Play:Expo – Manchester 2014

We had an absolute blast in Manchester last weekend and Play:Expo just keeps getting bigger and better with each year passing. There was so much to see and do at this year’s event and a welcome distraction  between mammoth rounds of pinball and arcade stick waggling.

Here’s a selection of photos i’d taken.

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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.

More Commodore CD32 emulation fun.

The guys at http://unofficial-cd32-ports.blogspot.co.uk/ rounded off their month long release of CD32 conversions a few days ago with one motherload of a compilation containing a whopping 160 Amiga games. You’d be hard pressed to find something fun to play with this lot and kudos for wrapping it all up into a  neat little graphical menu. Even into October, ‘encore’ releases are coming out daily and their penultimate release today will be keeping me in very good company throughout the darkening nights.

Stunt Car Racer, one of  the many Amiga titles I’ll never tire of and am really looking forward to racing around those new tracks. One of these days, I’m going to link a couple of my Amiga’s together and invite a few friends around for an evening of ‘friendly’ racing.

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…but just going back to the 160 game compilation for a moment, it was whilst I was having a blast playing  Joust did I realise how many people, each with their projects have come together, unknowingly to create what I have on screen that I’m waving my stick at (well pad) and grinning ear to ear.

Here’s Joust, the rather funtastic Atari ST version of the Williams Electronics classic hit. Except, this one has been converted to run on the Commodore Amiga by http://meynaf.free.fr/pr/ and then converted again last month to run on the CD32…..which I have running on my Netbook  thanks to the everyone behind the WinUAE project….connected to and controlled with an original CD32 gamepad thanks to Retronic Design.   – Mind numbing, awesome-ness stuff but if I have to think about it any further I might need to go and have a lie down and I haven’t got time for that, there’s Ostrich prodding to be done…..erm!

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My MAME cabinet gets a PC upgrade.

So I’m off work this week finishing off the last room in the house and after applying the last coat of paint on the ceilings yesterday, it was time to do the walls today.  With the first coat completed and little else to be done until it dries, I sloped off to the geek den for a spot of fun. Today, I’m changing out my ageing PC which I currently have in my MAME cabinet for something with a bit more clout. I’ve been working this upgrade during the evenings as well as collecting all of the  relevant  bits and bobs and configuring a few more emulators that I wanted to add to my cabinet – namely, AAE for better vector game emulation, NEO GEO, Sega Model 2, Daphne, a few pinball tables via Future Pinball (for the time being) and ParaJVE for Vectrex emulation……because as you know, the Vectrex is cool.

Processor wise, there’s enough here to upgrade my current emulator frontend – MameWah to the media rich Hyperspin and  have all that eye candy artwork whooshing about.

I’ve also upgraded my Mame set from good old trusty .098 to a more recent .151.

I must say, Hyperspin certainly does look incredibly nice when running on a cabinet.  I’m still on the fence between all this gloss though and a simple gamelist/snapshot static screen but I’ll run with it for a while and see how it goes. I’ve also noticed that my iPac keyboard encoder’s shift function appears to have disappeared in this version of  MAME and so some of my keyboard mapping is a little off. Nothing that can easily be sorted out though.

Here’s a quick looksee so far although apologises for the camera wobble….Amidar seemed the perfect game choice after all this painting 🙂

 

Testing my CD32 gamepad with Win-UAE.

There’s been a great deal of activity within the Commodore CD32 camp this September, and the release of converted Amiga games being published each day.  So far, the releases include popular titles like Cannon Fodder, Flashback, Skidmarks and Monkey Island 2 to name but a few and today’s release is the stunning Lionheart.

A full list of what’s available and all of the current download links can be found here –

http://unofficial-cd32-ports.blogspot.co.uk/

Not content with just the providing the games though, they’ve also created custom DVD covers and controls screens for each game should you wish burn and print your own physical copy. I hope you agree, this deserves a mighty thumbs up!

Sadly I don’t have a CD32 console any more to play these games on <note to myself, do not get rid of anything…ever…unless passing on to fellow retro gamers> yet the release on day 17 sparked my interest to try it out via emulation.

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Slam Tilt Pinball on the Amiga surely has to be one of the greatest 16-bit 2D pinball games out there. I’m a huge fan of the Fantasies/Illusions series on the Amiga but Slam Tilt’s four tables are just so much fun to play and have plenty to shoot for  as well as a good dollop of humour and contain some of the very best DMD animations on a computer game.

I’d usually play Slam Tilt Pinball from harddisk on my Amiga, but what interested me particular about this CD32 conversion was the additional option to use the CD32’s gamepad shoulder buttons to control the flippers as opposed to joy left and a single fire button (although that particular option is still available if you prefer it). It’s a personal choice of course, but for me, it makes the whole game even more enjoyable.

Blue for me then.

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But….as I mentioned above, I don’t have a CD32 console. What I do have is a CD32 gamepad though and that 9-Pin to USB joystick adaptor I posted about yesterday.

So first things first, I need to reconfigure the USB joystick adaptor because out of the box it’s flashed to support  a three buttoned joysticks or gamepad.

I’ve downloaded the HIDBootFlash utility and the CD32 controller hex file from – http://www.retronicdesign.com/en/download/

To set the controller into program mode, attach it to the USB adaptor, hold down fire button 1 on the gamepad (red on the CD32 pad) and plug the adaptor into the PC’s USB port.

After a short pause, the PC detects the adaptor as a standard HID device.

Open the HIDBootFlash,  1# select  ‘Detect HID’ device 2# browse to the CD32 hex file  #3 check the reboot AVR button and finally #4 press the Flash Device button.

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Once the device has been flashed, let go of the gamepad fire button, unplug the adaptor from USB port, wait a few seconds and then plug it back in again. Hopefully, it should now be detected as a USB game controller.

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Mine works o.k apart from the seventh (play) button on my controller.  It could be that the actual game pad button is duff or that something is amiss but to be honest, it’s not a button I’m going to need and can always remap it to a keyboard letter if needed in Win-UAE.

Also, I found that buttons 5 and 6 (on the CD32 gamepad, this is the shoulder buttons)  appears to be the wrong way around. Again, no matter as this can be corrected by remapping in Win-UAE.

2) (1)

…..and off we go. Slam Tilt Pinball on an emulated (win-uae) CD32 with original joystick support.

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