.  After a bit of searching, I found this...

...  So...  My next "STRMOMC" is a rarity from Austria which never actually made it in to the UK charts.  It was released in 1992 but I didn't get to hear it until early 1995 during a Star Trek documentary on MTV to coincide with the then imminent release of the movie Star Trek Generations.

Yes 1995, which means it only barely passes as a song from my childhood (I had only just turned 18) but since the song originally came out in 1992  I thought I would include it here.

The song in question is...  Raumschiff Edelweiss (or in English, Starship Edelweiss). 

Edeweiss were a popular eurodance/pop group in Europe during the late 80's and early 90s.  I don't suppose many readers of my blog will know who they were and you might be surprised to hear that their hit song Bring Me Edelweiss actually reached number 5 in the UK charts in May, 1989).  Now, I'm no expert on the group, and as far as I can tell they only ever released one album - but what an album!

Raumschiff Edelweiss is a Star Trek inspired spoof song (which in my opinion is miles better than The Firm's Star Trekkin') and features the original Star Trek theme, mixed with a dance track and some whacky visuals and a video that could only have been made with the use of some drugs and high levels of alchohol consumption.

Have a listen, and give it a chance....  It's not all that bad!

AND if you liked that...  The song had a follow up - called Planet Edelweiss (featured below) which I swear sounds like something that could have been 'tracked' on a Commodore Amiga!  That’s a good thing by the way.  

Yes they're cheesy, but I'm proud to admit I actually have this album in my music collection, and it always makes me smile.  It's also the only place you will ever get to see a Klingon rapping and singing reggae!