Jump to content

RickR

Moderator
  • Posts

    10,999
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    1,058

Blog Entries posted by RickR

  1. RickR

    Trip blog
    We had made our plans months ago, figuring early Feb would be a nice time to go to Disneyland with less crowds and ride the new "Runaway Railway" ride.  As the date approached, we could see the weather forecast was getting worse and worse, with an "atmospheric river" approaching.  Bah!  We are Oregonians, rain is of no concern!  So my wife and I decided for forge ahead (full disclosure, I asked a couple of locals what they thought). 
    How was it?  Well.  Bad.  1.5" of rain on both days we were there.  Crowds were a bit less than normal.  But the part we didn't anticipate was how many rides were shut down.  Even a lot of indoor rides had to be closed due to water intrusion! 
    BUT, we still had fun.  We rode the new Runaway Railway several times (it is awesome) and Rise of the Resistance as well (still awesome).  Many rides had no lines at all.  Which was nice.  And waterproof coats and shoes held up well.  And we now have interesting stories to tell. 
    I have just a few pictures to share.  They don't do justice to how much it rained with so much water on the ground. 
     



  2. RickR

    Trip blog
    A quick blog entry just to share the beauty of Oregon.  My wife and I took a 40 minute drive in our new car to Sandy, OR, at the base of Mt. Hood to visit Barlow Wayside trail.  If you ever visit Oregon, expect very nice people and some spectacular natural areas.  This park has some very quiet, serene trails for a self-guided tour of a forest.  It looks like that third moon of Endor.  In any case, stop and enjoy the peace.  Breathe in the crisp, clean fall air.  Refreshing.  This one is considered an "easy" hike, and we walked about 2 miles according to my fitbit.
    More info:
    For 10,000 years local Indians would have fished, foraged, camped, and hunted in this area. Then, merely 170 years ago, emigrants rested at a place such as this, arriving along the historic Barlow Road, the last segment of the Oregon Trail, allowing them, their stock and covered wagons, to cross the south slope of Mt. Hood to reach the "Promised Land" of the Willamette Valley. Built in 1846 by Sam Barlow and Philip Foster, the rugged overland trail avoided the treacherous Columbia River rapids yet traversed extremely steep terrain, rivers, and dense forests. As you explore the park with its towering trees and lush habitat, we hope you may find some solace as those who came before.
     




  3. RickR

    Trip blog
    A quick trip on a beautiful Saturday to the Evergreen Air Museum in McMinnville Oregon.  It's about an hour drive from my home.  This museum is most famous for housing the giant WWII Howard Hughes "Spruce Goose".  I assure you, it is huge. 
    Also a picture of the author on Atari Day with an Atari shirt, relaxing in an old airline seat, a delicious lunch at a place that serves sandwiches on fresh-made bread, a sweet late 60's Ford Falcon I spotted in a parking lot, and our current sweet ride too, which looked nice in the sun. 








  4. RickR

    Collection
    The other day, I was cleaning out drawers upstairs, which were full of our kids' school stuff.  Old papers and art and various supplies and books..  Out came this purple box, which I assumed was a pencil box. 

    But when I opened it, nope!  It's a Nyko Gamoboy game case.  And that writing on it?  That's my wife's handwriting.  It all came flooding back to me like a sharp zoom!  My oldest child's first game system was a Gameboy Color.  We learned pretty quickly that if he took it to a friends home or on vacation, he could potentially lose or leave behind a game.  So this was the solution.  Just make sure each game is in the case before you leave.

    Anyway, the memories here, probably only valid to myself, my wife, and probably our now-grown-up son, are priceless.  My next step is to find those old original games (I hope we still have them) and put them in the right slots.  Then this becomes a most prominent piece of my Gameboy collection.
     
     
     
  5. RickR

    Retro Gaming on PC
    A quickie game review by RickR.  I'm having some fun going through the old PC CD games I've kept over the years.
    Game:  Hot Wheels Stunt Track Driver 2

    My Take:
    It's a very simple racing game with an interesting use of FMV technology.  The game uses FMV movies for the track footage with a 3D car rendered on top of that.  It works surprisingly well!  There are plenty of tracks.  But the game is meant more for kids and isn't very challenging.  I like the ability to do "stunts" while in the air.  I also like that the game is quick and simple to play.  But overall, this isn't a game I'll go back to much.
    It's a Windows-based game, released in 2000.  It works just fine natively on my Windows 7 laptop.
    Also, I found an LGR review of the game after playing, which was fun to watch.
     
  6. RickR

    Retro Gaming on PC
    I had a blog entry a little while ago about the desire to set up a machine to run my old collection of DOS and CD-ROM games.  I successfully set up a Win 7 laptop, but hinted at something better....

    Well, here we go.  It's a Gateway Profile 4 all-in-one with a built-in LCD screen.  Windows XP, Pentium 4 (single core), 1GB DDR memory, 40GB HD.  Built in speakers, modem, network, DVD drive, etc.  It needed a bit of repair, but I got it up and working.
    I tried DOOM and DOOM2 first, and they both had issues with the integrated sound card.  Very choppy sound.  I loaded up DOSBox, and that problem was solved.  So I'm very happy.  This is going to be a really cool way to enjoy this project. 
    The machine has an integrated NVidia based video card, so I'll see if the 3D games of the time work next.  Maybe Quake?  We shall see.
     


  7. RickR

    Retro Gaming on PC
    Another day, another hare-brained project.
    I've gotten the urge to play the multitude of old PC games from the 80's -> 00's.  Think Doom, Quake, King's Quest, etc.  I kept almost all of those games, especially if they were CD based.  What I've found is that they mostly don't work on a Windows 10 PC without some help from DOSBox or D-fend.  My idea was to set aside an old laptop exclusively for this purpose. 
    A friend gave me an old Dell laptop.  It's a 2010 model and has Windows 7 installed.  Core 2 Duo.  Shockingly, the Dell support site has XP drivers for this thing.  Should I load XP?  I may, but for now, I'm going to give Win 7 a try.  As I recall, it has a "compatibility mode". 
    First try was for DOOM and DOOM 2.  Those are DOS based.  I loaded DOSBox and it works!  Easy.  Sound and graphics are fine.  I'm happy!  I'll keep going and report progress with other games as I go.
     
     

  8. RickR

    Retro Gaming on PC
    As per my prior blog post, I'm attempting to re-enjoy all the old classic 90's PC games.  In that post, I mentioned using an old laptop running Windows 7.  Well as luck would have it, something special has been donated to me.  Check this thing out -- the Gateway Profile 4.  It's a complete all-in-one Windows XP machine with a built-in LCD monitor, 3.5" floppy drive, DVD drive, speakers, Pentium 4, and....that's about all I know at this point.  It may need a bit of repair.  My best guess is that Gateway was trying to come up with something to compete with the all-in-one Apple iMac of the time.  I think it's from about 2002.
    I'll keep this blog updated as I progress in repairing this thing, and also how it does with the old games that I have. 
    To be continued...
     




  9. RickR

    Trip blog
    Q:  What is the most popular tourist attraction in the entire state of Oregon?
    A:  Amongst many natural wonders in the state, Multnomah Falls is the winner
    My wife and I left our home early this morning to beat the crowds and visit the falls.  It's about 50 miles east of Portland...about an hour away down the scenic Columbia River Gorge.  The Gorge was created in one of the last ice ages 10,000 years ago by the tremendous water flows of the Missoula floods.  The falls are 620 feet tall with a very difficult trail that goes all the way to the top (we ended up going about half-way up).
    What's different for us locals who have been here 100 times is that a lot of the forest is gone or thinned out -- a result of the wildfires the last few years. 
    The view from the parking lot:


    The historic lodge:

    Majestic falls:


    From the bridge, you get a spectacular view of the upper bowl, and also quite wet from the spray.


    And the view from above isn't too bad:

    We had a very nice time and drove on to the beautiful town of Hood River after for lunch and sight seeing. 
     
     
  10. RickR

    Collection
    My Vectrex collection!  I just got the Vectrex back from being refurbished (buzz-off kit installed, all caps replaced, general clean-up) and thought it would be a good time to document the whole collection. 
    The Vectrex is one of my all-time favorite parts of my collection.  I purchased this one in Feb 2013 from a chap over on AtariAge.  Over the years, I've added a few carts and overlays, and that sweet converted Genesis arcade stick (that turns-out was made by a guy I know!).  I'm now up to 3 multi-carts, with the newest being the Jason Kopp cart that I 3d printed a case for. 
    The refurbishment went really well.  It absolutely looks, sounds, and plays like new.  Better-than-new in the case of the missing buzz. 
    Thank you for indulging me!
     









  11. RickR

    Trip blog
    I had to pleasure of visiting Disneyland / California Adventure while visiting one of my kids.  I thought I'd share a few notes, especially on the newer rides.
    One thing to keep in mind when planning your visit is that you'll need to make reservations at the park of your choice in advance.  You don't just need a ticket, but also that reservation.  They are limiting how many guests are allowed in each day, and I think that's a really good thing.  Pre-planning is necessary.
    The "Marvel" area at DCA
    They've replaced the old "Bug's Land" area with an all new Marvel-themed area and also re-themed the Tower of Terror to Guardians of the Galaxy.  It's a big improvement and a really fun area to visit for fans of the Marvel movies (and comic books).  There is one new ride in the area, and it's Spider-Man themed.  It's similar to "Toy Story Midway Mania" or "Buzz Lightyear" in that it's kind of a game with scoring.  You use your arms to "throw" webs.  The tech here is pretty cool.  The ride is fun, but it's also a bit too fast and confusing.  I wish they'd chosen a real villain to fight instead of generic bots.  It feels like a video game and it's fun.  Grade:  B.

    The GOG overlay of Tower of Terror is excellent.  It's fun instead of scary now, with a 70's soundtrack that seems to change with every ride.  Grade:  A+.
    The New Star Wars area at DL
    I've been before, but it's still amazing.  "Rise of the Resistance" is incredible in it's scope.  It uses every trick in the Disney bag.  Grade:  A+.

    "Smuggler's Run" lets you fly the Millennium Falcon as a team of smugglers.  It's a dream come true for every Star Wars geek.  Grade:  A+

    And now for a few random photos from the trip.
     










  12. RickR

    YouTube Channels
    It's been around a while, but I just stumbled onto the "RetroBird" channel.  It deals with retro gaming, and it's informative and funny.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9L4gU9wd7ImK8vP4WnJ_wQ
     
     
  13. RickR

    Trip blog
    This is a quick blog entry with just a few pictures from a short trip to Reno, NV.  I'm not a gambler, so I visited several museums in the area and had a great time.  Here are a few pics appropriate to this site from the National Automobile Museum (highly recommended if you like cars).  They had tons of cars, all drool-worthy.  But here are a few of the TV-based pieces they had. 
     








  14. RickR

    System Reviews
    What is it?
    It's a modern rendition of the classic Colecovision.  It has a cartridge port and will play all of the original cartridge games.  In addition, it has an SD card slot and can run Colecovision ROM files.  It also has an Atari 2600 core to run Atari ROMs.  Real Colecovision controllers work with it, and it also has a Super Nintendo socket to use a SNES gamepad.  And it has HDMI output for use on modern TV's.  It comes with the "super game module" built in -- so you can use the latest improved homebrew games with no issue. 

    Willie at ArcadeUSA has a very good review up on Youtube, which I suggest you check out. 



    What do I think?
    In the short time I've spent with the system, I can honestly tell you this thing is pure awesome.  I love that real cartridges work (why can't more "flashback" systems include a cartridge port?)  I haven't found any compatibility issues.  Even my "new-to-me" roller controller works fine.   It plays, looks, and sounds PERFECT.  I really like how they made the unit look like a tiny Colecovision.  The inclusion of the SNES port is genius.  No more complaints about the "just-ok" Colecovision controllers. 

    Any issues?
    Please know this:  this list is insignificant and nitpicky.  But an honest review must include some cons.
    There are some HDMI compatibility issues.  I have one TV that won't play the sounds correctly.  And I've read on-line of some Samsung TV's not being able to display the picture at all. The "core" slots for the SD Card are a touch confusing.  I haven't messed with it much.  My guess is that I'll set up the Coleco and Atari cores and try to never touch it again.  I wish it had composite output to enjoy the system on an old CRT.  I know that I can buy a converter of some kind, and I think I may go ahead and do that.  Overall Opinion?
    It's a huge ball of awesomeness.  Congratulations to the Collectorvision team for producing such an incredible system.  I've heard talk of a third run of consoles, so get your name on their list if you are interested.  Highly recommended.  RickR gives this an A++++.



     
  15. RickR
    More adventures with the Phoenix.

    One very minor issue that I've had with the Phoenix has been that my retro gaming is done on an old analog TV.  Since the Phoenix only has HDMI output (and my TV has no HDMI input), this was a problem.
    Off to ebay!  I found a very inexpensive (less than $10 shipped) HDMI -> AV converter and ordered one.  It has arrived, and I've been playing around with it.  Summary:  it works!  It's exactly what I needed.  No fuss.  Just plug it in, and it works straight away.  It works on my other HDMI retro gaming systems as well (Commodore 64 Mini, Sony PS1 Mini, Atari Flashback 9). 

    The picture and sound quality isn't bad at all.  It pretty much looks identical to a real Colecovision to me.  I didn't notice any lag or any color issues. 
    My advice for anyone that wants to use their Phoenix on a CRT is to buy and try one of these devices.  Please note to be careful...they sell devices that convert composite to HDMI, and that's not what you want.  Look at the picture of the item and make sure that HDMI is listed as "INPUT" (and not "OUTPUT"). 
     




  16. RickR
    Hi everyone. How do you all feel about multi-carts?
     
    My thoughts are that they are a really convenient way to enjoy your classic gaming consoles, and experience the games the best way -- on REAL hardware.
     
    These things come in a variety of formats. The very best have an SD card slot that allow you to place the entire library of games on a single memory card, and then enjoy the games via a menu driven interface. Other types include a set/built-in group of games on a cartridge, games selectable by DIP switch, or emulators for disk drives.
     
    I thought I'd write up some quickie reviews of the multi-carts I own. Ask questions please! Let's start with the system I currently have out: The TI 99/4A.
     
     
    TI 99/4A Multi-Cart (2048k Games)
    Pros:
    Nice menu interface
    Lots of games
    Low price
    Cons:
    Requires 32k memory upgrade
    Not all games included
    Here are some pictures of my console, and the multi-cart. I have the speech module attached. There are several voice games on this compilation that do actually work with the speech unit -- very cool! I have the stainless model of the TI, which always reminds me of a DeLorean. I'd say this is one sweet looking computer.




    The cart is made by a user on Atari Age. I can provide his name to you if anyone is interested. It's a really nice cartridge -- looks professional in all regards. Even the label looks TI authentic.
     
    The one thing about this cart that is kind of quirky is that your TI must have a 32k memory upgrade. That can take several forms. The big giant PEB disk box has 32k expansion, or there are new fangled disk emulation devices that also include the upgrade. Mine actually has 32k built onto the computer motherboard -- which is a really nice setup provided by another user on Atari Age. I will say, both guys are really nice and a pleasure to buy from. You can tell they love the TI platform.
     
    So plug it in, and you get a nice menu screen like this. I won't include them all. There are 8 screens on the menu with 16 games per screen. I think right around 120 games! Wow. All of the Atarisoft games are included. Many of the best games I know of are here. The only one I noticed as absent is a speech enhanced game named "Alpiner". But that's OK, I have a real cartridge of that one.

     
    Games on the TI are hit and miss. The system itself has really good graphics for the era. I'd say C64 equivalent. The sound is just OK. TI made some pretty lame games -- lots of simple games that don't push the envelope in any way. With the notable exception of Parsec, which is unbelievable. It's a side scrolling shooter...kind of a slower clone of Vanguard. Hi-res graphics and speech make this a fantastic game. TI Invaders is a really good Space Invaders clone.
     
    The third party games really shine on this system. Every single Atarisoft game is beyond excellent. Take a look at the Pac Man and Ms Pac man screen shots below...the ghosts have eyes with whites and pupils -- which no other system of that era can boast. And Imagic's "Demon Attack" is probably the very best version on any system. It supports speech, has multitudes of crazy looking aliens, a nice planet background, and even a boss level! WOW!
     




     
    TI made an ET game! It's really just a Frogger clone. How weird is that?


     
    I hope no one worships the Flying Spaghetti Monster, because the first Demon Attack aliens look like FSM.


     
    TI made TWO ET games! I have no idea how to play this second one.



     
    Overall, this multi-cart is a bargain -- even having to buy the 32k memory expansion. Worth every penny, and I can't wait to explore all the games available on this thing.
     
    Please feel free to send me feedback! I have several other multi-carts to share if there is any interest!
  17. RickR
    I'm stealing the bit from Retrogaming Times. "The Many Faces of" was one of my favorite articles. Comparisons of the same game for various systems. Ordered from worst to first. Here are the various versions of Pac Man for classic systems. No homebrews or hacks allowed. These are the versions I've played...please let me know if I missed any.
     
    Last Place:
    Atari 2600 - People like this version for nostalgia's sake...but it's not a good game. Main sins: Pac Man doesn't face up or down. No fruits. Weird colors. No intermissions. Sounds aren't even close to arcade.

     
    The "also rans":
    VIC-20: They tried. But it's too choppy to be fun. And the maze is way too small.

     
    TI 99/4A - Looks GREAT. But way too slow and easy. And the lack of multi-channel sound hurts it.

     
    Atari 8-Bit: The game is good. Great graphics, great sounds. But no intermissions. Game is easy.

     
    Commodore 64: Almost identical to the Atari 8-bit version. No intermissions. Too slow and easy.

     
    NES: It's really good. But Pac Man and the ghosts are way too big. Plus the game is slow.

     
    5200: They took the 8-bit version, added intermissions, and ramped up the difficulty. It's great. But those controllers will cause you to die sometimes.

     
     
     
    Medal Winners:
    Bronze:
    Intellivision: I'm giving this version a medal for technical achievement. it's amazing how good this version is, given the hardware. Control is no issue. Tight and fun. It has intermissions. The sounds and graphics are great. I love this version so much.

     
    Silver:
    Sega Game Gear - It's just about perfect. The screen scrolls, but that's ok.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKzZyAFqUNM
     
    Gold:
    Colecovision: It's a prototype. It should have been released because it is AWESOME. It's so fast. There are intermissions. Ghosts have eyes. Amazing.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-3OOdjnTq4
  18. RickR
    A blog post for the cheap retro-gamer who likes to tinker....
     
    I'd like to introduce the concept of the "Scraptop". It is essentially, a really old laptop, bought for a low price...souped up, and loaded with retro games (emulators) and tools.
     
    Why? What's the point? Well, it all started with an Atari SIO2PC cable, which is a piece of hardware that allows any PC with a serial port to easily emulate an Atari 8-bit disk drive. The function of the cable is probably a good subject for another blog post...but keep this in mind...it's only about $30, and it allows you to load ANY Atari disk image on a real Atari computer. Did you notice the mention of serial port? Most new laptops do not have serial ports. Old ones do. So I can have the scraptop right there next to my Atari computer and load any disk image. Cool, right?
     
    The scraptop I have here is a Dell Latitude D520. It came with an Intel Core Duo CPU (2 cores) at 1.83Ghz, 1GB of memory, and a 20Gb serial hard drive. It has a fully functional battery. The screen, keyboard, and case were in really nice condition (except for dirt). It was marked down at Goodwill for $10...probably because it had a big security cable bolt on the top.
     
    Step 1 when I bought this thing was to make sure it worked. It fired right up. Everything seemed fully functional. Hard drive was blank, but that's OK.
     
    Step 2 was getting the security dongle off. A few minutes with some acetone and a paint scraper, and it came right off. I put a sticker over the discoloration left behind. My backup plan was to buy the case top on ebay, but that wasn't necessary.
     
    Step 3 was replacing one of the 512Mb memory sticks with a 1Gb stick I had in my box of parts (more on this later). More memory = faster computer.
     
    Step 4 was opening the laptop up. Dell's are usually super easy to work on. In this case, removing the keyboard was easy, and it allowed me to pull the dust out of the heatsink and put new thermal compound in.
     
    Step 5 was loading Windows Vista on it, which went really smoothly. Why Vista? Well, it works fine for emulation and the Atari tools, and it's free (since I have a Dell disk that came with another Dell PC). It will load on any Dell computer.
     
    Once I had it working, it was time to soup it up a bit. I bought a 32Gb SSD on Ebay for $15, as well as a $3 1GB memory stick. You'll be amazed at how cheap parts are for these old computers.
     
    The extra memory and SSD allow the computer to boot in about 40 seconds. Very nice! And even though this computer is a good 10 years old, it will run emulators perfectly. DVD's play fine on it, and surfing the web is fast. The SSD makes the computer almost completely silent. Moore's Law is dead, my friends.
     
    So for a roughly $40 outlay, I got a very nice portable PC that holds all of my Atari disk images, can run old emulators, and even play movies. Plus I had a lot of fun getting my hands dirty and working on this thing. It's a lot cheaper and more functional than a tablet.
     
    For me, I like to stick with the "Dell" brand, since I have a lot of spare parts already (this isn't my first scraptop), and that important Vista disk.
     
    So there you go. If you ever spot a lonely old laptop at a garage sale or thrift shop, you might take a look and consider doing something similar with it. All I'd suggest is to make sure it has at least a dual core CPU, a functioning battery, and seems to be in good shape.
  19. RickR
    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.
     

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

    Cons
    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.
     

  20. RickR
    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
     
    Pros
    Holds 128 Games
    Beautiful, easy to use menu selection system.

    Cons
    Expensive

    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!
×
×
  • Create New...