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.