Patching for fun.

Well it’s Saturday night here (actually, it rapidly heading into Sunday morning) but alas, no fun and games for me as I’m at work taking advantage of those precious downtime slots to patch our Windows servers…..yay ūüėČ

To be honest WSUS does most of the work and only requires the occasional prod inbetween cups of coffee so whilst I’m here I thought I’d patch another Microsoft box – but this one should be way more fun to do.

I’m going to softmod an Xbox one console.That’s ‘one’ as in the original ‘one’ and not the new ‘one’. Thanks for that MS!

There’s a few ways of doing this and the internet is full of great tutorials covering them all. The one I’m going to try is the harddrive swap method because yanking IDE cables from live PC’s is so Taboo ūüôā

Right, the moment of truth. I’ve got my freshly burnt boot disc I made via NDure based on my xbox firmware version and am about to boot my doner PC prior to swapping over the hardrive.

IMG_5065.JPG

I got the timing wrong on this first attempt and the boot disk had loaded and timed out before I had chance to swap over the drive, but on the second go I got it right and therefore ran through the process of applying the mod.

All seemed to have gone well and was them able to boot into the alternative dashboard and access my Xbox via FTP. The first job was to backup that all important EEPROM file and then onto prepping the files again (and creating another custom boot disk) to allow me to swap out the original 20gb xbox harddrive for something a bit bigger.

IMG_5066.JPG

Again, all went well until I tried to lock the drive using xboxhdm on the doner PC. It took me a while to figure it out but it was simply the bios settings on the PC that needed to be changed.

Once fitted into the xbox, I ftp’d some retro gaming fun stuff over to take advantage of all that lovely storage space.

Here’s Hypervision, a Hyperspin styled frontend for MAME.

So….do I go for a spot of Donkey Kong or watch the progress of more SQL updat…….zzzzzzzzz.

IMG_5067.JPG

Intellivision / Colecovision Flashback is here….sorta.

Well not here, as in here in the temporary geek den because for sure, if they were, they’d be no decorating done today. Nope, some lucky fella across the pond has spotted the Colecovision, Intellivision (and Atari 5) flashback consoles grazing in the wild and managed to snag them all weeks before their official release dates.

20140824-085614-32174597.jpg

Despite missing some of the big hitters from Nintendo, which you’d kinda expect, the games list on the Coleco box is pretty impressive. Space Fury, Frenzy, Zaxxon, Omega Race – bring it on! Likewise on the Intellivision, no Deadly Discs of a Tron, but there’s Astrosmash, Snafu and Subhunt.

Will Europe get an official release? Are they hackable? Can I shove my Raspberry Pi in there? Will I have fun whilst doing Math?

20140824-091733-33453143.jpg

MayFlash Retro Gamepad / Joystick to USB Adaptor.

When it comes to retro gaming you can’t beat playing on the original ¬†system and I’d favor it over emulation any day.That’s not to say I’m not an emulation fan of course, quite the contrary I use them a lot and relish the advantages that emulation brings….like turbo loading for instance!

But the thing about emulation is, although it can look and sound, in some circumstances, pretty much indistinguishable from the original system, I often find something is missed from the experience by not using the original games controller. Stella is awesome Atari 2600 emulator but playing Berzerk on a PC keyboard instead of a classic Atari joystick doesn’t feel quite right. ¬†Mario Kart via ZSnes using a PS2 styled PC controller is o.k but give me a proper SNES pad and I’m a happy chap. Then of course, there are the oddballs controllers like the ¬†analogue Vectrex pad, Atari paddles and the N64 joystick/gamepad ‘thing’ which might be a little tricky to replace with modern pads and sticks.

Adapters, that’s what we need and there are many of them out there allowing one to attach a classic controller to a PC or modern games console.

I came across this particular adaptor on eBay the other day. It’s very cheap, small and promised support for Sega Megadrive/Genesis controllers (and thus hopefully other standard DB9 based sticks and pads), Nintendo NES and SNES controllers in one tidy package. Buy buy buy says I.

….a few days later.

May Flash USB gamepad conveto

The little adapter box has two input ports, the first is a 9-pin DB9 type connector and the other is a 7-pin SNES connector. Also included  was a DB9 to 7-pin converter cable for connecting NES/FC pads.

No drivers are required according to the instructions and it states it’s compatible with Win XP thru to Win 8 including both 32 and 64 bit flavors.

Sure enough, after plugging it into my Win 7 netbook, the device was detected and appeared as a standard HID game controller.

I’ve dug out a selection of classic controllers to test.

Classic gamepads and sticks

It started off well – ¬†the SNES pad worked flawlessly with no lag or any issues detected when multiple buttons were pressed simultaneously and after a round or two with Street Fighter 2Turbo and Super R-Type (where the adapters programmable turbo button came in handy) I moved on…..and well, it’s all went a bit downhill from there.

I couldn’t get it to work with my Megadrive mk2 pad, ¬†third party or original mk1 ¬†pad. ¬†No go either with the classic Atari stick, Commodore Vic-20 stick, Commodore CD32 pad or Sega Master System pad.¬†I haven’t tested it with my NES pad though as they’re still packed away. No keystrokes detected with MS notepad open therefore ¬†Joy2Key is out too.

I’ve tested the device on another Win 7 PC (SP1), a Win XP PC and my Raspberry Pi. Each time, nothing worked apart from the SNES pad (I had to fiddle around to get it working on my Raspberry Pi).

I’ve removed the adaptors case screws to have a looksee inside and as far as I can tell everything looks o.k. When I get time I’ll have a probe around with the multimeter.

Although it’s a cheap adaptor, for sole use as a SNES adaptor ¬†it’s still ¬†more expensive than getting a dedicated SNES ‘styled’ USB gamepad (although I guess that defeats the object of using an original controller) and probably more expensive than getting the pats to USB mod a pad yourself. In the end I decided to contact the seller and ask if I could return it for a refund. ¬†As it happens, the seller had tested a few adapters himself and found that he was having the same issues too. As a result he kindly gave me a full refund and told me to keep the adaptor anyway. A win in the end then!

 

GTA V Antics

Ever since the Rooster Teeth starting posting their series of ‘Things to do in GTA V’ videos on YouTube I’ve been an avid viewer as they just crack me up with laughter.

If you haven’t seen them before, check out these two for starters – Be warned though there’s a spot of colourful language.

Mountain Olympics.

Splat.