Welcome to Retro Game On!

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

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Birthday Presents & Retro Game On in 2015

Christmas? CHRISTMAS? Pfft. It's not Christmas until my birthday has come and gone, but luckily for consumers and Christians alike, that faithful day is done with for another year.
I constantly preach the word of retro to anyone with opposing ears. One of those poor souls is my long suffering girlfriend, and to shut me up for a while she took me down to the local friendly retro gaming store (Player [1]) and let me pick out some games (which I should add, now includes a funky vinyl section). Like every time I've been there so far, I've left grinning ear to ear. Luckily for me this time though, I didn't have to pay for anything. If that's not living the good life, then I have no idea what it.
That day scored me Sega Rally Championship 2 on the Dreamcast (a Japanese copy no less) Ecco the Motherflipping Dolphin on Mega Drive (geddit?) and Blazing Skies on SNES (I don't have anything worth writing about between these brackets). They all work of course, with maybe only Blazing Skies requiring an external clean. Who am I kidding though? I always plan on doing that and always laze out. Cart cleaning is for people way more successful at life than I.
Who knows though, I might clean it for its inevitable review for the money shot at the start of the video, but I'm making absolutely no promises.

Now, as you may have guessed it's quite late in the year. As of writing we're balls-deep in December, which may very well mean this is the last post of 2014. Sadly I haven't been able to post much this month, as December is always hectic for me in-between finishing off whatever I've been studying that year, having my birthday, working a retail job that's always crazy this time of year and then Christmas. I won't make any more excuses, but I'll just add that there probably won't be anything new on the YouTube channel until the new year too.
I guess I should probably make an announcement for the people not sexy enough to follow this blog also, but honestly I'm looking forward to putting the camera down and having a break. I love making videos, I love them more than my cat, but I just need a rest. That time will be used efficiently to re-coup, reflect and think up awesome content for awesome people in 2015. At first I was reluctant to leave my Constructive Criticism video as the last for the year, but I think that actually may be for the best. Having said that too, it just occurred to me that I never posted it here. Let me elaborate.
Basically, within the last couple of months I've had a bit of a drop in subscribers. I understand that this is a natural (nearly organic) thing, but the drop did feel a bit too steep, so I thought I would take the opportunity to ask the community for some constructive criticism. The thing is, I very rarely get told what I could improve on. Everyone who watches my videos are just too darn nice, so by asking directly I received some great feedback. If you want to watch that and give me some too, then please feel free. I'll embed the video at the bottom of this post, but you can leave the feedback either here, or on Facebook or Twitter. I'll read it all.
Leaving the year with that video will give me plenty to think about over the break, but I can't wait to get back into it. It's going to be great.

If I don't see you until next year though, then Merry Christmas (or whatever you beliefs may be) and have a fun and safe new year. Don't drink and drive, be nice to your Mum and be sure to wear clean underwear every day. Retro Game On out.

Viewer Feedback v1.0: Feed Me Constructive Criticism! 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Video: Red Dead Revolver for Xbox Review

We're back into the Xbox today, checking out the spiritual predecessor to Red Dead Redemption.
This game has its similarities to Redemption, but on the whole stands out as a completely different game. This is by all means a good thing too, which makes Revolver quite an easy game to recommend.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Video: [Part 2] Five Favourite PS1 Games From My Childhood

The Part 1 of this video was surprisingly popular, and since I didn't have a video for this week thanks a bunch to exams last week, I thought I mind as well follow Part 1 up. While Part 1 was mostly full of driving games, I thought I would populate this video with the other genre my existence was taken up with as a child: platformers.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Retro Scan: Sony PlayStation Catalogue

Hey, hey! It’s my favourite thing to post when I can’t think of anything else: the retro scan! All posts can’t be of my videos now, can they?
Today we're checking out the most ambitious thing I've posted so far; a catalogue for the original PlayStation. This will be the complete booklet too. There will be no part two nonsense here; Retro Game On is completely style over substance. Just check out that wood-grain background!
I obtained this little gem of that plastic paper stuff while in Kalgoorlie on a recent trip. I mentioned it in that post, but I feel I should also add here that there was no demo disk with this booklet... but instead the PSone version of Duke Nukem 3D. Bet you're weren't expecting that now, were you?

Clickly the images to view them larger

The catalogue starts off like all good catalogues should: chock-a-block full of explosions and bragging. I wish K-Mart would adopt this strategy. I wouldn't feel so cheap buying all my clothes there otherwise.
No doubt it was the best selling console at this booklets release though, which I guess was sometime during '95 or '96 going off the touted release dates for the games within. It's from here onwards you're greeted to information on two games per opened page, mostly sorted by genre. 

First off is one of Retro Game On's favourite genres: racing!
Everything is sorted by developer, category, the number of players, supported peripherals and when/if its available. They also include a small blurb about the game written by someone obviously very enthusiastic. Remember kids, "F1 is way cool."

Flip the page and it's all about the fighting genre; advertising two games I'm super keen to play but have never oddly come across in the wild since I assume (?) they sold well. Although I guess if gamers are going to keep anything it's going to be something they can still competitively play against their mates. People seem to get attached to these titles too; probably to do with dozens of committed hours learning all moves for a certain character. We've all been there.

The fighting genre spills over into the next page with Tekken 2, mixed in with Resident Evil classified as a "3D Adventure". Personally, I would have classed it into the horror genre but I guess it is an adventure game too so what can ya do?
I like how Tekken 2 running at 50fps is mentioned. A lot of games in the present will always show off their frame rate as a selling point, but it's easy to forget that it was exactly the same nearly 20 years ago.

This spread is shared by Namco Museum Volume 1 and the best fucking game ever: Crash Badicoot* (*may or may not be a biased statement.)
I love any PSone Crash game to death, so I think I'll stop talking about that now in favour of mentioning my interest in Namco Museum. I'm always on the look out for it as I'm sure it would result in a cool video.

We're up to the midway mark for this catalogue now, where a table representing games already available is shown. It shows all the same information as the other pages, but adds the recommend retail price. Frankly, it's a relief to see that game prices in Australia were always bad, and not a recent drama. $89.95 for Krazy Ivan? Sure, why not.

Onto another spread of mixed genres, Aquanauts Holiday is featured which is a game I've admittedly never heard of but I'm incredibly intrigued by. How many games let you be a fish? I don't mean a dolphin with powers either; an actual fish. Luckily for me and my Japanese PlayStation, it's quite a cheap import online so I may have to check it out one day. It can support a mouse interestingly enough, as well.

Onto the next page and another '3D Adventure' is featured: Chronicles of the Sword. Why they didn't just lump this in with Resident Evil I have no idea, but who am I judge design choices from years ago? Also featured is Raging Skies, which sounds a lot more intense than it looks.

Now for a page with sports games, which I really don't care for unless it (oddly) involves tennis as a standalone game or skateboarding. Moving on...

We're all out of games but fear not, next up is a page not just full of peripherals, but power peripherals.
Cool things to note is that the dualshock controller is nowhere to be found because it didn't exist yet, along with a RFU cable so you can "hook up your PlayStation to your fossil of a TV." I find it funny that TV's without composite ports were considered old even in the mid 1990's.

And that's it, nothing on the back of this booklet expect techoblabber that only Sony can understand.
Did you know that the data engine has a clearing capacity of 80 MIPS!? Neither did I!
I was going to call that PowerLine number for laughs, but I'm afraid I'll still get charged 80c/minute.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014

Video: Space Harrier II for Genesis/Mega Drive Review

Everyone knows about the original Space Harrier (well, all the cool kids anyway) but the sequel is never talked about! Today I check out this Mega Drive/Genesis launch title, and I dissect what I do and don't like about it.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Let's Go Op-Shopping!

If you're not a square, then hopefully you recognise that somewhat Australian-ised reference in the title. If you are a somewhat of a square and have no idea what I'm blabbering about however, then do not fear; this is a safe place, away from judgement and name calling. I'm of course referencing the fantastic show, LGR Thrifts, which is on the even more fantastic YouTube channel, Lazy Game Reviews. LGR Thrifts just wrapped up for the season, so now is the best time to binge watch all the episodes.
It's based around the YouTube channels creator, Clint as he hunts out mostly op-shops (or thrifts stores depending on your areas street slang) and finds whatever awesome game related crap he can. It's all created by him, and he uses either his phone or special glasses than have a camera built-in to record his adventures while he narrates what he's doing (with plenty of Duke Nukem impressions being compulsory). This may sound somewhat mundane on paper, but I assure you, it's awesome. Clint is just so damn light hearted as he goes about it, almost bringing a solemn tear to my eye. They're incredibly great to watch if you do the same thing, and quite honestly I'm bummed I didn't think of it for a video series first. It's kind of like The Game Chasers, but with no influence from Discovery Channel like reality shows and less hicks. So basically... more good (there, I said it!).

No worry though, as I do run a blog. This blog, actually. Oddly enough most of what was scored above wasn't from op-shops, but we'll let that slide for today. I know I'm suppose to be saving up for a new car and all, but I'd thought I'd been a good boy recently in regards to spending money so I went on a bit of a trip.

First pick was actually the PS3 game, Dirt 3, which feels a bit odd since the PS3 has only just been knocked from the grand podium of 'current gen'. Either way, games that a few years old now (Dirt 3 was released 2011 for example) are getting quite cheap so this only set me back $10. I've been playing through it the last couple of days, and while I think it's great there is a newer game with rally levels in it, I just wish that was all it was. The rally levels are awesome, but there is so much other crap you have to wade through if I want to unlock further rally stages. Oh well.
Next up was a pawn store I've bitched about constantly on this blog the last couple of years, but I always check every couple of months out of pure curiosity regardless. The stock is still great, but the prices are just as ridiculous as they've always been. What bums me the most is that the retro gaming stock there never moves; it's always there months later but they never budge on their prices. It feels stubborn if anything.
This time around they did have a whole heap of Mega Drive games that just came in, however so for once the prices not moving made a little bit of sense. Hold on to your nuts though, as I paid 15 whole dollars for Road Rash II. Yes, wow; I know right. I basically cried as I handed over the money, but I really wanted that game. What made me feel a little bit better was that it's actually cheaper than what's on eBay, so the blow was softened somewhat. On an even better note too, at the same time I bought Paper Boy (also on the Mega Drive) for a meagre five bucks. I can't leave without being at least a little bit cheap after all. Both came with their original instruction manuals, too.

From there, it was pure PlayStation country. I actually went to an op-shop believe it or not, and picked up Cool Boarders for a cool $2. It took me a while to figure out if I already owned the sequel or not, as I haven't played it and don't want to own the original Cool Boarders twice, but luckily that was the case so now I own both. Now it will be great to review them in order, but not like $2 was ever going to be a huge risk, anyway.
After that, I went to my favourite pawn store in the immediate area where I picked up two PSone games I'd never heard of before for both seven and eight dollars each. I just love buying games like that if they're cheap; they create fun reviews. The first, Steel Reign  has you controlling prototype tanks in war fields that shoot lasers and what not and seems quite a lot of fun. Hybrid on the other hand though, seems quite cheap. It is a Midas game after all, which was a budget publisher but the game seems incredibly basic. For one, the graphics seem right out of an early 3D Realms game, but the copyright message on the back states 2001. Over that, there is no dualshock support, which is a huge mistake since it's a first person shooter and all. Sigh. All I can hope is that no one paid too much for it back in the day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Video: Five Favourite PS1 Games From My Childhood

There was suppose to be a review here today, but I got a bit too over ambitious so instead here is a video about my favourite PSone games! What are your favourite games from the PSone era?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

E.T Cartridge from Alamogordo Dig Turns Up on eBay (Oh, and this is the 200th post for Retro Game On)

Remember when that pile of urban myth was dug out of the ground in April? Retro Game On remembers. I even made a video about it, as it's a subject that intrigued me (and many other enthusiasts) for years.
I won't get too deep into the nitty gritty about the legend though, as I've already extensively covered the subject and I'm getting a bit sick of writing about it to be honest; but basically, Atari buried plenty of unsold stock in Alamogordo, New Mexico many moons ago. This came somewhat of an urban myth since they primarily buried E.T the Extra Terrestrial, which was famously bad and what many attribute to the massive video game crash of the early 1980's.
The story continues to develop however, since mankind is now doing what mankind does best; make money out of things. One of the dug-up E.T cartridges, complete in box, has just surfaced on ebay. As of writing it has eight days left, and is currently sitting on a cool price of $405. Since it only started at $100 though, and has been running only two days, this humble blogger from the bottom of the world predicts that the price is going to be incomprehensible by the end of the auction.
Just think about what you're paying for here: a crumpled piece of box and a (probably) none-working, dirt encrusted cartridge, all of which likely smells of 1980's garbage (like Vanilla Ices career). I payed something like $10 for my working, yet incredibly broken copy and even that felt like too much.
Sure, there is a lot of history, but it just doesn't appeal to me. You can't subtract from the fact that it's been sitting amongst thrown away crap for the better part of 30 years.

[ebay] via [DailyDot]

In other, unrelated E.T news; this is Retro Game On's 200th post! Woo! Party!

Actually that was a photo from my 100th post celebrations last year, but this milestone post totally came out of nowhere. I didn't have enough time to organise a party, so maybe we'll hit the clubs later; although it all depends on if the oldguns like the 2600 and Famicom can handle it. I guess we'll just have to see.
Once again though, thanks for the all support from the readers and watchers this blog has had over the years! This blog would be pointless if no one read it, and I look forward to many more years to come!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Retro Game On & ContentID

Aghhh, I've been hit! 
Ouch, ouch. Right in the YouTube channel. Ohh. That stings.
Unfortunately (for me, not you) my review of Metal Gear Solid which I happily reviewed not too long ago, has been deemed by ContentID as infringing copyright law.
Wait, what's ContentID again? ContentID is a database of files that checks all uploaded videos to see if there is anything in them owned by someone else. In theory, this is a good idea so that nobody can upload the latest Transformers lamefest and earn money off it using AdSense. However, it doesn't work 100%. When certain types of videos (like game reviews) get flagged, it's simply not fair. These videos fall under something called Fair Use, because how the hell are you going to create a good video review without showing game footage? Fair Use is a legal term, and is completely legit. I'm obviously no lawyer though (I'm a retro game reviewer, damn it) but there is a great website explaining it all which can be found here.
ContentID does not discern between that and someone trying to make an illegal buck off someone else's legal property though, and it picked up my Metal Gear Solid video since I showed too much of a cutscene (while in the video I was ironically explaining how awesome they are).

So then, what can the average YouTuber do about this?
If you do get picked up then usually your video is not deleted, which is why you can still enjoy my review today. Having said that though, the right owner can then decide to do a number a things with the video, like taking all ad revenue earned on the video in question. This doesn't affect me so much as my channel is quite small, but I can imagine this being quite the pain in the bum for a YouTuber who makes their living creating videos. After putting hours into a video which falls under something like Fair Use, you don't want all the potential money going to someone else over a bogus claim.
From there you can file a dispute, which looks like the obvious route, but it's there where things get dicey.
The thing is, it's totally up to the copyright holder if you're doing the right thing or not. They ultimately hold the power to let you have the ad revenue, or they take down your video forever. Doesn't that seem one sided to you? What's to stop (in my case) Konami from just taking down my video anyway? What sort of defence does a small-time YouTuber like me have?  

If they do that, your channel then receives a copyright strike. If that happens, then your channel goes into something called bad standing. If that happens, you lose the ability to do all sorts of cool stuff with your channel. This includes the ability to have videos longer than 15 minutes, custom thumbnails and ironically being able to dispute ContentID claims.
I don't want to lose those things, so I have decided to not dispute this claim. In my mind I know its being wrongly singled out, but since it's such a one-sided fight I've been painted into a corner. Ultimately, I'll just have to be careful when uploading videos from now on. The system doesn't seem to pick up on cutscenes if you only show a little bit of them, and gameplay is fine since there would be no such clip in the library that ContentID checks that will be exactly like mine.
Honestly though, I don't like my creative freedom being threatened like this. What can I do though?
This is the current state of the internet.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Video: Cruis'n USA for N64 Review

Today we're back to the N64 to play a port of an arcade machine that's very dear to my heart (which is a very weird thing since I'm in my early 20's).

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Japanese Connection: Part 2, PS1

Previously, on Retro Game On: Super Famicom awesominess, mixed in with cheapiness. Overall: greatness.

Today, we travel over to the 64bit era; the original Sony PlayStation.
Now, I already own three PlayStations. Mindbendingly, this is the fourth PS1 I now own. Owning that many is a bit ridiculous, but at least this one plays Japanese games. I was considering chipping my existing daily driver so it would play all regions, but while the process of soldering the chip to the motherboard seems quite easy, obtaining the actual chip is not. After half an hour of Googling around, I ultimately decided it would be a lot easier and not that much more expensive just to outright buy a NTSC-J model. The closest thing to a quote for a chip I could find was something like $20, while the above bundle (including the console, memory card, a thumbstickless controller and Tomb Raider III) cost $26. While that's quite a reasonable price for that sort of thing even here, the real reason I bought it was because of the cheap games, much like with the Super Famicom in the last post.

Parappa the Rapper, complete in box with a poster and various other pamphlets cost ten flipping dollars. The equivalent PAL version ranges from $50-$80, so I feel I'm definitely onto something here. The text is in Japanese mind you though, but all the voice acting is in English so I can get down and funky fresh in my own language.
I've been wanting this game for a very long time. It was always on demo disks that I had growing up, so finally owning the full version after all these years feels really great indeed. Next on the list is Vib Ribbon; another demo I grew up with that's a lot cheaper in Japan. Unfortunately I did get a rego bill for the Retromobile yesterday though, so this will have to be put on hold along with me generally saving money for a new Retromobile, but I think Parappa the Rapper will keep me entertained for a while.

Now, for part 2 of weird shit in my packages from Japan.

Japanese people just seem so nice. I want to go to Japan and huge every single one of them (except for that famous cannibal guy). Bundled in with the PlayStation was this: a plastic zip-lock bag that reads (grammar added) "Hi, small present, Power Stone to bring happiness" with a nice big smiley face on the back. Honestly, this sort of thing is entirely not necessary, but it put a smile on my face that day regardless. Thank you, anonymous Japanese person.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Japanese Connection: Part 1, Super Famicom

I really hate saving money. Like, a lot. Probably more than you.
The thing is, I use to be super good with money. That though, was when I had no job. I've been constantly employed for nigh on three years now, which is actually less time than this blog has been running. Since I use to squirrel away my nuts away like the brulatest of brutal winters was coming, suddenly having a constant stream of income threw me out of whack. I was by no means hauling in huge stacks of nuts either. Let's not beat around the bush here, I was and still am on minimum wage, but it beat the hell out of having no money whatsoever.
Years later, and an incredibly increased retro game collection later, saving money is so, so hard. I won't complain too much longer (there is a blog post here somewhere, promise) but eBay is just so damn shit for this type of thing. I'm suppose to be saving for a new car, damn it, but the temptation of the Japanese market has been too much for me lately.
You see, for some reason games are so much cheaper there. Take the loot in the above photo for instance; That complete copy of F-Zero cost me $11. Those cartridges of all three Donkey Kong Countries cost me $25 for the lot. Sound cheap? Holding your heading and screaming? Well yeah, it is, and the head screaming is warranted.
As of writing a boxed and complete copy of F-Zero on the Australian market costs $90 (and apparently it's rare!) while those Donkey Kong carts seem to go for anywhere from $30-$50 each. What the hell Australia? Where are these prices even coming from?

Some may see the fact that they come from Japan as a problem, because well, you know... they speak Japanese there. But this is less of a problem that you'd expect. There is absolutely no Japanese text in F-Zero at all, even only half the instruction manual is in Japanese (while the English version can be easily found online). There is a bit more Japanese text in the Donkey Kong games, but not so much that its unplayable. A surprising amount is in English. It's a bit weird to be honest, but it's great for me and the amount of money I save. Of course you need a Super Famicom to play these, but maybe you'll strike it lucky and get one for free like I did.

And do you know what the best part of buying from Japan is? The presents. No, I kid you not. I received more than games in my package from Japan:

In part 1 of weird shit in my packages from Japan (yes, there is more in part 2!) I received two Dragon Ball Z cards. Why? I have no idea. Am I chucking them out though? Hell no.  Dragon Ball Z for life.

My review of F-Zero can be watched here

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Video: F-Zero for the SNES Review

After a terrifyingly long break from the SNES, I'm happy to report that I'm reviewing F-Zero today. This game shows how awesome launch titles can be, and showed off what the SNES (with Mode 7) was really capable of at the time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Video: Sonic "Perler Art" from 8bit Evolution Review

No review this week, but today (for something a little bit different) I review an art piece that 8bit Evolution sent me, involving none other than Sonic the Hedgehog.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Retro Game On Does Kalgoorlie

When you think of Kalgoorlie, what do you think of? Gold? Skimpies? The Mining Tax?
If you're not Australian, you're probably thinking "I don't remember playing a Kalgoorlie in the 80's" and that's totally okay. No matter what though, if you're Australian you wouldn't associate it with retro gaming.
If you're still wondering, Kalgoorlie is a mining town in Western Australia. It's known for having the biggest hole in Australia that we scoop gold out of. It's so big, it has 'super' in its name. It is called... The Super Pit. The Super Famicom has 'super' in its name, and that's pretty super, so by default this pit called a Super Pit is actually quite super. It looks like this:

Dale dug a hole.
Pretty super, eh? But why was I there? Am I a miner now? Nah. What about a Mining magnate? Sadly not. I was there for a family event, and thought I would check out some op-shops and do some promotion while I was there. See how promotion was in italics? That was probably me trying to be funny, but stay tuned to find out more.

The first place I went to was a Red Cross, which was in walking distance of my motel which was great since I didn't have my car.
I picked up these two for a couple of dollars each.

Nothing too out of the ordinary, right? You would think the case labelled "Sony PlayStation Catalogue" would be a demo disk wouldn't you? Well, the booklet inside is, talking about games and accessories but if there was a demo disk, its long gone.
I had an idea when I first looked what the game actually was, but I had to wait until I got home to confirm it. It wasn't labelled with a game name, but it was plastered with the logos advertising 3D Realms and GT Interactive. It wasn't black with simple white text like virtually every other PSone demo disk I've ever seen, but instead looked like a nuclear warning symbol. You've probably already figured out what it is, but for those still scratching their heads, it was none other than the PSone version of Duke Nukem 3D. Come get some! This was a nice surprise to say the least, as it sure beats paying money for demos. The booklet will make a nice retro scan blogpost one day though.

Besides from that, there is also Jack Nicklaus Golf, which is a DOS game. Honestly, I just bought this so I would reach the Eftpos minimum as I had no cash. Who knows though, it might be a laugh one day for a review; if/when I finally get around to doing PC reviews, anyway. Otherwise I'm sure it will make a great coaster.

In-between gallivanting around Op-Shops, I also saw a few other tourist attractions like the Broad Arrow Tavern:

This unique son-of-a-gun, is the only remaining pub of a ghost town. While that's cool in its self, at this pub you can write on walls. In fact, every square inch is covered in messages like "Davo was ere '07" or "Brad is lamo'o '94 ahaha". As humorous as they all were, I noticed a distinct lack of website promotion, so I of course fixed that.

On a XXXX Gold sign, no less.
Obviously, I don't think my target market drinks at this pub and since there is so much writing everything it will basically be drowned out. But none the less, Retro Game On is now a rebel. Graffiti on a wall; wearing a leather jacket and riding a motorbike. Watch out, hide your daughters. Who knows what this rebel without a cause will do next.

Well, if you're still wondering... he went to another op-shop.

This was also two dollars, but is a lot better than another damn golf game. Its actually one of those games I've been after for a little while too, so I was happy to find it in a Salvation Army that was also in walking distance from the motel.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to visit another op-shop while in Kalgoorlie, but I did check one out in the town of Southern Cross on the drive home. This was an independent, and while the lady thought there was a box of computer games available, they were nowhere to be seen. Oh well, it was at that point there were some people having a yelling match in the street, so I ate some surprisingly good nachos at the roadhouse and then hightailed it back to civilisation. Back to a stable internet connection, anyway.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Video: Metal Gear Solid for PSone Review

Today I check out and review what some say is the best game ever made. Is it? WELL... yes. No. Probably.
Its so good it received a copyright claim from Konami, anyway.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Scan: "Where do you play with yours?" Poster

I'm sure just about every gamer in the 90's had this poster on their wall, but since I've recently come into contact with a mint copy after buying Banjo-Kazooie boxed and complete, I thought I'd take the opportunity to upload it here.
It is a bit wrinkled after being folded in a box for so long, but otherwise its not faded or ripped anywhere.

One side has the iconic image of Mario swinging Bowser by his tail (which I'm sure was on more than one version of these posters), but the other-side includes promotional stuffs for the N64 and the Game Boy Pocket. It's pretty simply otherwise; I'm actually struggling to write anything more about it.
Um... the N64 stuffs seems to be held together by a bendy blue lightsaber while the GBP stuffs is held together by a red one? What could it possibly mean? Cue Twilight Zone music; or don't. Just enjoy the images.
I'll probably get this framed actually. I'm sure this would look rad on a wall.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Video: The Best Retro Gaming YouTube Channels

Something a bit different this week as I'm currently reviewing something a little more in-depth than usual. Watch this space.
This week I've complied a list of all my favourite retro gaming channels. These are the channels that inspire and entertain me, and I encourage everyone to check them out.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Video: Jurassic Park for Genesis/Mega Drive Review

Today I review Jurassic Park for the SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis. Most movie tie-ins are rubbish, but this particular title didn't suffer from a short development period like most, taking 15 months to create. Does that make this worth playing though?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Breaking News: My Atari ST Collection Just Doubled

Startling and shocking updates from Retro Game On HQ; that title tells no lie. I finally bought another Atari ST game, bringing my total collection to two.
Nearly a year ago I bought the game T-Bird to test my Atari ST that I bought off Gumtree for $10 throughout a flu-frenzy. It was only just then, finding the links to those posts for this very blogpost did I realise that was an entire year ago. What a slow way to build a collection; I even buy Famicom games faster than that and I live in the wrong continent.

If I was going to expand this collection, it was going to be something I actually want to play. No disrespect to T-Bird or anything, that game is backed by a wild animation (check out the post linked above for its... interesting backstory) but its sorta... well, a crap game.
Then again, what can you expect for the $3 or whatever I payed for it? Lotus Esprit Challange on the otherhand (clocking in at close to $10 including postage) is from an established series.
I showed my love for the Lotus series very recently by reviewing Lotus III R.E.C.S for the Mega Drive, so I was definitely in the Lotus mood when I purchased this.

I won't review it too much here, because hey, that's what my YouTube channel is for but I will add that it's quite a lot of fun. C+VG magazine says so right on the cover after all.
I would like to say this is the start of huge ST collection for reals this time, but I wouldn't want to tell a lie no matter how much I want it to be true. The fact is, these games are hard to come across on anywhere but the internet. Pawn/op shops do not stock floppy disks; at least not in my local area anyway. I am, however keeping an eye on bids that offer multiple games so I can expand my collection and delve deeper into the system. Watch this space.

Can Doom run on a printer? ...yes

Do you know what I hate?

Well.. do ya? Do ya really? You don't? Well. Let me tell you.
My printer. My piece of shit, ink-guzzling HP that charges something like $80 to replace all the cartridges. Every time I try to use it, it abruptly stops what I'm trying to do so it can 'prepare'. That usually takes a couple of minutes, and it's completely random. I hate it.
It's old too. We literally bought it with the money that Kevin Rudd gave us during the 2008 financial crisis so we'd spend up big and not fall into a blackhole of recession. Because of its vintage, it doesn't have luxuries that printers these days automatically include like wireless of double-sided printing.

tl;dr: Damn that piece of shit to electronics Hell along with the Game.com and the Apple Bandai Pippin.

But maybe I should chill out and read more 'Birds of Australia'.

But what if I had something to do while waiting for that invasive preparation? What if I had a classic game to play, something that could run on just about everything? What if that game... was Doom?
It turns out that's not so much of a stretch as far as Michael Jordon is concerned.
Not the basket-baller, sadly, but Jordon is a white-hat hacker for a firm called Context Information Security. He figured out that Canon Pixma printers are not so secure thanks to a feature that lets users access them from the web. That may not sound too malicious, but Jordon also discovered that it was so unsecured to an extent that he could actually upload his own custom firmware.
Doom can run on everything supposedly (which thankfully Jordon knows) so he spent the next four months coding a custom ROM, getting it almost perfect for a hacker conference on the subject.

Here's a video of it in action:

Obviously the colour palette is bit off and there are no controls or sound (it appears it be running in demo mode) but this is undoubtedly Doom on a printer and that is awesome.
Canon says they will be adding a fix sooner or later, but it just goes to show what can run on what in this day and age.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Video: Tokyo Xtreme Racer/Tokyo Highway Challenge for Dreamcast Review

Otherwise known as Shutokou Battle in Japan, this is a fantastically original game for the Dreamcast. It's set on a Japanese express-way, but instead of conventional racing you must track down opponents and then lose them to win. This game is very non-linear for its time.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Retro Scan: Mastertronic's Promotional Pamphlet (Circa 1989)

When was the last time I did a retro scan? Who knows? Hm.
Death to original content! Let's post scans instead!

Today we're taking a peep at a promotional pamphlet that came with my copy of T-Bird, which was a budget game released for the Atari ST.
This pamphlet is plastered with "Mastertronic" and "16 Blitz" logos, very much like the T-Bird case. Although Mastertronic was known as a distributor out of the UK that eventually was absorbed by SEGA, I've been able to find no mention of 16 Blitz. I first assumed it was a developer that created all the games in this pamphlet, but there are obvious problems with this assumption. For example, the pamphlet talks about Little Computer People, yet that was developed by Activision. My other idea is that it was simply a series of games released by Mastertronic, and that was just the name of the series to spice things up. Ultimately I may never know sadly, unless a helpful internet commentator changes that.

Click on the images for a closer look

The whole thing folds out, but you're first greeted with this masterpiece of modern design as the front cover:

I dig all the clich├ęs here to do with electronics in the late 80's; Polygons! Warpness! Electrodes! All for the fantastic price of £4.99! Too bad that's still like $47656 AUD.

Opening up the pamphlet and you're greeted with more warpness and polygons, but sadly no more electrodes:

On the very left is a list detailing what's available for what. It seems as far as Mastertronic is concerned, Amiga and Atari ST are the way to go but IBM can go and get stuffed.
Listed below that is a phone number that could be called letting you know about availability. I always found that cool; internet be damned, you actually have to call and talk to someone about ordering a product. It's good to know there was a retail outlet for social recluses pre-internet though. I like to know I would survive in such a world.
Moving across the page and there are plenty of descriptions and screenshots about the budget games they are trying to sell. Do any look familiar to you?

Flipping over and there are three more pages of the same thing:

On the last page they talk about T-Bird, but there are a few other titles you might recognise as well. It's cool it's all in full colour as well.

While there is no date listed on the pamphlet its self, there is a tiny copyright statement on the T-Birds case for 1989. It's hard to think that the piece of paper is 25 years old, but here it is internet; don't forget about it. That's what this retro scan section is all about after all.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Boxed Retro Goods Show Retro Game On the Love

Boxed games, from 1990's PC, Nintendo and SEGA systems specifically have always alluded me. I was that kid who kept all the boxes for his GBC games, and always wondered why others threw there's out. From a collectors stand-point, throwing out those pieces of cardboard is borderline sacrilege. But for the commoner, they're a hindrances more than anything. They take up lots room, eventually warp out of shape and the cartridges easily hold they're own out of the box while the big boxed PC CD-ROM's always have their own plastic case within. Why would the average person keep it? As if it's in there interest to keep some weird smelling collector happy 15-20 years down the line.
This is why I was eternally grateful to find that lot above, in two different op-shops today and earlier this week.

I came across Carmageddon and Sim City 2000 in the same shop for five dollars each. Unfortunately Carmegeddon was missing everything but the disk and the box was a bit squashed, but hey, I'm not going to complain for that price. I've been wanting to check it out for a while now.
Sim City 2000 on the other-hand is a poster-child example of why op-shopping is so great. It was the same price as Carmageddon, yet the box is in near brand-new condition including multiple novel-sized instruction manuals. It even has the original cardboard inserts keeping everything together. You gotta love that flat pricing.
I know I say this for a lot of things and never do it, but I think that will be my first PC review.
Stranger things have happened.

Last but not least in this boxed frenzy is a complete copy of Banjo-Kazooie, including a colour manual, consumer information booklet (always riveting reading), a N64/Game Boy promotional poster and the cardboard inserts all for an eye-watering price of $20.
Yes, I know I already own it; I even reviewed it but how could I pass this up? It was just sitting there, staring at me. Next thing I knew I had blinked, I had payed for it and was already driving home with it sitting comfortably on my passenger seat. Not my fault, I swear.

Honestly, I'd love all my games to be boxed, how good would that shit look on my shelf? The thing is though, just having the game usually does it for me; cartridges lined up on a shelf looks quite bling'n also and the price increase for some cardboard and paper usually puts me off. At the end of the day, if the game is playable and fun: who cares? Having said that though, if I come across more for comparative prices I definitely won't be turning them down.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Checking out Player [1] (Yes, a retro gaming store in Perth!)

Gaming/music enthusiast and owner of Player [1], Michael.  
No one was more surprised than me when I discovered there was a retro gaming store in Perth, Australia; the humble oversized country town disguised as a city.
That sort of thing usually couldn't fly in a city like this; likely not elsewhere in the country either, but this store is different, being a music store first and foremost and a retro haven second. As well as being retro themed and selling consoles, handhelds and games, its main business is teaching music. 

This thing will burn out your retina's, but its a lot of fun.
Player [1]’s founder, Michael is basically mashing together his two greatest passions, music and gaming, and running a store revolving around both. It’s a winning combination as they’re two things that go hand in hand, and it’s a store I would highly recommend if you’re into either. 

Since this is a retro gaming blog after all though, I'm going to focus on the music. Ha, sorry... that was a doozy of a joke. My musical experience goes as far as failing guitar lessons for 6 months perhaps four or five years ago; suffice to say it ended in me giving away my amp and staring sadly at the now plastic wrapped guitar in my garage. No, I know nothing about music but from what I can tell Michael and his fellow musical teachers are doing an excellent job.

Let’s focus on the retro.
As soon as you walk into the store from an unassuming North Perth street, your retro-sensors (trust me, it’s a thang) go into overload. Every generation and just about every console and handheld (along with a nice selection of computers) is represented.
A huge wall-sized painting of Pac-Man overlooks glass cabinet that are full of games, with boxed systems everywhere. On one counter there is Mario holding a Wonderswan, and on another an original Commodore computer monitor is playing Futurama (from a VHS no less). Elsewhere there is a Virtual Boy loaded with Mario’s Tennis, ready to go. I could go on and on and on. If the Perth retro gaming scene had a mecca, this would be darn close. In my two visits so far, I've left with a huge, stupid grin on my face. 

As well as basically being a museum where you can buy most of what’s on display, Michael also carries out repairs and mods on a lot of things. The best thing though, is the prices.
Since the music side of the business is the main bread and butter, the prices of the games are easier on the wallet; generally a lot better than what’s found on eBay. Even better, you can check the items out in person before purchase and you even get a receipt. 

Above is the loot I personally bought, combined totalling to $35! Some prices there are not unlike what you'd find in op-shops, although the difference is that if you come here you're guaranteed to be walking out with something

Do your collection a favour and throw your money at this gentleman. We as collectors need to support this sort of store as much as possible. In the meantime though, check out this video where I interviewed the store's founder, Michael, where we talk about games, music and the store:

Player [1] can be found at 6/342 Fitzgerald Street, North Perth, WA, 6006.
Phone Number: 08 9328 3867

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Video: Lotus II R.E.C.S Review for Genesis/Mega Drive

Today we review this awesome racer from Gremlin and EA, based on the best darn sports car money can buy!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Retro Game On Goes to an Arcade

I received two weird looks for taking this photo from random passer-byers. I hope someone appreciates it. 
Being the 20-something hot potato I am, arcades have always been out of reach for me. I basically missed the arcade generation by a good 15 years, instead jumping straight into the 32 and 64 console bit era.
The concept of going to an arcade and spending lots of change has always intrigued me however; a bygone era where you couldn't beat a game without waiting in line and spending all your pocket money.
Today I had a chance to check one out though, as I had to wait in a shopping centre for six goddamn hours. Shopping centres generally repulse me. I hate them, and all the slow pensioners, fat bogans and screaming kids within. Why would I force such a sour place on myself though? Well, I was waiting to spend nearly a grand on my car, that's why. A $150 service turned into a $900 hole in my pocket far too quickly (the Retromobile isn't such a hot-spud its self any more); but that's not what this post is about. No, I'm here to tell you about the ten whole dollars I spent at Leisure Island instead, within the suburban wasteland based mall I spend the majority of my day in.

Of course you can't just use 50 cent pieces any more; you have to buy obnoxious tokens instead. In a world where arcades aren't the money sinks they were, but instead a novelty to people walking to and from a cinema, they want to graciously accept as much of your money as possible. $10 grants you ten tokens, with many of the machines costing one or two tokens per play. There are prizes as well but it's all plastic based garbage which I didn't bother with. If I wanted a plastic piece of garbage, I would track down a Game.com instead.

First off, I played Midnight 3 DX... Plus. With a long name like that, you know it's a Namco title.
It's quite an interesting concept actually; it's a story-based racing game. You can use these cards which save your progress, meaning you don't have to sink 5 bucks every time you play it to get where you were beforehand. Quite important these days really, where it's so easy to play console equivalents in your greasy, Sailor Moon themed living room.

The safety warnings where incredibly insightful and easy to understand. 
The game its self was quite easy, but even though I was winning it wanted me to pay to continue playing. At this point I gave it a menacing frown, which must of intimated it because I found two tokens in its coin return. Hehe, I win again, machinery. If you're reading this, my kitchens toaster: you're next you toast burning piece of shit.

Next up was this 'winner' of a machine that graciously ate my coin, but did not give me a play. I guess it was the winner here this time... but I'll be back.

Woah hey, AccaDacca! Don't non-Australians know of this band too? Or was Steve Irwin and that shrimp on the barbie dude the only guys who made it alive across the Pacific Ocean?
I have previously played this at my local pub, because of course I did, and my opinion that it's a musical sham machine continues. Too many balls conveniently fell "straight through the guts" as I played this; totally unfair. I guess I do suck at pinball through lack of experience, but I would like to think that it was somehow stealing my money. It makes me feel a bit better about myself, oddly. 

Next up.. Time Crisis 4. I was actually doing pretty well at this, but then I suddenly wasn't and the turn ended. Out of all the stuff I played though, I was most interested in paying for a continue here. I didn't however, as I was determined on spreading my fake coins around as much as possible, and this particular machine cost the equivalent of $2 per turn.

Although only a hundred yen in its hometown.
That was a pretty stupid thing to think however, as I only made it to one last obnoxious sounding machine...

Street Basketball, where you play as Bad Man 00. I'm sure a compelling plot follows such a name, but it wasn't mentioned. Shame.
Suffice to say, I absolutely owned this game. I earned four fricken tickets for my troubles, but did not get a chance to spend them as I then got the horrifying call from my mechanic that I would have to spend my happy-go-lucky beer and video game fund.

Leaving this arcade (four coins and four tickets heavier) I felt a bit sad. This may have had something to do with spending $900 on a $3500 car, but I would like to think it was over an obsolete industry. I've read about the glory days of arcades, and this resembled it in no way whatsoever.
What I would kill (probably that Tekken machine) to go back to the 80's and play the greats of yesteryear for a penny. Never again will we be able to go pimply-nosed into a dark, dank arcade that smells of stale Coke and cigarette smoke to beat my best scores of Altered Beast or Ghost 'N' Goblins. Those days are long gone, replaced by home consoles and computers. Sure those are better things, but the atmosphere has be squashed; gone forever. All we can do now is appreciate the glory days for what they were.