Koji Suzuki’s novels have been adapted into terrific films, like The Ring

A still from The Ring (2002), directed by Gore Verbinski

Using a smartphone to play video games may be the best way to play video games now, at least for me. This doesn’t mean that the best games are released for the Android mobile operating system. This simply means that if you have a smartphone, you can download emulators on Play Store, transfer ROM files to your smartphone, and play numerous video games by using an emulator like this. Because of this, my Samsung Galaxy Note 8, which has a large display for a mobile phone, is now my favorite device for playing video games. I speak from experience when I say that if you want to play PlayStation games on your smartphone, you should download the emulator ePSXe, which costs several dollars on Play Store. This small price is more than worth it because with this emulator your smartphone will be a problem-less device for playing PS1 games. Like many other emulators, ePSXe features options to ease or improve gameplay. The only downside of using an emulator on a smartphone is that smartphones don’t have buttons. You have to make do with the on-screen controls that the emulator provides. If it hadn’t been for this small inconvenience, my smartphone would have easily become my favorite device for playing video games a long time ago. But I recently found a solution to this problem. You can purchase a bluetooth video game controller for your smartphone. Bluetooth controllers are easy to purchase on the internet. I bought the 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Retro Bluetooth Gaming Controller, which is one of the smallest controllers available. There are bigger and more expensive controllers, but the one that I bought is fine for me. Thanks to ePSXe and my smartphone (or my Samsung notebook), I can now play my library of PS1 games without any problems. If it hadn’t been for ROM websites, many old video games would have been almost impossible to get now. Two decades ago, people could only dream of playing PS1 games on a phone or on some other mobile device. But ePSXe isn’t the only emulator that I purchased. I also purchased Super64Pro, which plays Nintendo 64 games. I purchased DraStic, which plays Nintendo DS games. I purchased My OldBoy!, which plays Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. I purchased My Boy!, which plays Game Boy Advance games. I puchased MasterGear, which plays Master System and Game Gear games. I purchased PPSSPP Gold, which plays PlayStation Portable games. I purchased NES.emu, which plays Nintendo Entertainment System games. I purchased MD.emu, which plays Sega Genesis games. I purchased redream, which plays Dreamcast games. I downloaded Magic DosBox, which plays DOS games. I downloaded Snes9x EX+, which plays Super Nintendo Entertainment System games. And I downloaded Dolphin Emulator, which plays GameCube games and Wii games. The most pleasant surprise for me was downloading and using the emulator PPSSPP Gold. Thanks to this emulator, I can now play PlayStation Portable games, which take up even more space than PS1 games, on my smartphone. The PlayStation Portable is my third favorite console, after the PS1 and the Nintendo DS. I think that the PSP looks even better than the PlayStation Vita. I actually like its UMD drive and its use of Memory Stick Duo. In addition, it’s easier to store and play videos and music on the PSP than on the Vita. Some months ago, for example, I watched Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) and Rambo III (1988) on my PSP, which I ordered in new condition from Japan. When it comes to playing PlayStation 2 video games, I use the emulator PCSX2. This emulator isn’t difficult to install, but, if you’re having trouble, you can easily find an instruction video on YouTube. I own a PlayStation 2 console, which still works just fine, and I own a few dozen PS2 games, but some PS2 games are either hard to get now or they’re sold in used condition for high prices. Therefore, getting PS2 ROM files and using an emulator is an even better option for me. You don’t even have to use a keyboard to play these video games. A bluetooth controller works just fine with the PCSX2 emulator, and it can also be used to play video games purchased on Steam. Using an emulator is also the only way of playing video games from Japan that haven’t been officially released in North America. For example, I enjoy playing the Fire Emblem games, which are tactical role-playing games. But some of them, like New Mystery of the Emblem (2010), haven’t been released in North America. Fortunately, an English patched version of the game can be downloaded on the internet and played on a Nintendo DS emulator. Fire Emblem Awakening, which I bought a few years ago, is the first Fire Emblem game that I played. It’s one of the best games available for the Nintendo 3DS. Since then, I’ve played the other Fire Emblem games on the system, and I’ve enjoyed playing all of them. A few months ago, I also got to play Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, which was made for the Game Boy Advance. I think that the older Fire Emblem games, like The Blazing Blade, are better. They have better music, better stories, and better designs. But even the new Fire Emblem games are very good because the gameplay remains the same. Nintendo DS ROM files don’t take up much space. They’re usually about 50 megabytes in size. This means that they’re much smaller than PS1 ROM files or PSP ROM files. I own three Nintendo DS consoles. I bought them used, but they’re in very good condition. I own the Nintendo DS Lite, the Nintendo DSi, and the original Nintendo DS. Out of these three models, the original DS is the hardest to get in good condition because it’s the oldest model. Fortunately, I found a blue original DS in very good condition at a pawn shop for about $70. I think that the original DS is the best-looking DS model, but it’s also the most bulky one. Almost all of the video games that were made for the Nintendo DS are not available on any of the new consoles, like most other old video games. There’s only a small selection of Nintendo DS games on the Nintendo eShop for the Wii U. And who knows for how long Nintendo will keep the eShop online. Sony, for example, has already removed the video games that were made for the PlayStation Vita and the PlayStation 3 from the PlayStation Store on the internet. Therefore, if you just have to have an old console, instead of using an emulator, buying physical copies of old video games (usually in used condition) is the only way to play them now. And these physical copies can range from very cheap to very expensive. It depends on the rarity of the game. Fortunately, some old handhelds, like the Game Boy Advance, can be bought in remade or refurbished condition on eBay from Chinese sellers for a relatively low price. The same applies to video games. They may not be originals, but they still look and play like originals. As time goes on, fewer and fewer original consoles and video games from the past will be available for purchase because people (mostly younger people) will continue to break them, lose them, or damage and remake them in various dumb and pointless experiments. That’s unfortunate because the old consoles and video games are better than the ones that get made now. Except for the Wii U, I don’t own any of the eighth generation video game consoles because they don’t interest me. I think that they don’t look good, and almost all of the video games that have been made for them are dull and unoriginal, in my view. Naturally, it’s almost certain that I won’t be buying any of the ninth generation video game consoles either. I’d rather buy an additional PlayStation Portable or PlayStation 2 than the PlayStation 5.

One of the television series that I finished watching recently is Cobra Kai. I watched the first season of this show in 2019, soon after it was launched. It turned out to be good. It’s rare for me to watch modern television series because they don’t interest me. Now that films and shows can be seen on a computer, on a notebook, or even on a smartphone, I don’t have to watch what I don’t like, and I can easily watch some good old shows that interest me. The two American series that I’m watching at this time are Magnum, P.I. (starring Tom Selleck) and The X-Files (starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson). If we get back to Cobra Kai, the reason why I watched it is because it’s not long. The first season contains only 10 episodes. I don’t think that this series is now the best thing in the Karate Kid franchise. The Karate Kid (1984) remains the best thing in the franchise for me. Like almost all other modern shows and films, Cobra Kai lacks an artistic touch, but it’s still enjoyable to watch. Pretty much all of the actors are good in their roles. For me, however, William Zabka and Xolo Mariduena are the standouts. Zabka, in particular, can get praise for turning Johnny Lawrence into a sympathetic character. The second season of the series, which I recently finished watching, was more enjoyable than the first, at least for me. My favorite episode is the last one, titled ‘No Mercy’. At the beginning of the episode, Daniel goes to Johnny’s apartment, kicks down the door, and barges in in order to get his daughter. This was hilarious. At the end, there’s a highly entertaining big fight. Another series that I finished watching recently is The Boys. This show also doesn’t contain many episodes. So far, there have been two seasons and only 16 episodes. I watched it out of curiosity because it was heavily promoted. I didn’t find it as enjoyable to watch as Cobra Kai, but this isn’t because it’s bad or not entertaining. The Boys is a show with dark themes and with characters that aren’t really likable. Still, mainly because something new is revealed in almost every episode, this show remains gripping and entertaining. The production values are relatively high. Therefore, everything in the show, like the superhero costumes and makeup, looks good. The Boys is about an angry Muslim man named Billy Butcher, who assembles a team of virile Muslims in order to save Americans from their oppressive freedom and from Homelander. Now that I think about it, there’s another modern show that I watched not that long ago. It’s Stranger Things, which premiered in 2016. Like Cobra Kai and The Boys, Stranger Things was heavily promoted. As far as I know, it became a big hit. It definitely started out well. The first several episodes are gripping and enjoyable to watch. But I think that the second half of the first season isn’t as interesting as the first. I didn’t watch seasons two and three of this series because the first season didn’t leave me wanting more. Stranger Things benefits from some catchy music, and the inclusion of 1980s pop culture was a nice touch, I suppose. The child actors were good in their roles, and David Harbour probably gave the standout performance as Jim Hopper.

I played StarCraft and Diablo II recently. These two gems from Blizzard Entertainment mean something to me because I got to play these video games when I was a teenager. The gameplay may seem somewhat dated now, but the games are so well made that this doesn’t really matter. What I like most about them is the campaigns. The voice acting is excellent. The stories aren’t bad either. After playing these video games again, I was struck by how much better they are than their sequels. Diablo III, the sequel to Diablo II, is a particularly disappointing game. I can even call it a turd. Videos can be found on YouTube about the flaws of this game. If it hadn’t been released by Blizzard and if it hand’t had high production values, this game would have been considered to be a dud. I still remember how badly conceived and animated the boss fight against Belial is in this game. I think that I bought Diablo III because I was fooled by the glowing reviews from the bought and paid for video game critics. Well, now I know better. This shows once again that critics can’t be trusted because they all depend on the establishment, but this also shows that the people working at Blizzard now aren’t talented. They’re simply going through the motions and releasing lame sequels. As far as I’m concerned, the last good game that was made by Blizzard is Warcraft III, and even Warcraft III isn’t perfect. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, the sequel to StarCraft, fares better than Diablo III, in my opinion. It too suffers from a lack of originality, from graphics that don’t look very good, and from a story that’s not interesting. But I have to say that I enjoyed playing the campaigns, the cinematics are top notch, and there are some good ideas in the game. I was fortunate enough to find the novels by Koji Suzuki that I wanted. I definitely like the films that were adapted from Suzuki’s novels. In particular, I like The Ring (2002) and Dark Water (2002). There are other Japanese horror films that I like as well, like Uzumaki (2000) and Pulse (2001). Well, paperback copies of the novels by Suzuki can be purchased on the internet (in new condition or in used condition), but I was able to find and download them in English on some website for free after doing some searching. This wasn’t easy to do, it took some time, but I did find them eventually.