Welcome to Retro Game On!

Everything retro - big and small! Live from Perth, Australia!

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Last Post of 2011... EVER

Bit of a dramatic title I know, but it's true I guess.
This (by my Australian watch) will be the last post for this year, as in about 12 hours it will be 2012. I would make a post closer to the minute, but to be perfectly honest with you I'll probably be quite drunk.

Anything new in my retro world? Unfortunately not much, as I'm currently in saving mode for a new computer. I did pick this up from Target for $30 but:


It's awesome. It has heaps of great games on it and the ones I've played so far work quite well with the PS3 pad. It's way better than a SEGA Classics Collection for PS2 I picked up while I was in France. I didn't even bother posting about it since it was so terrible, it tried to replace all the graphics with the new gen at the time. *shudders*

You may or may not be wondering why there was no Christmas post. If it's one thing I hate, it's Xmas. It's kind of a irrational hate, but I just think it's kinda silly. Plus working in retail will make it enrage you even if you were the most firm of believers originally.

My poor games room, it's been transformed into an all you want jolly fest.
Lets have a look back at this last year of retro blogging.
It all started back in April where I introduced myself. Looking back my collection was quite small compared to what it is now. Of course it's still is pretty small now, but I reckon it's about tripled in size since then.
Other highlights of the year include my trip to France (here, here and le here), starting the retro scan posts (which is still pretty much the only regular section), trying to fix 20 year old electronics and failing, fixing various controllers and succeeding and plenty of other content.
Since I've started I've blogged 53 posts (including this one) over eight months. Not bad at all in my opinion, especially since I neglected to post anything in November. Sorry November.
Here is to another year of retro gaming and blogging, plus many more to come. Have a happy new year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

And the Super Famicom Collection Begins...



Closer to the start of this month, I happily blogged about a huge cache of retro consoles I scored for free. The only thing that I wasn't sure about was if any of them worked, as I didn't have any games.
Shortly after I scored that lot, I went to Ebay and bought Gradius 3. Being that this was in Japan it only just arrived the other day. It was an exciting moment as I put it in the SF for the first time and clicked the button, but all my hopes and dreams went down the toilet when all I got in return was a blank screen.
This didn't last long though as I was half expecting it. You gotta have a glass half full mindset when playing around with 20 year old plus technology. 
I went straight to Google and it gave me an answer almost immediately, a simple one as well; clean the contacts on the game.
No matter how many forum posts I read about the subject, this is the solution that came up the most. Since it was something I could try straight away, I went straight to it.
I found some q-tips, and the bottle of rubbing alcohol I tried to fix my Game Gear with. I simply put some of the rubbing alcohol on the q-tip, making sure it wasn't running, and stroked the contacts a few times. By the time I was finished both q-tips I used were completely black, it didn't look like it at first but they must of been mighty dirty. After that I tried to play it again, the magic started:

As you can see, I need a power converter just to turn it on.

This in it's self is retro, it has a production date on the back of it from 1966. 
It's amazing what a bit of cleaning can do. At first I thought I had a dud, but thanks to the internet I can rest easy. 
The game it's self is awesome. It's my first shoot 'em up, and I suck at it. But I plan to play it until I'm a pro as it's fun, because I wouldn't be a very good retro collector if I didn't enjoy the games.



Saturday, December 17, 2011

Now You Can Kill Hookers and Steal Cars on Android or IOS


Yes, you heard me. This week Rockstar Games released Grand Theft Auto 3 for Android and IOS devices for it's 10 year anniversary. If you've ever looked in my games section, you tell can right off the bat that I'm a massive GTA whore. I own every single title to my knowledge expect for GTA2 and that London one.

The day it's released I go and check out the product page for it on the Android Market. As I'm scrolling through the description, I get more and more excited. Finally; I can kill hookers and take they're money while I'm on the train, I thought to myself. All this excitement reached an anti-climax when I reached the 'supported phone' section of the description though. My phone wasn't on the list. Oh the humanity.
Personally I have a Motorola Defy+, which is by know means a shit phone. Well, I hope not anyway. Bloody thing cost me three hundred bucks. It has a 1Ghz processor and 512mb of RAM. This should be enough to run a 10 year old game right?
The thing is, it's a relatively new phone. In the list there was a whole lot of other Motorola phones, older than mine. Maybe it would still work anyway? It's only five bucks, but its the disappointment of it not working which I'm more scared of.
Hmmm, what a dilemma.

[Android Market] [Apple Store]

Christmas Has Come Early Again!


Technically this new possession was a birthday present, but lets not get into the specifics. Remember a couple of posts ago when I scored two Famicom's and a Super Famicom? I just scored this SNES with a copy of Street Fighter 2 Turbo the same kind of way. People know I'm into retro collecting, so when they come across things like these which are no use to them, I'm the first person they think of.
This particular gift came as the console, the game and a third party controller. Unfortunately my friend who gave it to me couldn't find the cables, but this is no problem as my Super Famicom AV cable works with it (which is soon to get it's first game) and I'm using a universal AC adapter which I found in the depths of my spare room. Sadly the AC adapter is old and overheats dramatically after a few minutes, but I have a new one coming inbound from Ebay.
As for the console it's self, no problems at all. I had to do a bit of dust blowing to get it working in the first place, but it's been smooth sailing ever since. I've had a whale of a time playing Street Fighter on it so far; I can't wait until the new AC adapter arrives so I don't have to worry about the universal one catching on fire after half an hours use or so.

All in all, a very worthy console to add to my ever expanding collection. This doubled with the Super Famicom will make sure that my Nintendo collection from that era is going to be awesome.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Blog Update 14/12/2011

Look to your right, now you can see that I've added a Facebook like button. I've just made an 'official' page for this blog, the idea is that you can like it on Facebook and whenever I do a blog post here, I will make a post on that page so you can find out about it through Facebook.
Other blog's and websites seem to do it I've noticed, so I'll trial it here for a little while and see if it works. If not, I'll silently, but sadly delete it and then proceed to cry myself to sleep for months.
I'm not too happy with the colours, they don't match up very well with the overall blog colour scheme. The code for the plug-in isn't very customizable you see, so I guess I'll just have to live with it.
Happy Facebooking.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

$50,000 Xmas Present For Your Retro Gamer Nerd Friend


The famously rare NES game, Stadium Events has popped up again on the web, this time factory sealed.
This is of course the NTSC version, which unlike the PAL version is extremely rare. Even more so that it's still factory sealed, there is supposedly only one other fully sealed copy out there, and only about 200 copies in all.

Would you buy this? If I had the spare money I would think about it. Not for the bragging rights to have one of the most rarest games ever, but for the investment. Also it would make a pretty damn good blog post.
Copies of this game are only going to go up in value as time moves on, especially for a factory sealed one. You would have to be careful though as it might be the big thing for now and the foreseeable future, but in ten years time, no one might give a crap. Then you would be stuck with a 50 grand, 30 year old piece of plastic. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It seems as if Christmas has come early

And a ho ho ho to me.
Well, for me anyway. What you see above is the haul I received yesterday; two Famicoms and a Super Famicom. Total price? Nada. Didn't cost me a cent. So how did I get my grubby hands on these for free you ask? Easy.
I tend to talk about my retro collecting and playing habits to my friends quite a bit whether they like it or not. Some have thought of it as weird at first, but once I invite them over for a few games, they think its fantastic. Since I do talk about games a lot, it means that whenever someone else comes across things like these and doesn't want them themselves, people like me are the first they think of. This is how I scored this bundle, and I hope to get lucky in the future for some more freebies. Other people see it as junk that they want to get rid of, but of course I'll give them a good home so I guess everybody wins.

Lets have a look into the details...

These look so much better than their American counterparts in my opinion.
First off... the Super Famicom!
So the million dollar question is, does it work? The short answer is that it seems to, but I don't have any games to properly test it yet. 
But it did come with a 'Game Partner 2' attached. For those of you who don't know what it that is, I found out after some extensive Googling that is seems to be clone of the SF Doctor. This is a fairly bulky device that plugs into the cartridge loader and has other ports in it and a floppy drive. To my knowledge it's used to dump games to floppy and it can save game states to floppy also. For more information, watch this helpful video I found.
Anyway, this device has a menu. When I plugged everything in and booted it up, the menu for the Game Partner 2 came up.

I don't how to use it, but it makes me feel like a pro.
Everything all connected and running.
This tells me that at least it can power on, the video signal is fine and the cartridge loader is still operational. Of course I can't comment on the sound yet, but I hope to buy a cheap working test game soon so I can verify that it works, and then play it!  

Next off, the Famicoms.

I was extremely lucky here as one of them still came in its box.
First off, I have no idea if they work. I plugged them in and turned them on, but there is no power LED or anything so until I get a game, your guess is as good as mine.
One of them is in great condition cosmetically, the other... not so great. Within the first minute of me having it I pressed the reset button and its been stuck down ever since. It might be a fun restore project though. As the saying goes, there is no such thing as a dead console.

This one seems to be in excellent condition.
This one has a bit more to be desired. But as I said, I'll give it a good home!
Now for the most important challenge that I face with these now... plugging them into my TV.
The SF was easy as that just uses your standard everyday composite cables, but these use an RF switch. First thought, they're just standard coax cables like how I use to plug my VCR in. But no. One side is like that (which plugs into the Famicom) but the output is some weird prong things.

The whole thing.
A close up of the mysterious prong things.
I have no idea how they plug into my tellie, it just makes no sense. I would expect there to be another coaxle looking cable at this end.
Maybe those are common place for Japanese televisions, but they're just plain foreign to me.

Next off, the joystick.


Not a whole lot to say here at this stage of the game as it plugs into Famicoms, but it appears to be in great cosmetic condition anyway. It's also Nintendo branded as well so this raises more hope. You all know the age old rule, never buy after market accessories as they generally suck. 

Stay tuned for the next couple of weeks when I hopefully get a hold of some games to test the machines fully. It will be great to be able to talk about Nintendo a little bit more in this blog, I feel as if Sony and Sega have been getting a bit too much attention lately. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sonic Adventure for Dreamcast review

[NOTE] This review was originally posted back in May, but I was messing around with the labels system and when I pressed 'publish' (with the labels inserted) it put this post right to the top. It didn't do this with any other post so I blame Google for a technical glitch on their behalf.  

I haven’t done any reviews for this blog yet. It’s about time don’t you think?
Please keep in mind that these pictures aren’t mine, they were ‘obtained.’ The way I’m recording footage isn’t refined yet plus my internet has capped so I would have no easy way to upload pictures and videos anyway.


For? Sega Dreamcast   Who? Sonic Team   Year? 1998

Believe it or not it was quite hard to decide what to review. My collection is by no means big but I couldn’t pick anything out. I was stuck. What I really wanted to review was something that would be somewhat unknown. Something that people would really want to read because they hadn’t heard of it before. I don’t really have anything like that in my collection, I was stuck.
The other day I decided I had to review something once and for all. I asked myself the question; what had I been playing a lot? The answer for that is simple. Sonic Adventure.
It may not be unknown but there is a reason why I keep going back to it to play. It’s fun. I have a ball of a time every time I play it; this is why I am going to review it.
When I think of Sonic the Hedgehog games these days the mental image of a turd comes up. They’re not that good; in fact they’re pretty damn awful. Somehow the once awesome series has been run deeply into the ground. But let’s not think of those right now, let’s 
concentrate on this classic. 

It mixes classic Sonic gameplay with an interesting free roam feature.
You start off in the area called Station Square and from there you can catch the train to another free roam area called Mystic Ruins. From both of these areas you can access Adventure Fields. These are the levels where you have to race through and collect coins etc. Pretty much like in the classic 2D games, except with a 3D perspective.
It can put you at a loss of what to do sometimes though. There is no mini-map so you can come out of an Adventure Field with no idea what to do. There is a womanly orb of light that tells you were to go but sometimes she isn’t all that specific so you find yourself aimlessly wondering around.

The 3D perspective is mostly well done but the camera can be a right pain in the ass, you can control it but a lot of the time it tends to do its own thing which can screw you right up. Regularly it turns in a direction so you can’t see what you’re doing mostly turning into walls or objects. It makes you question why they even bother giving you control in the first place if it’s just going to randomly change at its own leisure.

The story is quite entertaining and in depth. There are these ‘Chaos Emeralds’ that Dr.Eggman has found out about which have great unknown powers. He frees a monster called Chaos and feeds it these emeralds to make it invincible and help him rule the world. It’s up to Sonic and the gang to stop him.
You can play six different characters that all have their own part to play and special powers to play with. This makes the game quite long. This is not a bad thing though as dividing it up between these different characters makes it quite manageable. You could just play as Sonic and leave it at that, but that would be no fun. Playing as all the characters fully truly tells the whole story.

The graphics are great, but this doesn’t surprise me considering it’s a signature Dreamcast game. There are many different types of terrains and environments in the game and they all come off as beautiful, well from a distance anyway. Sometimes I found that a few textures up close were horribly rendered and warped. A minor thing though as a lot of it looks great.
It supposedly looks even better with a VGA box. Unluckily for me I don’t have one but from other articles I’ve read it comes off quite nicely.
The cutscenes utilise the great graphics as well. Some are pre-rendered which are great like expected while others use the also great real time graphics. The animation is spot on as well and happens smoothly, the facial animation isn’t so great though but it gets a gold star for trying considering how old the game is.
It should be noted though that the cutscenes can’t be skipped which becomes quite annoying. There were many instances where I had to re-watch the same bloody scene because a lot of the save points happen before them, which I consider a very bad development decision. 

The sound is great in some areas but annoying and repetitive in others.
Each character has its own theme music which covers a broad range of genres which is a huge difference from the techno soundtracks that occupied the previous games. Personally I rather the older soundtracks but these one does have its gems. It’s all up to personal opinion in the end if a genre you like happens to play. During the credits of each character you can hear the same theme songs but except with lyrics. Many of these are cheesy but usually quite enjoyable. For example Knuckles has his own rap song which slightly reminds me of the original Pok√©mon rap for some reason. It’s cool that Team Sonic went to all the trouble of all these proper songs.
If only the same could be said about the voice acting, it’s terrible.
It is really B-Grade, as if the voice actors were reading it right off the script into the microphone. It’s one of the main bad things that stand out about this game.
If anything it’s good to laugh at though because it is just 
so bad.
 
As I mentioned at the start of this review the game is amazingly fun. This is why I just keep going back to it. The Adventure Fields are quick, balanced and well designed. You really feel a rush during a lot of them, especially when scripted events happen. A fairly known one in this game is in the first Adventure Field where there is this huge whale which is tearing up this jetty as you run towards the camera. It’s a great adrenaline rush to start the game and it’s just a hint of what’s to come later on.
Another thing I love about this game is the amount of boss fights. I’m a sucker for boss fights and the amount in this is just pure joy for me. The game actually starts off with one with Chaos in his earliest form. I’ve never seen a game do this before but it’s a great way to jump right into the action.
The controls are pretty simple and easy to pick up; I don’t think any character uses more than two buttons. The only gripe I have is with the analogue stick. This is by no means the games fault though as the stick on the Dreamcast is already notoriously bad.

So there you have it folks, the first written review for Retro Game On. I highly recommend this game if you have a Dreamcast, although it’s also available on The Gamecube, Windows, Zeebo, PSN and XBLA.
This game rightly earns the Retro Game On Seal of Awesomeness:



You Win Some, You loose Some

This morning I went to my first local swap meet since I went to the one in Neuvic, France; which was a little bit more than amazing. Of course after that experience, my expectations were a little high.
I turned up to this local one at about 8am, to find only about 25 stalls. Sadly most of which were selling 80's romance novels and pot plants.
I didn't take a picture of this kinda sad looking scene, as my under-slept self forgot the camera and my soon to be replaced brick phone's camera is just plain stupid. You're not missing out on much though, it was just a bunch of disappointed looking locals such as myself aimlessly wondering around a carpark.. The only thing I snagged was this copy of Hogs of War on PS1 for $1:


Not bad at all, but I don't know if its worth waking up on a Sunday morning at 7am for.
I should mention that they're usually are better swap meets close to me, but just this particular one sucked. I guess you win some, and you loose some. The only other game related goodies I saw was a PlayStation 1 (which I already own three of) and various games for Xbox, but no actual Xbox's to go with them.
After that I decided to visit some garage sales but again, no luck. All I saw was a mid nineties video camera for $30. I guess some people are just too damn optimistic, I don't think I would have paid ten.

Anyway, I got home to find that Hogs of War doesn't work. So I guess I didn't really achieve anything today bar a spare case and a new frisbee. I'm not complaining though as I guess that is the whole fun of searching for treasures in the wild, you got to have patience. Some days are great, like Neuvic, and others just suck, like today. Ah well, the journey continues. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Whoops! Sorry! Have an article!

GAH! No posts for the entirety of November!? No posts for the entirety of November!? I feel like Doc Brown in Back To The Future. I've messed up and missed some time by accident and now I'm trying to fix it by yelling and repeating myself.

Great Scott!
I don't want to spend this whole post trying to redeem myself, honest. I do have some valid excuses though, I promise. First off, I've just finished my Game Development course at TAFE for the year. While this has kept my development blog healthily updated, it means I have been very busy of late doing lots of work, which I incidentally want to talk about in a second.
Secondly off, I've just started working again after a two year absence. This of course will mean it will be easier for me obtain retro goodyness, and the job is in an electronic store so I enjoy it. It pretty much means I can geek out and get paid for it. 

Now, about my work.
Obviously doing game development in the modern days means I'm catering for the present day platforms, for example Android, IOS, Steam, PS3, 360 etc. You get the idea. Now I may or may not have gone on a rant about most modern day games in this blog... I can't remember and I'm too lazy to check. Just in case I haven't though, the general jist is that they're too easy and for lack of better words, mainstream. Now I'm no hipster, but there is nothing I hate more when games get ruined because of some suit corporate decision by noobs who don't even play games. I'm not going to name names, but if you do your homework they're are certain people who pop-up again and again. 
They kill game franchises by releasing games yearly, even bi-yearly. This of course means that the production time and values are a lot lower, meaning a less polished product. 
Now of course the games industry is based around money, like a lot things in this world. I'm not complaining about this obviously as I want it to be my future career, I want to get paid just like the next guy. I just feel as if things get pushed a bit too much sometimes by greed, and it's not needed. They're plenty of companies who prove that quality products can be made (and lots of money too!) and things don't get pushed to the limit. Valve is one such company. They take pride in the fact that they leave huge gaps in-between games and are always so secretive, quite the opposite from the hype machine that other companies make for their games really. They still make lots of money though, and they've been going strong for years. 

So how can I change this as a developer? Using retro games as an inspiration of course! 
It is quite easy to get into Indie development, Android and IOS are quite welcoming and Steam is to an extent (they're a bit more strict though). I find the gameplay in the older games to be a lot more solid, challenging and fun. Of course the graphics aren't up to par, but who cares. Graphics doesn't make a game good, the gameplay does. Of course any future games I develop will have new gen graphics, but there is nothing stopping me from putting in the gameplay elements I want. 
It certainly is a good time to be in the Indie scene, the amount I can get away with creatively wise is huge. 


Saturday, October 8, 2011

And Then There Were Three


Remember that video where the guy has three PS3's? Well now I'm like that guy, except I have three PS1's.
There just happened to be a garage sale down the end of my street, so I thought I would wonder down and see what I could find. Lo and behold, there was a PSone for $10 which included a controller and all the necessary cables. Since these are a good $20 or $30 by themselves at Cashies or whatever, I thought I mind as well. I did want another decent Dualshock One after all.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a Sony fanboy
I don't usually carry cash around with me (I'm one of those Eftpos people) and since I was nowhere near a bank I brought down about $10 worth of change. As I was counting it out, the lady of the house told me to stop at around the $9 mark as she obviously didn't want all the 5 cent pieces. Thank you pretty much useless coinage, you saved me a a dollar. 

Read about my other two PS1's here and here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Well Travelled Game Boy Cartridge

So much for writing articles on my week off... lol. In the mean time, have this in which I found kinda funny.


So I bought this Game Boy game, Conker's Pocket Tales for $5 from a local hock shop. No biggie right. 
I buy it, turn it over and see this...


It's been previously brought from another local hock shop, which is actually next door to the previous one. 
I found it funny. It must of been stolen from some poor sods house and the sold to the first shop, only to be bought and stolen again and sold to the other shop. That's the funny story in my head anyway because lets face it, a lot of stock in those stores come from questionable places. 

The game it's self is a load of crock. I bought it expecting to play as a hungover squirl because of the N64 game, Conker's Bad Fur Day. Nope, turns out Rare re-did his profile and it turned out as this kiddy, badly done RPG crap. At least I didn't pay $10 for it. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Happy Birthday to youuuuuuuu...


... you're a hundred and twoooo.... you smell like a donkeyyyyy.... and you act like one toooooooooo...

Today is the 15th birthday of the humble Nintendo 64. Fifteen years ago today it was released and came the first fully playable console for people with three arms.
I don't actually own one myself, but I've spent many an hour with emulators (using an actual controller with a USB adapter) and many a good time playing it over friends houses. Last weekend I was actually over a buddies house and we had a fun drunk session with Banjo Kazooie, South Park and that shitty Mission Impossible game.

Go on, have a drink in it's honour. I know I will.

[IGN]

Non-Failure

I forgot to take a before shot but it was really only this minus the rumbles. 
It was such a nice day outside today and I didn't have anything better to do, so I decided to finally solder on those rumbles that I said I would ages ago when I put my Dualshock 1 back together.
It was a simple job. I just had to suck up the old solder, put a new batch back down and then solder the two wires on each rumble to the circuit board. From there I simply reassembled it, and screwed it back together. Too easy.

It was such a nice feeling to start up an arcade session of Grand Turismo 2, and feel the vibration as I purposely hit all the other cars for the first time since I originally put the controller back together about a month ago. It makes me more confident to keep trying at my Sega Game Gear project, which has been disappointment after disappointment after disappointment.
Either my soldering skills have gotten better (I'm still a noob really) or this was just an easy solder job. I would like to think it's the first choice though. :P

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Retro Scan: Official Sony PlayStation One Memory Card Advert

Many an apology for the lack of posts these last couple of weeks, I've been tied up with TAFE work as I'm nearing the end of the term. Fret not though, as I get the whole of next week off. I hope to use that time to catch up on some gaming and I would also like to write up some articles for this blog.

In the mean time though, have this retro scan.
It's an advert for an official PSone memory card. We all know that you need to track down the official cards as the after market ones tend to be pieces of crap.
After years of PS gaming, I've only recently tracked down an official one myself. I wish I did this years ago as I would probably still have all my old game saves from my childhood. The only good reason to go after marker is if you want something bigger than 1MB.

This is scanned out of The Official Australian PlayStation Magazine, issue 31. Clicky for higher resolution.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Review: WipEout HD for PS3

This is a retro gaming site and thus should have retro related content. But I wrote this review for my Games Development course anyway so I decided that I may as well post it here as well. Enjoy.



For? PlayStation 3  Who? SCE Studio Liverpool  Year? 2008

I’ve never played a full WipEout game before, I’ve only ever played a demo for the very first one on PSone. All I remember of that demo is a lot of in game advertising of Red Bull and a heavy mid nineties electronic soundtrack. I did enjoy the demo, but never bought the game.
Fast forward ten years or so and the PlayStation network gets hacked and then taken down. When it finally gets brought back online, Sony gives away free games to say sorry. From that I scored WipEout HD for free via download.

WipEout HD is a futuristic racing game in which you compete in these anti-gravity aircrafts which can be equipped with weapons to use against the opponents. You obtain these weapons by flying over these ‘power-up pads’ which are also used to give you a speed boost. The racing is very competitive so it’s recommend the player tries to fly over these pads before the opponents do.

The initial campaign gives you five different Modes in eight different sections. Scoring well in these modes lets you progress onto the other sections with a point system.
Most of the modes you would expect to see in a racing game, these include the likes of a Single Race mode and a Tournament mode. They’re just for pure racing. There is also the Time Trial and Speed Lap modes which require you to go as fast as possible.
The mode that sticks out to me and is most unique though is the Zone mode. In this mode you don’t have any brakes. It’s set in an abstract environment where the music acts like an equalizer all around you. Every time you go through a ‘zone’ your craft gets faster and faster. The idea is to see how long you can last without crashing.
I’ve never played a mode like that before in a racing game so I always looked forward to that whenever I unlocked a new section.

The 'Zone' mode
The handling on the crafts are quite unique. The fact that they’re hovering gives off the feeling of having no bottom weight, which requires a bit of getting use to. Once you do though it’s quite easy to glide your craft around  corners without using the brakes, which are also quite weird. Instead of using the traditional one button stops all type brake you have to manoeuvre these two different ‘air brakes.’ There is one of these on each side of your craft, pressing one on a side will suddenly send the craft in that direction. Whenever I used it, it usually sent my craft straight into the wall so I only used it whenever I absolutely needed to. Usually just letting pressure off the accelerator made the craft slow down enough to easily go around corners.

The graphics are quite nice, but are seeming to be a bit dated these days. They were considered full HD when they were released back in 2008 but since HD has come quite far over these last few years, I think if it was released today it would be a lot more polished.
Having said that though, they’re not by any means bad. I found the environments to have quite a bit of detail in them. Whenever a race was completed it would pan around the track and you could fully appreciate what has been done since you’re going way too fast during the actual race to notice anything.
The futuristic worlds are quite interesting, with huge buildings in weird shapes using a very stylized colourful and bright style.  It actually reminds me of certain areas within Mass Effect, like the city parts of the Citadel.

The music in it is quite relevant. Its mixes in a lot of different electronica and techno genres, which gives off quite a futuristic vibe. Using such known bands such as Kraftwerk it’s really easy to immerse yourself in this game.
You can tell a lot of effort has been put into the sound design. For instance the Zone mode wouldn’t be as cool looking as it is if it wasn’t for the music.
This game utilises Dolby 5.1 soundtrack, as well as the music the actual sound effects sound brilliant. Everything just sounds so streamlined. You can really hear the work that has gone into these as well from the rocket thrusters to the lock on sound you hear as you’re about to blow up an opponent.

Charging ma lazorrrr
All in all, I really enjoyed this game. Everything about it is just so streamlined, which is what I presumed they were aiming for. The modes are varied, the handling is great once you get use to it, the graphics are great now considering how old it is and the sound and music is quite enjoyable.
The only cons I can think of for this review is the air brake system and maybe the fact that the competitors are a bit too competitive in the beginning. It’s a bit overwhelming when you start but after a few races you figure how they work and you use that to your advantage.

I feel this game series hasn’t really come a long way since I played that demo for the first one all those years ago. The main improvements are of course the graphics and the lack of in game advertising (which I feel is a good thing) but the game structure has pretty much stayed the same. This is a good thing though as all those years ago they were onto a winning formula, and the fact they haven’t tried to fix something that isn’t broke is defiantly something more developers should realise and do when they make sequels for excellent games.


Check out this video of me playing the Speed Run mode if you want more:


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dualshock 3 being a shit stain? Spend $2

You may or may not remember, but a couple of posts ago I mentioned that the thumbsticks on my white Dualshock 3 needed to be replaced.
The rubber on one had actually fallen off, leaving only a skeleton of it's former self. This rendered it fairly uncomfortable to play with so I decided to look into how to fix it.
Originally I thought that I could just slip on another rubber (stop being childish), but it turns out I needed to replace the whole damn thumbstick. I bought two replacements off eBay for a whooping $2. Once I received them I went to work on changing them over, photographing as I went...

The thumbstick on the left is the perpetrator, it actually caused some damage to the inner rim as you can see.


The brand new thumbsticks, before they were introduced to their new home.


Taking the screws out of the Dualshock 3.


Huzzah! The Dualshock is open. Time to get under that circuit board so I can get to the thumbsticks.


The guts strewn everywhere.


The new thumbsticks are inserted and the the Dualshock is put back together. Reassembling it was a bit of a bitch though, as the R2 buttons liked to fall off. 


The old thumbsticks... gone... but not forgotten...



All in all I'm quite happy with this little project, I feel as if it went quite well. I've given it several different play sessions since and the thumbsticks seem to be holding up quite well.
Total repair bill? $2. I saw some other people complaining about this on forums and some of them even said that they just simply bought another one. Suckers. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Retro Scan: Rollcage (PS1, PC)

This has Fatboy Slim in it? I might have too look out for it now :P
Scanned out of the June, 1999 issue of Official Australian PlayStation Magazine.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Dualshock One... It Lives!





You may or may not remember this post, where I was complaining about my former, littler self destroying my first console.
Commenter and fellow blogger, Sega MikeyDrive said I probably could put it back together, so I did. I did mention there that it still all worked and that I just needed to fix the casing, I did do that to but it still had a buttcrack.  I actually had it set up for a while but then I decided to replace it and put it in storage.

Fast forward a few months and the rubber on my left thumbstick for my white Dualshock 3 completely comes off, something to do with humidity or some shit. I look for replacement rubbers only to find that I can't really buy those but I can buy whole thumbstick replacements off eBay. That will be a future job for me to replace them when they finally come (postage from Hong Kong always takes forever) but it reminded me of my poor Dualshock One which still lay in pieces.
I decided to have a crack at putting it back together and make it usable again. I was putting it off for so long that I completely forgot about it, but to my surprise it was quite easy. The first time I tried I didn't align the L and R buttons correctly, but after quickly trying again it's working in top shape!

The only problem is that the actual 'dualshocks' are not connected. These were originally connected by two wires each but they must of come off while in the box, which is the only real damage that has occurred. I feel this would just be a real simple soldering job though, and I'll get to it soon. I just need to find a good diagram which will show me where the solder points are.
There is no hurry to do that now though, as the controller is in a playable form. It's completely sealed up and none of the buttons stick, which was actually happening before I originally pulled it apart. So all in all, mission successful!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Shenmue


It finally arrived! What can I say about it? Well, what can't I say about it? It's simply amazing.
Australian Post where I live is so slow, everyday it didn't come a little of me died on the inside. The day it did come though, what a day. I stopped everything and I just played. I've been wanting this game since I got my Dreamcast a while back but just never happened across it in the wild. I finally gave in and bought it off eBay a few weeks ago.


The copy I got was in fairly excellent condition. It came in its cardboard case, the instruction manual was present as well as another promotional brochure. The disks are in great condition also, there are no scratches or marks. There are some scuffs on the cardboard box though, but this doesn't matter. It certainly doesn't effect anything. 
For anyone not in the know, Shenmue is based in a small seaside Japanese town at the end of 1986. You take control of a teenager named Ryo, who witnesses his father (who is a martial arts instructor) getting murdered for some sort of mirror he owns at the start. From then onwards you vow to revenge his death and find out more about this mysterious mirror. 
The game is set out in a 3D RPG manner. You walk around this huge sandbox environment (which is immensely detailed) and try to solve the death. Ryo himself is quite good at martial arts and you can fight as him during certain parts of the game. It's all pretty much what Heavy Rain tried to be, in my opinion anyway.

I haven't finished yet, but when I do you can guarantee a review. I must be off now though, because I'm only up to the second disk :D

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Let's Talk About Dreams...


No, I haven't turned batshit crazy. This isn't going to turn into a blog were I rant and rave about my dreams, that would probably disturb most and send a select few of you insane. No, coincidently this dream was retro related.
So there I was having the best sleep of my life, and next thing I know I'm in Perth's first fully retro gaming store (besides from that shitty Gametrader's). Keep in mind as you read this, Perth doesn't exactly have the best retro game scene. It does have a truffle festival, but no retro shops.
So anyway, as you can imagine I'm over the fricken moon. I go there and find it's more than you're average retro game shop. It also incorporates an arcade and a LAN section. 
It's great, I buy a $20 boxed Neo Geo.

Now while some elements of this dream are pure bullshit *cough*Neo Geo*cough*, some actually seem like decent ideas.
This shop also mixed newer second-hand games as well as the retro stuff. Mix that with an arcade (Perth is in short demand of those as well) and a LAN section, I feel if handled rightly this could be an awesome shop.
One I would love to run actually. But what do I know about running a shop? 
Well, I did get a B in Small Business in year 10. I wouldn't trust that though, I sold these rank jelly cup things that actually made people sick. Heh...

So as it stands though, it is what it is. A dream. Maybe one day, but not any day soon.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Retro Scan: Army Men: Operation Meltdown (PS1, 3DO)

Scanned out of the Official Australian PlayStation Magazine, issue 38, October 2000.
I find this one particularly interesting because it was also released for the 3DO, those things are awesome. 
As soon as I have some spare money and a step down transformer I'm importing one. I have a space in my heart for the more off the beaten track consoles. 


Also happy 10 month anniversary to my lovely girlfriend, Jayne! :D