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  1. Like
    Yo-Yo reacted to Sabertooth for a blog entry, 003 - Pinball Fantasies   
    Pinball Fantasies
    Published: 1995 by Twenty First Century Entertainment
    Developed by Spidersoft Limited
    Released in 1995, Pinball Fantasies is a Jaguar conversion of the 1992 Commodore Amiga game of the same name. Billed as a “pinball simulator”, Pinball Fantasies features four tables and semi-realistic play. In addition to the Amiga and Jaguar versions, Pinball Fantasies saw release on the Amiga CD32, Super NES, DOS and Gameboy. The game has also appeared in compilations on platforms as varied as iOS and PS3.
    The Jaguar version of Pinball Fantasies is notable as one of only a handful of Jaguar titles published by a third-party company; Twenty First Century Entertainment. In the Jaguar’s library, it competes against Atari’s own Ruiner Pinball for the system's coveted pinball crown.
    Pinball Fantasies is a game that I have not spent a lot of time with over the years. Outside of a few highscore club matches, I rarely plug it in. So I was actually excited to see it pop up on The Gaming Notebook’s randomizer.
    Graphics: The graphics in Pinball Fantasies are competent. The layout of the four tables is well designed and the art is colorful, if bland. The score and ball readout is at the top of the screen and attempts to replicate the dot-matrix score display of a real machine. The ball looks right and moves fluidly around the table on various ramps, rails and loops. On the other hand, aside from some light-up bonuses and bouncing bumpers, there isn’t a lot going on.
    The art style on the game tables themselves are somewhat generic. “Partyland” has a carnival theme, “Speed Devils” has a racing theme, “Billion Dollar Game Show” has a game show theme, and “Stones & Bones” has a horror theme. There are no crazy bonuses that set off a myriad of lights. Nor are there any character animations, explosions or other effects that might have been done given the videogame format. It’s all very vanilla. One of the things that I love about actual pinball tables is the over-the-top table art, lights and sound. Those are meant to attract players. The tables here all feel a little sterile. If I were walking through an arcade, I definitely wouldn’t look twice at any of them.
    I don’t have the game on any other platform but a quick review of gameplay videos on Youtube leads me to believe that the Jaguar version compares favorably with contemporary ports. Like many of the 16-bit games ported over to the system, the Jaguar versions are typically sharper, with greater color depth and smoother animations.
    Sound/Music: The clicks, bumps, pings and rings of classic pinball is well represented in Pinball Fantasies. A true pinball aficionado might find a fault but to my ears, the pinball sounds ring true. In-game music is a mixed bag. I didn’t mind the music in “Speed Devils” or in “Stones & Bones”. In fact, the music in both of those tables is fairly enjoyable. The music on “Billion Dollar Game Show” was inoffensive. I found the music in “Partyland” intolerable. Keeping with the table’s carnival theme, it is music suited only to knife wielding psycho clowns.
    Gameplay: In terms of gameplay, Pinball Fantasies is just fine. With the standard control layout, the d-pad is the left flipper and the “B” button is the right flipper. The “A” button can be used to nudge the table and the “C” button launches the ball. It’s pinball so there isn’t a lot to it in terms of control.Like a real table, the tables in Pinball Fantasies are pretty big – too big for a standard tv. In order to accommodate, the field of view is limited to half of a table at a time and scrolls with the ball. You can set the scroll setting to “hard” or “soft”. A “hard” setting makes the action much faster and the scrolling is more jarring. I enjoyed playing with the “soft” scroll although this seems to slow the action somewhat. The game offers two difficulty settings: easy or hard. For me, the combo setting that most felt like real pinball was “hard” with a “soft” scroll.
    Game physics seem spot on. The ball doesn’t feel too floaty or too fast the way it can in other video pinball games. This is a high scoring game with generous multipliers and bonuses - typical in pinball. One thing that’s missing is multiple balls. This is likely due to the scrolling nature of the playfield.
    Of the four tables, I like "Stones and Bones" the best. It's just interesting enough to make me want to keep playing. "Speed Devils" is also a fun table. The other two are pretty forgettable.
    Overall: Pinball Fantasies is an above average video pinball game. It generally replicates the pinball experience at home and I think that was largely the intent for the original game designers. That said, I can’t help but feel that there was a missed opportunity here to leverage the media to not only recreate the pinball experience, but to bring something exciting and fresh to the table.
    Final verdict: If you like realistic video pinball, you might enjoy Pinball Fantasies. It definitely lives up to its description as a pinball simulation. If you prefer your video pinball to be a little more fantastical, pass.
    Thanks for reading and please share your opinions and memories of Pinball Fantasies in the comments!
    The next game is: CYBERMORPH!

  2. Like
    Yo-Yo reacted to RickR for a blog entry, Multi-cart Reviews - Commodore 64   
    It's been a while, but it's time yet again for a multi-cart review. This time, I'm reviewing the Retro-Link Multicart 64 for the Commodore 64.

    Menu driven - easy to use
    Instant load - no disk drive waiting
    Socketed - theoretically possible to change the EEPROM for a different set of games.

    None. I love this thing.

    As you can tell by the summary above, I think this thing is pretty sweet. 63 different games and utilities all on one menu-driven multi-cart. It would only be better if they included 64 to match the name of the computer.
    The menu for this thing is elegant and easy. F1 and F3 scroll through the available choices. F7 starts it up.

    The selection of games is pretty nice. Lots of stuff you've heard of, and lots of items you haven't. Those are fun to see and play for the first time. It's also cool that some utilities are included. A C64 self-test program is so dang useful for a collector! It really helps diagnose what may be wrong with your C64 (and believe me, a lot can go wrong. Commodore went cheap cheap cheap, and it shows in how hard it is to find a fully working 64). Games load instantly. No waiting. It just plain works -- easy and fast, and that's the best compliment I can give for any multi-cart.
    Here's a few screen shots...Frogger and Pitfall.

    I've had this thing for a long time, but I'm pretty sure I paid less than $50 for it. I bought the bare board and put it into a broken "Jupiter Lander" cart shell.
    For more information about this multi-cart, a list of the games it includes, and how to order your own, look here: http://blog.retro-link.com/2013/06/multicart-64-is-now-available-for-sale.html
    The seller Charles is a great guy and very easy to work with.
    Final verdict: Great multi-cart, highly recommended.
    Here's a picture of my Commodore 64C. I'm very proud to have this one in such nice condition. I do like the breadbox brown 64's better, but haven't ever found a fully working model! But this 64C works perfectly.

    Finally, I'm going to end this review with a picture of another, much different item for the C64 -- the SD2IEC disk drive emulator. It allows you to place ROM files on an SD card and load them as if they were real floppy disks. It's more difficult to use, but it can play almost anything! Should I review this one too? Please let me know in the comments.

  3. Like
    Yo-Yo reacted to Arenafoot for a blog entry, 2015 Atari VCS/2600 homebrews as of 12/14/15   
    This is just this year and just for the Atari VCS/2600.............
    Homebrews released

    Jan 11, 2015 - Headkicker 2.0 (Retro Lord - AtariAge forum)
    Jan 12, 2015 - Nutkicker (Retro Lord - AtariAge forum)
    Jan 12, 2015 - Knight Kuest (Retro Lord - AtariAge forum)
    Jan 14, 2015 - Pro Football 1770 (Retro Lord - AtariAge forum)
    Jan 22, 2015 - Crazy Bird (gameblabla - AtariAge forum)
    Jan 23, 2015 - USSR Supreme Lifting Weights (Retro Lord - AtariAge forum)
    Jan 24, 2015 - Mallard Hunt (Retro Lord - AtariAge forum)
    Jan 25, 2015 - Monkey Obesity (http://xayax.net/)
    Jan 26, 2015 - Loaded4Bear (http://alienbill.com/loaded4bear/)
    Jan 29, 2015 - K.C. Munchkin (Mr SQL - AtariAge forum)
    Feb 12, 2015 - Wipeout 2600 (Retro Lord - AtariAge forum)
    Feb 21, 2015 - 2nd Dimension, The (Gray Games - Good Deal Games)
    Feb 21, 2015 - E.T.: Return to Earth (Gray Games - Good Deal Games)
    Feb 21, 2015 - Sunset Drive (Gray Games - Good Deal Games)
    Feb 21, 2015 - Smoke Gun (Retro Lord - AtariAge forum)
    Feb 26, 2015 - Star Rescue (Retro Lord - AtariAge forum)
    Feb 27, 2015 - T-Rex Simulator (KaeruYojimbo - AtariAge forum)
    Mar 6-8, 2015 - A.C.I.D. 2: Your Face is Goo (released at the Louisville Arcade Expo)
    Mar 10, 2015 - Diamond Drop (Atarius Maximus - AtariAge forum)
    Mar 11, 2015 - Planet Doom 2600 (Retro Lord - AtariAge forum)
    Mar 13, 2015 - The Deep (winkdot - AtariAge forum)
    Mar 28, 2015 - C@tacombs of Chaos (aka Atarowg) (released at the Cowlitz Gamers For Kids Expo)
    Apr 6, 2015 - Coke Zero Demo (Thomas Jentzsch - AtariAge blog)
    Apr 11, 2015 - Traffic Cop (Good Deal Games) (will be available to Hozer Video Games & Packrat Video Games soon)
    Apr 19, 2015 - Titan Axe (Papa - AtariAge forum)
    Apr 20, 2015 - The Celery Movie (atari2600land - self published)
    May 5, 2015 - Lost Cat (greywest - AtariAge forum)
    May 6, 2015 - 2048_4vcs (port) (beta version) (MLockmoore - AtariAge forums)
    May 19, 2015 - Pigs in the Castle (Rudy J. Ferretti) [pre-orders begin on Facebook]
    May 29, 2015 - The Gizzle Wap and The Strange Red Tree (Mountain King - AtariAge forums) updated 12/6/15
    Jun 1, 2015 - Final Duck (Andrew G. Crowell - self published)
    Jun 5, 2015 - BLT Blast (the loon - self published) renamed - formerly known as Bath Blast
    Jun 17, 2015 - Spies in the Night (graywest - AtariAge forums)
    Jun 23, 2015 - Derivative 2600 (Kylearan - http://www.pouet.net/)
    Jun 27, 2015 - Zong (Retro Lord - AtariAge forums)
    Jul 3, 2015 - Hunger Shark - (NeoGames) {shipped 7-15-15}
    Jul 3, 2015 - Run Out! - (Papa - AtariAge forums)
    Jul 12, 2015 - Stay Frosty 2: Stay Frostier - (Spiceware - Atariage.com) - **free full version ROM released**
    Aug 16, 2015 - JELL-O Pudding Pops presents Fat Albert (NeoGames) (enhanced hack of Fat Albert {2000} which was a hack of Fast Food)
    at 2015 Portland Retro Gaming Expo - PRGE Smash Hit!!!, PRGE X, The Realm of No!, Clyde's Revenge - Good Deal Games
    Nov 22, 2015 - Star Castle Arcade, Lady Bug Collector's Edition, Wall Jump Ninja, Zippy the Porcupine, BRIK/BRIK 180, Jump VCS, Titan Axe, Galactopus - (AtariAge.com)
    at Free Play Florida 2015 - Alien Menace - (NeoGames) comes with Deluxe card game
    at Free Play Florida 2015 - Invader X - (Scott Dayton - AtariAge.com)
    Hacks released
    Jan 15 2015 - Q*bert Arcade hack [added PAL version] (AtariAge forums)
    Jan 18 2015 - Commavid's Magicard [PAL conversion + enhanced version] (AtariAge forums)
    Jan 23 2015 - Doctor Who Berzerk w/ speech samples (AtariAge forums)
    Jan 28 2015 - Atari Pacman (AtariAge forums)
    Feb 2 2015 - Freeway - No Traffic (AtariAge forums)
    Mar 13 2015 - Worms (AtariAge forums) hack of Artillery Duel
    Mar 22 2015 - Enduro Trainer (AtariAge forums)
    Sept 8 2015 - Centipede TB hack (AtariAge forums) hack of Centipede for use of an Atari CX-22/80 trak-balls
    Sept 16 2015 - Reactor TB hack (AtariAge forums) hack of Reactor for use of an Atari CX-22/80 trak-balls
    Sept 17 2015 - Millipede Expanded (AtariAge forums) hack of Millipede
    Sept 22 2015 - Berzerk Turbo (AtariAge forums) faster hack of Berzerk
    Sept 26 2015 - Missile Command Arcade (AtariAge forums) hack of Missile Command
    Sept 27 2015 - Millipede TB hack (AtariAge forums) hack of Millipede for use of an Atari CX-22 trak-ball
    Sept 30 2015 - Air Sea Battle fast hack (AtariAge forums) hack of Air Sea Battle
    Sept 30 2015 - Air Sea Battle no timer hack (AtariAge forums) hack of Air Sea Battle
    Sept 30 2015 - Yahtzee graphic hack (AtariAge forums) hack of homebrew Yahtzee [2001]
    Oct 7 2015 - Upp! (theloon.itch.io) hack of A.C.I.D. 2: Your Face is Goo
    Oct 19 2015 - Popeye Arcade 2600 (AtariAge forums) graphic hack of Popeye
    Nov 1 2015 - Crackbats (AtariAge forums) Halloween hack of Crackpots
    Releasing Soon (actual software)
    after Portland Retro Gaming Expo - The Stacks, Panky the Panda - AtariAge
    previewed at 2015 Houston ArcadeExpo - Conjoined, Laughing Boy - Jason Schelhorn/Hozer VG
    ??? 2015 - Super Trash Truck - Sadai Games Corp./Collectorvision (at publisher now)
    ??? 2015 - Twist'r-Shark (was "Sharknado") - NeoGames
    ??? 2015 - Alien Greed: Return of Charles - NeoGames
    ??? 2015 - RAM-Pong - Packrat Games
    ??? 2015/carts signed Feb 2015 - Demons (based on the 1985 movie) - NeoGames
    On Hold - Tunnels & Trolls - Jason Schelhorn
    WIP - D.K. VCS, DK Arcade 2600 - AtariAge
    ??? 2016 - Zombie Road Kill - Scott Dayton
    ??? 2016 - Wizard of Wor 2: The Arena - AtariAge
    Dec 28 2014 - Larry the Lemon (formally known as "Black Friday) (back working on it)
    Dec 31 2014 - Pac-Action
    Jan 1 2015 - Moto X
    Jan 4 2015 - Cows
    Jan 14 2015 - Tumulus (back working on it)
    Jan 16 2015 - Aaron the Aant
    Jan 19, 2015 - The Gizzle Wap and The Strange Red Tree - completed 5/29/15
    Jan 20, 2015 - The Celery Movie - completed 4/20/15
    Jan 22, 2015 - 5 Nights at Freddy's or Bentley's Family Diner Demo
    Feb 2 2015 - Alien Greed 5 (back working on it)
    Feb 7 2015 - F40 (aka Ferreira 4.0 KB: Portuguese Stallion) (back working on it) on hold 3/20
    Feb 13 2015 - Alien Pinball
    Feb 13 2015 - Puncher (Demo)
    Feb 14 2015 - Dragon Defense
    Feb 25 2015 - Titan Axe (Beta demo released) - completed 4/19/15
    Feb 26 2015 - Balloon Girl
    Mar 6 2015 - Expedition Island
    Mar 11 2015 - Atomic Disco
    Mar 15 2015 - Sword of Iffrit - aka Haldors Saga & aka Surtr's Sword (back working on it - from 4k to 16k)
    Mar 25 2015 - Castle of Doom (back working on it)
    Mar 25 2015 - Hysteria / renamed "Lost Cat" - completed 5/5/15
    Mar 27 2015 - Project "LEM"
    Apr 7 2015 - Arkanoid (port) (back working on it)
    Apr 12 2015 - Prince of Persia (port)
    Apr 15 2015 - Space Shoot
    Apr 17 2015 - Pepsi Invaders Graphic Mystery - Hack
    May 1 2015 - 2048_4vcs (port) (beta version) - completed 5/6/15
    May 6 2015 - Pac-Man 2 (hack of Ms. Pac-Man)
    May 9 2015 - ORB (winkdot - AtariAge forum)
    May 10 2015 - Laundry Hero Chapter 2
    May 12 2015 - Gauntlet (hack of Dark Chambers) - working
    May 22 2015 - Pac Man 2600 8K (port of Pac-Man) (back working on it)
    May 29 2015 - Trapped
    May 29 2015 - Run Out! - completed 7/3/15
    May 31 2015 - RunOut (2 different games / 2 different programmers)
    May 31 2015 - Spies in the Night - completed 6/17/15
    May 31 2015 - Shadow of the Colossus VCS
    Jun 19 2015 - Dead Road
    Jun 20 2015 - Captain Bruce In the Year 2601
    Jun 30 2015 - Boo, Scary House {tech demo of Haunted House clone}
    Jul 4 2015 - Doom Patrol
    Jul 4 2015 - Street Brawler
    Jul 5 2015 - Super Mario World 2600
    Jul 6 2015 - Street Fight World
    Aug 4 2015 - JELL-O Pudding Pops presents Fat Albert (hack of Fat Albert hack (2000) which was a hack of Fast Food) - completed 8/16/15
    Sept 1 2015 - Gizzle Wap 2 "The Gizzle Wap and the Toxic Isles"(tent)
    Sept 2 2015 - Zombie Road Kill (Scott Dayton) due out in 2016
    Sept 25 2015 - Red Blue 3D Game (demo)
    Oct 9 2015 - Dr. Flin and His Pills
    Oct 9 2015 - Carrot Kingdom
    Nov 8 2015 - Robot Zed
    Nov 13 2015 - Scramble (port)
  4. Like
    Yo-Yo reacted to RickR for a blog entry, Multi-cart Reviews - Atari 5200 (128 in 1)   
    Ah, the Atari 5200. It's basically the same hardware as the Atari 8-bit computers, repackaged as a gigantic, over-the-top, "Big is Better" gaming system. Consider it an Atari 400 with no keyboard, but with some very "interesting" controllers.
    Love it or hate it, it's the perfect system to buy a multi-cart for. The original library is reasonably small -- easy to fit on a multi-cart. But what's really special here is the number of homebrews, and hacked 8-bit ROMS that really expand the library of games. A lot of this stuff isn't available on the 5200 unless you use a multi-cart.
    The multi-cart I have is from AtariMax, and it's called the "128-in-1 USB Flash Multi-Cart". This particular model isn't available for purchase anymore (replaced by the newer "Ultimate SD" model). But it can be found on ebay if you prefer a slightly less expensive option.
    AtariMax 128-in-1 USB Flash Multi-Cart
    Holds 128 Games
    Beautiful, easy to use menu selection system.


    This older model is programmed using a PC, the AtariMax 5200 Flash Studio software, and a USB cable. It's really pretty easy to load up with ROMS, and honestly, once you fill up the 128 slots, you probably won't use the studio software very often. It's a drag and drop interface. Simply drag a ROM file into one of the 128 available slots. Once you are satisfied, hit the "Synchronize" button. Simple. Below is a shot of the software on my laptop:

    And a few pictures of the multi-cart itself. It's got a very nice sticker--very professional looking. And there is a USB port on top for connecting it to your PC. Again, very well done. They must cannibalize more common carts to make these things, as the case is 100% authentic Atari.

    Once you are done programming the cart, you unhook the USB cable, plug the cart into your 5200, and an amazing menu system appears. Choose a game by either using up/down to select a game (left/write move the list by a full page), and then hitting the lower button on the controller to select. This is the perfect interface for a multi-cart. Fast and easy. Here's a few shots of the interface:

    Let's talk about the games. You can load in any ROM, but check out a few of the choices on mine. 8-bit conversions, hacked versions, prototypes, homebrews. It is awesome! Here are screen shots of a two 8-bit conversions (Donkey Kong and MULE).

    In my opinion, games on the 5200 are excellent. Most of the arcade conversions are really good. My favorite games are Berzerk (it talks!) and Realsports Baseball (probably the best baseball game on any classic console). But (don't get mad at me, this is just my opinion) the controllers are TERRIBLE. Mushy buttons, a non-centerering stick -- what was Atari thinking with this thing? On the bright side, the controllers have a pause button, which I think was a first for home consoles. To sum it up -- great games, bad controller.
    The newer multi-cart is even easier to use than mine -- it has an SD cart slot. Load up the ROMS on the SD card, put the card into the cartridge, and away you go. Same great menu interface.
    Let's talk costs--this multi-cart isn't cheap. The newer version is $130 plus shipping. The older one I have was $100 when I bought it new. I've seen them on ebay for around $80-$100. Both options are costly. But it's a lot easier to use your console without having to find and insert cartridges. And did I mention the hacks, conversions, and homebrews?
    Would you rather deal with this:

    or this?

    To summarize, the AtariMax multi-cart is totally awesome. It's easy to load ROMS, has a beautiful and fast interface, and just plain works. Huge thumbs up.
    Please send any questions you have in the comments!
  5. Like
    Yo-Yo reacted to leolinden for a blog entry, Playing The Atari   
    I've been playing the Atari a lot lately. I got some games from a comic store that sells used games. My favorite so far has to be Robot Tank. The reason being, it is amazing in the aspect that it is 3Dish. I can't wait to get more games for the 2600. What's a game you guys recommend?
  6. Like
    Yo-Yo reacted to leolinden for a blog entry, Going to Use This Blog Tool   
    Hey guys. I think I'm going to utilize this blog platform on the forums. I'm going to post about game development and other gaming stuff (mostly Atari of course). I don't know. I'll see if this takes off.
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