Retro Remakes Mini Arcade to the rescue.

My stamina has certainly been put to the test this week having some pretty hefty I.T. infrastructure issues as work resulted in another eye drooping 24 hour shift followed by a few hours of sleep  followed up with another 4:30am drive back into work and non stop for the next 18 hours. Sleep has been like that elusive powerup that’s just out of reach on that rock hard schmup you’ve been trying to finish.

So, in need of a little pick me up during  lunch break and without having to use too many already exhausted brain cells, it’s the vintage video games I turn to and a particular remake that simplifies a bunch of them even more.

The Retro Remakes Mini Arcade by Minionsoft is a collection of eight vintage games, simplified into little 32×32 pixellated renditions of the classics we all know and love. Enter the arcade and you can  step up to play Space Invaders, Asteroids, Pacman, Scramble, Frogger, Centipede, Arkanoid and Pole Position.

Retro Remakes Mini Arcade

Here’s a scaled up screenshot so you can see all the little details. Each game has the original sounds samples and little touches to each game which I’m sure will make most of you retro gamers smile  . Brilliant stuff indeed from Minionsoft.

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You can download the Retro Remake Mini Arcade (Windows) here –http://www.minionsoft.com/wordpress/?page_id=193

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Space Rawks on my Arcade machine.

Ever since I first watching my old brother play Asteroids in a cafe near to our school , I’ve always been drawn (in a straight line 🙂 ) to vector based arcade games such as Omega Race, Lunar Lander, Battlezone and Star Wars of course…it’s just something about those intense glowing lines moving incredibly smoothly against a darkened backdrop. To a much younger me, vector graphics were a symbol of the future. Today, they symbolise retro and boy do I love my retro.

As such, I’m a Vectrex player and alongside emulation with Mame/AAE I’m always seeking out all forms of vector styled games be it new concepts or remakes of original arcade classics. One developer that’s been releasing some truly outstanding games over the past few years is Sokurah of Tardis Remakes.

Available predominately for Windows PC (although there are quite a few for OSX now) his current roster of Vector styled games are –

Omega Race (2006 and 2009 edition) – Brilliant rendition of Midways classic.

Rip Off – Sadly, I never came across Rip-Off in the arcades as it’s one of my favourites on my Vectrex. Sokurah’s release is such a joy to play and looks amazing with those digital backdrops.

Star Castle – Another arcade/Vectrex classic. Check out the Atari 2600 port if you haven’t already.

Black Widow – A brilliant remake of Atari’s dual stick shooter (even more so than the original I think) and plays incredibly well when setup with a PC dual stick controller.

Zektor – It’s like Omega Race, Rip-off, Star Castle and Asteroids all in one game! Again, another machine that I didn’t come across in the arcades although I fear my pocket money would not have lasted very long if I had.

Space Fury – Intense Schmup action which gets even better (see below)

Arcadia – A vector styled re ‘imagine’-ation (sorry!) of an early 8-bit hit. I spent many happy hours playing this way back then on my humble Vic-20 , and this new version is just as fun and looks amazing with all that neon glow.

….and finally, his latest game, Space Rawks which is based around Asteroids Deluxe but with a shed load more rocks, plenty of power ups and frequent visits from those pesky saucers.

Just look at those gridlines…heaven 🙂

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As with previous games, you’ll find plenty of useful options including redefinable controls and the ability to jack up (or down) the amount of vector glow.

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‘Sir, the possibilities of successfully navigating an asteroid field are 3,720 to 1’. I’d say, twice that judging by my score!

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I didn’t think that playing these game could get any better but man, how wrong was I after transferred them over to my arcade machine.

Classic controls and extra bass from the wooden cabinet.

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Space Fury – Of all the games I’m tried, this one plays so well on an upright cab and feels just like a genuine coin-op arcade game from the 80’s.

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Eek!

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I do hope that Sokurah continues to make these games so spread the word and show your support by visiting –

http://tardis.dk/wordpress/

Atari Flashback 3

I don’t usually take an interest in modern remakes of classic consoles or those TV plug-in units you often see comprising of one or two games wrapped up into a controller of some sort…unless of course it’s in the bargain basement. A link from a friend of mine steered me towards Argos stores that were flogging stocks of Atari Flashback units for a measly £15. For that price I’m certainly game especially as the two joysticks included are based on the original 9-pin type and therefore compatible with older systems such as the Commodore 64….and i do like my classic Atari sticks.

This is the 3rd version of the Atari Flashback. It has more built in games than in the previous models, however, unlike version 2, this cannot be hacked to wire in a cartridge slot to run original Atari 2600 cartridges.

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Woo…bonus offer!

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Here’s the back of the box, listing some of the games included. Its nice to see some of my favourites here but there’s not a hint of 3rd party games such as Pitfall, Hero or River Raid. I can see plenty of Combat sessions in order with Mrs StiGGy.

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Inside the box there’s everything you need to get started including the console, mains adaptor (the lead is a bit short), two Atari Joysticks and an instruction book listing the basic setup and a little bit about each game.

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The console is about half the size of a 2600 woody and as light as a feather. The buttons on top of the console replace the classic toggle switches and there’s even a hint of faux wood panelling on the front. It looks pretty good to me but if you want more faux wood, the Flashback 2 contains a tab more.

One end of the AV cable (white/Yellow) is wired directly inside the console and it’s worth mentioning that there’s also a component to SCART adaptor included as well.

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The Atari joysticks are pretty much identical in size when compared to the originals….maybe a few millimetres taller (body) but pretty close if you ask me. The sticks feel much looser than the original CX40’s and are all plastic instead of coated with rubber. Also they don’t feel as solid or as heavy as the originals do. Don’t get me wrong though I actually quite like the extra stick movement. The fire button also seems more responsive but then again, I’m comparing with a stick that’s over 30 years old!

The same familiar orange paintwork but now sporting the Atari logo.

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I couldn’t help cracking one these open for a looksee inside. It’s nothing like the original in there and I’m not sure if you could swap out various parts…..maybe!

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After setting up and switching on you a get a nice A-Z listing of games which are spread over six browsable screens. There’s also a handy screenshot to accompany each title in the event that you’ve forgotten how ugly Atari 2600 Asteroids looks like 🙂 Still is one of my fav’s though!

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Game wise it’s brilliant Atari family fun and there’s something here for everyone. I’m sure purists might be able to tell the difference between the original games and these emulated versions but to me they look, sound and play just as good. There’s couple of paddle games included too which have been changed slightly to play better with the included sticks. However, the Flashback 3 is compatible with classic Atari paddles and although I was getting a little bit of stutter on my own set, you can still play a cracking game of Super Breakout…..I did try that Trak-Ball unit (see previous blog post) but sadly I got no movement at all, not even in joystick mode.

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It looks tiny compared to a cartridge….shame you can’t get these working with this particular model. Just think how much fun you could have with a Harmony cart!

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So yeah, I’m pretty pleased with the Flashback 3. It’s cheap, is lots of fun and I can reuse the joysticks on other systems. I’m also already thinking about what homemade projects I could make out of the case once I’m done playing around with it.

Woo, Gravitar….that’s me done typing!

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Commodore Plus/4 Asteroids emulator.

There’s nothing like booting up an old machine (as long as it does boot) especially if its been a while since it was last out of the box. Take my Commodore Plus/4 for example, which I’ve set up on the geek desk in anticipation of some weekend retro gaming, but no matter how often I see it, having some brand new software loaded on an old system makes me very happy.

March 2013 on a machine thats almost kicking 30 years. Feel the love!

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Thanks to both my modded sd2iec and CBM Browser which now supports the C16 and Plus/4, computers I can now sample these goodies on the real hardware.

I played Norbert Kehrer’s Asteroids emulator on the C64 when it was released at the beginning of the month but I had no idea that there was an alleged faster version on the Plus/4.

It’s pretty impressive stuff indeed and well worth checking out – http://web.utanet.at/nkehrer/

Right, enough with the rock blasting, I’m off for a warm up session for this weekends challenge -Trying to finish Treasure Island?

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Arcade games taken with long exposure.

Looking back through some very old gaming magazines, I notice that most of the screen shots for those early arcade games often look kinda blurred – I’m guessing because screen capture was all about some bloke with a camera standing in front of an arcade cabinet and shooting at high speed to reduce the amount of blur? It got me thinking, what if I went the opposite way shot with a loooong exposure?

I set my camera up this evening, manually focused on my Netbook running a selection of arcade games, set the iso to 100, exposure to 30 seconds and with joypad in one hand, remote release in the other, I switched the lights off.

Asteroid shower

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Intruder Alert

 

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Vintage Invaders

 

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Retro Zapper

 

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Robotron 10,000,000.

 

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Stay on Target.

 

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Tempest Warp.

 

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Day tripping to Neptune.

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They’re coming in too fast!

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Raiding

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