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

Monday, January 30, 2012

Battery Replacement for a GBC Cartridge

Yesterday I did my first ever battery replacement for a game cartridge. It was a copy of Pokemon Gold for the Game Boy Colour, and I feel it won't be the last time I will have to do it. Before the game carts of today (which have flash memory inbuilt) all game saves were physically kept alive by the power of a battery. Sadly batteries don't last forever as you probably know, and once they run out of juice, there goes the game saves.
There is of course no way to retrieve those lost saves once it's gone, but replacing the battery for a new save is a lot easier than I originally thought.
In this post I will show you the step by step on how I replaced the battery. I must stress that this is not a tutorial post, it's just a post on me following this video tutorial. I did find a lot of tutorials out there while researching, and I feel that this one uses the most simplified way of doing things and it was explained the clearest.

First off, the tools of the trade:

The game cartridge, duct tape, a brand new battery (thankfully Nintendo uses readily available batteries in their carts) and my Gamebit tool makes another guest appearance. I knew I would be using it again soon as it works for a load of consoles and cartridges. Also not pictured is a flat headed screwdriver. 

From there I set about removing the dead battery. In theory this was simple enough; use the flat headed screwdriver to separate the battery from the contact tabs which were spot welded together. In the video the guy was popping them like there was no tomorrow. You could tell he had done it before, but it must of took me about 5 minutes per spot weld (there were four all up). I didn't want to apply too much force for fear of cracking the circuit board, so I just kind of chiseled away at them until they broke. Probably not the most practical way of going about it, but at least nothing was broken in the end. 
Finally all the spot welds were broken, and the dead battery was free:

On closer inspection I noticed that the negative side of the dead battery was marked "01 01". I can only presume that this means it was installed January 2001, which seems like sort of a short life span when you think about it. I usually see forum posts now about people wanting to replace dead batteries in NES period games and maybe even SNES period, and they're 10-15 years older than this cart! Maybe Nintendo cheaped out on batteries for this game, who knows. 

The next step was to install the fresh battery. The idea for this was to physically tape it into the contact tabs. Sounds a bit crude I know, but it actually works a charm. Originally I was just going to solder it in, but after some research I was advised against that as it could make the battery explode! Makes sense really; an extremely hot tip against a battery. Hurrr.

As you can see in the picture above, the new battery is securely fastened in with the duct tape. After that it was just a case of putting the lid back on and screwing the security screw back in with the Gamebit.
Mission successful! The game now holds a save, and many more hours can now be enjoyed out of the game!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

GTA 3 On Ma Phone

Last year I blogged about Grand Theft Auto 3 being ported to Android and IOS devices. I was a little peeved as my Android Motorola Defy+ wasn't on the supported list, and I wasn't sure if I should risk the $5 to see if it worked. Well, the other day my curiosity got the better of me and I decided that instead of buying junk food or shitty GBA games, I would risk it for the $5.

A terribly focused picture because I'm a terrible person. 
After downloading the 8mb game from the Android store, and then another 400mb update (I knew the size didn't make sense originally) I was playing. It works! Although the frame rate sometimes leaves a little bit more to be desired.
While it is playable, sometimes random slowdown can happen. Not bad though considering my phone isn't officially supported. For all I know I could of just got a black screen on launch, I certainly don't feel as if I've wasted that $5.
So is it any good? Well yeah, I reckon so. The touch controls can get a bit of getting use to, but that's the beauty of it... they can get used to! Considering Rockstar only had a small space to work with touch screen control wise, I think they did quite well. The driving is excellent, but the shooting isn't as good. Not bad though, but it can get frustrating sometimes.
All in all, I'm quite impressed as there is no other games to my knowledge where you can kill hookers while on the train!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Video: Street Fighter 2 Turbo Review for SNES

I've kept to my word and made a new video, with more to come.
This is my first video review which I've been wanting to make for a while. I feel it went well, and if the reception is good enough I'll make more! 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Updates To The Game Room

While I haven't done anymore on my bucklist of sorts for the room yet, I decided to make some changes for the better yesterday that wouldn't cost me a dime. 
First off it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to make use of an empty display cabinet that was already in the room. I dunno why I never did before, but I guess it's good that I finally did.
I filled it full of items that where just on display in front of my games, making the whole collection look quite messy. I forgot to take an after picture of the games collection, but it looks a lot more neater now.

You may also be able to tell that my spare Famicom looks a lot cleaner than it did when I originally received it. I gave it a good clean the other day, and opened it up to see what was making the buttons stick. To my surprise it was full of sawdust! I can't think why it would be, but I'm sure if it could talk it would have an interesting story to tell.

Lastly I moved the step down transformer to a more permanent position near the power point and Japanese consoles. I also made a new home for all the controllers.

Moving the transformer there makes it a lot more easier to play the Japanese games. I use to have to set it up,  and then pack it up everytime I wanted to play some Gradius 3 or whatever, which was a huge pain in the ass. Now all I have to do is turn it on, and I can blow up space dragons without any hassle.
Putting all the controllers in that box makes life a little easier as well. Originally they were all just kinda strewn around the room. But now everything is more organised and there is less chance of me stepping on them, as they were just connected to the consoles on the ground before.
I'll probably upgrade to a better box soon enough, but in the meantime it makes me feel as if something useful came out of drinking a whole carton of Millers ;)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Video: The Chronicles of Trying to Fix my Sega Game Gear

Last year over a period of months, I tried to fix a broken Game Gear. In the end I was not successful, but I just found a video blog I made at the time and decided to upload it. Enjoy my failure. 

Blog posts about this subject in order:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Retro Scan: Kmart: PlayStation Platinum

Thanks to my amazing scanning skills, Kmart is now "Ustralia's No.1 retailer for Sony PlayStation games!"
It's been a while since I posted a retro scan, so I thought I would appeal the masses. Back in the day Kmart use to be an all right place to buy games, and they had plenty of platinum's for good prices. These days the Wii section is bigger than the PS3's, so yeah, that says that. 

From The Official Australian PlayStation Magazine, issue 31.
I really need to find me some more magazines, some that aren't late 90's PSone. Bring some diversity back.

Monday, January 9, 2012

This is a good sign...

I may not have any games for my two Famicom's yet, but it just hit me how I could figure out if it was at least turning on. See; unlike my Super Famicom, it has no indication light to tell me if it's on or not. That's how I figured out my SF was at least turning on, which led me to buying a game for it

This morning I was lovely admiring my collection (like you do) and I decided to have a bit more of a closer look at the joystick pad which I have for the Famicom's. On closer inspection, I noticed that it indeed has a few LED lights on it's self. Huh, didn't notice that before.
I plugged the better looking condition Famicom in, then the pad into the expansion port and then turned it on. Nothing happened. Ah well, I thought to myself. Mind as well have a bit of a play around while its all connected up. To my surprise if I released and then let go of the ejection slider thingy, the lights would light up if I pressed a button.

So much talk about LED's in this blog recently. 
I don't know what the cart ejector has to do with anything, but I figured out I only have to do it once after I plugged it in for the joystick pad to work continually. 
Not so surprisingly, my other Famicom didn't seem to respond. The fact that the reset button is stuck down might have something to do with it though.

This has pushed me to do the same thing for which I have done with my SF, which is to buy a cheap test game. I will choose something like Gradius 3 (which I bought for the SF). It was a cheap reliable game which is also fun. This also means that if it does work, I will at least have something fun to play. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Retro Games Room: The Greater Plan

Behind every retro games collector, is a room. In this room they store everything; the couch, the consoles, the tv, the sound system (usually) and most importantly, the games. I myself am quite proud of my room, but I feel that it can constantly always be improved.
I've had a greater plan for a while in my head, so I thought I would share it with my humble internet audience.

First off, the start of everything. Power.

So many awesome LED's!
My first step was to improve the power-board, which is so far the only step I've completed out of my whole plan.
Originally I only had a dodgy four way powering everything. This was so old it was yellowing (the console are suppose to be old, not the power source) and it wasn't even surge protected. Besides from the fact that it was potentially dangerous, it was just too small. Two were already taken up the tv and the stereo, leaving only another two for consoles. It was always a pain in the ass to keep swapping them around, so to upgrade to a fancy eight way (with all the bells and whistles) made me feel like a king. For the first time in forever, I actually have all my Australian consoles plugged in at the same time. Feels good.

Next step, the AV switch box:

For the time being, I'm content with my current $2 switch box I got from a garage sale. It's doing it's job at the moment, and doesn't need to be urgently replaced like the power-board was. Having said that though, it is completely full. I may have more than four consoles, but the Super Famicom and the SNES currently share the same AV lead and the Famicom plugs in via RF. I am a collector though, which will most probably mean that my collection will grow eventually. So of course my AV switch will need to be upgraded soon, most probably to an eight way.
I was thinking of something like this, but of course a lot of research still needs to be done. If I'm going to upgrade though I feel as if I should go the full nine. You can get ones that have a remote and have a LCD display which tell you which device is currently connected. A bit unnecessary, but cool non the less. 

Next up, games and portables storage:

As you can see, everything is a slightly organised mess. I ninja'd a book case next to the tv, moved half the books and placed in all my games and portables. When I started out it wasn't much of a problem since my collection wasn't that large. But of course as every little thing gets added, space comes more of an issue.
There was a book shelf down at the local Ikea for $89 which would of be perfect, but space in the room as a whole is already tight. I would have nowhere to put it, so the space problem is in limbo right now as I have no idea what to do.

Next step, the consoles:

At the moment they're just strewn all over the floor, ready to be tripped on. I want to actually build something to hold them in front of the tv as nothing I can buy in the shops will cater to my needs. I have built shelving in the past (still using a shelf for all my PS3 games which I made about four years ago) so I feel as if I could pull this off. It would be nothing advanced, but I would make it to be clean cut, usable, and I would make sure it would fit in with the rest of the environment.
I of course haven't really made a solid plan for this yet (bar some scribbles on scrap paper) but I would like it to be a simple, fairly thick three shelve high shelf with no backing. It would be big enough that I can place it in front of my tv, but not too big so it doesn't block anything. I would varnish it off to have a similar finish as the speakers.

That's just about it really. I'll update accordingly when I do (and hopefully I do) get all this done. Hopefully over the course of this year as well!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hardware Review: Generic After Market Power Pack for SNES!

Feel it's wrath! 
Today we have probably the most exciting hardware review ever in Retro Game On history. Yes, hold onto your socks. It's an after market generic power pack for the SNES.
My god, just look at it. Actually, it's recommended that you don't look at it for too long, you may go blind from it's awesomeness.  It's both visually stunning and quite useful at the same time. Just look at that sleek black matt finish, toppled with a green LED. Man, do I love green LED's.
The prongs are also so shiny, I'd rather just look at the damn thing than use it. But alas, it was constructed to be used, not gawked at.
Physically it does what it should do, which is of course power the SNES. But lets not talk about that though, lets just bask in it's glory for a little while longer.

The green LED is just visually stunning. 
When you disconnect it, the LED still stays on for a little while. How it does this I'm still not sure, but one can only presume it's powered by a higher being than me.

I couldn't even focus the camera on it properly, must of been some electro magnetic fields powered by awesomeness causing interference.  
I think something this great should get more than just an article. Yes, I'm going to do it. I'm awarding it something that has only ever been awarded once ever on this blog. Yes, the Retro Game On Seal of Awesomeness!