Welcome to Retro Game On!

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

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Video: Bomberman 64 for N64 Review

It's been hard to release a video these last two weeks, mostly because of the Easter Break, but fear no more as I'm back!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Swap Meet At the End of the Earth

Fear & Loathing in... shit, I don't even know where.
It's been over two years since I went to swap meet.
This is because of several reasons: having to work on Sundays when they're usually held (yes, I'm one of those sad individuals), conveniently not having money when they're happening or just because I'm lacking courage to wake-up at 7am.
All the Swap Meet Planets aligned last weekend though as there was one held closeish to where I live. Closeish as in half an hour away, in the direction opposite of civilisation. Usually I wouldn't bother with one that far away on a weekend day where I wasn't working (those days are usually reserved to laying around the house in my boxershorts) but I happened to be going to a party the night before in the local area.

I know what you're thinking: "ahahahaha you're going to a swap meet the night after a party? Fat chance, Pal." (said everyone I told). But I was determined, I needed  to go to one after such a long gap.
I'm not at the age where binge-drinking is cool any more, so I didn't foresee any issues with waking up. What was the problem though, was rain. All night during the party it absolutely pelted down, so I didn't bother setting my alarm thinking the swap meet would be washed away if it did try and go ahead.
I woke up at 8.30am on my own volition and looked outside. Perfectly calm, not a cloud in sight. I cursed the sky for a couple of minutes before chucking on my shoes, getting in my car and onto getting lost in the local area. The phone reception there is out of this world (the same it would be on the Moon) so my smartphone including GPS was more or less useless. After driving around for another half an hour or so finding a garage sale along the way, which had nothing but a $80 fat PS2 and crappy games at $10 each (laughable, the only word I can use) I found it.
The weather was starting to make a turn for the worst at that point, but I was there. It was around 9.10am by that point. Usually I like to arrive between 7.30-8.00am, so I was quite late by my standards, but damn it, I was there.
It's a fair chance that all the good stuff was gone by that point, but I did pick up this gem for $5:

Tim Schafer's masterpiece by Lucas Arts, Grim Fandango. I've been looking for this for a very long time in the wild. It's one of those games that people will charge out of the arse for if they know what it is. For example, at the time of writing, the only non-sealed copy I can find on eBay is listing for $50. Not the kind of money I want to be spending on a single game. 
It's great, finally something decent to play on my newly setup PC for retro gaming. Expect it to be the first PC video review I release. 

Long Lost Mythical Cache of E.T Atari Cartridges Recovered from Landfill

They did it, I can't believe they actually did it. Dumpster Divers everywhere got handed their place yesterday as an 'excavation team' dug through 30 years of various trash and (presumably) unsold Bart dolls to find the ultimate piece of gaming history.
While lightly reported on back in 1983 by various sources, the fact that Atari dumped hundreds if not thousands of unsold E.T The Extra-Terrestrial cartridges largely remained a myth until yesterday.

Struggling with the video game crash of the early 1980's, Atari dumped this load of unsold cartridges into a landfill in New Mexico (close to the city of Alamogordo) since they were basically worth pennies at the time. I go into more detail here as to why E.T bombed so hard (from when I added the game to my own collection) but in a nutshell, Atari shelled out millions for the licencing fees of the movie only to rush the release by making one poor chap program it all in five and a half weeks so it could coincide with the 1982 holiday season. This resulted in E.T The Extra-Terrestrial being one of the worst games of all time, and the former urban myth of the landfill site just added to the story.

Why would anyone in a sane state of mind do this? For a documentary, of course.
Microsoft is producing various shows for its Xbox One and Xbox 360 systems which include one on gaming history. This story of course is incredibly famous among the gaming community, so it makes sense as it's something people would watch (myself included).
The whole situation may ultimately seem a bit weird, but I'm glad someone with the money went to the effort; it's something that's been on the back of many gamers minds for decades.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Fear & Loathing in Geraldton

I headed up north this Long Easter Weekend to see relatives, drink fine beer and check out op shops and pawn shops. Hunting around was a little bit harder than usual considering it was a holiday period, but I managed to filtrate a few op-shops in town on the Saturday before they closed up at mid-day.
The first place I checked out was a Red Cross, where everything was half price. Unfortunately there wasn't a whole lot gaming wise to make use of the discount, but I did pick up a Zoo Tycoon pack (including three titles from the series) for a dollar. It was suppose to be 50 cents because of the sale, but I'm not a monster. I paid the whole dollar.  
After that I went to a Good Sammy's that was also pretty devoid of gaming related items except for a Finding Nemo PC game for $3. It was developed by Disney Interactive who developed some games I loved in my childhood, so I thought I would give it a shot. All the text on the case is in a middle eastern language though, so it's up for debate whether the game is actually in English or not. I know the story well though, so eh. I'm sure I'll manage. 

The real bargain of the day though, is this:

I went to an Op Shop that is actually at the local tip. Instead of throwing items away, you can instead leave them at the Op-Shop. Great idea really, not like anyone actually wants to trawl through a tip looking for treasure.

The only real downer is how everything is arranged, as in, it's not. Everything is crammed into this shed and it really takes a while to sort through things. Although, this wall of DVD and VHS players was fairly groovy:

Not a 3DO in sight
After fending off flies for a good twenty minutes, I came to the counter with a fat PS2, two PS2 games (WRC 2 and Enter the Matrix) and finally another Xbox controller (including the break off bit). Grand total? $12. No, that is not a typo. The nice lady even let me turn it on before purchasing. 
Hardly anything is labelled, so she just looked at all this 'junk' I had brought up to counter and presumably made a price up on the spot. That, is something I've very okay with.

The PS2 does boot up, yes, and controllers seem to work with it. I haven't been able to play anything yet though as the drive is quite temperamental. It's currently stuck open, so it will need some TLC and the consoles case needs a bit of a clean-up in general. I'll get onto it later though, hopefully the laser is still functional.

After I hopefully get it working to full potential, I might do something naughty like install HD Loader. I also feel it would be cool to use in a LAN since I have my slimline too. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Updates to the Games Room: 16/04/2014

Here's something different: after years of consoles, The Official Retro Game On Unnecessary Long Named Games Room has a computer. Well, forgetting the Atari St. I totally forgot about that when I first started typing that sentence, and I don't want to start again.

This computer is a bit newer, as in it's only about 12 years old. It was the first computer my family ever owned, and is running XP. In my mind, playing retro PC games is a lot easier on XP than newer OS's. Having a dedicated computer for those is something I've always wanted to do. This fits the build, and also has a floppy drive. Both my current computer and my laptop don't even have a disk drive (the tower did, but I disconnected it so I could have another hard drive) so having dedicated hardware makes everything a million times easier.

I didn't have the room to set it up on its own desk, so integrating it into my current retro setup is really a must. I think this is actually kinda cool though, and I'm happy that I got it working with the TV and sound system.
Luckily the graphics card has an s-video connection, so plugging the video in was as simple as tracking down a s-video to RCA cable. That also gave me an excuse to buy another switchbox:

I've run out of AV ports on the TV, so this switchbox is daisy-chaining off a set of plugs on one of the original switchboxes. This will mean that my Super Famicom gets its own button now, as it was the odd one out last time I overhauled the setup.

The audio was simple as well. A 3.5mm to double RCA jack cable goes from the audio port of the computer to a switchbox. This switchbox divides the connection into the sound system with that and the cables that go into the AV out of the TV. Meaning, without overcomplicating things, I can now switch between the audio of the computer and everything else with a press of a button. This is great, as I didn't want to have to setup up speakers just for the computer.

To control everything, I have a dedicated wireless keyboard and mouse. I can sit on the couch with these on the table, and not have to worry about cables being strewn around or even reaching in the first place.

The computer was in a pretty sorry state when I recovered it. Even though it was wrapped in plastic and in a box, it was still full of dust. So much so, that it wouldn't originally boot up because it couldn't read the RAM (according to the distressed beeps of the motherboard, anyway). Once I cleaned it out using a compressor, I got to work on the software side of things. The OS it's self was quite unstable, crashing and freezing constantly. After a reinstall I had some problems getting it updated, but after much blood and tears everything is up to date. I was even getting the message telling me support for the system ended last week, which is fitting now that it's in my interactive museum of retro gaming devices.

For those that are curious, these are the specs:
  • Acer Aspire T300 Standard
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Service Pack 3 
  • Pentium 4 CPU
  • 80GB Seagate Hard Drive
  • 1024MB of RAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce Mx 440 CPU

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Japanese Gumtree Lot

Gumtree is fantastic. Gumtree is life.
That's of course if you can find a good deal, that is. Gumtree is a minefield; a hostile landscape full of rip-off games for sale and free desks. If you can navigate this dangerous terrain, the rewards are amazing.
I was rewarded again a couple of days ago, when I came across all these Japanese games:

These were two different listings, but by the same seller. It seemed that they'd been there a while, which is no surprise since this is Perth. I can't imagine there would be too many people collecting Japanese retro games (or collecting retro games at all).
The five Dreamcast games were $20, and $15 for the three Famicom games.
I was especially happy with the Dreamcast games, as they're a huge pain in the arse to find locally in this country. Over that, I can now say I own Shenmue in English AND Japanese. Why not eh? The voice acting is terrible non the less.
"But Mr Retro Game On man", you cry, 'you don't have a Japanese Dreamcast." To that I say, well, cough. Geolocking should be a crime. Just saying.

What I do own, however, is a Famicom. A Famicom that was quite underplayed I must add since I only owned two games. Tetris is fun, I guess, but it's not nothing in comparison to a Japanese economics game.
Super Mario Bros and Gradius work fine, but the Karate(?) game displays a perfectly blue screen. Since I'm certain the game is about karate, and not a sky simulator, I'll need to put some work into it. I'll give it a clean sooner or later.

After picking up those games, I checked out some op shops and a pawn store in the same area:

The op shops were empty, but I did score those complete PS2 games for three bucks each. Seriously, I'll never get bored paying that price for PS2 games. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Video: The Italian Job for PSone Review

To celebrate three years of Retro Game On (this blog, not the YouTube channel) I'm having a look at one of my all time favourite games from my childhood, based on one of my favourite English movies. Happy birthday, me.  

Friday, April 4, 2014

YouTube Channel Update 04/04/2014

My YouTube channel has received more subscribers this week than the whole of last month. It's because of this, that I've decided to give it some lovin'. Some sweet, sweet lovin'.

The channel is now actually called 'Retro Game On'
It's hard to believe if you've never checked, but up until today the channel wasn't actually named Retro Game On, but was actually my real-life name. This is because of all the Google+ backpain that YouTube introduced, meaning that my channel went from its original name (Brik Productions) to my actual name without my consent. It connected it to my Google+ profile, which as far as I remember, was graciously created by Google+ too without asking me.
It was was only after a hell of a lot of Googling that I found a page where you can request to change your YouTube profile from one Google+ account to another. I created a page for Retro Game On, so now when subscribers see my videos in their feed, it actually comes up as posted by Retro Game On. Not some random dude named Brendan.
The request page, if you're after it, is located here.

Channel Trailer
YouTube had been bugging me for a while to create one, so I gave in the other day.
It's quite short, clocking in at under 45 seconds, but I guess that's probably ideal. You don't want your potential audience getting bored from a channels advert. That's not a good start at all. It does autoplay, which I'm not sure I like, but if you subscribe it will disappear forever.
Ultimately, it was a great way to waste an hour and procrastinate homework.

I probably should of done this months ago, but I spent the five minutes fulfilling the deed a couple of nights ago. The playlists consist of Reviews, Feature/Other, Instructional Repair Videos, Let's Take A Look At and Vlogs.
So yeah, if you've ever wanted to have an easy binge of Retro Game On, it's now possible with the help of playlists.

Channel Art
Unfortunately YouTube doesn't give you as much freedom with how your channel looks like it use to. These days, you can only change the 'timeline' photo (for lack of better description). I made a 'lil something up for that the other day as it just had a photo of Starfox before. It says Retro Game On in it, so I guess it fulfils its useful purpose.
Too bad I can't edit the background though, I would love to insert some woodgrain like this blog has. But alas, I'm stuck with pure white.

To check out the channel, click on this lot of words.