My Ideas Scrapbook Volume 2

Hello and welcome to the much overdue 2nd edition of the Ideas Scrapbook. This is like a DVD extras thing where I put some bits that I wrote for my various projects that then didn’t get used. Mostly because they weren’t needed or they broke up the momentum of the article too much or in the case of the video games in particular there simply wasn’t room to include them.

This edition like last time features extras from the Trance Nation series and the Video Games I’ve Enjoyed series, and we begin with the Trance Nation Series.

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Towards the end of the Trance Nation series I embedded videos of the tracks I was mentioning in the article rather than simply linking the video. It broke up the text into more manageable chunks and was easier to read. Here’s how I tested the format using a European CD.

Another album series in full swing by this point was Mellomania and volume 6 is well worth a mention. This volume included a couple of pretty nice tracks to listen to. A fairly slow but still epic track from C-quence called Endorphine

A slightly more funky number from Attic featuring Julie Thomson and The Last Goodbye. I’m in 2 minds about whether or not this counts as trance in the usual terms but it does fit within the albums remit really well in my opinion.

But inspite of being called Mellowmania the first of the 2 disks has always been the more “clubby” of the 2 and often very euphoric and this is certainly true with this track. Carl B and Solitude.

And the euphoric feel continues with 2 Trance and a track called In My Dreams. One of Alex M.O.R.P.H’s finest moments of 2006.

Those are just some of the highlights on this album. Keep in mind guys this paragraph is just one CD It’s that good. I urge you to listen to the entire thing if you’re a trance fan.

I decided that I liked this format so much more than just big blocks of text and I’m playing around with the idea of re doing volume one of the article (and maybe volume 3) in that format.

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The Video Games series featured 40. Yes 40. Titles spread out over 10 articles although some articles featured more games than others. But with so many titles there were some that got over looked or just couldn’t be fitted in. Here’s one such example.

EMILY WANTS TO PLAY

So Layers Of Fear was an intelligent horror game. Emily wants to play was pretty much the opposite. O.K there was a sort of story line about a girl called Emily who’s parents kept her in a basement when she showed signs of “not being normal” and her toys come to life and try and murder you. And that’s about it. You arrive at Emily’s house as a pizza delivery guy then in 5 nights at Freddie’s style you have to survive the night. You get introduced to the characters. I’ll show you them one by one so you get the idea.

This is a doll called KiKi who appears randomly in the house. To avoid her getting you, you stand still and look at her. In my game she spawned once in a dark room and I couldn’t find either her or a light switch. RIP me and my sense of fear. These characters make you jump and they are LOUD when they do it.

This is the Clown. Again like KiKi he appears randomly in the house. He is probably the easiest enemy to evade. All you have to do is stand still and you’re fine. Don’t do what I did in the game. Leave the room and shut the door, that doesn’t work. Trust me it really doesn’t. Even though this is the easiest character to deal with this is also the character that scared me the most. I’m not ashamed to say it. I’m scared of clowns. Really scared of clowns so this is the one I was most worried about.

Chester the puppet. He charges at you so you have no choice but to run away. Simply run into another room before he catches you and you’ll be fine. Although it’s not always that easy.

Emily herself becomes more central at the end of the game in a hide and seek level to round off the game. If you don’t find her in a set time then she finds you. In style when like with the others she jump scares you out of literally nowhere.

The goal is simple. Survive the night. Start at midnight and go through until 6 o clock in the morning. You can go in to any room of the house at any time. There’s no set plan in terms of where you need to be except for the hide and seek segments at the very end. The only audio comes from the enemies themselves and that makes the game ever more ominous and actually adds to the game. If you recall what I said about Tomb Raider and how the constant music in Underworld took something out of the grandeur nature of the game. This does the exact opposite. It’s also not fair to say it’s like Layers of Fear which is more subtle with it’s scares for the most part. This is (dare I say) a little more over the top. The scares are sudden and far from subtle. But there’s a really good nod to the 5 Nights at Freddie's series. Far from Subtle but the game is still great fun.

Since I wrote that there has been a follow up release. Emily Wants To Play Too. Which is even more random and crazy with some new characters as well as the old ones. Having seen one youtube play through video the environment looks to be bigger and more elaborate and there seems to be a linear structure to the game as well. Like with most game sequels there is very much a more really is more kind of attitude.

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Sticking with the Video Games series and a game that is thankfully a little less scary than Emily Wants To Play. I rejected this mainly because of the very tiny cover picture.

PEGGLE (AND PEGGLE 2)

Peggle sounds like a funny word doesn’t it? You don’t expect it to sound addictive or to capture any imagination. But for me it was hopelessly addictive. Fire a ball from the top of a screen and try and hit all the orange pegs (dots or bricks) before you run out of balls. What could possibly be so good about that?

If I had to pin it down I’d say it’s the elaborate design level combined with the need in myself to do better each time. And both peggle games have this in spades. You have power ups which you get by hitting the green bricks. I won’t go through them all individually but all I’ll say is that my favourite in peggle one has to be the space alien with his space blast explosion which eliminates all the blocks/pegs whatever you want to call them in one go. The skateboarding beaver with his multi ball power up is another favourite.

But this game took a while to catch on. it was only after inclusion in the valves orange box as a demo when this game took off. After that the game got into the 50 million mark on steam as well as Xbox. Yet almost no one admits to playing the game. Yet over a decade after the first game and about 5 years after the second game. Here we are.

Peggle 2 was a direct evolution of the original. Yes there were fewer characters than the first but the sound and graphics were beefed up giving the game a slightly more cinematic feel to it. Heck there’s even atmospheric sounds and the game is in 5.1 surround sound which is not what you expect from a game such as this. Best power ups in the second game. A yeti who freezes the pegs and makes the round dots slide into each other (like they’re on ice) and a dead little girl who turns all the blue pegs to ghosts. This is a very popular power up and one that gets you a lot of points if you get it right.

But even more exciting is the online element of Peggle 2. Play against other players in real time which was one of my first tastes of online gaming and I have to say. For such a niche title the lobbies were always full and there was always lots of interaction. (I had lots of fun annoying some American players) Although most of the other players were children which shows how family friendly it really is. Even the dead girl character is done in a friendly cartoon style that makes it a fun experience that all ages can enjoy.

It’s very much a hidden gem this game. If you are the sort of player who enjoys things like Candy Crush then you may well like this one.

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Lets turn back to the Trance Nation series and a glaring omission. Or was it? I start this piece referencing the Ministry of Sound format of albums giving 2 disks of classics and one disk of new stuff.

There was yet another superclub at this time which broke the ministry format however. Yes OK Godskitchen released a trance anthems CD in 2008 which obeyed the format but a few years later they returned with a series of their own.

Pure Trance Anthems was an album that gave us a 3 disk album of NEW tracks. But with a UK style sound (as I call it) which is mostly progressive with a hint of big room about it. So for example Tiesto with Sneaky Sound System and I Will be Here.

But there’s also a few dreamy moments that are more akin to a European album but again there’s that slight U.K twist of keeping it a little bit big room. Cosmic Gate and Flatline for example.

But to demonstrate what I mean here.. This is the version of the same track that the rest of Europe was used to.

But I’ll finish the look back at this album with something just.. Weird. M.I.K.E had a hit in 2000 with Sunrise at Palamos. At the end of the decade a new version was released. It featured here and on Technoclub in Germany as well. Just to prove that there was some crossover from time to time.

This wasn’t actually a bad album all things considered but what followed let the name down terribly.

Pure Trance Anthems 2011 was a typical UK based album being mostly remixes of old tracks. Like Ariel by A9 with a new remix.

This was also the era when Nic Chagall used his real name as opposed to his Cosmic Gate alter ego. He produced tracks like this.

But the underlying theme of this album seems to be covers. Dance 2 Trance and The Power of American Natives, remixed for the “modern era”

By all accounts this is not a very good album. It shows just what a poor state the U.K based scene was in at this time. A real let down after the album that preceded it and in fact signalled the death knell for this series.

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And I’m ending this one here guys. Another page of the scrapbook taken care of. There will be more of this at some point in the future with new projects involved but this ends the look at the things that never quite made the cut in my first 2 projects (look at part one for some others).

Thanks for reading and there will be more from me soon.

I’m just a guy with no writing experience or expertise whatsoever writing about the things that interest me. This is my extended therapy session