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 ūüôā

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’ ūüôā

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.

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Virtual Reality CS-1000

Last year at Retro Revival  I got the chance to don a Virtual Reality headset and step into a vintage CS-1000 VR pod.

Me, sticking it to the virtual man.

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Since then, the owner of this particular pod and other VF gear has teamed up with Andy at the Retro Computer Museum to have the equipment available at their gaming shows and the exciting prospect of having two pods linked together for multiplayer gaming.

Check out this 1990’s episode of Gamesmaster featuring the VR game¬†Dactyl Nightmare running on two VF pods.

It’s been ages since I’ve popped down to the museum and having an item to drop off and collect I thought I’d take a little time out from our DIY work ¬†and go see what they’re up to…

…and as luck would have it, a glimpse at the technology behind one of the Virtuality pods

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That’s the Matrix there and it’s powered by Commodore Amiga technology.

 

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This particular unit is having a few video issues but owner Simon was confident that they could be resolved. By the time I’d finished drooling over some the museums software archive a little later on, video of ¬†Dactyl Nightmare was being displayed on one of the headset tv screens.

 

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The CS-1000 pod in storage and awaits a clean and it’s brain refitting. Hopefully this second unit will be up and running soon and fingers crossed, will make an appearance at one of this years retro gaming events.

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Retro GNG review at Commodore Free #66

Commodore Free issue # 66 is out for download and yet again, is chock full of all the good stuff for all you Commodore users.

http://www.commodorefree.com/

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This particular issue is rather special for me as it contains a review by Peter Badrick about the  RetroDerby GnG  event  that myself and my colleagues from the Retro Computer Museum attended.

 

<see previous posts –¬†https://stiggyblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/retro-gaming-weekend-at-derby-saturday/¬†and

https://stiggyblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/retro-gaming-weekend-at-derby-sunday/

 

If you missed out this year, event hosts Shaun Bebbington and Mr C16 – Chris Snowden are planning on holding similar ¬†events next year and¬†I’m¬†sure they’ll be announced in future issues of Commdore Free. Alternatively,¬†I’ll¬†post here.

A great read this month, and again, tons of new homebrew game info and articles РI particularly enjoyed the  feature about  tape piracy and its effect (or lack of ).

Outstanding work again CF team and if the jolly fella happens to stick a new shiny tablet device under the tree this year, treat it to a bit of Commodore love this Christmas and check out the tablet friendly epub and mobi (and PDF) editions or Commdore Free.

 

Hehe, warning! – There’s a picture of yours¬†truly¬†on page 35/36, That RCM Zip Stick joystick, Amiga & Banshee got a bashing that weekend!

 

RCM Members gaming weekend.

Just got back from another damn fine weekend of retro gaming goodness at the Retro Computer Museum.

Despite a nip in the air, +40 classic computers, consoles, one projector and a collection of eager gamers was all that was needed to raise the temps and to get everyone enjoying themselves. There was a couple of new faces this time around which is always nice to see as well as the ‘usual suspects’ for guaranteed laughs and fun.

I’ve not taken a great deal of photos this time around as I was rather enjoying quite a bit of gaming on the Saturday including copious amounts of Soul Caliber on the Dreamcast. Here’s a handful of the quick snaps I made in between bouts.

This weekend was a chance to take a good look at some of RCM’s new toys like this Memotech MTX 512 complete with Rememorizer addon board which provides additional VGA output, SD card storage and 512k of extra RAM. With this much tech, I’m pretty sure our MTX 512 can now recreate our own Kelly LeBrock ūüôā

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The ZXpand on the ZX81 still continues to impress and at one point we had one of the old ’81’s running at 20mhz! The game ‘Mayhem’ still continues to be an event favourite and high score sessions to beat Stu’s 72 points where attempted. I think Soph came closest with 60 odd points.

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JT was happy to test fit one of his SwinSID C64 SID chip replacements into one of RCM’s breadbins and take it for a test drive. Big thanks for letting me have one of these puppies myself. It’s currently sat in my C64 next to me playing a bumper crop of High Score Ballads from CSDB . More on the SwinSID later on.

I also managed to pick up another homemade SD2IEC for my Commodores as my own has developed a bit of a fault. Hopefully the chip will be of use to you JT?

Mike brought along his Android based MK808 mini computer which is so small it makes the Raspberry Pi look huge…and to think, something that small can run pretty much all console emulators (even PSX) full screen in hi def! XBMC runs beutifully on it as well as PC games like GTA3. Add to that all those lovely Google apps and for around ¬£45, i’m highly tempted to get one of these myself. I’ll be researching a bit more on the Mk808 these coming days as its a real tinker’ers tech toy!

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What was also impressive was Sophie’s new Atari Mega STE. Some of the demo’s running on this boxy monster were veeeery impressive. This was the first time I’ve seen a Mega STE before and despite it looking a bit ugly, was quite an impressive piece of kit it was. Soph was telling me it’s one of those rare items that pop up from time to time and she’d managed to locate this faulty unit on eBay in Germany which was being sold for next to nothing as it was faulty. Having won the item, said fault turned out to be very was minor and is all in working condition again. Top marks Soph!

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Sunday was all about relaxed, chillin and having a natter and I spent a while trying out a someones Android tablet – one of those very impressive – now it’s a netbook, now it’s a tablet Asus Transformers thingymebobs. We wanted to see if we could get Mame and other emulators working with my iCade. After detecting via Bluetooth and pairing successfully we tried a few emulators but couldn’t get it to work . Even mame4droid, with native icade support wouldn’t work. In the end, we downloaded a simple joystick app, mapped the controls of the iCade as keyboard inputs and used this configuration to set the control type for each emulator. This time it worked, and really well too. In fact, just as well as on the iPad with no lag or connection issues after that initial hiccup. With Christmas coming, and if you’re an Android owning retro gamer. Maybe think about adding one to your list to Santa?

Messing around with the iCade, messing around with the MSX.

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Amongst the games played this weekend, there was a couple that seemed to stand out for me so i’ve added them to my list further exploration.

More digital pinball courtesy of ‘Ruiner’ on the Atari Jag. I’m still tempted to get a Jag now, even if it’s just for this one game.

Moon Cresta on the Dragon 64 (via multicart). Suprisingly a very faithful port of the arcade original…on a Dragon!

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Strider II – Sega Master – I’ve not played this one before and was instantly hooked. Will be tracking down my own copy of this fun little run and gun sequel.

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Soviet Strike – Playstation. I haven’t really played any of the ‘Strike’ games since Desert Strike on the Sega Megadrive but this 3d-ish incarnation on the Playstation was actually rather fun.

More Soul Caliber but not before resting ones aching wrists. Thanks to Levs for bringing the arcade sticks in, much better than standard controllers. Am now on a mission to find myself one!

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Even better connected to the projector and the lights off.

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All in all a rather splendid weekend of gaming with friends new and old. That pretty much wraps it up for gaming events this year and it was nice to have the last of 2012 finished off at home at the retro computer museum.

Here’s to more next year.

Retro Gaming Weekend at Derby – Sunday.

Back in Derbyshire for day two of retro gaming and a more gentle start to the day compared to yesterday. After meeting up with chaps and chatting over a morning coffee, we fired up the machines and awaited our visitors.

During the morning I got to take another look at batch of Atari Jaguar games and one in particular was really fun to play. It was a Pinball game called – Ruiner.

Two tables are on offer which span over two or three screen. This is the first table and is based around 1950 cold war era of nuclear war and Defcon shenanigans. Plenty to shoot for to keep you entertained and some brilliant spot FX. Gameplay is a little slower that most pinball games but somehow this makes it more of fun to aim the ball.

The second table is similar to Dungeons and Dragons and again, rather fun to play. I did, however, prefer the first table and it’s this one that I’d really like to play more of in the future.

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There was also some pretty impressive Commodore hardware on show to and we were treated to a look at the SID chip addon board for the Commodore Plus/4 (have added one of these to my list to Santa!) and literally jaw dropping demonstrations of a Commodore 128D (a very nice machine in itself) which has outfitted with a SuperCPU expansion board.

A stock Commodore 64 runs at about 1 Mhz, so imagine multiplying this by 20 times and you’ve got one powerful machine which is technically faster than the Amiga . That’s what the SuperCPU does and with game like Driller which you probably know runs at about one frame per seconds on a standard c64, now runs just like a modern FPS game at +30 frames per second….fullscreen!

C128 in C64 mode…how much RAM!

In addition, it’s owner, and event co-host Shaun was able to demo some of the software specifically designed to show off the capabilities of a fully pimped C64/C128 including games like awesome-ness that is Metal Dust.

Never thought I see a C64/C128 running a game that looked so impressive, using the full colour pallette with so many objects and scrolling sprites, huge textured rocks, awesome soundtracks and digitised speech all running without flicker or hiccup. Note the FD-2000 Floppy Drive. This was one hellava setup!

I tried to capture Metal Dust on my camera but the monitor sync refresh was producing way too many lines on the recording so here’s a. Youtube video of the game in action.

The SuperCPU is a highly sought after item and can easily fetch up to ¬£2000 so my research leads me to believe. It certainly a piece of Commodore tech that i won’t be owning but rather generously, Shaun has offered to loan his setup for our next RCM event! I can’t wait to take another closer look at it and sample some of the games that have been modified to take advantage of the hardware, such as Stunt Car Racer, Test Drive and Castle Master.

Shaun also demonstrating to Andy, few program tips like this simply three line code on the C64 to produce a very impressive maze display.

I also spent a lot of the BBC Master today, especially some of the arcade ports and was quite amazed at the quality on the ol’ Beeb. Galaxians, Joust and Moon Cresta were particularly fun and on the pin sharp image of the Cub monitor they looked even better.

Also, I’ve never played Thrust on the BBC before and have to say, it’s one of the nicest versions I’ve played to date..even if the controls were a bit odd.

I also spent quite a bit of time on Andy’s Amiga 1200 which has a rather daper 68030 board with 32mb ram, a 4GB CF HDD and plenty WHDLoad funtastic software.

A great afternoon on Sensible Soccer, Chaos Engine, Deluxe Galaga to get the wrists aching and then Pinball Fantasies high score tournament to give them a rest again ūüôā

Dear Santa, please can I have some Ram for my A1200 please?

We also though it would be run to play on the Nintendo Virtual Boy until our eyes began to bled and them immediately moved on to bright whites on MB Vectrex. I’m glad I wasn’t driving straight until later…the shapes burnt on to my eyeballs were taking time to dissipate ūüôā

Lots of ‘woo’s ‘ and probably a bit of drooling from Dr Phu and Max in the corner, what’s going on?

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Mmm, Commodore C128D in the nude….purdy!

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Whilst Andy pumped out some classic SID chiptunes on the C64, I had one last go on Turmoil on the Vic-20 before waving the last visitor goodbye and we set about dismantling everything and moving it down to our parked cars. We were a little short on hands compared to Saturday but we still managed to get everything pack up quite quickly and into three cars plus my MPV.

Thanking our hosts Chris & Shaun for a great weekend, we made the journey back to HQ and thanks to entering the ‘shortest route’ on my Satnav, i took the harrowing route through twisty, narrow country roads with not a street light in sight. A fun drive when you’re lugging 20 odd TV’s and crates of retro gear!

After the ‘rally stage’ and back at HQ, we unpacked and got everything set up again ready for some European visitors who were attending the museum the next day.

Wary but content, we said our goodbyes and headed home.

That was one helluva great gaming weekend and one that also raised a nice amount for charity too. Chris is looking to do this again on a six month basis and I for one will be back again.

The retro gaming doesn’t stop there though as we have our own members weekend event coming up in two weeks time and is always a laugh when the admins, volunteers and RCM members get together. Better get my Dreamcast out, I’ve got some practising to do!

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