We recently visited The Pixel Bunker in Milton Keynes. Despite its name is it actually in room upstairs in the Sci-Fi and Film Museum which is due to open in the coming months. I will be writing a more detailed piece on The Pixel Bunker itself, but I wanted first to write about what I thought was the most interesting cabinet in the exhibit; Atari’s 1978 Video Pinball.Continue reading “…is it a video game? …is it a pinball machine? …No! Its Video Pinball!”
Saturday 9th May
Saturday kicked off with a trip to do the big food shop. Having now been in lockdown for almost seven weeks, I was getting to know the best times to go food shopping; when there was less likely to be civillised, socially distanced queuing outside or a rather less civillised scrum of people vying for reduced mince and lamb chops in the chilled aisle (the fights for toilet roll and pasta seemed to have subsided in recent weeks). For my supermarket of choice, this time seemed to be just as the dedicated time for older people or NHS workers was finishing. This morning’s trip proved true to my theory and I was able to go straight into the shop without any queing. Inside almost everyone was observing the social distancing requirements and the shop itself had plenty of stock. After my successful shopping trip I returned home and began the painstaking task of putting away the food. I’m not being melodramatic here; in our house putting the food shopping away takes absolutely ages. It starts with the bags being put in the entrance to the kitchen. Next warp-boy appears and inspects each bag, one by one. Then he takes out each item from the bags, investigates it and decides whether it is a nice or nasty food. This is followed by him making corresponding gestures – rubbing his tummy and saying ‘mmmmm!’ for nice foods and shouting ‘BLEUGHHHH!’ at the top of his voice for nasty food – before finally carefully passing the item to me. This continues until all items have been processed and put away. You can’t help him either; I regularly have concerns for my eggs during this process and for him when he attempts to pass me 3kg of potatoes! Nevertheless, this is the food-putting-away process in our house and it seems to be one of warp-boy’s favourite hobbies at the moment.
After our epic food shopping experience in the morning, our afternoon was topped off by (wait for it…) more Play-Doh. While we obviously had the obligatory bears tea party, I decided to make some doughy family creations. I was most proud of my portrait of jef which, as it happens, was scarily true to his real face. Reminiscent, prehaps, of some revered creation by Michaelangelo or Raphael…. Maybe looking more like a dodgy pizza that their reptilian counterparts would probably eat after a day of fightingFoot Soldiers… Either way, I think the lockdown cabin fever might be setting in!
As you can imagine, during lockdown we had very little in the way of new games and absolutely zero game hunting expeditions. So with the COVID restrictions starting to lift we were rather excited (if a little tentative) to venture out and look for something to new add to our collection. For our first trip we decided to keep it relatively local and braved a nearby town centre. Their branch of CEX yielded nothing (as it often does), however we were rather pleased to see a selection of Gameboy Advanced Pokemon titles sitting neatly in little protective cases on a shelf in Cash Generator! Continue reading “Beware the Fakes!”
Thursday 7th May 2020
Breakfast. Coffee – milk, no sugar – for me and jef and toast for warp-girl and warp-boy. warp-boy loves any sort of toast whilst warp-girl is rather more fussy, opting for buttered toast, but not so much butter that you can actually see it and the all the crusts cut off. She will only eat bread with the crusts left on and no butter and the whole thing makes no sense to me, but seems to make perfect sense to her four year old mind.
After breakfast. Reading and maths, dinosaurs, emails and marking, dinosaurs and more dinosaurs. Next we decided to make some bunting to celebrate VE Day, for which our usual May Day Bank Holiday (traditionally the first Monday in May) had been moved to Friday. warp-girl’s class teacher had sent us some links for free printable bunting which we downloaded and coloured while I tried to explain the concept of VE Day to warp-girl. This proved tricky and I wished I had Granny on hand to help out (she is good at that sort of thing), but with no end in sight for our lockdown (and no Skype call booked in) I would have to perservere…
Friday 8th May 2020
Happy VE Day everyone! Having managed to just about explain what VE Day is to warp-girl yesterday (and with no school work owing to the Bank Holiday), we proceeded to stick our bunting in the window. It was quite nice to see several of the houses in our street were also sporting bunting of some sort or another. After a quick photo opp for warp-girl we headed out for a walk to the field, with a bit of bunting spotting thrown in for good measure. Our tally consisted of four houses with small flags (not including our own), four houses with huge strings of bunting (one of which was severely threatening to blow away), two with Welsh dragon flags and a young family enjoying a tea party in their front garden (not technically bunting, I know), which mesmerised warp-girl; so much so that when she had finished staring at the poor people she insisted on us having our lunch outside in a similar fashion. Luckily the weather was good and so we enjoyed our VE Day picnic lunch in style.
Monday 4th May 2020
And so we entered week seven. The novelty of working from home was definitely starting to wear off now and for warp-girl, the idea of going to school was begining to seem quite exciting. After breakfast warp-girl had some more letter formation and hardwriting practice and I had a fair bit of marking to tackle. I was getting quite used to marking online now and typing feedback for my students. To make things a bit more exciting I also started posing them bonus questions and it was really nice to have a dialogue with them about them (I really am missing those guys!). Continue reading “Week 7 in the warp-zone house”
Saturday 2nd May 2020
Exciting news today! Wait for it……
We have a NEW RESIDENT moving into Delfino! We’ve had a plot available for some time now and finally, an exciting new neighbour is moving in! Louie is our sixth resident and our little island is flourishing! I’m sure players of Animal Crossing will understand how exciting it is when things like this happen. Finding out about the new character; their likes, dislikes, personality. And I imagine that people who don’t play Animal Crossing will think this is very strange indeed… Incidently, if you don’t play Animal Crossing (but do have a Nintendo Switch) I very much think you should buy a copy (or download it, but give me physical media over virtual any day!) and start your very own island getaway package today!
Sunday 3rd May 2020
As we came to the end of our sixth week in lockdown, we decided to shake things up a little bit with a (home) takeaway. In pre-lockdown times, we would often have the odd treat when we were out; Greggs and McDonald’s being favourites with warp-girl and warp-boy. So today we decided to create our very own home-made Happy Meals. Continue reading “They’re lovin’ it!”
Friday 1st May 2020
The start of a new month meant gas and electricity readings needed to be taken before the first coffee of the day. Unsurprisingly the gas is down (April has been hot!) and the electricity is up (we’ve all been at home using computers for things like writing blogs about being at home). Continue reading “A new hat & a new hiding place”
Thursday 30th April 2020
Today started much the same as any other lockdown day; coffee…breakfast…school work… That was until jef attempted to log on to www.warp-pipe.co.uk and found that he couldn’t! After double checking his password, trying to log in through different browsers (apparently they are NOT called Internet windows…who knew?!), and asking me to try and log on with my credentials, an error message apparently indicated that an update to a plugin (jef reliably informed me that this was an add on for the website, not one of those smelly air freshener things that you ‘plug in’ to an electrical socket) had proved incompatible with our site and locked us out. Continue reading “First we were locked down, now we’re locked out!”
Wednesday 29th April 2020
Although the initial prospect of home schooling had been a little daunting (I’ve been teaching for 11 years now but I teach big ones, not little ones!), with the support of warp-girl’s school and the seemingly endless amounts of resources which are around, it hasn’t been too bad at all. Continue reading “Welcome to the reading corner.”
Tuesday 28th April 2020
There was much excitement in the warp-zone this morning with the arrival of our new rug! As we entered week six of lockdown, the reality of not being able to just ‘pop out’ was starting to set in and the excited anticipation of post was becoming a daily event. It was warp-girl who usually noticed the postman through the window and then her and warp-boy would run to the door to see what he had brought (I think they secretly hoped for more noisy books from Granny). But today, what the postman brought was a lovely new rug (thanks, once again, to Hot UK Deals). Continue reading “Love is the rug!”
Sunday 26th April 2020
Today was a lazy sort of Sunday mainly consisting of turnip buying and toys and nothing much else happening. Still not able to go out (in the normal sense of the word), the most exciting moment of the day was when jef stood on a carefully consealed stegosaurus and shouted (I think for the fourth time this week) that there was too much junk on the floor and ALL of the toys were going out for the bin men! …and he meant it this time!! After this hilarious episode I decided that with not much happening indoors (and having recently received our offical COVID-19 letter from the Government which had been sent to all UK households), I would write an update about what is happening outdoors. Continue reading “Still in lockdown? Let’s grow a beanstalk!”
Saturday 25th April 2020
Saturday meant no official work today, but along with missing the daily classroom interactions I was also starting to miss science…practical science to be more precise. I would never miss a chance to get equipment and chemicals out in school and I realised it had been over six weeks since I had donned a pair of goggles and done any practical work. This had to change (immediately!) so we got out the beakers and a red cabbage and we were away. Continue reading “Look! It’s Science O’Clock!”
Friday 24th April 2020
After the usual breakfast and work, warp-girl was watching Peppa Pig who was setting up the longest marble run ever! Cue warp-girl… ‘can WE set up the longest marble run ever!?’. Me: ‘No of course we can’t, where do you expect me to get a marble run from in the middle of a lockdo… YES! Yes we can!’ Continue reading “Marbles…RUN!”
Thursday 23rd April 2020
Today we were tasked with designing a Super Hero Teddy Bear and re-writing the Jack and the Beakstalk story. The story telling was great with warp-girl designing each page in an online paint program and recording comical voice overs. Then the bear desiging kept her busy for a good while which gave me time to tackle my own work; online marking. Continue reading “The Giant & the Motorcycle.”
Wednesday 22nd April 2020
After breakfast (a delicious bacon and egg bagel, made with real butter and posh blue eggs that jef had bought – very exotic!), there was learning about money for warp-girl and more of the same for me. As much as I’m loving all the extra time I can spend at home with warp-girl and warp-boy, working in front of a computer is very strange and I’m really starting to miss the daily classroom interactions. Continue reading “Money, Money, Money.”
Tuesday 21st April 2020
This morning, continuing with the Jack and the Beanstalk theme, we had some PE and some Science (Hooray!). So after breakfast we did the exercise – pretending to be different types of beans. jef had the activity page and shouted out the instructions, while warp-girl and I acted them out. ‘Jumping Bean!’ …we’re jumping around the room, ‘Runner Bean!’ …we’re running around the room, ‘French Bean!’ …we’re striking a pose and shouting Bonjour!, ‘Butter Bean!’ …we’re sliding around the floor on our behinds. You get the idea… Continue reading “Starlink, Star Bright.”
Monday 20th April 2020
With the Easter holidays officially over, and Gavin Williamson (Education Secretary) announcing yesterday that there were no plans to open UK schools through the summer holidays or for the next three weeks, it was back to home schooling for warp-girl this morning. This term she had a new topic; Jack and the Beanstalk; and our tasks today consisted of some reading and some measuring. Continue reading “Back to (home) work.”
Sunday 19th April 2020
This morning warp-girl got up and announced that what we all needed was a puppet show. We didn’t really have any plans (other than buying a fresh crop of turnips from Daisy-Mae) so it was hard to argue. She spent the next hour or so at the kitchen table making a sign, setting up the theatre and explaining to the puppets who was going to do what. After this, she said that she needed some blue glue (blu tack) to attach her sign and that we needed to get our money ready (!?). Continue reading “Roll up…Roll up!”
Saturday 18th April 2020
Today was yet another sunny day – it has been the sunniest April I can remember, it hadn’t rained in ages. We needed some food (and milk of course) this morning so I headed out to the shop. There seemed to be more cars on the road than when I had previously been out; I guess lots of other people were also running low on food (and probably milk). Continue reading “Don’t park so close to me.”
Friday 17th April 2020
After finishing my work for the day I decided all my hard graft had earned me a Crunchie – or a Crunchie fragment to be more precise. We had bought a multipack of them recently and to actually have the same amount of Crunchie as I remember having in a bar as a kid you would probably need to eat at least two thirds of the whole pack. Continue reading “We’ve got that Friday feeling!”
Wednesday 15th April 2020
Today we got up, had breakfast and with warp-girl and warp-boy playing in the garden, I got down to work. Sounds the same as most weekdays right? WRONG! After almost four weeks of working from home in front of a computer (very alien to me), I was actually going OUT to work today! Continue reading “And the lockdown continues…”
Tuesday 14th April 2020
As we entered week four of the UK lockdown, it seemed that warp-girl was asking more and more about when we could go out again and when we could visit Granny and Grampy. It had been 26 days since Boris Johnson had called the lockdown – telling us to stay at home – and although she had adapted pretty well to the sudden change, I think she was starting to miss the visits to the park and other family members. Continue reading “The Skype’s the limit!”
Monday 13th April 2020
Still buzzing from the chocolate high of yesterday, warp-girl and warp-boy were up early again and the morning was mostly filled with dinos, Duplo and doggy tea parties. There was also more chocolate before noon. We spend most of the year locked in a battle of wills with the kids to get them to eat a generally healthy diet and chocolate is a treat, but there are two occasions – Easter and Christmas – when this goes out the window and for a couple of days chocolate becomes their main form of nutrition. Continue reading “Filled with memories”
Saturday 11th April 2020
Today was another one of those lazy sort of days. We played Animal Crossing and watched some YouTube videos cwtched up on the sofa. A little bit later on I remembered I had bought an Easter Gingerbread kit (I have no idea what gingerbread has to do with Easter, but I thought it would kill an hour or two). Continue reading “Easter Funday!”
Friday 10th April 2020
Today was a lovely day again. We couldn’t help thinking that the whole lockdown experience would be easier if we were in the depths of a Welsh winter, complete with gale force winds and three foot of snow. Continue reading “18…19…20…Coming! Ready or not!”
Wednesday 8th April 2020
This morning, warp-girl surprised me by saying ‘I want to do my school work!’. I had a think over breakfast about what we could do that would count as ‘school work’ and then I remembered that a friend had told me about a COVID-19 diary for kids. Continue reading “A diary within a diary”
Tuesday 7th April 2020
This morning there was no work again for warp-girl (well it is the Easter holidays!), plenty for me to get on with and a lot of mess making (again) for warp-boy. It was a really sunny day, so after this it was garden time. It started well, with our lunch on the picnic blanket and fun with bubbles, but when the water pistol fight got a bit one sided (jef, warp-girl and warp-boy vs. me!), I decided it was time for chalk. Continue reading “Chalk up another day of fun!”
A few months ago I posted a (very interesting!) entry detailing our retro cleaning kit and how we use it to restore and mantain our game collection (you can read it here!). Well, I have some exciting news for everyone…we have recently had a new addition to the kit in the form of a broken child’s paintbrush (OK, this might not sound very exciting, but bear with me).
Monday 6th April 2020
No school work for warp-girl this morning, which was just as well because I had a lot of work emails to answer and send. So whilst she and warp-boy set about making as much mess as possible, I got down to work. Once this was all done, I headed out to buy some food (and of course milk because we get through gallons of the stuff!). Different supermarket again today; a little bit of a queue and an interesting social distancing model with the queue actually snaking through the first two aisles of the shop. Continue reading ““Queue” the Ice Lollies!”
Saturday 4th April 2020
Today was officially the start of our Easter Holidays. This day would normally be full of excitement about the cool things we could do now we were all off work and school together. But having already spent the last two weeks in lockdown, working and schooling from home, warp-girl and warp-boy were none the wiser and I was left wondering what fun new things we could do… Continue reading “A Turnip for the Books!”
Friday 3rd April 2020
Today I had various things to do for work and warp-girl needed to create a ‘story book’ of news from her week. While we discussed what she would include and got the pens and paper out ready to start (no computer today!), jef was looking pensive. ‘Was it the right PSU?’ he asked. Continue reading “Welcome back laptop!”
Wednesday 1st April 2020
Pinch, punch, first of the month! This morning, the gas and electricity readings needed to be taken, followed by breakfast and Animal Crossing (we have a ramp now!); then it was down to work. I had some planning and file management to do, and for warp-girl; designing Easter eggs. This took a little longer than it should have done after I noticed the really cool symmetry tool on the drawing programme that warp-girl was using and decided it was Mummy’s turn for five minutes… As it was a really sunny day, we then spent some time in the garden blowing bubbles and shooting water pistols. All in all, a nice day.
Monday 30th March 2020
Today our home schooling and work routine was back in full swing. Toast, grown up work, school work, packed lunch, fun stuff. After we had done the usual tasks, we decided to explore something new. We had been inundated with links to free, fun activities to keep the kids edu-tained during the lockdown. In addition to the accounts warp-girl’s school had provided, we had fun with online reading resources and maths websites which were offering free access for a limited time while the kids were off school. We found the Reading Eggs site particularly good and warp-girl enjoyed working through several levels and collecting the golden eggs. Continue reading “Egg & Cress”
Saturday 28th March 2020
Saturday was quite a lazy day, with no early start and no school work. I was quite surprised when, at when warp-girl asked if her teacher had set her school tasks yet. I quickly realised that she had no concept now of ‘school’ days (week days) and ‘home’ days (weekends). Before schools closed, she would often ask me when going to bed if I was ‘home tomorrow’, meaning was it the weekend when we could do all the cool ‘at home’ stuff, but after only a week of home schooling, this seemed to be the new normal for her and she just accepted that everyday, we got up and did school work. She was actually quite disappointed when I said it was the weekend and she didn’t have any work to do, so we logged on anyway and did some reading and maths, just for fun (Yes!! My child wants to learn, she’ll be a member of MENSA before we know it!). Continue reading “Another day, another packed lunch”
Friday 27th March 2020
Today we had some letters to post so I ventured out into town, which was considerably more populated than I had imagined it would be. There was definitely evidence of social distancing; there was an extremely civilised queue outside Home Bargains and the fruit and veg shop was not letting people in; instead they were outside shouting their orders through the window. Most shops were actually closed with signs stuck to their shutters, but even so, there seemed to be an awful lot of people out and about. I quickly posted my letters and headed home. Continue reading “A Home Bargains queue and a trip to the zoo”
Wednesday 25th March 2020
We seemed to be getting into the swing of things now. Up at a normal time, breakfast (and a bit of Animal Crossing), then school work. Today was learning about feelings and counting animals for warp-girl and for me, report writing. It was considerably more tricky than usual to write reports whilst trying to discuss expressions and emotions, and negotiate the dinosaurs and cars which wanted to help, courtesy of warp-boy Continue reading “Animal Crossing and Animal Farm”
Monday 23rd March 2020
And so it begins; working from home and home schooling. We were up at normal time and feeling optimistic so had a look at the Joe Wicks workout. However, after about 10 minutes warp-girl had gotten bored and I was finding out how unfit I actually was. We swiftly decided that breakfast and school tasks might be a better idea… Continue reading “We’re officially in lockdown, let the home schooling begin!”
Saturday 21st March 2020
When we woke up on Saturday, it was kind of strange to think that none of us would be going about our business as normal for a while. With the prospect of staying in for the forseeable looming, Animal Crossing: New Horizons couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Continue reading “There’s no lockdown in Animal Crossing!”
Just as I was considering what my next Watch & Game post should be about, something happened which changed a lot of things for us and people in general across Britain. So I decided to write about that instead…
Back in 2015, when we made the decision to start collecting seriously, we soon realised that cleaning and cataloguing the games was just as important (and as much fun!) as finding them out in the wild. Some of the games are over 20 years old so it is not uncommon for them to be a bit grubby, or sticky from years of use. We regularly come across game which need some tlc and as long as the cartridge labels, box sleeves and manuals are intact we are happy to add them to our collection.
The Nintendo 10 Billion Barrel is a barrel made by Nintendo. This barrel isn’t full of beer or “Donkey Kongs”. It is full of puzzle. Infuriating, yet addictive puzzle. Here is a short history…
Our new year’s games collecting got off to a good start with two N64 games, two WiiU games (the Gamecube game is a bit of a cheat as it was a Christmas present) and a Nintendo 10 Billion Barrel.
When we’re not retro game collecting or playing, we can often be found watching gaming related videos on YouTube. About six months ago on one such occasion, we stumbled across a channel called Let’s Talk Retro and their video series The Retro Gamer Show. This series takes a look at various retro games and systems, current reboots and gaming events. At the end of each episode the hosts give details of various retro gaming events which are happening across the UK and this is where we found out about the Bristol Gaming Market. Continue reading “Bristol Gaming Market 2019”
So if took me almost four years, but I am finally writing my second blog post. Before I talk about our first month of collecting (which was promised back in 2015!), I am going to make a couple of amendments to my previous post. We have now amassed 82% of the N64 games we wanted (which is double what we had back then), including all the first party titles i.e. all the titles published directly by Nintendo. We have also discovered that of the 242 games, two titles – Starcraft 64 and Major League Baseball ft. Ken Griffey Jr. – are actually Australian PAL releases which could make them a little trickier to source. Finally, the 242 is now in fact 243 thanks to a Kickstarter campaign which saw the release of 40 winks for the N64 in 2018. This game was shelved back in 1998 for the N64, only seeing a release on the original PlayStation. Continue reading “The much anticipated second blog…”
So we’re finally here, blogging for you, if you know the words you can join in too!
And if you can name that rap you get a banana medal…not really, but if you have fond memories of the Nintendo 64 and its games; or are curious about restoring and preserving games and consoles; then this blog might be of interest to you.
As I write this we have 41% of the total games released in Europe for the N64, along with nicely developing collections for the GameCube, Wii, Wii U, DS and 3DS. But before we go into those details let’s rewind just over a year, to the beginning of October 2015, and set the scene. Continue reading “Start!”