Building the Picade

I wanted to do it for a very long time and I finally did… I’ve built my very own Picade! I’ve done it while watching this video.

It took me two afternoons. The quality of the build is impressive, but what impressed me the most was the Raspberry Pi itself. It loads much faster than I expected and it is very easy to upload the roms wirelessly from my Mac via SMB.

Below is a small gallery of the building process. It starts with the frame and ends with the wiring.

I’d advise it to anyone who enjoys building things and playing retro games. Retropie doesn’t only emulates Mame roms, you can find the complete list of supported systems here. You don’t need any knowledge in electronics and no soldering is required. With a bit of logic, you can do anything.


Halloween Holidays – What I made

During our second week off, Sardoken had the idea to write his own stories which, later on, I could illustrate. So, I decided to learn to draw again. It’s been 20 years since I last picked up a pencil… It will take some time to get back into it, but I won’t give up! I have spent a few afternoons copying simple drawings that I found on the internet, it’s was very relaxing. I’ll try to post my progress regularly.

It’s been a while that I wanted to knit my own scarf. I never knitted before and had no clue on how to do it. Thanks to a video on Youtube, I finally got started. It’s fun, but I made quite some mistakes, I guess that it will add some personality… I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m quite impatient to see the result.


Halloween Holidays – What We Played

Sardoken

A few weeks before the holidays I started Rise of the Tomb Raider, I had so much fun that I kept on playing until the middle of our first week. I haven’t collected everything yet, but I can see myself coming back regularly to complete each map.

I was already a fan of Life is Strange, so I thought that I would give a try to Before the Storm. Even if the gameplay is reduced to simple choices without the possibility to rewind, the game was entertaining. I really love Chloe Price and it was pretty fun spending a few afternoons in her company.

Then, just like the rest of the world, I’ve bought Red Dead Redemption 2. I was so hyped, I almost bought a cowboy hat for the release. Thank god I didn’t… As it turned out, I’m far less into the Far West than I thought. I enjoyed the first chapter, then I ended up alone in that huge world, it felt empty, soulless. Ultimately I got depressed and I deleted it.

That’s when I started the best game of my holidays: The Witcher 3. I had already tried it on PC a year go… At that time, I was still in WoW and other games didn’t easily interest me. Anyway, I got completely hooked, to the point that I instantly purchased the first book of the serie, a comic book, an action figure and a Funko. Now, that’s a world I love! I can’t help it but fantasy is where it’s at for me. I’m ready to explore each corner of every map and to complete all the quests. I’ll be there for a while…

Soforah

I started playing Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles on Switch a few weeks before the holidays started. I had so much fun in this game that I couldn’t resist reaching 96% completion. Yonder is about exploring the island, Gemea. The more you explore, gather materials and craft, the more you advance in the storyline. I’ve finished it all, except for the quest that requires you to find all the cats and planting all the trees. I think that the completion of these 2 quests would take me hours of mindless running around and, while I like to wander, this is too much for me.

After that, I wanted to give a try to Victor Vran on my favourite portable console. I remember quitting this game on PC because of the clunky gameplay, I somehow thought that it would be better on console… I was wrong! This game is even worse on Switch and the Overkill Edition is disappointing. I gave up after one afternoon.

Instead, I started playing Octopath Traveler. This game is a jewel, it’s beautiful and fun. Normally, I don’t like turn-based games, they easily become boring to me, but Octopath is different. I haven’t finished it yet, but I will!

Sardoken & Soforah

On Halloween afternoon, we played a tabletop game, Mysterium. It was the first time that we played this one and, with it’s Halloween settings, it was perfect for the occasion. It was a great moment and we can’t wait to be the next time!

Diablo 3 for Switch was released on the 2nd of November. We went to get it that same day and we haven’t played anything else since. We’ve levelled two seasonal crusaders and we’re currently working on getting to the free set. The Switch is an amazing port for D3, probably the best. We even have more fun than we had with the original.

We also made a major upgrade to our office room. Soforah bought her first Playstation, a black PS4 pro. We’ve both purchased a Steelseries Arctis pro headset and a LG 4K HDR 27′ screen.


Halloween Holidays – What We Watched

This year, our holidays were supposed to be made of walks in the park, video games, horror movies and no coffee. After a few days, we had bought a new Nespresso machine. On the second week, we got our first tattoos and, on the third week, we had our office turned into a gaming room. None of this was planned, but you know what? We had a great time!

Since it was our Halloween holidays, we had planned to watch only horror. Just as the year before, it failed. There was a time when horror was great, we could watch one movie after another and have a great time… Well, that time is no more, horror nowadays is supposed to seduce everybody, that’s why most of it is closer to a psychological thriller than a real horror. While there are a few good movies, there aren’t nearly enough to watch on a three week span. Here’s a list of the things we’ve watched and what we thought about them:

  • Hold the Dark: the trailer was promising, mystery, snow, wolves and the super sexy Alexander Skarsgård. The reality was a boring, slow movie where, in the end, you have no clue what the point was. It felt like the movie was created by a drunk apprentice of David Lynch. Thank god for the snow;
  • Apostle: this movie was so hyped by horror movie reviewers on twitter, we couldn’t watch it soon enough. Some scenes were creepy and pretty gore, but the movie was mostly too slow. Too bad, it could have been a good one;
  • Big Mouth: we enjoy to start a day off with a cup of coffee in front of a cartoon. That’s how we started watching Big Mouth.We love the sense of humour, the hormone monsters, the shame wizard, coach Steve,… so much fun and so many great characters. Jeez, we don’t miss puberty;
  • The Haunting of Hill House: another highly rated crap. Seriously, except for the minor jump scares, this tv-show is boredom itself. A psychological drama. The only horror in this story are the long and annoying chats about the characters’ pathetic life;
  • Castle Rock: the fist few episodes were promising, but the eternal going back and forth in other timelines and dimensions got confusing. As for the episode about the mother’s Alzheimer, it had nothing to do with the story and could just have just not existed. Another disappointment;
  • Fear the Walking Dead: while we liked the previous seasons, this one is a let down. The first episodes were great, with an awesome new character (John), but it had to turn into a slow drama soap again. Why did they have to bring in Morgan? He was boring in TWD, why screw up the spin-off as well?Could we, please have some real survival horror, instead of a debate about the meaning of life? Anyway, we’ll sure watch the end of season 4, some day, when we’re old and we have nothing else to do;
  • Castlevania: another early morning cartoon. This one is more serious, but also very beautiful. We loved it so much, we’re keeping the second season for our Christmas holidays;
  • The First Purge: finally a good movie! It was so badly rated that we were afraid to watch it.
    Well, we were glad we finally did. We always loved the franchise. We were surprised that the reviews were so negative though. The Purge always makes us think about what we would do if there would be a real one;
  • Gotham: one of the rare super hero tv-shows that we enjoy. So, we kept season 4 for our holiday lunchtimes. Every day at 12, we ate our sandwiches and had our cup of coffee in front of an episode. One of the highlights of the day;
  • Disenchantment: We fell so much in love with it that we’ve ordered a poster for the gaming room and Soforah made a cutout of Luci for our living room door.We’ll watch it again before the next season comes out, that’s for sure;
  • Game of Thrones: by the end of the holidays, we were really in need of some good quality show. While we normally aren’t big fans of re-runs, Game of Thrones totally deserves it. It was like listening to a good song after spending an hour in a supermarket.

That’s it for all we’ve watched during these three weeks. One lesson we’ve learned is not to make an horror program based on reviews and ratings.


Magic is Might

One of our traditions is that, when we are sick, we do a Harry Potter marathon. Last weekend was one of those moments… While we were watching this fantastic serie, I realised that we never wrote a post on our blog. So, here we go!

Sixteen years ago, Sardoken got rewarded the DVD of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone after winning a contest in the local newspaper. I remember that it was during the first month we lived together. One year later, we got married and bought all the HP books in both languages (Dutch and French) with the gift certificates we received from Sardokens’ workmates.

In the mean time, I think that I must have read all books over 3 times by now. Once you’ve known the coziness of the wizarding world, it’s hard to come back to reality ;p

Here are some of my favourite things throughout the serie:

  • Teacher: Professor Slughorn;
  • Classes: herbology and potions;
  • Food: anything from the dining tables in the great hall (always makes me hungry);
  • Holidays: Christmas & Halloween in Hogwarts;
  • Places: Hogwarts, the Burrow and Hogsmeade around Christmas;
  • Movie / Book: The Half-Blood Prince (second is The Prisoner of Azkaban);
  • Shop: Weasleys’ Wizzard Wheezes and Honeydukes;
  • Spell / Curse: Imperio;
  • House: Slytherin of course! I would have a cat as a pet and my patronus would be a moose.

Now we are in 2018 and I have so many great memories of all the Harry Potter moments we’ve shared… We’ve been to several midnight openings to get the latest novels, we’ve watched all the movies several times at the theatre (except the first one, which we’ve only seen on TV), we’ve done reading marathons, we’ve gotten a subscription at Pottermore where we were both sorted in house Slytherin, we’ve been collecting quite a lot of goodies, we’ve been to the exposition in Brussels and, most important of all, we’ve visited the Warner Bros Studios in London.

Our trip to London is the one that I’ll cherish the most. I’ll never forget walking around in Diagon Alley and the great hall, visiting Hagrid’s house, watching Sardoken drink a butterbeer (I’m lactose-intolerant), having our pictures taken while flying the Weasleys’ enchanted car or Sardoken pushing me forward when the tour guide asked whose birthday it was (so I got to open the doors to Hogwarts),…

Here are some pictures of our trip to the WB Studios:

For more of our pics, check out our gallery on Imgur.

Writing this makes me realise how much I love the world of Harry Potter. After all these years I still have butterflies. J.K. Rowling created something magical and I’ll always be grateful for that. Next month Fantastic Beasts 2 will be playing in the theatres. I’m already looking forward to this moment. Even though it isn’t the same, it’s a part of the HP universe which means that I am hyped like hell.


Farewell, Telltale Games

When Soforah first read Telltale’s statement on Twitter, we couldn’t believe it. It was nearly bed time and we almost couldn’t sleep as we were baffled by this tragic news.

We’ve been playing Telltale games since the release of the first season of The Walking Dead and we were absolute fans of the style they had developed. We’ll always be grateful to Telltale for blowing back life into the adventure games genre.

Many of our holidays at home have been filled with their stories. We remember the laughs in Tales of the Borderlands and the Sundays with Game of Thrones, but it’s with The Walking Dead that we have the fondest memories. We’ve seen Clementine grow and become the badass she was in the last seasons and it greatly saddens us to think that we won’t get to see the end of her adventure. I highly recommend reading this Tweet from Melissa Hutchinson.

While we’re grateful to Telltale Games for all the fun they brought to us, we’re also really angry that their management took so many wrong decisions during the last years. All was fine when they had 3 or 4 franchises, and everything went to hell when they decided to spread their ressources between too many titles.

But what’s done is done. We just can’t believe that they didn’t know sooner that they were about to close the doors. The Walking Dead was the franchise that made them what they became and leaving the fans in the full middle of a season seems highly unethical to us.

So it’s with mixed feelings that we see Telltale go. Clem will always be hanging on our office wall, but it’s with sadness and bitterness that we’ll be looking at her…


The Last Kingdom

It all started when one of the actors of this TV-show started following me on my old twitter-account. My first reaction was: who’s this dude and what’s The last Kingdom? A few episodes later, we were completely hooked.

As Alfred the Great defends his kingdom from Norse invaders, Uhtred — born a Saxon but raised by Vikings — seeks to claim his ancestral birthright – Netflix

The TV-show is based on a series of novels titled The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell. I admit I’ve never read these, so I can’t judge. As a big fan of Game of Thrones and Vikings, I think that The Last Kingdom is a nice addition to the genre.

It depicts well the harshness of living in a barbarous world. The vikings are portrayed as a bunch of brutal savages, while The Saxons look small and terrified. The contrast is huge and it always makes me wonder on which side I wish I would have been on…

Also, the opening credits are beautiful. I just love this shot:

Meanwhile, they’re working on the third season. Thank you Netflix for renewing the show. It would have been a great loss if it wouldn’t have.


The Originals

When I crochet, I usually watch tv-shows that I’m sure Sardoken won’t like. That way I keep all the good stuff for when we watch TV together. One of these shows was supposed to be The Originals, a spin-off from The Vampire Diaries. Little did I know that a few episodes later, both of us would get completely hooked to the Mikaelson family drama.

Instead of writing a review, here’s a list of all the things I’ve loved the most about The Originals:

  • The visual effects were stunning. No tacky transformations or cheap blood effects. They were beautiful and credible;
  • The mischievous smile of Klaus Mikaelson. You always knew when he was up to no good;
  • The effects when a witch casts a spell;
  • The casting. Most characters were attaching and brought tears to our eyes when they died or relief when they didn’t;
  • They never hesitated on the horror-effect. Some scenes were pretty gruesome like anything horror is supposed to be;
  • There was always some action. No slow, one-plot season, but a web of stories that never make you fall asleep in the middle;
  • The decorative skills and taste in food in this TV-show are flawless. The Mikaelsons’ Christmas holidays look epic and don’t even get me started on their famous dinner scenes.

Last summer, we’ve watched the fifth and last season of the show. While I’ve loved each and every episode, the end was way too sad. I sure will miss watching my favourite vampires, werewolves and witches creating chaos in the city of New Orleans.


The Package

When a bunch of teens go camping, one drunk dude cut off his own dick by accident. His friends have 24 hours to hike back to civilization and bring the missing body part to a hospital where it will be re-attached to its owner.

This movie is as dumb as its synopsis sounds, but we didn’t have a bad time watching it. Definitely not a good pick if you’re looking for something with depth.


Our beta experiments

Each time a new expansion is about to hit, we ask ourselves the same question: “should we change our main character?”.

It implies that we aren’t happy with our actual mains… To be honest, we haven’t been happy with the Hunter in a long time. There are some great things about it, but the gameplay is no longer one of them.

Therefore, we’re always trying other classes in the hope to find a replacement.

We’ve tried many classes lately, both on live and beta servers, and the pattern has been the same for all of them: discovery – excitement – disappointment. For example, we would try a destruction warlock, get comfortable with it, reach max level, have fun completing quests, go in a dungeon and, almost directly, get bored with it.

After a few weeks hurting ourselves, we’ve finally found the right fit and, guess what, it’s the same class for both of us!

For Sardoken, the problem didn’t come from the class but from the role. He just doesn’t enjoy DPSing in dungeons… Healer was where the fun was when he started to play, 14 years ago, and it still is today.

For Soforah, the problem was that no other class could bring her as much fun as the Moonkin. Eventhough she found the Paladin and the Warlock interesting, the Druid is what makes her feel the most comfortable in dungeons. Nothing like a dashing cat to catch back the group, especially those Demon Hunters.

As for the faction, no matter how beautiful Kul Tiras can be, and no matter how crazy Sylvanas can go, we’ll stay faithful to our faction: For the Horde!

TLDR: We’ll switch mains in BFA but not for a class we’ve never played before, our druids will finally have the place they deserve.

Now, off to complete those last achievements before 8.0 is realeased.