all-lives-matter

ALL LIVES MATTER!

We have all seen for ourselves this year just how controversial killings can be. For instance, a few months ago, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling were shot and killed by the police, which sparked mass riots as a result. The Black Lives Matter campaign went on to become a stronghold for the world, in which everyone stood up and fought for their lives as well as the lives of others following these killings.

Racism is a horrible force to be reckoned with and even to this day, it is still an ongoing problem that we are all tackling almost every single day, but without causing offence, and with apologies in advance if you are offended, as well as the fact Black Lives Matter, all lives matter regardless of skin colour, sex, race, religion, culture, background and origin. Why? Because we should all stick together and realise that we all need each other and that we need to be the strong link and change in this world that can make this world a better place.

We don’t want conflict and resolution in this world, and neither do I in any aspect. We all want peace, love, equality and diversity in this world and the only way we can all do that is if we stand up and fight for what we believe in.

Do you think I would be prepared to live in this world full of hate, inequality and disrespect? No chance! Not even by a mile! I would rather live in a world full of equality, diversity, love and respect where everyone is treated with the full respect that they truly deserve, completely free from conflict and resolution, but also free from war.

You can read what is said here and straightaway become offended because of what I have said, but I am not here to prove a point, let alone here to cause offence. I am here to tell you all how I really feel and all the time there is hate, war, violence, a lack of diversity, a lack of equality, including conflict and resolution in this world, then none of us have really lived to see how all this rears the ugliest head in the world.

Shortly after Philando Castile was shot and killed in Minnesota and shortly after Alton Sterling was killed by the police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a mass protest sparked by the Black Lives Matter campaign showed a woman standing up for her rights against the police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as she took a stand against gun violence.

Violence in this world really makes me sick to the core, and to hear of crimes being committed more or less every day in this world, it disgusts me that this whole world, and yes, this whole world cannot get a grip and get along.

I am speaking out in confidence for the first time in the wake of losing my friend, who I recently told you lost his life after a group of thugs stabbed him to death 20 or more times with machetes. I want you all to know how I really feel because for the first time, I have found my voice and I have learned to keep strong, and I have always thought, why should I cry for those who killed my friend? I would rather cry for my friend who I lost than for those who committed the crimes in the first place. As mentioned before, I will not disclose my friend’s name for legal reasons, nor the location of where my friend was killed, but for the first time, I can say this. Why should I have to be afraid? Why should I care what anyone thinks of me? Why can’t everyone, and yes, everyone, just get along in this world?

I have never had the bottle to speak up and say this until now because I often worried that speaking up may be something I live to regret, but I am pleased to say I can finally tell you how much pain I have been in recently as a result of losing my friend. I can say this as much as I want now. I hope those thugs who killed my friend rot in hell for the rest of their lives and that they experience the great deal of pain that they dealt me and everyone else.

All Lives Matter, and despite the fact that gun crimes, knife crimes, in fact, all crimes won’t change and repair the damage that has been done, now is the time to make that change and now is the time to stand up and fight for what we believe in. Now is the time where we stand up not just for who we are, but for what we do, and sure, controversy is something that isn’t new, but who cares? I don’t and neither should we.

This is the first time I have ever spoken up about what I really feel as well as how I really feel. Since I lost my friend, there has been a lot of tears and even writing this whilst in a tearful state will make you realise just how hard everything has been recently for me. I love my friend so much the same as everyone else did and it’s hard to lose a friend to a murder, but I want you all to know that I am keeping strong for my friend and for anyone else in this world.

At the end of the day, what is the point of hate and violence? All me and every single one of us want is love, peace, care, equality and diversity and respect. I just wish this world was never a bad place.

One more thing. Love one another because none of us will realise just how much we all mean to one another until we are gone. Make the most of the life you have because you’ll never have another one like the life you have at the moment ever again. Love one another, respect one another, treat one another equally and diversely, but most of all, we should all stick together and stand up and fight for what we believe in.

This has to be one of the most difficult moments of my life, I’ve never had to go through the pain of losing a friend. I have lost a family relative at a certain stage in my life, but losing a friend of mine is harder to deal with. Again, I am staying strong for the sake of my friend and for everyone else, but this has to be one of the most difficult moments of my life so it will take a lot of time for everything to get back to normal.

If you think All Lives Matter, please let me know by submitting your feedback below in the comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated and again, I can only apologise in advance if any one of you or every single one of you takes offence.

Offence is not my intention, honesty is the best policy, but respect is what really matters.

Alex Smithson

croydon

CROYDON

Early yesterday morning and sometime during the afternoon when I was on my hour-long lunch break, I ceased the opportunity to snap a small set of photographs in and around Croydon as I arrived over an hour early before my 9:30 AM lesson time. I must admit, I used the Camera+ app again after a while, and I must say I have noticed a dramatic improvement in my photography skills, but at the same time, I’ve also noticed I can take better photographs than before.

The concept I have used here is how I want you to see Croydon, the urban area that is known for being one of the most graffitied places in London, but is also known for being one of the most artistic places in London, considering there are actual murals that were commissioned that would decorate Croydon in vibrant, bold and eye-catching colours.

The title of this photo-set has the obvious graffiti style to it, considering that graffiti can symbolise or be a certain work of art, or even the kind of graffiti where someone decides to leave their mark. Graffiti can also be a symbol for gangs, depending on what the story that piece of graffiti may carry.

How would I describe Croydon? I would describe Croydon to be an urban area, with endless amounts of colourful graffiti, artistic pieces, including the new and recently commissioned artistic Winston Churchill mural, with a lot of structural buildings that stick out like a sore thumb. Those buildings that stick out like a sore thumb are Fairfield Halls, which officially closed in July as part of expansion work which is expected to be completed some time in 2018, the Saffron Tower, the new BOXPARK opposite Lloyd’s Bank, the Nestlé Building, including the No. 1 Tower and the Whitgift Centre.

Below is the photo set I created yesterday before and during college hours.

If you like the photo set I have produced, please feel free to let me know by submitting feedback below in the comments. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Make of Phone Used: iPhone 5

App Used: Camera+ (Recommended)

spyro-the-dragon-review-photo-for-article

Spyro the Dragon: The Purple Dragon’s Quest to Defeat Gnasty Gnorc (1998)

With it being 18 years ago since Spyro the Dragon landed on PlayStation, I thought it would be nice to do a review of the game considering I have owned and completed the game.

With 36 breathtaking levels split over 6 worlds in the game, 12 eggs to collect, 15,000 gems to collect and 80 dragons to save, Spyro’s journey to defeat Gnasty Gnorc is a challenge, but defeat is not far behind, as you can beat Gnasty Gnorc after you complete the levels, Gnorc Cove & Gnorc Nexus. As soon as you defeat Gnasty Gnorc, you will be able to progress on to the final level of the game, Gnasty’s Loot, which can be opened if you have all 12 of the dragon eggs, 13,000 gems and also if you have saved all 80 of the dragons from the Dragon Kingdom.

Spyro the Dragon was a blockbuster hit when the game was announced, and would go on to have commercial success globally, with two more games following soon after the first.

But back to the subject of Spyro the Dragon, the game’s visual concept brings about vibrant landscapes, with some old-school music to accommodate what the game’s concept is really about.

When I first played the game properly, I actually spent the whole of the day upstairs in my bedroom playing Spyro the Dragon, and I was so determined and dedicated to completing the game that I was able to finish the game some time after 12:00 AM or 1:00 AM in the morning, and completing the game fully for the first time was actually a few years ago.

I won’t deny it, but ever since I completed the game fully first time, I have been able to complete the game a lot quicker than I usually do, and just recently, I was able to complete the game a lot faster than before, but it just proves that if Spyro the Dragon can prove to be a smash hit game, then you know that you’ll love playing Spyro the Dragon, including the second and third games from the Spyro the Dragon series.

Did you know? Stewart Copeland from the band, The Police, composed the music for all three of the Spyro the Dragon PS1 Classic series. Did you also know that Carlos Alazraqui was the first man to do the voiceover of Spyro in the first Spyro the Dragon? Neither did I until a few weeks ago.

Overall, I absolutely love Spyro the Dragon, because it is not just an iconic classic of its own, but because it’s a game that you can play any time and never get bored. Plus, because it is a classic game, you know that with Spyro the Dragon, you’re getting the real deal. You can never go wrong with Spyro the Dragon.

Do you own a copy of Spyro the Dragon? If so, I would love to know your views on the game, as well as whether you share your love for the Purple Dragon. Please feel free to submit your feedback in the comments. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

perfect-illusion-lady-gaga-is-back

Perfect Illusion: Lady Gaga is Back!

After three years, Lady Gaga, best known for her albums, The Fame, The Fame Monster, Born This Way and ARTPOP, is back! Perfect Illusion, which was released on the 9th September 2016, went straight to Number 1 on iTunes and before Perfect Illusion was even released, it was already topping the charts, which was obviously a good sign because it was Lady Gaga’s return to the music scene three years after ARTPOP.

I won’t lie to you, when I first heard Perfect Illusion, I wasn’t sure at first whether I would like it or not, considering I am a fan of Lady Gaga’s music, but after a couple of listens, it has actually grown on me and I love it. Perfect Illusion is Lady Gaga’s way of unleashing her true feelings about love, as well as her deep connections with music. I can honestly say that Perfect Illusion is certainly the perfect comeback for Lady Gaga, as it is guaranteed to give you goosebumps, but most of all, Lady Gaga’s Perfect Illusion will give you something to shout about. It’s that good that I am constantly listening to the record on repeat.

“It was a perfect illusion…” – Lady Gaga

Below is Lady Gaga’s Perfect Illusion!

What do I think of Perfect Illusion? At first, I initially wasn’t sure to be honest with you, but after giving Perfect Illusion a couple of listens over and over, I can honestly say it has officially grown on me and I love it. Lady Gaga is officially back with a bang and has certainly done Perfect Illusion justice! As Perfect Illusion is Number 1 on iTunes around the world, and with more than 3,000,000+ streams on Spotify, including over 5,000,000+ views on YouTube, it is safe to say that Lady Gaga is not just back with a bang, but she has returned and exceeded mine and everyone’s expectations with her Perfect Illusion. I’ve also purchased Perfect Illusion and I will continuously have it on repeat. It’s that good!

Overall, I can honestly say that Perfect Illusion is worth listening to and it’s a record that I know for a fact will have a force of its own to be reckoned with. With this song, you cannot go wrong at all with Lady Gaga’s Perfect Illusion.

Do you own a copy of Lady Gaga’s Perfect Illusion? If so, I would love to hear your review of Perfect Illusion. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Welcome to September

Welcome to September!

Welcome to September on Mother Nature! As this month is set to be quite an interesting month considering I’m progressing onto the final year of my two-year UAL Level 3 Diploma Film & Photography Course, it’s safe to say that this month will be quite a busy one for me indeed.

As I prepare to embark on my final year of the two-year film and photography course, I will also be retaking my English & Maths GCSE courses, as I ended up getting a D again in English, following results day which took place most recently. It does mean, however, that articles and anything else that is not college-related will have to take a backseat as I am ultimately keen on wanting to succeed in the GCSE English & Maths subjects.

I can safely say that I will not be publishing articles as often as I want to, as my education takes full priority over writing and publishing articles, and I want to be able to succeed and pass both subjects, but also pass the last year of my film and photography course, considering that this year will be my final year of college.

However, if I can find the free time, I may be able to publish at least a few articles depending on any free time I get, that is if I do get free time this time around, considering that this final year of college is going to be full-on and a whole lot tougher than the last two years. All I can say is that I can only apologise in advance if you don’t see much of articles from me over the course of this year.

I’m prioritising my time effectively like I have done this past year, but making sure this time around to put my GCSE English & Maths Courses, including my Film & Photography Course first before anything else. Writing and publishing articles can take a backseat now as I want to be able to pass the GCSE Courses and my Film & Photography Course as it’s my final year at Croydon College. I am also doing this because I want to be able to head into a job as soon as I finish education.

I wanted to lay this all down on the line now so that all of you know what to expect ahead of my final year of college. I will be starting my first day back at Croydon College on the 12th September 2016.

Until then, welcome to September on Mother Nature!

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup August 2016

Monthly Roundup: August 2016

August sure has flown like the wind. Too fast for my liking, but even so, there have been some happy and sad moments down the road, but still, life still has to go on and me and everyone else need to keep as strong as we can. As promised, I will be taking a look back over this month, including certain moments that unfolded down the line.

1.8.2016 – After July came and went like the wind, I welcomed you all to August on Mother Nature. I mentioned that I would announce more details about Book #4 very soon, with further mention of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games, which I mentioned I would be considering on covering as the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games were ready to start on Friday 5th August.

Also, on this day, I announced that Book #4, titled: “Life From My Own Perspective” would be out soon, considering that Book #4 was almost completed.

I also published another article on this day based on whether Writing Prompts help to exercise the brain, including mentioning how we can all have the occasional writers’ block that makes us somehow lose track through an idea that could be perfect and useful for a particular subject or conversation.

3.8.2016 – On this day, I asked you all whether you had ever been in a fly-on-the-wall situation, to which I mentioned to all of you that I have been in that kind of situation, because I have been in that position where I have seen something that has got absolutely nothing to do with me.

4.8.2016 – On this day, I published a short photography guide, in which I would give you a genuine idea of how I create my photos, and how you could create your photos to a similar standard like mine.

Also on this day, I talked about insecurities and how they define us as people, including how they can also make us the people that we are.

I also published another article on this day, in which I celebrated the return of Crash Bandicoot, given that on the 13th June 2016, after years of speculation, the classic Crash Bandicoot series which consisted of the three PlayStation 1 Games, Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot: Warped would be remastered and ready for release in 2017.

5.8.2016 – 6.8.2016 – 22.8.2016 – From the 5th & 6th August to the 22nd August 2016, I would cover the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games as they happened, as well as announcing which countries won Bronze, Silver & Gold, all the way up to the Closing Ceremony.

During the course of the 16 days of the Olympic Games, I made some gradual changes to Mother Nature, as I changed the ‘About’ pages, including changing the font from PT Sans to Karla, to accommodate for better reading and viewing. I also made changes to the Purpose page, which needed updating after a long while, but these small changes would make a big difference and would also make Mother Nature modern.

On the 17th August 2016, I announced that Book #4 would be going on hold, in which I revealed that the reason for putting the book on hold was because I got some upsetting and truly heartbreaking news around 4:00 AM that morning that a friend of mine was killed after a brutal stabbing just hours before. For legal reasons, I didn’t disclose the name of my friend, including where he was killed, though I did mention that I found out the news of my friend from secondary school being killed through a local news source and also Facebook.

24.8.2016 – As it was 11 years since the iconic handheld Sonic Rush game was released, Sonic Rush was the first Nintendo DS Game produced and released by Sega. With more than 30-40 levels in the game, Sonic Rush brought to the table the new and playable character, Blaze the Cat.

25.8.2016 – As I recently lost a good friend of mine to a brutal murder, my friend’s death had made me realise something. Why are there violent acts of crime being committed? Why is this world so bad? Why am I even a part of this generation?

When I wrote this, I was upset, angry, but also open about how I really felt about it all, because losing a member of your family to illness years before is just as heartbreaking, but to have to come to terms with the fact that I lost a good friend of mine to a brutal murder tore me apart.

Where Do We Go From Here?” was my way of finally being open with how I really felt about it all, but it was also my way of blasting my generation for the bad values and not the good values. In other words, it was my way of releasing all the bad energy, all the heartbreak and heartache, but most of all, my way of releasing my emotions and never letting how I really feel get to me.

29.8.2016 Gene Wilder, the man who was best known for portraying as Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, sadly passed away at the age of 83 on the 28th August 2016, following complications with Alzheimer’s Disease. For me, his death was actually quite a shock as I remembered watching Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory as a child, but as I heard the news of his death a few hours before, I was shocked and surprised. My thoughts go out to Gene Wilder, his family and everyone he knows at such a sad time. Gene Wilder’s legacy will live on forever, he is gone, but never forgotten and will live on in mine and everyone’s hearts forever.

Thanks to every single one of you for sticking by me for the entirety of August. Although this month has been great considering the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games came and went so fast like the wind, this month was also one of the most heartbreaking months I’ve ever had considering the loss of my good friend from secondary school. As of now, I am keeping as strong as I can, but I wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to every single one of you for giving me all the support I needed. I honestly don’t know what I would do without all of you by my side. Again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I do not take your support and anything else for granted. I appreciate your love, support and everything else entirely and I would never take any of you for granted, not even for a second.

But again, thanks so much everyone for being there for me, I don’t know what I would do without you, and I will see you all in September.

Alex Smithson

Gene Wilder (1933 - 2016)

Gene Wilder (1933 – 2016)

Gene Wilder, the man best known for portraying as Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, has sadly passed away at the age of 83.

The news of his death came earlier this evening after it was revealed that he passed away yesterday following complications with Alzheimer’s Disease.

It’s actually quite a shock for me because I remember watching Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory as a child, but to hear the news a few hours ago that he’s died, I was shocked and surprised.

Gene Wilder was also known for being in other films, such as Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles, and he was also known for being in some of Mel Brooks‘ films.

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory was a film from my childhood, as I remembered certain parts of the film. For example, the Oompa Loompa’s, including when Violet Beauregard turned blue and inflated into a giant blueberry as a result of a defective blueberry pie stage during the development of Willy Wonka’s own chewing gum, which consists of an entire three-course dinner, an entire three-course dinner of which contains the following; tomato soup, roast beef with a baked potato and a blueberry pie with ice cream. The most memorable parts I also remember was when Veruca Salt fell down the garbage chute after saying: “I Want it Now!“, to which she measured as ‘BAD‘, ultimately causing her to fall down the garbage chute, including the part when Gene Wilder sung ‘Pure Imagination‘ as Willy Wonka in the film, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.

Below is the video of Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka singing Pure Imagination.

My thoughts go out to Gene Wilder, his family and everyone he knows at such a sad time. Gene Wilder’s legacy will live on forever, he is gone, but never forgotten and will live on in mine and everyone’s hearts forever.

Alex Smithson

Where Do We Go From Here

Where Do We Go From Here?

These crimes being committed every single day, whether it’s a gun or knife crime have got to be stopped. So many people are dying everyday and it’s heartbreaking when you have to face a horrible experience of losing someone on your own.

Recently, I lost a very good friend of mine to a brutal murder after learning the heartbreaking news through Facebook and through a local news source. As you know, I was seriously upset about my friend who was killed and was in pieces as a result.

Now, it’s been hard for me to get over my friend’s death most recently, the same for all of us in fact, but my friend’s death has made me realise something. Why are there violent acts of crime being committed? Why is this world so bad? Why am I even a part of this generation?

Violent acts of crime are being committed more or less every single day of every single year, it doesn’t matter how much you try not to think about it, you just know that nothing is going to change.

I hate my generation for the bad things, not the good things. The bad things I hate my generation for are the lack of social interaction, the lack of face-to-face communication, the fact that games and technology are prying the eyes of society away from the art of communication, not to mention the lack of respect and lack of common decency parts of our generation have.

Now you may think it all boils down to the responsibilities of the parents who gave birth to that specific child. Well the parents are not at fault here, unless they have done some horrible things to their children from the child’s very early age that affects their way of living, but where parents are concerned in my opinion, they are not at fault for my generation’s downfalls.

At the end of the day, technology, such as smartphones, tablets, and even widescreen televisions are causing my generation to not go out more. There is a lack of social interaction, no one can speak to one another properly and be civil with one another, and not just that, but the lack of face-to-face communication, the lack of respect and the got-to-have-it-all parts of my generation are the reasons why I feel so ashamed, so embarrassed, but also mortified to be a part of this generation, a generation of which has no interest, no love and care for others, but most of all, lacks respect and breeds violence when it’s not necessary.

I have heard this saying: “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” once too many times, and I am obliged to say this. Guns do kill people, knifes do kill people and people kill people and the sooner we all realise that, the sooner we can put violence to a permanent standstill.

As I see things, hate is not without bad diction. Hate breeds all evil and is like a mirror. Once it’s broken, you cannot repair it and put it back to the way it was before.

Even now I’m still torn up over the death of my friend, and I have never felt so heartbroken in my life. I know losing a member of your family to illness years before is just as heartbreaking, but to lose a friend to a murder tears me apart. I won’t lie to you, I’ve been awfully quiet on social media recently as a result, but I am keeping as strong as I can for my friend and also for everyone else. I just wish this world was a safe place free from hate, violence, inequality and everything else.

I hate the bad side of my generation. There I’ve said it! I don’t hate the good side of my generation whatsoever.

If you were at any point offended as a result of reading this, I sincerely apologise, this is not my intention.

Alex Smithson

Sonic Rush - Final Review Image

Sonic Rush: SEGA’s Iconic Handheld Classic

As it has been 11 years since this iconic handheld classic was released, Sonic Rush was the first Nintendo DS Game produced and released by Sega. With more than 30-40 levels in the game, Sonic Rush brought to the table the new and playable character, Blaze the Cat.

Breaking away from its old tradition of just being 7 Chaos Emeralds, the introduction of Blaze the Cat brought about the Sol Emeralds. As all the levels for both Sonic and Blaze were indefinitely the same, there was a twist to this game, as the music for every level was almost the same, but did change as you played either character. For instance, playing as Sonic the Hedgehog meant the music for the game would remain as is, but for Blaze the Cat, the music sounded more in your face, but was able to fit accordingly and also very well to the overall concept of the game.

For each level, there were obstacles that were almost impossible to get through, given that some levels were a lot more complicated than they first appeared to be, which proved just how much of a smash hit game Sonic Rush was when it was released.

I got this game the year after it was released when I went through hospital treatment from March to May 2006 after fracturing my wrist/arm and I was in pain, but this game kept me going through the pain and I’m pleased to say that for a game like this, it is absolutely worth every penny and also worth everything that comes with it.

I love games, but the type of games that peak my interest, and Sonic Rush and the Sonic series is the type of series of games I would always play.

In the game, you have not one, but two Eggman characters. Eggman and Eggman Nega.

For Sonic the Hedgehog to collect the seven Chaos Emeralds, you would need to find a spinning wheel of different colours in the level, and if your speed gauge is full enough, Sonic will be able to hang on to it and then speed around full circle on the spinning wheel, to which he will be thrown up but into a portal taking you to the secret part of the level where the Chaos Emeralds can be collected.

All seven Chaos Emeralds are separated accordingly over the entire game but throughout all the levels. All you need to do is collect them. In order to gain each Chaos Emerald as you progress through the game, you will be given a ring count target to reach and if you reach it the first time, you will then be given another ring count target to reach, and if you do reach the second ring target then you will earn the Chaos Emerald. If you don’t reach the required ring count target, you won’t receive the Chaos Emeralds, which in effect sets the difficulty to all-new heights.

As you continue to progress through the game, each boss gets harder to complete but the final boss that involves Sonic transforming into Super Sonic and Blaze transforming into Burning Blaze is one of the hardest final bosses you’ll complete, because just like the final boss in Sonic Heroes, you will be expected to keep collecting rings in order to save both Sonic and Blaze from losing their lives as they defeat Eggman and Eggman Nega. If the ring count hits zero for both Sonic & Blaze, both will die as a result so the final boss is the battle for survival.

Sonic Rush and all the other Sonic the Hedgehog games always send a message, reading out: “Survival of the Fittest“, which keeps the spirits of Sonic Rush and the other Sonic games alive.

With 2D & 3D graphics balancing the game’s concept, Sonic Rush couldn’t have come at a better time. Despite some thinking it didn’t live up to the hype of the previous Sonic titles, I can say that it’s an iconic title that does in fact live up to the hype and keeps the energy and spirit of a true Sonic the Hedgehog fan alive.

Also, the nostalgia of some of the levels remind me of some of the previous games, such as Sonic Advance, Sonic Advance 2 & Sonic Advance 3, as it feels like some of the ideas from those games were recycled and reused in this game, making Sonic Rush feel nostalgic, which I love, because it’s like the ideas from past games have been recycled and reused into something new, but something that is just as better as the past, present and future Sonic the Hedgehog games.

Overall, I love Sonic Rush because of the fact it doesn’t just live up to the hype of the previous Sonic games, but because it also has that nostalgic feeling that takes you back, especially if you’re someone like me who used to and even now, would still play the Sonic Advance series, especially where Sonic Rush is concerned. Sonic Rush is the best follow-up to the Sonic Advance Game Boy Advance titles in my opinion and is the type of game I would play any day.

Do you own a copy of Sonic Rush? Please let me know what you think of the game by submitting feedback below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Sonic Rush Nintendo DS Game Rating: 10/10

The Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games - The Closing Ceremony

Rio 2016: The Closing Ceremony

The Closing Ceremony for the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games has officially got underway.

Fireworks have just lit the Olympic Stadium up and with the roaring crowds comes a vibrant display of visuals and bold colours, including vibrant and energetic music that lights up the entire Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, including the iconic Rio logo formation.

The Olympic Rings have been formed in a multi-coloured energetic scene, with the stadium then going completely blue before the spotlight focuses on one of the musicians performing at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games Closing Ceremony.

This year’s Olympic Games by far has to be the best Olympic Games since the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games, and the best since the London 2012 Summer Paralympic Games.

The Olympic Rings flag has been raised, including Brazil’s flag with the name: “Ordem e Progresso” etched on to the flag. Ordem e Progresso stands for “Order & Progress“.

The athletes are officially making their way into the Olympic Stadium. Not a single sign of team separation this end and they have even come in together with a symbol of unity. The flag bearers have come in first and are streaming across the entirely length of this football pitch with Samba music added to lift the spirits for everyone involved with this year’s Summer Olympic Games.

The flags (Team GB‘s Kate Richardson-Walsh is in there) are walking the length of the field and then they turn to line the perimeter. When they are in position, the athletes will start to trickle in. A flag or a phone is highly likely to be in the hands of most, though Stephan Shemilt said he seemed to remember that Carl Lewis was once told off just for being on his mobile, but it was just the size of a house brick.

Hazel Irvine (BBC Sport Presenter): “We thought it could not get any better for Great Britain but it has. It is the first time a nation has boosted their medal tally in the next Games after one they hosted. With 27 golds, it was an extraordinary performance from Great Britain to finish above China. There were British medals in 19 different sports out of the 28.

Stephan Shemilt: “I can report that the improving weather has meant the ponchos have been eschewed. Or, at least they have been for most nations, I haven’t spotted any GB stars yet. The athletes are filing in to some white plastic seats, like we’re at the world’s biggest wedding. Here come France, currently the most enthusiastic.

Andrew Cotter (BBC Athletics Commentator): “This is like the awkward moment of the school dance when no one is mingling, but give it a bit of time.

Stephan Shemilt: “The French now seem to be doing some sort of street dancing. The Portuguese have scarves. Here come Great Britain, decked out in white tracksuits. The French dancing has caused a backlog. They are holding everyone up. The first sight of GB gives us a look at those flashing trainers, which light up red, white and blue. They’re ace, the sort you had when you were about nine.

Hazel Irvine: “Check out the flashing shoes on the British Olympians, the shoes flash red, white and blue. You won’t miss them.

Stephan Shemilt: “I’ll be honest, Team GB aren’t mixing it with the dance moves. France are wiping the floor with us in the movement stakes. However, Great Britain have the best shoes. Hands down.

Jason Mohammad (BBC Presenter in Rio de Janeiro): “GB women hockey. I’m a dad of a daughter who plays hockey and this victory will inspire her and millions of other boys and girls. Incredible achievement. Funny moment – Egypt beating Sweden in the Handball! Easily my best line of the Games. On TV “A Great Night For Egyptian Handball!” Boom!

Stephan Shemilt: “It’s smashing it down in Rio now. I hope the parading athletes have got ponchos in their pockets. While they continue their march, some ladies in green have begun to dance energetically. Each is holding an umbrella. It’s like an interpretive dance version of the weather forecast. I think we’re all a little intrigued as to what the fluffy yellow and green outfits could be part of. My guess is some sort of Sesame Street sketch.

Beth Tweddle (BBC Sport Gymnastics Expert & London 2012 Bronze Medallist): “It would definitely be Max Whitlock winning his two golds and for the pure fact it is the first time ever. Obviously also the overall results of the gymnasts and winning seven medals. I do also have to put in a mention for Mo Farah winning the double double and Adam Peaty winning gold.

Hazel Irvine: “We have learned so much about this fantastic part of the world and that is always a part of the experience of the Olympic Games. The venues have been superb and allowed the athletes to produce the performances that we will always remember. This is a proud sporting nation.

Stephan Shemilt: “I kid you not, the Canadians are wearing mittens. Red and white gloves with maple leaves. Is it that cold? Or is it just a nod to their Winter Olympic prowess? Now, Eilish McColgan did tweet earlier on to say how cold she is. Now she’s bailed out completely. That’s not the spirit, is it? It’s raining heavily enough for the ponchos to be required. Let’s be honest, no one looks cool in one of those plastic ponchos, do they? Just going back to Eilish McColgan, I wonder if she actually walked into the stadium. If she did, how did she get out? She would have to walk against the tide. There’s GB rower Helen Glover, getting very excited when she sees herself on the big screen.

Hazel Irvine: “This section of the parade was scheduled to last about 20 minutes.

Stephan Shemilt: “Stand by for something incredible…

Rebecca Adlington (Double Olympic Gold Medallist in Swimming): “My moment would be Michael Phelps in the 200 IM and just his week in general to be honest. What he’s done for the sport is huge but to make a comeback and achieve what he has is just something else. It’s incredible that I’ve seen an athlete like him in my lifetime and it was so nice to see the human side of him. Every performance is incredible but it was the joy and passion and his attitude after the races also. You could tell it just meant so much to him and that’s exactly the reason why he wanted to make a comeback. He can retire a very content happy man now.

Hazel Irvine: “There is plenty more to get through and there has been a bit of a hold-up while we get all these athletes in.

Stephan Shemilt: “It looks like all the athletes have made it in. Funnily enough, Ryan Lochte isn’t there. In the rain, we’re now getting down with some dance music. The stadium has gone dark, someone is carrying a miner’s lamp. This is The Art of the People. It looks a bit like something out of Indiana Jones.

Leon Taylor (Olympic Diving Silver Medallist): “Jack Laugher and Chris Mears winning GB’s first ever Olympic Gold in diving. I knew they were capable of a medal but when they won gold beating China into third it was an unexpected delight. As Chris summed it up when I asked him how are you feeling he said ‘confused!’ Awesome performance.

Stephan Shemilt: “We’re rattling through now, with big cheers coming as men and women decked in red dance in an amber glow. It’s still chucking it down. This section is called Bringing Clay To Life and pays tribute to the exportation of modelling clay. Clay must be one of those things that Rio and Stoke-on-Trent have in common. That and the scenery. Now we’re getting slightly strange, Hundreds of clay figures are dancing with one another. It reminds me a little of the Oompa Loompas in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – the Gene Wilder one. You know what, the clay dancers have received the biggest cheer of the night. Now the closing ceremony is reflecting on the best moments of the Games. I think they got the idea from us.

Clare Balding (BBC TV Presenter): “The women’s hockey team winning gold was one of the best ever moments in team sport, male or female. They were so committed and concentrated and I was hugely impressed with their calmness under pressure. Maddie Hinch was phenomenal in goal and with her skill and the bravery of all the outfield players I hope it’ll show the highly paid footballers in our Premier League what true sporting behaviour looks like. It was a first ever gold for women’s hockey and the perfect send-off for Captain Fantastic, Kate Richardson-Walsh after 13 years in charge.

Stephan Shemilt: “As is tradition, we’re going to have the medal ceremony for the men’s marathon, which was won today by Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge. Feyisa Lilesa came second to take the silver, with American Galen Rupp collecting bronze. All three are walking like men who ran 26.2 miles earlier on. They’re getting a good deal, an audience of 80,000. Mo Farah had about 1,000 when he got his second gold last night. With a final medal ceremony, we get a last look at those ornaments that have been handed to the winners. I’ve seen them described as coloured jock straps, which I think is pretty accurate. Still belting it down. We’re being introduced to the new members elected to serve on the IOC Athletes’ Commission. Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva is among them…We’re getting into the meat of the pomp and circumstance here. The Greek flag is being raised and the national anthem played. Then the Olympic flag is lowered and handed over to Tokyo. Earlier on I said that the clay dancers had a look of Oompa Loompas. Have a look and decide for yourself…The governor of Tokyo gets her hands on the Olympic flag and give it a good wave. Not as much gusto as Boris Johnson in 2008. We’re now going to get a sneak peak of Japan’s offering in four years.”

Tokyo are showcasing at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games Closing Ceremony what they have to offer for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games and Pac-Man, the iconic maze pac-dot muncher has just made an appearance, so has the man with the iconic red M hat. “It’s-a-me. Mario!” and the Prime Minister of Japan wearing the iconic Mario hat has appeared in style by popping up through the iconic Green Pipe.

It’s not even 2020 and already I know that Tokyo have tons upon tons of energy and a lot of fun to offer come the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

Another set of fireworks were set off and the celebratory Mario music used when a Mario level is completed also went in conjunction with the fireworks going off.

Stephan Shemilt: “I’m just thinking about how gutting it must be for Rio to hand over the Olympic flag. All that work over so many years, and now it’s over. In contrast, the excitement is just beginning for Tokyo. We’re getting some shots of the city and what we can expect. Bullet trains, glass buildings and Manga cartoons. It looks belting. This is outstanding. The Prime Minister of Japan has appeared out of Super Mario-style water pipe, wearing a Mario hat. We’re then treated to a hologram and light show. It’s already got me pumped for how good Tokyo will be. “See you in Tokyo” is the message, followed by bright fireworks shooting into the night sky. That’s may favourite part of the night so far. Speeches time. President of the organising committee Carlos Nuzman and IOC president Thomas Bach. There’s not many people watching fellas, so don’t be nervous.

Victoria Pendleton (Olympic Cycling Gold Medallist): “Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro winning individual dressage gold. It was a perfect performance and very emotional as it will probably be the last time they ride in a competition together. Charlotte knew the performance was good and welled up as soon as they finished. It made me well up too. I now understand the connection between horse and rider.

Carlos Arthur Nuzman, the President of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee: “We have organised the most important event in the world. This is a magic place. It was a great challenge, but a challenge with great success. I’m proud of the city, my country and my people. All Brazilians are Olympic heroes. We celebrate together. You are the gold medal of the people on all the planet. Twenty-seven world records and 91 Olympic records. We have organised a marvelous Olympics in a marvelous city. When we won the Games I said Rio was ready to make history. Rio has delivered history. Good luck for Tokyo 2020.

Stephan Shemilt: “Hmmmm, it has been a bit soggy at the Maracana. So much so that some of the athletes called it a day before the end. There will be some wet Olympians at wrap parties all over Rio.

International Olympic Committee President, Thomas Bach: “Congratulations Brazil. Brazil, we love you. Thank you for your warm hospitality. For the last 16 days a united Brazil inspired the world. You have many reasons to be proud. These Olympic Games show diversity is an enrichment for everyone. These Olympic Games were a celebration of diversity. Together we can go even further. Together, we can aim higher. United in our diversity, we are even stronger. Thank you refugee athletes. You have inspired us with your talent and human spirit, you are a symbol of hope for millions of refugees in the world. We will continue to be at your side after these Olympics. These were a marvellous Olympic Games in THE marvellous city. These Games are leaving a legacy for generations to come. History will talk about the Rio before the Olympic Games and a much better Rio after the Olympic Games. We arrived in Brazil as guests, today we depart as your friends. You will have a place in our hearts forever. I declare the games of the 31st Olympiad closed. I call upon the youth of the world to assemble in Tokyo, Japan to celebrate the Games of the 32nd Olympiad. Bye, bye Rio.

Stephan Shemilt: “Stick with it, there’s only about 25 minutes to go. Remember the fluffy green and yellow outfits we saw earlier? They are out there now, joined by red and a hint of purple. This is a tribute to Rio and the musicality of its people. Basically, we’re having a carnival. I’ll be honest, it looked a little like dancing broccoli. Now, in front of the rotating sculpture that starred in the opening ceremony Mariene de Castro sings under a cascade of fake rain. I’m not sure that was needed this evening.

The Maracana beacon, which was lit by a flame at the start of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games has officially been put out, officially marking the end of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

Hazel Irvine: “The men’s football final topped the lot. In 2014, Brazil lost 7-1 to Germany in the semi-final of their home World Cup. So, to win against Germany in the Maracana stadium was deeply and doubly meaningful for this nation. Add to that the fact that Neymar’s penalty secured for Brazil their sixth gold medal, which makes these the most ‘Golden” in the country’s history – and in their first home Games – and you have a heady cocktail of emotion, catharsis and unconfined joy, the likes of which I have seldom experienced. It was utterly glorious! It is the reason why I love the Olympics.

Stephan Shemilt: “The Olympics are officially closed, the flame has gone out, but Rio is still having a party. Samba, dancing, colours. Everything you would expect from a Brazilian knees-up. This will go long into the night, probably anywhere they are serving alcohol.

Dan Walker (BBC TV Presenter): “I go for Maria (hen party gatecrashers) because the Olympics is about sport but the event is about people. Brazil is a very different country now to the one it was when it was awarded the games. We were determined to use our spot on Copacabana beach to have some fun but also meet as many residents of Rio as possible and find out what the Brazilians thought about it all. Maria wandered by, we took a chance that she would be a good guest and she was brilliant. There have been some wonderful sporting moments during these games but I will never forget Maria De Cezar and I wish her and her husband-to-be every happiness.

Stephan Shemilt: “Where else would you see a famous bin man dancing with a super model? That’s what we’ve got here. Renato Sorriso, a superstar in Brazil, is moving his fast feet with Izabel Goulart. I’d be stunned if a snap of that isn’t in the papers tomorrow. This is top notch. Music, dancing, colour, a proper carnival. Floats are arriving the stadium, with confetti falling from the roof. It’s the party we wanted and a great send-off, what a closing ceremony should be.

Mark Chapman (BBC Sport Presenter): “I’ve got two moments. Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro hugging at the net after their epic final. A brutal game that had everything and at the end of their duel they demonstrated such respect and empathy for each other. And Usain Bolt and Andre de Grasse crossing the line and smiling at each other. Sport first and foremost should be fun. No other image captures the fun and enjoyment like this one.

Stephan Shemilt: “The athletes that have braved the rain are reaping the rewards, dancing to the samba beat. You’d struggle not to have a good time in this atmosphere. Here we go, more fireworks, white lights sweeping around the roof of the stadium, with a red heart then fired into the night. It’s an incredible display, the whole of Rio being illuminated with the reds, blues, whites and greens. Still the fireworks shoot, still we dance to the samba beat. It’s an incredible display and a helluva finale.

James Cracknell (Double Olympic Rowing Gold Medallist): “The best performance came from Alistair and Jonny Brownlee in the triathlon. They put themselves in the lead group in the swimming and when they realised Mola (the fast running Spaniard) wasn’t in the first group they drove the cycle group they were in – physically and verbally so they could distance Mola thus making his running speed irrelevant. Expending that much energy that early in the race could have gone wrong but they backed themselves, each other and their training.

Stephan Shemilt: “And that is that. The fireworks are over, but the music and dancing continues. The fans and the athletes will file out of the Maracana, slipping away into the Rio night. Those last 20 minutes were spectacular. I wonder how long the party will carry on in Rio tonight? The celebrations are perhaps only just getting started, but the flame has gone out. The Olympics are now Tokyo’s show. The BBC TV coverage has just closed with an outstanding montage to a quite brilliant cover of Feeling Good. Find it if you can. It gave me a little lump in the throat. And we’re nearly done. After 16 days, 11,303 athletes competing under 207 different flags for 306 gold medals, the 2016 Rio Olympic Games are over. That was the Rio Olympic Games. Now, they are done. See you in Tokyo.

We have officially reached the end of the road. What a perfect Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro has had, but most of all, what a perfect Summer Olympic Games that Great Britain has had, especially for Team GB. Thank you to Team GB for such a perfect Olympic Games, you’ve done myself and the whole of the United Kingdom proud.

But most of all, thank you so much everyone for staying up until after 3:00 AM or 4:00 AM, or even after 5:00 AM depending on your location and time zone for the live coverage of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games on Mother Nature, but now is the final time to say goodbye to the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

I just wanted to say to all of you for the final time, thank you so much for a perfect Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and have a perfect night. See you in 2020 at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games!

Alex Smithson