Read Stuart’s column every week in The Scottish Sun, where he shares his reviews, news and podcasts with the 99.3% of the World’s population not fortunate enough to be able to buy a physical copy of the paper. The following appeared originally in The Scottish Sun on Sunday 3rd December 2017.
IT’S that time of year when gamers are filled with joy at the thought of new games and consoles. So this week we take a look at what’s hot on Santa’s list. There’s something for every gamer — from retro fans to PC and hardcore racing fans. This is the must-have compilation. Oh, and we have some dodgy jumpers too.
Gaming Headsets (from £119.99 to £129.99)
THIS year sees the battle of the wireless headsets. In the green corner, we have the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 which scored 5/5 last week when we reviewed them. They are a solid all-round piece of kit with great audio quality and all for £129.99. In the red corner, we have the newest kid on the block — Astro’s A20. This is a smaller version of their flagship A50 kit. It looks to pack a punch with all the signature Astro features and an inviting price of £119.99.
Gaming Apparel (from £24.99 to £29.99)
FORGET socks, Hard Time Clothing T-shirts have a number of new designs inspired by games like Overwatch, Dark Souls and Destiny. Check out hardtimesclothing.co.uk. Not out there enough? Numskull has some woolly wonders with jumpers from Star Wars to Deadpool and even Crash Bandicoot. Go to yellowbulldog.co.uk.
Stocking Fillers (from £9.99 to £24.99)
Numskulls are kings of the stocking fillers. What about classic PS1 game coasters like mini game cases? Or special glasses that are designed to help your eyes while gaming by blocking out blue light that leads to eye strain during long playing sessions. Candles? You want candles. Fill your house with the smells of the wildlands of Skyrim thanks to their VR candles. For more on the full range, see yellowbulldog.co.uk.
Console bundles (from £239.99 to £329.99)
The PSVR was the ground-breaker last year and now Sony have released a great value-for-money bundle — you get the headset, camera and a game for £239.99. Sadly, you don’t get the move controllers with it, but maybe I am asking a bit too much there. Not to be outdone, Nintendo have a tempting bundle for the Switch. It features Super Mario Odyssey as well as a pair of exclusive red joy-cons for £329.99. It’s a great starting point if you’re getting a Switch.
Top PC Gaming Tech (from £109.99 to £149.99)
PERFECT for the eSports fan — the Logitech Powerplay tech system charges your mouse while you use it on a specially designed mat. It’s the first wireless charger for gaming mice. You can team it up with the Logitech G903 mouse. The mouse features a host of tricks like mechanical button tensioning and PMW3366 optical sensor. See gaming.logitech.com.
The Ultimate Controller (from £295.99)
PAY attention race fans — the Scuf Forza Elite is the dog’s danglies. It is not cheap at £259.99, but you get what you pay for. It is a modified Xbox Elite controller with carbon fibre trim and Alcantara leather grips — that’s what real racing wheels are covered with. You get a host of trick bits and a model Porsche 911 GT2 RS as well. Beware, there’s only 500 available. Head to scufgaming.com.
Super Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition (from £79.99)
SOME might think it was greedy but Nintendo rocked Christmas last year — now they want to do it again. The Mini NES was the 2016 gaming sensation, so step forward the Mini SNES. It’s all in the extra S. The Nintendo Entertainment System has become Mini but also Super. The Mini SNES is a blast from the past all wrapped up in a shiny new future. It gives you a selection of games from the 90s as well as some stunning new titles. There are 21 pre-loaded micro wonders. That may be less than the Mini NES but you aren’t missing out because the list includes games like Super Mario World 3, Streetfighter 2 and Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past. And you can play Star Fox 2. It was never released back in the day so this is an unexpected delight — the cherry on top of a the gaming cake.
All the games play very well but some haven’t quite stood the test of time; an example of this is Mario Kart that will leave you almost getting a headache with how it plays with the screen refreshing every 5 secs. But if want to rate the overall games package — quite simply, the Mini SNES hits it out of the park. The console is stunning. It is a perfectly scaled down model of the original. It’s small and retro. It’s mega easy to set up and comes with two controllers so you can get straight into the couch grudge matches. It adds a few modern features to the classics — you can save games at any point. That is a winner in large role-playing games. You can also rewind sections in games like Megaman. You can take the gameplay back about a minute and replay.
The sad thing is that some issues with the NES have still not been sorted. The controller leads are too short and if you want to use the rewind feature you have to hit a button on the console. That is a real pain. Worse though is the fact that you can’t update the console with new games — surely a card port or download facility is not too much to ask. That said, if you’re looking for a blast from the past then the Mini SNES is a must. Or, if you want to know how the oldies went gaming or you are a bit long in the tooth and want to teach the young pups a lesson, then get your paws on one.
On The Stream
JAMIE Wright made the switch from Twitch and has never looked back. Wright, from Glenrothes in Fife, moved to Mixer and agreed a partnered Streamer deal.
“I love my community and what they have achieved. Every day it grows and gets better than I ever thought. I love sharing my gaming experience and playing with everyone I can.”
His streams focus mainly on FPS, Battle Royale and survival games and he aims to make his streaming self-sustainable and build up the community so they can support each other and achieve their goals together. See mixer.com/thejammie or follow @TheJammieMixer.
ALL eyes may have been on the final F1 grand prix at Abu Dhabi, but the real action was off-track. The final of the F1 eSports Series saw some of the best racers take to the virtual grid. Battling Brit Brendon Leigh took top spot after an epic fight. He pulled it out of the bag in the dying moments of the third and final race when he snatched the win from his biggest rival Chilean F. Donoso Delgado.
“Obviously, a lot of emotions, I feel really happy. It’s quite an achievement. Hopefully, we’ll be able to meet up online and have another race sometime.”
I’ll be back next week with more from North of the Border, catch ye’s…