Welcome to Retro Game On!

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

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.



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.