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    • Bought myself a new lens and strap for my camera. Peak Design strap and a Viltrox 23mm f.14 lens. I don't like the strap that came with my Fuji so it'll be nice to have something that can come off quickly and I've wanted a nicer lens for a while now.
    • Two similar but surprisingly different games   32. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 Original Platform: PC/360/PS3 Version played: 360 Where to get, Steam, Xbox Store, PS3 store. I was originally going to do Sonic 4 as a single game, but after playing through Episode 1 and Episode 2, it’s evident that they’re completely different games so I’ve decided to give them separate slots. The “Episode” part of this is a complete lie, it seems. Also a complete lie is the “Sonic the Hedgehog 4” name it has been given. It’s nothing like a sequel to the original games in any way. The best way I can justify the name is that it’s a new take on the Game Gear “Sonic the Hedgehog 4”, aka Sonic Blast, which seems apt due to the more maze-like levels and the “Donkey Kong Country” style graphics, where Sonic’s sprite is based on a 3D model. It kind of looks similar to the Sonic Blast one, too. The other parts of the game take on different styles. The levels look like they’re 2D textures with some shading added in photoshop to make it “look” 3D. The backgrounds are sometimes layers of 2D, but other times are fully 3D. Dr Robotnic has a cel shaded style and stands out. There’s no consistency to the graphical style at all. Also like Sonic Blast is how slow it takes Sonic to get moving. Moving from a standstill is so slow it’s agonising. Especially when you’re trying to move Sonic away from an obstacle. There’s something off about the way he moves and jumps as well. It’s not nice to play. Sonic Blast 2 (the name I’ve given this game) also features the homing attack from the 3D games, but unlike some of those, it also kills Sonic’s momentum, so you have to start moving from a standstill again. Even when you have the Power Sneakers, Sonic still feels slow. The levels are a rehash of previous levels: Green Hill, Casino Night, Labyrinth and Scrap Brain. They have different names in Sonic Blast 2, but they don’t feel different (although Scrap Brain has elements from a Sonic 2 level). There’s three acts for each zone and two of these are all incredibly dull, just retreading old ground. The second act of each stage does try something new. The second act of Casino Night introduces a cannon mechanic, where you have to aim and fire Sonic. Aiming is very slow and it’s not smooth or fun at all. Labyrinth zone act 2 is dark and Sonic has a torch, lighting other torches (sometimes activating switches) and setting off TNT. With a better level design and physics, this level could actually be really good. The bosses are mostly the same as the original bosses, with a brief second stage. Even the final boss is just the final boss from Sonic 2, and you have to fight all the previous bosses again to reach it. Sonic Blast 2 is a poor rehash of Sonic 1 & 2, with bad graphics and wonky physics. It’s a very poor Sonic game. 33. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 Original Platform: PC/360/PS3 Version played: 360 Where to get, Steam, Xbox Store, PS3 store. This shouldn’t be called Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2, but for different reasons: it’s actually a good game. I’m going to call this one “Sonic & Tails”, as it revolves heavily on using Tails’ abilities to navigate the levels. The graphics in Sonic & Tails are much more consistent, using 3D models for everything, and the consistent style not only works well, but also looks amazing, with beautiful backgrounds and scenery, and some surprisingly nice lighting effects. Physics also feel much better, with Sonic actually moving at a fun speed and jumping is precise, it never felt like a death was due to the game being at fault. The levels are technically remixes, but they remix multiple stages together in a way where they feel like new stages instead of re-hashed content. The level gimmicks are also fluid and keep up the flow of the gameplay. There are only four (and a bit) zones, so it’s quite short, but each has three acts and a boss, and each act feels very different. I especially loved the rollercoaster level. Tails follows you along this time, and seems to have some level of AI as he’ll occasionally grab a few rings for you or navigate platforms. Together, Sonic and Tails have two abilities: flying and a rolling attack. Flying seems to be limited to a certain height of where you start, and can be used for shortcuts or is needed to navigate some sections. Rolling is very fast, and allows for digging through some sections. Both are fun to use, although the game hand-holds them a bit as a screen is in the background showing you which ability to use. It’s a shame there’s no way to turn these off. The bosses are also all new, with some fun fights (although some do last quite a while). The first boss actually mocks Sonic Blast 2 by setting up a stage from an old boss fight before smashing it up. If you skipped this because of Episode 1, it’s worth giving it a go. Sonic & Tails is a fun, albeit short, Sonic game.
    • I can see how somebody could argue otherwise, Flo Jo's still unbeaten records from the 1988 Olympics, Bolt's WR double in 2009, Van Niekerk breaking Michael Johnson's 400m record in Rio and David Rudisha storming to 800m glory in 2012 are just a few of the iconic moments in track history but for me Karsten Warholm's feat this morning surpasses them all. I've watched athletics avidly since childhood and on so many levels that race was remarkable, Warholm smashed the WR (with 45.94) but he was pushed all the way by Benjamin (46.17), the top two were both half a second inside Warholm's previous WR of 46.70 and dos Santos in third ran 46.72 - to get it so right in such a technical event, under all that pressure, in an Olympic final I just don't see how anyone can deny what a remarkable feat it was.

    • You really think that it is inarguably the most impressive performance of all time, or are you just being hyperbolic?

      I mean, if you really think that nobody is going to argue with that statement, it must be your first day on the internet.

    • Keeley Hodgkinson smashed the British record to take silver in the 800m - another fantastic race and GB finally get an athletics medal to give the team a confidence boost. Can't look past the 400m hurdles final though, I woke up early to watch it and it didn't disappoint, the medalists all going below 47 seconds with Karsten Warholm absolutely demolishing his WR by 3/4 of a second, utterly ridiculous - unequivocally the most impressive athletics performance of all time.  Plenty more medals for GB overnight and this morning, kind of disappointed we couldn't get a gold in the track cycling today but the Danes and the Germans were dominant - it would have taken a lot to beat either of them. 
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