Iain Plays
+ + + +

Shenzhen Safari Ⅳ

Sir, your desire is translucent #

What the hell happened to us? Do you have any idea how beautiful nineties electronics were? In an era a decade prior to the demise of the vastly superior CRT TV, companies were experimenting with materials, design, and aesthetics. A peekaboo trend of translucent hardware peaked at the same time as British lad mags.

The Clear Craze inspired Nintendo’s Game Boy and N64 line, with “Atomic Purple”, “Watermelon Red”, “Sun Orange”, “Jungle Green”. Not to mention my darling Apple iBook G3 Tangerine.

Then the PlayStation 2 landed. An obsidian black boxy monolith, evoking the opposite of fun. No more gonzo journalism, bat shit crazy curves, and see-through peekaboo.

This was the dawn of a new era. Of seriousness. Striving for photorealism in textures, lighting technology, and casting enough polygons to realise the cancelled lad mags advertised promise: A simulacrum of nature’s finest softer protrusions.

Why then, did Sony’s onyxian box fail to embrace my attention?

Perfect Dark #

Perhaps it coincided with my own coming of age. With the phenomenal sales of FHM, Nuts, and Loaded, a platter of PlayStation [1] magazines followed suit. Thirteen year old me lapped them up.

Unabashedly, I still have a Final Fantasy guide book called “Miss Bea’s Final Fantasies”.

It was…well-written, and one of the few pieces of gaming ephemera I’ve sentimentally held on to for more than twenty years (alongside the more respectable Sim City 2000 and Sim Tower instruction manuals).

Miss Beas’s Final Fantasies

Gulp...Press any button to get cancelled #

Now…now…don’t judge a book by it’s cover; overleaf lies a foreword:

Miss Bea’s Final Fantasies Foreword

Blame the Internet for Everything #

Glazing over the lewd imagery was a heaving chest of treasure. We crawled and evolved through a sketchy internet connection era. We’re talking 5 Kilobytes per second on a good day in the year 2000AD, versus the current UK average of 6,250 Kilobytes per second.

Having a physical book of tips, tricks, cheats, and selective walkthroughs, covering a game’s secret bits was precious. Perusable at one’s leisure. No need to tie-up the residence’s landline, endure multiple collection attempts of screeching binary pulses.

Truly, Miss Bea’s Final Fantasies was a sacred tome. Even now, as I carefully part each yellowed sheave of parchment, I am in awe of the concisely edited and useful guidance, enrobed in a bizarrely anti-anachronistic authorial avatar.

Hence my saving it from the great fire of Alexandria boring descent into adulthood, and preserving it beyond the limit-breaking point of whatever the hell this grim age in world culture be anointed a decade—or modern time-slice equivalent— from now .

Digital Rights Management or Die Reclining Meekly (DRM) #

My gaming dearth followed shortly after Final Fantasy , brooking the PS2 era, through to building a gaming PC in 2005, to be stung once more by internet issues.

By then, I was all grown-up (Ha!), the proud occupant of a one-bed city flat. I bought Half-Life 2 from Virgin Megastores and took it home. On inserting the disc, it demanded I install a piece of software called Steam, before I could play the game?

Okay, not the first time a piece of software has been bundled with needless surprise leeches and eels to suckle upon my life-force. I reluctantly proceeded.

Then it said it wouldn’t let me play the fully-installed game until I connected my computer to the internet (an event several weeks in the future).

Imagine my 2005 vexed scream of angst and frustration. Having paid big bucks for a disc (and perhaps a T-shirt) in a lovely big carboard box, and sitting down, ready to slide in and play for countless hours; to then be slapped across the face, spat at, shat upon, and laughed at instead.

Locked out, downtrodden and bleak, already yearning for the destruction of this golden path.

It’ll be 2025 soon. What’s new?

Shenzhen Safari #

Wireless and translucent in 2023?

Get a filthy, cheap PS2. Then get some dirt-cheap game discs. With a source of electricity, you could live from a cave with no internet and still experience a lifetime of joy from the immense and often experimental library of PS2 games; and don’t forget, it plays PS1 game too!

Now, what’s the perfect gift for a friend or loved one who has proclaimed to all their followers, peeps, and creeps that they are taking a “digital sabbatical” (taking a break from ingesting the pipeline of shit that is social media and internet use in general).

This is! A wireless PS2 Controller (2.4Ghz | Translucent), straight from AliExpress. If the link isn’t intercepted by your ad-blocker, you can buy it here: (Wireless PS2 Controller AliExpress affiliate link).

And it even passes the Hadouken test!
What are you waiting for?


Pad 2

Thanks for reading Shenzhen Safari of .

Every second month throughout 2023, I reviewed a choice piece of AliExpress’ gaming hardware, carefully appraising each gift horse’s mouth, teeth, mane, and muscles.

  1. Shenzhen Safari : Pocket Multi Game (PMG) 99 in 1
  2. Shenzhen Safari : NES 143 in 1 Cart
  3. Shenzhen Safari : Data Frog SF2000
  4. Shenzhen Safari : Wireless PS2 Controller (2.4Ghz | Translucent)
  5. Shenzhen Safari : 3D Neon Sign Lamp Headphone Stand
  6. Shenzhen Safari : Non-tendo 168-in-1 iPhone 12 mini Phone Case