The ramblings of a dweeb who lives life like it's 2005

Category: Countdowns

Seedy’s top 6 PS2 games

Though I am a totally blind 2000s kid, I am still a 2000s kid. And, like virtually every 2000s kid, I played on the true masterpiece of a video game console that is the Sony Playstation 2.

Though the PS2 wasn’t officially mine, it was more like something shared by the whole family, I still got to play a good few games on it. These mainly consisted of driving/racing games, such as the Colin McRae Rally series (R.I.P. Colin McRae, August 5th 1968 – September 15th 2007), and Outrun 2006: Coast2Coast, a 20th anniversary reboot of the Sega arcade classic from 1986. Conceded, I was absolutely terrible at these games, being blind and all, but I still played them for hours none the less.

It wasn’t until I got into video game emulation 6 years ago that I was able to truly capitalise on the awesomeness of the PS2 and call the experience my own. In that time, I’ve been reunited with old classics, such as the aforementioned Outrun 2006, and uncovered some never-before-seen gems, delving into a video genre that has rapidly become my all time favourite, fighting games!

In this spew, I will count down my personal top 6 games for the Playstation 2, and say a few words on why I think these games are good, and why they might not be so good. This was originally going to be a top-five, but since I’ve now been in the emulation scene for 6 years, why not make it a top six, one for each year?

Disclaimer

As this is a countdown, this spew is based purely on personal views and opinions. Each person in this world is entitled to their own opinion. In other words, don’t go shouting at me or crying to your mommy because I put a game at number 3 instead of number 2, or because I said one game plays better than another. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Make your own countdown if you must.

With that out of the way, let’s get on with the countdown!

6. Outrun 2006: Coast2Coast (2006)

I can’t exactly remember if I got this game for my 6th birthday or for Christmas in 2006, but either way, Outrun 2006 was my gateway into the world of racing games. If you were boring, you could play the game with your standard PS2 controller. Or, if you were me, you could play with a proper steering wheel/peddle combo and feel like you’re in the driver’s seat of a real race car! I remember thinking the steering wheel was for a toy car at first, until I found out from my dad that it was for a Playstation 2 game called Outrun. As soon as we got the video game and accessories out of the box and fired up the PS2, I was hooked! I wasn’t a particularly good driver, and would needlessly abuse the hell out of my car for both mine and my dad’s entertainment, but I played the thing for hours anyway! If a family member wanted to watch TV or play another game, they couldn’t because I’d be playing outrun!

The main thing I enjoyed most about Outrun 2006 was the sound track. The game borrows many tracks from the original game’s OST, such as Passing Breeze and Magical Sound Shower, and includes a few new tracks, my favourite one above all being Night Flight.

I really hope to be able to relive the glory days of Outrun 2006 at some point down the line (see what I did there)? But for now, I’ll just have to accept the fact that my crappy 5th gen i5 and Intel HD 6000 graphics mean that PCSX2 will ultimately hate me for playing it.

5. Knockout Kings 2001 (2000)

While Knockout Kings 2001 isn’t a very very good game, it’s not a very very bad game either. The game definitely aims to provide the most realistic boxing experience, from Jimmy Lennon Jr’s boxer intros to pep talks in between rounds in career mode. However, the sound track is mediocre, the controls are kinda slow and clunky, and the commentary just sounds dull and flat. I do think the random boxing fact you get during fights is a nice touch, though, as well as the fact that female fighters have their place in the game. Confusingly, KOK01 seems to be the only game in the series to feature female boxers.

Knockout Kings 2001 is available for both the PS1 and PS2. Though, despite the downsides of the over-all game, if you are going to give it a try, I recommend the PS2 version, even if it is just a slight improvement over the PS1 version.

4. Street Fighter EX 3 (2000)

I’m a huge fan of the entire Street Fighter series, and the Street Fighter EX games are no exception. A launch title for the PS2, Street Fighter EX 3 is different to previous games in the series in that it is one of the few games of that time to use a tag battle system, which allows the player to switch fighters at will, unlocking more opertunities to exploit different moves and combos to use against your opponent. Other new features are the surprise blow, a way to pull off a special attack without using your super bar, and momentary combos, which allow you to chain special attacks together and deal more damage than ever before!

Along with Soulcalibur II (2003), Street Fighter EX 3 is the only fighting game I’ve managed to play through to completion (twice) on any console. Pretty sad, really. It’s exciting, fun, fast-paced, and can definitely be challenging at times! Though, the fast-paced part might be more true for me if PCSX2 didn’t slow the damn thing down to a crawl and make the music sound like something that might be played at Ryu’s funeral!

3. Soulcalibur II (2003)

Best defined, Soulcalibur is a fighting game along the lines of Tekken, but with a bit of a fantasy vibe and using melee weapons instead of your traditional punches/kicks.

Though The voice acting in Soulcalibur II is kinda meh, the game includes a driving, intense, heart-pounding sound track designed to get you pumped right up to do battle with anyone who dares to block your path! The controls are also very Tekkenlike, with the game mainly relying on the face buttons (Triangle, Cross, Circle and Square) for blocking attacks and performing moves. The right stick can also be used for more special attacks.

Ultimately, if a fantasy fighter fusion with blood-pumping battle tracks, anxiety inducing boss fights and a soul-gripping character set is what you’re looking for, welcome… to Soulcalibur II!

2. Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (2002)

Being released 10 years after the original Mortal Kombat game that turned out to be one of the reasons why the ESRB exists (thanks soccer moms), Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, the 5th game in the series, is the first game in the MK franchise to truly support 3D, with a proper 3D environment. Yeah yeah, we all know MK4 tried to be 3D, but you were ultimately stuck on a 2D field with a janky sidestep motion, so let’s just call MK4 2.5D and move on, shall we?

Many people look down on Deadly Alliance because each character only has one fatality, which definitely takes some of the variety and excitement out of the game. However, fighters now have three different fighting styles to choose from, consisting of two hand-to-hand combat styles and one melee style, allowing players to explore more fighting stratigies and ways to deliver abuse to their opponents. From a completely blind player’s point of view, another positive is that fatalities aren’t distance/sweep based like they are in other MK games, meaning they are much easier to pull off since you don’t have to worry about where your opponent is on the field. Another accessibility consideration is the fact that there are virtually no wrapping menus, meaning blind players have a clear indication of the first and last item in a menu, since you can’t go any further than that point and no sound will play if you try to go past it. Also, Liu Kang is absent from this game, but let’s just try to forget about that, eh?

1. Knockout Kings 2002 (2001)

Though Knockout Kings 2002 might be considered more stripped down compared to earlier releases, with the absence of boxer intros, interround pep talks and random boxing facts, Knockout Kings 2002, in my view, is a huge improvement over any prior release, including 2001. The sound track kicks ass, the commentary is a lot more exciting and lively, the input is a lot speedier and simpler, and the massively improved sound design mixed with the PS2 controller’s rumble mechanics make the game a thousand times more immersive, and, most importantly for players like me, accessible.

An awesome example of how both audio cues and haptics are used for both immersion and accessibility is when the controller starts to give a slow, gentle pulse when your boxer is starting to run low on health and is about to go down. The closer you get to being knocked down, the stronger and faster this pulse will grow. When a fighter goes down, you will hear one or two loud bangs which sound like gunshots. You may also hear other sounds as the knockdown animation plays, such as camera clicks, heartbeats and other effects, and the sound of the crowd will be noticeably louder as well, as they woop and cheer at the sight of the boxer falling to the mat. What’s more, when you are down, the pitch of the count to ten is somewhat lower than when your opponent is down, in which case it is just normal pitch.

As with Knockout Kings 2001, both Richard Steele and Mills Lane (R.I.P) star as boxing referees. I’ve never liked Richard Steele as a referee, he always sounds extremely bored. Mills Lane is my favourite ref, and always will be.

Knockout Kings 2002 is a fusion of high speed, high intensity, immersive, hard-hitting, heart-pounding boxing action, outstanding sound design and accessibility, and snappy, easy-to-learn game controls. You might call it a cheap, arcade style button masher, but I call it a work of pure genius. What’s wrong with button mashers anyway? Not every game needs to have hypercomplex inputs that need to be timed to the exact femtosecond. Can’t you just put aside your toxicity for a minute and think about the abilities and disabilities of other gamers?

Conclusion

The Playstation 2 was a truly remarkable console in its time, and to many people, including me, it still is to this very day. Nothing will ever beat those glory-filled moments of hearing that awe-inspiring startup sound and playing our favourite PS2 games for countless hours, be it alone or with friends and family. May the Playstation 2 bring excitement, joy and happiness into people’s lives, either physically or through emulation, for a very very very long time to come!

Seedy’s MVPs of 2023

Every year since 2020 (except 2022), I’ve written a list of the most awesome people I’ve encountered throughout the year, both in my personal life, and out here on the good ole internet, as well as a few words about why I think these people are awesome; said awesomeness deserves at least some kind of recognition! Besides, the world is a steaming, heaping pile of festering trash right now, so we all need as much entertainment in our lives as humanly possible.
For your reference, here are the lists for 2021 and 2020.

I’ve decided to do things a bit differently this year. Instead of trying to come up with a list of 15 names, I first started off with 15, then eliminated 5 from the list, bringing it down to 10, then whittled that down to a final 5. It’s these 5 names that have ultimately made this list. This makes for a post that’s about 3 times shorter, but hopefully still as enjoyable. Plus, it feels better to know you’re in the top 5 anyway! 🙂




5. Michael MJD

As a lover of both retro tech and crazy texperiments (yes, ‘texperiment’ is a word now), MichaelMJD has been a constant source of hilarity and entertainment for a good few years now. From installing Windows XP on an iPod, to screwing around with a laptop that only cost a fiver, this guy has all the bases covered! Or, if it’s just a simple tech documentary you’re looking for, he has those too! Or, why not just check out his entire YouTube channel! The fact that he has way fewer subscribers than he deserves is simply a crime!

4. Jake Gross. a.K.a. Datajake

I’m a digital preservationist and lover of all things archival, so it’s really no surprise that Jake is on this list. Datajake’s website is a treasure trove of vintage, hard-to-find software tools, speech synthesizers, midi music files, VSTs, sound fonts, audio files and podcasts, just to name a few! If there’s anything old school or midi related you’re looking for, there’s a high chance Jake will have it! What’s more, Jake is blind like me. But aside from that, he’s generally just a cool guy to get to know and hang out with. May Datajake continue to do God’s work and preserve all kinds of digital history for a very, very, very long time to come!

3. Brandon Cole. A.K.A. Super Blindman

Flying up 7 places from number 10 in 2021 thanks to this new top-five style, we have the super blindman himself, Brandon Cole, the ultimate video game accessibility warrier! Together with his partner Misty Rayburn, he runs Break Down Walls, an initiative that aims to unite both disabled and non-disabled gamers alike, and raise awareness of disabled people in the gaming scene.

Outside of BDW, Brandon also fights tooth and nail for accessibility for everyone in video games, working with game developers far and wide to ensure that their games are as playable as possible by as many people as possible, regardless of disability, background or skill level. He is literally the reason why Forza Motorsport, The Last of Us 2, and Mortal Kombat 1 are some of the most accessible video games ever! OK, maybe that’s a slight overstatement, but it’s pretty darn close!

Personally, I recently had a few online games of Forza with Brandon, with the aim of learning how to drive and ultimately be a better player. This marked a major turning point in my gaming life, as it was the first time I’d plucked up the courage to play a video game online since I was abused out of the multiplayer sphere in 2016. I’m hoping, with a few more games and Brandon’s kind, humourous personality, I’ll eventually be able to get back into playing multiplayer games!

You can check out the super blindman on YouTube, Twitch, Mastodon, and his own website.

2. Day Garwood

Day Garwood has single-handedly changed the way I use Microsoft Windows forever. His free program, KeyOp, allows you to open any program or website you can think of using just a couple of keyboard shortcuts, without the need for desktop icons, the start menu, or anything like that! On top of that, he is also a talented singer and musician. He runs Daylight Sound, and RML Music, a website for Rebecca Legowski, his partner in rhyme.

On a more personal note, Day is also just a nice, kind-hearted human who is always willing to listen to anything you have to say, be it life problems or software feedback. While he can’t fix your life problems, he’ll always try his very best to fix any problems you have with his software programs. And he also has a history in text to speech skits, which is why he’s so high in this countdown. Sadly, though, this content isn’t available anywhere on his official sites. Bad Daygar for not archiving your content! The digital archivist in me is very angry!

1. Thaqib Mir

I met Thaqib on a TeamTalk server in May/June of 2022, and I can honestly say he is the kindest, sweetest, funniest, and the best internet friend I’ve ever had! With a strong background in audio editing and sound design, he was ultimately what got me into music and UI sound production. Without his Reaper related help, I couldn’t have produced such things as the Cube Suite, the Seedy Notifiers, and what would turn out to be my very first piece of music, which I’ll embed as an audio file below.

Thaqib has also steered me through some pretty difficult times throughout the last year. Being forced out of college and having to leave all my friends and break 5 year old bonds in the summer of 22 is a good example. He is living proof that kindness, positivity and good friends can be brought together through the power of the internet. You think the world is just a place full of death, destruction and evil doers, then you meat Thaqib and suddenly your world view has changed for the better.




Conclusion

Congratulations to everyone who made the list this year, and especially my good friend Thaqib Mir, who is at number one! He is officially Seedy’s MVP of 2023!

To numbers 6 through 15, better luck next time. 2024 is just a few weeks away, who knows what the next 12 months will bring!

Seedy’s MVPs of 2021

Well, another year is almost out. This year, we focused on trying to clean up the faeces that came out of the butt hole of last year, but we just wound up smearing it everywhere and making the situation 10 times worse.
However, amongst the heaping pile of hot garbage, there were some cool people that really stood out, ready and able to fill our lives with joy, happiness and entertainment, with the goal of making us feel good about life and keeping our spirits high in this royally screwed up world we live in.
At the end of last year, I listed my Most Valued People (MVPs) of 2020. Not all of these people have necessarily played a supportive role in my personal life, but they’ve been there to provide me, and others, the happiness and good vibes we so desperately needed, especially with this deadly disease wiping out thousands of people every day! So, without further ado, I present to you… Seedy’s MVPs of 2021!
As you can probably imagine, it’s very hard to condense a list of so many cool people down to just 15 places. Therefore, it’s only natural that more than 1 person can take a single place, and some people are struck off, despite how badly you want them to be on. Sorry guys, it’s just how countdowns work. 🙁

Privacy Notice

This countdown mentions people in my personal life. Therefore, I’ve taken a number of steps to make sure that everyone’s privacy is protected as much as possible.

  • All those in my personal life who are featured in this countdown were notified beforehand, and I was granted their express permission to feature them.
  • Unless a person’s real name is public knowledge, only their full first name and the first letter of their surname will be shown. If someone has a common online username or nick name that they use in place of their real name, said username/nickname will be shown instead.
  • No places of work or residence, including building/apartment numbers, street/town names etc, will be mentioned anywhere in this countdown.

A Final Word

If you personally dislike one or more people featured in this countdown, please don’t publicly shout your feelings out in the comments. WordPress has an approval system for comments posted on an article, so if you’re gonna start drama, your comment(s) will simply be rejected and won’t show up on this post at all.

The Bottom of the Pile

15. Chris Wright

Chris Wright has been making content on YouTube for about a decade now. I first came across him when his channel was named Blindgamer95. However, he has since changed the name of his channel to his real name.
Chris, who, like me, is without any eyesight, makes many types of content include audio game demonstrations and text to speech (TTS) skits featuring many computer voices like Microsoft Sam, Mike and Mary, and the LH (Lernout & Hauspie) voices.
I only got talking to this guy personally a few weeks ago. However, I can honestly say that he is one of the funniest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting in contact with. Plus, he’s taking time out of his busy life to record, edit and upload these audio game demos, shedding light on something that very few people know about, and we take for granted every day as blind people.
If you wish to check out Chris Wright’s content for yourself, you can visit his YouTube channel by clicking here.

14. Michael MJD

Climbing up a place to number 14 is the master of insane technology experiments himself, Michael MJD! I’ve yet to find out what MJD actually stands for, but anyway, Michael saw his 11th year on YouTube this year, with his channel now weighing in at a massive 240 thousand subscribers! That’s about 6 times less than the minimum amount he actually deserves, however.
Michael is the guy who takes a device that’s primarily meant for listening to your favourite jogging tracks and turns it into so much more. Windows XP on an iPod? Come on! He’s the guy who gives a whole new meaning to the idea of nested virtualization, taking it to a whole new level of madness. Hell, he’s the guy that goes out and buys a nigh on hundred pound pint of Microsoft OS branded ice cream!
You can find out all the crazy stuff that happens over at MJD Studios by Checking out Michael’s YouTube channel.

13. The Nostalgia Mall (Billy Core) and the Flying Scotsman (Jay Wakefield)

Also stepping up a place on the ladder this year are Billy Core and Jay Wakefield, also known as the Nostalgia Mall and the Flying Scotsman respectively.
I’ve enjoyed Billy and Jay’s content for many years, and this year was no exception. Specializing in content regarding vintage hardware and software from many brands including Compaq, Packard Bell and Toshiba, these guys’ channels are a must-watch if you pine for the days when computers actually worked out of the box, before digital downloads, subscription models and endless software update cycles took over our lives. When plug and play actually meant plug and play, not plug and sit on your ass for 3 hours while 50GB of software files and updates download and install.
Out of the 2, Jay has taken more notable steps this year, such as venturing slightly away from physical hardware and focusing on virtualization and emulation, using tools such as PCem and 86Box. Jay also revived his website earlier this year. I’m not sure how the website looked in its previous life; it had died long before I discovered both him and Billy. However, in its current form, the site functions as Jay’s personal blog, much like Fireseed Inside is my personal blog.

12. LogicProXGaming

It’s a new entry at number 12. Logic has been a blind video game accessibility activist for many years, especially when it comes to the wildly popular building/survival game of Minecraft. He also specializes in the Logic music production software for MacOS, hence the LogicPro part of his handle.
Logic uses his YouTube account, Twitter timeline and other communication platforms to raise awareness of how video games can be, and are being, made playable by the blind by highlighting the accessibility features that are present in Minecraft, either through in-game means or the use of external, third party modifications to the Minecraft software. His YouTube channel contains tutorial videos and live streams that show him demonstrating Minecraft’s built-in accessibility features and external mods in action. Speaking of tutorials, Logic is currently working on a tutorial series called the Blind Craft Survival Guide, a reference to the Minecraft Survival Guide series by Pixlriffs. This series will show aspiring Minecrafters how they can set up the game on their computers and enjoy all of its many exciting features. Sighted people can follow along with the tutorial, but it’s mostly targeted at blind gamers who rely on assistive technologies such as screen readers.
Huge kudos to this guy for taking time out of his busy office job to show the world that 100% functional eyesight is not required to experience the fun and excitement that video games like Minecraft can bring!

  • Check out LogicProXGaming on YouTube
  • Follow LogicProXGaming on Twitter
  • 11. Sarah Sbaughn, AKA Sbaughn006

    From very late 2020 to very early 2021, Typerspeed 2, the reboot of my Typerspeed game, was buggy, unstable and relying on speech synthesis and artificial intelligence algorithms for its voicing. With no hope in sight, Typerspeed 2 was quickly heading towards the same fate as its original iteration in 2018, a big, heavy axe to the head! That was until Sarah (Sbaughn006), out of the goodness of her heart, sat down and recorded some voice lines for the game and allowed me to use them on a permanent basis, at absolutely no cost to me. The game finally had an actual, real life, human voice, and I finally had a reason to keep the project alive! She is just one of many kind supporters who has helped Typerspeed develop into the challenging, fast-paced, high-intensity PC typer it is today.

    The Top Ten

    10. Brandon Cole and Misty Rayburn

    Flying up 3 places to number 10 is none other than everyone’s favourite video game accessibility activist, Brandon Cole! His wife, Misty, is also joining him this year. Together, Brandon (Super Blindman) and Misty drive the Break Down Walls movement, an initiative that aims to smash the barriers between video game developers, gamers with disabilities and their target audiences, be it through live streaming or general interaction. The Break Down Walls website also includes a dedicated guides section, which contains video game accessibility guides written by both Brandon himself and the wider disabled gaming community.
    Alone, Brandon fights for video game accessibility for all gamers who are visually impaired/blind. He raises awareness of features that are, and can be, made available in video games to assist the blind, including menu and in-game narration via text to speech or human voicing, visual colour/contrast adjustments, and adapting font/text sizes.
    Why not check out Brandon’s Twitch channel. It features many fun and exciting video game streams, including, most notably this year, game play of Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone, made possible by the Hearthstone Access mod. There are also many interviews that Brandon has taken part in, with the primary goal of raising awareness of his work, why he does it and what he hopes to achieve from it.
    The thing that earns Brandon and Misty a place on this countdown is their endless fighting spirit and give ’em hell attitude. When people around them try to push them back, they push 10 times harder. Together, they work tirelessly to crate a better, more accepting and inclusive environment for disabled gamers the world over.

    9. The King Cobra and Braille0109

    Climbing up to 9th position, and joining Braille0109 from last year, is Angel, also known as King Cobra. It’s always a laugh with these 2 guys. This year hasn’t been a easy ride for me personally, however, these 2 have always been there for me when my smile wasn’t working.
    Braille himself has helped me through some rough seas over the years as well, most notably the Data Wipe 2019 incident, in which 500GB of my personal data was tragically lost, never to be seen again. That was such a stressful period in my digital life that almost resulted in me quitting IT forever. However, Braille kept giving me good advice, pointing me in the right direction towards restoring my PC to life and slowly rebuilding my infrastructure. Now, almost 3 years later, I’m in a better position now than I ever was! I have a PC, a Mac, A 1TB external hard disk drive, SD cards, cloud storage services, and my own virtual private server! Oh, and I’m also developing software again!

    8. Destructatron and Supremekiller

    Note: Supremekiller changed his handle recently, however this new name hasn’t propagated across all his platforms yet, so the old one is being used here.
    Up 2 positions from last year are the ever-helpful empath Supremekiller, and the quick-witted tech nerd Destructatron. The main reason for Supremekiller’s rise through the ranks this year is the fact that for most of this year, and some of last year, he has provided me with a fast, reliable and stable means to host my cloud infrastructure, my websites, my radio station, the Fireseed Forums message board etc. Before then, I was relying on free web hosting services with extremely limited features. If I wasn’t provided with such generous offerings from SK, the Fireseed Network would have probably died along with everything else in 2020. It’s because of him that the Fireseed Network is even a network in the first place!
    Destructatron, on the other hand, has always been there to help when problems with said cloud infrastructure have come up, be it my stupid mail server refusing connections from clients because of misconfigured SSL/TLS settings, or the IRC server that would refuse to even start because the configuration file was missing a single god damn semicolon! Conceded, he hasn’t always been able to successfully solve a problem, but he’s always given it his best shot, and that’s all I ask at the end of the day. Destructatron is also just a good friend to have around. If you’re having a horrible time right now, he’ll most likely be there to help you out.

    7. Jade H

    Even though Jade is no longer in my life anymore, I still think about her and miss her a lot every day. She was one of the many people who supported me through the draconian COVID19 lockdowns last year. I know she’s just an email away, but sending an email is nowhere near the same thing as actually being in face-to-face contact with someone. Even when you can’t physically see someone, you can mentally see them by hearing the sound of their voice and feeling their presence.

    6. Leanne E

    Rising up 2 places to 6th position is the woman who has supported me through thick annd thin non-stop for 4 straight years! From when I took my first big steps into college back in 2017, to the cold, dark days of 2020 during the COVID19 lockdown, she was always a shoulder to cry on no matter what. Thank you for continuing to support not just me, but countless other people as well. I’ve no idea where we’d be without you!

    High Fives

    5. Helen T

    Although I haven’t really seen much of Helen this year, she is not moved down or disqualified from this countdown because she has played a hugely supportive role in the past. When we were all stuck inside our houses, working from home and staying 6 feet away from each-other, it was getting to the point where it wasn’t just my mental health that was becoming a problem, but my physical health as well. In this moment, I reached out to Helen (virtually, of course), and she gave me the boost I needed to tell my daemons to beat it! Thank you for keeping me strong throughout the years.

    4. Aly T

    For most of 2020, My stress and anxiety levels were so high that I couldn’t even boot up my computer, let alone log into my email client or use any other part of the internet; COVID19 and its impacts were everywhere! Throughout 2020 and 2021, Aly has tought me that it’s perfectly fine to slow down once in a while, and that all I can do is try my best, even if I fail.

    3. Jonathan Kay, AKA Trekie, AKA the Messenger Geek

    Sliding down 2 places from the top spot is the Messenger geek himself, Jonathan Kay.
    I don’t give a monkey’s backside what you have to say about Jonathan. Again, your attacks will just get rejected by WordPress’s review system upon my request, so don’t even try. He’s a special friend to me, and he’ll always have a place in my heart.
    An MVP for Microsoft’s MSN/Windows Live Messenger service for over a decade, he ran a support site that provided many helpful articles highlighting MSN Messenger (pre-2005)’s many exciting features, how to use them, and how to resolve MSN Messenger related problems. He is also the creator of the now defunct Messenger Reviver software, which kept the awesomeness that was MSN/Windows Messenger alive while Microsoft was relentlessly forcing people over to the ever-rotting crap pile that is Skype. Jonathan also inspired the creation of Escargot Chat, a Python-based project that aims to revive MSN/Windows Live Messenger and other dead instant messenger clients.
    On a more personal level, Jonathan further stoked the fire that is my nostalgia for the 2000s. If it wasn’t for him, I’d never have discovered Escargot, and 5 years of devistation and frustration over the death of MSN/Windows Live Messenger would not have been reversed.

    2. Garry W

    Since 2017, this guy has been nothing to me but an absolute legend! He has held my hand through every single problem I’ve faced since then. College stresses, my introduction to PTSD in 2018 and everything else that came before and after it that year, and everything in between. He introduced me to the world of virtualization and emulation, showing me that there is indeed an escape route from what we call modern life. He has supported every single one of my personal projects since the word go. He’s the ultimate inspiration for projects I’m most proud of, such as the House of Fireseed and Typerspeed, from version 1.0 of the game way back in 2018 through to Sepia, the game’s current iteration. Gary has not only kept me strong over the past 4 years, he’s kept me happy, mentally grounded, and, dare I say it, alive.

    Number One!

    And so, here we are, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! Who will seize the top spot and be Seedy’s ultimate MVP of 2021? Well, we shall see!
    The winner, and Seedy’s ultimate MVP of 2021, is…

    1. Richie W and Nathan Smith of Nathan Tech

    I haven’t known Richie as long as I have Garry, but none the less, he deserves the same legendary status. He’s kind, supportive, geeky, nerdy… him and I just click with everything. He’s into pretty much all the movies, TV shows, video games etc as I am, and much like Gary, is always ready and able to be your friend and support you come hell or high water. His wacky, off-the-wall humour is enough to make the whole world smile. For these reasons, and so much more, Richie flies right up from his number 3 position in 2020 to stand tall and proud in first place in 2021!
    Joining Richie at the top of the tree is Nathan Smith of Nathan Tech. Nathan is nothing more than an altruist who puts the health and happiness of others well above his own, even if it means starving himself to death in the process. He’s a software developer, an audio content creator and the owner of a sci-fi MUD (multi-user dungeon) game known as
    Cosmic Rage. Being without any functional eyesight, Nathan is highly devoted to making his software, and that of other developers, accessible to all, no matter the disability. In fact, I’m using one of Nathan’s software programs, Sunrise Waterfall, to write this countdown!
    Below is a list of links to some of Nathan Tech’s work.

    Conclusion

    Well done to everyone who made the list this year, especially our joint first placers, Richie W and Nathan Smith.
    Since I don’t have actual golden trophies to give you guys, here are 2 virtual ones instead. Around the outside of the trophies, bold letters read:

    You are Seedy’s MVP of 2021!

5 people I’d like to get to know in the text to speech community

At the back end of last year, I officially entered the Text to Speech (TTS) community, often abbreviated as

TTSC

. However, I entered the community with one major downside. Due to my lack of eyesight, and the TTSC’s content standards and conventions, there is a very limited amount of TTS content I can create. But being in a community isn’t just about contribution, it’s also about socialization, that’s why it’s called a community. With this in mind, there are 5 people that I’d really like to get to know and establish a personal friendship with, since these people, be it through guest appearances, direct or indirect references by other content creators etc, inspired me to get into TTS in the first place.

5: TheROFL98

TheROFL98 is the creator of the TTSCpedia as well as various Discord bots. I haven’t watched a lot of his videos, but I’ve heard a lot of him via other creators like Thunderbirds101 and CoolDude503. I will definitely start watching more of this guy’s videos. You can do the same by Checking him out on YouTube!

4: NKRS200

NKRS200 has been on the TTS scene for a while now, with content spanning about a decade. He was one of those who helped get the TTS community off the ground. He didn’t originally make TTS content when his channel first started, but it was Microsoft Sam and friends that really sent the views flying in with stuff like the Funny News Bulletins series. If full names are your style, NKRS200 is short for

NKRS200 TV Studios

.

3: FairPlay137

While not very active in terms of content creation, FairPlay137 has still put out some funny stuff, and he has many cool projects in the works, including stuff inspired by popular TTS blooper creator Dave Madson. FairPlay even has an error generator planned, however I won’t share it here since it’s a work in progress and I’m not sure how many people he wants to see it.

2: AT88TV

Arron T (AT88TV) was one of the first TTS creators I’d heard of, way before all the others mentioned in this countdown, when I stumbled upon Microsoft Sam videos purely by accident back in 2012/2013. Not surprising really, since he helped pioneer the whole thing! Oh, what we’d do to hear those ear-splitting EAS tones and Scottish bagpipes. It makes me wonder why Microsoft Sam keeps trying to subject the entirety of Scotland to his nuclear hellfire. AT88TV always has been, and will forever be, our favourite Scotsman!

1: Thunderbirds101

Seriously, where would the TTSC be without this wonderful Canadian? How can anyone not think of TTS and not have this guy immediately spring to mind! For about 13 years now, TB101 has been brightening up our lives with funny Windows errors, funny signs, off-the-wall Christmas specials, IWAY Cookie and Bologna Sandwich drama, and a hell of a lot more besides! I’d even go so far as to say that he’s the reason this awesome community exists! May Microsoft Sam continue to unleash nuclear hellfire, hound us to death with the rules for the toilet and try to kill everyone with his diarrhoea dumps for many years to come!

Seedy’s MVPs of 2020

Well, here we are at the backside of another year. To say this year has been a tough one would be the understatement to end all understatements. 2020 has been a year of outsized devastation, loss, pain and suffering for all. We’ve all had to play a supportive role in each-other’s lives more than ever this year, and I feel it is vitally important that we recognize those who took the time out of their lives to keep us living ours as happily and freely as possible. Hence why this year, I’ve decided to try something new in the form of a countdown of 15 people who have been the most awesome to me over the past 12 months. Not all of these 15 people have necessarily played a supportive role in my life, but they have just been cool people in general with the content they’ve provided, the things they’ve said or done etc.
It was very hard to squeeze this list down to just 15 people. So many more people deserve to be on this list. However, TLDR is not what I aim for here. Also, perhaps inevitably, not everyone took just 1 position on the list; there were ties.

Privacy Notice

Because this list features people in my personal life, not just those I know online, I’ve taken a number of steps to ensure that everyone’s privacy is protected as much as possible.

  • First, I requested the prior permission of all offline (real life) friends featured in this list before featuring them, which they all granted.
  • In the case of real names, only the first letter of a person’s surname will be shown. If someone has a common online handle or nick name, that will be used instead. Only if a feature uses their real name in public will it be mentioned here.
  • No references to places of work or residence will be mentioned.
  • Final Notice

    I honestly don’t care about your feelings towards the people featured on this list. If you personally dislike someone mentioned on this countdown, don’t go spouting off in here. Remember, WordPress uses an approval system for comments, meaning comments haved to be accepted by the site owner (me in this case) before they can show up on posts. Any negative or hurtful comments towards anyone mentioned here will be rejected without a second thought. Now, without any further ado, let’s proceed!

    The bottom of the pile

    15. MichaelMJD

    Why so many people haven’t heard of this guy, I’ll never know. If you like crazy tech experiments, retrospectives, hardware and software overviews and demos, history lessons… basically anything tech related, MJD’s your guy! The downside, however, is that he only seems to accept business related communication one-to-one. If this wasn’t the case, I would have placed him considerably higher. He still qualifies for this list none the less. To experience this technological craziness for yourself, check out his YouTube channel.

    14. The Nostalgia Mall and the Flying Scotsman

    The Nostalgia Mall and the Flying Scotsman, otherwise known as Billy Core and Jay Wakefield respectively, are 2 YouTubers with a target audience of retro hardware and software lovers and nostalgia freaks. Those who know me well will know that I’m a sucker for the old school stuff. Billy and Jay are both retro tech collectors and have been on the scene for a good while. Long time viewers might remember Billy as “Road Geek” and Jay as “VideosSansFrontier”, which is french for “Videos Without Boarders”.
    Like MJD, however, they are kind of hard to communicate with outside of their main platforms, which knocks them down a place or 2. In my view, any kind of communication is key, regardless of how it’s done or what it’s for. Billy and Jay’s YouTube accounts are listed below.

    13. Brandon Cole

    Brandon Cole, also known as Super Blindman, is the closest to an activist you can get, especially when it comes to accessibility in video games. He has expressed excitement for many video game titles that were made accessible this year, with one notable example being The Last of Us: Part 2. He even copilots the Break Down Walls movement with his wife Misty Rayburn. After you’re finished reading this, why not check out Brandon’s website and Twitch channel.

    12. Andre Louis

    Andre is another one of those guys who is more unheard of than he really should be. He is a blind musician from the UK and has been highlighted many times in the media, including the BBC’s The world wide web’s a stage article. He even has his own YouTube channel. Oh, and he’s also a Friday Night Dinner fan. Can’t beat the classics, eh?

    11. The King Cobra (AKA Angel)

    If you need someone to talk to when you’re feeling low, or someone to brighten up your day when you lose your smile, Angel is the one to turn to. I’ve had many a conversation with him during the lockdown period and have always felt better as a result. He knows how you’re feeling and understands what you’re going through.

    The Top Ten

    10. Destructatron and Supremekiller

    Despite the latter’s handle, these people are both really nice in their own way. Like Angel, SK is nothing but an empath who is always willing to help you out no matter what. Destructatron, meanwhile, is your funny, quick-witted tech support guy. He also knows how the community feels when some tech illiterate newbie doesn’t know what the hell’s going on and freaks the hell out at the sight of a terminal when they fly over to Linux. Remember guys, Linux is for code crackers and server admins, not people who don’t know what a god damn power button is!

    9. Braille0109

    I’ve known this guy for a couple years now. He’s the one for you if you want someone in your life who is strong willed and doesn’t take any crap from anyone. He’s also a good online gamer. I’ve been severely beaten in pretty much every game I’ve played with him. I predict many more years of severe in-game beatings.

    8. Leanne E

    Leanne has helped me a great deal during the dark and depressing lockdown months. She was always an email away, and always ready to dish up some witty reply to brighten the mood. I get along more with people who have a dry sense of humour than those who take things to heart and are angry all the time. Why so damn serious, dude! Hypersensitivity gets you nowhere in life.

    7. Jade H

    How could anyone possibly say anything negative about this person? Her sense of humour is better than mine, and that’s saying something. I’ve only known her for 5 minutes and she’s already in the top 10 of my MVP list? Wow, she must be good! She’s the type of person that makes you see that you’re not alone in your stresses in life. She sees more good in you than you think you have.

    6. Lauren H

    While not as technically minded as me, Lauren is quite the retro game console fan. She was also there for me a lot during the lockdown. Her sense of humour is also second to none.

    High Fives

    5. Helen T

    I always feel at home when she’s around. During the early part of lockdown when COVID19 was all over the news and my stress levels were through the ceiling, she was the one who pulled me back from the edge, replying pretty much instantly to any cyberspace message that came her way. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without this woman in my life. This year probably would have ended up like 2013 if it wasn’t for her.

    4. Aly T

    The fact that Aly is a huge fan of both the IT Crowd and Friday Night dinner because of me is not why she’s number 4 on this list. The real reason is that she was one of my first points of contact during those times of social isolation and quarantine, when the situation was starting to affect my physical health as well as my mental. She made me see that it’s perfectly OK to breathe easy and that health is much more important than work.

    3. Richie W

    You can’t get any more geeky and off-the-wall than this guy. He literally ticks all my boxes. Nerdy? Check. Loves the Simpsons and Futurama? Check. Loves sci-fi? Check. Wants every PC in the world to run Windows XP? Check. Would sooner consume content on CD or DVD than wait 6 weeks for a digital download? Check, check and check!

    2. Gary W

    There are a number of reasons why this man is the runner up at number 2.

    • He has supported me and held my hand through every major breakdown I’ve had over the last 3 years, including before my PTSD started in 2018.
    • He was the one who single-handedly ignited my passion for retro gaming and emulation.
    • He inspired me to fight for digital accessibility for everyone, playing a part in the events that lead to the launch of the House of Fireseed.
    • He is receptive to everyone’s thoughts, opinions and feelings and is willing to go out of his way to fight your corner.
    • Number One!

      And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! Drum roll, please!

      1: Jonathan Kay

      Seizing the top spot this year is the guy who has ultimately become one of my all time favourite people in the short time I’m known him. It’s the Messenger Geek himself, Jonathan Kay! An ex Microsoft MVP, Kay provided support for MSN and Windows Live messenger for many years. Of course, that was up until Microsoft decided to purchase Skype and turn it into a clunky, laggy, inaccessible mess that’s more bloated than Homer Simpson after his obesity mission back in season 7. Thank you for feeding my nostalgic fires and bringing me back to my childhood roots before everything went to hell in a handbasket. We need more Trekies in the world, just like we need pre-2010 Microsoft back. Check out Jonathan’s website and blog.

      Conclusion

      And there it is, my top 15 most awesome people of 2020. Once again, well done to Jonathan Kay for bagging the top spot and becoming my official MVP of 2020. Apologies to everyone I had in mind who didn’t make this list. Who knows, you could be in the list next year. Here’s hoping 2021 is a better year for all of us!

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