Welcome to Retro Game On!

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

Friday, January 15, 2016

Video: Time Crisis & GunCon Light Gun for PSone Review

Today we're checking out Time Crisis for the PSone, as well as the GunCon (or G-Con 45) light gun. This is a first for the channel and myself personally, so check it out if you want to see me suckily playing a light gun game! Having said that, though, I had a whale of a time.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Reviving a 1970's Texas Instruments TI-30 Scientific Calculator

I've mentioned many times before on this blog how much I love the Lazy Game Reviews YouTube channel. It's honestly one of the major inspirations for my own channel - mixing in a fantastic and balanced mix of humour, good information and production values. It was because of Clint's channel (the creator of Lazy Game Reviews or 'LGR' abbreviated) that I started creating PC gaming content for instance.

Well, Clint, you've done it again.
Inspired by one of his most recent videos called The Calculator Wars, (which is a part of his excellent Tech Tales series) Clint explores how the portable calculator market exploded in the 1970's and highlighted the rivalries between the major manufacturers at the time.
I knew there was an old Texas Instruments calculator in a bottom drawer of my kitchen that belonged to my Mum in her high school years - so motivated by the video I pulled it out.
As it turns out, sitting inside a cupboard for many years with a battery inside does not bode well for electronics. Just ask my N64's Rumble Pak. The 9-volt battery (yes, this requires a 9-volt battery!) was completely corroded and thus attached to the battery connector inside. There was no way to forcefully pull them apart without breaking anything, so the cavalry was called in.

And yes, by cavalry I'm talking about vinegar.

I wish I'd taken a photo of the battery stuck to the connector - but throughout the process, the negative contact came clean off the battery but was perfectly content to live out its existence still stuck firmly to the battery connector.

Hopefully, this photo properly shows the extent of the batteries corrosion. Its replacement looms in the background...
After a bit of messing around involving dipping the connector into a cup of vinegar and the dexterity of a small flat-headed screwdriver, the contact was finally free. 

As you can see in the second photo, I did have a pack of 9-volt battery holders at the ready if something went amiss but they weren't needed. I successfully cleaned a good portion of corrosion off, and after inserting a replacement battery it was confirmed working!

You wouldn't believe how hard it is to focus two calculator displays at the same time (even more so when one is illuminated).
A quick test of 1 x cosine against my HP 50g confirmed that the brain of the TI-30 was working correctly. I was chuffed.

The TI-30 I found comes with a groovy leather (I think) carry case, and the original instruction manual. At the back of this manual, the serial number and date of purchase have been hand written by (I assume) the original vendor my Mother bought it from.
The date of purchase was the 9th of November, 1976 - the same year this calculator was released.

The TI-30 was considered a fairly major deal in its time - at least big enough to have its own Wiki page, anyway. It was considered to be quite cheap compared to the competition, costing only US$24.95 and went on to sell 15,000,000 units by 1983.
It was plagued by battery problems, however - provoking a rechargeable battery kit to be released later to combat the issue. I couldn't help but notice that in the manual it stated "You can always take weeks of computing power with you wherever you go by simply carrying a few extra batteries."
These were 9-volts too. Good grief.

Regardless, I find the TI-30 a cool piece of hardware. It's actually inspired me to rerelease my short-lived Retro Unrelated series; the only post of which was about the Olympus Trip 35 camera.
Instead of in blog form, though, I'd like to turn this into a video series for my YouTube channel. I have plenty of old unrelated to gaming devices hanging around for a sustainable series. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Video: RGO's Top Games of 2015

2015 was a great year and I played many (retro) games. In this video, I talk about my top 5!

Monday, January 4, 2016

I Guess I Better Start Being a Final Fantasy Fan Now Then?

I only went into one op-shop today - it just happened to be next to an errand I had to run so I thought I mind as well pop in. I'm very, very, very, very glad I did.
I walked in and headed to where the games are usually held. This is one of those six or seven-foot tall shelves that you'd probably buy from Ikea. That fact is pretty unimportant, but the shelf has more than just games. My attention was initially drawn to the bottom shelf because of a calculator. I'll talk about this calculator in due course but there were a few other cool things to look at; one of which was a small selection of 8-track tapes. These were the recordable type so weren't actually for any particular musician, but I found those fascinating since I've never actually seen one in the flesh. Next to those were some huge Sony branded storage tape things. I'm still not sure what they are, which is actually intriguing me enough to go back and have another look. In fact, I was pretty tempted to buy them all for the heck of it anyway. I still might actually, but I'm getting a bit off track here. This post in not about obsolete storage mediums, but stay tuned - that's a post that might still eventuate.

I move my head in an upwards direction and take a peek at some PS2 games on a higher shelf. I end up buying a few even though I've basically imposed an embargo on myself - but again I'll talk about that below.
They were sitting right there, in front of everything else including the very PS2 games I was looking at. At first, I simply didn't notice them. I've never been into turn-based combat games, especially Final Fantasy because of their usual prohibitive cost. I do own Final Fantasy XII, but I bought that in a package deal of sorts and have never played it. But then, as I was standing there in that op-shop, it was like Don Corleone himself starting motioning to me beyond the grave. He mumbled a whole lot of stuff I didn't quite get - something about the Sega Saturn - and then suddenly startled me with this revelation:

"What man does not play Final Fantasy Games? Hm? Does he not spend time with his family? Does he not eat well? No? I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse. Okay? I want you to leave it all to me. Go on, go back to the party."

Suddenly, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy IX appeared in front of me - stacked in a neat little pile. Every single one was complete with all discs pristine and including manuals. Every single one was $3.
All three go from between $40-50 on eBay, so it was absolutely an offer I could not refuse. Not wanting to anger the family, I purchased them and took them home. I guess I better play them sooner or later - surely the Don can hold a mean grudge from even beyond the grave.

And now for the other stuff!
First off, a calculator! Excitement overload after all above, am I right? There is a specific reason I bought it, though. I may have mentioned a few times here that I'm currently studying surveying, and the HP 39gs Graphing Calculator is very similar to the HP 50g I use for my studies.

The 39gs on the left, with my 50g on the right
So then, what's the difference besides from the colour? For one, the 50g cost near $200 brand new when I bought it early last year. Today the 39gs cost $10. Woah.
I'm actually struggling to find many definitive differences, actually. Both were originally released in 2006 (although the 50g was only discontinued last year while the 39gs was preceded god knows when) and both have the same processor. On the other hand, the 50g includes an SD card slot and 2MB of built-in memory while the 39gs does not. There could be other differences too, but ultimately I'll try and program the 39gs to be the same as my 50g and see if there are any limitations. I can't complain when it cost only $10 though, regardless.

Lastly, let's talk about those PS2 games.

I have a problem with my PS2 collection. Just watch my latest games room tour video to see why. I simply have too many, and I'm afraid I'll never play them all. I guess I'm hoping that I'll be patting myself on the back in years to come when PS2 are the retro games to play, and I'll have many to play and review and not have to pay an exorbitant price for. Eh well. Time will tell.
Either way, I now own SSX and Dead or Alive 2 on PS2; two games that are considered classics.
They're both in original black non-platinum cases too, and they were only $3 each as well. I don't minding losing my will to not buy temporarily for these games, but now I literally don't have any more space for PS2 games. The shelf is already bursting at its seams.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Video: My Retro Gaming PC Setup

Following on from a video where I guide a tour of my retro games room (scroll down to the bottom of that post to see the video) I've created a tour of my retro PC gaming setup. While the games room tour was filmed on my smartphone, I decided not to be a lazy piece of shit this time and actually introduce a few production values. This video is actually filmed on a camera, using a tripod. Wowee.

I have a dedicated PC for retro gaming, and this video talks about the specifications it reps as well as how I integrate the machine into my modern PC setup.