Baelin’s Route – An Epic NPC Man Adventure (Best New Zealand Fantasy Film) 2021

Baelin’s Route just released on Youtube a couple of days ago and I must say it was thoroughly enjoyable.

Made by the Viva La Dirt League team –

The story of is of Baelin the fisherman and is quest to assist Willow getting back home. Going for 36 minutes the movie shows Baelins quest to get Willow back to her parents, while evading all sorts of obstacles.

Funded via Kickstarter –

The movie goes at a good pace and the acting and stunt work holds up, what I like about this is that it is actually fun. I tend to find a lot of New Zealand movies and TV shows take themselves way too seriously or are based on a book only five people have actually read.

Highly recommend you watch this one and also watch the other short skits done by the Viva team:

A500-X has arrived

So my new project has arrived.

One very tidy looking Commodore Amiga 500 complete with original mouse, power supply and 1084S monitor donated by my old mate Robert.

It is (well, was until I got it) a virgin Rev 6 Amiga 500, still had the original warranty stickers intact.

Those are now in pieces as I strip down the system to inspect it, confirm what version chips etc are installed and see if anything requires replacing.

It came with a Commodore A501 RAM expansion card with battery installed – but NOT a Varta battery by the looks of it. Put it this way, theres no leakage that I can see so far – they soldered the shielding around the expansion, so to get into it, I need to get a soldering iron (I only have a heavy duty one).

So whats the plan ?

I’m going to (over time) replace the floppy with a GoTek drive, upgrade the Kickstart ROM to 3.x and maybe even get an ‘030 CPU for it with RAM expansion and IDE connector to allow a HDD to be connected.

It will be known as the “A500-X”.

So wish me luck, and keep up to date on my progress via the Amiga menu link.

Mortal Kombat (2021) vs Mortal Kombat (1995)

In the last week I just finished watching the new Mortal Kombat movie and this made me think of the 1995 version of this movie. I must confess that I really like the 1995 movie.

A quick rundown of the stories as an reminder:


Lord Rayden (Christopher Lambert) handpicks three martial artists — federal agent Sonya Blade (Bridgette Wilson), Shaolin monk Lui Kang (Robin Shou) and action movie sensation Johnny Cage (Linden Ashby) — and mentors them. After intense training, Rayden transports the trio to Outworld, the site of an inter-dimensional fighting tournament. There, the three humans must defeat the demonic warriors of the evil Shang Sung (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) — or allow Sung to take over the Earth.


Hunted by the fearsome warrior Sub-Zero, MMA fighter Cole Young finds sanctuary at the temple of Lord Raiden. Training with experienced fighters Liu Kang, Kung Lao and the rogue mercenary Kano, Cole prepares to stand with Earth’s greatest champions to take on the enemies from Outworld in a high-stakes battle for the universe.

So which is better?

I my mind it is a draw as both of them have their strengths and weaknesses.

The 1995 movie has strong characters and actors playing the roles, with Christopher Lambert and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa leading the way with charismatic performances but the rest of the main cast also strong. Robin Shou makes for a strong hero character and Linden Ashby play the comedic relief role well as Johnny Cage, maybe the Sonia roles played by Bridgette Wilson is a bit underwritten.

The fights scene are bit of a mixed bag, Robin Shou did all of his own fight scenes and carries them well, some of the others obviously had stunt doubles. The setting benefits from a physical setting but the special effects are again a bit iffy.

Overall a fun movies taken in the context of a 90s movie.

The 2021 movie has very good fight scenes and it is obvious that the actors are doing their own scenes, also there is nice a amount of gore. The special effects also look believable. The settings all look to be the dark warehouse type of settings, I suspect they were limited by Covid in the locations they could shoot at.

The one area that this new version lacks is some of the characters and the actors playing them. Lewis Tan who plays Cole Young seems nice enough, but lacks the gravitas to pull of this role. The rest of the cast are introduced but then are barely in the movie. They probably tried to introduce too many characters and suffered a bit. The standout is Josh Lawson who plays Kano, he steals every scene he is in.

I liked this movie as well, has a prequel feel to it but the fight scenes were good and could watch a sequel.

Mortal Kombat (1995) – Rating 4 out of 5

Mortal Kombat (2021) – Rating 3 out of 5

Amiga 500 – Mine. Wow.

I’ve had a few Amigas in my possession over the years, but always ended up passing them along for various reasons, but lately I’ve been looking out for another one to keep and upgrade with something such as a GoTek drive.

In New Zealand, the prices on them has sky rocketed over the past couple of years, base A500 units WITHOUT PSU’s going for $200NZD+ which is insane.

Recently I remembered that one of my old mates from my childhood, had an Amiga at the same time as me – I wondered if he kept it after we lost touch (he moved to Australia) – so I asked my folks to ask his parents if it was still in the family home.

The response was “Yes”.

The parents contacted my mate and asked if he wanted to keep it or could it be moved on, and if so, that I was interested in it.

He apparently asked “why does he want it ?” – I haven’t seen him for 20+ years, so he is unaware of my ongoing interest in the Amiga.

Anyway, today my father calls me to say there is a large box sitting in his doorway containing an A500, 1084S monitor and assorted accessories etc.

My mate said to his parents “Give it to him for nothing” – OMG.

I will certainly be making an effort to contact my old mate to thank him and let him know I’m still a major geek πŸ˜‰

I cannot pick it up for another week, but be assured, photos etc will be put online soon as I can.

Amiga Games HDF

So, I still like to play Amiga games.

I’ve used a few different game orientated systems such as FS-UAE Arcade but its a bit overkill for my needs.

So I decided to put together a HDF file that contains a basic Workbench installation with Directory Opus and a few other applications, and a number of HDD installable Amiga games.

I mentioned this on an Amiga Facebook group, and had a bit of interest from people who want to game from HDD, but don’t/can’t use WHDLoad for whatever reason.

Now the thing is, a lot of the games I’ve added so far, don’t officially have HDD installers, but since they are just AmigaDOS disks, I can copy the contents into a folder and they run happily.

Games such as the early Sierra stuff (Kings Quest, Police Quest) are literally just a copy and run process.

Others come with installers making the process even easier.

Then you get the ones that are AmigaDOS disks, but when copied to HDD, they ask for the disk to be inserted upon running the game.

These can be more fun.

Either need to look on Aminet for an HDD installer for the game, or be brave and poke around in the main game executable for references to DF0: .

I did this with a few games back in the day, and one that sticks to my mind was Floor 13. This was a 2 disk game, and only used DF0: . I was happy to use it off dual floppy drives, but it would not use any other drive.

So I copied the contents from both discs to my HDD, fired up Disk Peek and Update, and used its hex/ASCII viewer to examine the main game executable.

I found references to DF0: – so I changed these to F13: instead, set up an assign to the Floor 13 files and fired up the executable.

Worked perfectly. Running from HDD and no more disc prompts.

This method does not work for all games, but its worth a play with.

Xbox Announcement : Online Multiplayer for FTP Unlocked

Effective 21 April, all Xbox players can access online multiplayer for free-to-play games as well as multiplayer-supported free demos and betas at no charge.

To make it easier for everyone to find and connect with other gamers, we are unlocking two other Xbox Live Gold features, β€œLooking for Groups” and β€œParty”, for all Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles.

There is a rich library of over 50 free-to-play games you can download and play with all your friends, regardless of their membership.

Additional details about this change can be found here.

GTA 5 : Mod menus

Mod menus have been around for many years in various forms, most people use them to enable “god” mode so they dont get killed.

However with GTA5, the menus allow so much more.

Want god mode ? Done

Unlimited ammo ? Indestructible vehicles ? All the skins ? Modify vehicles ? Change the weather for the server ?

No problem.

But some users use these options just to piss off other players – ever been playing and had a UFO land on you ?

Or locked out of your own vehicle ? Blown up along with everyone else on the server ?

These are the guys who ruin it for all………..

Lets start off by saying that anyone who uses a mod menu, is NOT a hacker. They have not hacked a thing. They are using someone’s software that is hacking/exploiting the game to a degree.

Mod menu users are the equivalent of “script kiddies”, who use random pre-built tools to attack websites etc.

How do I know ?

Because I am one.

Before you rant at me, let me explain.

I purchased GTA5 on the PS3 on release. I spent a few years playing with mates online, and built up a decent character and garage, all legitimately.

Then the game got released on PC and all my mates went over to GTA on PC…. I didn’t because I didn’t have a decent enough PC to run it at the time. I stuck with the PS3 version but found it was becoming infested with “modders”, and they were ruining the game.

So I left.

Skip forward a few years, and Epic Games give away GTA5 for free – I grab it and play it on my now capable PC.

Jump online and…. shit. Modders.

So I bailed again.

Then a few months ago I gave online another shot, and found that while there were some annoying modders, a majority had buggered off to Red Dead Redemption Online.

Now I could get back into the online game….. but then I remembered…. I didn’t transfer my character when the PC version was released, and the window for that to be done had closed a long time ago.

So I’d have to start again…… nooooooo.

Then I figured I’d take a look at a mod menu. Kiddions seemed to be reasonably popular, free, and did not appear to be picked up by Rockstar’s system, so was therefore “safe” to use.

I grabbed it, installed, and wow, it worked.

The main thing I used it for, was to obtain money – I did not use it for god mode and other “cheats” against other players, that would just kill the game for me. What’s the point of going around pissing everyone off.

So with “Kiddions”, I’ve now reached a reasonable level for my character, have a healthy bank balance, and multiple garages full of fun cars to drive.

The only time I’ve used the god mode aspect, is when I’m bored, I get 5 wanted stars, and take on the masses of cops that come after me. But – I’ve always ensured I am well away from other players. One reason is so that they don’t see what I’m doing and report me – the other is to avoid them being caught in the cross-fire. It gets messy.

But there are still many players out there who use the mod menus for stupid means as mentioned at the start.

Sometimes I run into other players blatantly using a mod menu, and if theres hardly anyone else on the server, I enable Kiddions and we have a blast doing stupid things against the AI. We respect the other players without mod menus and leave them alone.

If all mod menu users did this, it wouldn’t be such an annoyance to other players….. but there’s always one out there to ruin it for all.

Random Thought: Are James Bond and Batman Timelords?

Had some time last year and an thought hit me “Are James Bond and Batman timelords?”

I am probably not the first person to have thought of this but bear with me on this one.

So Doctor Who has been running since 1963, the premise is of a Timelord who travels around in their Tardis (effectively a time machine that looks like a police box). The ingenious element of the show is when the first actor William Hartnell left the show they regenerated (Replaced) him with a new actor Patrick Troughton.

This process has been pretty much being happening now for the last 50+ years for this show.

The list of all of the Doctors:

First Doctor: William Hartnell (1963–1966)

Second Doctor: Patrick Troughton (1966–1969)

Third Doctor: Jon Pertwee (1970–1974).

Fourth Doctor: Tom Baker (1974–1981)

Fifth Doctor: Peter Davison (1981–1984

Sixth Doctor: Colin Baker (1984–1986).

Seventh Doctor: Sylvester McCoy (1987–1989, 1996)

Eighth Doctor: Paul McGann (1996, 2013)

The War Doctor: John Hurt (50th anniversary episode)

Ninth Doctor: Christopher Eccleston (2005)

Tenth Doctor: David Tennant (2005–2010)

Eleventh Doctor: Matt Smith (2010–2013)

Twelfth Doctor: Peter Capaldi (2013-2017)

Thirteenth Doctor: Jodie Whittaker (2017-present)

Now lets look a James Bond and Batman, both are long running shows that have had different actors play the role but this doesnt seem strange to the recurring characters around them.

Batman incarnations:

James Bond incarnations:

I would go even further and say that other characters in these universes are also Time Lords eg All of the Batman Villains (Joker) Alfred, Commissioner Gordon in Batman and in James Bond M, Q and the villain’s as they also change actor without it seemingly causing any issues

The scenes we are are missing are the regeneration scenes where they change over to their new bodies, my theory is all of these Timelords fled Gallifrey to Earth and have been hiding here ever since.

Just my thoughts on this one, but it sort of makes sense.

New vs New-Old

Like movie script writers, there seems to be a lot of game developers who have stalled on ideas for new stories and characters, and decided re-making their old games with newer technology is a good idea.

And in some cases, its a fantastic idea and works reasonably well.

However in other cases, the developers use the name and IP from the original game, but make it into something else… completely horrible (ok, I exaggerate, just my opinion on some releases).

One of these, titles was Syndicate.

On the Amiga (and eventually PC), it was a fantastic game – just everything about it was very well done and made the game very enjoyable.

In 2009, it was announced that a new Syndicate game was on its way.

Boy, did I get excited.

Then I read this :

however, it used a first-person shooter format, which differed significantly from the isometric real-time tactics format of the series’ original game


It used the name, and some of the ideas etc but was not Syndicate to me.

I did buy it a while after its release, and while was a fun romp, just not Syndicate.

I wanted the original format of the original game – isometric, guiding your little team around these massive cities gunning down other Syndicates. But with newer graphics and sound. But LEAVE THE GAMEPLAY ALONE.

One of the original developers of the original game, did release a Syndicate type game, Satellite Reign, a few years ago and while did fit what I was looking for to a degree, it still was not quite there.

One game that was remade, and did it right, was the all time great, The Secret Of Monkey Island – Special Edition.

Graphics, sound etc updated. Fantastic. But overall gameplay was left as the original. AND you could even switch to the original graphics mode whenever you wanted for that nostalgia.

So developers, ask around before “remaking” a game – see if people want the same gameplay, or something else. I think you’ll be surprised how many will just want updated graphics and sound…

Zack Snyder’s Justice League – My Thoughts

Justice LeagueΒ (2017) 2 hours – My Rating: 2/5

Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021) 4h 2minΒ  – My Rating: 4/5

The original Justice League movie came out in 2017 and to put it mildly it was a hot mess, Zack Snyder was the original director but had to depart filming due personal reasons.

Joss Whedon took over directing, while this should have been a good thing the finished movie was giant mess (the behind the scenes sounded like it would make a good movie some day). It lacked heart and the story line sort of plodded along to a boring ending.

This all bought about a movement to see Zack Snyder’s version of the movie over the last couple of years, to be honest I never actually thought this would happen. This sort of thing pops all of the time with not much result.

But HBO Max in the US put the money forward to get this version made and released, you can read all of the details in the below Wikipedia article:

I have finally finished watching this new version of Justice League, it is just a tad over 4 hours long. I watched in blocks as I cannot these days dedicate a single 4 hour movie watching block.

The question I guess is “Is it better that the original Justice League?” the answer to that would be yes, yes it is but with a few caveats.

With the extra 2 hours of run time the story has more room to breathe and characters like Cyborg and The Flash get more expanded story lines. The bad guys plans also make more sense and are fleshed out.

This movie does have about 5 different endings to it, obviously trying to setup for sequels that now not going to happen, it was also filmed in ratio setup for IMAX when it was plainly obvious this version was never going to ever a see a movie complex.

I would recommend watching it as it is a good movie if not a bit long.