Welcome to Retro Game On!

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

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Repairing a SEGA Dreamcast that Randomly Restarts

Update 20/12/13:
I've since created a video tutorial on this subject. To watch that, check it out embedded on the bottom of this page.

I hadn't given my ye ole faithful Dreamcast a spin as of late, so the other day I decided to take it for a drive. What happened there after scared the bejesus out of me; it kept randomly restarting as I was trying to play it.
From there I panicked, I love that stupid beige cube. It can't die on me, I'm emotionally attached to it since it was the start of my retro collection that we know today.

As it happens though, I have a belief. This is the belief that there is no such thing as a dead console. This belief isn't strictly religious, but I stand by it thoroughly. All it took was a few Google searches to find out that it's fortunately an easy fix. Basically, the contacts that connect the PSU to the rest of the system are prone to getting dirty, which of course can sever the connection every now and again, causing the whole system to restart.
I watched a few YouTube videos and picked up the general gist of how you're suppose to undertake such a repair. One such video that I found useful was this one, right here. That video is quite well made, but majority are just awful. So awful in fact, that I've been inspired to create my own in the very near future. I pride myself on my production values, and I'll create something that wasn't filmed on a potato.  

Until then though, I created a photo diary of sorts of me fixing my Dreamcast this afternoon. I must stress that this isn't really a tutorial, but just me following another tutorial. Having said that however, you may find it useful non the less.
Since this is sort of a tutorial though, I have to state that you follow this at your own risk, and that I'm not responsible for any negligence on your own behalf. It should go without saying really, but that's the nature of this shitty world. Some ass-hats will sue others over anything.

Right'o, lets get down to business.
First off, the tools you'll need. The list is quite a small one as the repair is easy. All are shown in the photo below, which includes a standard Philips head screwdriver, a paper towel and some rubbing alcohol (over 70% if you can). I also did the whole thing on a tableclothe as to not scratch the Dreamcast or my totally expensive desk from Officeworks (hint: that's sarcasm. Officeworks is awesome).

From there you want to make sure there is no game inside (durr) and then remove the modem. There is a screw under the modem, and another three spaced around the bottom of the console. Remove them all.
After that, turn the console around and remove the top case. It's a little easier if you first pop open the disk bay too.

Once it's off, you have to remove the PSU (pictured below). There is a plug at the top that needs to be removed (don't be too aggressive with it, it comes out fairly easily) and two screws. All that's holding it in from there is a clip, and it should slide right on out. If you're having trouble and are scared of breaking something, refer to the video I link beforehand.

The PSU slides right off some pins, which are usually the dirty culprit.
I splashed some rubbing alcohol on a paper towel, and then scrubbed it thoroughly on both sides. In some videos peeps have used steel wool, but paper towels worked for me.

After a bit of housecleaning, my Dreamcast seems to be a-okay. I played it for about 20 minutes without any problems, while before I couldn't even get past the Dreamcast splash screen.
I can't believe how easy this fix has been, and hopefully it will help you too. May the Dreamcast live on.


Video: Let's Take a Look At: Abe's Oddysee on the PS Vita

In this new type of video we're trialling, we take a look at retro ports on modern devices. We kick-start the segment with Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee on the PS Vita.
Tell us what you think, yo!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

HUGE PS2 Collection Boost

Look at that photo, look at it finely. Notice how in the title, 'huge' is spelt in capitals? That's because it was huge. Quite literally, huge.
All the games stacked horizontally are from my latest catch, while all the vertically stacked ones were from my prior collection. I just about doubled the amount of PS2 games I own, all for $50 too.
How I came into possession of this whole collection is a cool story in its self. Basically, I posted a status to Facebook. Instead of explaining what I said though, I mind as well just write it here:
"Hey, you! Yes, you there!
Do you like gaming? Have you liked gaming for a long time? Have lots of old games you don't want any more, but want to send them to a loving home? I'm your man. I'll buy them off you for a reasonable price and give them the love and respect they deserve.
As most of you know by now, I run a website and YouTube channel about retro gaming, and I'm always after affordable, awesome games to review and post about on my website. I'm NOT the type of person who will resell these at overinflated prices on eBay. I'm a collector by heart, and will take care of them and treat them well for many years to come. In fact, I've only ever sold one game in my life, and that was to [name subtracted]. A long time ago too, I love to hoard."
I received numerous messages from Facebook friends offering me to buy their games, and this was the first lot off a guy a went to high school with. Facebook may be a data mining, advert ridden, whinge-fest hole, but by damn, does it have its uses. It's even home to a page for this blog! Check it out here for updates on this blog and my YouTube channel.
Hehehe, I'll stop plugging myself now.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Video: Spyro the Dragon for PSone Review

It's been three whole videos since I've done a review! Three! God damn vlogs!
Fear not though, my lovelys, as I present to you today, Spyro the Dragon. This fantastic game is on the PSone of course, and was actually something I failed to play during my childhood. I played the bejesus out of Year of the Dragon instead, because that's just what I happened to have. It wasn't that long ago that I came across the original though, so it was time for a review. Enjoy.

Also, side note; I have a new type of video in the works. I won't reveal too much now as it's still in its infant stages, but hopefully I should have an episode out by next week. Notice how 'hopefully' is in italics? That's because it's not a sure thing. Stay tuned though, I promise it will be way more entertaining and original than vlogs.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Updates to the Games Room: Part 2

I just enjoy writing about rooms so much that I've decided to write another post about my games room, or more importantly changes I've made since my last post. In the last post (there was also an out of synch vlog) I detailed some things I wanted to change immediately, and for once I actually did those things immediately

First off was getting the AV switching system up to scratch. Not only didn't I have enough ports before to easily switch between all my consoles, but nothing was labelled. This led to mass confusion and hysteria as I tried to smoothly switch between my consoles as all damn composite cables look the same.
This was remedied by buying an extra AV switcher, and writing what each port corresponds to on that writey-sticky tapey stuff.
It's amazing how such a low cost solution (edit: no cost solution) can transform and simplify the whole situation. It's not the prettiest however, but I don't own a proper labeller, and I don't plan on buying one just for this.
It's not the end of my woes however, as my Super Famicom still misses out on a switch and there is no growing room. For now though, I can easily just use the SNES's cable when need be because they share the same connection.

The coolest change though, and comfiest is this beanbag!
A bean bag has been on the back of my mind for a while now, pretty much since I received my SNES. SNES's and other consoles of that era are great, but the lengths of the controllers are always so damn short. A beanbag means I can sit on the floor, but not really sit on the floor. It's great!
I've found I'm using it for other consoles too, even ones with long enough cord to reach the couch. It's just that comfy, and nothing beats leaning back in it with a beer after a shitty day.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Video: Retro Game On Vlog #2: Games Room Tour 2013

Yes. Another vlog. Not to worry though, this one should be more interesting than me out and about buying a Mega Drive. Having said that though, no one actually complained about the first vlog. Maybe it's all in my head, maybe I'm being too harsh on myself and should embrace the vlog. Love the vlog and the vlog will love you back, that's what my Gramps always use to say.

In this vlog, I give you a totally interesting and insightful tour of my games room. We take a look at the general layout, plus all the consoles and the games. If you make it all the way to the end, give it a thumbs up and I promise to give you one back.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fun & Games with the SEGA Mega Drive

This blog has been outputting a lot of SEGA lovin' recently. The last two videos were SEGA related with a mini-doco called The Utterly Depressing Downfall of the SEGA Dreamcast released on Wednesday (hopefully the title should be descriptive enough for you) and a spontaneous vlog which I released last week detailing my exploits of picking up a ridiculously cheap Mega Drive.

A lot of people seem to hate the concepts of vlogs so if you don't want to watch it, I'll cut to the chase. It was quite cheap because it came with no cables, games or controllers whatsoever. It was listed as working and I've had good experience with the seller before, so I jumped for it.

I already have a controller (which I bought to test my Atari 2600 Jr. many moons ago) and I could use the coax to RCA cable which I use for my Atari ST. In the vlog I bought some cheap test games, so all I was missing was a power cable. Which was really, the most necessary part to test it.
I was hoping I would have some sort of universal adapter which would work laying around, but sadly SEGA seemed to be having a laugh when they designed it meaning I had to buy one on eBay.

Finally it arrived the other day though, and I can happily confirm that the console does indeed work. Not bad for a short drive and $20.
The two test games were fairly standard issue: Columns and Flicky. Columns is basically a Tetris clone, with some twists, while Flicky is an arcade game where you play this bird saving your chicks from house cats. Also I should note, some of those chicks are fearing Ray-Bans... so yeah.

Playing through RCA is not too bad, but it's a bit grainy and the colours are noticeable a bit fainter than they should ideally be, so I have a composite cable coming in the mail. Also, my shitty eBay USB capturing device doesn't agree with coax, even when it's plugged through a VCR, so hopefully when the cable arrives I can capture footage and hopefully get some reviews out. Otherwise, everyone is totally aloud to buy me a Elgato Game Capture HD for Christmas.  

Friday, November 1, 2013

Video: The Utterly Depressing Downfall of the SEGA Dreamcast

As promised, here is a 'normal' video. Well, sorta. It's not filmed with my Galaxy S III for one, and not made up as I go along. It's not a review like a usual release though, but in fact a mini-doco on the downfall of the SEGA Dreamcast; a subject I've written about numerous times before.
I'm not really sure if mini-doco is the right way to explain it, but it's a video, talking about a subject for 10 minutes. So who knows, or in that case, cares? I don't. Hopefully you're indifferent too.

I'm quite happy with some of the effects and animations I've included in this video, and it's probably the video with the most effort I've put in yet. Towards the end of production I had a mammoth 5 hour long editing session. Only the best for my fans.