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  1. 4 points
    Atari 5200 Guy

    Lunch Time With BurgerTime

    The almighty hamburger. A hot sandwich starting with a beef patty, topped with trimmings like lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese, and smothered with ketchup and mustard. A monetary staple for fast food drive-ins and a popular item to cook for some outdoor grillin'. It's also one of the easiest food items to cook where almost anything on it will compliment it. Almost. That is until you come across evil food. Hot dogs, eggs, and pickles are tired of being on the menu and have gone on strike! That is the formula it takes to have a little video game called BurgerTime. The object of the game is to guide a chef, named Peter Pepper, through various mazes. Each maze contains scattered ingredients that make up a hamburger which has to be assembled on plates at the bottom of the mazes. Making hamburgers should be easy, right? Wrong. To add salt to a wound our chef is constantly being hunted down by food whose only goal is to stop chef from completing his mission. The only weapon at your disposal is the almost empty pepper shaker that was grabbed at the last minute. For a simple sounding concept BurgerTime is anything but simple. One false move or turn will have our chef meet his demise instantly. And no matter which way our chef goes the food will not be far behind. Our chef gets very little no time to stop and get a heading on where everything is. Even stopping for a split second will end up with him being cornered with no where to run. Hit them with pepper and he can slide by. Catch one on a hamburger part when you make it fall will take that evil food with it for a long ride. Want an egg on your burger? Catch one between all the layers of the burger and it becomes part of the burger. Pick up the desserts and side items that pop up to gain extra pepper. Originally developed by Data East and released in North America by Bally/MIDWAY BurgerTime is one of those games that's a bit of an odd-ball. Out of all the video games made there hasn't been another game that has tried to imitate or use a similar formula that makes BurgerTime tick. My Arcade managed to cram all that into a miniature arcade cabinet that's as much fun to play as it is to look at. But is it any good? On the outside BurgerTime's cabinet contains artwork that is inspired by the original but not 100% accurate. For whatever reason the chef on the sides has an "H" on his hat where as the original chef on the real deal has a "P" for Peter Pepper. I'm not quite sure what the "H" is all about unless his name is Hamburger Harry. Maybe Peter got fired and Harry took his place? Your guess is as good as mine. At least all of the artwork fits together nicely. All of these My Arcade Micro Players made to date remind me of the NES standard controllers with a removable joystick handle. With that you have a D-Pad/joystick combo that tries to act as a four-way joystick from the arcades. The two smaller buttons are to Start and Reset the game. The Start button doubles as a pause button for times when you need a break. For some odd reason there are two pepper buttons. Well, should one button fail there is a back-up. Even though it uses the NES version of BurgerTime it's still a blast to play but BurgerTime on this unit is very unforgiving and very fast paced. Before you know it food will be on top of you in the blink of an eye. I have not managed to see if all the mazes from the arcade are here but I did manage to see five of them. Getting that far was not an easy task at all. Concentration is definitely the key to getting anywhere in this game. You can sometimes trick enemies to go one way while you take off in another direction. But not always. BurgerTime has its place in video game history as one of the most original and iconic designs of all time. No matter how unforgiving this game gets its addictive and hard to put down. It is for me anyway. We hear more about Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Centipede, Frogger, and other popular games from the same era than we hear about BurgerTime. And these attractable micro arcades I have found hard to resist. My only wish is that they would have used actual arcade ROMs. BurgerTime takes its place next to my other micro arcades where it will be enjoyed time and time again. Not a bad way to preserve some of the arcade games my generation grew up with.
  2. 3 points
    1Littlebeast

    Dreamfall Chapters

    Dreamfall Chapters is an episodic adventure game developed by Red Thread Games and Published by Deep Silver. It came out for PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, and Xbox One. It is apart of the game series The Longest Journey. ( I haven't played the previous games yet but I bought them recently) I discovered this game in 2018 and absolutely fell in love with it. From its Amazing Soundtrack. (Soundtrack YouTube) To its Beautiful Sci-Fi Futuristic level design and environment. (Which I enjoyed exploring every inch of) All the way to its core. Its Chose your own adventure style gameplay gives it a high replay value and its story is bound to take you on a rollercoaster of emotions. My friend and I played it roughly at the same time (He started playing a week after I did) and because of choices we made, we had different story's and even a different character. I give this game a 10/10. I have played it multiple times and have had fun every time. If you would like to watch my playthrough of it Click Here. ( Lightning Wolf Corp is a defunct thing I tried if you are curious about it maybe ill make a blog post) You can get the game for $20 on PlayStation and Xbox and $25 on steam. I hope you guys enjoyed my first review I decided not to go to much into the story as to avoid spoilers for those that want to play it. If you want to know more about the story here is the official Website.
  3. 3 points
    So it sucks having to put a mask on every time we go out. Sucks but important. There is no reason however we can't make it a little fun. STRONG LANGUAGE
  4. 3 points
    Atari 5200 Guy

    Small Size, Big Heart

    What to write about? I know I want to write about the 2600 but I just don't know where to begin. Do I talk more about the iconic woody console or the Junior model? I don't have much to say about controllers because it's either paddle, driving, keypad, or more joystick designs than anyone could fathom. Games? Do I talk more about games that I have managed to pick up since my last post? I might have to think on this a bit more. While I'm thinking... As I sit here writing this there is a 2600 Junior model sitting in front of me. Recently acquired in unknown condition I spent the better part of a day taking it apart all the way down to the motherboard and gave it a good cleaning. Wondering why I couldn't get bubbles off the chrome strip I finally discovered that the protective covering had never been taken off. Nice surprise. So I removed it. I couldn't let all that moisture remain trapped and ruining that beautiful chrome strip. It still has some color issues I have to work out but is functional otherwise. Since I'm here, and more Atari games have been added to my collection, I'll do a bit of an updated version of my favorite cartridges. Keep in mind these are personal favorites solely based on two factors...they are favorites and played the most. Let's get started. Favorite Black Label Carts I have two black label favorites. Video Chess and Yar's Revenge. Yar's Revenge was a 2600 title I could have seen as a Saturday Morning cartoon show. It wasn't until a recent Squad Challenge that the true nature of this game proved to me just how challenging Yar's could really be. Because of that, and the few years I've been biased about the 2600 in general, that this game moved up the ranks as a favorite and played often. It's arcade-style game play is rock solid and sure to give the joystick a workout. Video Chess is my go-to black label game when I want to play a relaxing game. I still haven't managed to beat the computer but I enjoy playing Chess and don't really have a human opponent to go up against. I'm not a pro at the game but I enjoy this classic strategy game. I have never found a perfect computerized Chess game either and the 2600 is not without its own flaws. However the 2600 is a very strong opponent no matter which skill level you attempt at trying to win. And it will always plan its next moves carefully but at times it seems as if its first few moves are preset. Still fun, though. Favorite Silver Label Cart One of my favorite games on the 5200 is Vanguard so it shouldn't be no surprise that the 2600 port of Vanguard became a favorite. I love the artwork on the label and surprised that it isn't the same one that was used on the 5200 as was often done. Compared to the 5200 port Vanguard on the 2600 seems a bit more challenging and a bit more unforgiving. One mistake can mean sudden death. I also believe this is the only 2600 game I have that has a continue feature. It's also the only one where the player can move diagonally while firing because you can't do that in the 5200 port. Graphics in this game are absolutely stunning and the sounds are not much different from the 5200. I do miss the music that plays during some of the vertical scrolling segments. I also miss the Striped Zone that is absent in the 2600 port. And I have yet to destroy the end boss before it takes me down. Believe it or not, I never knew this was an arcade game for the longest time until I discovered an actual cab during the NES days. Very well made 2600 port with very little to no flicker issues. My favorite shoot'em up on the 2600. Favorite Adventure Cart For most other 2600 gamers Adventure might be their favorite adventure-style game but for me Dark Chambers has slightly taken an edge above Adventure. I enjoy having to figure out the levels to find items and exits that are often hidden. I also enjoy having to go through the level screens to figure out how to reach those items. For this reason this game gets more play time than Adventure in my library. I personally think it is even slightly better than the 7800 version. That one looks better but, as NSG has mentioned, if only it would have taken the game play concept of hidden items to find the 7800 version might have been the better game. But, alas, the 2600 once again shows just how well it can capture a gamer's attention and hold it when properly developed for. And Dark Chambers is one of those games. I've not been able to spend as much time with it as I would like to fully enjoy it but what little I have played of it I keep finding myself spending more time in every level trying to find items than what is probably required. Seriously, I've spent about 15 minutes in some levels. Favorite Pinball Cart Again, it should be no surprise that Midnight Magic makes for one of my most played 2600 games. I like Video Pinball but at times you just sit there waiting to do something. Midnight Magic manages to capture some of the pure essence that makes pinball tables fun. There are targets, bumpers, a spinner, kickbacks, dual flippers, rollover targets...this game has the basics that are perfectly placed and captures what made some of the early pinball tables memorable. Knock down all the targets at the top and the game goes into double points. The table also changes color and plays a short tune. Knocking down targets again advances the multiplier all the way up to five times the points obtained. Lose your ball, however, and it's back to single points again. Do it right and the player can obtain extra balls. Lose all five balls and the game is over. Easy to pick up and play, no flickering, and it looks good. I'm also a little partial to this game because when I got my very first paycheck the NES and Sega Genesis were on the market. Instead of buying anything for either of those I picked up a new 2600 Junior, Jr. Pac-Man, and this game. All for about $50. I played Midnight Magic the most. Favorite Arcade Cart The 2600 got lots of arcade ports. While the limitations of the system kept most ports from looking like their arcade parents the game play managed to remain intact. Two arcade ports stand out in my collection. Space Invaders and Gyruss. Space Invaders was the very first Atari game I remember playing many moons ago on a store display. Dangling from a chain I put the game in and quit playing only when it was time to leave. This game was the one that introduced me to Atari, the VCS, and the only reason why I kept hoping for one. Gyruss, on the other hand, was a game I remember playing in arcades and enjoyed it immediately. I must have been sleeping when Parker Bros. ported this game over to various consoles. Being fairly new to my collection Gyruss on the 2600 has quickly become a favorite. It might not be graphically impressive but the game play is there and the music that constantly plays in the arcade was put in the 2600 port in all of it's 2-channel glory. And it's really not all that bad. Missing are the sound effects because the music constantly playing doesn't leave room for any sound effects. A valiant effort that is a very worthwhile cart to play. One of my favorite arcade games and one of my now favorite 2600 games. Space Invaders and Gyruss. What more could one ask for? Favorite Dot Munching Cart Mouse Trap is an easy to pick-up and play dot munching game where the player controls a mouse. The object is to eat all the dots in the maze of which I'm not entirely certain what they are suppose to be. In each of the four corners of the maze are X's that change the player into a dog temporarily when the fire button is pressed. This helps keep the cats chasing the mouse at bay. A unique feature of this game is the ability to change the maze by opening and closing doors. Doing this can help block cats from catching the mouse. Originally released on the 2600 by Coleco of ColecoVision fame the cart I has is the re-release Atari did with a red label. Still an easy game to pick up and play today. This one and Jr Pac-Man get lots of attention but I find myself coming back to this one more often. Favorite 3rd-Party Carts Fast Eddie and Planet Patrol are great 3rd-party 2600 games. I'm sure there are others but I have to base this post on games I have in my collection. Something about Fast Eddie is addictive. The ladders are vary in position with each game played, enemy characters are basic but challenging, and the only real thing the player has to do is collect things like hearts, tanks, fish, etc., to grab a key being guarded by the enemy at the top. It's a bit of Popeye (the collecting hearts part) mashed up with Lode Runner in a easier format. Very colorful game that is fun for hours on end. Planet Patrol is another shoot 'em up on the 2600. The only real difference is the changing of day to night, destroying enemies and reactors/power plants, and scrolling from right to left over left to right or vertically. A bit unusual. What makes this so appealing to me are the small details of this game. Easy to pick up and play, takes a while to master. I also love the chrome label, something rarely seen. It's very attractive and I could see how eye appealing that package would have been sitting next to other games, fighting to be taken home. It does that now in a large library of 2600 carts. Favorite Activision Cart It's almost unlawful to mention the 2600 without thinking immediately about the first 3rd-party game developer known as Activision. Activision literally pushed the 2600 as hard as they could and, in the end, it paid off. Almost every title they released for the 2600 was an instant classic. While I enjoy all Activision games in my collection the two that I go to the most are Enduro and Space Shuttle. Enduro took me completely by surprise in 1988 when I picked up a used 2600 with a bunch of games. This cart was one of the games included and when I first plugged it in I expected it to be a Pole Position rip-off. The next thing I know I had been playing it for over an hour and forced myself to stop when it was time for dinner. I was in 8th grade then. Enduro left such an impression that I would have an agonizing 24 hour wait time to return home to play it again. To help with that I woke up an hour early to get a game in before having to get ready for school. Space Invaders game me a reason to want an Atari, Enduro gave me a reason to hang on to one. Enough said. Space Shuttle. Gee, where do I begin with this one? You're a NASA astronaut and your mission is to dock with a satellite in space currently orbiting the Earth. Sounds simple, right? Then you give it a shot and wonder why in God's name you can't seem to leave the planet without killing you and your crew members. Then you grab the manual for some pointers. It is at this precise moment you realize what you have plugged into your 2600. This isn't a game...this is a simulator. The author wanted to capture as much as he could about space flight that he literally went to NASA and participated in learning everything the astronauts have to do and even used NASA's flight simulators used for training. I would have to say that his efforts paid off in probably the only simulation game made on the 2600. The amount of detail in unreal. Every switch on the 2600 does something to the space shuttle. There's a switch for running gear, brakes, deploying parachute when landing...let's see what else?...one to turn on ignition I think...it's unreal! The instructions alone are like a shortened step into NASA's school. The manual is thick and can take a lot of time alone to absorb. But it is also probably the most expensive instruction book made for any 2600 game ever. Full color, exploded views of an actual space shuttle, step-by-step instructions on what you are suppose to do. And it's on the 2600 to boot. I'm not very good at it but I keep finding myself coming back to this simulator because its visuals and sounds are absolutely amazing to me. I consider this one of Activision's, and Steve's, holy grail. If only today's games went this far. I believe there was only one other game to do something similar but it was at least a decade after Space Shuttle. For those that wanted to be astronauts but never did...here's your chance. This is as close as it gets. Favorite Paddle Game The 2600 had plenty of games but it also had plenty of controller options. I don't know how many times I would play a 2600 game without paying attention only to realize I needed paddle controllers. For the longest time I felt the paddle controllers for the 2600 could have been better. Once I found Warlords, however, that thought quickly changed. It didn't take me long to realize just how comfortable those paddle controllers actually are. And after hours of playing Warlords the design of the paddle controllers made sense. What makes playing Warlords for hours on end a must on the 2600 is the fact it's a mix of Pong and Breakout put together and then shaken up with steroids in the mix. The 2600 might not be graphically impressive but when it comes to game play it can strut its stuff like no other. Warlords offers four-player game play either solo against three computer players or with a group humans be it they are friends or enemies. And once the action starts it's hard to put down. All you have to do is break down your opponents' barrier to their castle to hit the center of their castle with the ball. That's it. Yea...good luck with that. Favorite Red Label Cart Since I did my favorite black and silver label carts I might as well tell my favorite red label cart. I kept wanting to put Solaris on this list but that game makes me rage quit so much that it could take me weeks to return to it. Radar Lock on the other hand is a well done game, by the same author, using most of the same mechanics found in Solaris. This is easily the 2600's answer to those needing an After Burner fix. It looks good, sounds good, uses dual joysticks (one stick is used to select weapons), plays good, and is just all around fun for hours on end. This on is probably one of the more rare red-label carts out there so if you find it I would suggest picking it up. Favorite Non-Game Cart One cart in my collection that is not a game at all is Basic Programming. The 2600 is interesting not only from a gaming point-of-view but also from a technical perspective. It's hard to believe a game console designed to do strictly tank and pong games showed that it could do so much more, often times surpassing what it was originally designed for. For the curious this cart would allow anyone with the enthusiasm and patients to write small programs for the 2600 to perform. While it doesn't unlock the full potential of the 2600's inner workings it does give a taste of what it's like to program the 2600. However, with the memory limitation, don't expect to write the next Adventure game as there simply isn't room. Also, once turned off any programs you've written are erased. Pencil and pad are your best friend. I use this one often just to toy around with the system. Kind of neat to see what can be done with it. Final Thoughts The 2600, no matter which model you own, has always been a small system with a big heart. Even the almighty six switch models are not that large. When taken down to just the heart of the system only a small footprint remains. Big things do sometimes come in small packages and the 2600 has proven time and time again that it is very capable of entertaining for hours on end. I still run across games that are just unbelievable in terms of what the developers managed to pull off. Again, here is a console designed for simple Pong and Tank style games. It was never designed to play Space Invaders, Galaxian, Gyruss, Pitfall!, or anything close to Space Shuttle...but it did those things and did them pretty well. Truthfully, the video game genres we have today have their roots dating back to the 2600. This is the console that started it all and it is still showing it can stand its ground against modern gaming hardware. And that, my friends, is no small achievement.
  5. 2 points
    Video 61

    WELCOME TO MY LAB!

    Hi and welcome to Lance’s Laboratory! This is the first post of what will be my personal blog sharing small slices of life with you from within my Lab. For those of you who are just getting to know me for the first time, my name is Lance, I’m from Minnesota, and for nearly 40 years I’ve been in the Atari business operating Video 61, one of the last surviving original retail Atari distributors. We started in the video business as a local chain of video rental stores serving the Twin Cities area with locations along U.S. Highway 61, the road that musician Bob Dylan referred to in the album and song Highway 61 Revisited. I also love classic movies and spending time with my family and friends at my cabin up north. For decades I’ve gotten to know you guys as my customers and friends, buying, selling and remanufacturing Atari systems, games, software, and computers, and developing my own line of Atari-compatible Video 61 games and controllers. I’m still in my Lab working away dreaming up new creations and shipping off new original Atari products, and I thought after all these years of being in the Atari community it was time to start sharing tidbits of Minnesota life with you here on my blog. To old friends and new, WELCOME! - Lance
  6. 1 point
    The recently released Super Mario Bros Game and Watch scores a Solid 7/10. When compared to the original Game and Watches its missing some features but there is a lot of goodies that sort of make up for it and it will bring you hours of joy. To start the box has a protective sleeve over it with a neat design on it. (Pictures below) But lets get into the meat of the Handheld the clock has Mario running through a level which you have 3 level faces to choose from that you are able to pick by pressing the Time button. While on the clock screen you are able to interact with the computer Mario that is running on the screen by pressing A or B. By doing so it will drop enemy's into the clock face and Mario will have to try and avoid, or defeat them. There are 35 events that happen on the clock face, from Mario moonwalking to Monty Mole appearing from the ground and running around. Depending on the time of day the face will also change to morning, evening, and night screens as well as change the enemy's that Mario is facing. To set the time and change the volume and brightness you will want to hit the pause/set button on the clock face screen. One hidden feature on the device is on the clock screen if you press and hold the A button for about 5 seconds you will be met with a screen for the Mario Drawing song which has subtitles in 7 different languages. Now there are three games on the device which are located under the games button you have Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 2, and Game and Watch Ball. If you are in any of the games by pressing the pause/set button you will pause the game and will be met with 3 options Sound, Brightness and Reset game. Now there are some hidden features on the games as well on Mario Bros 1 and 2 if you click the game to start and hold A on the menu for about 5 seconds before starting the game completely you can enjoy the games with Infinite lives which can be nice lol. On Game and Watch Ball if you do the same thing you can swap Marios head for Luigis. Now before we talk about what is missing I want to mention that if you do not have it plugged in it will shut off after not being used for a few minutes and it will show you a going to sleep picture. If you have it plugged in the device will remain on. Now my only Gripes for this Handheld is since it is a clock it would of been nice if Nintendo would have included a kickstand on it like the originals had, and if it would of had a alarm function. I also wish that they would have included one more Game and Watch game making it have a total of 4 games 2 Mario and 2 Game and Watch. Overall I have had a lot of fun with it and would say if you find it at a store id pick it up. It would make a great stocking stuffer or Clock for your desk you can buy stands to put it on at a arts store or online on sites like Etsy etc. I hope you guys enjoyed my review and have a good week everyone. 😃 | Website | Trailer |
  7. 1 point
    HDN

    SOS | Save our SNES!

    So the other night my family and I sat down and watched the hit 1997 film Titanic. My parents always talked about how much they hated it, but last night is when us kids finally got the chance to see it. I will say, parts of the movie are really well done. I have always thought the Titanic disaster was interesting, and my mother has as well. She knew a lot about it, to my surprise, and pointed out a few Easter eggs in the movie that would have gone over my head otherwise. For instance, there was one scene where the ship designer (I believe it was him) was staring into a fireplace or something, which was where he was supposedly last spotted. There was lots of stuff like that scattered throughout the film. The set design was also astonishing, and very accurate to the real-life design of the ship. I have seen what the vessel actually looked like from documentaries, pictures, footage of the wreck, et cetera, and the movie did a very good job replicating the original design. But the thing that completely ruined the whole movie for me was the horrible main story. The story! Jack, the stereotypical "poor boy" love interest character, and Rose, the stereotypical "rich girl loves boy below her social class" character. The whole thing is incredibly cliche. The two are "soulmates" and are so deeply in love, even though they have only known of each other's existence for less than a week. But no, just THROW THE NECKLACE IN THE WATER FOR YOUR DEAD PAL FROM 85 YEARS AGO, ROSE! And when you die, go make out with this dude you knew for like three days almost a century ago. Your husband you were married to for years? Screw him! And that stupid song! That song has been "memed" to death, and has been paired with so many stupid things over the years on the internet. I honestly can't take anything with that song in it seriously anymore, and since the story is so bad in the first place, the whole thing seems ironic to me. The song is so overused these days and paired with such stupid things, and the story qualifies as a stupid thing. It's not like it's a bad song or anything, it just doesn't carry the same emotional value that it did 20+ years ago. It is pretty cool that it was recorded in one take. You know, not many people know about this (including myself until yesterday), but there was actually a Titanic movie as far back as 1912. Yeah, it came out only 29 days after the tragedy occurred! Imagine someone releasing a 9/11 movie in October of 2001! How insensitive and horrible for the survivors! That's waaaaaay too soon to make a dramatization on such a contemporary and tragic incident. "Saved from the Titanic" starred a real Titanic survivor (who sadly experienced many emotional breakdowns on set) and even experienced with color in a few scenes. Unfortunately, all known copies of the film were destroyed in a fire in 1914, though it is rumored that a copy was given to president Taft and that it may still be preserved in his presidential library. A fake copy of the movie is currently on YouTube, though that isn't the original. Only the movie posters and a couple of stills exist today. So anyway, what were we talking about again? Oh, yes, our game! When I was watching Titanic, I couldn't stop thinking about a certain Super Nintendo game I used to play back in the day called SOS. I didn't play the game as often as others (like Super Metroid, F-Zero, or Mortal Kombat II), but I had played it a bit and enjoyed it. It was a very hard game, and I never did get too far in it. So I decided to try it out again after watching the movie, as it had been a while and my video gaming skills had improved drastically. SOS has a copyright year of 1994 and was published by Vic Tokai here in the USA. The game was developed by Human Entertainment, who is probably best known for the cult classic Clock Tower. SOS is not to be confused with the other SOS game on the Super Nintendo, SOS: Sink or Swim! The two are completely unrelated from what I can see. Though this game reminded me of the Titanic disaster, the game's story is actually quite different than the events that occurred in 1912. From research I have done, SOS drew heavy inspiration from the novel and film "The Poseidon Adventure". Rather than an iceberg becoming the ship's undoing, there's a violent storm in which the boat, Lady Crithania, is capsized. The game is also set in the early 1920's rather than the early 1910's. So what's the gameplay like? I'm glad you asked. At the beginning of the game, you have a choice of several playable characters, each with their own backstory and in-game goals. For instance, Dr. Jeffery Howell will need to rescue his wife as his main objective. You have one hour in real time to escape the ship with as many survivors as possible. The ship will rotate randomly using some nice Mode Seven techniques, and that can either help or hurt you. The game plays like a Metroidvania, and there is no combat in the game. All you need to do is avoid obsticles such as fires, sparks, and falling from too great a height. If you die in the game, you'll be deducted five minutes from the in-game timer. If you're still in the ship when time is up, your game is over. Because off all of the different characters and endings, the game is very replayable. The level design is very much like a ship that's sinking. You have your broken tables, sparks, fires, carcasses, WATER of course. The thing that makes the level design hard is that the ship is constantly rotating and you play most of the game upside-down. The stiff controls also add to the challenge. Some say these controls ruin the game, though I feel they add to it. You're a random dude on a sinking ship, not an athlete. If you had Samus Aran's controls from Super Metroid, this game would be a breeze to complete. I feel the level design fits the controls well, and nothing seems particularly undoable. So, what are the problems with the game? It can't all be positive. As previously mentioned, the controls can make the game very frustrating at times. I have found myself draining my time very quickly because I kept dying due to the ship's unpredictable rotations. I understand why they made it this way, but that doesn't mean it can't be frustrating. Another thing that can be annoying is the absence of an in-game map. Expect to get lost a lot. Again, the ship's turning also makes it harder than it needs to be, as it can be very disorienting. The A/I of the survivors you rescue is also pretty bad. It isn't obvious at first, but you need to keep hitting a button to get them to follow you around. Just keep hitting "L", and they'll follow you. It's not too big of a problem, but it can get mildly annoying at times. Strangely, this game commands quite a high price. When I was cataloging my collection via Pricecharting.com, I was pretty surprised when I found out this game's value. SOS, loose, goes for about $70 according to the site. Thanks, Dad, for not selling your games! This game also got a Japan-only sequel on the PlayStation. So would I recommend it? While SOS is a great hidden gem on the system, I simply can't recommend it because of the price. Is it a fun game? Yes. Am I glad I have it? Yes. But it's simply too much to pay for the game. While it's a great game, this is the SNES we're talking about here. This thing has a killer library of classic games like Super Metroid, A Link to the Past, and Super Mario World. So, for the system it's on and what it's up against, I'll have to rate it relatively low. Lower than I would like to otherwise. So, for the system it's on, SOS gets a 7/10 from me. If you find this one for a reasonable price in the wild, don't hesitate to pick it up and give it a go. It's a pretty great game, though it's not Super Metroid! I will say this: it's leaps and bounds better than the Titanic movie!
  8. 1 point
    HDN

    Flinging food in Food Fight

    So this blog entry is a little special. Today, I will be covering a video game that I got through the I/O on the I/O! I bought this game and a few others from the one and only @chas10e a few weeks back. He's a great guy to deal with. When you think of classic arcade titles from the golden age, several come to mind before others. In my mind, there are divided into several tiers based off of popularity. Allow me to go off on a little bit of a tangent, but I feel that I need to list them. This is the top tier of popular classic arcade games. Not necessarily my absolute favorites, but I feel they still remain popular all these years later. Some examples from this category are Mr. and Ms. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, Galaga, and Dig Dug. Even non-gamers have heard of or even played these games before. This tier is slightly less popular than the first, though many modern and/or casual gamers have heard of them. Some examples are Galaxian, Xevious, Centipede, Q*Bert, Defender, and Asteroids. In this tier, we have games that were popular in their time, but not so much with the more modern crowd. Berzerk, Phoenix, Vanguard, Venture, Crystal Castles, and Moon Patrol all fall under this category in my eyes. These games are less popular than the third tier. Many gamers at the time when these were new haven't played or heard of these before. These games tend to be pretty obscure in the modern age. Many are hidden gems. The arcade version of the game we're talking about today, Food Fight, falls under this category, as well as Super Pac-Man, Pac & Pal, Bosconian, and GORF. Not that these games are bad, but they just weren't as popular as the others (though not flops on the market). These are the really obscure games, including flops on the market. Many games from the early 1970's fall under this category. Many of these are really obscure, and even serious retro gamers may not have heard of several of them. Examples include Stratovox, Anti-Aircraft, Star Ship One, and Taito's Japan-only Western Gun. I know some of you here have probably heard of most of these. So anyways, let's start talking about Food Fight already! The arcade version was released in 1983. Though the game was published by Atari, it was actually developed by General Computer Corporation. I won't get into their history now (I'll be saving that should I do a blog on Missile Command or Ms. Pac-Man), but do keep in mind that they were also behind the 7800 system itself. The arcade game used an analog joystick for aiming food in more than eight directions. The goal of the game is to make your way over to an ice cream cone on the opposite side of the screen before it melts. On your way, you must avoid the chefs and the food they throw at you. If you walk over a pile of food, you'll be able to pick up a piece of it. Once you throw it, you'll have to pick up another before you can shoot again. Food Fight didn't get a lot of home ports; only two to my knowledge. First, there was the 7800 port, which may have launched during the 7800's test launch in 1984, but saw a nationwide release in 1986. Second, there was the XE version which I believe has a 1987 copyright. The XE port is a sad excuse for a game. It is incredibly choppy, and makes 7800 Hat Trick look smooth. It's a shame, too. Sadly, after these two ports we never saw another release of Food Fight in compilations. In order to play it, you'll have to track down a cartridge for the 7800 or XE or just emulate it. It's a real hidden gem worth trying out. Well, we did see one rerelease. In fact, it was a completely different port altogether. This version of Food Fight was programmed for the NES for use on the original Atari Flashback in the early 2000's. That version of the Flashback was the only one to use a 7800 design and it even included some of the system's games, Food Fight included. Cool, right? The 7800 needs more love. No, not cool. This is some of the worst "emulation" I have ever seen in my life. The Atari 2600 joystick plug and play from Jakks Pacific a few years earlier also used a similar NES-on-a-chip design, and though it wasn't perfect, it was much better than this. This version of Food Fight was based on the 7800 version rather than the arcade. Kind of reminds me of when the Nintendo arcade games were ported to the 7800 in 1988. Those were based off of their NES counterparts rather than the arcade originals. This version of Food Fight is the worst of all. They did almost nothing right. Don't even bother. It's somehow worse than the XE version. The 7800 version of Food Fight does what it does really well. It handles a lot of sprites on screen at once and runs much smoother than the XE version. The graphics are a step down from the arcade; Charley Chuck has dots for eyes and the color palette and pixel resolution are drastically reduced. The sound chip is also inferior. But somehow, Food Fight manages to be one of the best games on the system. The gameplay is still there, the instant replays are still there, the music and sound effects are very good for the TIA chip, and you can even choose your difficulty and starting level. The controls are also really good, which is a bit surprising given how the ProLine controller can only let you aim in eight directions. If you don't have a 7800, buy it just for this game. It's amazing, and something you won't find in many other places. This is the best version of the game that you can play at home without using emulation. An easy 10/10 game for the system it's on. By far my favorite game on the 7800 so far. Thanks again, @chas10e.
  9. 1 point
    This January I finally completed my North American Nintendo Game Boy launch lineup. I have said in the past that I have been collecting games for the original Game Boy since August of 2015, though that's only half-true. In August 2015 I bought my first DMG Game Boy game on 3DS Virtual Console. Not a physical cartridge, though since I did pay money for it, it sort of counts in my eyes. The first game I got on 3DS was not any of the GB NA launch games, rather it was a very late release, Game and Watch Gallery. Later in September I bought the amazing Metroid II: Return of Samus (Lots of backstory about that game) and Super Mario Land, the latter being a launch game. I didn't get a means of playing official Game Boy cartridges until Christmas Eve of 2016 when I got my Super Game Boy. Earlier in August while on vacation at Blue Harbor in Sheboygan, WI we were shopping at the only retro game store I knew of at the time. I believe it was called Freaktoyz or something. Anyways they had an SGB there for $15, the exact amount of money I had brought with me on vacation. I was seriously considering it. My dad used to have an original Game Boy in college that my mom sadly threw out in the early 2000's. I assumed he had some of his original games with him still somewhere in the house. I had been on the lookout for them for years since I have always been fascinated by the original Game Boy. I was pretty sure they were somewhere, but as I had been snooping around for them for years at this point I didn't want to risk it, so I opted for StarTropics on NES instead. I kid you not, two days later we were cleaning the basement and what did I find? A cloth bag thing filled with Game Boy games. I couldn't believe it. I had been looking for these for years, and right after I saw a Super Game Boy I found them! Only one of the games my dad remembered wasn't there, that being Centipede and Millipede. I assumed that one was in the Game Boy when my mom threw it out. But all of the other games were there. Here are all of the ones I remember being there: Tetris Baseball Play Action Football Sports Illustrated Golf The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening F-1 Race So right off the bat I had two of the launch lineup. Plus at that point I had Super Mario Land on 3DS. I didn't get another physical Game Boy cartridge until last year because I was never around any game stores (or at least I didn't think I was), but I did get a few more games on the VC, including Tennis. When I discovered my new regular game store, Game Trade in DePere, WI, I had recently gotten a Game Boy Advance system and was getting in to collecting for the Game Boy DMG, Color, and Advance, though mostly the OG. I had gotten some money for Christmas to fuel my collecting. Some of the first games I got were games I had loved on the 3DS VC and wanted to play them on somewhat original hardware. In the clearance bin I saw a very beat up copy of Tennis, so I decided to pick that up. I had enjoyed the game quite a bit on the 3DS and since it was so cheap, why not? When I got home I got on the list for a physical cartridge of Super Mario Land. That was the last physical cartridge I picked up, but today's game, Alleyway, was the last of the GB launch lineup I actually played. I picked that up on maybe my second or third Game Store run for five bucks. Anyway, let's actually talk about Alleyway. Alleyway was a launch title for the original Game Boy in North America, Europe, and Japan. Here in the states it launched in 1989. Alleyway is a breakout-style game. Note that I did not say Arkanoid style game. Though this game came out several years after Taito's 1986 classic Arkanoid, which heavily expanded upon the format seen in Atari's Breakout and Super Breakout. Arkanoid added things such as powerups, weapons, and enemies to the mix. Alleyway does away with many of these, though it is still obvious that it was inspired by Arkanoid. For instance, each level is distinct in its layout. Super Breakout had some distinction, but that game did it very differently. Super Breakout's level design was much simpler in comparison and a lot less varied. Plus, to my knowledge you couldn't progress from level to level like you could in Arkanoid and Alleyway. I believe if you beat, say, the cavity screen for instance, you didn't transition to the progression or regular Breakout screens. At least I don't think you could. I've never been very good at the arcade version of Super Breakout or on any home system. Like Arkanoid and the earlier Breakout games, different shades of blocks earn you different amounts of points. In this case, the darker the shade of puke-green the more points you will get. The darker blocks also increase the speed of your ball, though it is nowhere near as noticeable as it is in some other block-breaking games. Also like the original Breakout, starting on the fifth stage, if your ball hits the top of the screen, your paddle will shrink in size.There are also some indestructible blocks in the game like those seen in Arkanoid. In short, Alleyway is like a midpoint between Super Breakout and Arkanoid. The game's progression consists of three stages using the same basic structure followed by a timed bonus stage. The four-level setup is reminiscent of the world layout of the original Super Mario Brothers on the NES. The first level in an Alleyway "world" is a basic level with nothing going on. The blocks stay still for this level. On the second stage they wrap around the screen horizontally. In this mode it is easy to get the ball stuck in a pattern and wipe out many bricks at once. The third stage appears to not move at first, but occasionally the blocks will descend another step towards your paddle. Nothing bad happens if they reach the bottom; they just disappear. This mode is a straight ripoff of the progression mode in Super Breakout. The fourth mode, as I previously mentioned, is a timed bonus stage. These stages feature cameos of Super Mario characters and items in block form. The player has about a minute (in real time; the seconds on the clock move way too fast) to clear out the entire field. This is much easier than it sounds; the blocks disappear in a Breakthrough style. Though it still can be a little challenging at times. The game sessions in Alleyway tend to last pretty long as I can play for quite a while without Game Over-ing. The sound and music in this game are quite nice. This early Game Boy title takes full advantage of the stereo headphone jack, providing some great musical ditties. The title theme especially gets stuck in my head. I also enjoy jingles between levels, before the bonus stage, and during the bonus stage. I really dig the music in this game. The sounds are your typical Breakout sounds. The Game Boy tries its best to provide an echo effect on some of the block-breaking sounds. I thoroughly enjoy the music and sound in this game and highly recommend using headphones while playing. The packaging of the game is also very cool. I like the behind the paddle perspective and the stellar color palate. It really gives of that intergalactic vibe. I don't know what it was with Breakout games and outer space. Super Breakout was about the interstellar adventures of... was it Captain Jack Chang? I remember it was Captain something Chang. Arkanoid also has a space theme, where you control the spacecraft Vaus jettisoned from the mothership Arkanoid after it was destroyed and caught in a space warp. This game appears to take place in outer space as well, though with a twist. The pilot of the spacecraft is none other than our man Super Mario. Or maybe just Mario, as the opening cutscene of the game shows a sprite of Mario hopping into the paddle that appears to resemble his pre-Super Mario Brothers appearance. He looks like a bootleg version of himself. Oh, early Game Boy graphics with your tiny, creepy little sprites... Game Theory time: What if this game was the inspiration for Super Mario Galaxy? I mean, they both take place in space. Maybe that's a bit of a stretch. Even when this game was first released in 1989 it was an incredibly basic and simple take on the genre. It didn't have the little nuances that made Arkanoid so great. It didn't even have a single powerup in it. If this game were released at any other time than at the very start of the first mainstream portable game system's life, it would have been laughable. But the Game Boy was a new concept for most people. Sure, the Microvision and Adventurevision predated the Game Boy by several years, and the former predated it by a good decade, but those consoles were for the most part failed attempts at bringing the console and arcade experience on the go. Plus, I feel that Alleyway was a good way at getting more casual non-gamers to play the Game Boy. Compared to the NES, Nintendo's handheld system offered a much more all-inclusive experience with typically easier and simpler game experiences. Tetris sold many systems to the non-gamer crowd, and Alleyway probably had a few copies bought by those Tetris players. So why play Alleyway now? This game has nothing to set it apart from the crowd. There are much more complicated and engaging Breakout style games out there nowadays, so why pick this one? I'll tell you why: The controls. In all of my life, I have never played a better controlling Breakout style game that uses a D-Pad. The controls this game has are second only to the paddle controllers seen on the 2600 and other potentiometer-based knob or dial controller. The control you have over the game's paddle is exceptional. I have played many other Breakout games with digital-style controllers, like Arkanoid on NES, 1001 Blockbusters for DSiWare, and others, but nothing comes close to controlling better than this game. The paddle moves at the absolute perfect speed for the game. It's honestly hard to explain how good it feels; you need to play the game yourself. If the paddle's base speed is too fast or too slow for you, never fear. The face buttons are here! In this game, the A button will "accelerate" the paddle while the B button will "break". That's how I remember their functions. Though I don't often use the face buttons in the game, they can come in handy in the later levels. So how would I rate this game out of ten for the system it's on. Sadly, I have to put it pretty low as there are so many better games on the system like Metroid II, Link's Awakening and Super Mario Land 2. If I had to I would probably rate it a 6/10. The game is really good, but there are so many other games on the Game Boy that are better. Though I rated it somewhat low, I still recommend picking it up. It's not in very high demand. The controls are exceptional enough to make the purchase worth it. The controls alone turn this game from yet another boring Breakout clone I played to one of my favorites in the genre. All in all, Alleyway is a game I love to "Breakout" and play a few rounds of from time to time.
  10. 1 point
    Welcome to the second "annex" entry of the Game Cave. In this entry, I'll discuss the PenguiNet game Rikki & Vikki for the Atari 7800. Rikki & Vikki was a surprise release on Steam (12/2018) and the 7800 in February 2019 from PenguiNet. Some of you may be familiar with PenguiNet for their amazing work on Zaku for the Lynx; arguably one of the best original titles on the platform. Zaku really pushed the Lynx and stands as a tremendously fun, graphically stunning and amazing sounding game. For Rikki & Vikki, PenguiNet continues in that tradition, delivering an original gaming experience on a classic console that largely exceeds Atari published efforts in key areas of gameplay, graphics and sound. Make no mistake - this is not a homebrew. This is a professionally developed game with a high level of production value and a stellar physical product. Now for some impressions & observations! Gameplay: Rikki & Vikki is a sort of puzzle platformer. The goal of the game is to save your two children - Mary & Sam - from Misery the Inconvenient. Misery has kidnapped your children and taken them to the six cavern Miseryland Themepark - "a downward spiral of inconvenience." On each level, use Rikki or Vikki to collect all of the keys within the time allotted to progress to the next level. Collecting keys isn't always easy. You have to move cubes, navigate enemies, spikes and other hazards to get to the keys. Some puzzles are more obvious than others and don't be surprised if you run out of time before solving a puzzle. Rikki & Vikki requires a 7800 compatible controller with independent fire buttons. This means that you can't use a standard 2600 controller or a Genesis gamepad for the game. The left button is used to "interact" with the cubes and the right button is used to jump. When you grab a cube you can throw it at an enemy or stick it to the floor or wall in order to gain access to an otherwise unreachable area of the play field. Falling into a void will cause you to re-emerge from the top - this is sometimes necessary to solve a puzzle. Each area of the Park - called "caverns" - consists of several levels and culminates in a boss battle. Gameplay modes come in three flavors: co-op with Rikki & Vikki, solo Rikki, and solo Vikki. I have not yet played co-op mode and from what I can tell, the solo experiences are the same whether playing as Rikki or Vikki. This is a hard game. You will die. You will run out of time. You will make stupid mistakes. You will get stuck. While you can continue, doing so forces a restart at the beginning of the cavern. Fortunately, after a few continues, a character named "Dut", a large penguin and "salesman" of you unlimited continues in exchange for your points. You will no longer get points in game - so no high score - but you will get to keep problem solving. This makes it a little less arduous to develop your skills and improve your puzzle solving strategies. Graphics: Rikki & Vikki boast what are possibly the best graphics on the 7800. The character animations, level-design, character and enemy sprites all look amazing. Add to that, the game runs in the 7800's 320 mode - a higher resolution mode that few games have taken advantage of. I struggle to think of a single game published for the 7800 that looks better. It looks first-party NES/SMS good folks. The animations are not just good, they're thoughtful and add depth to the game. The levels look great with coherent themes throughout. Its clear the people at PenguiNet are getting all they can out of the 7800. Sound: Like the graphics, PenguiNet went all in with the sound here. Apparently, they developed a custom chip for sound that allowed for NES level music. The TIA is still there and - at least on my 7800 - the harsh crashes are a bit louder than the music. However, that's my LHE mod and not the game. The music here is absolutely fantastic. Packaging: The packaging on this game is beautiful folks. Everything from the cart, to the box to the manual screams professional. The game comes on a custom transparent orange cart shell with a wrap around full color label. It fit my 7800 perfectly. The box is likewise full color and is in the same size and style as original run 7800 games - just missing "Atari." The instructions are full color and come as a "Miser Land Official Tour Guide" fold out with gameplay and character info. The package even comes with a warranty card, two passes to Misery Land and a PenguiNet sticker. Top notch all the way! Final Thoughts: This is 7800 gaming at its best. It has game design, graphics, sound and amazing packaging. If you own a 7800, I urge you to support the developer and grab a copy today. For $59.99 plus shipping, the package is well worth the price of entry. Even if you don't own a 7800 or don't have the $$, the game is also available on Steam for $9.99. For that price, you could hardly find a more fun and complete game play experience. Have you played Rikki & Vikki? What are your thoughts on the game? How does it stack up to other games on the 7800? PenguiNet Rikki & Vikki Trailer:
  11. 1 point
    Welcome to the first "annex" entry into the Game Cave. I'll post reviews of homebrews, community projects, and other goodies here. First up, my review of the Robotron 2084 controller for the Atari 7800 by Mike @RetroGameBoyz I ordered my controller last week after reading about it on the forums and received it on Friday. It was shipped in a plastic mailer with plenty of bubble-wrap for protection. As many of you know, the Atari 7800 version of Robotron can be played with either one or two controllers. With one controller, you can only shoot in the direction in which you are moving. Using a two controller configuration, the first controls the direction of movement and the second controls the direction of fire. Honestly, this is the best way to play Robotron 2084 and closely mirrors the experience of the arcade version. That said, as you can imagine, without a coupler, using two unsecured joysticks or gamepads can be difficult. This is where Mike's gamepad comes in. Using a 3D printed gamepad, modern style pad holder, dual d-pads and two 9-pin cables, the RetroGameBoyz Robotron 2084 controller allows you to play the game in the way that it's meant to be played. First impressions: The game pad itself is just about the size of an NES pad. In the optional holder, it's just a little larger than a Dual Shock 4 and is pretty comfortable. At first, I was worried that the square-ish shape of the holder would feel clunky. I'm happy to report that it actually feels quite nice and I don't anticipate taking the pad out of the holder. The parts have that "ridged" look that is typical of things made with a 3D printer. However, this isn't to say that it doesn't feel substantial. The build quality is legit and the controller responds nicely in all directions. I really like the custom sticker; it's a nice finishing touch. The two 9-pin cables are extra long, measuring 9 feet! No extension cables needed! Let's see how it plays: I really love the 7800 version of Robotron 2084, although I'm not that great at it. On the default "intermediate" setting, I can generally get up to wave 8 before giving up the ghost. Playing with one controller requires you to play in a defensive way. With the dual pad, I was able to get to wave 12 and score over 170,000 points. Being able to have independent directional control over both movement and fire allows you to play much more aggressively. Simply put, it's an entirely different - and better - game. The controller also includes independent fire buttons for use in other 7800 games. Its important to note, this works with the left pad only; the right pad isn't used outside of Robotron. I played Xevious, Choplifter, Centipede, Ms. PacMan and Food Fight to put the controller though its paces. I found it to be light, comfortable and responsive. The buttons seem to work correctly. The d-pads hit all of the directions accurately. After a solid two hours of gameplay, I didn't feel the least bit of fatigue in my hands. Compared to the Atari 7800 europad, this controller was at least as good if not better in most every respect. Final thoughts: The dual-pad Robotron 2084 controller for the Atari 7800 is a winner. It looks cool, plays great, can be used for more than just Robotron and - for $49 - is just about the best damn controller you can get for the 7800. I really like it and can see this becoming my goto for the 7800, 2600 and A8 although Mike has a single pad variant on offer via eBay. If you want more information on this controller, check out the original thread or visit Mike's eBay link: https://www.ebay.com/sch/retrogameboyz/m.html
  12. 1 point
    So yeah, hair care IS a thing since we cannot go out and social distancing blah blah. I just recently SHAVED my beard off 😮 because I like to "reset" every now and then, let my face breath etc, it's cool, I will have 5 o'clock shadow by 3 o'clock again 🙄 I mention this only because I am posting these silly low res images I took in Linux on one of my low end craptops recently and so you can see my before and after. I used a webcam effect in the after image because I was MAD LIKE HULK or something 😆 Now, as for the hair on my head well, who knows? We don't have clippers and I am not hacking away at my head for over 2 hours with disposable razors like I did my face so, I am expecting my hair to get longer than I have allowed it in years, I will likely have the Mod Squad Clarence Williams III / Linc Hayes Afro going before this is all over. 😎
  13. 1 point
    I been suffering severe sinus issues past 3 days. FINALLY everything that was jammed up in my nasal passages released into my nose and I was able to blow it out, required much sudafed, inhalation and mostly ibuprofen and Tylenol because I get a severe sinus headaches from it, the first day really bad and painful but the next couple days even after doing everything still experiencing a constant low underlying headache which clearly was wearing me out. Today is the first day I actually feel relief. Blew a bunch a shit out of my nose and throat in a hot steamy shower, unclogged finally! I will continue on sudafed for the rest of the day until I go to bed then hopefully I can do without it after that, knocks me on my ass though, I hibernate like bear but it makes me dream like crazy and I feel it helps in the body healing process. First thing I noted was no cough or any other symptoms so not jumping the gun or being paranoid about Covid but at the same time need to be careful, don't want to be compromised by anything that might cause me to be even more susceptible to virus. Would not be the first time where I was sick and got through it only to be knocked on my ass by something even worse! But yeah, feeling much more like my old self which may never be GREAT these days but at least it allows me to be functional and for that I am thankful.
  14. 1 point
    MaximumRD

    RE: My Tragic C64 incident

    RE: Commodore 64. Once (I learned a lesson 😎) back in the early days, my first C64, the classic breadbox model, I loved it so, I even painted the case a cool shiny BLACK with spray paint. NOTE: Image show is not mine and included for descriptive purposes only. Sadly, I had more balls than knowledge and was always tinkering, wanting to see the guts of a machine etc. Do you know where this is going? I disassembled the machine BUT, and I think this was my biggest mistake in all this, with the cover and shielding OFF for some reason I still had it plugged in and turned on and poking around looking at the chips with screwdriver in hand I explored the guts noting numbers and labels when suddenly I dropped my tool (I MEAN MY SCREWDRIVER!) and there was a pop sound followed with a spark. It all happened so fast, I do not recall seeing any obvious damage but....well after putting everything back together, at first I was happy to see the machine start up and at first thought eh, everything fine but.....nope. Turns out everything I loaded, whether form cassette or disk just ran at the wrong speed, I don't recall if it was super sped up or super slow, IF I had to pick one I am pretty sure it was super slow, as if every process went from normal to the speed of a snail crawling through molasses, it seemed to work normally otherwise from what I recall but nothing was playable or usable after that. Oh man I was soooo upset and mad at myself. Such things were rare commodities for me at that young age and I was never going to get a replacement that's for sure, I had gotten it used as a hand me down. I learned a valuable lesson that day I can tell you. Oh I still tinkered, took things apart and explored every electronic item I would be lucky enough to get, MOST reassembled and working again successfully. Anyway, there was a time I got ONE hell of a shock that I think made my heart possibly stop temporarily while working at the back of a 26' cabinet RCA CRT Television but that's another story 😛 Note mine (it's long gone 😢) but similar
  15. 1 point
    dgrubb

    In defence of emulation

    A common sentiment found among retro-computing enthusiasts is that there's nothing quite like the real thing. It's understandable, computers and game consoles (i.e., computers disguised as toys and appliances) are physical items and our happy nostalgic memories are complimented by recollections of touch and heft: the feedback of button clicks, shunting cartridges into slots, and so on. However, there's a particular aficionado - we've all met him, he's a member of every fan group and forum - whose affection for real hardware gives way to an unpleasant snobbery. A "true fan" would never emulate, he says, implying that a gaming community is only a place for those with disposable income, space, and a nihilistic acceptance that the platform will die with the original hardware. I'm certainly not arguing against the value of hardware and experiences which come with it, we're all in agreement of its importance, but I do insist that emulation is also a first class citizen without which a platform has no future. Ashes to hardware ashes Take the Atari Jaguar; fewer than 250,000 are known to have been produced, with even fewer numbers of accessories such as CD-ROM drives. Of that number a great deal will have been owned by people with no interest in preservation. Many Jaguars have likely been dumped in the trash along with an avalanche of VCRs. Of the survivors many will suffer electrical faults due to old-age (the dreaded open-circuit capacitor problem). Many more will simply be damaged in accidents. This is already a serious problem for CD-ROM units which were produced in much smaller numbers than the console itself and are notoriously failure prone - although, arguably, no more so than other CD-ROM drives from the time. Taking the long view there will be a time when, for most people, original hardware will no longer be a viable way to access the content produced for the platform! New developments This is perhaps the strongest argument in favour of emulation. New content is vital for a platform and emulation is key to lowering the barrier in producing new content. In the late 70s it took highly skilled programmers with excellent design sense (a very select cross-section of personality) months to produce new games for the Atari 2600 using mainframe computers costing thousands of dollars. Today, a cheap PC with the Stella emulator, which includes an excellent debugger and the ability to step through program execution and inspect the emulated Atari's emulated state. Imagine what those original Atari and Activision programmers could have achieved in an afternoon with such capabilities! Imagine what today's programmers, of all kinds of skill levels, can achieve! A more thoughtful perspective I highly recommend that anybody with an interest in retro-gaming listen to Frank Cifaldi's GDC talk on the subject of emulation. It's witty, thought-provoking and quite brilliant. There's a lot to unpack, but in under an hour he touches on numerous relevant subjects such as preservation, the ethics of piracy, and how emulation can be leveraged in the most positive (and commercial!) ways:
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