Monday, 25 April 2016


"A what now"?  Well maybe if I showed you a picture of it out of its box that would explain it better than I could.  After all a picture paints a thousand words, right?

Um... it's a.. oh dear

Hmm, maybe not.  That looks rather more like something which could get this blog an adults-only rating.  But never fear, it's simply a device to help me with the screenshots for reviews and the like.  Here, look at the box if you don't believe me.

There we go, that's much better.  When I wrote about Fantasy World Dizzy (click here for that) I was able to take what I felt were perfectly fine screenshots of the game as I played it thanks to the iOS app Manual (click here for more info), albeit by stopping play, taking each photo and then going back to the game again.  Not ideal but it was fine for that game.  But what if I were playing a title where I wanted photos of the game in motion such as driving sims or shoot-'em-ups, or of certain parts of a game where taking my hands off the joystick could result in game over?  In that Dizzy review there's one picture taken where he's somersaulting towards the crocodile and it was a right royal pain to take that shot, having to clamp the joystick between my legs (careful now) so it wouldn't budge when I made Dizzy jump, while at the same time holding the iPhone perfectly still in my other hand and playing thumb gymnastics on the screen to take the snap without moving the device.

The camera on my phone is superb and the Manual app is great for removing those wobbly lines it picks up on this old CRT TV I'm using with my Commodore 64.  As I've explained before it was also a lot cheaper than forking out for a webcam or similar device, however I now wanted to be able to take photos instantaneously without having to stop playing the games.  Having the phone in a preset position could make for much better action screenshots in some cases, as I'd just need to quickly reach over and tap the phone before returning my hand to playing the game.  It'd also cut down on editing such as with Dizzy when I'd a lot of straightening up, cropping, sharpening etc. to do afterwards.  Plus hopefully it wouldn't take half a dozen attempts to get one non-blurred photo while still playing.  (A CRT screen and my shaky camera hands aren't a great match for each other.)

As you can see this great little device is just perfect for the task at hand.  I'd previously played around with arranging the chairs and some books to lean the phone against but it wasn't ideal and could slip about, sometimes without me realising until it fell over mid-play or took a photo of half the TV and half the wall.

The Griptight Gorillapod from Joby looked interesting when I laid my eyes on it in the Apple Store.  It could hold the phone steady without it having to be clamped down on something in a way that could potentially damage furniture.  Remember, I'm still using my dining table at the moment as my temporary Commodore desk!  I liked how it looked simple to use and best of all was both physically and figuratively very flexible, and could be used in many situations that could present themselves in the future, C64-related or not.  For example those red feet are magnetic and the legs pretty much wrap around anything (I said careful now!).

It was incredibly easy to set up yet it still wobbled slightly but I realised that was my own fault, as I was being too gentle with it, as I normally am with any new device.  It really is highly durable and I was able to push hard on the joints to ensure it was wrapped extremely tight around the back of the chair in front of the TV.  The rounded nature of all of the components on its three legs, with no sharp edges or right angles of any kind ensured it wouldn't damage the wood.  Clicking the iPhone in resulted in the setup looking rather professional I have to say.  Especially for me!

All geared up and ready to go play games

Take some time to do a search online for "Gorillapod" and check out the incredibly inventive ways people are using these for iPhone photography.

With a great camera, a great app for CRT screens and this great little tripod-esque stand I'm set.  Well, I've got one more unboxing to go of a new Commodore hardware addition and then that should do me, for a while at any rate.  That's up next and I'm looking forward to taking plenty of games for a test drive now too.    

Creators: Joby
Price: £29.95 (Apple Store)

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