Welcome to Retro Game On!

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

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.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Sega Game Gear that actually, you know.. works

Long time readers will know I've had a troublesome past with Sega Game Gears. It all started with a swap meet in a little French town called Neuvic, circa 2011. I was there on holiday at the time and picked up an amazing bunch of games for pennies, including a Sega Game Gear with seven games for the heart-stopping sum of 15 Euros (which is give or take about 20 bucks).
From there I was thrown into the world of shitty Game Gears, as I discovered all Game Gears were manufactured with terrible capacitors that where liable to fail 20 years down to the track. I tried my luck with replacing all the capacitors, but since I didn't possess the ability to solder particularly well the attempt failed. Here is a compilation of all the posts relating to that if you want to read up on that, it also includes a terribly made video. Really, looking back the writing then was gruesome too. I'm surprised anyone read this blog at all.

Fast forward to more present times: in the September of last year I could not refuse another ridiculous Game Gear related deal on Gumtree. Not a console, but in fact a whole heap of games that worked out at about $7 each (which is great in the Australian market). Since I now had a sizeable pile of Game Gear games I bought another Game Gear online for cheaps with the intention of repairing it properly. This went... okay. Here is a slightly better video I made about repairing that unit, but long story short, the capacitor transplant went smashingly only for the god damned contrast wheel to break and fall off. I can't say I saw that coming, so suffice to say I was unprepared to fix that problem. I did attempt to de-solder the contrast wheel off the first Game Gear and resolder it to the second unit, but I never managed it.

Fast forward to, well, today, I bit the bullet and bought an already refurbished console on eBay. I have too many Game Gear games to ignore now, and it's quite irritating not being able to play them.
Most are quite expensive, but I managed to find a smaller seller with a good rating who was selling one including postage for about $80. This may seem a bit dear, but the only one I could find from within Australia was $206.
The one I bought was from America, which only took a couple of weeks to ship anyway so I'm glad I went with that option. All caps have been replaced (as opposed to just the ones currently dead) and it came with Ninja Gaiden.

The only issue I've run into so far is the fact that the power socket is different than the ones released in Europe and here. I didn't realise that on purchase, but the power pack I was using with my first and second unit have different sockets to this one. Surprisingly though, the power pack for my slimline PS2 actually fits and runs it, so that will do until I find a permanent replacement. It works out too, unplugging that gives me enough lead to sit on my beanbag in front of where the consoles are, so there isn't too much messing around with cables involved.

Anyhoo, expect Game Gear reviews soonish.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Sony PlayStation 4

Many apologies are in order since I've posted nothing but links to videos for the last three posts, but fear no more as actual text is here! Textovision? Just like video, but in words; if words were videos and videos were words. Yeah!
Wait. Hm.

Frankly, I bought a PlayStation 4 and I promise it wasn't to take this photo. Mostly:

That wonderful piece of black plastic is what's partially to blame for there not being much content for a week after my video on E.T, both for the channel and this blog. It's not entirely to blame, but it isn't innocent either.
That was a hectic week: starting classes again, having a temporarily heavier than usual work schedule; all while doing nothing but playing Watch Dogs when I got home. In some ways it was an awesome week, but the Retro Game On hole was wildly apparent. Well, here I am now. Back in the Retro Game On groove.

I'm not too sure if I should be posting about a latest gen console on a blog devoted to retro gaming, but in my eyes it's all video gaming. I like a game no matter when it came out, so I feel this is worthy of a post.
Originally I was going to wait for Uncharted 4 to come out (I bought a Vita because of Golden Abyss), and hopefully buy a deal that combined both. That however, all fell through when I saw a deal that included the console with Watch Dogs and inFamous Second Son for an outrageous price. I'm not too big on the inFamous series to be honest, but I was going to purchase Watch Dogs for PS3 or PC regardless. When I saw that deal though, it didn't take much self-convincing to jump on the PS4 train early.
I have heard some harsh opinions against Watch Dogs, but for what it's worth (and I won't get into a full review here) I quite enjoyed it. In fact, I liked  it quite a lot. I would recommend it if you're into open world games. It really brings a new twist to the genre; messing around with infrastructure never gets old.

I'm still giving Second Son a chance at the moment. I haven't played too much of it yet, but I'm struggling to get into it. I'll give it some time though as there are plenty of games I haven't truly liked until a few hours in.
As for the future, I have plenty of sequels to look forward too. Uncharted 4 is the obvious one, along with Mirrors Edge 2 and Assassins Creed: Unity. On top of that a HD remake of Grim Fandango is on the cards, so that's cool (and retro related).
I will be on the look out for original IP's though, hopefully ones that will really make the hardware shine. So far, there hasn't really been much that's jumped out and grabbed my short attention span. Early days yet though.
As for the console its self, it's a very cool machine. It's basically flawless, except for one niggling problem: the battery life on the controller. This honestly took me by surprise as the PS3's lasted seemingly forever. I actually looked it up to see if there was something wrong with mine and it turns out all the stuff they've crammed into it depletes it, like the built in Move, the touch pad and to an extent the built-in speaker. I can't imagine the speaker drags the battery down too much, but luckily the Move light can be toned down. It seems to help somewhat, but eh. Still disappointing.
Luckily I am in cable reach of the console as I play so it's not a huge issue, but I can imagine a USB extension cable would be in order for lounge room players.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014