de Wals

Micha de Wals' personal site

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Player 1 Sucks

Little over 2 weeks ago I posted about my decision to start streaming my gaming sessions online on Twitch. I had a few sessions on there but one thing bugged me a lot. The statusbar of Twitch cannot be moved and was positioned at the bottom of the screen. Incidentally this meant it blocked a vital part in one of the games I played (Fallout 4). I searched high and low but on the Xbox you cannot move the statusbar. However with Mixer you can do this. So the decision was made, I’m streaming on Mixer from now on.

At the same time I needed a name for my Mixer and YouTube Channel. After some brainstorming the name “Player 1 Sucks” was picked. It’s a gaming reverence (Player 1) and a skills reference (I lack skills).

My first YouTube uploads where just unedited sessions which ended up being well over 1 hour and one even clocking in a whopping 2 hours and 30 minutes.

If those 2 hours and 30 minutes contain almost non-stop action it’s not really and issue but if you play games like Fallout 4 a good portion of that time is spend browsing shops, looting desks, cabinets and bodies, listening to people talk, travel over the map and watching loading screens.

The next step was limiting the recordings to 30-45 minutes. Still not good enough if you keep playing Fallout 4 as the same issues that cost time are still there.
For the game “Oh…Sir!! The Insult Simulator” it is less of a problem but still you have loading screens. Another step was needed to make videos that are half decent.

That next step was editing the videos. To do this you need video-editing software. Here you have several options. Pay money and get something like Adobe Premiere. Find Premiere as an illegal download and hope it works. Or google and see if there are good freeware programs.
I came across a few and after some reading ended up using Shotcut. Shotcut is a free opensource, cross-platform video editor. It’s a pretty elaborate piece of editing software and for now it gets the job done for me. My later video’s in the “Back to the Future” let’s play all have been edited using Shotcut. It easily allows me to cut out loading screens or periods where nothing really happens. For example, in the last Back to the Future session I was stuck. I tried to do a certain thing too soon and ended up walking around like an idiot for several minutes. No-one wants to see that so it had to go. This also helped trimming down the video

One aspect of streaming I don’t have a grip on yet is commentating during my gameplay. Frankly this is one of the most important things to get proper views as there is only a very small group of people who would watch let’s play video’s where there is no commentary at all. I will use my Fallout 4 session’s to get the hang of it. I might edit out most of my terrible commentating at first but over time I hope to get better at it and able to share it with the world.

At the moment I’m streaming 2 games. Fallout 4 and Back to the Future: The Game. Both are older games, Fallout 4 was released in 2015 and Back to the Future was originally released in 2010. So neither really generate the views as most people know it by now.
I have 3 other games lined up for the channel. One is also a bit older, released in 2014. This would be Elite: Dangerous. However this is a game that is constantly being updated and version 2.4 will soon be released. Elite: Dangerous is a space simulator and is set in 3303. You can do whatever you like. Explore the vast galaxy, the game contains around 400 billion star systems complete with planets and moons that rotate and orbit in real-time, resulting in dynamic day/night cycles. Around 150,000 of the game’s star systems are taken from real-world astronomical data. Only a fraction has yet been discovered by the players in the game.
The goal of this let’s play is to get to Earth. To reach Earth first I must obtain the rights to enter our solar system, so I’ll be working towards that first. After we obtained the rights we’ll undertake the journey to Earth.

The second game is FIFA 18. This game will be released late september. The idea behind this let’s play is starting a new career as a striker. Rise through the ranks and hopefully end up becoming a huge star and win prices. On Mixer you can follow entire games but the YouTube uploads probably will be cut down to highlights.

The last game is the one I look forward the most and I hope that by the time that one comes out I’m more confident to speak during gameplay. That game would be: Assassin’s Creed: Origins. This game will be released late October. It will continue the Assassin’s creed series. This time in ancient Egypt during the Ptolemaic period circa 49 B.C.
From what I’ve seen so far the game will visit some historic places in Egypt. I love the history of Egypt and I love Assassin’s creed so I cannot wait to return to the game and visit these places.

Well, I’m sure none of you will watch my videos but if you want to, click the YouTube or Mixer icon on the top and thank you for watching.

 

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streamer wannabe

Starting today I added a new feature to my website. One that probably won’t get used a whole lot but whatever, right?

You can now see if I’m streaming live on Twitch. What is Twitch? Twitch is a website where you can host live streams of whatever you’re doing. In most cases it’s people playing video-games. Somehow people love watching others play video-games, myself included. Some make a big deal out of it. Having green screens and what not. Dress up and have an entire act.

For now it will be without a microphone and video of me playing but in the future I might add it. But I doubt people would actually want to watch me play games let alone see me or hear me in the process.

I don’t think this will be a great success. I might have a viewer or 2-3 max but that shouldn’t stop me from sharing what I’m doing.
Currently I’m not playing any recent games. Right now I’m catching up with Fallout 4 and it’s DLC. In October the new Assassin’s Creed game will be released and I have it in pre-order so that will be a more interesting game for people to watch.
Maybe in between Fallout 4 and Assassin’s creed I catch up on Elite Dangerous again. However this is even more boring to watch to be honest.

Twitch also allows me to upload previous sessions to YouTube. Last night I streamed for nearly 2 hours and that’s available on YouTube right now. But you could also watch it on Twitch.

So basically I’m trying to become a streamer wannabe. Thinking I’m really cool by streaming a game and doing what everyone else is doing. I don’t have the illusion I’ll become some famous, rich streamer or YouTube star but if one or two people enjoy watching my channel I reached my goal. People do seem to enjoy watching others play games.

Anyways, if I’m streaming, come join me and see me fail. I’ll probably be back online later tonight.

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Twin Forks

A few months ago I was sitting next to my colleague driving home from a customer. He was driving and Radio2 was on. This song came along and that voice, I recognized it from somewhere. It sounded like Chris Carrabba from Dashboard Confessional but they never get played on Dutch radio nor did they have a new album out. Coming home I totally forgot to check it out. Until earlier this week when the same song was played on 3FM. This time I checked the name of the band and googled it. It was Twin Forks and yes Chris Carrabbe is in it.

Twin Forks is his new band. According to the bio on their website Chris wanted to form a band with a classic folk, country and roots sound. This new band does not mean his other bands, Dashboard Confessional and Further seems Forever, are now defunct. They’re just on hiatus.

The song in question is “Cross my mind”. It’s gaining some fair airplay in the Netherlands and likely in other countries as well. Watch the official video here.

It’s a very catchy song that will get stuck in your head. The DJ’s on the radio already branded it the sound of the summer and I think they quite hit the spot with that remark. The song screams summer and summer romance.

The rest of the album is what you expect from this style of music. Some up-tempo catchy songs, some mid-tempo songs. And to finish it off a great ballad of the kind Dashboard Confessional gained their reputation with before evolving into a more pop/indy-rock band. No distracting drums, no distracting electric guitars, just Chris’ vocals and a acoustic guitar to provide support and brilliant backup vocals by the bands mandolin player Suzie Zeldin.

Zeldin’s vocals and mandolin are a great addition to the band. On the opening track “Can’t be broken” her voice works very well in harmony with Carrebba’s Voice. The mandolin on “Cross my mind” really stands out. The melody is one of the things making the song so good.
She could have gotten more lines of her own on “Kiss me darling” however. The song feels like a conversation between two lovers. He just has more to say than her apparently. A loss for us the listeners.

So should you get this album right away? Well that’s for you to decide. If you’re not into the current folk hype or already fed up with it, it’s better to steer clear of this one but I’d recommend you to at least listen to it on Spotify before shooting it down. If you are a big fan of Chris Carrabbe’s previous work like me you will love this one as well.
Chris Carrabbe is, in my opinion, one of the best singer-songwriters of the moment. His work, especially the early releases, are among the best I’ve heard the last decade. So if you share this opinion this one is for you.
Having that said, to be fair this isn’t an instant classic. I liked it, I loved it but wasn’t blown away by it. It’s not. It does not rank up to the first two Dashboard Confessional releases (“The Swiss Army Romance” & “The places you have come to fear the most) but it’s close to share 3th with the MTV Unplugged album.

Note: When buying the album be sure to get the album and not the EP by the same name.

Down below you can listen to the full album on Spotify or buy the album on iTunes or from Amazon or from Large.

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Are we not men? We are diva!

Six years after their last full length release (Have another ball) Me First and the Gimme Gimmes are back with a new album. One might argue that “Have another ball” is a compilation album rather than a full length release. If we take that into consideration it has been 8 years since their last album (Love their country). It’s not that they haven’t done anything in the meantime. In 2011 they released two EP’s. One with hits from Australian artists and one with Japanese hits. The latter one was completely in Japanese.

Before I go into their latest release, let me first inform some of you of what Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, or Me First or the Gimmes as fans also call them, actually is.
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes is a so-called supergroup. They differ from most other supergroups however. Me First solely plays cover songs. The band was formed in 1995 and most of it members earned their stripes in other bands. Bassist Fat Mike formed NOFX and runs the label Fat Wreck Chords. Joey Cape and Dave Raun are both from Lagwagon and Chris Shiflett started out in No Use For A Name and now is the lead guitarist of the Foo Fighters. Due to this he cannot always join them on the road and among others is replaced by his brother Scott.
Spike Slawson earned his stripes in the mail order department of Fat Wreck Chords and later on went on to play for the Swingin’ Utters.

Since 1997 the Gimmes have released 7 studio albums (including this one) and one live album.
All albums have a theme.Ranging from 60’s and 70’s hits to show tunes to country songs. On “Are we not men? We are Diva!” they cover songs originally performed by Divas ranging from Gloria Gaynor to Celine Dion to Barbra Streisand to the late Whitney Houston but also include Lady Gaga and Boy George’s Culture club. The last one most likely being included because of his feminine appearance during the 80’s

From the first to last note this is a true Me First album. You’ll recognize majority of the songs and on most of them you can sing along almost right away. The Gimmes however throw in a few surprises in this one. It’s not all straight forward pop-punk covers of the songs we all know..
On “My heart will go on” they use a more folk-punk acoustic arrangement with even an accordion in it turning an overrated song from an overrated movie (Spoiler alert: the boat sinks) by an overrated artist into a classic on its own.

On Madonna’s “Crazy for you” they actually stick close to the original. Spike can show off his ukulele skills. The entire song you expect them to put the ukulele aside and break into their normal routine of pop-punk. This song could get airplay on almost every radio station and could go far in the charts. Especially if you take into consideration that Belgium rockband Triggerfinger scored a huge hit with the massively overrated song “I follow rivers” (it makes “My heart will go on” look like a half decent song).
Dolly Parton’s “I will always love you”, made famous by Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard, will take a moment before you recognize it. This version is a lot faster than the original. It took me until the chorus to figure out which song it was as I wasn’t looking at the playlist at the time. But once I heard it it was an “Oh yeah!!” moment. Just as with “Top of the world”. The title didn’t ring a bell for me but then the chorus kicked in and I recognized it.

Listening to the chorus of “I will always love you” however makes you wonder how Spike will pull it off live. He doesn’t go as high¬† as Whitney Houston did but it’s still pretty high and he already seems to struggle in the studio. But this is Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. If you expect a flawless live show this is not your band. This band is about fun and having a good time. They either “fight” who made the mistake or claim we, the audience, received extra notes in the song. They sometimes high five each other when they actually play a song practically flawless.
So, if Spike cannot pull it off on stage it’s kinda part of the show. Honestly I cannot wait for the reactions of his bandmates when he does fail. It’s going to be hilarious.

So is this their best release ever? Probably not. It’s not their worst either. Their albums pretty much scores the same. None really stand out and none really fail to deliver. Non-Japanese speaking fans might put “Sing in Japanese” on the bottom of their personal lists but only because they (including myself) cannot understand a word they’re singing. But that doesn’t make it a bad release. It’s still the sound of Me First that you expect only with words you don’t understand.
Me First isn’t a band that does release legendary albums like “Energy” by Operation Ivy or “London Calling” by The Clash or “Nevermind the Bollocks here are the Sex Pistols” by the Sex Pistols. No, the Gimmes are a band that you should see live at least once in your lifetime. And that’s why this release is as important as their previous releases. It means they’re still around and going back on the road. With the band almost being 20 years old and some of it’s members closing in on their 50th birthday it’s something to cherish as it might be their last album and/or tour. But obviously we hope they keep on rocking for at leat another 20 years
So do yourself a favor and buy a ticket to their show if you get the chance. After all, bands like this make most of their money on the road and not from releasing albums so pick up a shirt while you’re there as well.

Down below you can listen to the album on Spotify or buy the album at one of these links 1 2 3

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Small update

Hi there. A small update today. As some may have noticed the site also includes a review section. I plan on using it to review music (albums and live shows), movies, tv series and (video)games.

The first review will most likely be the latest album of Me first and the Gimme Gimmes called “Are We Not Men? We Are Diva!. On this album they’re covering songs by so-called diva’s like Christina Aguilera. Paula Abdul, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston and as an obvious joke Boy George.

I haven’t had the time to listen to the complete album but once that’s done I’ll write my review.
Time just is a little sparse these days with Hailey around and me going back to work again after two weeks off.