Having some robotic fun with my repaired Commodore VC-20.
Here’s better, less wobbly video showing Berzerk MMX in action.
‘Chicken…fight like a robot’
Having some robotic fun with my repaired Commodore VC-20.
Here’s better, less wobbly video showing Berzerk MMX in action.
‘Chicken…fight like a robot’
Thanks to my good friend and fellow RCM’er Jon over at Jamma Arcade http://www.jammarcade.net who has not only repaired my non booting german Commodore VC20 I brought a few month back but has also breathed new life back into my faulty Commodore 128!
The VC20 has had a new VIC chipped fitted as if you recall, on previous boot up all I’d get was a blank white screen. I’m keen to get this computer up and running as my other VIC-20, although is in working condition, appears to have a faulty serial socket so I can’t use it with my SD2iec device.
The VC20 has a very aged yellow outer case so come the sunshine, this will be restored to it’s former whiter colour with a few RetroBrite sessions.
My C128 was booting into monitor mode and after diagnostic, Jon found one of the MOS CIA chips to be faulty. I can’t wait to get this up and running again and after RetroBriting the c128 case during last summer, it’s all looking as good as new and in a very nice condition (although the keys could do with another session).
It’s currently in bits stored away but I’ll be rebuilding it this weekend and so I’ll post a few more pictures…assuming they’ve survived transit?
The third item in the parcel made me smile. It’s a revised 28 – 24 pin JiffyDos adaptor for the old style C64. Are we calling this Mk-II Jon?
Check out the customisation
I can’t thank you enough for these Jon, especially my C128, I didn’t think it would live again! You’ve also rekindled my interest in electronics again so will be following your Spectrum 48k composite mod tutorial soon.
Over the holidays I found time to unpack and build my iCade and what a great piece of retro gaming kit it is, especially when coupled with iMame and a whole host of vintage arcade classics. The iCade is a mini desktop arcade cabinet for the Apple iPad complete with Stick Ball joystick and micro switch arcade buttons. The controls connect to the iPad via Bluetooth therefore there’s no wiring to worry about, simply plug and play.
Opening the box I found all parts to very well packaged in individual bags and the wooden parts wrapped in foam padded bags to prevent damage to the colourful side art.
Building the iCade was a breeze with just eight screws to fix the side, front and back panel. Each screw has it’s own fixing hole and a small hex key driver is included in the package.
The control panel is a sealed unit so no need to worry about wiring etc, simply screw on the joystick top and you’re done.
iCade built and ready for play.
Simply insert your iPad either in portrait mode into the iCade mount or In landscape mode into the groove just below the iCade mount. This is perfect for Mame as it allows you to quickly swap between those classic vertical shooters and horizontal games on the fly.
Lifting the iCade lid shows the how to connect the pair the controls to the iPad.
The iCade supports a Eight buttons in total giving you ample for arcade titles like Street Fighter II as well as start and coin buttons. I was surprised on how well the digital stick performed on non digital controlled games such as Outrun and Afterburner for example and they play really well. With iMame, as with the PC version, you can configure the controls to use the defaults or specific controls per game which is perfect if you like your controls set in a certain way.
My only criticism with the controls is that the micro switches are very loud and so when the action gets intense and you’re bashing away at the buttons, it can get quite noisy. Research online shows plenty of examples of modded iCade’s where folk have replaced these with silent switches, replaced buttons and even swapped the joystick with Sanwa arcade parts. It’s also nice to read that the stock iCade joystick also have a 8/4-way restrictor plate fitted as standard.
No doubt in the next few weeks I’ll be taking a closer look at the actual workings of the control panel and making a few adjustments myself!
Overall though, I’m loving the iCade. It’s a lot sturdier and well built than what I originally thought to be a flimsy plastic box. Games supporting the iCade are a little thin on the ground at the moment although Atari’s Greatest hits does let you sample some great arcade classics with authentic arcade controls. If you were one of the lucky ones to pick up a copy of iMame before it disappeared from the app store then this is where the iCade really excels as a desktop arcade machine. It works better than i’d hoped it would and much easier to setup and get playing than my own DIY mini Mame cab (although not as fun to build).
Christmas Day has come and gone and what a wonderful two days its been with family and friends. Here on the 27th, and after a weekend of visits and parties it’s time to chill out and a chance to investigate all of those cool toys (and consume copious amounts of chocolate) that we’ve received.
This Air Swimmer was a gift we brought our niece and after borrowing it yesterday to show our other niece and nephews we thought we’d give it one final flight before returning it to it’s rightful owner.
These things are amazing, take one giant helium filled balloon, strap on some fins and a tail (motor), a remote counter balance and you have yourself an Air Swimmer.
The instructions might be a little confusing at first (or am i getting old) but once it’s up it’s a breeze to fly with the remote control. Left/Right button wags it’s tail providing momentum and the dive/climb button moves the counterweight under the fish’s belly to lower its nose and tail.
Have a look at the Shark model and scare someone silly
Wherever you may be, I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.
Now here’s something special for the holiday season that us iOS retro gamers have been waiting for. iMame the port of MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) has bizarrely appeared on the Apple App store as a free download! You can even side load your own classic game roms without having to jailbreak your iOS device! Arcade-Tastic!
Obviously with something like this, It’s not going to be on the app store for long so i’d download it now whilst you can.
As well as the game roms, (which I’m sure you know where to get them), you will need a copy of iExplorer installed on your PC to transfer the files to the iMame/documents folder on your iOS device. I’ve posted about this great little program a few posts ago regarding transferring ZX Spectrum games to the ios Spectrum emulator so you might want to check that out.
Here’s the iMame front end including the few legal roms bundled with the app and a few that I’ve added myself for testing
On my iPad2 the emulation is spot on and so far have been playing full screen/full speed arcade classics like Double Dragon, Galaga and Gorf.
There’s a huge amount of configurable options for both landscape and portrait mode as well as a host of control options including setting 2,4 or 8 way analogue/digital sticks and from one to six fire buttons.
Everyone’s favourite side scrolling brawler Final Fight played in portrait half size mode.
Double Dragon in fullscreen landscape mode.
Pressing the start and coin button simultaneously within a game brings up the familiar Mame console menu giving you even greater options for the emulator and rom.
…and the best bit that just blow my retro gaming socks off – iMame has support for the iCade arcade cabinet…
….which so happens to be on sale at our local PC World store at the moment.
So…where do you think I went before heading off to work this morning?
As an extra bonus, the store assistant offered me the iCade at the web exclusive price too so I saved myself £30.
I’m actually going to resist the urge to setup the iCade straight away and instead wait Christmas day….hopefully
Don’t forget, download iMame for your ipad or iphone ASAP, it won’t be up for long!
Three random images today courtesy of my Flipboard iPad app that deserve the Geek Awesome-ness which I’ve clearly just made up award.
Mr. Stay Puff Snowman – Awesome
Boba Fett Woolley hat – Awesome on an epic scale because it’s Boba Fett.
Latex Stormtrooper – with schoolboy giggles but awesome-ness.
My earlier adventures today with Your Sinclair magazine has also led me to online editions of Crash Magazine, the no.1 best selling Sinclair Spectrum magazine from the 80′s and 90′s, and it’s here that I note that issues 1-11 have been converted for Kindle/Kindle app.
I was never a regular reader back in the day being a Commodore 64 user and therefore my monthly rag was always going to be Crash’s sister publication – Zzap64. I did, however, have a few Spectrum owning friends and would love to pour over those Oli Frey paintings on the covers and articles inside.
It’s not until now, thanks to the impressive Kindle app for my iPad that I’m rediscovering what a cracking read Crash Magazine really was/is….and best of all, both the app and magazines are free!
My current Kindle bookshelf.
Each issue contains a hefty amount of content transcribed for this new electronic edition.
Including those lovely covers that can be examined in full screen glory.
One of the many reviews from the first edition of Crash.
More Oli Frey work inside.
Woo, Pheenix review, one of my favorite early Spectrum games.
So, if you’re a retro gaming fan and have an iPad, Kindle or Android based tablet on your Christmas list, then keep a note of this URL.
Wouldn’t it be great if Zzap64 and Amtix were Kindle-ified too!
Strolling along the web visiting various vintage computer magazines of the 80′s (I’m on the hunt for those quintessential Christmas editions) I happen to come across the website for Your Sinclair magazine and have been lost for the past hour in the their Christmas advent calendar feature. Each day celebrates the Speccy Christmases of the 80′s and focuses on the big games at the time coupled with music, documents, interviews and tv clips of the period. You even get a naff advent calendar chocolate each day
It’s such a wonderful look back and highly recommended..especially if you’re a brit/speccy owner!
Dec 1st – Robocop
I received a comment on my blog from Bassim the other day who’s been having difficulty getting two ZX spectrum games running on iPad via Spectaculator so I thought I’d have a go myself and see if I could get them running.
I’ve not heard of either of the games – Special Operations by Lothlorien or Terrormolinos by Melbourne house but a quick read up on the World of Spectrum website shows them as two vintage adventure games. I also found .tzx game images for download.
I created one folder for each game and named the folder exactly the same as the game file name including the file extension. So for example, my folders where named Terrormolinos!.tzx and Special Operations.tzx. This bit is important, if you name the folder anything else other than the name of the game file, the game won’t load.
With the games downloaded, I created a config file for each game and noting that the games are for the 48k Speccy, I set the config file to use the 48k model for emulation by adding the line -
As both games are keyboard driven, I’ve also added the line to disable the virtual joystick, although I suspect it doesn’t really matter if it’s added or not -
I’ve also added icon and artwork .png images to be game folders and finally transferred both folders over to my iPad with iExplorer.
Here’s the first game, Terrormolinos. Looks promising.
Yay! It works.
Here’s Special Operations
This is actually quite a cool game, can see me spending a bit of time with this one!
I hope these notes might help Bassim?, if not, come back to me and we’ll try to figure it out or I’ll send you the files.
Incidentally, I’m running version 2.0.0 of ZX Spectaculator.
I’ve always loved those early Nintendo box covers with their black covers and chunky pixel art design (and the minimilistic Sega Master System covers too) and so it’s great to see that someone at Racketboy has posted pictures of some of those early NES titles to enjoy.
Not only a great cover but a pretty damn fine conversion of the arcade original too.
Here’s the link
After many many years, and rumour upon rumour, Dizzy has finally been brought back by Codemasters. Egg-citing or what!
It’s a remake of their 1991 Dizzy adventure – Prince of Yolkfolk annd was released the other day for iOS and Android.
I haven’t played this particular Dizzy game before and in fact haven’t played any other Dizzy game for years. I think the last was Treasure Island Dizzy on the Commodore Amiga.
This new remake brings the graphics bang up to date for a more modern audience but retains the fun gameplay we all remember. I’m saving this one for myself to play on my iPad over the Christmas holidays so for now, I thought it’d be fun to revisit the the original Dizzy:Prince of Yolkfolk on the ZX Spectrum…and and have now got it up and running on my iPad via ZX Spectaculator.
For the iPad, I’ve created a config file for the game to map the virtual Joystick left/right controls to keys Z and X and have also added separate buttons for jump (Break Space) and action (Enter).
I’ve also found it useful to limit the joystick to left/right control by adding the following to the game config file.
It plays really well so I might even convert some of the other Dizzy titles.
This is the 128k version which has the background music….although it doesn’t half go on…and on
The first puzzle is quite an easy one and sees our hero trapped behind a wooden door. Objects in the room are a pile of dry leaves, a book of matches and a jug of water. Place the leaves by the door and use the matches to set fire to them. The flames will spread onto the door and burn it away. Use the jug of water to dowse the flames and you can now exit the room.
Got a favourite Dizzy game you’d like to see released on to IOS/Android or do you prefer to play the originals on older systems?
Whoa, nearly missed this one as i wasn’t expecting a release so shortly after issue 56. Yep, Commodore Free, the hugely popular Commodore ezine is out again with a Christmas special and as always is loaded with all things Commodore.
This month there’s a look back at unpopular C64GS console and the pack in games, latest news including Commodore OS Vision, a look at the latest homebrew games and much much more. As always, it’s available in a variety of formats from the CF homepage
Reading the article on the C64GS reminded me of the time I brought on of these not long after it bombed and was being sold at a bargain price of just £29.99. Even at this price, it still didn’t provide any thrills as a gaming device compared to the arcade conversions I was used to playing on the Sega Master System. Of the four bundled games, only Fiendish Freddy and Flimbos Quest were any good. Tetris yes, but Klax, I just didn’t like and International soccer!…oh dear, it looked like something belonging to the Atari 2600 and not for a new gaming gaming console.
I only added two more game titles to my GS collection, Ocean’s Chase HQ 2 and Robocop 2 before ditching it in favour of more Master System games. Sadly, my console is long gone and I only have the games cartridges and White Annihilator joystick remaining. Nowadays GS systems are highly sought after by collectors and presently, there’s a couple on eBay with Buy Now prices enough to make me wish I’d brought more of them all if those years ago
Judging by the latest YouTube preview video, this months (christmas) edition of Retro Gamer Magazine is looking to be the perfect read over the holidays. In particular I’m looking forward to the articles regarding the C64 version of Aztec Challenge (a title I’ve been revisiting a lot just lately), the hardware feature on the Atari Lynx handheld (must get myself one, one day), the StarWars trilogy on the SNES and most of all, the feature on the making of Zzap64 Magazine. All wrapped up with a festive Oli Frey cover – Perfect!
Oh, and great news about the release of a third volume of Retro Gamer magazines in digital format. You can’t beat a hard copy of the mag, but having 50 or so issues in PDF format on my NAS drive and accessible to read on my iPad anywhere where i’m connected is veryhandy.
Here’s a link to the preview of issue #97