Nostalgia emulator frontend for Ouya.

Its been a while since I’ve fired up the little Ouya games console and now that we’re slowly putting the house back together, I’m dropping it next to my Raspberry Pi and hooking up to the living room TV for a spot of retro gaming later on this evening. But first, it too the geek desk to copy over some goodies from my PC.

Emulation , of course is well supported on both systems and the Raspberry Pi has a couple of unified graphical frontends to manage and present the systems and games to you. On the Ouya, there wasn’t much out there until Nostalgia came along last year. I briefly played around with the demo and really liked what I saw and now that I’ve got a little bit more free time, I’ve opted to purchase the full app to unlock all of the features (the demo is limited to using one emulator). For just  $1, you’re getting one sweet little frontend here.

Nostaliga by Zamastyle – http://ouyaforum.com/showthread.php?4536-Nostalgia-Zamastyle

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Configuration of Nostalgia is pretty straight forward – After it loads, hit the Y button on the gamepad to enter the options menu, select configure and choose the emulator you wish to use. All you then need to do is tell Nostalgia the path to your game files and you’re done. I have mine stored on a USB stick plugged into the back of my Ouya in folders called Atari 2600, NES, SNES, PSX etc.

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Once you’ve done that you can then tell Nostalgia to fetch game metadata and cover art for the your  collection or ignore specific files types if you want to fetch for a specific system. Depending on your selection and how many game files you have in your collection, this can take quite some time so go put the kettle on and come back later.

Here’s a selection of my Atari 2600 collection. You can browse up and down the rows using the d-pad or faster, by letter using the L/R trigger buttons. There’s also a full text search option which will return results spanning every system you have configured. For example, you might want to find ‘1942’ on the NES, PCE and C64.

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An old favourite perhaps?…..aw crap, more painting!

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The only thing I’ve found to be a problem is a little audio lag when running certain PSX and Sega 32x titles through Nostalgia as opposed to running them natively from the Ouya’s main dashboard and occasionally, the fetch process fails to download cover art, although metadata has always been received o.k .

 

Lon Seidman posted quite a nice video review of Nostalgia which I’ve linked here so you can see it in action.

 

 

 

 

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A trio of PS1 games on the Ouya.

With most of my retro gaming machines all packed away whilst we redecorate, my Ouya is becoming quite the star with it’s small footprint, one lead setup and some rather slick emulators. Tonight, I’ve got the pleasure of three Playstation One games – two from my own gaming library and another on and loan from my friend (cheers Seb!).

Colin Macrae Rally.

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Not my first choice when it comes to rally sims (Colin Macrae 2, 2005, Richard Burns and Rally Trophy please) , but despite the clipped and chunky graphics, CMR1 on the PS1 is bags of muddy fun. There’s eight countries to compete in providing a variety of  road and off-road surfaces as well as varied weather conditions and day/night driving. You get a choice of four 1998  WRC cars to drive including Colin’s winning Suburu Impreza and (by far my favourite) Tommy Makinen’s Mitsuibishi Lancer E4. There’s also four novice cars to zip around in including the nippy Golf GTI and the Renault Maxi Megane and, my favourite of the lot, four unlockable historic rally cars including the Ford Escort Mk11 and the (probably) rocket fuelled Audi Quattro S1.

I’ve been a rally sports fan for a long time now and really got in the the World Rally Championships during the  late nineties when drivers like Macrae, Sainz, Burns, Gronholm, Auriol and Makinen were all juggling for the win whilst future talent was being introduced with the likes of  Solberg, Leob and Martin.

I’ve not really been following it as much these past few years, but after reading about  increased live coverage on one of the digital sports channels we get I thought I’d take a look at again this year. I wasn’t disappointed, last weekends Monte Carlo rally was hugely entertaining and the unpredictable weather there brought about some real drama and an ever changing leaderboard. Sweden next, my favourite of them all.

It’s with this renewed interest that I sought out CMR1 from my Playstation collection and with the Ouya’s analogue controls playing quite nicely under emulation (FPse) I’m looking forward too some of my own armchair rally action.

NHL 99

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Of all the sports games I’ve ever played, EA’s NHL series has been the one that I’ve purchased religiously each year right from the beginning up to when the EA big wigs  decided not continue releasing them on the PC…idiots! NHL ’99 is certainly not the best edition there is but it’s this version (PS1 and PC) that I hold dear for many reasons. I play this and I remember a friend (who happened to play ice hockey for our local team) stopping by and not leaving for hours as we played endless vs. and co-op matches, repeated many many times over the next few years. I play this and I remember leaving my PC on overnight to download the whoppin 56mb demo only to find CRC errors in the archive – back in the days of dial-up internet and billing per the minute,  quite an expensive download!  I play this and I remember the wow factor when my new shiny Nvidia TNT pro graphics card smoothed out those pre ’99 pixelated hockey players. I play this and I remember the Zamboni which didn’t seem to appear in any of the later editions. I play this and I remember trying to amass a whole host of user mods to update the player gear, ice centre and boards (again, quite a feat on crappy dial-up services). And lastly I play this and remember the very best NHL game intro that in my opinion has never beaten.

Take it away Dave!

and lastly (thanks once again Seb!) – Xevious 3D.

To be honest, I’ve never been much of a fan of the original arcade game, preferring something like 1942 for my vertical schmup fixes back then. The air-air and air-ground  weapon systems in Xevious was quite a novel feature but, I dunno, I just found Xevious to be a bit….well, a bit boring.

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Whilst wandering around the console area at Play:Expo last year I happen across a Playstation running this rather funky looking 3D(-ish) shooter. I sat down for a while and absolutely loved playing it not knowing that, until my lives had been spent, I was actually playing Xevious 3D.

Unlike the original, this is much more fun to play with plenty of  power ups and some truly outstanding boss attacks. Check out the spider robot for example at the 1min:55 mark in this long play video by betamanATstage6.

This 3D version also has the original (and super arrangement) games included to so maybe I’ve been a little too hard on the original game and it’s time I gave it another look?

Just a quick word on the PS1 emulator ‘FPse’ on the Ouya. It can be purchased and installed directly from the Ouya Store, is a breeze to use and supports .iso files directly from either your Ouya (limited space)or directly from a USB stick. It also detects your game files and auto downloads the cover art for you. There’s plenty of options to play around with for graphics and audio and both digital and  analogue gamepad emulation is available (including vibration) as well as on screen controls and emulated memory cards for save support. In a nutshell, pretty much everything you’d need from a Playstation emulator and has run everything I’ve tried so far without a single hitch or slowdown.

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Using the Ouya Controller on a PC.

 

As my ageing PC gaming pad has finally crapped out on me, I’ve been on the look out for a replacement this week. In an attempt to de-clutter some of the peripheral wiring behind my desk, I thought I’d go with one that’s either wireless or Bluetooth.

I returned from the stores empty handed though. It’s not that they didn’t any in stock  it’s just that I didn’t realise how expensive they would be! Most were in the plus £40 bracket being dual purpose with either the xbox or PS3.

To the Internet and eBay it is then and I’ve found all manner of weird and wonderful (cheaper) controller that would suit my needs.

Check out this classic Famicom styled gamepad.

 

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..and the less said about this, the better…eek!

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During my  searches, I came various forum posts from folks stating that they’ve had marginal success pairing their Ouya controllers to their PC’s. Having a Ouya myself,  I thought I’d give it a go this afternoon.

Despite my Acer 1825ptz netbook  being advertised as having on board Bluetooth as well as a specific function button to activate it  (woo!), it appears not to be the the case. However, no matter Curstie has an old Bluetooth keyboard she no longer uses so I’ve nicked the rather dinky USB Bluetooth dongle to see if it would work.

Who needs you anyway F3!

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The Bluetooth adaptor was auto detected and installed without needing any third party drivers. My Acer is running Windows 7 – 64bit but I have no idea what brand the adaptor is.

I held down the system button on my Ouya pad and wasn’t expecting Windows to detect it but sure enough there it was and appears to be fully functional. Interestingly the controllers touch pad works too including single and double tapping – useful for HTPC owners?

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I’ve tested with a PC game and by default the left analogue stick on the controller is active rather than the D-Pad. That’s o.k for certain games but but for older systems running under  emulation, I’d much prefer to use the D-Pad instead.

For these instances I’ll use JoytoKey and the beauty of this application is that you can create multiple control profiles to suit individuals games and systems. So for example, I can configure digital controls for emulators like Stella and Vice and  have analogue profiles for PC games and certain MAME games.

The D-Pad appears as buttons 9 thru 12, which I’ve remapped in this profile to use the cursor  keys.

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Just recently I’ve been enjoying a spot of web browser classic gaming thanks to JSMESS and the Living Room Console hosted at Archive.org – https://archive.org/details/consolelivingroom The systems available here all use different keyboard controls and therefore utilising JoytoKey again, I’ve been able to create separate controller profiles for each of them.

Atari 7800 DK, still a cracking game.

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O.K, so the Ouya controller isn’t exactly the greatest controller out there, but in the end it’s saved me a few quid having to buy another controller and well worth giving it a go if you happen to have one. A good job really, I was beginning to take a shine to that lime green monstrosity 🙂

 

Colecovision Homebrew on Ouya

With thanks to Robert Broglia and his  awesome series of ‘.emu’ emulators and huge thanks Lon Seidman’s Youtube channel tutorial, I can now play Colecovision games on my Ouya…and in particular, a couple of rather funky homebrew titles too.

If you fancy having a go  with your own Ouya, you’ll need three things (plus some games to play).

Download and install the MSX.emu emulator from the Ouya Store.

Download and install a File Manager on your Ouya – I’m currently using ES File Explorer which I found via Google and sideloaded to my Ouya  via my USB stick. It’s a little clunky to use and I’m sure that there’s better file managers out there (any suggestion would be welcome) but once you get used to navigating around,  it’s not too bad.

My Ouya ‘Make’ folder.

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Download the Coleco BIOS files from Robert Broglia’s website, extract the zip files and copy the folder (and  contents) called ‘COL – ColecoVision’  to a USB stick. Do not rename the folder or files.

Download link – http://www.explusalpha.com/home/msx-emu

This next bit wasn’t overly clear in Lon’s tutorial, but what you need to do is copy the Bios files to folder that is found on the root directory of the Ouya. The root folder is actually called ‘SD card’…I’m not sure why, but as the Ouya OS has ties with the Android OS, I’m guessing  it relates to the fact that most user account root folders found on Android devices are generally SD cards?

This is the root (sdcard) folder of my Ouya. Note the MSX.emu folder…inside there is another folder called ‘Machines’ and inside that folder,  copy the ‘COL-ColecoVision’ folder (and it’s contents) from the USB stick.

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So…the full path name should be – SDcard/MSX.emu/Machines/Col-ColecoVision – and inside there should be the two Coleco bios files.

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To change MSX.emu emulator from MSX mode to Colecovision mode, fire up the emulator, go to the Systems Options  Menu and you should be able to change the Machine Type to COL – ColecoVision. Then all you need to do is browse to wherever you store your game files, Load and blast away.

 

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As I mention above, the two Coleco homebrew  games I’ve been enjoying on my Ouya are –

Space Fortress by John Dondzila –  He’s the chap behind so many of those great homebrew Vectrex games – http://www.classicgamecreations.com/

Pound away at the enemy shields whilst dodging incoming fire in this homage to  Coin-op and Vectrex classic, Star Castle

Make a hole and destroy the cannon at the centre.

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Next up is the most excellent classic shooter – Terra Attack by Scott Huggins.

It’s plays sorta like a mixture of Missile Command and Pleiads. You control three cannons at the bottom of the screen. Each have limited ammunition in which to  destroy the alien craft flying about that are hell bend on introducing you to a pixelated death. The game is played over a few levels offering different enemies and attack patterns until the final showdown with said aliens mother.

Terra Attack is one outstanding retro shooter and if even if you don’t have an Ouya,  it’s well worth locating a suitable Colecovision emulator and give this one a go

 

 

 

 

Indie gaming: Gaurodan

A few days a go I started playing Gaurodan, a new indie shooter for PC game that’s done in the style of an 80’s retro arcade game….in fact, you could say, I’m becoming quite addicted to it.

Long forgotten is the legend of Gaurodan, the bird of thunder, and his fight with Guayota, the fire beast. But now mankind has discovered the egg of Guayota within Mount Teide, and it is only a matter of time until Guarodan returns from the sky to fight the beast and punish us for awakening his ancient enemy.

Fly around the Canary Islands as Gaurodan, and destroy cities, armies and colossal creatures in your path throught this frantic shmup, created for the lovers of classic games that require mastering.

You’ll need some mastering to play this game because controls are not the usual: you have two buttons to shoot air-air and air-ground, and you can’t stop moving in the air. Guarodan is inspired by early titles like Defender, Choplifter or Sky Kid in terms of gameplay, and has a similar production style to other arcade games like Commando, Gyrodine or 1942.

This is the same developer that produced many other quality modern (retro) games such as Maldita Castilla, They Came from Verminest and the truly awesome Hydorah. I’m a huge fan of these games have posted about some of them the past. If you haven’t had the opportunity to sample any of these games, you really need to warm up the trigger finger and head on over to http://www.locomalito.com and get downloading….I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

All Ouya owners out there might also be interested to know that Gaurodan is also available as a free download. Here’s keeping everything crossed in the hope that Hydorah makes an appearance on the Ouya too.

Mmm, big screen pixels.

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Don’t forget, if you really enjoy these titles, how about tipping your hat to the developer and leaving a donation via their website?