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

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.