Arcade heaven at Play:Expo

This weekend it’s the big one….well, in retro gaming terms that is rather than Skynet finally getting his or her way. Play:Expo is just a day away and in a few hours myself and my good lady will be driving to Manchester for a day of R&R (and shopping) prior getting ones game on from Saturday morning.

The list ‘stuff’ at this years event is just staggering – Check out all this lot –

http://www.playexpo.net/whats-on/

But it’s this particular setup video that’s got me really excited now.

 

So hopefully, a good weekend all round and am looking forward to meeting up with old friends, having a few laughs and of course, enjoying the odd game or two.

Article on the different types of arcade buttons and joysticks.

If like me, you’re not 100% sure what the difference between a JLW,  LS-32 and a LS-56 stick and how deflection and engage distances can be effect gaming on your custom arcade machine build, check out this rather interesting article I read this morning which goes some way to explain all –

http://www.tested.com/art/makers/464539-choosing-buttons-and-joysticks-custom-arcade-cabinet/

Personally, I’m all for bat topped sticks, I just can’t seem to get on with ball topped. For buttons, I prefer the classic concave shaped type like the one from Happs, although I’ll prefer to pair these with leaf switches instead of clunky microswitches. That’s probably not the best choice for modern(-ish) fighters but perfect for a spot of Asteroids.  I have however got a couple of very sensitive Sanwa flat buttons which  I’ve been meaning to do something with.  Do the notepad!

All work makes Jack (well StiGGy really), miss his retro gaming. A fix is needed.

Work still continues on the house and with a week off work this week I’ve been putting in some serious hours to try and get this latest bit done – or at least the messy/heavy/laborious stuff done first. Sadly, game time (and blog posts) have kinda nose dived these past few weeks and I was even painting on my birthday (going for the sympathy vote here :-))

…but it’s all been fun stuff despite the mess and upheaval and bit by bit it’s all starting to take shape. On the plus side, all this DIY-ing has been a great excuse to wheedle some funds out of ‘the treasurer’ and some new and exciting power tools (also good for building custom arcade cabinets…ssh, mums the word!) My latest acquisition will have your arm off if you blink too long and is equipped with powerful lasers to blind you if don’t. It’s also got the word ‘Fury’ written on the box and I’m guessing the instructions might have mentioned Dolby 7.1, USB and a Flux Capacitor if I’d bothered to read them instead of chucking them in the bin along with the safety guards – only kidding!

No I’m not flippin you the bird, just waving hello with the only finger I’ve still got attached 🙂

Testing it this afternoon springs to mind the continue screen from Ninja Gaiden/Shadow Warriors.

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I’ve decided that I’m definitely in need of a retro game fix (whilst I’ve still got thumbs eh?), and thanks once again to ‘The Treasurer’ for filling my pocket with a stash of 10 pence pieces, I’ve been enjoying some early classics on my MAME arcade machine.

As well as a hefty amount of Bomb Jack these past few evenings (so frustratingly good!), it’s Midway’s Rally X that I’ve been returning to time and time again in the hope of grabbing that ever elusive flag to beat my top score.

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Moving the directional restrictor plate on my joystick to limit controls from 8 to 4 way really made a difference with this game – highly recommended.

Speaking of Rally X, have you played the homebrew Atari 2600 port currently in development? I took it for a spin the other day and even though it’s still very much a work in progress, it’s looking verypromising. You can read all about it and pick up the current file for emulation/Harmony Cartridge here – http://atariage.com/forums/topic/218406-rally-wip/

Away from the arcade machine, I’ve also been messing around with the Nintendo Gameboy / Gameboy Advanced emulator for iOS that caused a lot of excitement when it was release being that you don’t have to iBrick your device to run it – Time travel helps though!

GBA4iOS http://gba4iosapp.com

The touch screen controls are o.k-ish I find, as long as things don’t get too intense onscreen but here’s hoping a future update will include iCade/8-bitty support.

One game in particular that’s got me hooked (and thankfully one that uses fewer buttons) is Pokemon Pinball. I’ve never played a Pokemon game in my life (they’re on my gaming to do list) so I have no idea what most of the games references are, but pinball is pinball and boy do I like my pinball….and Pokemon Pinball is most certainly a damn fine game…..of pinball.

Check out the faux GBA skin….probably the worst coloured model of them all but hey one does have the option to re-skin should one feel the need to crack open ones Photoshop.

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I’ve had so much much fun with this game I’ve actually purchased the original cartridge game via eBay which should be making its merry way to my GBA SP slot very soon.

Thanks to JT and his posts and photos regarding his new ultra cool Sharp X68000 computer I’ve been taking a little time out to explore this fascinating machine myself…emulated (win68k) at the moment but plans are afoot to woo The Treasurer into leaking more funds…..either that or I’ll she’ll dance with ‘fury’ 🙂

I got my first hands on experience with a Sharp X68 last year at Play:Expo which had one parked next to a chic-let Commodore 116. I sat down to play Specticede on the 116 and I recall having a conversation with the chap next to me who was playing Slapfight on it to which we both agreed looked absolutely stunning considering it was running from just one floppy disk. Later on I had an amazing time thumbing through the disk box and picking out and playing even more perfect arcade ports. Take Final Fight for example, incredibly faithful to the original….and only on two floppy disks!

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It’s perfect timing as well, because the latest issue of Retro Gamer magazine features a look at some of the more obscure title on the X68000 and some would have been surely missed judging by their long Japanese names. Thumbs up RG!

So yeah, with that little fix, retro gamng zen is restored. If it drops out again, the first of this years Retro Computer Museum gaming weekend is just a month away!

Happy gaming.