The Pet Parade Blog Hop #202 with Rascal & Rocco Co-Hosted by Basil & Barking from the Bayou   

 background image NextMars used under licence from shutterstock.com 


Pawesome Friday greeting wunderpurr furriends

Welcome to another Friday on the blog.  Well we've come to the end of our regular programming schedule fur a while, Mandalas on Monday and Amber's Wordy on Wednesday will return in the Autumn or as our fabulous furriends offur the pond say; Fall.  

But neffur fear, we've not left mew empty pawed as on this weeks posts mew can download our new perma free Colouring With Cats Book II ~ Easy Mandalas and mew have today to get yourself three of our Kindle books fur free too!

AVAILABLE FROM 28th - 30th JUNE




So we hope that will keep mew in reading material and colouring pages until the posts resume.

In other news our Summer Blockbuster, The Last Big Jolly starts on Tuesday and will run all summer...


...so join us as we travel around the wurld in 42 and a bit days.  It's going to be the adventure of a lifetime! MOL



And if mew missed anything during the last week, here's the latest links fur your purrusal!




We'll be back our usual Selfie Selection on Sunday, so hope mew can join us then.

In the meantime we wish mew all an epically epic weekend!

Happy Hopping

Sweetest purrs & nose bumps

Basil & Co xox

Pet Parade blog hop for pet bloggers

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          Bionic Wrench   
The award-winning Bionic Wrench promises to make light work of the toughest of jobs even for those with the puniest of muscles. The hybrid design incorporates the strength of an adjustable wrench with the ease of a pair of pliers, for superior grip and near-elimination of the risk of damaging the head you’re attempting to turn. Fits just about any bolt out there–tightened or released with ratchet-speed.
          Christina Aguilera, 'Lotus' – Album Review   
The last time Christina Aguilera made an album, in 2010, she sounded as robotic as the cyborg she played on the ‘Bionic’ cover. But three seasons as a coach on ‘The Voice’ have brought the diva back down to earth, at least a little. She sounds more human on ‘Lotus,’ her seventh album, but she also sounds a tad desperate – for a hit, for attention, for the adoration dumped on Taylor Swift. Continue reading…
          Incalzitoare maini X-Bionic Biking OW Arm Warmer DX/SX No Seam Black   

Incalzitoare maini X-Bionic Biking  OW Arm Warmer DX/SX No Seam Black

 

In coborarile abrupte, vanturile reci provoaca ca bratele sa se raceasca foarte rapid. X-BIONIC® ARM WARMER iti protejeaza muschii impotriva frigului si previne accidentarile. Bratul pierde caldura diferit in anumite zone, de aceea tehnologia din spatele tricotului de inalta perfomanta X-BIONIC izoleaza intr-un mod specific. Tehnologia ExpansionRibs ajuta la imbunatatirea izolatiei si la distribuirea transpiratiei in tot bratul care dupa aceea se evaporeaza si racoreste. Transpiratia in exces este evaporata imediat.

 

Tehnologii:

- Air Guides® - canale de aerisire

- ExpansionRibs™ - Materialul din zona coatelor se pliaza conform principiului acordeonului, asigurand ca frigul nu va limita caldura din coate. Materialul este elastic si asigura o libertate de miscare.

- Nivel de compresie mediu

- Izolatie termica calduroasa

249,99 lei

          Beginner Tips to Rock Climbing   

Have you ever been out for a walk and noticed the little black dots perched on the sides of sheer cliff faces? Or the rock walls in malls where individuals with perfect ripped bodies are hanging from the bumps trying to make it to the top and immediately thought rock climbing is not for you; either that or your internal passion has you wanting to try it? Whichever is true you will need to start the same way every rock climber started; learning the basics about equipment, safety and moving over rock.

Climbing is all about challenge and excitement. Certified instructors provide a safe experience for various levels of skill. Climbing is made fun by top roping, a technique which provides for maximum protection  and the least amount of exposure. Learning various techniques will allow scaling up to a  summit. Climbing shoes and all other gear are provided to make the adventure possible. The vertical world is a special place that blends balance and concentration in one motion

 

What is Rappelling?

 "Down the rope”, is the best way to describe rappelling. These adventures take little to no skill but do require faith. Rappelling gives that free fall feeling without the airplane. Rappelling  can be set up on short walls to high mountain cliffs with views that make your heart pound.
 

So what do you need to rock climb?

There are basic necessities for rock climbing and as you advance and get more skills you will  quickly learn that your rock climbing equipment needs change depending upon where you are  climbing.

The most fundamental piece of rock climbing is your desire and willingness to learn some  proper techniques to keep accidents and injuries to a minimum. While you do not have to  have a buff body and be able to bench press 300; it does help to be conditioned. Contrary to popular belief, rock climbing is not just about upper body strength; rather it is a combination of both upper and lower body power. One of the most common injuries associated with rock climbing is in the arms and shoulders as inexperienced climbers over use their arms when in fact it is your legs that help climb you to the top.

If you will be climbing for the first time it is highly recommended to locate a gym that teaches the fundamentals of rock climbing. This is the best place to practice the skills you have learned before you head out to climb Mt. Everest.

Once you have learned and practiced rock climbing techniques with an instructor or experienced climber the next thing is to understand the terms used when climbing.
 

Climbing Shoes

Your gear should include a good pair of rock climbing shoes. If you are on a tight budget this is the one piece of equipment you do not want to go cheap on!  There are many types of shoes and range in price from $50 upwards to a few hundred dollars. Shoes specifically designed for climbing are flexible   enough to bend, but have soles that grip the rocks and protect your feet. Some of the brands for climbing are: EvolvFive TenMad Monkey and La Sportiva to name a few. The best climbing shoes are the ones that fit your feet properly, are comfortable and designed to give you the best support for the rocks you will be climbing.

 

Chalk

chalk bag and chalk are essentials to rock climbing regardless if you are top roping,  bouldering or going for the extreme climb. One of the most important aspects of this outdoor sport is having your hands become almost one with the rock. Chalk will not only keep your hands dry but it will also increase the friction between your skin and the surface of the rock for a better hold.

Rope

While you may have seen individuals climb without the aid of rope; it is not recommended. Rope has several functions most importantly it allows you to climb and is the piece of equipment that will protect you incase you slip or lose your grip. There are many kinds of rope on the market today and just like climbing shoes careful consideration should  be given before purchasing rope to aid in rock climbing. There are different kinds of rope to choose from: dynamic or static and wet or dry. A static rope is not elastic meaning if you fall you will most likely feel a jerk. These ropes are mostly used to carry or attach equipment to things. A dynamic rope is recommended for actually climbing and belaying. Dynamic ropes have a certain amount of elasticity and they reduce the force experienced by the climber and the equipment during a fall. It is also important to  choose a rope that is dry-treated to keep it from absorbing water. Dry ropes last longer than a non-dry  rope and is easier to handle when it is wet. Non-dry ropes are less expensive and ideal for use in dry conditions. If you are uncertain of the kind of rope to buy it is best to seek advice from an outfitting company experienced in the sport. Other rock climbing gear which helps ease your mind and keep you safe are helmets, webbing, carabiners, climbing tape harnesses and personal anchor systems (PAS).

You do not have to be the bionic women or six million dollar man to rock climb just the passion, desire a solid foundation and good technique.

Basic Foot Techniques

 Backstepping: is outside edging on a foothold that is behind you while climbing a move with your side  to the wall.

 Edging: using the inside of the foot to stand on a foothold.

 Flagging: a climbing technique in which one foot is crossed behind the other to avoid barn-dooring and  to improve balance.

Heel hook: the use of the heel on a hold, usually near chest level, to aid in pulling and balance.

Smearing: when you place your foot directly on the rock or wall.

Toe hook: hooking your toe on the rock. Toe hooks are most common on arêtes and with underclings.
 

Basic Hand Techniques

Crimp: the most natural and stressful way to grip a rock hold; characterized by hyperextension of the first joint in the fingers and nearly full contraction of the second joint

Gaston: best described as a handhold that is only good from the side; you must hold it with your elbows pointing out and palm facing away from you.

Jug: a massive, easy to hold onto hold.

Open Hand Grip: gripping the rock with the first joint in the fingers and keeping the hand open. This is the safest hand position for your joints.

Pinch: a hold where you must pinch using your thumb and fingers to hold on (they vary in size).

Side pull: crimping or using an open hand grip on a vertical or near vertical hold.

Sloper: sloping hold with very little positive surface like palming a basketball.

Undercling: grabbing a hold with the palm facing up.
 

Basic Climbing Techniques

Cross through: crossing over or under your hand to reach a hold.

Drop knee: an exaggerated backstep in which one knee is dropped toward the ground with the other pointing up, great for overhanging rock.

Foot switch: a technique used to replace one foot with the other foot. It is best accomplished by slowly replacing the foot and without jumping.

Hand-foot-match: placing your hand and foot on the same hold at the same time.

High step: a technique to use with a high foot placement.

Mantle: a climbing technique that requires you to transfer from a pulling position to a pushing position; typically used to topout on boulder problems and to climb past a shelf on roped climbs.

Match: to place both hands on the same hold typically done when switching hands on the hold.


          The Supervet: Bionic Specials (2016)   

          OEX anuncia os novos teclados para jogos Cyborg e Bionic   

Os teclados possuem conexão USB e Plug and Play.
          Day in Tech History: June 30, 2000: Silicon Microchips beneath Human Retinas   

Dr. Alan Chow

2000 – Dr. Alan chow and brother Vincent announced they successfully placed a silicon microchip beneath human retinas. The chip is smaller than the head on a pin and only microns thin. These chips also contain solar cells to help power the chip.

In what is called “Optobionics”, the ASR chip is inserted behind the retina in the “subretinal space”. This is a 2 hour procedure and the chip can last up to 8 years after (depending on care).

Full Day in Tech History podcast show notes for June 30
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  • IBM unbundles software from Hardware
  • President Bill Clinton e-signs the first bill into law
  • Global Gaming Factory X announces they will be buying the Pirate Bay

          Middle-East and Africa Artificial Organs and Bionics Market is poised to reach $2.33 billion by 2021 | Market Data Forecast   
(EMAILWIRE.COM, June 30, 2017 ) The Middle-East and Africa Artificial Organs and Bionics market has been estimated at USD 1.48 Billion in 2016 and is projected to reach USD 2.33 Billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 9.45% during the forecast period from 2016 to 2021. Artificial organs and bionics are man-made...
          Metal Slug   
TRIUMPH OF THE (S)KILL






A supreme representative of the run and gun genre, Metal Slug elegantly assumes you to be a weapon-crazed maniac, thus, you should have no problem whatsoever that this 1996 überclassic lacks autofire. In fact: you should be grateful!

Metal Slug is the kind of game that lacks autofire with a purpose, indeed: if you play this title in the Well Defined Chest Hair Fashion - meaning you focus as much on staying alive as you do on delivering good old destruction - then you will indeed find yourself completely changed into the very specie the game keenly invites you to be from the very start: come, feel the Metal Slug! Give in to the Weapon Psycho you secretly (?) keep around in your gaming psyche! Oh, what do I babble about - you WILL give in to it, otherwise you won't survive here for TWO nanoseconds, trust me.

Enjoy and Read on!




This classic output is a result of an integral collaboration between the D4, Nasca and SNK Corporations, taking you to an alternate universe with an - surprisingly 'nuff - alternate future. An alternate universe you may witness and play in indeed, yet, it is pretty much impossible to miss upon the evident, hilarious WW2-cartoon character the game unleashes with high octane.

The main attractions here are the superbly balanced gameplay mechanics, coming to you on demandingly steep difficulty which though always gives you the means, the paths to rely on- and to take in order to survive: surely, you could be a crazy-ass bionic mobile siege tower of mild efficiency, giving in the consecutive credit after each 5th kill you accomplish - yet the main appeal of the output is the experience it delivers when you put massive focus into your survival abilities.

Essentially, Metal Slug is a long-long foam of subtly presented, pattern-driven minigames that demand pretty much flawless, constant awareness of your surroundings if you are about to present a truly (s)killful session. Yet, mastering these patterns of course is a continuous result of being subjected to the intense assaults the Metal Slug armies and Bosses do unleash on you. Solution is evident: rely on the BESTEST Defense, which naturally is the BESTEST Offense. Finding THAT at each and every section of the game is one immense half of the even more immense global fun the title brings to the table, also it keeps our delicate gray matter and reflexes steadily occupied. As such, do yourself two favors in advance: first and foremost, definitely give Metal Slug a try, and, secondly: when you do that, be sure to play a rigorous game, refusing to get your butt kicked as often as the title invites you to do that.



- III!! WOON'T!! DIIE!!
- AHHAHAHAHAHAA!!

Now, this is really the main charm of the game: as hinted, Metal Slug will give players continuous, though direly strait means to stay alive, yet, spotting and exploiting those are the frequent peak moments by which the piece exhibits furious attacks, casually asking you if you happen to have a conception of staying integral by the very next moment. Be it either way, know that Metal Slug never poses situations that doom you to inescapable death. It just likes to shock you with the impression. Use it to fuel your anger instead, Young Anakin, and deliver your final verdict to the Bosses supported by the Muhaha! of Eradication, that you are to perfect yet.

You will have nice extras at your disposal: a massive chunk of the levels is destructible, revealing instruments of amazing stopping power, yet ammunition for those is rigorously, wisely constrained. You will obtain Heavy Machine Guns, Rocket Launchers and - oh ye! oh ye! - good, old fashioned Shotguns, while the trusty butt-savers you will frequently rely on do come in the form of classic frag grenades: splash damage potential with mild amnesia as possible side effects. Grenades are offered in a similar fashion as weapons are: be sure to keep an eye on the surroundings, since elements you destruct will surely reveal stuff you will be interested in.

The game's title refers to the small vehicles scattered around the levels: these are the Metal Slugs: cute, little, yet quite usable tank-like instruments of destruction. You can occupy them, then fire two kinds of shots of considerable potential, yet Slugs are not indestructible: in fact, three immense direct shots will find the vehicle bidding farewell - you are free to drive the desperate Metal Slug into the enemy, though. To do that, just push your two main attack buttons simultaneously when the vehicle's energy is low. It is also worth noting that the Metal Slug is capable to jump/duck and fire in multiple directions, even better: you are free to offer grenades from beyond the cover of the trusty thing. Directions are of note in one particular regard yet: your hero can shoot downward at the highest steep of a jump, not from a stationary position, though. This gives a fervent visual appeal to the pace, making your protagonist look totally psyched up jumping around madly, punishing All Below.



Metal Slug delivers POWs, as well. They are the Prisoners of War, you can, and, in fact, should release them to obtain the extras they give you. These are weapons or bombs, let alone the Score they weigh in with. A nice trait of Metal Slug is the destructible hostile projectiles: you can stop almost all kinds of anti-blessings with amazing precision aiming, with some exceptions that make rigorous and rather unpleasant sense: some Bosses will deliver Plasma, for example. Not healthy for your butt at all. Not stoppable by your arsenal, either.

As it might have just occurred to you, let me deliver confirmation power: naturally, all levels - there are six of them - conclude with a Boss Face-off. These are encounters of inventive and memorable moments, while their character is heavily dependent on the status you arrive to them by clearing the level of the generic enemies. So, it is important whether you arrive to the Boss with a fully packed Rocket Launcher in hand, OR with two shells remaining in your trusty Shotgun. Indeed, the game definitely recognizes tactics and skills even in this particular regard, making it safe to say that the title is capable to offer different experiences, depending on the arsenal you choose to mainly go for- and rely on on any given stage.



The effective run and gun language the game speaks in is rather straightforward and intense. Staggeringly enough, you have a Fire button with as steep of an effectiveness as your Amazing Cosmic Trigger Finger has, meaning if you can press the button 5000 times/sec as Yngwie J. Malmsteen picks 5000 notes on his guitar by the same amount of time: THEN you will have an Advantage, and the Metal Slug baddies will fear your wrath from the very start. Let me tell you though that you only just imagined that: sad fact is that your Amazing Cosmic Trigger Finger will scream for some relief at the most dire of times, giving you the eternal Metal Slug dilemma of:

How In Hell Will I Survive THIS With Only THIRD Of My Finger Remaining?

And this is the question every player answers for herself/himself, making the game weighing in as evidently timeless run and gun classic. A definite, safe go-for it was, remaining as such with its intense snarl ever since.



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          Horror Icon Mini-Marathon: GLEN MORGAN   

Until very recently, film and television were antagonistic entities; television was the inexpensive stepchild of film, and the creators of each were unlikely to be found working in the other. It changed in 2005, when Geena Davis and Glenn Close decided to appear on television series, and the act of creators and performers crossing back and forth between the two mediums is relatively common. But in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, it was unusual that a creator could easily jump back and forth between film and television. One creator who did was Glen Morgan.

With a career that began writing in television for series such as “21 Jump Street” and The Commish,” with occasional low-budget horror and thriller films to his credit (anyone remember the awesome heavy metal horror film “Trick or Treat”), Morgan’s major recognition as a horror creator began when he and his writing partner James Wong were hired as writers for “The X-Files.” Creating some of the most iconic and memorable episodes (and monsters) of the beloved series, Morgan and Wong parlayed that success into a short-lived but still beloved cult sci-fi series, “Space: Above and Beyond.”

Though the series was short-lived on Fox, Morgan and Wong came back to “The X-Files” for a time before taking over the reins of the serial killer procedural series “Millennium,” which took investigator Lance Henriksen into some fascinating conspiratorial new places.

But it was in 2000 that the duo would make their biggest mark on the horror film world when they brought the first “Final Destination” to screen. Jumping back and forth from film to television for the next few years, working alternately on supernatural TV series like “The Others” and high-concept science-fiction action films like Jet Li’s “The One,” Morgan and Wong kept creating fascinating work that refused to be easily categorized.

After deciding to work separately on projects around 2006, Morgan continued to alternate between film and television, working on two great cult TV series (“Tower Prep” and “The River”, the latter produced by “Paranormal Activity” creator Oren Peli) and a couple of enjoyable remakes of classic 1970’s horror films.

Still working currently on A&E’s new investigative series “Those Who Kill,” Glen Morgan has made several classic television works and at least a couple of noteworthy horror films in his career that are deserving of remembrance.

Final Destination

Morgan and Wong may have been no-brainers when it came to this fun, high-concept idea that could have been a great episode of “The X-Files.” Combining surprising and shocking deaths with a dark sense of humor and loving reference to classic horror films from generations before, the original “Final Destination” was a groundbreaking horror film that redefined horror in the self-referential late 1990’s and created one of the few non-torture porn horror franchises of the first decade of the new millennium.

GET IT ON AMAZON

Willard

Based on the classic 1971 Bruce Davison film, Morgan’s remake of the film (taken from the source novel “Ratman’s Notebooks”) is an excellent film at the wrong time in cinema history. Trapped in a horror arena steeped with PG-13 remakes of Asian horror films, “Willard” was a gleefully dark and R-rated film that was anti-authoritarian and truly unusual (thanks largely to an unnerved central performance from Crispin Glover). Some truly creepy moments, and an inspired turn by R. Lee Ermey as the boss from hell (which would later be reworked to bring the “Texas Chainsaw” franchise back to life) make this a fun film that escapes the money-grab mentality of most horror remakes.

GET IT ON AMAZON

Black Christmas

A good horror film that was tortured in post-production in much the same manner as the lead characters in the film, “Black Christmas” was a troubled production from the moment that the Weinstein Brothers became involved. Based on the seminal 1974 film of the same name (which many believe was hugely influential on John Carpenter’s genre-defining slasher “Halloween”), the film had a relatively smooth shoot, but was then plagued with issues from advertising (director Morgan spoke about seeing previews in which footage appeared that he never shot), to theatrical release (a Christmas-themed horror film released on Christmas day was a bad decision which the director fought over and lost), and even the final DVD release (for which the director was never even consulted). A fun reinvention of the original, with an exploration into the originl of the killer that would be borrowed wholesale a year later for the remake of “Halloween.”

GET IT ON AMAZON

Category:


          opticbot.com   

Optic Bot: You will always know what's ahead and around the corner, with vision and precision at this outstanding name.

opticbot.com
Keywords: 
visual, optical, eyes, robot, robotics, vision, sight, seeing, recognition, bionic

          Rudež nominoval na úvodný blok prípravy trinástku hráčov   
Na snímke tréner slovenskej basketbalovej reprezentácie mužov Ivan Rudež Foto: TASR - Martin Baumann Bratislava 30. júna (TASR) - Tréner slovenskej mužskej basketbalovej reprezentácie Ivan Rudež nominoval na úvodný blok prípravy na predkvalifikáciu majstrovstiev sveta 2019 v Číne (2. - 19. augusta) trinástku hráčov. Slováci odštartujú prípravu zrazom 3. júla v x-bionic® sphere v Šamoríne, ...
          Disabled veteran controls bionic arm with his feet   
The Department of Veterans Affairs is rolling out a new bionic arm available to wounded veterans and civilians. It's controlled with sensors in your shoes.
          Elephant Sounds Reggae Radioshow 21 aug 2013   
Ring di alarm! New Reggae Radioshow bij Elephants for www.reggaespace.com. 2 hours of Jamaican sounds! Tune in & Stay loose!



download here: http://www.mediafire.com/?jdea42aveaqobl4

Lester Sterling - Super Special (Dr. Buster Dynamite) lp
Carlos Malcolm - Space Flight (Dr. Buster Dynamite) lp
David Isaacs - A Place in the sun (Wirl)lp
Ken Boothe - Come running back (Studio One) lp
Desmond Dekker - Sweet Music (Trojan) lp
John Holt - Make Up (Studio One) lp
Impact All Stars - Java Dub (Impact) lp
Black Uhuru - Going to Zion (Impact) lp
Twinkle Brothers - Solid as a rock (Front Line) 10"
Culture - Innocent Blood (April) lp
John Holt - There's no place like home (Trojan) lp
Ranking Joe - Armageddon (Kingdom) lp
Michael Palmer - Ghetto Dance (Midnight Rock) lp
Wailing Souls - Diamonds and Pearls (Greensleeves) lp
Pappa Tullo - Sister Pearl (Greensleeves) 12"
Mike Brooks - What a Gathering (Burning Sounds) lp
Barrington Levi - Cool and loving (Time 1) lp
Barrington Levi - A ya we Deh (Burning Sounds) lp
Barrington Levi - Look Youthman (Greensdleeves) 12"
Barrington Levi - Prison Oval Rock (Dubplate Mix) (Greensleeves) 12"
Jah Thomas - Bycicle Skan k(Greensleeves) lp
Echo Minott - Blues Night (Greensleeves) lp
Wailing Souls - Dont get Lost (Greensleeves) lp
Don Carlos - Hey Mr. Babylon (Greensleeves) lp
Don Carlos - From Creation (Blacker Dread) 12"
Don Carlos - Ginalship (Hit Bound) lp
Gregory Isaacs - Front Door(Phonogram) lp
Cocoa Tea - Rocking Dolly (Volcano) lp
King Kong - Ritch and Switch (Java) 12"
Papa Face & Bionic Rhoda - To the Bumbp (Fashion) 12"
Rodney P - Live Up cd
Albo Rosie - Play Fool to catch wise (greensleeves) lp
Skarra Mucci - The Letter Love U (Soul Force) lp
Chronixx & Sizzla & Protoje & Kabaka Pyramid - Selassi Soldiers cd
YT -Crazy Journey (Satuir) lp
Busy Signal - Wicked Man (VP) cd
U Brown - Reggae Music we Want (RupaRupa) 7"
Protoje - Hail RastaFarI - cd
Chronicle - Jah Rise (Massive B) 7"
          Mobile Marketing Is Superhuman   

Those of us who were watching TV in the 1980s probably remember sci-fi shows about bionic humans with all sorts of awesome appendages. From microchips underneath the skin to titanium limbs, the human of the future was indeed a sight to behold. You might say that time has already come! Except, future ideas of arms […]

The post Mobile Marketing Is Superhuman appeared first on InTarget Mobile Advertising.


          30th Jun: The Supervet: Bionic Specials (2016), 1 Season [TV-14] (6/10)   
From biomechanics to 3D printing, this series offers an in-depth look at the amazing tech veterinarian Noel Fitzpatrick uses to help our animal pals.

          Vancouver’s Prosthesis wins Popular Mechanics best of CES 2017   
The impressive bionic structure is controlled by a human pilot sitting in the center of the bot. The ‘driver’ moves their own body and the machine amplifies their motions.
          Vendesi - Pantaloni salopette ciclismo x bionic taglia s/m - € 90   

Udine UD, Italia
Pantaloncini salopette marca X bionic con fondello per ciclismo con fondello taglia S/M
subito.it

          Middle-East and Africa Artificial Organs and Bionics Market is poised to reach $2.33 billion by 2021 | Market Data Forecast   
(EMAILWIRE.COM, June 30, 2017 ) The Middle-East and Africa Artificial Organs and Bionics market has been estimated at USD 1.48 Billion in 2016 and is projected to reach USD 2.33 Billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 9.45% during the forecast period from 2016 to 2021. Artificial organs and bionics are man-made...
          Flashlight Morphs into Floodlight   
My LORD knows I keep moving the beam of my flashlight to find His footprints. 

I want to follow His lead and keep up with His plan of progress for my life.

He knows I'm living in a world darkened by sin and it's hard to see.

This week I caught a glimpse of the intense journey ahead.

It started the day I shoveled some snow. Nothing out of the ordinary for winter in Maine.

I didn't do much, but I came inside and I was hurting.

At first it was a vague discomfort. That night my lower back started to ache.

By the next morning it earned the title pain and I applied heat to relax the muscles. 

Three days later I had to admit I was in trouble. My lower left side felt the same way it had before my hip was replaced. The whole area was deteriorating and I was having trouble walking. My mind began to spin with the possibility that I'd injured my bionic implant. 

Then what?  =8-O

The next day I gave in and called my surgeon's office. He returned my call and, from what I was telling him, he said I likely strained my back. I did as he directed, applying ice and heat, and taking an anti-inflammatory. 

My mind started to stew over possible scenarios. I'd lifted too much weight and pulled something apart. I'd reached out too far and loosened the screw holding in the socket. Or maybe I slightly dislocated the whole joint. Each one was more dreadful than the previous.

Three days later I had to take action. I reported that the symptoms were continuing and set an appointment to be seen. Three days later still I drove to the doctor's office. From one dark thought to the next the pain became a monster ready to devour my life. 

I was sure that any problems with the bionic device, even a small one, would mean more surgery. More surgery would mean repeating the recovery process. More downtime would mean I'd have to cancel my plans, especially my Spring Tour. More forced isolation would mean feeling helpless again. More inactivity, especially after such a remarkably speedy recovery, would lead to nothing but disappointment and fester into hopelessness. 

I was convinced of every single detail.

Right there on Route 89, before I'd even gotten to the office I was caught in a death spiral. My world had closed in. Nothing but negative, even dire, possibilities remained open to me. 

If you've been following this adventure with me in any other places, you'll know how the appointment went. After extensive x-rays and a thorough examination I got a resounding message that the implant is fine. The conclusion is that I wrenched my back, causing the muscle memory to repeat the way it responded to my deteriorated hip. The tightness and spasms, awkwardness and instability were all a product of confused physical connections.

Are you with me?

The x-rays and the confidence of the doctor in what we were seeing brought my crazy-making mind to a halt. On my way out of the office I started willing my posture to be straight and my stride secure. There was a bit of stretching, but it felt good. My wild thoughts were dismissed by the facts. By the end of that day, without a single physical therapy appointment as prescribed, most of the pain and discomfort were gone. 

I considered that reality as I climbed into bed 10 long days after I moved that bit of snows. The transformation was striking. I wondered what this experience might have to do with the rest of my life. It's a question I ask myself often. Maybe that's what pastor's wives do through a life of sermon illustrations.

Whatever the reason, that's when the floodlight came on.

What if the crazy-making process is a habit?

What if every time I/we participate in it, we're actually crippling ourselves with our own thoughts? 

What if it would only take a serious look at the facts to dissolve the emotional, psychological, spiritual pain we put ourselves through?

Now THOSE are some answers to ponder.

More importantly, what if God delivered these circumstances to alert me/us to behavior that is stealing our joy? And He wants us content, fully enfolded in His arms.

In case you are caught in this dynamic, or have a friend who is (ahem), feel free to borrow my strategy. 

Habit Busting Tactics

1. Ask Holy Spirit to wave a red flag at me when my mind is pulled in a wayward direction.

2. Respond immediately by shaking myself, turning away from the destructive behavior and toward the LORD.

3. Build a replacement habit by putting a Godward activity in its place, such as remembering who He is and how He loves me, reciting or meditating on Scripture, singing meaningful spiritual songs.

If this is all news to you, praise God for His gracious gift and share this with others.
If you too are being challenged in this area, what will you do to win the victory?


          Mae Whitman   
Actress who starred on TV's 'The Bionic Woman'. 8x10 Color In Person signed portrait from 'Scott Pilgrim vs. The World'.
          X-Bionic Hotel**** - Raj dla aktywnych nad Dunajem   
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          Re: Video: Home Movie Clips Reveal The Wildly Differing Fates Of The Game Boy And Virtual Boy   

His dad must have had a pretty good camera because this footage is all surprisingly clear.

By BionicDodo


          un film per SEX AND THE CITY.   



Con l’inizio del 2007, JIMMY ripropone una delle serie più famose e amate della storia della tv, un fenomeno di costume, una fiction creatrice di moda e tendenza, che ha avuto un impatto notevole nell’immaginario collettivo, sia per i temi trattati, sia per il rapporto con la città di New York, che in Sex and the city viene presentata nel suo lato più “fashion” e modaiolo.
La serie ha chiuso i battenti dopo sette stagioni nel 2004, anche perché, a dispetto della finzione, tra alcune delle attrici i rapporti fuori dal set non erano propriamente idilliaci: si dice infatti che Sarah Jessica Parker e Kim Cattrall (rispettivamente Carrie e Samantha nella finzione) fossero spesso in contrasto su chi delle due dovesse essere la “prima donna”. Fatto sta che nei due anni successivi alla fine di Sex and the city il successo personale delle protagoniste è andato scemando, portandole (forse) a una riconciliazione che dovrebbe generare le realizzazione di un film basato sulla serie. Ora mi chiedo: tutto ciò ha senso? Ha senso rischiare di rovinare la reputazione di una serie vincitrice di 7 Emmy e 8 Golden Globe con una manovra commerciale (perché solo di questo si tratta…) di dubbia riuscita?
Chi ha visto l’ultimo capitolo della saga di Rocky può capire cosa intendo: l’unico modo per rovinare un mito è celebrarne la fine in modo farsesco. Aveva senso il “Padrino parte III”? E “Rambo 3”? “Batman Begins”? Io penso di no. Ciò non toglie che l’esperimento possa riuscire, ma ritengo sia lecito porsi qualche quesito, perlomeno anagrafico, sulla faccenda. Il plot della fiction si snodava attraverso le avventure sentimentali di quattro fascinose trentacinquenni: l’albionica Kim Cattrall ha compiuto ad agosto 50 anni e, nonostante l’indiscutibile forma fisica, il tempo è indubbiamente passato anche per lei. Certo se il film fosse una sorte di conclusione della serie allora avrebbe un suo significato, anche se aprire il vaso di Pandora comporta sempre dei rischi. Non sarebbe meglio ricordarsi le protagoniste così come finiva la serie, avvolte in un’aura di misteriosa fiducia per il futuro? Davvero vi interesserebbe sapere come si conclude la relazione tra Carrie e Mister Big, magari con matrimonio scontato? Oppure sapere che Samantha viene lasciata dal giovane fidanzato per un’avvenente modella? Meglio lasciare il finale aperto alle nostre interpretazioni, lasciandoci liberi di immaginare la conclusione che preferiamo, senza banalizzare quello che sicuramente è divenuto un mito contemporaneo…
          Podlahový vysavač Bosch BGL45ZOO1 Toro   
Podlahový vysavač Bosch BGL45ZOO1 TORO je speciálně vyvinut pro vysávání domácnosti s domácími mazlíčky. Sada Animal se systémem AirTurbo má výkonnou hubici na chlupy, se kterou snadno vysajete koberce a čalounění a tím se zbavíte všech zvířech chlupů. Příslušenstvím je i hubice na tvrdé podlahy a to s nejlepší účinností. Nakonec svou domácnost provoníte lehkou, přírodní a svěží vůní díky inovativnímu Bionic filtru, které redukuje nepříjemné zápachy.
          Exoskeletons   
TIME.com: Best Inventions 2005 A future exoskeleton for weak limbs? TIME.com: Best Inventions 2005: Healthy Options — Page 5 More exoskeleton links – includes some weird stuff: How exoskeletons will work – from How Stuff Works More on the above named HAL from NewScientist Berkley Robotiucs Lab. Bionic legs Spring walker Event for extended body […]
          Episode 173: Remake Your Face   
It's a special edition of Let's Rebooting. Why is it special? Because this is the first time in a while that we've done it two episodes in a row! We take your comments regarding what older games you'd like to see remade a la Bionic Commando Re-Armed and Final Fantasy IV DS, and how you'd remake them. Download the episode at http://trigames.net/media/music/tricast_episode_173.mp3
          Premiere: The Possé – Bionic Moses   

A rhodes groove meets acid squelches from Sydney 5-piece on Ken Oath.

The post Premiere: The Possé – Bionic Moses appeared first on .


          Offer - BIONIC BIRD - AUSTRALIA   
To Buy this product and shipment to your house please visit the link and click on go to store,http://www.shopprice.com.au/bionic+birdPRODUCT CODE: Bionic BirdAVAILABILITY: In StockEx Tax: $118.00Bionic Bird is a drone controlled by an app from iTunes and Google Play. Bionic Bird mimics the flight and motion of a real bird and is currently the only drone on the market that allows you to fly with the birds.Bionic Bird offers a unique sensory experience – flying like a bird… With other birds! Bionic Bird’s power of attraction among sparrows and swallows creates a celestial dance that no drone pilot has ever seen before. But watch out! Bionic Bird also catches the eye of predators such as hawks who won’t hesitate to attack. Thankfully, there’s no need to worry about damage owing to its ultra robust body. Bionic Bird can also fly indoors if its tail is set to slow mode. In an enclosed space, it’s possible to perform acrobatic moves using just your fingertips. But beware, these lively tricks and manoeuvres have a tendency to put even the laziest of cats into an excited frenzy! This is also a great time to practice the subtleties of Bionic Bird’s steering from the comfort of your sofa.Warranty: 12 months manufacturer's warrantyCompatible phones: iPhone and AndroidStock and location: Currently in stock in both colours in our Sydney Australia warehouse for Australia and south East Asia shipping (including New Zealand)+610468715790
          ONTD Original: CupcakKe Saves your Flopping Faves   
Let's be honest: Unless you soley stan Carly Rae Jepsen, all of our faves have at least one song, moment, or era where we pretend it never existed. Whether it's an overpretentious approach to EDM music, disingenuious "woke" pop, or three questionable singles allegedly caused the album to be scrapped and rerecorded, it's clear that things haven't been going to well in the music scene. But don't worry, a hero always rises in these dark times. And that hero is CupcakKe. After reviving the second renaissance with Charli XCX, Queen Elizabitch is here to let your faves eat cake and learn how to stop falling off their game before the 33rd day of the month.

Katy Perry
Let's start with the most recent flop: Witness the Trainwreck era. While there is nothing wrong with addressing social issues in music, Katy falls short on selling her era as "woke" pop for many reasons ranging from disparaging Britney Spears' mental health days after calling her music "woke" pop, featuring Migos on a track despite a member's homophobic remarks (And justifying it with the gay equivalent of "I can't be racist, I have a black friend"), and simply not addressing social issues enough to justify the branding of the album as "woke" pop. Ultimately speaking, the best way to fix this era is to put Katy Perry back in her lane. No one is expecting Katy Perry to address social issues in her music to begin with, so there's no need to do it if she's unprepared to tackle said issues and the personal baggage she has regarding social issues.

Luckily, there's a CupcakKe remix to remedy this issue. By stripping "Chain to the Rhythm"'s half-hearted lyrics about the current political landscape and turning it into zombie erotica, the song not only mitigates the alienation of her current fanbase, but also taps into the tumblr Bob's Burgers fanbase that relates to Tina and her interest in nerophilia.



Lady Gaga
On the other end of the spectrum, we have Lady Gaga. Unlike Katy Perry's attempt at "woke" pop rivaling her attempt at getting a humidifier as a psuedo-Big Brother contestant, Gaga's ARTPOP era tried too hard. While the general public praised Gaga for previously finding the right balance of dance music, pop music aesthetics, and artistry, ARTPOP took an unnecessary step in selling pop as high brow art. This is epitomized by "Aura" (Initially titled "Burqa"). In her attempt to sell the burqa as a metaphor about artistic layers and how it relates to Hollywood fame, it ultimately comes off as a fashion designer selling his work as Fragonard-Madame-de-Pompadour-Meets-2st-Century-Rockstar-Slash-Williamsburg-Hasidic-Gentleman. You don't want to become that one student (Or teacher) in English class that overanalyzes everything and attaches symbolism to places where there isn't any or else everyone is interally telling you to shut up, it's just fucking red.

Despite Lady Gaga's flop era having the opposite problem as Katy Perry, the solution is ultimately the same: Remove the source of the problem. Rather than selling white-person-introspection-into-Muslim-culture-meets-sex-positive-feminism-slash-how-fame-is-toxic, CupcakKe condenses the song into a cohesive theme of sex. It's less pretentious, on-brand with her fanbase, and doesn't have to rehash religious controversy for the thousandth time to gain attention.



Rihanna
Although RiRi was able to salvage the Anti era in the end, the era definitely had a rough start. The general audience couldn't relate to "Three Four Five Seconds" and "American Oxygen". While "Bitch Better have my Money" did relatively better than the other two, it was highly debated whether the song is a bop or a flop. It also doesn't help that the song has been accused of plagarism. While Rihanna and her team figured out the solution to this dilemma is to simply have RiRi collaborate with Drake and pretend the start of the era never happened, Queen Elizabitch would much rather tackle the problem itself.

So how do you deal with a song with mixed receptions with a plagarism scandal? Why, you simply have to deliver the song better! With the right approach and delivery, you can easily make people forget the original if it's either better or friendly to the general public. After all, Aretha Franklin was able to convince everybody that Respect was her song, so it clearly works. While Rihanna's delivery of the song isn't bad per se, it can definitely go in harder. So let's have CupcakKe push her aside and show how it should have been done.



Carly Rae Jepsen
... Did you not read the first fucking sentence of this post? There's nothing that needs to be salvaged from the nu-gaijin maple syrup queen of Japan. God, typical ONTD.

BUY E•MO•TION ON ITUNES.



Christina Aguilera
Oh, Xtine, you timetravelling chanteuse. Ahead of your time with Bionic. After Lotus failed to revive her career, we're left with a vocal powerhouse trying to sell us Oreos. A travesty. However, we can't spend all day mourning for dead music careers, CupcakKe is here to save them. So what EXACTLY was wrong with Lotus? While Christina Aguilera had the right approach in going back to what we love about her (Sexually charged bops with vocal delivery) with "Your Body", the general public needs to be hit HARD to remember why Xtine was a thing. And who better to help address this issue than the genius behind "Deepthroat", "Va*ina", "Doggystyle", "Cumshot", and "Cpr"?

While remixing "Your Body" with any of these songs would elevate "Your Body" to a musical orgasm loud enough to have every human being in the world shook, it is best to go with the classic "Deepthroat". Straight-to-the-point and a hook consisting of moans, even being reminded of Mike Pence calling his wife "mother" can stop you from spontaneously orgasming upon hearing the song.



Miley Cyrus
After realizing that profitting from black and hip-hop culture is not viable in the long run, Miley decided to be a virginal white girl that is above listening to hip-hop and its terrible messages. Unfortunately, not all of us are Mariah Carey (Although we can dream to be) and be forgetful, and Miley was quickly called out for it. While CupcakKe laughs at how Miley pretends to be hard when she runs from the sound of a fart, the queen is feeling generous to help Miley despite how much she does not deserve it.

Social and racial issues aside, Miley definitely has the right idea to switch back to her former shtick from a white capitalistic perspective. After all, she needs to make money, and she clearly doesn't give a fuck about the people that carries the burden of her actions. However, she did it too fast. Subtlety is key. And what better way to make the transition than to combine two of her fake personas as a bridge to the white girl that is 53% likely to use her vote to screw over anyone that isn't white? <3 By making her reverse Rachel Dolezal transformation more gradual, people won't notice anything unless Billy Ray Cyrus outs her transracial journey.



Madonna
Although Madonna established herself as an iconic figure in music, her popularity has fallen since the peak of her career. While she tried to mitigate this issue by trying to keep up with the trends of today's youth, these attempts are met with criticisms about her not acting her age. So Dr. CupCakKe, how will you deliver metaphorical CPR to save her career? Collaborations with trendy young artists? But that's been done already.

... Oh wait, the key word is trendy? Of course! After all, kids these days are reciting the lyrics of "Deepthroat" these days, not "Bad Girls" or "Stupid Ho". While CupcakKe is busy making music videos left and right, she has been generous enough to provide some bars as someone that's actually relevant enough to revive someone's career.



Sources
Katy Perry 1
Lady Gaga 1 / 2
Rihanna 1 / 2
Carly Rae Jepsen 1
Christina Aguilera 1 / 2
Miley Cyrus 1
Madonna 1

totally not a way for me to procrastinate my jpop ontd originals
what are your favorite cupcakke remixes?

          Summer Game Camp, Part 2   

It's summer, which means that "indoor kids" like me stay away from the hot sun and do things like play video games! Old video games. Disney video games. This summer at Passport to Dreams, I'm playing the Disney / Capcom classic games and writing about them. All of them.


Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers - June 1990

In Capcom's take on the Rescue Rangers, Chip and Dale spend all of their time running, lifting boxes, hiding inside boxes, and throwing boxes. Again, anybody's who's sat through an episode of Disney's big animated follow-up to DuckTales could be forgiven for wondering if anybody working on the game had seen even one hot minute of the source material.



If you've played ahead in this series - I have, have you??? - then you know that as far as clever, inventive platformers go, DuckTales and Chip 'n Dale are about as unique as the Disney / Capcom games got. Both of these titles stash a truly clever play mechanic inside a Disney-wrapped box. It would have been easy to make yet another Mario clone, but Capcom gave Scrooge that pogo jump, a nest of tricky levels, and a lot of secrets. They could have delivered a two-player chase game with Chip 'n Dale, but they delivered one of most accessible and fun games on the Nintendo Entertainment System. If you want to see what a Disney game made by a company that truly doesn't care looks like, check out Hi-Tech Expressions' The Chase on Tom Sawyer Island for MS-DOS. DuckTales and Chip 'n Dale are remembered because they're uncommonly good and carefully planned.

The basic play mechanics in both games are so clever, that I would not be surprised if they used an engine intended for a use other than Disney game purgatory. Perhaps the pogo-jumping game and the box-throwing game were prototypes created inside Capcom that never went anywhere, much how Nintendo dusted off a vertical scrolling game that became Yume Kojo Doki Doki Panic / Super Mario Brothers 2. Or perhaps Capcom bought some unfinished games outright and totally reworked them into DuckTales and Chip 'n Dale.


I've always thought that DuckTales in particular played like it was developed by a team that was working from at best a packet of information and character designs - why the Himilayas? Why is Gizmoduck on the Moon? - that strongly hinted that whatever form the game previously took has still left traces of itself in the final product. Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers feels much more in tune with its source material - many enemy characters in the game appear in the television show, and the charming oversize settings evoke the series without being slavishly faithful. Chip 'n Dale's cuteness has always endeared them to audiences in Japan, so perhaps Rescue Rangers was more widely available over there than DuckTales was.




To this reviewer, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers is the true treasure in the Disney / Capcom catalgue. The gameplay can be addictive, especially with two playing simultaneously. Most of the 2 player co-op games on the NES are shooters or frenetic beat-em-ups like Double Dragon and TMNT: The Arcade Game - Rescue Rangers is one of the few titles in the system library to be approachable to those who don't like button mashing and can work together. The control scheme is, honestly, brilliant. Boxes can be picked up and thrown at enemies, or dropped down and hidden under. Both methods will do damage, allowing players to take the offense or defense. Some enemies will simply be stunned, and if you're quick, you can pick them up and throw them. You can also stun your Player 2's chipmunk, pick them up, and throw them too. Crates will be destroyed immediately upon taking out an enemy, while tin cans can be re-used and also stacked into platforms. Defeated enemies fly backwards off the screen instead of simply vanishing or falling away, which never stops being funny for the duration of Rescue Rangers' fairly short gameplay.

Both DuckTales and Chip 'n Dale have a reputation for being easy, but this is only true in the context of all NES games; they're not as tough as Castlevania III or Bionic Commando. I think, depending on how quick and twitchy an action game player you are, Rescue Rangers puts up a fight that isn't too tough to overcome. By the end of the game, enemies swarm our heroes constantly and there's some tricky jumps to make. What doesn't really ever change are the boss battles, which are either disappointingly simple or a relaxing diversion after surviving another gauntlet of crate throwing - depending on your point of view. The levels are selected from a map screen, allowing players to either conquer every level or bypass trickier ones. Once the first map is cleared, the Rescue Ranger blimp moves to a second screen of tougher levels. 


This game is terrific and, with the correct Player 2 in tow, it can be one of the best experiences on the system. It may lack the treasure-hunting depth of DuckTales, but for straightforward pleasure, very little else on the NES is nearly as fun. Bring a friend.


The Little Mermaid - July 1991

If there's a video game genre that's more maligned than the licensed game, it's probably the "girl" game. There aren't too many of these on the NES - the genre really began to take off in the 16 bit era, leading to piles of disposable, poorly designed Barbie games. Even modern games targeting a feminine audience are rarely shown any respect: Nintendogs and Cooking Mama are lucky if they get off with "bemused tolerance" while the internet is awash in regret for the lost era when Sonic was in games that were halfway fun.

The good news is that The Little Mermaid is both appropriate for everyone and well made. The game is actually a sequel to the film, where Ursula is somehow not dead from being impaled by a boat and now resides in a castle and has mind-controlled all of the fish in the ocean into being evil. This provides enough justification for Ariel to explain to Eric that she is a mermaid (which I guess he forgot), then turn back into a mermaid at will and set off to destroy Ursula again. See, this is already better than that direct-to-video sequel!

The gameplay is honestly like something between a platform game and a shooter. Ariel floats in the ocean and can use her tail to trap aggressive fish in bubbles and throw them at enemies. Those of us who unconsciously default to Mario-style controls in any underwater setting can relax: Ariel controls like a spaceship in a shooter game, and can easily be guided through the level using only the direction pad. She picks up seashells and trapped enemies automatically, and can plow directly into oncoming foes with those items without taking damage. I kept dying in the first level until I realized for no reason I was treating the game like Super Mario World and was holding down the action button to pick up and hold onto the weapons. There's no need for this; The Little Mermaid is generously uncluttered and pleasingly sharp in its controls.

There's only six levels here, and they aren't long at all. Ariel must open sunken treasure chests which contain pearls that will boost the strength and distance of her attack. This must be done by throwing seashells at them, or knocking barrels over that will roll through the level and collide, opening the chest. As her attack increases in strength, Ariel can stun and bubble larger and larger enemies. As I said, once I started thinking of this game as a shooter with an exploration element, I did much better.


The boss battles here are quite good, and unlike when you face Fat Cat in Rescue Rangers, Ursula has two forms and unleashes enough enemies onto the screen to make the fight against her feel like the real end-of-the-game battle. Befitting a mermaid, Ariel only controls poorly when she's on dry land, where she flops around like a seal. One of the boss battles forces you to deal with this handicap to do damage to a walrus, and it's a very welcome change of pace.



Capcom's creativity and sense of fun occasionally pokes through the simple levels: fish wear sheets in the Sunken Ship to pretend to be ghosts of drowned sailors, and Ursula's castle, with its doors that lead to multiple places, compares favorably to the more complex 16-bit games they would soon be making.


I'm willing to bet that a lot of younger sisters ended up getting this game as a consolation prize for then their brothers weren't hogging the NES with Contra. And I'm going to guess that when nobody was looking, those brothers took this game off the shelf and played it too. Like the film it's based on, The Little Mermaid is good enough to have a wider appeal than its title suggests.

TaleSpin - December 1991

(It's fun to see all of these purple box Capcom games together, isn't it? Back in the NES days that purple and red was nearly a guarantee of a quality product inside)

I was fully prepared to start my review of this one with something like "here's where the wheels begin to come off in the classic Capcom games". I even had the start of a review written up with something to that effect in it. TaleSpin is one of those NES games that you can still find sitting around, ready to buy for a few bucks. I've owned it for a few years, and never done much of anything with it. The controls struck me as clunky and the game as kind of uninspired. I'd never even bothered to get past the first level, when the necessity of writing this review caused me to sit down for once and actually try. I'm glad I did, because I was wrong. This game is fun, and awesomely weird.

It starts off innocently enough. After an objectively wonderful 8-bit rendition of the TaleSpin title theme, you're looking at pleasingly earth toned bricks and well-drawn character sprites to set up the story of the game. Then, it's off to the first level presumably set in the sheltered bay of Cape Suzette - about as routine a side-scrolling shooting level as I can think of. There's sky, and rocks. Baloo can flip his ship upside down and fly backwards through the stage, and TaleSpin is one of the few shooters that can do this. You pick up cargo along the way, and if you run into the scenery, you don't take any damage. At first this struck me as baffling, but after a while I began to turn off my Gradius-shooter instincts and began to use it to my advantage. It's nice to know you can go all the way up to the roof of the level to avoid enemy fire without destroying your ship.

So far none of this is interesting. But keep playing - it gets better.

Between levels, a shop run by Wildcat appears where you can buy upgrades to your plane. Immediately, my engagement with the levels increased as I realized my performance in picking up cargo and shooting down enemies could improve the speed and rapid fire of my ship. I don't like shooter games very much, but ones that allow you to buy things always give me better incentive to play. But then the game launched into Level 2 and began to win me over.

Rebecca Cunningham appears and says "Your next destination is the baseball stadium!". Before I could fully process this, there was Baloo - improbably flying his plane through the middle of a baseball stadium. What look like clones on Don Karnage lob baseballs at you from behind automatic pitcher machines. A giant baseball appears and blows a hole in the earth. I even found a bonus round where Kit Cloudkicker collects balloons on his airwing - I've never heard anybody mention this and previously I thought the only benefit to the Sega Genesis version of TaleSpin was the ability to play as Kit (I know I'm not the only TaleSpin fan enthused about this bear).


WHAT IS HAPPENING?!??
By level 3 I was really enjoying TaleSpin but still didn't like the control scheme - I didn't like that Button B fired bullets and Button A flips Baloo's plane. It then occurred to me that really I ought to be playing this with a joystick, like a real shooter - and five minutes later I had plugged in my NES Advantage and found the controls much better, almost natural.

In the end, TaleSpin won me over with its colorful graphics and endearing sense of wackiness. Like the other Capcom games, it can be completed in less than an hour and isn't too severe of a challenge, especially with an NES Advantage. Give this one a try - for an NES cart with nearly no built in demand, and a lousy first level, it's a lot more fun than it should be.


Oh, and why is Baloo's character sprite directly based on the Happy Meal toy???





Darkwing Duck - June 1992

By Summer 1992, the Nintendo Entertainment System was functionally obsolete. Although the Sega Genesis had been on the market since 1989, it had not been able to capture a significant market share until Summer 1991, when Sega released Sonic the Hedgehog and finally put its competitior, the TurboGraphix-16, in third place. The Super Nintendo Entertainment System was available in North America for Christmas 1991. Nintendo would continue to officially support the NES until early 1994, but the writing was on the wall and the fabled 16-bit console wars of the 90s had begun.

Many of the most aesthetically impressive NES titles were released between 1991 and 1994 - although the abilities of the system were limited, tactful developers like Nintendo, Capcom, Konami and Sunsoft could squeeze beautiful things out of that tiny grey box. Darkwing Duck is a gorgeous game - the handsomest of Capcom's 8-bit Disney run, to be sure. There's even an impressive introduction sequence which works as something of a title sequence. Gone are the blocky, blurry sprites of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers - by this time Capcom were masters of gigantic, detailed, screen-filling sprites (see: Street Fighter II). In every area of presentation, Darkwing Duck is a terrific game.

But I'm simply not very enthusiastic about it. The game is built on the back of the Mega Man game engine Capcom had been using since 1987. This isn't a bad thing, because the Mega Man games are rightly hailed as classics of their era - or at least the first three are. Darkwing Duck came out roughly simultaneously with Mega Man 5, easily the weakest of the original 8 games, and it shares that game's same sense of exhaustion. Even with that low bar to clear, it's awfully hard to play Darkwing Duck and not constantly be reminded that you're playing a less inventive Mega Man 4.

So maybe it's most fair to judge DW by what else it brings to the table. Unlike Mega Man, Darkwing can crouch, which will please those who always hated that in Mega Man games. Also, he can jump up and latch onto the underside of platforms, then climb up onto them. The best areas of the game force you to master this, dropping down and hanging off the underside of moving platforms to avoid obstacles. DW can also jump and attach himself to hanging hooks, streetlights, portholes, and other features of the background. Playing through these areas is the only time when the game truly seems engaging.

It seems obvious that the Capcom staff was using these Disney games to blow off steam between A-list assignments - this game is nearly as wacky as TaleSpin. If you're one of those who enjoyed the rabbits in Rescue Rangers who attack by wriggling runner carpets, then Darkwing Duck is for you. The enemies in this game are hilariously goofy, including boxing kangaroos, turtles who sneeze their shells off, and Arnold clones who burn away to reveal robotic skeletons. Every so often, DW has to jump to avoid banana peels which can knock him out for a few seconds. It doesn't exactly capture the tone of the show, but this silliness is appreciated.

Did I mention it's hard? This game is hard. Those who pine for a halcyon days of "Nintendo Hard" will appreciate this one. The platforming is not unreasonable, but the boss battles are remarkably difficult, requiring players to very, very quickly drop between platforms - which isn't easy in this game - while chasing a quick moving enemy and dodging multiple projectiles. The final boss fight is done while avoiding two relentless drones and is especially infuriating.


At the end of the game, the city is saved, and Darkwing rides his motorcycle away while contemplative music plays. Many NES fans will recognize this immediately as the hallmark ending of Mega Man games, where Mega Man solemly heads home after defeating the nefarious Mr. Wily. "Will the world ever be safe??", Mega Man wonders.




If there were any doubt that Capcom programmers were expressing frustration over their obligation to pump out game after game in either the Disney or Mega Man series, the ending of Darkwing Duck is it. As he moodily rides of into the night, DW hits a pothole.






Darkwing Duck is a respectable game with a number of charming touches, and strictly as a game, it's the nearest to Capcom's come to making a fully fleshed out game for the Disney series since Rescue Rangers. It's fun, it's tough, it's full of whimsical touches, but it just didn't do it for this girl. It's a better Mega Man-alike than The Krion Conquest, but just as in theme parks, the details make the difference.

Game Rankings So Far
1) Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers
2) DuckTales
3) TaleSpin
4) Darkwing Duck
5) Little Mermaid
6) Mickey Mousecapade


Next Time: We make the jump to 16-bits for a magical quest 

          LIKE PLANTS? BIONIC FESTIVAL   

Cecilia Gala, David Vento, Joahn Volmar, Cotinus Coggygria & Olea Europea Performance
Nicolas Jaar - Essential mIX
Bionic Festival

Cast: BIONIC DANCE

Tags: Bionic Festival, Cecilia Gala, Olea Europea, plantas, Like Plants, Cotinus coggygria, festival, David Vento, bionic and plants


          Rise of The Bionic Man:   
Hello Crossfit.

My name is Derrick Clark.I am a strength&conditioning fanatic,been training for over 22 years.I born in Columbus,Ohio.I would like to share some of my knowledge and some video demostrations with the group.

I hope everyone have a great training 2K11&Beyond...
          Bionic JPEG: A libHybris example   
(One of the nice things about my new job is working ‘in public’. I’m tagging posts like these with ‘Canonical’, if you want to filter them) Hybris (aka libHybris) is a piece of enabling technology that lets an OS distribution like Ubuntu use parts of Android software in binary form, without needing a recompile of […]
          Funniest Lab Rats: Bionic Island Episodes   
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          The Greatest Generation? ~ By Bionic Mosquito – LewRockwell   
The Greatest GenerationBy Bionic Mosquito June 30, 2017 FacebookTwitterIn the spring of 1984, I went to the northwest of France, to Normandy, to prepare an NBC documentary on the fortieth anniversary of D-Day, the massive and daring Allied invasion of … Continue reading
          Weekly Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman #25, Wonder Woman ’77 Meets The Bionic Woman #5, Justice League #23, Trinity #10, Wonder Woman/Tasmanian Devil #1.   

The latest Wonder Woman comics and movie news, as well as a look at the comics featuring Wonder Woman released in the week ending June 29 2017
[...]

The post Weekly Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman #25, Wonder Woman ’77 Meets The Bionic Woman #5, Justice League #23, Trinity #10, Wonder Woman/Tasmanian Devil #1. appeared first on The Medium is Not Enough.


          NEW #Thriller Release: THE MAN OF LEGENDS by Kenneth Johnson   

Award-winning author, director, producer and screenwriter Kenneth Johnson has been mesmerizing audiences with his wholly original and compelling science fiction stories for more than four decades.  He is the creator of the ground-breaking and influential science fiction television miniseries V, as well as producer of The Six Million Dollar Man and creator of iconic Emmy-winning shows such as The Bionic Woman, The Incredible Hulk, and Alien Nation.

Now, Johnson brings his creative genius and storytelling gifts to an ambitious undertaking: an epic supernatural thriller rooted in one of the great untold legends in human history. Here is a unique blend of gripping action, intriguing characters, cinematic scenes, and a narrative interwoven throughout centuries of historical fact in THE MAN OF LEGENDS (47North; July 1, 2017; original trade paperback).

Set in modern-day New York City, THE MAN OF LEGENDS presents a startling mystery: a cursed but heroic man who does not age and cannot die, and who has profoundly altered the course of human history for 2,000 years. It’s New Year’s weekend, year 2001, and Jillian Guthrie, a troubled young writer for the National Register, discovers an impossibility: the same man, un-aged, stands alongside Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, and Gandhi in three different photographs spanning eighty-five years of history.

Way uptown, Will—a charming thirty-three-year-old of immense kindness, wit, and intelligence—looks forward to 2002 in hopes of a new beginning. Haunted by secrets from his past and shadowed by an ominous and taunting stranger, he spends his hours offering help to people in need, making use of his inexplicable omniscient knowledge. At the same time, an ambitious and obsessed Vatican emissary leads a global manhunt in search of Will, and an elderly former UN envoy named Hanna is consumed by wistful memories of a long-ago romance with the enigmatic young man. The next forty-eight hours spin out of control to bring Will, Jillian, and Hanna together, as well as the many New Yorkers whom Will’s benevolent acts have touched—until they’re all in the crosshairs of a centuries-old international conspiracy. Together, they face the consequences of an ancient curse that stretches back two millennia and beyond and confront a primal evil that is determined to consume them.

Told from many characters’ perspectives—including that of an aging musician, a young waitress, a teenage tagger, and a Latina child—THE MAN OF LEGENDS is a complex and multilayered novel that is both a riveting and suspenseful thriller and a shrewd examination of the way our decisions and actions affect others. Heart-rending romance, unrelenting suspense, and a jaw-dropping climax make this thriller a must-read this summer.

Amazon buy link:


AUTHOR BIO:
Kenneth Johnson has been a successful writer-producer-director of film and television for more than four decades. Creator of the landmark original miniseries V, he also produced The Six Million Dollar Man and created iconic Emmy-winning shows such as The Bionic Woman, The Incredible Hulk, and Alien Nation. He has directed numerous TV movies and the feature films Short Circuit 2and Steel. Johnson has received multiple Saturn Awards from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films, as well as the Sci-Fi Universe Lifetime Achievement Award and the prestigious Founders Award from the Viewers for Quality Television. His previous novels include V: The Second Generation. He has presented his unique graduate-level seminar, The Filmmaking Experience, at UCLA, USC, NYU, Loyola, New York Film Academy, the National Film and Television School (UK), Moscow State University (Russia), and many others. He and his wife, Susan, married for forty years, live in Los Angeles with their latest two golden-retriever rescues.


          Bionic Wrench   
The award-winning Bionic Wrench promises to make light work of the toughest of jobs even for those with the puniest of muscles. The hybrid design incorporates the strength of an adjustable wrench with the ease of a pair of pliers, for superior grip and near-elimination of the risk of damaging the head you’re attempting to turn. Fits just about any bolt out there–tightened or released with ratchet-speed.
          Game You Need to Know About #1: Contra   
Alright, so, we've all played Contra, yes? Sure. Everybody and their mothers have. It was, and still is, known as the "really hard game for NES with the 30 lives cheat". Well, I think this is a disgrace for such a legendary series to not only have such a vague remembrance, but also to be viewed as truly hard and ingenious, in light of its successors and even predecessors. So, I figure what better way to start this series of than with not only one of my personal favorite series of all time *points to avatar*, but a series that gone wholly unappreciated aside from its HIGHLY inferior progenitor. With that in mind, let's begin showing you people why the Contra all of you have most likely played deserves more credit.

Contra Chronology:

-Contra (Arcade)

-Contra (NES)

-Super Contra (Arcade)

-Super C (NES)

-Operation C (Gameboy)

-Contra III: The Alien Wars (SNES)

-Contra: Hard Corps (Genesis)

-Contra: Legacy of War

-C: The Contra Adventure

-Contra: Shattered Soldier

-Neo Contra

-Contra 4

-Contra ReBirth

HISTORY OF CONTRA

A CONTRA IS BORN

Developer: Konami

Publisher: Konami

Year: 1987

Platform: Arcade

Though many of you think of the NES Contra as the first in the series, it wasn't. It was actually the second and a remake of its arcade counterpart which emerged in 1987. If you weren't sharp enough to gather that its arcade counterpart was also named Contra, then there's so little hope for you that an explanation wouldn't have made things any better. Though, if you want to be a smartass and catch me on a technicality, it was ORIGINALLY originally called Gryzor when released in Japan. Now, in light of the era it emerged in, the popular thing was sci-fi/action hybrids. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvestor Stallone were common uses in such films and as such, our heroes Bill Rizer and Lance Bean were modeled after Arnold and Sylvestor, respectively.

So, Koji Hiroshita (the director and mastermind) knowing the illegitimate child of Schwarzenegger and Stallone's movies would be a big hit with arcade-goers, he and Konami spawned Contra and consequently, the run 'n' gun genre. The main idea behind the first Contra was that a nefarious alien overlord by the name of Red Falcon has set up camp on the imaginary isle that is the Galuga Archipelago in the year 2633AD and the testosterone-infested man-saviors Bill Rizer and Lance Bean are dispatched to subvert Red Falcon's big ideas for Earth and preclude its destruction.

Contra (Arcade). Luckily, I have tons of Contra videos on my Youtube, so I can use them for convenience. And in case you were wondering what Red Falcon looks like, he's the big heart at the end.

CONTRA'S COMES HOME

Developer: Konami

Publisher: Konami

Year: 1988

Platform: NES

AKA: Probotector (PAL)

The first ever Contra that you could play for free without being an arcade employee with special keys to *** with the arcade motherboard.

This is also the first (and sadly last) Contra most people have played. The only differences between it and its arcade counterpart were:

-The protagonists Bill and Lance were renamed Mad Dog and Scorpion.

-The levels were longer.

-In level three, the waterfall, the alien tower became an actual alien.

-The American version was rendered from the Japanese version's futuristic setting of 2633AD to a contemporary setting.

Of course, there are 8 billion other changes, but all inconsequential. Well, unless you take the European version into account. At the time, a lot of European countries had a law against the portrayal of humans killing humans (or things that were perceivably human), so the named was changed to "Probotector", which is a portmanteau of "protector" and "robot". As the name implies, the protagonists became robots as well as the enemies you squared off against. Oh, I also forgot, the NES version included a cheat that allowed the player to start out with 30 lives instead of 3. This was and still is lovingly referred to as the Konami code. However, I just call it the "small testicles" code.

Developer: Konami

Publisher: Konami

Year: 1988

Platform: Arcade

One year later, in 1988, the third entry to the series came about: Super Contra. A lot of people were surprised at the difficult increase, since the foolish mortals were silly enough to think the prior version was super hard to begin with. Super Contra didn't introduce anything terribly new to the fledgling series aside from the pseudo-3D corridor stages being metamorphosized into overhead stages, but it improved on almost every facet. Sure, the jumping animations still looked like a salmon jumping upstream to spawn and the campy machismo still intact, but those are staples of Contra, so shut up. Along with a made-famous quote by Bill Rizer in the beginning "What is this place?" in a very obvious Arnold Schwarzenegger-esque voice, Super Contra hit close to home with man-fans.

Unfortunately though, this precious gem of a game was largely overlooked. It was viewed by many as "too hard and inaccessible for a casual player". Well, they're a bunch of pussies. If we'll take a moment to remember, Contra is a MAN'S game, so if you don't have the testicular fortitude to withstand some intergalactic abuse, then gtfo my arcade machine. That aside, along with gameplay, the story didn't change a whole lot either. A year after the previous invasion, Red Falcon redoubles his efforts and invades Earth once again. This time, in an ambiguous area of South America. His plan, however, has changed a bit. This time, he's sent off his minions to commandeer the bodies of the reluctant donors of the GX Army to create an insurrection.

Bill and Lance are once again dispatched to dispose of them. This time, however, Red Falcon looks way cooler than before.

Super Contra. Konami also started naming the bosses in this Contra. The first two bosses are unnamed, but the boss of the third stage goes by Jagger Froid (who is also Red Faclon's second-in-command, the fourth Slave Hawk and of course, our beloved Red Falcon himself. If you'll notice at the end, Red Falcon appears to actually be a tiny little red alien with wings that flies out from the big-ass head after he's been defeated

Developer: Konami

Publisher: Konami

Platform: NES

AKA: Probotector II: Return of the Evil Forces (PAL)

Next up, we find ourselves with Super C for the NES. You're probably wondering why it was called "Super C" instead of Super Contra. Well, no, you're probably not, you probably just thought it was changed because Super C was cooler. Well you're wrong and go sit down. Around 1986, there was an Iranian scandal taking place in which Iran demanded to be sold arms in exchange for the release of Nicaraguan Contra hostages. Super Contra was feared at the time (when it got really heated up), to be confused with this scandal.

Along with the changes in name, Super C also lengthened the stages that already existed and added in stages 4, 5 and 7. As if longer stages and 3 brand new ones weren't enough, they mixed and matched the stage bosses and areas. *Takes a deep breath*

-The sub-boss of Super Contra's 1st stage (The helicopter) became the primary first stage boss of Super C.

-The boss of stage 3 in Super Contra (Jaggar Freud) was moved to stage 7 in Super C and a large mechanoid sub-boss and machine wall took his place.

-The sub-boss of stage 4 in Super Contra (the alien ship) became the boss of stage 5 in Super C.

-Stage 4 and 5 in Super Contra are stage 8 and 6 respectively in Super C.

-The final boss of Super C was no longer Red Falcon, rather, a grotesque amalgamation of a crustacean/woman's face/amorphous blob named Beast Kimkoh who is showcased in the most recent picture above.

Super C wasn't as commercially successful as Contra, but it was in a semi-close second. Though, I personally prefer Super Contra a lot more, because it was thirty times more difficult and rewarding.

Super C

Developer: Konami

Publisher: Ultra Games

Year: 1991

Platform: Gameboy

AKA: Probotector

The last in line for the 3rd generation was Operation C. Operation C is basically a facsimile of Super C for the Gameboy. It bears slight level design differences, but there are few differences to note aside from the removal of the laser gun and addition of the homing gun. Story-wise, Bill Rizer is charged with the mission of infiltrating an enemy base where an alien cell is being preserved. This time, however, Red Falcon is taking a break; his comrade-in-arms, Black Viper, is filling in for him this time around.

THE EVOLUTION OF CONTRA

Developer: Konami

Publisher: Konami

Year: 1992

Platform: SNES

AKA: Super Probotector: Alien Rebels (PAL), Contra Spirits (JP)

You're curious as to why I didn't include Contra Force? Well, funnily enough, that ties into a nice bit of information with Contra III. You see, Contra Force was originally named "Arc Hound" and was meant to be completely secular from Contra. But, for sales purposes, Konami decided to name Arc Hound Contra Force due to the Contra name being more marketable. Konami later on realized that Contra Force shouldn't have been associated in any way with the Contra series, so it was retconned, precluding the prospective name of Super Contra IV for Contra III.

Contra III is, appropriately enough, probably the third most well-known Contra in the series. And for good reason (though, it should be FAR beyond its NES predecessors). With the crossing of platforms, Contra decided to take advantage of its prospective horizons by experimenting a bit. Set in 2636, Red Falcon has had it with defeat. He and his army of alien invaders are no longer endeavoring to thwart the Earth through recondite operations, rather, they are launching a full-scale war against the Earth. In the Japanese version, Bill Rizer and Lance Bean are yet again our protagonists, yet, for some reason, in the American canon, they're replaced with two characters by the name of Jimbo and Sully. Two characters immortalized by their campy dialogue in the opening sequence exclaiming "It's time for revenge!" and "Let's attack aggressively!"

Contra was always a series that revolved around fodder enemies, that you had to plow through until you reached the boss. But weren't the bosses the most fun part? *** right they were. That's exactly why Konami gave everyone a little of what they wanted with Contra III. It brought a perfect mixture of the previous fodder enemy gameplay, added some extra chaos and stochasticity to the mixture and focused on boss enemies. But what truly made this entry terrific was its focus on raw difficulty. On each difficulty level, there were ostensible discrepancies in the gameplay. Enemies and their shots would be faster, bosses harder to destroy and in hard mode, some bosses would implement new functions and abilities to make them much harder.

Thanks to the SNES's capabilities, Konami was just able to explode the game with new ideas to add dimensions to the game. Previous Contras used sheer enemy firepower in an attempt to overwhelm the player, whereas Contra III does this, it also implements brilliant environments that you have to combat in concurrence with the enemies. Overall, the environments were just more interactive, including the the ability to climb across bars, up walls, on ceilings, destroy certain parts of the stage or circumvent stage hazards. It was also the first (and last) Contra to use Mode 7, which is a texture mapping graphics mode that allowed depth to be portrayed at the exchange of height. Examples of this would be the overhead stages 2 and 5

As far as pure gameplay goes, Contra 3 was the first Contra to introduce a second-hand weapon. You could carry two weapons at one time and would lose only one if killed. Due to the diverse nature of the game, the dual weapon idea is ingenious, as it forces the player to constantly choose the best combination of weapons for any given situation. As if all of that wasn't enough, Contra 3 also introduced two new weapons to the fray and radical changes to the previous ones. The new weapons include the crush gun, which is a very strong, but very slow missile. The second is a smartbomb, which can be detonated to eliminate all on-screen enemies, granted they don't have much health. The adjustments to classical weapons include:

-The flame gun is now the flamethrower.

-The homing missile is rapid-fire.

-The laser is longer and has a set rate of fire.

-The standard machine gun is rapid-fire.

There were also sequences in many stages in which your surroundings played a large part. Riding missiles at high speeds on stage 4, navigating quicksand whirlpools in stage 5, etc. In short, the highly interactive environments accompanied by the harassing enemies and tough bosses made for an unrivaled experience in the Contra series yet. And though Contra III only featured 6 stages, each one was exceptionally long, taking, on average, around 5 minutes to complete.

Contra III: The Alien Wars

Developer: Konami

Publisher: Konami

Year: 1994

Platform: Sega Megadrive/Genesis

AKA: Probotector (PAL)

Contra Hard Corps is one of the more overlooked games in the series, but not one of the least regarded by those who didn't overlook it. Hard Corps, while not as groundbreaking as Contra III, ousted some of Contra III's features and exchanged them for some brand new ones. It was also the Contra that got hit the hardest when it came to version changes in the PAL region, thanks to them being afraid of everything at the time. In the year 2641, the Alien Wars have stopped and an organization has been formed to maintain that peace and order by the name of the Unified Military Special Mobile Task Force K-X or, if you want it to sound cool and not like your mom made it up, the Hard Corps. That peace is disturbed when an alien cell from the Alien Wars is pilfered by a decorated war hero by the name of Colonel Bahamut, who enlists the aid of his cohorts Deadeye Joe, Dr. Geo Mandrake and Noiman Cascade.

In the American and Japanese versions, Roy Poward is a former delinquent who has become a soldier to front the Hard Corps who replaces our former heroes Bill Rizer and Lance Bean. He is accompanied by three other Hard Corps members by the names of Sheena Etranzi who is a nondescript female soldier, Brad Fang, who is a werewolf with a gun-arm and Browny who is a small robot with an amicable personality. In the PAL version, all characters are replaced by robots named CX-1, 2, 3 and 4 respective to Ray, Sheena, Brad and Browny. Here's where it gets funny. The changes in story between the US and PAL versions are as follows:

-The alien cell is renamed the "X Drive" which is a powerful energy source instead of a malevolent alien.

-One of the endings involves you agreeing to join Colonel Bahamut in world domination, which shows a slide at the end describing how he and you became the most horrible tyrannical dictators the world has ever known. This ending no longer exists in the PAL version.

I wonder why they did the above, eh? Anyway, Hard Corps is widely regarded as the hardest in the series. I will tell you right now that it's not. While it is hard, I will tell you why it isn't the hardest. One of the new changes it implemented was an almost complete absence of the series' staple of fodder enemies and an adaption to the other extreme of being almost purely boss fights. This being said, some of the bosses themselves were intensely difficult, but having set patterns made it so the absence of fodder enemies gave you a lot of room to mess up.

Along with this change, three other very notable ones accompanied. These were:

-The ability to choose between four unique characters: Ray, Sheena, Brad and Browny. Each one with unique heights, slide distances and weapons.

-The ability to choose different paths to reach different levels/bosses/endings based on two points in the game in which you make a decision. Each decision has two options, so mix and match that our of four, you have four possible endings, plus bonus ones.

-The ability to hold up to 4 weapons at once plus a smartbomb.

The gameplay itself was also very unique, in which bosses were so diversified that all four weapons each character possessed were necessary for many different scenarios. Sliding, while also important, was only necessary in few parts of the game, so it's not worthy of ample mention. Characters typically possessed a rapid-fire weapon, an explosive, a homing weapon and spread weapon.

In gameplay, the only differences between versions are that in the Japanese version, you are given a lifebar with 3 energy units that you wouldn't allow you to die unless all 3 units were depleted by being hit.

Hard Corps was also lauded for its comical cameo of a Castlevania song and character. At stage 3, you can take a hidden route to go to an alternate dimension where Simon's Theme from Super Castlevania IV plays remixed. This makes sense, considering Michiru Yamane (Castlevania composer) helped compose the soundtrack for Contra, which I find really... really unusual.

Developer: Appaloosa Interactive

Publisher: Konami

Year: 1996

Platform: Playstation and Sega Saturn

If there's a Contra that's never been heard of, it's this one. And for very good reason. Contra: Legacy of War is regarded as the most misguided and failed attempt at a Contra game, and maybe even a game in general. With Legacy of War, Konami decided to leave the development in the hands of a Hungarian development company called Appaloosa Interactive. Needless to say, their greenhorn habits plagued the game.

And I can honestly say that the biggest irony lies in the fact that most of the story thus far is explained by Legacy of War, so the one nobody wanted to play had all the information and specifics. Smart move of Konami's part. Though it gives plenty of info, the core plot itself almost exactly identical to that of Hard Corps. Not surprisingly, it also stars Ray Poward once again. A dictator of a small, undisclosed country was sold a smuggled alien embryo, and is using it for his own nefarious purposes. Being made aware of these events, the government dispatches Ray once again to eliminate the threat of Colonel Bassad. He is accompanied by his bionic teammates, Tasha, CD-288 and Bubba.

So, you've probably gathered by now that Legacy of War is a woefully misguided attempt at transmigrating Hard Corps to the Playstation. All of the game's basic facets are indicative of this. Four playable characters with unique weaponry and the ability to hold four weapons, similar story, etc. But what makes them different is unmistakable.

Legacy of War tried to translate the Contra series into a 3D world. Not the best idea to hand a heavy task like that to a newbie dev company. But I think they realized how crappy it looked and that's why they included a pair of 3D anaglyph glasses. Worst yet, the game was not compatible with the analog stick, so you found yourself in a 3D world with 2D controls. This is probably the biggest reason this game was poorly received. Navigating the game was just too much of a chore. It quite literally feels like you're weaving in and out of traffic cones with a square-wheeled cargo truck.

So, avoid playing it unless you're masochistic. It was also the first Contra to suffer no PAL changes and to never hit Japanese shelves. I wonder why.

Developer: Appaloosa Interactive

Publisher: Konami

Year: 1998

Platform: Playstation

Oh, boy. Another Appaloosa entry. Though, I can give C: The Contra Adventure credit, as it at least retains some semblance of enjoyability.

Appaloosa really took a gamble with CTCA. They were well aware of the immense commercial failure of their previous installment, but they still decided to innovate. CTCA is almost more difficult to accept as a Contra game than Legacy of War, despite it being a fraction better. The reason being that it is almost entirely (full) 3D (Legacy of War was a 3D environment with a 2.5 sprite and a quasi-isometric perspective, whereas CTCA is full 3D and is comparable to a 3rd-person perspective.), but unfortunately, it still didn't fix a lot of the problems presented to Contra being in said environment.

The opening stage is in 2.5D and is a sidescrolling level that is actually quite enjoyable. But stages 2-7 are all 3D, with the last level, 8, as the only other sidescrolling level. First of all, bad move number 1 is giving the player a life bar. You now have a full life bar that must be depleted before you lose one life. Bad move number 2: the inclusion of overhead enemies and a shoddy auto-aim feature. Why this is bad, is because if any enemy is moving, you're constantly shooting where it just was two seconds ago thanks to the slow fire and overhead enemies you couldn't concentrate fire on... at all. So you'd spend 15 minutes trying to neutralize an airborne boss, since you'd only be able to snip away at its HP since you had to jump repeatedly to fire at them.

The final worst move, was trying to turn Contra into an actual adventure game. You shoot switches, open gates, get lost and get rewarded with more of the same. The only things that made CTCA feel like a Contra game were the fact that you had a gun and the lame cameos. The cameos include:

-Stage 7. Stage 7 is a 3D redo of the tunnel levels from Contra. You're behind a laser barricade and have to take out the weak points on the wall. Sadly, this is where the game's inadequacy shines the most, since almost everything is moving fast and in the air, so you can't shoot 90% of the enemies.

-Stage 8. The final stage that includes pods complete with facehuggers coming out, and a blast from the past against the boss of stage 3 from Contra III, the Robo-Skeleton.

Aside from the change in perspective and how you die, CTCA wasn't much different from Legacy of War. The only differences of note were the story (which is so lame and redundant I almost forgot to mention it. A meteorite crashes in a South American jungle in a Mayan temple and our favorite warrior, Ray, is sent off on his final campaign to neutralize the alien the meteorite brought), the first Contra to lack multiplayer and the fact that it was the only American-exclusive Contra game.

WELCOME BACK, CONTRA!

Developer: Konami (OH THANK GOD)

Publisher: Konami

Year: 2002

Platform: Playstation 2

AKA: Shin Contra (JP)

It was a long... LOOOOOOOOOOONG 6 FREAKING YEARS since we last had a good Contra. And let me tell you... Konami loves its fans. It knew what the bad Appaloosa did to us and it knew just the cure: Nobuya Nakazato; the man responsible for Contra III and Hard Corps. Shattered Soldier was different... but it did "different" right, while still retaining and even improving on our beloved Contra. But what else can we expect from the man who took everything great about Contra and magnified it with Contra III? So, we find ourselves back to our 2D roots with the gameplay, with 2.5D graphics. What we also find is that Contra has taken a strong turn from a little campy and cheesy to... pure, ***, unadulterated bad-assery. Even the story was excellent. To give you an idea of how serious and badass a turn it's taken, just listen to the story. Bear in mind though that this story is localized to the Japanese canon, so the American canon that sets the Contra universe in a contemporary setting is extricated and replaced with the original futuristic one.

In 2642, Earth remains almost irreversibly scarred from the previous alien wars. It is completely war-torn. The Earth is now governed by 3 men who are bound by cerebral implants as to share thoughts and unify, known as the Triumvirate and Bill's former partner, Lance, is presumed dead after Bill is accused of murdering Lance as Lance tried to stop Bill's alleged crime against humanity. As if things weren't bad enough, 80% of the Earth's population is decimated by an errant hyper-magnetic weapons grid malfunction. Bill Rizer is held accountable for this calamity as well as the murder of Lance Bean and sentenced to 10,000 years in cryogenic prison.

Five years later, however, the Earth is under siege again by a terrorist organization known as Blood Falcon. In light of Bill's sterling record of success in the past, the Triumvirate elects to expunge his sentence prematurely to confront the Blood Falcon organization. He is partnered with a cybernetic woman by the name of Lucia, who was created from the designs of Dr. Geo Mandrake and charged with the task of probation of Bill Rizer.

After confronting the leader of the organization, he finds that his partner Lance is still alive... and that he is the leader of Blood Falcon. After the destiny confrontation, Lance's dying words explain everything to Bill Rizer. (Here's where it gets REALLY good)

Lance fused himself with an alien and became the terrorist leader not because he wanted to destroy earth, rather to retrieve the Relic of Morai. The reason being is that he discovered shortly after the Alien Wars that the aliens were not capricious overlords; they were seeking to reclaim something that was stolen from them: the Relic of Morai. Lance explains that many years ago, before everything had happened and the Earth was solitary, the GX army was on a mission to investigate Jupiter. On Jupiter, they stumbled upon a temple where they found the Relic.

Earth's leaders confiscated it and stored it away. This is when the alien invasion begun. The government knew why the invasion occurred, but retained the Relic for their own purposes. When the year 2642 came around, the Triumvirate discovered the power of the Relic and framed Bill Rizer for the hyper-magnetic weapons grid malfunction so he would be jailed as to not interfere, until Blood Falcon arises, and he is needed once again.

So Bill confronts the Triumvirate and destroys them. He returns home a hero once again.

That probably just explained how badass this Contra is. I can't say it enough. To make it better, Akira Yamaoka of Stepmania and Silent Hill fame, came in to compose a dark, gritty and driving soundtrack to suit the game's war-torn environment.

As if these changes weren't enough, the gameplay made numerous improvements. In Shattered Soldier, instead of scrolling through the stages in order, you are allowed to choose between four stages to go to in any order, plus three stages that you can't choose the order of. Secondly, weapon pickups no longer exist. You are instead given 3 set weapons with two functions: standard and charged. The machine gun, flamethrower and a grenade launcher.

Probably the most interesting change in gameplay was the "Hit%" system and the accompanying ranking system. Each stage had certain enemies that had to be destroyed to increase your hit%. Depending on how many of these enemies you killed, your overall rank would be affected. 100% yielded S, 99% and below was A, etc. Your rank would also affect your ending and how far you would progress, giving you incentive to play better.

Alongside classic gameplay, a lot of classic enemies were brought back, but this time, in great style and pizazz. In Shattered Soldier, we see the return of:

-Slave Beast Taka (Stage 1 boss of Contra III)

-Alien Carrier Craft (Stage 3 sub-boss of Contra III)

-Red Falcon (I don't think I need to explain)

-Red Falcon's Heart (See above)

-Super-Powered Robot, Yokozuna (Boss of the train stage in Contra: Hard Corps)

Shattered Soldier is widely recognized as the revival of the series as well one of the hardest. I couldn't possibly agree more. Welcome back, Contra!

Contra: Shattered Soldier

Developer: Konami

Publisher: Konami

Year: 2004

Platform: Playstation 2

Neo Contra is easily the most unique of the series to date. Over-the-top is a gross understatement. Though Neo Contra is widely criticized as being a second-rate entry to the series, this is entirely untrue. The criticism is due in part most likely to the somewhat peculiar take on the gameplay, which is in an isometric perspective.

Neo Contra was just an amalgamation of new with a perfect mixture of old. The player is set in an isometric perspective of the now prison planet, Earth, in the year 4444. The Bill Rizer we play as in this installment is actually a clone of the original, which is why he is still alive. He, however, does not know this. However, he is sent to Earth alongside a mysterious Samurai by the name of Genbei "Jaguar" Yagyu (for some reason he's a black samurai with a top-knot fro... ?) to confront yet another new threat, called the Neo Contra. Unbeknownst to Bill, the leader of the Neo Contra is none other than himself; the original Bill Rizer.

As it turns out, the original was fused with a weapon as the ultimate soldier in hopes of indefinitely protecting the Earth from invaders. As such, he became corrupted somehow. Along with him, his former partner, Lucia, is corrupted.

So, the series took a slight step back from the sordid setting for a new take on being completely outrageous. For a majority of the game, you're set in an isometric perspective, but don't worry, Konami long since improved on Appaloosa's crappy implementations. Neo Contra features full 3D gameplay with 3D controls, but 2D firing. This means you seldom have to shoot in a third dimension, making the gameplay incredibly smooth. There are still aerial enemies, however, each weapon set is assigned a homing weapon, which locks onto to aerial targets if you aim in their general direction. A good comparison of the perspective and how it works would be the overhead stages of Contra III. Nobuya Nakazato confesses though that he had second thoughts on developing an isometric perspective Contra game, due to how difficult it would be to include a 3rd dimension. The homing weapon solved this predicament and allowed for Neo Contra to continue being developed as it was.

Speaking of weapon sets, Neo Contra takes Shattered Soldier's idea and improves upon it. Instead of having 3 set weapons, you now have a choice between up to 6 sets of 3 weapons, making 18 total weapons. All of which kick equal ass. There are also a few weapons from the game Gradius, such as the ripple laser.

As far as outrageous gameplay goes...

-The sub-boss of stage 1 is a giant flower with a deformed infantile head.

-On stage 2 you ride on velociraptors.

-Stage 4 begins with you running across moving helicopter blades. It ends with you surfing on a warhead.

-Stage 7 is a fight against the real Bill Rizer's mutated, fleshy head on a rocket that is plummeting towards Earth in space.

It also had some very niche cameos:

-In stage 5, you fight two bosses. The first is the massive, cycloptic scorpion boss from stage 4 of Operation C. The second is Red Falcon's preserved head in a stasis tank.

Overall, Neo Contra was just pure fun. It took away the boss enemy focus that the previous two Konami developed Contras had and found a balance in the middle of fodder enemies and boss enemies, much like Contra III. The ranking and hit% system in Neo Contra were much more lenient, however, allowing an S rank with only 98%, meaning you could die once and still achieve S rank. The enemy targets were much harder to locate though, since the maps were free-roam.

It was critically received due to its rather strange adjustments, but the core Contra gameplay is fully intact and the fun factor just as much so.

Neo Contra

HAPPY 20TH BIRTHDAY CONTRA

Developer: WayForward Technologies

Publisher: Konami

Year: 2007

Platform: DS

At long last, what fans had been waiting for: a faithful recreation of all that made Contra great at its very roots. Contra 4 was the celebration of Contra's 20 years of legendary gaming. As such, it was also one of the best entries to the entire series. It was, plain and simple, an amalgamate of everything good in the series. Contra 4 has its finger dipped in every pie of the series.

So, we start out in 2638; approximately two years after the alien wars. As usual, all seems well with Red Falcon seemingly vanquished. But do you remember that other baddie who got sick of Red Falcon's repeated failures and went postal in Operation C? That's right, Black Viper. This time, he's back and more pissed off than ever. So, the Earth Federation sends off its four greatest warriors, Bill Rizer, Lance Bean, Mad Dog and Scorpion. The funny thing about the inclusion of Mad Dog and Scorpion is the fact that they're technically the same people as Bill and Lance, as these were their pseudonyms in the American NES version of Contra.

Contra 4 truly is a game made by Contra fans for Contra fans. The classical gameplay with contemporary elements interspersed creates the best mixture yet. Throughout the game, many sights old and new present themselves. Stages and bosses revived with beautiful polish. Contra 4 is arguably the longest non-mission based Contra in Contra history, with 9 stages, each around 5 minutes long. Most stages are redesigns and re-imaginings of classic Contra stages from Contra and Contra III primarily. These include the Galuga archipelago, waterfall, tunnel stages, Neo City and motorcycle chase level.

But you want some more reminiscent fuel? You'll see a few familiar faces such as:

-The classic tower boss from stage 1 of Contra.

-The boss from Contra's stage 2.

-The alien boss from the waterfall of Contra's stage 3.

-The submarine boss from Operation C's stage 1.

-The tank sub-boss from Contra III's stage 1.

-The robo-skeleton from Contra III.

-Red Falcon's heart.

-Black Viper is in improved version of Red Falcon.

-Jimbo, Sully, Sheena, Lucia, Probotector, Bill, Lance, Scorpion and Mad Dog, all as playable character. Though, no discrepancies are between them aside from aesthetic differences. Jimbo and Sully also exclaim the famous quote from Contra III's opening sequence after respawning "It's time for revenge!" and "Let's attack aggressively" both complete with thick southern drawls.

Contra 4 also featured the usage of the dual screens. They couldn't have been implemented better. It adds to the challenge greatly, as it necessitates a great deal of multitasking and a constant awareness of your surroundings. It also allowed for the introduction of a grappling hook used to scale tall obstacles.

Now we look at the difficulty. Contra 4 is considered to be THE hardest Contra yet. Out of all. Konami and WayForward had it with people cheating and never truly experiencing the true nature of Contra, so they really cracked down. You have three difficulty choices: Easy, Normal and Hard. Easy disallows progression beyond the seventh stage. Normal gives you the normal ending and hard gives you the best along with a congratulatory message. In easy mode, all weapons you grab are automatically upgraded. In normal and hard you are required to grab two of the same weapon to upgrade it. Easy mode allows for 10 lives per continue, with 5 continues. Normal allows 6 with 4 continues and... the brutal part... hard allows 3 lives with 2 continues.

Now think... 9 stages with 6 lives. Think you got it in you to beat it on Hard? All of this is what made Contra 4 amazing. An absolutely perfect mixture of classic with contemporary. A true man's game. Ye of little testicles, turn back now. But if even Hard mode didn't satisfy you, Contra 4 comes complete with a challenge mode. 40 challenges that you can choose from that give you a specific task complete. The more you progress, the harder the missions become. Some of these mission types are:

-Bad Guy Blitz: Reach the end of the stage while surviving the enemy onslaught.

-Gunplay: Finish the stage using the specialized weapon. In gunplay missions, you are given either the classic laser or a homing gun that fires five rounds shaped like the ship from Gradius.

-Rematch: Fight a boss from the main game with set weapons.

-Pacifism: Reach the end of the stage completely unarmed.

There are many more, but with each, you only have one life.

Contra 4 let us Contra fans know that Contra is eternal and that Konami didn't lose sight of where Contra began over the years.

Developer: M2

Publisher: Konami

Year: 2009

Platform Wii (Wiiware)

So here we are at the very last entry to the Contra series to date: Contra ReBirth. Contra ReBirth is the first in a series of "ReBirth" games done by Konami for Wiiware in conjunction with Gradius ReBirth and Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth. It's speculated that the title of "ReBirth" in each has more meaning than just a a classic re-entry to the series, rather, a priming for prospective theoretical titles to be released.

Contra ReBirth's story is pretty interesting, despite it being somewhat vague. The reason it is interesting is it converges the two Contra canons of American and Japanese. The year is 2633, the date of the original Contra and a reptilian/humanoid alien tyrant by the alias of "Colonel Salamander" threatens the Earth. Seeing that the Contra have thwarted Red Falcon, the Neo Salamander Force travels back in time to 1973 to eliminate the Contra force while it is still primitive. So Bill Rizer and his compatriot from Neo Contra, Genbei "Jaguar" Yagyu are sent back in time to an Earth in 1973 being dominated by the Neo Salamander Force. Lance Bean was sent long before these two, but is operating incognito as a woman in a remote South American town. They are also assisted by a droid named Brownie, who is a female version of Hard Corps' Browny and later on, a lizard alien named Plissken, who turns out to be the Colonel Salamander attempting to infiltrate the Contra.

As it turns out, Plissken is using a super-weapon by the name of Zelos Force to orbit as a satellite around the Earth, threatening to destroy it if his demands are not met. Interestingly, Zelos Force is also the name of an identical boss from the planet Salamander throughout the Gradius series.

As if this strange story wasn't strange enough, Contra ReBirth made some aesthetic changes that was viewed as very alien (pun intended lol) in respect to the Contra series. Contra ReBirth was presented in a very cartoony style, which deterred some players. It was also said to lack cool-looking bosses (which it did). But the gameplay itself retains its roots as a Contra game and remains a solid, challenging entry to the series.

Notable differences from past Contras include the extrication of many weapons, with only the standard machine gun, laser, homing missile and spreadshot to choose from. Differences between the American and PAL versions are that the PAL version, which was released on September 4th, 2009 (3 days earlier than the US release of September 7th, 2009), had a debug menu, allowing for cheats to be implemented.

Lastly, it also was the first Contra to present a difficult higher than Hard, called Nightmare. Nightmare mode is hard mode, except when you destroy an enemy, a small blue ring, reminiscent to Gradius' enemy fire, will slowly gravitate towards you, which you have to shoot to eliminate. Many consider Nightmare mode's strange addition to be unnecessary and to actually subtract from the gameplay.

Contra ReBirth

So, that concludes the first entry of the Contra series to the Games You Need to Know About series. Contra started out great and it's only gotten better with age. Every one of you people needs to go out and start playing these fantastic games. They are a gamer's nirvana in every way. Contra is just a perfect mix of instant gratification, skill progression, replay value and action. If you seek to strive to the highest levels of gaming, look no further than Contra.

What I feel has always made it unique is the competent level designs, ingenious enemies and bosses and the rapid maturation of the series to include something new to use against the player with each addition. You do no deserve to be called a real gamer unless you've beaten at least 2 Contra games on Hard.