To see the sea.

We’ve been planning a drive out to the coast for a few months now but with one thing and another we didn’t quite seem to make it. Yesterday evening all plans converged on making the trip out early today so up at stupid o’clock this morning with flasks of hot stuff, sausage buttie’s, winter wear and boots….huskies, rope, icepick etc etc ;-)

It’s about a two hour drive and at this time of morning we had pretty much the roads to ourselves. When the sun did wake, darkened skies turned to cool blues with hardly a cloud in the sky…absolutely perfect.

Well, that was until a few miles out from the coast when we noticed that many of the roof tops, gardens and parked cars were covered with a heavy dusting of snow. When we arrived the blue skies were gone, the icy wind blowing off the sea had intensified and the sleet and snow began.

We sat and waited…

It got worse…

We sat and waited…

It got worse…

We sat and, as if a switch had been flicked, we were back to blue skies, sunshine and the snow clouds heading away and further inland.

Cool shapes on the sand left after the tide.

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Making the most of it in the event that the snow decided to do a u-turn, we our took our stroll along the beach…and after a while, time to win a bet I had with a couple of my friends at work.

I win Rob, boy was it nippy!

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Back on dry land, with warm soup and sandwichs we headed into town to see if anything was open. Pretty much everywhere was shut up for the winter months but we did spot a couple of the larger amusement arcades that were open for business. Remembering our visit from last year, I wondered if the Mirage Arcade still had….?

 

Woot woot, yay it does – time for a spot of retro gaming.

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I’ve blogged about this multi-cade before so feel free to click on the link below for more details – If you ever spot one out in the wild, you’ve got to check them out.

https://stiggyblog.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/retro-arcade-hunt-result/

I tried out the trackball on the cabinet again on games like Liberator, Golden Tee and Missile Command and it works really well although I found it to be a little too sensitive for spinner games like Arkanoid and Breakout.

I also had a blast on Robotron and actually lasted into a few more waves this time around – maybe all that research is paying off! I finished off with a game I’ve been playing a lot of this past week on the 2600 – Gravitar. I must get this booted on MAME at some point over the weekend , such a great game.

Our fun and games over and we headed back home…..although fun and games was about to begin again! Five miles out from the coast, clunk, bang, growwwwwl, instantly my little Peugeot was transformed into something that sounded like a hot-rod Hemi Cuda. You see, my exhaust pipe had fallen off :-O

We called our breakdown cover and (thankfully) didn’t have a long wait until emergency repairs were completed and we was on our merry way again. All crappy boy racer cars on the road just couldn’t compete : -) Hear me Roar!

Micro Arcade gaming – Arcadie Arcade

Well, it’s been a few weeks now since receiving the awesome(ness) custom port of Mame for my Arcadie-Arcade and have been thorougly enjoying testing it out with the creme of all those arcade classics. The Arcadie-Arcade is miniature arcade cabinet designed to be used with a iPhone or iPod Touch. Its uses pressure sensors on the bottom half of the screen for the joystick and two mini arcade buttons leaving the top half of screen to display the game. Fun times indeed, especially as I’ve been lucky enough to beta test this yet to be released Mame port.

So far so its been all good and all of the rom images I’ve tested so far work just as well as if using iMame or Mame4All using Set 37b7. O.k with only two buttons, you might be a little restricted when playing certain games like button-fest Street Fighter II (although it’s suprising how far you can get with just one kick and one punch button) but pretty much all of the old school classics that appeal to me are those that only require one or two buttons. Having anymore buttons on the Arcadie would be a disaster!
Once you have the app installed and a collection of zipped rom images transferred the Rom Folder on your iPhone (I did this via sideloading with the iExplorer desktop client), you launch Mame, scanthe rom folder and with any luck, you should have a nice games list.

You can scroll through games list one by one by moving the joystick up or down or alternatively via left and right to jump through the list more quickly. Pressing button ‘B’ on the Arcadie launches the game and the fun begins.

Along the bottom of the screen of four useful touchscreen buttons which remain on screen during the game. They are – Exit (to main menu), Options, Coin and Start. The options button brings up a full screen menu and so it’s probably best not to access this whilst your iPhone is in the Arcadie case because you won’t be able to see the rest of the screen. To be honest, once you’ve configured the emulator options to how you like them, I doubt you’d need to go into this menu again.

That’s about all there is to it really and even if you’re not familiar with Mame, I don’t think that navigating around and running a game is going to cause you too much difficulty. Oh and btw, bothHorizontal and Vertical games are supported…and if you’re thinking that vertical games won’t be playable of such a tiny portion of the screen..believe me they play just fine.

At the moment they’re no release information for this port particular of Mame. Will it pass Apple stringent views on emulation or will it be a Cydia store app only? Who knows but in the meantime, if you happen to have an iPhone or iPod (3rd Gen), do yourself a favour and treat yourself to an Arcadie Arcade machine whilst they’re available. Even if you can’t play Mame on it yet, the free arcade inspired games on the app store will bring a little bit of classic gaming to your desktop….as well as nods of approval from fellow classic gamers :)

I brought mine from Firebox and I’m seriously thinking about getting another one so I can have a go at some creating some custom replacement artwork for the side panels.

Here’s a few pictures of mine running a few games – thanks to the Arcade Flyer website for the backdrops!

Even the almighty Starwars (which is almost unplayable without analogue controls) gives you goosebumps when see it playing on a tiny arcade :)


I can't have a gaming session without including my all time favourite - Phoenix
 Another classic shooter - Scramble.  Even with the tiny digital controls, it's surprising how well it drives that famous red motor. I struggle with the moves but it is possible to pull of the odd Hurricane kick and Shoryuken uppercut. 
 Back to the classics one last time. 

C64 SID tunes on a VIC-20

Here’s a rather interesting project I was reading about on the Denial Vic-20 forums. It’s a Commodore 64 SID convertor written for the VIC-20 which uses Aleksi Eeben’s SID emulator. It’s still a WIP, but the author, Kananga, has release a selection of converted C64 SID files for playback on a VIC-20!

You can run them under emulator with VICE64 but I was keen to run them on an actual VIC so I copied the files to my SD2IEC and let my VIC/VC-20 sing just like it’s big brother c64.

You can read all about it download the sample files here – http://sleepingelephant.com/ipw-web/bulletin/bb/viewtopic.php?t=5586

…and here’s a quick video of me messing around with it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dMM4MqGuqU&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Can’t wait for the finished thing, would be great to get Crazy Comets playing on a VIC.

iOS retro gaming: iMame

Now here’s something special for the holiday season that us iOS retro gamers have been waiting for. iMame the port of MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) has bizarrely appeared on the Apple App store as a free download! You can even side load your own classic game roms without having to jailbreak your iOS device! Arcade-Tastic!

Obviously with something like this, It’s not going to be on the app store for long so i’d download it now whilst you can.

As well as the game roms, (which I’m sure you know where to get them), you will need a copy of iExplorer installed on your PC to transfer the files to the iMame/documents folder on your iOS device. I’ve posted about this great little program a few posts ago regarding transferring ZX Spectrum games to the ios Spectrum emulator so you might want to check that out.

Here’s the iMame front end including the few legal roms bundled with the app and a few that I’ve added myself for testing ;)

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On my iPad2 the emulation is spot on and so far have been playing full screen/full speed arcade classics like Double Dragon, Galaga and Gorf.

There’s a huge amount of configurable options for both landscape and portrait mode as well as a host of control options including setting 2,4 or 8 way analogue/digital sticks and from one to six fire buttons.

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Everyone’s favourite side scrolling brawler Final Fight played in portrait half size mode.

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Double Dragon in fullscreen landscape mode.

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Pressing the start and coin button simultaneously within a game brings up the familiar Mame console menu giving you even greater options for the emulator and rom.

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…and the best bit that just blow my retro gaming socks off – iMame has support for the iCade arcade cabinet…

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….which so happens to be on sale at our local PC World store at the moment.

So…where do you think I went before heading off to work this morning? :)

As an extra bonus, the store assistant offered me the iCade at the web exclusive price too so I saved myself £30.

I’m actually going to resist the urge to setup the iCade straight away and instead wait Christmas day….hopefully :)

Don’t forget, download iMame for your ipad or iphone ASAP, it won’t be up for long!

Videogames Hardware Handbook Vol.2

The second volume of Retro Gamer Magazine’s Video games Hardware Handbook seems to have slipped into the stores without too much notice for some reason. If it wasn’t for a forum post link I might have missed it :-(

The hardware handbook is a collection of articles previously printed in the  monthly Retro Gamer magazine’s  ‘hardware inspection’ covering classic computers, consoles and handhelds from 1977 – 2001. Sure, they’re reprints but it’s nice to have all of the hardware features together in one compendium especially as  V0l 1. was utterly superb.

Systems covered in Vol.2 are as follows -

Consoles -

Sega Megadrive
Sony Playstation
Colecovision
Atari 5200
Commodore CD32
Neo Geo AES
Amstrad GX4000
Famicon Disk System
Atari 7800
Sega 32x

Computers -

Amstrad PCW
Amiga 500
Oric – 1
Spectrum 128
Apple II
Amstrad CPC 6128
Atari 800 XL
Sinclair QL
Sam Coupe
Acorn Archimedes
Sinclair ZX80
Acorn Electron

Handhelds -

Pokemon mini
PC Engine GT
Tiger Game.com
Sega Nomad
MB Simon
Gamate

I’ve got a few jobs to do outside first and as the tempreture is dropping it’ll be nice to get back inside with a big mug of coffee and 260 pages of goodies.

I picked up my copy up at our local WHSmiths, however, you can order a copy via the publishers website -  https://www.imagineshop.co.uk/bookazines/videogames-hardware-handbook-vol-2.html