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Topics - retro junkie

I have been trying to survive the first stage of this first bullet hell shooter for the NES/Famicom console. It is tough and it is very busy on screen, space ships, bullets, etc.
This is a picture of my cartridge. I had to attach a video because there was no way that I could capture, with a camera standing in front of my TV, all of the action in this game. It is a homebrew and I am loving every minute of it.

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Both Walmart and Best Buy are going to eliminate physical copies of games and movies from their stores in 2024. I am thinking that this will impact and change the gaming industry in a big way. Game stores struggle to keep the doors open by carrying merchandise like figurines, stuffed things, DVDs, t-shirts, boardgames, buying and selling electronics, used games, etc. Not sure how this would affect them unless the game industry went full digital download.
I don't purchase new games anymore. I look for used stuff, usually on eBay, or a local game store. So I am not supporting the system, I guess. So how is this my fault? There are those "collector stuff" that I have stepped up to the plate to obtain, usually stuff that I was really into. Like the Lunar series on the PS1. Got both one and two collector's editions. Most everything else has been used and I have not been too picky on whether it was in the original case. But being a retro gamer most of my interests have been in the used market anyway. But where I do care is my Nintendo Switch. I want hard copies.

When it comes to movies, I do purchase new, hard copies, DVDs. Has this generation switched to streaming only?

So where do you think we are going with physical games at this point? Post up!
General Discussion / Star Wars: Ahsoka
September 01, 2023, 02:18:33 PM
Has anyone started watching this series? I sort-of like this one, even though it does not specifically standout in the over crowded Disney Star Wars clutter. There is a certain something about it that has hooked me. I just hope they do not derail it in the following episodes. It doesn't have that Star Wars feel in it, but I think part of that is the drama aspect. And I think that is part of my problem with any of the Disney+ Star Wars series, other than the sometimes mediocre story telling, canon issues, or writing. Star Wars movies are mostly action orientated. I hope there is some real character development as the story unfolds. This seems to be focused toward her sidekick, Sabine, for the moment. But that is okay because it is causing us to get to know more about Ahsoka.

Who's watching?
I am going into this thing totally blind. Never took thought of the chomebook before. First some background. Since we have retired, and the pandemic thing, we have started to do more things online, like paying our bills, banking, shopping, etc. Security has become a concern. We have been using macbook pros for a number of years now, but the OS has become non supported by apple as it is now a thing of the past. I can still use the macbook offline to do a lot of things that I use one of these for, but online..........well that is the cause now for concern. I don't go to sites that are questionable, or shady. But you never know when, or if, you might just pick up something. Right now the most secure PC I have in the house is a lenovo IBM thinkpad R60. It still has IBM on it, LOL, that should give you an idea of how old this thing is. I have MX linux running great on it, like a new computer really. My desktop is a lenovo thinkcentre m58e 7298 which was released in 2009. I am getting ready to back it up and put MX linux on it. (I need to get out of the 32bit world.)

Sooo... a chromebook grabbed my interest in wanting to know what they are and how could they be used in every day menial tasks. The one that I am using to type this, I found on ebay for $44 free shipping. They started out with 105 of them and as I was looking around pondering if I should take the plunge, they had dwindled down to the last one and I grabbed it up. In my research I suddenly found out that they have an expiration date when they are no longer supported. I also found out that the one I had purchased had expired, and then I ran across the info that they had extended the life another two years. That was the first thing I did when I took it out of the package, updated the OS. And sure enough I have support in updates to the security of the OS until June 2025. That makes it usable for me to do banking and stuff until I get a handle on where I want to go at this point. Got to consider all options.

So here I have this lenovo N23 yoga. It is tiny compared to what I am used to, 11.6" touch screen. Battery has 7.5 hours of life, which is down from what it would be new. Four gigs of ram and a 32gig hard drive. It is hard for me to wrap my head around the thought that this originally sold for around $300. Chromebooks are a stripped down laptop built around a browser, chrome, by google. Sure they have other things that you can do with them as I am learning, word processing, etc. And they have become a big item in the school industry and some  businesses, especially since the pandemic. This might explain the pricing and marketing.

So far my experience has been, I can see where this can be used for some things but it cannot replace a "real" laptop. I see the benefit that it contributes to the school system and the reason for the limitations. I have found it sluggish at times, like when I was using the bluetooth for a set of headphones, using a mouse. I have only had it for a few days but I am putting it through everything I can think of. Love learning about things like this, and it is a learning experience for me. The biggest shock I had, was to use it, all I had to do is log into it with my email account and my password. And this was the shock, syncing it with my chrome on my macbook. It pulled all my bookmarks and passwords from that laptop, chrome to chrome. I had no idea that my security was that venerable. Everything hinging on the simplicity or complexity of my password to my email, just because I am using the chrome browser.

I will explore this thing over this next month and just see how much this can be used for the fun part of just being on the net. I love learning about these things. A new toy.  :happydance:
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A Winner Is You / Lunar Legend - GBA
January 09, 2023, 12:17:00 PM
I finished Lunar Legend today using my GBA SP, or one of my SP. This is really the first game I have set down to start and finish after retiring in July of 2021. I gamed more during my work career mainly, I guess, for stress relief. I don't have that stress now and as a result I, at first, had no desire to game. I have spent most of my time out in the yard working and doing house repairs. Been very enjoyable. This game marks a new beginning. It has been very enjoyable just sitting down and playing it. It made me want more from the game than what was there. I spent several days maxing out and leveling my characters by just grinding as you usually can in RPGs.
During my work career it was really difficult to stay focused on a game to finish, so many distractions. Even a new game distracted me from finishing the one I was playing. I have had this game for years and this is the first time I finished it. It will be remembered.
General Discussion / WEREWOLF by Night
October 09, 2022, 08:36:43 PM
Has anyone seen this. Sad that they are only going to have one episode. If this is what it takes for them to be successful in putting together something worth while watching, then so be it.
This is a top notch quality production. Highly recommended viewing.
My Daughter and I really enjoyed this.

Anyone else see this? What is your take? Good? Bad? Not interested?
General Discussion / She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
August 18, 2022, 10:31:55 PM
Okay, watched the first episode tonight. I really liked and enjoyed this first episode. I hope they can keep up the momentum and churn out something good with this.

Anyone else see this, thoughts?
I discovered this hack of Streets of Rage 2. Of course someone put it on a cart and put it up on AliExpress. I had to have it. It made me dig my original Sega Genesis out of the closet. I had been using a Hyperkin clone to play my Genny carts. But this would not play on a clone console. This thing has all original characters replaced, chibi, with great animation. It is Streets of Rage 2 all new again. Been playing this thing and having a ball.

I do not intend you to watch this all the way through. Just thought it would give you an idea of what I am talking about. And I do think that you can download this for other consoles from their shops, like for example Switch.

I have been waiting for this! Finally in my mailbox!!
I have started my July 4th weekend playing Viewpoint 2064 for the Nintendo 64. This is an unreleased game for the N64 that should have been released IMO. It looks like it would have been a release through Sammy. I would have loved a game like this on the N64 back then during its heyday. But I am thankful that someone acquired and released the Rom file. And that some little, or big, Chinese person took it and placed it on a cart and put it up for sale. Original hardware with the game on a cart is what I like. I paid $50 for this and I do not regret it.  I am sure this is not much more than a prototype, but wow it is highly playable and fun.
I am not quite sure if it is finished. It plays okay, no bugs that I can tell, yet. There was that moment during one stage that nothing was attacking for like a couple of minutes, which is when I wondered if the game was finished. And then there was objects falling down in my way in another stage, I went right through them with no hit detection. Enemies have an attack pattern that comes to be expected at certain points during the stages. Memorization is needed in games like this, old school. 

I have been trying out buttons to see what works. Found out that if I hold down my fire button I can lock onto multiple targets and fire a missile like in the SEGA After Burner game. And I do have this power shot that is connected to an energy bar at the bottom of the screen. It gradually builds up and then you can use it. Seems you can use it at any time, but the most powerful use is when the bar is full. Then there are those different type shot power ups that are typical in shooters.
This is a behind the view rails shooter. There are moments in some stages where you are treated to the ¾ view of the original SNK Viewpoint. This also has a Star Fox 64 type gameplay at times.
The action is frantic with mid level bosses and a main boss at the end. And it is, at times, challenging for me. The more I learn about my ship the easier it is to go up against the end stage boss, at least some of them it is. I am glad there is a life bar for my ship and power ups that help keep it up a little. Although they don't seem to be there when I want them. One boss has wiped me out every time. At the end of stage one you get to choose your route with up to fifteen stages. I have been in one, two, three, five, and nine.
There is a story intro at the beginning and bits dispersed in between each stage where you are getting instructions, and info, from a Mike Wazowski looking alien.
Graphics are typical Nintendo 64, no slowdown. Some of the stages seem sparse, but come to think of it not any more than the original. And this is not in any way a remake of the original game. But it is a good arcade type shump that is very satisfying: Definitely worth the price of admission.
General Discussion / Moon Knight on Disney +
April 01, 2022, 04:40:07 PM
One of my personalities watched Moon Knight this week. Not sure which one. I am going to watch it myself.
My blu-ray player is acting up. The thought went through my mind that I could use my PS3, but that thought was quickly thrown out. I have never used any of my game systems to watch movies. Never used one as a DVD or blu-ray player. I have always felt that they were too sacred. They are gaming systems. To me it is an abomination to use them for anything else.

Has anyone ever used their game system to watch movies or as a DVD player, blu-ray player?
Retro Gaming and Hardware / The Hyperkin RetroN SQ
April 17, 2021, 04:35:18 PM
This is not how you launch a product. I mean right out of the box the GBA emulation is broken. If you don't know, this is a new console that is designed to play Original Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and Gameboy Advance games. Hyperkin has already proven that they can do GBA emulation on the RetroN 5. The RetroN SQ is built around the same concept technology using RetroArch for the firmware. And RetroArch has proven that it is more than capable in producing excellent GBA emulation. Right out of the box, available only because of bad reviews and complaints, I had to flash the firmware fix from the Hyperkin site. Then I had to go to youtube for RoXolid's fix for the frame skip issue. After those flashes, perfect GBA emulation. The console only plays game carts, so you would need to have a collection of the game carts to even have an interest? Obviously this is not built for the casual gamer. I mean how many people would actually seek this out unless they were into retro gaming. And then it would be questionable if anyone had a desire to play games designed to run on 2 to 3 inch screens to finally be able to play them on their 32" plus flatscreens? Blockiness of the situation would be normal due to the nature of the beast.
I have a nice big collection of the old original gray carts, a smattering of the color, and a small bunch of GBA. There was a blurriness, a smoothing effect, to the games until the firmware updates. Now everything is sharp which emphasizes the blockiness of the gaming graphics. The update also reduced the game load times, 2 to 3 minutes now, depends on the game, it could take longer, because it does download your games into the console for play. Some gamers have an issue with that. If you can get over the blocky pixelated graphics, it is not a bad console. But it does lose something when you go from the GBA screen to the HDMI screen. They were never meant to be played on the big screen. For example, I'd rather play Street Fighter alpha 3 on my GBSP. Sakura's image is so much more appealing, and likable. Apparently the GBSP screen does the same thing as if you had scan lines? Some RPGs look better than others on the big screen.
My only dislike is the powercord change. All of their consoles, till now, used the same thing, something like a micro usb. Why the change. The connection on the console is the same as the Switch lite, type-C.
The controller is good and responsive, no issues. Has a ten foot long cord, no complaints there.
It will not play multi carts, but it will load repro carts. It will play the carts that have two games on it, like Castlevania double pack, but took forever to load, just be aware that it might be 6 minutes, or more, of wait time.
What do I think about this? It is a niche market item. This is not for everyone. I like it for the novelty. Good to have in my collection of clone consoles. How much time will I spend playing games on this? Will it be often? Only time will tell as I sit down and gain some type of affection for the platform. Will you like it? Not sure, depends on who you are and what your taste is in gaming.
General Discussion / The New Face of Retro Gaming?
February 16, 2021, 04:00:16 PM
I think that retro gaming is generational. Meaning that the ones who partake of the passion grew up during those consoles that they love to go back to. At some point that generation of gamers will pass on, get to a point where their passion grows cold, or grow into something else, etc. I don't think things like this will be passed on to another generation. I know there is virtual console, but that will only last as long as that certain age group is still around to make it profitable. Sometime within the next few years things will change.
I think there is a corner out there that we will go around and what is considered retro now will fall to the wayside and be lost. Prices will plummet. What is NES now to some, with the next generation it will possibly be PS1 or PS2, etc. NES and other cart based consoles will go the way of the Atari 2600. I still see some of the 2600 carts in one local game store, but they are a dime a dozen. Sort-of like the old gray original gameboy carts. And brick & mortar game stores are drowning right now trying to stay afloat. They are selling everything but the kitchen sink. I feel like I am in Hot Topics every time I walk into one. I have to hunt for the games.

Anyone else seeing the writing on the wall? What say you?
General Discussion / Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animals
December 25, 2020, 08:00:58 AM
Took 17 days off from work. I love it.  ;)
Well here I am, Christmas morning, eating my breakfast, first one out of bed. Temperature outside is 16. That means I do not want to leave the house.  8) And I won't.  :))
It is looking to be a good day.

Merry Christmas!
General Discussion / Video Games Worth?
October 31, 2020, 08:08:52 PM
Do you take into consideration the worth of your video games?
I am conscience of the fact that I have many video games that have worth and value. The kind of value that if they died, I would not have the resources, or the desire to spend that much, to repurchase them. But gaming is my first thought rather than thinking about the value. My value of them is in the fact I have them to play and enjoy.
What sparked my thoughts on this is some videos on youtube that asked the question of, what is the value of your video game collection. I see my accumulation of games as being my gaming collection. Not an investment that has monetary value. I would never consider ever selling anything. I also hope I am never in the position where I be forced to sell. I do sometimes feel that I have too much. Those that I treasure the most are my game carts.
Let me back step a little, when I say selling my games there is one thought that always comes to mind. What if one of my disc related consoles died? I would be troubled as to what direction to take, sell the games, or reinvest in a console that possibility would die quicker than the one that just failed? That would be horrendous. But the thing is, one day I will be faced with that decision. That is why I always check out the clone retro systems just to see if maybe, just maybe, how close have they come to the real thing. There have been those days that I have cringed as I have pulled out a Saturn, Dreamcast, or Turbo Duo, and flip it on hoping everything will work great.
Your thoughts?
Nintendo - Switch, 3DS, and Wii-U / Got a Switch Lite
October 08, 2020, 10:26:42 PM
I have been with the Company for 20 years. Part of the celebration was money. I decided to blow it on a Switch Lite.
First impressions?
No camera! (Buzzer goes off) I liked the camera feature in the DS line of portables. Yes I know it was low quality, but it was still a good handy camera for catching the moment.
Wifi issues, seems weak in picking it up, unlike my DS and 3DS consoles. I can be all over the house with those but not the Switch Lite.
No charge light! Whut? I need to have the console on in order to know when it is fully charged.
No instruction manual to help in set-up. Had to go online to get through it.
I fingers seem to be fat. Found it very clumsy to tap in the letters. A stylus would have been nice.

And why does the original Gameboy Advance continues to come to mind? It does seem to be a descendant of the line of portables with cosmetic traits?

Don't get me wrong. I do like what I am holding in my hands. I got Animal Crossing. I have ordered Ni No Kuni and Psyvariar Delta. At the end of next week Vacation and some heavy gaming to get the feel of this thing.
It is official. Nintendo has announced ceasing production of the 3DS console. Whether or not this causes any emotions will depend on "where your perspective is" in gaming. Have you always looked forward to new game releases, then there would be some sadness, and you may even choke up a bit. If you take a "retro perspective" in gaming, like me, then you will, to a certain extent, stop, and pause for a moment of silence, and then move on. Then start looking on eBay and purchase extra consoles, especially anything in the limited editions just for backups. And look for bargains in games prices.
Now the burden of Nintendo falls upon the Switch to carry Nintendo into the next generation of gaming. In other words they have placed all their eggs in one basket. From this point on, we will see just how thick that basket is.
I don't know how I ended up with my car being 20 years old. I guess it is because that it has been such a good car over the years, until now. It turned into a money pit this year. Last Saturday the engine blew on my 1999 Malibu in the middle of the road. And I am thinking in my mind I have to pay a bill on a repair from two weeks ago, does not relate to todays breakdown. I only have one car and this is it.
For the last three months, maybe? I have been researching vehicles planning when I retire next year to purchase a new car with my Malibu as a backup second car. That has not happened. I had to use my research, pros & cons, now! Without going into details I ended up going with Carvana and picking a 2014 Chevy Volt.
My seven day trial period ends tomorrow. And I am going to keep this. The car is in mint condition, well taken care of. It is electric with a built in gasoline generator. Very fun to drive.  8)

General Discussion / Using Safari
July 21, 2020, 10:10:58 PM
Does this work?
Help / Issues / Cannot Start a New Thread, Topic!!
July 20, 2020, 08:46:35 PM
Here is a test run!

@BLUEVOODU looks like it is in the "General Discussion" area that I get a "403, forbidden."
I haven't turned my XBOX ONE on in over a year, maybe two. Can't remember. Sorry but it be like that with me. I should have known. It needs to make an update before I can play a game. The update is almost 4g. This is one of the reasons I hate modern consoles. Retro gaming is so easy, push in a game and flip the switch.

This so rubs my fur the wrong way, if it isn't a system update then it is the game. And I am not sure at this point whether the game I want to put in has some sort of update or install period I will have to endure. Just purchased Pacman Championship Edition 2. Surely not, please.

If there is anything the next generation needs to resolve it is the loading of the game. There needs to be some changes in the technology. That issue needs to be addressed badly. Back to carts? Not sure. But the DVD, Blu Ray are outdated as a gaming medium with the amount of data that needs to be juggled for modern gaming. I have gotten my fill of it during the PS3 and XBOX 1.

Not sure what they can do about system update, they are such a pain.
Retro Gaming and Hardware / Famicom Classic Mini
June 20, 2020, 09:17:04 AM
Celebrating 43 years, my wife and i this weekend. My wife knows me very well and got me this as a gift on our anniversary.
After my experience with Genesis, Neo Geo, and Turbo Grafx minis, I have been wanting the NES and SNES minis. I have been also eyeing the Famicom mini.

Game list:
Donkey Kong
Balloon Fight
Ice Climber
Yie Ar Kung-Fu
Super Mario Bros.
The Legend of Zelda
Atlantis no Nazo
Makai Village (Ghosts n' Goblins in the US)
Solomon's Key
Adventure of Link
Bumping Sumo
Super Mario Bros. 3
Ninja Gaiden
Mega Man 2
River City Ransom
Double Dragon Ⅱ The Revenge
Super Tamashito Luo (Super C in the US)
Final Fantasy Ⅲ
Dr. Mario
Downtown Nekketsu March Soreyuke
Mario Open Golf
Super Mario USA (Super Mario Bros. 2 in the US)
Kirby's Adventure

One thing that hit me right out of the box are the tiny controllers. But these things work great. I am impressed. The original Famicom had the controllers attached to the console. This is a con in that the cords are short and you need to be near the console in order to play. I have no problem with my set-up, but this could be a deal breaker with some gamers. They work for me. But they are the only controllers that you can use.

As I was trying out games, I noticed a file that said more games. Clicked and it opened up a ton of surprises. My wife knows nothing about this stuff. She just happened to get one of these things that someone hacked. It has over 900 NES games most in english. This thing is brand new in the box with all of its wrappings.

The games look great over my flat screen. I really don't like the scanline mode. There is too much fuzzy blur, I think that is the best way of describing it. Rather play on the other modes. The sharp  clear images don't bother me.
The console is a pretty solid build. Loving this thing. Nintendo done good.
General Discussion / Tis the Season to be jolly
December 15, 2019, 06:56:00 AM
I am looking down at a week right before I take off for the Christmas Holiday. I will be taking off from work at least two weeks which will take me into the new year. My Family and I are presently doing Christmas things. All our Holiday movies have been pulled and stacked. Last night it was Charlie Brown and Grinch cartoons. We have the Season's music coming from the TV by Youtube throughout the day. At times we will set together, listen, and relax around the tree, trying to remember things from Christmas past. At this point our shopping is done, just last minute mailings of a gift or two and cards. From this point I will be sneaking gift wrapping and stealth placing them under the tree. Much cooking preparations are still in the wings. Which means we will be eating Christmas things. I used to pull out my Sega Saturn and play the Nights Christmas demo game. I haven't done that in a long time.

Family is spread out over the US, and a lot have passed on, so there hasn't been really a gathering for the Holiday in a very long time.

I say looking down at a week because I am out on that limb ready to jump down on that bear and wrestle it to the ground.

Each Family has their own traditions in how they celebrate the Holiday. Is there something you can share that makes the Season special to you?

A Christmas memory that we have was when my Daughter was around 8 or was it ten. Can't remember. We went to bed on Christmas eve only to awaken on Christmas morning to snow that was already 6" deep. It was a big surprise. We didn't even look at the tree, or gifts. But we quickly bundled up and out we went. We built a snowman played in that snow until lunch. Gifts were enjoyed that afternoon after the meal.
Has anyone got Disney plus yet? We have had it from day one. One of the things that really attracted us to it was the trailer for this particular series.  Just our opinion, we feel this series alone is not worth scribing to the streaming service (the trailer was better.) Now that I have that out in the open I will continue.

This series has so much potential. And you can see that in the episodes. A lot of the elements in the show are good. It is just that it seems that the direction and production is so lame. Cinematography is sometimes even lacking. The quality does not stand up to the MCU, their TV series stuff like SHIELD, or the Star Wars franchise. Even their old Disney stuff is better. Not sure what they were thinking. The music has stuck in my crawl. Usually music is used to increase the impact of the mood of a scene. The music is so disjointed from the whole thing. Maybe it is just me.

I thought the team up with IG88 was great, so much chemistry between them. But someone writing the script must not have, short lived. Very disappointed.

There are a lot of things on Disney plus that makes it worth having the app. This series is just not enough, if that is what you're wanting to see.

edit: It just does not deliver enough to draw me in and hook me. My Daughter and I are fans of the Star Wars universe. Not as big as we used to be. We had high expectations.
General Discussion / GameStop Going Down?
August 11, 2019, 04:31:55 PM
I am seeing a lot of talk of GameStop heading down the "spiraling path of death." Locally, if GameStop closed, I don't think it would be much of an impact. When I think of shopping for games they do not even come to mind. As a retro gamer they stepped away from me many years ago. There are other local game stores, some are "mom & pop." Gamexchange is a chain of local gaming stores that has been my goto when it comes to local purchase of games. They carry anything from Atari 2600 through modern games and consoles. Their main focus are games. In the last twenty years I can count on one hand how many times that I have been in a GameStop. Recently have been a couple of those times and then I thought I was walking into a Hot Topic store. If they quickly return to being a gaming store they might survive. But if they stay on the path that they are going, they are nothing but a shadow that will fade into the sunset and become one of those memories in gaming history. In the early days them and Babbages were THE "game stores."

Below are games I grabbed up at my local Gamexchange this weekend. That's my point.
This is one of my blogs for this month, but I felt it should be posted here too. This is a very important subject with serious retro gamers.

The real dilemma is that the composite input of HDTVs is slowly disappearing from newer models. The composite analogue tech is archaic in the modern electronic age. Only if you have an old VCR, or DVD recorder, or an old retro gaming system do you find yourself in the dilemma. (Did I leave anything out?) Really it is when you find yourself with something like the PS2 and backward, those are the gaming generations that are totally effected. And I feel that we are approaching a point when there will not be any composite type inputs to accommodate. The niche market may not be big enough for some company to invest in the tech needed to do it right and with quality. And do it at a modest price point that makes it affordable for the budget gamer. What we see is cheap China adapters.

We all must grasp the truth that the old consoles are in analogue 480 aspect ratio with a need for scan lines to hide the ugliness. No matter what you do, it does not change that inconvenient reality. Pixels and jaggies are the nature of the beast. And when you take that and try to convert it to digital 720p or 1080p HDMI, somebody help me 4K, it does not go well when it comes to expectations. One has to change their perspective and game on. Let's face it, the old CRTs are gone. It has been years in my own area since I have seen them in my local Goodwill, and then they were $2 and $3. They have become museum artifacts.

Alternatives is the quest of every retro gamer, finding that one unique golden ticket. For the budget gamer, I have found three main routes, the console specific adapter, the very cheap universal adapter, and the clone console with HDMI. Presently, limited on the quality, on shaky ground, the clone console route is marketed mainly toward the Genesis, SNES, and NES. If you are looking for answers concerning your Turbo GrafX 16, N64, Sega Saturn, Dreamcast, Xbox, GameCube, or PS2, things get a little scary. There are some console specific adapters out there floating around, except for the TG16, but for how long is the question. And for the Neo Geo AES and CD consoles, I see nothing but the small cheap universal adapter as any kind of alternative and that is sad. Thankfully the PS1 has the PS3 for that HDMI experience.

For me, the cheap universal adapters get the job done but they are marred by the attempt to reduce the jaggies with some sort-of, anti-aliasing blurring fuzzy effect. (You feel as if your vision is impaired.) The clone consoles are hindered by their inability to perfectly replicate the hardware that they are trying to represent. So, you have sound and colors along with compatibility issues to complicate matters as that analogue signal is converted to a digital HDMI 720p or 1080p. There are various associated outcomes connected to a clone's respective manufacturer. The console specific adapters, in converting the analogue signal to digital, can have an effect on the tint of the colors, brightness, darkness, bleeding reds, even a muting of colors. And the adapters themselves can be very hard to get. I have waited for an adapter that will work on the N64, GameCube, and SNES, for over a month before finally showing up at my door this week. The advantage of this type of adapter is, you get to use the original hardware.

I have the Hyperkin HDMI adapter for the GameCube, N64, and SNES. It has a seven-foot cable and it includes a USB power cord. You can use a standard power brick or a USB input on your TV. It has a switch on the adapter for 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio. The GameCube comes out on top as the one that gets the most benefit of using this adapter. Looks awesome on screen. The other two, jaggies are very noticeable, but who cares, I have a reasonably priced alternative for my N64 to HDMI hookup. This works for me. And my N64 will probably be the one console that will get the most use out of this adapter. All three consoles played without issue for me. I detected no latency, colors were acceptable, gameplay spot on. I have mainly been looking for a way to play N64 games on my HDTV without using composite connecters, would rather have the choice of HDMI. This serves well and resolves that problem, for me. Without some expensive console mod, I am delighted. Using the original hardware is very satisfying. Hyperkin is getting ready to launch an N64 clone in the near future. I had concerns especially since it had compatibility issues that were displeasing to me. Now? If I do pick up the N64 clone, it will be to review and test its worth and not for serious gaming. If this thing holds up it will deserve a good thumbs up with a $30 USD well spent.

GameCube: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles

N64: Beetle Adventure Racing


[I apologize for the format. I just loaded this up earlier on my blog site.]

The best way to play a SNES game is on the original hardware using a CRT. If you still have this setup, feel fortunate.

The SupaRETRON HD has a smaller footprint and will fit snug anywhere.

I suppose one has to consider the type of technology, that is put into these things, in order to deliver to the market "a cheap clone." It should be expected that there are going to be flaws and that the tech has its limitations. When you look at "Analogue's" consoles, it seems obvious, that in order to get something that compares to the original experience, on modern HD flatscreens, you are going to peel off some of that hard-earned jingle you carry around in your pocket. The switch from traditional tube scanlines to HD TV can be a traumatic experience for an old gamer. It is understood why many fall into the purest camp clinging to, and trying to maintain, their old consoles and CRTs. These games were designed for that certain time period, with no thought that many would love these things beyond their intended gaming generation. If you were there, you know that there is just no way to reproduce the magic of that period in gaming. There was no "net" so information was delivered by long waited for gaming magazines with sometimes months old news, and local arcade rumors. TV commercials only fed the fire to the already gaming community hype. The electricity and excitement that filled the air in those days as the trail was pioneered, and cleared, for modern-day gaming will never be repeated. And it is a real need among "those gamers" to preserve that part of gaming history. Retro gamers were born out of that need.

With that being said, I will now move into looking at my first impressions of the Hyperkin HD SNES.

The Micro USB power port, HDMI, and aspect ratio switch is the big winners here.

It depends on which SNES HD clone you purchase in what you are willing to except, or put up with, in your SNES gaming experience, obviously. I choose the Hyperkin mainly for the specific advantage in the way they powered their systems. I have the Hyperkin NES, Sega Genesis, and now the SNES HD. All three are powered by the same small matching USB power brick and connects into a mini USB port on the console. I only have one power cord running to the consoles and one HDMI. It depends on which system I am playing at the time that will be connected. When it comes to cheap HD clones, and I say this with gritted teeth, these may be close to being the cream of the crop, for now. There are those few others that are not bad choices.

On the Ever Drive China Ver. running Gradius 3. The beginning animation, title screen, and options menu were all normal, until you enter the game. The original SNES cart runs perfect.

There are compatibility problems that I found with the Ever Drive. It might be limited to the China version which is the only one that I own. Don't know. There were certain games that were unplayable with, for example, the background graphics horribly broken and mangled. Putting in the same game and playing from the original cart there was no problem, for example a game like Gradius 3 was one. Not all games from the "Ever Drive China version" had compatibility issues, but keep in mind that the Ever Drive is designed for the original console. Not a big deal for me. I mainly use the Ever Drive as a game demo cart to see if I want to invest in a certain game. The console is totally compatible with reproduction games, on the other hand. So that is a plus, for me, as I have occasionally purchased a repro, it does run the retrobit's Jaleco Brawler's Pack. Seems to have good compatibility across the specialty chips. It plays Star Ocean great, water and reflections, sound bites, are there and nothing seems noticeably wrong. Star Fox, Yoshi's Island, Super Gameboy, Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Kirby Super Star, all play with no issues. That covers the SA1, Super FX GSU-1, S-DD1, Super FX GSU-2, and the Sharp LR35902 core chips. The SA1 chip was used in around 34 games including the Mario RPG. Many games look good in spite of the jaggies, Yoshi's Island for one. Some are not that bad when the jaggies are not as pronounced while others look eye bleedingly shocking, gasp. The console can play both SNES and Super Famicom games.

Visually, some games fair better than others, backgrounds usually look great. Jaggies are embedded into the main character sprites, or any low-rez sprites in general, so get over it if this is the route anyone wants to take. It is just a part of cheap clone gaming life. No one has placed a scanline feature on a cheap console, yet. I am sure if they find a cheap and easy way of doing it without sacrificing cost, using system-on-a-chip technology, it will happen. Just not there yet. Colors are rich and graphics are sharp with smooth animation for nonintentional playing on a large HD screen. At least as good as they can be under the circumstances without the scanlines. Audio, so far, is, normal, for a SNES. At least I haven't ran across anything that raises my eyebrows or causes me to cry.

They basically got the configuration right with something ergonomically going on with the backside. I have no issues with it.

The controllers, that are supplied with the console, two, are good and feel close to the originals. Of course, if you are not satisfied you can use original controllers. Most respectable clone consoles come equipped with this feature. You get a generous 7ft 7inch cord, I measured. And the system comes with all hookups, both HDMI and RCA cords. But why bother with the RCA hookups if the main purpose is the HDMI? Has a NTSC-PAL switch on the bottom and a 16:9-4:3 aspect ratio switch on the backside of the console. It has an eject button that works great just like the original.

Not sure what more I can add at this point. It is really a matter of choice. (Choose your poison wisely, I guess, LOL.) Original hardware is still available for about the same price. You would need to fork out some extra cash for the HDMI connection. There are starting to be a few good options as manufacturers see money to be made. I have tried a few of the universal connection ones, but not the console specific, with unsatisfying results. Clone consoles are far better with their direct HDMI connection. Having been present in the local gaming stores when someone is looking into retro, I know they push clone systems. Even tried to correct one of the workers, nicely, about the NES light gun. They really don't listen or understand. Game stores push the clones over the used gaming consoles that they carry. I am sure it is due to the easy HDMI connect.

Just think, as 4K becomes the standard in the future market for HD TVs we might be going through something similar as the signals are totally incompatible. At least for the tuners it is, not certain about the HDMI. That might not change hopefully. The headache continues.........?

Everyone of their consoles has this trademark touch on the corner, lights up when the system is on.
Retro Gaming and Hardware / TurboGrafx 16 mini
June 15, 2019, 03:52:52 PM
Okay now you have my full attention! I must have this! I did not realize until recently that Konami had acquired all the rights to the Hudson Soft stuff. With this announcement I am very excited. I hope the games include not only Hucard but also CD. So far they are on the right track with a hand full of titles which includes one CD game, Y's 1 & 2. It will even offer the option of scan lines. Interesting.

Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64 Clone Console?
June 06, 2019, 09:32:08 PM
Well they finally went and did it. But it seems to be emulation instead of "N64 on a chip." Not sure I am happy about that. I think at this point I will take a "wait and see" attitude. I would rather see more of a hardware based clone rather than the emulation approach. It all depends if the console downloads the rom or plays directly from the cart. I am happy with the fact that the N64 is now being considered for clone systems. N64 on a modern HD tv is a little on the expensive side if you want 720 or better. I just hope it does not leave a bad taste in my mouth.   :-\

Has anyone tried either type of HD? If so what are pros, cons? I may be behind when it comes to this type of tech. I am mostly a document, paint program, net suffer type of user. Old hardware has been my main rigs and laptops.
Okay I was tempted. I was on eBay looking around where I probably shouldn't have been.  ::) This computer place had 21 macbooks, 2008 build, for $40 each, this past weekend. They all quickly sold. Ummm... took the dive, as one of those 21, and here I am typing this on that book.

It is one of the books that has a 2.4 ghz intel core 2 Duo running OSX 10.6.8 Snow Leopard on a 160gb. It only has 2gb memory, but I have another two on the way and am going to order an SSD drive.

Believe it or not but this thing is newer than my lenovo laptop that I have been using for years with Linux. And this will be my first taste of 64bit instead of that old lenovo which is 32.

First thing I had to do is find a web browser because Safari was crap due to being so outdated. I am using Articfox which seems to be running very good. And I am finding that it will work with Facebook, youtube, eBay, and this forum.

This is really an investigation. My Daughter is concerned that Windows 7 is about to be no longer supported by Microsoft. And when that happens then there goes the Anit-virus support. I suggested she look elsewhere like Macintosh. So I have been on this thing since I got home this afternoon and I am liking this very much. This is from someone who has used Linux for almost 20 years. Of course if she decides to go this route it will be a much newer Mac. This is just to become familiar with the difference.

As a gamer, I love these types of shmups. From what I can understand this is a homebrew game especially designed for the NES and put on a reproduction cart. It is a vertical scrolling shooter in the style of Super Star Soldier, Blazing Lazors, with that warm fuzzy Hudson Soft sort of feel. It even seems that it has that music of Super Star Soldier in the first stage. Gameplay is so fast with no slow down similar to Summer Carnival. Graphics are standard fair of these arcade shooters of the past. This is true retro arcade shoot'em up love expressed in this wonderful game. You get only the choice of a 2 or 5 minute "high score attack" sessions, but that is okay. It is one of those games that you can sit down to if you only have a moment and addictive enough if you want a long play. High score survival is my thing. I have only been able to make it into the second stage so far. This and Summer Carnival are the closest you are going to get to a bullet hell shooter on the NES. I want so much to have more of these type of homebrew games. To me, they are worth every penny. Been a great and exciting weekend spent with this highly recommended NES game.

Over the Holiday weekend I started moving my stuff around and packing away some things. Right now my console gaming focus will be NES, Sega Genesis, SNES, N64, and Gamecube. That is the way my gaming area is setup now. What really lit the fire was going through my carts and making a list of every game that I have on the NES, Genesis, and SNES. I was shocked to realize that I have more SNES games than I do on the Genesis, but that is mainly due to my large Super Famicom library I now have, much larger than my US library. I am gearing up to increase my NES library as it stands at a little over 80 games. That is just not right, so much out there that is good.  ;)
Okay I bit the bullet. After such a positive experience with the Hyperkin Mega Retron I just had to pick up the NES console. And I am very pleased with my purchase. Been trying NES games all week.

Very small console. I already had the game carts. Both of these carts and the console equals great gaming in a very small package. And it is an added plus just to be able to power this from my TV's USB. What an awesome idea.

I had to try it. I tried Rad Racer 2 and this is the first clone console that I have had which will boot the game. Even though the graphics has its issues, I was still able to play the game. Road scrolled toward me and I was able to maneuver around the other vehicles.

I understand that it will play Castlevania 3 with no problems. I do not have that game..............................yet.  ;)
This is the 30th anniversary of Street Fighter 2 Ryu controller from Retro-Bit. This controller feels very solid with clicky buttons, awesome. I have been enjoying playing Street Fighter 2 Championship Edition. Great fan work with the artwork of Ryu across the face.  The size is good. One thing that puzzled me as I actually took out a tape measure to the cord, 5" 8"? Come on! 5" 8"? What's 4 inches? Somebody tell me what is it with four inches? Why couldn't it have been 6 feet? Or maybe 10 feet. Sorry for the rant. Almost lost my cool.

Mode button on top sort-of in the place you would find a shoulder button.

This is the big plus about this controller, two hookups. Made for the original, or clone, Genesis system, but can also be used on a PC, or the Altgames Genesis mini.

I do highly recommend this controller to anyone that needs a Genesis controller. This is the bomb. And a special thank you to Retro-bit for the love.
The last time I got a Sega Genesis clone system it was the Fei Hao version. And I got that one for the specific purpose of being able to have a direct HDMI hook up for my Genesis carts. I started reading, and youtube watching, some of the reviews of this one from Hyperkin and became very interested.

And let me emphasize that you will only get  the best experience with the original hardware. Then there is the Genesis system by Analogue which is a high end hardware clone. $200 is a lot of money for many of us. I am strictly a budget gamer. Low end is where I dwell when it comes to gaming. But at the same time I would like something simple and within my financial boundaries. If I want to hook up my original Genesis to one of my HD flatscreens, it is a pixel jaggie nightmare. But that is my only choice, I have no CRT, it died. The best you can do with the original hardware is get one of those up converters to HDMI.  The best ones are very expensive and it would be best if you just went with the alternative of the Analogue console. As for the cheap "up converters," well, they are just not as good as the clone consoles with the HDMI output. They produce a blurr in the graphics.

I am not really a fan of Hyperkin products. Though I do enjoy the Supaboy portable. I had sort of gotten the impression that seemingly their research and development department was dead. And that they just repackaged their tech occasionally. Never heard or saw any improvements. But this Mega HD console is the first time I feel that my impression has changed.

Build and Design: It has a quality feel to it but I am wondering how much of that is deception. I know from watching youtube videos, of a console tear down, that there are metal weights inside. That is okay with me, it gives it better stability with the rubber feet, no sliding. Plastic thickness is acceptable and I am okay with it. I like the overall design and appeal, to me, it is attractive in its appearance. And I like the big blue "H" on the corner lighting up when the system is turned on. You have the usual "on & off" switch and "reset" button. Up front,two controller ports which are compatible with the original Sega brand controller. Outputs are analog and HDMI. You have a region switch, NTSC, PAL, JP, on the bottom and an aspect ratio switch, 4:3 or 16:9, on the back. One thing I like about inserting a cart is that the connector pins are close to the lid. This is far better than the Fei Hao console where I had difficulty inserting carts due to the depth and reach. Having no guide, like the original hardware, enables the system to accept different region carts, Japan vs NTSC. With the Fei Hao you are dealing with 1.5 inches vs a little under an inch with the Mega HD. Believe me it makes all the difference in the world. One is a straight shot and the other one is a feeling, hunting your way, blindly trying to hit the hole.

Video Out: The games look great, I say that with a bit of hesitation. It depends on the game and the mode of resolution. Low res games has jaggies due to the nature of the beast. I was very happy that my favorite shooter on the Genesis as it is in the high res mode, Bio Hazard Battle. It looks and plays beautiful, love it. With some games, there is something there, like Street Fighter 2 Champion Edition. Playing the game there was something in the background in some stages that I caught out of the corner of my eye, shimmering in the graphics? It could be seen in the vertical lines, just barely noticeable. Enough at the moment that I got a Hy-Yu-Ken against my head. But this only happens when you move in such a way that it causes the background to scale. I saw this in one other game so far. It could bother someone who is picky, but hey, for those that are like that, stick to the original hardware. And it runs Virtua Racing perfectly, totally pleased with it. I did have a bit of trouble at first, freezing during gameplay, red screen. But after cleaning the cart, no problems, runs great. Reproduction carts fit tight, but with the original carts, I didn't really have any trouble. Colors are rich, some might be a slight bit over saturated, but I think that is limited to how the color pallet is used. Graphics are smooth. I understand that it works with the mega system converter. I do not have that to verify. I can verify that it works with the China Everdrive.

Audio: This has been a killer in the clone market for the Genesis games. This time I am pleasantly pleased at what I am hearing. Really not that bad. There is something in certain games that I can't really put my finger on that makes me stop and say "huh?" There is some things, sounds, notes, that seem louder, at times. Some games "are" louder than others, don't understand that. Other games I don't notice anything that would seem out of place, or doesn't distract me. Not sure how the audio is different in some games. But this is really the best that I have heard on a Genesis clone console, we are closer than we have ever been.

Controller: It comes with all the wiring, hook ups, so you can have it analog or HDMI, whatever. But it only includes one controller. Depends how you look at it, that can be a pro or a con. It is "okay." I could play shooters with no problem. And I did not have any issues adjusting to it. It is really not that bad. I was able with some difficulty play Street Fighter 2. The only great thing it has going for it is that it has a ten foot cord. Since you will need a second controller, I would suggest getting the original hardware controller or a retro-bit one. The original fits like a glove, and only a retro gamer would understand that statement.

Final Word:
This is only one of those options for the HDMI problem. I am satisfied. It is, what it is, and it works for me. I purchased this system because it had a price drop, ca-ching $37,  at Walmart online or Amazon. I feel I got my money's worth. Those who are a bit more picky may contend that you get what you pay for. I feel that it is the best Genesis clone out there, at the moment, that is a budget priced low end solution. Of course it is cart only, no way to attach the Sega CD or 32X. I am a bit surprised that Hyperkin is the one to give us Genesis HDMI gaming that really is a nice experience.

Still trying games, a Sega Genesis revival going on right now "in the house."
A co-worker just purchased his first gamecube, came with a lot of games. Experiencing someone else's excitement and enthusiasm  has motivated me to pull out my cube and games. I have even purchased a couple games and am looking for more. I just realized that I only have around forty games for the system. That is not acceptable. I usually have a few games out for play on the Wii but with that console dead, got to get out the real thing. Love the "wavebird."

Viewtiful Joe is getting a revival.
With my Wii dying on me, I felt that the best replacement would be a Wii U. For just $40 I could have replaced my Wii with a Wii. But add $60 and I could upgrade to a Wii U black 32gb model. It is the most reasonable path to go and plus I have the backward compatibility with all my Wii game library. Highly recommend this for anyone that still plays their Wii when it dies.

Received my Wii U the day after Christmas. First game I played was Tatsunoko vs Capcom.  ;)
I ran by my local GameXchange, needed a charger for the gamepad, and picked up Nintendoland 95 cents and Skylanders Giants 95 cents. Grabbed up Bleach for the Wii $2.95. Impressed with the console. Nintendo would have had better success if they had named this something else and avoided the confusion. This console is not a Wii. I know that it had to maintain features so that it could have the previous generation compatibility, but this console is so much more than the Wii. I am looking forward to some of the games that take advantage of the system hardware. Already it was great that Skylanders Giant offered me the option to play on the gamepad large screen and not the TV. Although I understand that not all games give you that choice, it was still awesome. Been watching game reviews and gameplay on youtube. My list is growing. I will make some decisions this weekend on what will be next. The pad is not as heavy as I thought it would be and the screen is very responsive. So far, lovin it.

I think that I am the only one that can enjoy a game system out of its era, or generation. LOL
Especially one that is considered a flop. But remember, just because it "sort-of" failed in the gaming market, does not mean that it is a bad system.

This is the best time to purchase games for this console. Nobody wants the games anymore. LOL
I kept reading about this game. Watched some youtube gameplay and had to have it. Saw this on Amazon for $10 used with free shipping, sweet. I was surprised by what I have received. Looks in mint shape and unused. I had read that it does not play in the original SNES, only clone hardware. But my SNES is launch hardware, I know, I was there, picked it up personally. This thing works in my SNES, so there has been some kicking and knock out drag out fights goin on here. Two player coop, single player fun! This is from the same folks that brought us Unholy Night, except this was done right, with love.

General Discussion / Is this Game New??
December 22, 2018, 11:23:03 AM
This week I decided to purchase Time & Eternity for my PS3 from ebay. A used one was a few dollars less but being a few dollars I thought "hey" I will go ahead and purchase this game new. That way I would have the booklet and everything. When I received this yesterday, I noticed, there seems to be a couple of hole punches through the bar-code. It has what appears to be the original factory cellophane wrapper, folds, etc.  What is this? Has anyone ever purchase a game that was like this? Everything is crisp and new. It does not look used at all. The only other time that I have seen this is in a used or refurbished game.

I didn't know whether or not to post this in this section. But if we stay on topic, the subject of the packaging, then maybe it will be okay?

Retro Gaming and Hardware / Thanksgiving Day Marathon!!
November 25, 2018, 11:02:57 AM
Meant to post this Thanksgiving night, but.... not sure where to post this really.

5:00AM and it is that time again for smashing, shooting, and blowing your way through game after game! Rules are as follows,
1. Use up all your lives and record your high score, or progress, in a game.
2. Continues may be used and your highest score or progress recorded.
3. After your lives are used up, go to the next game. Mood swings determines your direction.
4. Must stop for food and bathroom breaks. We don't want any health or hygiene issues. (Wives are funny like that.)
Haven't played the game in a while? That adds fun to the challenge.

First stop XBOX 360
Death Smiles: The game is so gorgeous and fun to play. One of the best horizontal shooters. I took a chance and used one continue. I was afraid to go another, ended with 2,508,755.

Tried my digital download of Tempest on my 360. Whoa, well this is so embarrassing. It did not consider my score significant enough to acknowledge I had been playing. Sort-of like that first time, lost that quarter!

Breakfast break, (Elevator music playing, musical ensemble here of sax, horns, and electric piano which is also keeping the beat.)
Okay, I am back.

Esp galuoa 2, Black Label: Japan Import. This is a beautiful bullet hell vertical shooter. Even though I got a score of 9,887,712, I never made it out of the first level. At least I don't think I did. No wait I made to the second level, used only one continue. Bullet Hell shooters are confusing to me. I never know whether I am fighting a boss or a regular guy, you know? Very satisfying play.

Akai Katana: This game reminds me of Progear in its presentation. Another bullet hell shooter, more of a sort-of side scrolling horizontal shmup. Didn't last long but I did manage to score 1,219,059. That might have been by accident. Another satisfying play. Did try it in Novice mode in the end and I don't think my survival was that much improved though I was able to increase my score to 2,723,470.

Geometry Wars: 360 digital download. I so like this better on a my DS. Really bombed out at 18,175.

(What, they might not be able to have the balloons due to the wind? What is the use of having the parade if you can't have the balloons? Don't the Firemen have those round things to catch people? Now I know how Joker must have felt. "He took my balloons." I can relate.)

Honey I'm home.

Darius Twin: Familiar territory. It was games like this that was the reason I played in the 90's. This is the best Darius game on the SNES console. Been playing this off and on. Ended this with 2,629,900.

(paused* The levels are geared toward one thing and that is to lead you to the boss. Their purpose is to beat you down until you are a whimpering mess when you arrive.)

You want this? Come and get it. Want Earth? Not today. Not on my watch.

(Youtube live, Verizon has the best view of the MACY Parade. No interruptions like the Networks do and augmented reality. So cool.)

Cybernator: Shooting and blasting your way through the enemy contra style. I was short lived in this one. Second stage, meteors got me.

Metal Warriors: This must be the spiritual successor to Cybernator. Same type of game play only this is more intense which makes it more fun. Even though there is some English in the menus, seemingly a lot of the story is in another language on my cart. This is new to my collection, so it is still considered to be new to play. Didn't last through the first level, but it was fun. Get some! Get some! Get some!

Skyblazer: This is a surprisingly good platformer by SONY. The character has Spiderman's ability to stick to walls, which comes in handy. But at times it irritates me when I am trying to get to somewhere and I stick. Password enabled.

Vampire's Kiss: The big bull thing kept butting me into the hole in the ground. Didn't get very far.
Dracula X: Is this the same game? I didn't know. Oops! Aaagggh! Between those blasted bats, lizard men, and me jumping into the abyss on the third level! Now I feel like I must stop Christmas from coming.

Musya-Gousou Jinrai Densetsu: Sort-of an action platformer Samurai type game in a Nightmarish world. I find it hard. And I have to really get into it and play it a lot to get anywhere in it. It looks like not today.

Parodius Da!: Not my day. Did not get past the first stage boss.

Opps! Another break. Gotta help the Wife with fixing the meal so,

More elevator music.....

After our Thanksgiving Day Dinner I spent the afternoon learning how to repair a DS lite. I changed out the top screen and put the whole thing into another shell. I ended up also doing one for my Wife, a Pokemon Yellow.

Getting some funny colors on that top screen. The hinge was broken and cutting the ribbon.

I am starting to see a lot of hub bub concerning the possibility that Microsoft may release an Xbox One that will be digital only and no disc drive. Possible of a program where you turn in your games for a download code. Some of the argument is lower cost for the console. I started thinking about this and wondered, even though the $200 price point was thrown around, what price point would cause to go all digital? What would they have to sell the Xbox One "all digital" before you would lean in that direction? If they could come out with a killer game line up, which, too me, seems lacking at this point, would that tempt some gamers to jump on board? Is the time ripe? Digital download does seem to be a big part of the industry.

What say you?
Retro Gaming and Hardware / The SwanCrystal Console
October 22, 2018, 12:43:45 PM
Just thought I would share. Had mine out this past week. Initially designed by Gunpei Yokoi. 15 hours of gaming on a single AA battery. Reflective screen technology. Graphics, gameplay and animation that rivaled the GBA.  This was a 16bit system. It had a short life but it was good while it lasted. It was an RPG gamers dream come true console. Had tons of them, but never left Japan. Even though I do have the Final Fantasy series, I can't play anything but English friendly stuff like fighters, puzzle, and platformers. The Digimon stuff that was ported to the GBA is better gaming on this system, graphics, gameplay, feel. And not everything was ported.

My English Friendly game list:
Digimon Battle Spirit
Digimon: Zero Two
Digimon Battle Spirit 1.5
Battle Spirit: Digimon Tamers
Digimon: Veedraman Verson
Buffers Evolution
Guilty Gear Petite 1
Guilty Gear Petite 2
Puyo Puyo
Puyo Puyo 2
Klonoa: Moonlight Museum
One Piece Swan Colosseum
Lime Rider Keroikan
SD Gundam Operation UC (repetitive shooter action)
Pocket Fighter
Gundam Seed (There is a need to know Japanese to get the most out of the story, other than that it serves as a shooter. I do have the anime movie so I do know sort-of what is going on.)

Retro Gaming and Hardware / The Gradius Experience
October 18, 2018, 12:07:42 PM
I took my fall Vacation this week. Always in October. Been retro gaming and found myself going through Gradius on my SNES. Back in the SNES era there were two games I brought home with my SNES, Gradius and R-Type. Yeah Mario was the pack-in but I wanted to save the Galaxy. At one point I thought slow down was my friend. But go through this game on normal only to be rewarded with a restart in hard mode, stripped down to nothing, bullet hell going on now, faster enemies, and slow down becomes a nightmare. Still this is one awesome game that still packs a punch for me after all these years. It feels so good just to sit back and hack my way through this, again, and again, and again. There are some places in this game I know where to sit and let my "options" do the deed. That is if that nasty scorpion doesn't steel them. I learned a long time ago that you watch your ship and spend your time dodging bullets while holding down, or tapping, the fire button. This game rocks!  8)

Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64 and its Fighters
September 09, 2018, 02:50:12 PM
When it comes to fighters the N64 is not known for having any. I think the reason why is because there are no CAPCOM or SNK fighters on the N64 console. This did leave a big void in the "fighter genre" game library of the system. As a retro gamer it is interesting just to look back and play through the N64 library of fighters. I  judged those that are available on their own merit. Can they stand on their own as a capable fighter? One must remember that many of the fighters, of the competing game systems, that they were up against, was also blocky, 2D'ish, and had limited detail in their characters. Looking at the same similar type fighters, two stand out as having set the standard at the end of that generation, Tekken and Virtua Fighter. CAPCOM really is the one who started the fire. SNK made a big impact in the arcades right in the middle of the fight. Standing here at this point in gaming, you take a different perspective when revisiting. There is no shadow of those popular big fighting games intimidating or thumbing their noses at the N64. Street Fighter, Tekken, and Virtua Fighter were the kings in their day.

I love a good fighting game. But I think that fighting games where a phenomenon of 90s. That was the height of their popularity. And I think the driving force behind that, was that period in gaming history. Arcades played a major role as did the gaming systems of that time. There was so much competitiveness between companies to release the best game to draw crowds. Arcades were the experimental proving grounds.

As the ports of fighters came home, and arcades began closing, this led to a winding down of genre. More powerful consoles resulted in a change in the industry and new directions in gaming. Gamers moved on with those changes. A new fighter being released today does not have the same impact as it did back in those days.

I really think that the N64 and its fighters are an acquired taste. What do you think?
Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64: Super Smash Bros. Review
September 09, 2018, 11:13:45 AM
This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.

If there is one thing that Nintendo has accomplished, it is, establishing likable familiar video game characters. Those characters are what has charted the pathway of Nintendo's success as a video game company. Seemingly Nintendo has built their hardware around the games hosting these characters. Each and everyone of those franchises has their fan base that eagerly waits for the next big game with their beloved characters. It was pure genius on someone's part to take those characters, group them all together, and place them into a fighting game. You have an instant seller.

Yes I purchased the Japanese version. It was a lot cheaper than the US one.

Odd, I have had a difficult time getting into this fighter. One of the hindrances has been, I do not find it as appealing as the previous fighters. Maybe it is just me, but I enjoy these characters in their original gaming environment. Another hindrance has been the difficulty I am finding in learning to control my fighter. The control does not seem as tight as I am accustom to, nor find in other fighters. Maybe it is just the button configuration. Maybe there is an awkwardness in using the characters in a way that I am not familiar. I want to control Samus Aran. But I am becoming frustrated. At first I thought it was the controller, but no, even after changing out controllers I am still having what seems like a slight hesitation, or slugishness, even a floatiness. Maybe some of this is just the N64 controller itself. I end up feeling that I am getting a lot of "cheap shots" from my opponent. That rubs my fur the wrong way when I sit down to a game and this hits me in the face. (No pun intended.) Yes I know this is a beloved Nintendo fan's dream game which has become a franchise in and of itself. But it just suddenly struck me that maybe this is not a game for everyone. I went into this thinking that it was, ....... surprise. It is fan based, but I see this game as one for the younger Nintendo audience, Family time, or a multiplayer party game. And I think that this is the target audience, and the intent, in the game design. I am not finding it satisfying as a single player experience. But, as in every other game, the key to success is learning to become one with your fighter.

The graphics and stage designs are only as Nintendo can put together, awesome and excellent. The character animations are a joy. In each stage you have different platforms, at different heights, to fight from as well as ringouts to deal with. The stages are familiar as the concepts are taken from each fighter's own games. The welcome powerups add to the fast pace chaotic fighting. You get a percentage marked against you, and increases, as you are hit. All of this, as a whole, adds to the depth of the gameplay. Making it a deeper game than it might first appear. This is a 2D fighter in a pseudo 3D environment.

This is a game that I personally did not find intuitive in the game's controls. I think I went into it with expectations that this was just another fighting game with familiar controls. You really have to set back and strip away all of that from your thinking, especially if you are a fighting game fan. Nintendo does its best to maintain each character's familiar signature moves. This changes the feel of the game as a traditional fighter. And pulling off some of the moves can prove to be difficult in the fast paced gameplay. It becomes a game in which you "learn to play" in order to succeed. And that is not a bad thing. Your approach is the same as with any other new game. You learn how to play it to get the most out of the experience. As a gamer, we do this without thinking all the time. It has a built in tutorial showing you how to play.

Due to the nature of this game in its party design, and gameplay, it became a system seller. No other fighter offers a better simultaneous four player experience on this system. (It almost borderlines Bomberman status in my book.) And largely in part, because of the draw of familiar, and popular, characters from the Nintendo universe it has been another one of those instant Nintendo successes.

I did finally find my fighter and I had fun with this game. Please don't interpret my review as being negative. I approached this from the perspective of a fan of the fighting genre. Personally I think that if this game had been introduced in the arcades during the 90's this would have been up there with the best. I rate this game as "system seller." This game goes to the top of my list of N64 fighters. And that is mainly due to the multiplayer madness.

Mario dressed as Wario with a light saber in the Star Fox stage, priceless.

Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64: Fighter Destiny 2 Review
September 08, 2018, 05:23:48 PM
This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.

The first thing I notice is the title, "Fighters" has now become "Fighter." Some legality concerning the name or something? Not sure. This is the second game and you might have high expectations of great improvements. Or maybe something completely new. But what we have here is a well oiled machine. There are noticeable graphical improvements and a more fluid animation in the characters. Added stages and backgrounds. Some of the Fighters are missing and replaced by new ones. The one fighter I learned to use, is missing, and replaced by what looks like a Los Angeles club dancer. Replaced, meaning that, she controls the same and has all of her moves. So, for me, she was easy for me to take control. Not sure if the other new fighters inherited the missing fighter's moves. Something to discover as the games are played.

But this is the same game, except that it has been tweaked and now has a more polished feel. They basically improved the quality of the experience in the game. I do remember that the first game did not have a story. Guess what? It still does not have a story. Or at least it is not communicated in the game. Maybe in the booklet? I don't have the booklet. I really don't need a story, but it does add that umph to a fighter which many gamers find it completes the experience. A story also gives that certain personality to a game in which a gamer can identify with in their imagination. I mention this because they had the perfect opportunity to add a story.

The gameplay is the same. All of the options are the same as the first game. You can still adjust the amount of points for the different throws, knockouts, ringouts, etc. You can still determine how many points needed to end the match. But there is something new to this second game which is an added plus. It is a game mode that reminds me of a board game. Where you land determines who you will have to fight. In this mode you learn new moves and build your character. So you would need to pick the fighter you intend to use regularly. You spin, move forward the number of moves determined by the spinner, fight, win a new move, spin again, repeat. Like a board game.

This game does have that "Wow" factor. If you do not have the other game, I would recommend this one. But they are both so inexpensive any fan of the genre would probably want them both. Like me, I want them both. In this second installment, the fighters look less chunky with a slight more detail, prettier. (There are still those "awkward" designed characters present.) Game includes 12 characters with 4 to unlock. This is a very good game that is loaded with a lot of fun. This is one of the best fighters on the N64. I give it a big thumbs up and rate it as "Awesome Game."

Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64: Fighters Destiny Review
September 08, 2018, 05:12:04 PM
This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.

The gameplay is Virtua Fighter-ish in style and feel....... and yet very different. You have two main buttons that have a limited number of moves assigned to them. I thought various moves were being determined by the directional button. And they are, in that I found out that I am inadvertently performing some of the moves by button mashing. (Yes I am, by default, a button masher!) You have access to a move list for each character when you pause the game. The bad, or the good, depends on your perspective, is that you cannot assign any of those moves to controller buttons in the menu. It has already been predetermine as to what you can assign to those buttons. Those things you can assign are, Hirari= auto-avoid, Guard, and U+L which is the upper and lower buttons pressed together, green & blue, a throw. So you have to learn and memorize any of the character moves that are on the list. That, to me, adds some depth and also determines that it will take some skill to be a good fighter. But the unique thing that raises the bar in this game is the point system. This is not like other fighters where it's two, or three bouts and you win. You win by a set amount of points. Throws, ringouts, knockouts, etc, all give points when accomplished. There are options to adjust the point system and that effects the length of the bouts. You have a life bar which can be reduced, but you can back away and you begin to recover. But you need to watch the clock which calls for strategy. I find this gameplay refreshing and makes this game very interesting to play. This is not a "me too" clone fighting game. The designers stepped out of the norm using some creativity to give us a very different experience in a fighter. And it works. Learning moves and fighting through this game can be a very satisfying experience.

The graphics are on par with Virtua Fighter 2 of the time period. Not as much detail, simpler, but it makes for a softer, maybe fuzzy, appearance to the characters. I'll admit that they are a little blocky especially if you use a hi-res flatscreen. A flatscreen yields some sharpness in the graphics and things take on a different look. But on a 480 scan tube TV, it is smooth. Animation is also good and smooth. There are some character designs, which I sort of wince at. Maybe it is just the western cultural influence that I have in my brain. There are 9 characters with 5 unlockables. And one of them, is a cow.

You are located up on a very high platform with animated backgrounds, or at least some of the backgrounds are animated. That is where you fight it out with your opponent. A ringout means a nasty fall. The backgrounds look nice and are much more detailed than the characters. Not sure if that works for you. I never noticed. I was too involved with the fight. Using the rumble pak is a nice touch.

The game is an easy pick up and play, I was easily fighting in no time. I think a novice, or a skilled gamer, would get a lot out of this fighter. I found the game fun and satisfying. The only negative is the lack of emphasis on combos. You can string hits together which are combos, but there are no on screen graphics announcing how many. It is sort of missing and you feel it, or it is something I wanted while playing. It has nothing to do with the gameplay. Just puts a little fun edge into it. Like having a spotlight on you that gives you the feeling of accomplishment. Sort of like an award, a brag point. If they had included that graphic splash across the screen, it would have put this game over the top for me. Still, I encourage you to spend some serious time with this game and enjoy yourself. Fighters Destiny does excel in its gameplay. And this game easily sits in my top ten fighters for the N64. (Those slots are filling up fast.) I highly recommend this game, big thumbs up, and rate it as "Awesome Game."
Retro Gaming and Hardware / N64: Mace The Dark Age Review
September 07, 2018, 10:42:01 PM
This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.

I love this game and find it hard to put down, yes, addicting. This game is very easy to pick up and play. After two afternoons of playing I found myself easily pulling off, up to, 4 hit combos. And you'll need to be able to perform those combos in order to get anywhere in this game. The computer offers a good challenge, so it is essential that you learn to dodge, or evade, and do combos. You can't just mash one button and walk through this. There are also countermeasures, special moves, fatalities, and throws to learn. I found the controls are tight and responsive which always adds to the fun of any fighter. I did experience some slowdown at one point, could have been associated with the character I was fighting, or stage, not sure. Still, it was there. I did not have anyone to help me try the two player mode, so I really don't know if slowdown is present during that part of the game. There are several modes of play, easy, medium, hard, and very hard. You are not going to just walk through the easy mode without learning some moves first, believe me.

Graphics are very good and exceptional for an N64 fighter. For the time period they were some of the best visuals out there. Detailed character designs are very appealing and a pleasure to behold. They really have that "3D feel" about them. The environments, like every other fighter, are built around the various characters. And each stage is huge, detailed, and has its dangers to avoid while fighting. Some fights, we were all over the place, others I had them backed into a corner. (And some, lets just say, I didn't like being pushed into those revolving blades, there will be a rematch and revenge.) There are 12 fighters to choose from with hidden characters to unlock. Love the good ole days of unlocking instead of the "down loadable content" monster. You have the option, if you so choose, to turn off the blood and fatalities. I, personally, find the game well balanced, with each fighter having their own strengths and weaknesses. Some fighters have a longer reach, for example, causing you to use strategy. Again there is that motivation to continue learning, building your skills, and experience, in order to advance in the game. I find it a joy as I learn and begin to master some of the fighters. I find myself wanting an arcade stick and buttons. I even hold my controller in that fashion with fingers across the top six buttons, the yellow ones with the blue and green.

I think any novice, like me, or skilled gamer, will find this one hard to put down. It is a good game that is fun to get into with lots of depth. Mace is an arcade to home console port. The game was released by Midway, the same people that gave us Mortal Kombat. Not to say that has any bearing on whether this game is bad or good. The atmosphere here brings to mind Soul Blade. My feelings are that I like this game better than any of the Mortal Kombat games and find the elements more interesting. And I think it deserved a sequel on the N64 that it never got. That is our misfortune. I love arcade gaming and that is what this game is all about. I put this game in the top ten of my list of fighters on the N64. It is a very good weapons based fighter. I give it a thumbs up and rate it as "Awesome Game." And I recommend it to any one who loves a good arcade fighter. Just prepare to spend some time with this one. That is the only way you'll get the full pleasurable experience of Mace.

This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.

I spent some time in the arcades back in the 80s and 90s. It is a fact that I started visiting the arcades when pinball was the norm. I watched as the arcade scene changed and evolved into the golden years of the 90s. I watched as that flame burning bright dwindled down quickly into a smouldering wick. The one thing I always wanted to do was to bring that arcade experience home. I am telling you now, this is it.

For some reason I never took note of Killer Instinct in the arcades. I do remember seeing the game there, but I think, at the time, my interests were elsewhere. I do remember purchasing the SNES game and having a great time with that one, still have it, still play it occasionally. But this N64 version, this is arcade gaming that puts a smile on your face.

There are so many options in this game. You have at your finger tips, all kinds of adjustments. And it is a delight in being able to mold this game to your own liking and enjoyment. Game speed, easy, hard, extra hard, blood on or off, training, team, arcade, practice, tournament, etc. In the first session, I sat tweaking the game until I felt comfortable in the way I wanted to get beat up. I tried a few fighters, settled on one, and felt I was up against a challenge. It took a few games, but the more I played, the more I started learning to do moves and combos. The more I was in control of my fighter, the further I advanced in the game. I then started to feel the rush. "Easy pick up and play," but takes time to master, that is the beauty of arcade games. The game has that certain charm that hooks you into coming back for more, addictive, yes. That is the fun of the arcades.

Love the interactive backgrounds where, at times, you can smash your opponent through something. They look beautiful, awesome, and animated. The whole game's CGI has that pseudo 3D feel even though it is obviously a 2D fighter. Everything about this game is orchestrated together to give you a delightful experience.

This game is great awesome fun for anyone who loves a good arcade fighter. It is easy to get into and has depth in the mastering of the game. Both novice and skilled will find something to like about this game. I mean, what's not to like about this game? I know it had its critics when it was released. Okay, they had their chance at fun and blew it. You my friend can start and end this differently. And.......... bring a friend. I highly recommend this game. It has the potential to take up all of your time. You have been warned. I give this a very big thumbs up and rate it as "Awesome Game."