Classic Video Game Blog of Rants, Raves, News and Info

8 Bit Central - Retro Gaming Blog

Archive of Classic Video Game Blog Articles
Fourth Quarter 2016 - October, November, December



We strive to create quality, original retro gaming content with ties to our favorite games of yesteryear as well as modern gaming. Retro gaming is as vibrant as ever and nostalgia is at epic levels! Take a look at the retro gaming things we've jumped on in 2016!



December 2016 Retro Gaming Articles:

December 31, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Game hard and be strong in 2017!

Miley Cyrus is so strong in so many ways!
For a long time, I've thought Miley Cyrus was a very cool person. She does things HER way and has no shame about standing up for what she believes in. She's not afraid to buck the trends - she's not a follower!

You don't have to believe in her causes, but her commitment is admirable and we should all take a page from her play book. Stop taking selfies and take action. Do something for yourself or others!

Miley Cyrus
December 23, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Southwest Airlines partners with Nintendo for an in-flight 3DS giveaway

Southwest fliers get free Nintendo 3DS
I've flown Southwest a few times and enjoy their humorous flight crews, but I'd prefer free Nintendo products instead of peanuts.
Southwest tweet about free Nintendo 3DS on Wednesday, Dec. 14, passengers on a Southwest flight were surprised with an early Christmas gift - a New 3DS with download coupon for Super Mario Maker!

Once the flight was at cruising altitude, instead of the usual peanut and beverage service, iJustine and Adam Rucker handed out Nintendo 3DS game consoles to each passenger. They later served as tech support for those seeking to build better Mario levels.

I've used airport wifi on many occasions (with fairly dismal results) but have never used in-flight wifi. I'm not sure what sort of connection is needed for an entire flight to watch TV, set up Nintendo accounts, and download Super Mario Maker. Could that really happen via in-flight wifi? I'm thinking they may have had a localized solution for this PR event.

Apparently Mario greeted them at the destination gate to further ingrain the Nintendo name on these flyers. One can only surmise how long it took the TSA to clear an oversized plumber.

Southwest fliers get free Nintendo 3DS From Nintendo's website:
"At Southwest, we're passionate about making connections and taking part in some of the most important moments in our customers' lives," says Linda Rutherford, Vice President, Chief Communication Officer for Southwest Airlines. "Bringing this fun Nintendo activation onboard our flight is a great way to kick off the season of giving and celebrate those moments with friends and family."
December 19, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Christmas Vacation with Player 2

Armed with a PS4 and a chill in the air, we're settling in for a few weeks of holiday gaming, baking, decorating, and assembling a snowman army - weather permitting!
Hope everyone has a merry Christmas and all sorts of good holiday cheer. We picked up the Mega Man Legacy collection for PS4 and are already charging through the 100 games on the 2 Atari Flashback game discs for PS4 as well. The website will be fairly quiet for a week or two - See you all in the New Year!
December 18, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

I wanted to picked up some nostalgic Kodak items, but they were too pricey for me

The KODAK Collection looks great and would make a great gift for the right person.
Kodak Collection The digital age has all but eliminated Kodak as a film brand. Being one of the most prolific brands of it's time, I was excited to receive an email with links to some nice looking nostalgic items. There was a messenger bag, cooler, mugs - a lot of stuff in varied designs that brought back memories.

The 18" canvas messenger bag was $120, the cooler was priced at $90. In disgust, I didn't stick around long enough to buy a Super-8 mug for $20.

Kodak has tried the digital camera route, but hasn't seen the glory of their film days. In the movie realm, they devised a pretty interesting reboot of the old Super-8 format. They may be able to find a home in a niche area, but film isn't likely to carry them as it once did.
December 17, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Does Comcast really believe the only value Grandparents offer is free wifi? What a dreadful ad!

I was always excited to see my grandparents. Comcast should be ashamed of this sort of bullying!
Most people spend far too much time with their faces buried in an array of devices. The idea that kids don't want to visit their grandparents based on connectivity issues is awful. I'm sure a lot of kids feel this way, but a small amount of good parenting should teach them the value of how the real world works. Few things of value come from social media. It's largely a waste of time and effort. On some level we all know this, but it's particularly hard for kids to realize the world at large isn't about online metrics.

When kids grow up, they'll have to pay the exorbitant fees for all this online crap. In the mean time, they should value the experience of the elderly rather than imposing Netflix and Facebook on them. Experience is something that comes with time, not clicks, likes, or favorites. Disconnecting from all the online nonsense should be a welcome break and an instructive lesson on how to communicate face-to-face. Hiding behind a screen is no way to go through life. Get out there and live... and cherish your grandparents and elders. They can teach you a lot more than you think!

Comcast is dreadful
December 16, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Earbud-style headphones are getting bigger and being touted as accessories

Should we be wary of headphones being marketed as fashion accessories with little mention of audio fidelity?
Kendall Jenner with Buttons Buttons earbuds Music has close ties with fashion and lifestyles, but gear should focus on audio quality. I'm fine with headphones being used as a fashion statement... as long as they provide more than a visual accessory. Fidelity is important!

Manufacturers try to say audio-over-Bluetooth suffers no loss in quality and now headphones are marketed with little or no mention of audio specs. Buying headphones is about finding a sound you like for the music that drives you.

Sounding good should always be better than looking good. If you can combine the two - great, but lets not pretend a pretty accessory is better that high quality sound in an earbud or headphones.

I'll admit I have not tried Buttons and have no opinion on their audio quality. My issue is relegating sound gear to a visual metric and treating it as a fashion accessory.

Apple is renown for creating beautiful products, but people buy them because they are superior products. If i.am+ want to emphasize the fashion accessory aspects of their earbuds, I hope they have put as much effort and energy creating a superior quality product. Music is a vital art form and it's quality should always be put ahead of commercial gain.

Kendall Jenner with Buttons From i.am+:
Inspired by the iconic shape of vinyl records and engineered from machined metal, BUTTONS are the ultimate accessory for playing music and making calls.
December 15, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Collaboration between Housemarque and Eugene Jarvis (creator of Robotron & Smash TV) brings Nex Machina

Nex Machina
They had me at "explosive spiritual successor to Smash TV and Robotron".
Coming to PS4 in February, Nex Machina is a twin-stick shooter being described as a successor to Robotron: 2084. I'm down for any game likening itself to iconic arcade games. Finnish developer Housemarque is known for Resogun - a side-scrolling shooter released in 2013.

It promises the same manic feeling as the aforementioned predecessors, but gives a little more aggressive fire-power to your character and incorporates a quick-motion dash the gives momentary invulnerability as you pass through various dangers. Somehow I think the feeling of inevitable doom will still be present despite your character's abilities.

Nex Machina screen shot Nex Machina screen shot
Nex Machina screen shot Nex Machina screen shot

I hope this game goes back to the 80's arcade mantra of ultimate death. OK, that sounded harsh in today's world of game-saves, continuing later, and beating games. Back in the day, we didn't want our characters to die, but when they did - we simply dropped another quarter and went back for more. Wouldn't it be awesome to have that feeling again?

These days, games are designed for us to bond and become attached to the characters we play. No longer are they a small amalgamation of pixels formed into a sprite. We can now customize their looks, clothing, and a million other attributes. Once you spend time configuring your character, I guess we become more attached to them.

The photo-realism of today's games doesn't lend well to top-down views as seen in Robotron and Smash TV. Today's games lead us around blind corners and foist surprises on us from that perspective. I love those old arcade games that gave full view of the insane onslaught coming at you from all angles. Nex Machina seems to offer that form of game-play. Watch some of the footage and see what you think . It looks pretty cool from our perspective!


With information just coming out, we don't know a lot about Nex Machina, but we're huge fans of the games it's been likened to! Here's hoping it provides the same frenzy found in Smash TV or Robotron:2084.
December 15, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

iam8bit Releases Sunset Riders' arcade game soundtrack on vinyl for it's 25th anniversary

This is a cool collectible if you played Konami's Sunset Riders in arcades or at home on Genesis and SNES!
Sunset Riders arcade game soundtrack Sunset Riders is a side-scrolling run-n-gun arcade game released by Konami in 1991. You play as a bounty hunter (Steve, Billy, Bob, or Cormano) tracking down bad guys in a wild-west setting. There are both 2 and 4-player versions depending on which version you encountered.

The game came home to the Genesis in 1992 and the SNES a year later in 1993. The Nintendo port was much closer to the arcade game than the SEGA release.

Now you can own the soundtrack containing the original 16-bit arcade / console tracks by Motoaki Furukawa with album art by Drew Wise. Offered by iam8bit.

From the iam8bit website:
iam8bit and Konami have dusted off the masters to the 1991 arcade/console hit, Sunset Riders - just in time for its 25th anniversary! Featuring 24 tracks of 16-bit Wild West chiptune beats, the Sunset Riders score is a cult classic by Motoaki Furukawa (Guitar Freaks, Drum Mania), mastered especially for vinyl on a clear smoke 10-inch LP.

The album art by pixel wizard, Drew Wise, tells a thematic story all its own, featuring die cut bullet holes, as if a gunslinger shot straight through the packaging.


December 14, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Both Nintendo's Switch & NES Classic Edition made Google's list of most searched tech products of 2016

The Switch incited curiosity and nobody could figure out where to buy the NES Classic Edition.
I'm fairly certain the NES Classic would never have made the list if Nintendo had delivered adequate stock to retailers. I'm convinced it made the list as folks desperately searched for any store or website willing to sell it for it's $60 MSRP.

Here's the list of the terms on Googles most-searched consumer-electronics tech products of 2016:
  • iPhone SE
  • iOS 10
  • Google Pixel
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • Nintendo Switch
  • iPhone 7
  • NES Classic Edition
  • Galaxy S7
  • Playstation VR
  • PS4 Pro
Nintendo's Switch Total Carnage
December 14, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

I missed Kiss appearing on The Voice... and why haven't they appeared in more video games?

Kiss join Sundance Head in The Voice finale
I had never watched The Voice until Miley Cyrus was cast to showcase her delightful weirdness, which I enjoy very much.
I think it's safe to say most of us realize "reality TV" is laden with scripting and presents very little reality. By adhering to a formula, such shows are much less expensive to produce than a drama requiring engaging weekly stories. This being the case, I rarely watch these shows.

I love music, but shows like American Idol and The Voice seldom produce anyone creating the kind of music I like. Solo pop artists - for the most part - bore me. However, both of these shows have resulted in video game tie-ins. Most recently, The Voice for the Nintendo Wii was being touted as Wii U compatible, yet I don't believe they are releasing a Wii U version.

Kiss: Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child for SEGA Dreamcast So, I'd been periodically watching The Voice - to satiate my Miley cravings - but had slacked off once Darby Walker was eliminated. Last night I opted to catch up with some of the sticoms I'd blown off during the Fall season. I wake up this morning to realize I missed a guest appearance by Kiss on the show! Dammit! How could I have missed THAT!

I watched so much unenjoyable music to see Miley being "Miley" and I missed Kiss.

Kiss Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child is the only Kiss video game I know of. Based on Todd McFarlane's comic book series, it came out in 2000 on SEGA's Dreamcast. On the comic front, 2016 saw Kiss begin a new series of stories in a multi-book release, simply titled Kiss. But nothing will top the first Marvel Comics Super Special (1977) in which their blood was mixed in the red ink!

Kiss with Miley Cyrus at The Voice finale I still can't believe I missed them with Miley... tragic.
December 13, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

I was surprised to see the Echo Dot at Best Buy, matching Amazon's sale price

I've read a few stories about Best Buy''s success in competing with Amazon price-wise, but had never seen it firsthand.
As consumers we like the convenience of online shopping, but we also like to touch and feel things as an added metric for closing a purchase. There's even a term for it - showrooming. I've done this many times because I can get a hands-on assessment in the store, then save a lot of money making the purchase online (from a different seller with better pricing).

This is often true at box stores that have high overhead costs. I assumed Best Buy, and stores like them, would succumb to online retailers, like Amazon, simply because of convenience and cost. I decided to buy an Echo Dot when Amazon had it on sale, assuming that would be the lowest price I'd see anywhere. I was stunned to see it at the same price on a rack in Best Buy.

As we see Sears and K-Mart winding down their retail existence, one can't help wondering how much longer Best Buy can compete. they've done some clever things to stave off the end - like their Gamers Club discounts. They seem to be much more in touch with their customer base, but is that enough when people will buy a major appliance via a smartphone app?

Echo Dot at Best Buy They even had a white model tucked in there. They didn't last long - all gone in a day!

I also came across two remote control cars - one with Mario and the other, Peach.
December 13, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Strange games: Taylor Swift has a TV channel & Kanye called a meeting with The Donald at Trump Tower

I'm certain the end of days is nearing.
Today started with Kanye West visiting Trump Tower to meet with the Pres Elect and continued onward as young girls begged corporate giant AT&T to follow them on Twitter. Will Kanye perform at the inauguration or will he become part of Trump's cabinet. And these girls - AT&T is giving Taylor Swift her own Channel to provide enough BTS Taytay to choke a horse. Ya gotta follow AT&T to see Taylor - enjoy their incessant promotions. So, yeah... it was an odd day to say the least.

But as crazy as this day seemed, don't we see strange things happening in the world of video games?

Video Games Are Just As Strange

Who'd have thought a tiny emulation box playing 30 select Nintendo games would sweep the holiday as the impossible toy to attain? And while we're dredging up Nintendo anomalies - Mario on a phone? Shigeru Miyamoto and The Roots perform the Super Mario Bros. theme on The Tonight Show?

And when did the Sony versus Microsoft battle go inward? The PS4 now competes with the Pro model while Xbox fans debate replacing their Xbox One with Xbox One S.

Atari's name appeared on Roam earbuds while 100 of their arcade and home console games were released for the PS4 and Xbox One - on physical discs!

Pokemon Go was released and suddenly gamers wanted to go outside and trespass in droves to capture fictitious creatures in an augmented reality romp.

If you're not satisfied with the performance of your ColecoVision, simply add the Super Game Module and increase your memory by a factor of 30!

Evidently, the video game industry is full of oddities that irk us and delight us. Others confuse us. Who knows why Trump would take time to meet a Kardashian club member or if enough content exists to really create a Taylor Swift cable channel. And how can any of this matter when the world is falling apart and most of us spend our lives uploading idiocy to server farms. Relax... and play a video game.

Taylor Swift has a TV channel and Kanye met with Trump It's an odd world. This world we love that takes us to other worlds in the name of gaming. Oh the things we do for fun that take us back in time to Atari and rocket us forward to our modern games. Gaming is just as odd as anything else as we dabble in pixelated games from the past on modern consoles of the future.
December 12, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Nintendo announced their theme park's name Super Nintendo World, and some promotional art

Too many folks are delving into this image and trying to discern what Super Nintendo World will be. It's promotional, not conceptual.
Last year Nintendo announced a partnership of sorts with Universal Studios to create Nintendo-themed attractions in their sites in Japan, California, and Florida. Today Nintendo Tweeted more info and a colorful graphic that is being called "concept art" by many people.

Super Nintendo World logo The image certainly depicts what one might expect to find in a Nintendo theme park, but I think it's premature to label this image as concept art. Promotional seems a better term.

It seems to me this drawing is to be representative of the type of things you might see in such a world from Peach's castle to Bowser's domain and Toad's house. I watched video in which a guy surmised that Toad's house would either be a restaurant of gift shop. What? Are you kidding me? It's a cartoon!

If this is concept art, lets have the legal team review the 3D Land area full of multiple platforms looking like a deathtrap full of legal hassles and notifications to next-of-kin. Come on, folks... it's a cartoon! It's promotional, not a map of the place! How does he know Toad's house isn't the pump-house for a water slide or an arcade? It could be a bathroom! People crack me up!

Super Nintendo World But here's what we're really excited about. Sure they'll have a slew of insane rides, but if you've been to any of Disney's parks, you know the shopping possibilities are off the charts. They have all sorts of cool stuff! So... what amazing things might Super Nintendo World offer? It boggles the mind.

I do have one reservation about this. Nintendo isn't a company known for capitalizing on everything. They miss the boat from time to time. You'd think their NYC flagship Nintendo Store would have all sorts of treasures. It really doesn't. It's insanely cool and has a lot to see, but when it comes to the 'gift shop" side of things, they really don't have incredible stuff.

I hope Nintendo realizes the demand for their swag. They have a long history of under-delivering their products. It would be a shame if that carried over to Super Nintendo World and offered the same shirts on the discount rack at Kohls. Go to it Nintendo - Sell us your awesome wares!
December 11, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Nintendo Sunday Funday Demo Event at participating Best Buy locations

Check out demos of Paper Mario Color Splash on the Wii U and Pokémon Sun & Pokémon Moon on 3DS!
If you live near a Best Buy participating in Sunday Funday, head over for some Wii U and 3DS action from 10:00am to 1:00pm! While you're there, I'm pretty sure Best Buy wants you to buy a ton of stuff.

Discover all-new Pokémon as a Pokémon Trainer in Pokémon Sun & Pokémon Moon on Nintendo 3DS or solve a mystery and make a splash in Paper Mario Color Splash on the Wii U system.

Super Nintendo World
December 11, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

US video game company, Majesco, forges new path in surgical tissue regeneration

Majesco video games
You hear of people making radical shifts in their career paths, but how often do companies turn 180° in their endeavors?
This sort of business reversal probably happens more than one might suspect - even in the gaming sphere. Nintendo began as a card company and Coleco manufactured above-ground swimming pools and Cabbage Patch Kids, but news about Majesco still startled me. I'mm sure there are other examples too.

In the wake of so many fake news stories, this one seemed like the fakest of the fake! What next - will Microsoft dissolve Windows to invest in turnip farming?

Majesco Entertainment Majesco has merged with PolarityTE, a firm seeking to bring tissue regeneration into clinical practice. A merger implies a mutual joining of the two companies - a partnership of sorts. This further suggests each company found desirable qualities in one another, making the merger fortuitous for both sides.

Tissue regeneration, put into regular practice, would be a boon to healing wounds and for burn victims. This would enable regeneration of a patient's tissues using their own cells, not a foreign cell that may cause rejections. I see why a company would want to be a part of the potential grown and financial gain of that success.

I'm no financial or business expert, but I'm not seeing why a medical company with a revolutionary concept needs to partner with a defunct video game company. My intention is not to disparage Majesco, but I'm not seeing the alignment. Did the PolarityTE executives love Blood Rayne and Teen Titans, or were they impressed with the Genesis 3 rollout? I'd love to know more about the symbiotic nature of this merger!

In a strictly business sense, Majesco was listed on the Nasdaq exchange with one of the slickest stock symbols - COOL. As a newer entity, this may have been the easiest way for PolarityTE to become listed. That seems like a stretch, but stranger things have happened... and will continue to.

Majesco Entertainment

While the name was very familiar to me, having looked over my games, I only found a dozen titles bearing their logo. I had expected to find more. I recall them for Cooking Mama, Blood Rayne, and HSX: Hypersonic Xtreme on the software side of things. I knew they were behind some form of licensing with SEGA to bring out the cost-effective Genesis 3 game console.

Majesco Cooking Mama ovenmit swag Based in New Jersey, Majesco was founded inn 1986 and was involved in the video game industry ever since. From publishing to distribution, they filled a variety of roles. One of my favorites is the Data East Arcade Classics compilation (with BurgerTime) for Wii that came out in 2010.

Polygon has covered this story including a tale about one of gaming's best pieces of swag - an oven mit. Apparently at E3 2013, Majesco game out oven mits with the Cooking Mama logo as a tie-in to the video game. While t-shirts wear out and plastic knick-knacks are relegated to a drawer, oven mits are very useful and as Polygon pointe out - no one throws away oven mits!

With two decades in gaming, their familiar logo will be missed.
December 10, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Super Mario Run requires a "connection" to play, but it's being said the app may use significant data

Super Mario Run
We know how much space our apps require, but there's no easy way to discern how much data an app uses. How do we determine or measure "significant" data usage?
In the last few days It's become apparent that Super Mario Run can't be played off-line. It requires a data connection to do some negligible things for players and provides security for Nintendo. OK, I guess we can live with that - many games have real-time components these days. But we don't thing much about data usage when playing a game.

Nintendo Everything reported a rumor that constant usage over an hour could chew through 75 MB of data. That sounds like a worst case scenario rather than the norm, but it brings up interesting considerations.

How much data do "always on" games and apps use? You can get some info from your phone after the fact, but data usage isn't a statistic we see when determining what apps we want to install on our phones.

Verify Before Panicing

If SMR seems high, I'd be curious to know if the same true of Miitomo. But here's the part where such articles can easily get out of control. Is 75 MB in an hour reasonable? Is that a lot? How does is compare to things we perceive as data hogs like streaming video?

When I first read the 75 MB measurement, it seemed like a lot. Then I realized I'm an idiot. I have no clue how much data any of my apps use. I know streaming video uses a lot, but I couldn't even begin to make an intelligent comparison. Yikes! What does all this mean?

I've seen comments around the web saying this is typical usage and no big deal. I've also seen folks say this is why they prefer handheld consoles to phones. I love my 2DS, but I'm curious to know more about data usage by my phone apps.
December 10, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

As development costs crush hopes for consumer VR gaming, can it be saved by Taylor's star-power?

Taylor Swift meme for PSVR
Oculus goes retail. PlayStation VR releases. Google Cardboard still exists. There's little chatter about consumer adoption or success.
Virtual Reality is a technology I've seen emerge every 5 or 10 years as "the next big thing" and each time it fades away until the cycle repeats. Are we still on that cycle? Have costs really not come down enough to genuinely create a platform for this technology's success?

As I read stories about VR games being subsidized, I have to wonder where this technology is going. Cost and capability have always been detriments. Hardware was too costly and the resulting games/content looked awful. We're getting to the point where we no longer have to look at polygon-shaped scenes and characters, but the hardware is nowhere near consumer acceptance. When your break-in price approaches $1,000 market adoption will be slight.

The 2-minute demo was fun, but how long will you tollerate a display strapped to your face?
When Sony says PSVR will be OK on a PS4, but much better on the PS4 Pro - already you lose a lot of folks... who just bought a regular PS4 thinking it was great. Ok, so the message to consumers is the PS4 isn't good enough for VR. Buy another one - then buy the VR stuff. And then what?

After buying all this stuff how many games can I play? Real games. Not janky demo-like scenes that are good enough because consumers are perceived as dumb. I've been to the stores and looked for VR games. I don't see signs. I don't see displays. I don't see GAMES! What is a consumer to do with all this pricey VR hardware?

Even Mattel has provided additional content for their Viewmaster VR, released last Christmas! I don't even hear praise for the strap-a-phone-to-your-face products. Consumers are not talking about positive experiences with Virtual Reality. That isn't to say there aren't any or glaring problems with any of the VR stuff on the market. Consumers don't seem to care one way or the other.

If social media is such a boon to marketers and can relay waves of predictive data, why was all this hardware manufactured and stuffed onto retail shelves. If you really want a VR experience, check the post-holiday bargain bins as retailers stumble to free up space for products people actually buy.

Taylor Swift meme for PSVR This is a joke or perhaps a meme. It is not real. Have a great day. I realize this sounds mean-spirited toward an industry trying to branch out into the next big thing. We all love to be a part of such an event, but VR has "cried wolf" way too many times. If consumers aren't raving about Google's free VR initiative, why would they pay thousands of dollars for the same thing?

And don't get me started about what percentage of the population equates "fun" with strapping a display across their face.
December 9, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

My guilty pleasure of the night was Ariana Grande streaming from MSG in NYC at the Jingle Ball concert

Multi-artist events like Jingle Ball really exemplify the end of Rock 'N Roll. the music seems secondary to showmanship.
Even the notion of a band seems lost on such events. Everyone seems more focused on Instagram than instruments. Most of the artists are largely solo acts with back-up dancers. Hardly a guitar in sight and where one might see a drummer, there must be a rack-mounted beat synth. I can appreciate their talent, but it's such a step away from the kind of music I grew up with and loved.

I will admit I like DNCE's track, Cake By The Ocean. It's catchy and they play as a live band.

Much of the line-up at the Jingle Ball isn't the sort of music I listen to, but I can't resiste seeing Ariana Grande bopping around the stage. My interests would be better served if this were the Skid Row reunion tour with S. Bach or if Van Halen came out. How about some Brian Johnson AC/DC? Kiss? Judas Priest? I'd welcome any of them!

I guess I'll have to evolve with some of these new artists or stick to my strict regiment of classic rock and metal. I've been readily sharing, with my son, the bands I grew up with. At the same time he's taken up guitar, loves Metallica, and has shared some cool bands with me. It all works out in the end and I'll admit I like a few of Grande's songs.

Ariana Grande streaming from MSG in NYC at the Jingle Ball
December 9, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Best Buy is rumored to be getting another underwhelming quantity of NES Classic Edition mini consoles

As Christmas draws closer, I must admit my desire to stand on line for 3 hours for a chance at one of three Nintendo consoles wears thin.
Best Buy getting more NES Classic Editions December 20 is being rumored as the next delivery date for Nintendo's NES Classic Edition console. The same rumor says Best Buy is the recipient of this batch of consoles. I don't know much about retail distribution, but I think I know enough to say that this is a pretty strange way to roll out a high-demand product.

Their "Satisfy a few and piss off the masses" approach certainly has Nintendo's name in the news. I'm not sure "All publicity is good publicity" applies here. The Switch will be a pivotal release for Nintendo. They've often had supply issues, so screwing up the mini console launch doesn't bode well for the Switch's debut in March.

And in the midst of it all, Mario arrives on iOS - not Android - for a single-button romp through the Mushroom Kingdom. Never a dull moment...
December 9, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

As a special guest in the Tonight Show audience, Miyamoto's T-shirt may depict a Switch game clue

While Jimmy and Reggie played Zelda on the switch, die-hard gamers tried to decipher the meaning of Miyamoto's T-shirt.
While his shirt may hold a clue to an upcoming game, is it really worth delving into with out seeing his socks? Come on folks, the secret lies in his socks... //sarcasm.

Miyamoto's Tshirt
December 9, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Add a Pi Zero to the RaspiBoy kit and put your favorite retro games in your pocket

RaspiBoy kit
We're seeing more and more gaming solutions around single board computers.
A handheld retro gaming kit is being crowd funded on Kickstarter. Based around the Raspberry Pi Zero, this kit provides the parts (Raspberry Pi Zero SBC not included) and simple instructions. The Pi Zero is not available in bulk and sold on a one-per-customer basis. Thus, you'll need your own.

Check out the Kickstarter campaign for the RaspiBoy handheld retro game emulator. Created by 8B Craft, it's powered by a Pi Zero and has an SNES vibe about it.

Retro gamers love their original hardware and joysticks. It enhances the entire retro gaming experience to push a cartridge into an old console and bring the game to life with an old joystick. However, time is the enemy of such glee.

8B Craft logo As consoles age, they cease working and joysticks wear out. Everyone around us says to simply play ROMS on the computer. Hmmm. While PC games are designed to take advantage of the amenities of a full keyboard and mouse, retro gamers playing Missile Command via a trackball will be a bit miffed at giving up their favorite controls.

What happens when your favorite console games are powered by computers - small computers - like a Raspberry Pi or Pine 64? This kind of blends the traditional elements with newer ones.

A nice facet of the RaspiBoy is the computer innards are masked by the familiar controller buttons, giving it a gaming-centric feel. The buttons supplant the "computer" aspects with those we associate with gaming. Let's face it - the guts of any gaming console is a computer of some sort, but gamers want a fire-button, not a typewriter! The RaspiBoy looks like a fun gaming handheld!

Setting up a retro gaming emulation machine is within the scope of most of us. Essentially, you're building a computer on which to run an emulator and play games via a keyboard and mouse. Once built, you could just as easily fire up a word processor and write a novel - it's a computer. Where the "building" process becomes a tad more complex is replacing some of those keyboard functions with a real joystick and a few arcade-style buttons.

RaspiBoy handheld retro game emulator Having a gaming interface makes playing games a lot more fun and even the cheapest of arcade buttons have a better feel than your "space bar".

No Software. No Games.

It seems strange to offer a hand held gaming device that has no software nor any games. Maybe it has an awesome start-up logo... just kidding. Such is the nature of any device based around emulation. The emulation software is easily available for a variety of operating systems, but the ROM files are property of the manufacturer/developer.

While plentiful across the web, the games in ROM format cannot be legally downloaded or distributed. 8B Craft can offer a product as a gaming solution, but can't legally supply games without licensing all the titles. Within this legal mess is where some projects can run in to trouble up to and including Cease and Desist ordres. This is sometimes a concern with crowd funded projects openly explaining how to illegally obtain ROM sor use with their product. If you skirt the issue carefully, it may slide, but the blatant campaigns can run into trouble from copyright holders. Be cautious, but do consider this slick kit that could put a lot of awesome retro games in your pocket!
December 8, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Wonder Woman '77 Meets the Bionic Woman comic book - heroes of prime time television

Arby's version of Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman meets the Bionic Woman in a new comic book mashup, but not before Arby's gives us the golden lasso onion ring.
Arby's version of Wonder Woman I watched the Six Million Dollar Man with my Dad in the 70s. As the camera panned the outside of Oscar Goldman's office building, among many others, my Dad would tell me which Washington, DC buildings were being used. We had great times watching that show. When Lindsey Wagner came on the scene as Jamie Sommers, I watched the Bionic Woman with the same intense interest.

Those shows were a real turning point for me. I also recall watching Wonder Woman occasionally in the same era. I believe this is to be a 6-book series.

Having these two women combined in a comic is an awesome retro tribute in comic book form. When I heard about this book, I had to have it! Newbury Comics is my pop culture destination and they also had Tank Girl and The Flintstones on file for me. And I had to snag the latest X-Files season from earlier in the year.
December 8, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Seeing the Switch on The Tonight Show was cool, but I thought SMR was cooler than expected

A single-button Super Mario mobile game struck me as a dumbed-down waste... until I saw it last night. Looks really cool!
I wasn't expecting to see Nintendo's Switch on the Tonight Show last night, but I'm already sold on it. I was really interested to see Super Mario Run in action. Watching Fallon zip through it changed my feelings about it completely. A single-button version didn't seem to compelling. But having seen it, I'm much more excited about it.

Alas, I'll have to wait for the Android version. I guess debuting SMR on Apple's dev conf stage has it's perks for iPhone fanatics. I'm sure it will go Android sometime soon. In fact I'll bet the Android version is simply waiting for the "Apple exclusive" to expire. Next day it'll be online for 'Droids.

Jimmy Fallon playing Super Mario Run
December 8, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

I'm down for a “Make Arcades Great Again” movement to launch more retro arcades

Arcades were a great hangout place when I was a kid. What do kids do these days with no dark arcades to hang out in?
Make Arcades Great Again From bowling alleys and restaurants with a few games to full blown arcades, every town had one (or more). Where I grew up, we had 3 arcades in our immediate area and a few more inside a 20 minute drive. Each one had a core set of amazing games and every few months a new cabinet or pinball table would appear.

These days are we to get excited when they restock the plush toys in the claw-machine? Time changes everything and you can't go back in time, but you can relive those glory days in some of the modern retro arcades and barcades that pop up now and then.

Funspot, in NH, was founded in 1952 and is still going strong as "the largest arcade in the world." Highly recommended for those who've never visited.

When I stop to wonder what kids do these days without the arcades from my youth, it makes me realize how damn old I've become. I still can't pass up an opportunity to drop a quarter into a cabinet with a CRT. I've shared this passion with my son, which is a nice way to carry forward a passion for those old games.

Back in the early 80s it never occurred to me there would be a day when I couldn't go to an arcade and play Berzerk or Wizard Of Wor. My son and I play these on my Atari 800. My how times have changed. I'd love to see arcades made great again... I'd also settle for time travel.

Perhaps this is the fate of today's youth who have no arcades in which to seek refuge and high scores...

phone zombies
December 7, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Tune in to The Tonight Show to see Reggie Fils-Aimé show off Super Mario Run for mobile

Reggie Fils-Aimé
How many Nintendo Switch & NES Classic Edition questions can Reggie duck while demonstrating Super Mario Run for Jimmy?
Reggie Fils-Aimé With questions surrounding the true nature of the upcoming Nintendo console - The Switch - and the recently botched launch of the NES Classic Edition... do we really need a demo of SMR?

I still like Miitomo, and I'm curious to see Super Mario Run on iOS (releasing on Android next year) since Nintendo is braving new territory with their mobile gaming releases. However, I have more pressing needs. I get it. Super Mario on my phone. One button. Give us $10 to play more.

I'm dying to know the issue behind Nintendo's inability to ship descent quantities of that cute little mini console. Promised for Christmas, they don't seem to come anywhere near the demand. Naturally, they don't want to flood the market, but sending a dozen, or less, units to stores seems paltry by any standards.

And while he's trapped on Jimmy's stage, how about some Switch questions? If nothing else, please reassure us that Nintendo was really learned from past experience and has enough AAA and 3rd party titles lined up for launch. The Switch is not backward compatible, so we hope it will offer enough compelling titles to succeed.

I'm sure none of this will happen on Fallon's show tonight, but I wouldn't mind if they cancelled the other guests for a Nintendo Direct sort of late night feature. At least we'll get to see Super Mario Run.
December 7, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Konami's new trademark for “TurboGraFX” led the Internet to believe NEC's console is returning

Konami filed a new trademark for TurboGrafx
I'd love to play Bonk's Adventure again on a new console, but aren't we jumping in a bit too quick without facts...
I could see being overwhelmed by the notion that a new TurboGrafx console of some sort was on the horizon. The idea of blasting through endless levels of R-Type only intensifies that lust.

On the other hand, aren't we being besieged by fake news lately? Shouldn't we be diligent about the facts and explore what Konami's trademark might mean? It doesn't take much to incite the copycat sites to copy & paste any drivel shoveled their way.

I'm a fan of speculation and "what if" scenarios, but too many sites are already charting the likelihood of a TurboGrafx rebirth. If said too many times it becomes "internet truth". I sort of hate what the net has become.

The web used to be a place to explore and learn. Now it's filled with more junk than ever. It won't be long before those deprived of internet access will excel beyond those who addle their brains with digital detritus.
December 7, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

I was asked to leave Brookstone this afternoon after licking a product display kiosk

Despite looking like these headphones were 'Shopped onto Ariana Grande's head, I had to stop in for a demo that led to a lick.
I'm not in the market for new headphones, I don't like cats, yet I gravitated toward this display and wound up sampling the product inappropriately. Mall security was not swayed by my moderately convincing excuse and dragged me off to mall-jail on a Segway.

Ariana Grande headphone display
December 7, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

TotalRadNES has an NES controller for those who dare to be different & prefer right-thumb D-pad duty

The Goofy Foot - reversed NES controller
Not since developing a stance for skateboarding have I heard “Goofy Foot”, but now you can switch your stance for playing NES games!
What looks like a standard NES controller, may have you doing a double take. It's backwards - kind of - but in a good way. It's layout is a mirror or reverse of the original NES controller layout. Made by TotalRadNES and called the Goofy Foot, It's being crowd funded on Kickstarter. As the name suggests, you'll find the D-pad on the right and the A & B buttons to the left.

You may assume it's some crazy concoction for "lefties". Well, it may serve them well, but experienced gamers will see the advantage to getting the D-pad under their right thumb. There are quite a few advantages to this layout and you should consider backing this Kickstarter to see how a controller reversal might improve your speed!

The Goofy Foot - reversed NES controller Steve DeLuca wanted an NES controller that favored his righthand side with the D-pad swapped to the right side. With some electronic crafting, he was able to rotate the rectangular NES controller and wire it to play properly upside-down. Others saw the genius in his work and asked if he would make more.

He wanted to do it right and decided to create the Goofy Foot controller with a mirrored layout. This would be a redesign, eliminating the need to hold a modified controller upside-down. The Goofy Foot controller is compatible with the original NES as well as the typical NES clones.

A nice facet to this device and the scope of the campaign is it's dedication to crating something cool for the retro gaming community. The vibe of the whole campaign is great, but this extends to the controller itself. A labor of love, it's designed for those curious about the reverse layout as well as those who want to open it up and check out the innards. There are no secret circuits. You can mod the button via jumpers and even get creative with the extra PWR and GND pads.

This sounds like a great idea with great promise. If you're curious about the benefits of a reverse controller layout keep an eye on TotalRadNES' campaign and consider backing the project.
December 6, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Retro Fighters creates an adapter to use original NES controllers on the new NES Classic Edition mini-console

Wanna break out your old NES controllers for the new mini-console? Try the Retro Fighters Next Gen NES Controller too!
Adapters are a fascinating breed of product. They allow us to attach things to other things that we were never meant to attach to. Retro Fighters makes an amazing NES controller that takes a modern approach to developing a retro controller. We highly recommend it!

Their new adapter will let you ditch the new Wiimote compatible controllers, packaged with the NES Classic Edition, and use your original NES controllers. That's cool, but we secretly wanna use their awesome Next Gen NES Controller on Nintendo's mini-console!

Doyodo's RetroEngine Sigma
December 6, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

As the dearth of NES Classic Edition consoles rages onward, Amazon fills the void with click-bait

With ridiculous prices on eBay, one can only hope that Amazon might announce availability of the NES Classic Edition.
I'm curios to see what Amazon has to offer this week. The under-delivered mini console launch was followed up three weeks later by an equally paltry restocking. Again, retailers had anywhere from 3 to 15 consoles on shelves. The latest disappointing restock took place this past Sunday.

What could Amazon be offering just days later? Time will tell, but it seems unlikely they have any significant stock to offer it's customers. However, time will tell...

Doyodo's RetroEngine Sigma
December 6, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Doyodo's RetroEngine Sigma is a new mini-console for multi-platform retro gaming emulation

Doyodo's RetroEngine Sigma
Boasting emulation of a variety of retro game consoles, like all the "mini consoles", the innards of this console will tell the real story.
News of an NES Classic Edition alternative certainly got the internet's attention. Beginning crowd funding on Indiegogo, the RetroEngine Sigma is about the same size as the difficult-to-purchase Nintendo product and plays a lot more than 30 games. It plays games you've loved on retro gaming consoles from the Atari 2600 to the N64 and beyond. Sounds pretty good, right?

The console initially contains 15 games. You can download public domain emulators and ROMs at your leisure. This may sound like a familiar scenario if you've read the comments on many of the recent NES Classic Edition articles. Everyone says to simply set up a Raspberry Pi and install RetroPie to manage your retro gaming dreams. Good advice. So, what is the RetroEngine Sigma?

Doyodo's RetroEngine Sigma Manufacturer Doyodo has little info on their website at this time. In fact the site currently consists of a single image linking to their Indiegogo campaign.

While the campaign page touts the ease and simplicity of this device that can play thousands of video games, they don't mention how this is achieved. All the content makes us think the innards of this console is a single-board computer (SBC) like a Raspberry Pi or Pine 64. They don't disclose the guts, but it stands to reason that it's not an FPGA as that would likely drive the price beyond what they're offering.

Preconfigured Simplicity

While setting up a single-board computer isn't terribly difficult, it often involves navigating an OS that many of us are not familiar with. And it gets more complex if you want to wire in actual arcade buttons a opposed to the myriad of USB retro controllers.

This can quickly complicate the "simplicity" for some folks. Therefore, I can see value in a "ready made" retro console consisting of a SBC with enough pre-configured software to make it easy without the associated legal hassles.

I surmise this console comes with 15 games that may be in the public domain or licensed for this console. The titles have not been identified yet, although they say they will disclose them during the campaign.

An emulation-box that simplifies the multi-platform gaming experience will bring retro gaming to many more gamers.
The claim of the RetroEngine Sigma playing "thousands" of games is based on the sketchy legal status of owning ROM files for games you don't own. Emulators will play such files and typically have no legal ramifications.

While ROMs are plentiful across the web, the legal matter has caused issues for developers who don't draw a hard line against including such files with their commercial products. Licensing would be necessary (and costly). Thus, many SBC retro gaming "solutions" dance around the use and acquisition of ROMs.

I dig the concept of the RetroEngine Sigma. The idea of it running emulators for most of the popular game consoles, computers and arcade machines is very enticing. I bought an Ouya for just this purpose.

My one area of caution is the limited info provided about the project. I'd be more comfortable knowing more about the device itself as well as the company.

Advance With Caution

In our modern times, not having a real web presence outside of social media is a red flag for me. I would also like to see more photos and video of the device in action. The campaign page says they have a working prototype, so, I'd like more affirmation about the hardware.

I'm no legal expert, but it seems as though they are skirting the legalities of advertising the RetroEngine Sigma being capable of playing thousands of games. Most devices I've seen leave out that info assuming most gamers know the drill. I used the Ouya as a ROM station, but it was never advertised as such. I hear more gamers talking about SBC devices than coders and others seeking computing functions best suited to traditional machines. While Missile Command is a blast via Raspberry Pie, I prefer computers that will run photoShop,

I'm wary of companies that may see too much "intent" in this product's advertising and cause issues for it's release. That's not a good thing when your connection is via crowd funding and you may lose your backing funds. Be cautious.

I'm anxious to see how the campaign grows. They only asked for $20,000 and surpassed that to $80,000 on the first day! Keep an eye on this project. The gaming world needs a simpler emulation solution than the current offerings of SBC kits.

Such a device gives access to retro gaming to a much wider audience of those who grew up with these games and those eager to explore our pixelated past!
December 5, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Listen to “A Winner is You” on your NES via a custom 64k ROM cart

A Winner is You
If you love chiptunes, here are some favorite video game tunes, but they're played on real instruments via your NES!
This is unique musical cart created with a custom board supporting a 64MB ROM with full uncompressed PCM audio through your Nintendo NES console! That means you get actual instrument sounds - not 8-bit style sounds - playing via your NES! Sergio Elisondo is the lone musician playing all the instruments across all of the tracks - a true one man band.

This cart plays on your NES just like any game would and requires no modifications to your console to experience the full quality of the songs. Contained on this unique cartridge are: 15 full audio tracks, featuring over 20 minutes of music with the ability to rewind, fast forward,and slow motion playback.

Available from retroUSB.
December 5, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

I Took a break for a guilty pleasure with the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on TV

As much as I detest the Kardashian's reality show, I can't pass up an opportunity to pretend Kendall Jenner isn't one of them.
I'm sure I could turn this into some sort of retro gaming article if I stopped to think about it. Sure, the Kardashian clan have a slew of mobile games/apps that let you feign the lifestyles of the rich and useless. Their whole approach to their apps isn't what I would consider a game. And I could drone on and on about it, but that won't change the fact that I dig Kendall Jenner. She seems kinda cool.

Kendall Jenner Kendall Jenner at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
Kendall Jenner Kendall Jenner at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

Kendall Jenner in pink
December 4, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Epic video games should be accompanied by an epic snack! #NationalCookieDay

A plate full of cookies is best enjoyed while gaming.
The line at Toys R Us to buy an NES Classic Edition One has to wonder the origin of all these "National w-h-a-t-e-v-e-r Day" celebrations. It seems we can't go one day without another random day of celebrating something random. I suspect most are retail-driven events. :)

Days of the Year suggests this origin:
In 1987 Matt Nader of the San Francisco-based Blue Chip Cookie Company created Cookie Day, saying: Its just like having National Secretaries Day It will just be a fun thing to do.
December 4, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Again, Nintendo has vastly under-delivered stock of the NES Classic Edition mini console

The line at Toys R Us to buy an NES Classic Edition
The dichotomy of the line was NES Classic Edition -vs- Hatchimals, but no one knew the odds. With 75+ ahead of me, I hoped they were all here for Hatchimals (whatever that is).
Rumors began to fly that Toys R Us was getting more NES Classic Editions to kick off their December 4 sales week. A recent flyer featured Nintendo's mini console - game on!

On the original launch day, it was a gorgeous 60 degrees and sunny. Perfect weather for waiting an hour to snag one of the seasons hot items. Not many folks showed up and I factored this into my plan for today. In hindsight I should have skipped the shower, but I arrived an hour before Toys R Us opened, with three layers under my coat, a Pop Tart, and a folding chair.

As soon as I saw the parking lot, I was fairly certain I would be out of luck. The line was long, but there was a new variable in the mix - Hatchimals! This toy was also in high demand and being stocked for the same sale.

As I waited, I heard a lot of talk about both products, but began to realize most of the line was here for Hatchimals and had not even heard of the NES product. I knew little about the Hatchimals, but began to wonder if enough of the crowd ahead of me was here for that. Maybe I had a chance!

At one point the Hatchimals shoppers began talking with the NES faction and showed interest in the NES product. One person said, they might pick up an NES too. Dammit! Hatchimals shoppers were converting - NO NO NO!

Nintendo: Same Problem, Different Day

Despite multiple products being in demand, too many folks arrived before me with Nintendo dreams. At 7:25am, a TRU rep announced the NES Classic Editions were sold out. The line's length began to drop, but not by as much as I'd expected. The NES shoppers left, but 60% of the line remained - leading me to believe more people were there for Hatchimals. There was also proof that Nintendo had simply repeated the launch-day mistake of drastically under-delivering stock!

A proper NES CE launch may have boosted consumer confidence for the upcoming Switch.
From what I saw, only about 20 people (or less) seemed to have a "ticket" guaranteeing the NES Classic Edition. Far more than 20 folks left the line when they announced the sell-out. That location could easily have sold double what they seemingly had in stock.

It is also important to note I live in a fairly rural area without the large populations that easily swarm on sales of this type. I have no idea how many were shipped to my store compared with more populated areas, but initial reactions online seem to indicate Nintendo, again, sent only a fraction of what was needed to satisfy the demand.

I understand it doesn't make business sense to flood the market with product, but the quantities seem very small for the amount of demand and disappointment around the launch and we're well into the holiday shopping season. People will still want them in January, but more people will them want them NOW for the holidays. I'm surprised Nintendo won't or can't meet demand at this point.

Anyone care to guess if there will be another restocking before Christmas? This one took three weeks and still under-delivered. People will remember this when the Switch launches and you know this negativity will dominate social media... which played a role in the Wii U's demise. It seems foolish for Nintendo to create so much consumer-anger so close to their very important launch in March.
December 3, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Crash Bandicoot remastered via N. Sane Trilogy makes me also want a new rebooted game

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
As a retro gamer I love seeing an epic game/franchise remastered, but it's especially grand when a new game is released and includes it's retro inspiration!
Crash Bandicoot trending on Twitter We heard a while back that Sony was trying to reinvigorate Crash Bandicoot via an appearance in Activision's Skylanders Imaginators and remastering 3 former games (Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, and Crash Bandicoot: Warped.) featuring their popular 90's mascot.

I love the idea of bringing back these original PlayStation games to modern platforms, but I wish there was a reboot rather than just remastering the titles. Crash mad a mark on gaming and is the closest thing Sony has had as a gaming mascot - and a great rep he was. Crash Bandicoot games began with Naughty Dog, but spanned several developers, platforms, and genres. As an IP, Crash Bandicoot was a success, but the character resonates with gamers. We dig him!

With that in mind, I'd love to see a new Crash game that brings the same craziness to the PS4 that he did to the PS1 in the mid 90s. Reboots don't always capture the zest and zeal of their origins, but its a form I really love. I often cite the release of Rampage Total Destruction on the Wii in 2006 as a reboot done right!

It contained a rebooted version of the arcade game, but the game disc also contained several versions of the original arcade game. While not everyone appreciated the way the game was modernized for the Wii, it holds a nice dollop of history in the form of the games inspiring the reboot.

Remasters are cool and I can't complain too much, but they are reminders of the originals. Such releases make us think back to those days and the impact the original games had on us. Such nostalgia makes us feel good, but I'd like to see that "feel good" sensation brought forward via a reboot capturing the greatness of the original, but implemented on modern systems with all the new capabilities associated with modern gaming. It's a nice blend of yesterday and today.

I should probably reiterate that I'm excited about the remasters and don't want to sound negative. It's a great step. I just want one more step with such releases and see a beloved character of IP explode onto the PS4 or Switch along side all the modern games. Yeah, I'm kinda demanding like that :)
December 2, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Blue and Lonesome is a surprising LP from the Rolling Stones who've gone 11 years since their last release

Several articles commenting on the Stones new album say the band didn't purposely write a blues album, but creativity led that direction.
The Rolling Stones have been an amazing force in music and have now delivered a full-on blues album after an eleven year gap in studio releases. They've always had a blues background, but this LP was a surprise for me. It's a great album - and they recorded it in only three days!

I've read a few articles saying that it was never their intention to put out an album with such a strong blues sound. Apparently creativity steered them that direction. I'm no artist and wouldn't claim to know anything about the creative process, but this is such a departure from what I would have expected in a Stones release. Would reviewers still say Blue and Lonesome was a result of "where the session took them" if thy'd released a rap album? :)

This is an album of covers and a real treat. When a band delivers something creatively outside expectations, it's a real win for the fans. I'd still buy a Stones rap LP if that's ever an option!

Rolling Stones Blue and Lonesome The Rolling Stones Blue and Lonesome CD with a few BioBusters from Fungus Amungus and an Uncle Grandpa comic book
December 1, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

The elusive NES Classic Edition appears in TRU flyer and more re-stocking rumors emerge

NES Classic Edition ad
Anger at being denied on launch day runs strong as the holiday season's hottest gaming gift reappears in the latest TRU flyer.
Social media has entered another savage circle of reposting anything promising about getting an NES Classic Edition before the holidays... or this Sunday. If you believe what's being posted you may have another shot at the NES CE. The mini console was in the Toys R Us flyer mailed in North America, this past week.

Nintendo Life cites a Toys R Us spokesperson indicating a new batch of NES CEs for sale on Sunday (Dec 4). Depending on your circumstances, it may be worth a trek to your local Toys R Us.

If you've ever been curious about the turmoil surrounding banned books, take note of the scenario brewing around Nintendo's NES Classic Edition. Garnering lots of attention at it's E3 announcement and consumer buzz as it's launch neared, lots of folks were interested in this new device from Nintendo. Once it sold out and shoppers were told they could not buy one... EVERYONE wanted one.

The $60 unit has been selling for hundreds on eBay as weeks passed with no indication of more stock. Nintendo vaguely "promised" more units before Christmas, but it seems as though that will simply recreate the launch-day debacle all over again.

Gear up, it's likely to be an interesting retail day on Sunday!
December 1, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

I turned off Trump's speech in favor of A Charlie Brown Christmas, followed by The Game Awards

Trump's Presidency is going to be interesting... but didn't reel me in the way the Peanuts Gang does, and then I followed up Charlie Brown with the abysmal Video Game Awards.
I'm not sure if I possess exceptional multi tasking skills or if I'm simply lazy. I tuned into Trump's latest televised "victory lap" speech from Ohio and concluded it was more annoying than enlightening. My stereo was still going in the background when I realized A Charlie Brown Christmas was on and switched channels.

After Linus schooled us on Xmas spirit, I saw #TheGameAwards trending on Twitter and decided to check it out. The intro awarding Hideo Kojima was cool (although awkward), but I soon lost interest and watched an X-files ep on local syndication. By then the CD I'd been playing ended. Eventually, I got up and shut off the devices I wasn't using. Arguably, I was multi-tasking, but I'm pretty sure the underlying reason was laziness.

Thursday night TV A local TV station plays 2 back-to-back episodes of The X-files every Thursday. I was glad to have caught the 2nd ep, but lets discuss why I missed the first one. After shutting off Trump's blathering, I watched Chuck Brown and the Peanuts gang show us the true meaning of Christmas. As that was winding down, I opted to give the Video Game Awards another try. I recall is seeming ridiculous last year and figured they may have learned a few things over the last 12 months. Alas, they did not.

Filling a large auditorium with people, they dragged through a slow and horribly predictable set of monologues, skits, awards, and interviewed a guy cosplaying as a Gillette razor. I gave up on it after the razor interview.

Hideo Kojima Hideo Kojima accepting an award in a scenario so awkward it was hard to tell who wanted to be teleported outta there fastest.
 Schick razor oddity Schick razor cosplay or is this a commercial? It was kind of an interview. Whatever the intention, it was dreadful and this is where I closed my browser, giving up on the 2016 video game awards - like I did last year.

Confident, I've learned my lesson, I'll probably tune in to the 2017 Game Awards to verify that they have not.
December 1, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Picked up Tank Girl: Gold #2 and Retro Gamer magazine

I'm as obsessed with digital devices as the next person, but nothing feels as good as a book or magazine!
I fell in love with Tank Girl when the movie came out in 1995 and scrambled to collect all the comic books that culminated in this amazing woman! she first appeared in Deadline Magazine in the Fall of '88 and had a dedicated comic book in 19991.

The creative team has undergone many changes, but Alan Martin has remained the writer and maintained her character in the most glorious manner. If you love comics and irreverence, check out Tank Girl.

As for retro gaming, great magazine (I love print) and I delved into gaming around age 12. I begged for an Atari 2600 and never looked back!

Tank Girl: Gold #2

November 2016 Retro Gaming Articles:

November 30, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Skylanders franchise may be following Disney Infinity and exiting the game aisle

Skylander Imaginators game
The Skylanders Superchargers didn't excite me much and this year's game only interested me via the Crash Bandicoot figure.
When Skylanders came on the scene, I thought it was innovative, fun, and a slick alternative to the typical DLC options. Now that my home is filled with tons of these figures - most of which go unused - I'm less surprised the Skylanders franchise may end soon.

Rumors are circulating that Activision has canceled next year's 2017 release of the game. With Disney Infinity shutting down, Activision's cancelation would seem to end the franchise. I still have a tough time figuring out how Infinity couldn't survive with both Marvel and Star Wars, not to mention the many other IPs ripe for a video game component. We'll have to see how LEGO holds up when we have a better idea of Activision's true intentions.

Skylander Imaginators Dr. Neo Cortex I have fond memories of quite a few Skylanders figures, but largely I have no recollection of their powers, abilities, and so forth. What was once second nature to swap certain figures in and out has been replaced with the feeling I haven't touched them in ages.

Launching for the 2011 holiday season, Skylanders were the hot game for the season. My son was super stoked about them and I was right behind him - eager to see how that quirky looking portal would integrate into the game play. Collecting the figures was a new concept and fun.

Stumpsmash was leveled up into a terrifying tree of ultimate destruction. When facing a foe, that fierce hunk of wood kicked butt! Tree Rex followed as my son's next favorite character. I liked the differences between the original game and the Giants. Their lumbering hindered some actions, but their strength was great. It gave additional strategy to swapping figures for each task in the game.

However, as holidays came and went, it was clear that this game - that started with inovation - was becoming a cash-grab. The games became less engaging and were specific to only one game. Older figures were compatible with new releases, but I felt having only one game per series was poor planning. I thought each series of figures could easily support at least two games, if not three.

I'm assuming the allure of selling lots of $16 figures was too great to pass up for Activistion executives. Thus we got only one game each year and a slew of new figures to purchase. That got old fast.

Every year I vowed not to buy the next game. Each holiday, I'd break down and buy the new Skylanders game. This year's Imaginators release has me stumped. I don't get it. Am I getting old and becoming like my parents who didn't understand my Atari games? When I look at this game, I have no idea what to buy.

Skylander Imaginators Crash Bandicoot I'll accept that it probably doesn't take a higher intelligence to figure out the Imaginators scenario, but if I feel confused, I'm sure other consumers and parents are too. Many argued that confusion contributed to the poor sales of the Wii U. When a game becomes difficult to understand at the point-of-sale stage, sales will be hurt.

The Toys-To-Life genre exploded onto the scene, but didn't seem to grow with their target audience - particularly with the Skylanders IP. Instead, each subsequent release appealed to the same user base. As these gamers aged, so did their tastes and Activision offered little for these gamers who are 5 years older now.

I watched my son's interest in Skylanders fade over time. It was perfect for him at age 6 or 7, but as he grew up, his tastes changed. I loved playing Skylanders with him and began to see some nice re-inventions of the game, but it always appealed to the younger demographic. Kids aged out of it and perhaps the next wave of kids aren't as excited about figures "coming to life" on a portal.

I really think Activision should have released more games to support each wave of figures. The ration of figures to games was too costly to continue year after year. It will be interesting to see how LEGO Dimensions progresses and if they become the only contender in the toys-to-life arena. Will consumers consider this genre "over" if both Disney and Activision abandon it? Time will tell.
November 30, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Nintendo does VR their way- bringing iconic worlds to the real world via partnership with Universal Studios

Universal Studios Theme Parks
After hearing Mario would become part of Universal Japan to coincide with the Tokyo Olympics, he's coming to the US too.
A recent press release confirmed Nintendo will be bringing their IPs to Universal Studios in California and Florida in addition to the previously confirmed park in Japan. While VR is floundering with consumer adoption, Nintendo still makes it possible to walk through some of their iconic settings full of the characters we've come to love over the decades. They're doing it IRL, baby!

If you've ever visited UNiversal Studios in the Fall, they do an amazing job of quickly converting the park into a Halloween fright-fest. It's a ton of fun to be there during the day, see the spooky transformation, and enjoy the same area with blood-curdling screams and haunted oddities.

Now picture that scenario with Nintendo characters. I love Nintendo and I've visited Universal Studios in Florida several times during Halloween Horror Nights. So, let's mix the two! I think that's the best part of this Nintendo-Universal partnership. Can't wait!

Here's info from the Nintendo press release:
Universal Parks & Resorts and Nintendo will bring the fun of Nintendo to life with expansive, highly themed environments at Osaka, Orlando and Hollywood

Imagine the fun of stepping into a larger-than-life Nintendo adventure. Gigantic Piranha Plants spring to life. Question blocks, power-ups and more surround you. And Mario and all his friends are there to pull you into a brand-new world.

You will enter an entire realm filled with iconic Nintendo excitement, gameplay, heroes and villains. And it is coming to three Universal theme parks around the globe.

The creative visionaries behind Nintendos legendary worlds and characters are working together with the creative teams behind Universals blockbuster theme park attractions. Their goal: to bring the characters, action and adventure of Nintendo video games to life within Universal theme parks. And to do so in new and innovative ways that capture what makes them so special. All of the adventure, fun and whimsy you experience through a screen will now be all around you  in breathtakingly authentic ways.

Leave it to Nintendo to best virtual reality by creating their worlds in Universal Studios' parks. Brilliant! This could bring a whole new (or at least larger) audience to these parks. Such a great idea!
November 29, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

PBS aired the Bee Gees' One Night Only concert and it was crazy fun to watch

I associate these guys with the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, but they have tons of hit songs!
This full-length concert was shot at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on November 14, 1997. It's one of the few Bee Gees performances ever filmed. I'd forgotten how insane Barry's falsetto is. Those shrill notes don't seem real when they zoom in on him. Such an iconic vocalist and the three of them sound great harmonizing together.

I definitely have to get out my greatest hits CD. I grew up on Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and AC/DC, but I can't deny how much I liked The Bee Gees. Looking back now, all their hits seem like yesterday. Gotta fire up that greatest hits CD!

Bee Gees' One Night Only concert
November 29, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Check out Fire Tiger's Energy album of original songs with a great 80's vibe

Fire Tiger
I found Fire Tiger through a Twitter suggestion and shortly afterward was ordering their CD online.
If you're looking for a modern band with an 80's vibe, check out Fire Tiger! Their sound really takes me back to the pop/rock days of the 80s. While the 80s rocked a lot of different musical styles, these guys really capture am an awesome sound of that era.

Fire Tiger Fire Tiger Energy album There may never be a decade more amazing than the 80s. From insane video game arcades to the music that ruled the day, there was never a dull moment! From Van Halen and Blondie to Survivor and The Eurythmics there was a great diversity in styles, but they had a connection within that crazy decade.

Fire Tiger definitely takes me back to a genre I loved in those days - and stil do.

Many of the bands I loved back then have recently released new albums. In the past year, I've picked up new CDs from Def Leppard, Cheap Trick, and The Pretenders. That's pretty cool.

At the same time, it's fun to find a band like Fire Tiger that's a modern band with original songs, yet embodies a lot of the style of my favorite 80s bands. Check out their sound and see if it doesn't bring you back. You can download their music on iTunes. I wanted the full retro effect of the complete CD package, so I ordered it on Amazon. That purchase gave me instant access to the MP3 files. So, I got to check them out a few days before the actual CD arrived.

I often doubt the value of social media and think my time would be better spent reading a book. As much as I need to catch up with the stack of books I've been meaning to read, if it weren't for Twitter, I might not have heard about Fire Tiger. Amidst all the junk online thee days, there are still some gems. Give this band a listen!
November 28, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Ivanka Trump goes retro with a round of Centipede in an Asbury Park arcade

Ivanka Trump playing Centipede
Arcades are magically special places because everyone loves them. Video games shape lives - play hard!
Clearly, Ivanka is the well-adjusted member of the family...

Ivanka Trump playing Centipede in an Asbury Park arcade Ivanka Trump playing Centipede in an Asbury Park arcade in 2014.
Ivanka Trump playing Centipede in an Asbury Park arcade Ivanka Trump playing Centipede in an Asbury Park arcade in 2014.

November 28, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Fake news is a serious issue and it's even infecting video game information

fake Nintendo NX
While we deal with a lot of gaming rumors surrounding upcoming releases, outright fabrication of info is detrimental to the industry as a whole.
Fake news is slowly becoming a genre. Each time we see a pivotal point of view or interesting development in a news item, we have to research it to see if it's true. But that's getting harder to do as well.

The simplest way to validate an important development in a news story is to see if the traditional (allegedly reliable) news sources are confirming. But what constitutes confirmation in an age where many websites copy and past the identical info and post it online?!?

I got a chuckle out of transgender porn star, Riley Quinn, thanking CNN for the additional publicity, regarding an allegation they broadcasted 30 minutes of porn last week to their Boston market. This "news" was tracked to a Twitter account, but was picked up by several mainstream news outlets who happily reposted the info adding further legitimacy to the lie.

Initially, even CNN passed the blame to a local operator while they asked for more details. Everyone assumed it was true. I would have expected a larger outburst from Boston area folks on social media, but enough news organizations ran with it to give it some merit.

Fake News Infects Gaming

While juvenile at best, creating fake news occurs in our beloved land of video games too. Recently stories about console wars between Nintendo's NES Classic and AtGames' Genesis clones are ridiculous. How about the guy who made such a convincing mockup of the Nintendo NX, folks assumed he had one? Any time the Atari brand appears (via Roam headphones), many stories surface about their glorious return. Or last year's stories about the return of Coleco in wake of the licensing of the name for the fraudulent Chameleon game console debacle. All untrue!

Some of these stories can be blamed on wishful thinking and ignorance, rather than malicious fabrication, but the end result is the same. Misinformation taints the reality and then makes us question everything. Questioning everything isn't a bad way to go about things, but I feel many news sources have lost our trust. We can't assume truth because we find info on a formerly trusted site. That's sad. It shows a decay in the ethics and professionalism in journalism - even at smaller companies and websites.

Who's To Blame?

If I were to point blame, I'd say the prominence of social media, without any regulation, allows anyone to say anything. No one should be believe anything based on a Tweet or Facebook post, but valid news sources exist on both platforms with little to discern them from pranks.

New York Times How have we reached an era when an important news source can lose credibility to some any random dope on the internet?

Don't scoff at this trend simply because you don't fabricate fake news. If you share it, you're still a large part of the problem. For the longest time, people would trust anything they saw in print. It took the internet to disprove that notion and Facebook is one of the largest propagators of fake news.

Just clicking on an obvious click-bait headline can add relevance and authority to it via Facebook's algorithm. Sharing and liking such trash also propagates it and gives it additional life. If an online article seems outlandish, avoid it - don't even click it. Facebook has all sorts of metrics that custom deliver items to your timeline. I can recognize click-bait and fake articles. You can too. Why can't Facebook figure it out? They can, but choose not to... it would cost them interaction on their platform.

I doubt we can rid the internet of these fake articles or the users who share them without a second thought. There are no consequences for generating fake news. The best we can hope for, which is a sad admission in our modern world, is to be wary of news that seems out of place, too outrageous, or simply inaccurate. If an article makes you doubt it's authenticity, don't click on it or share it.

Only YOU can prevent forest fires, and the same goes for the propagation of fake news. Ignore it all. In fact, log off social media and read a book, go for a walk, or introduce retro gaming to a kid who thinks gaming began with Microsoft!

November 27, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Check out the creative advertising Arby's Restaurants have done online with pop culture infusion

Arby's - We have the meats
Too many ads are loud and in-your-face. Using their packaging, Arby's has created some great online ads with awesome pop culture tie-ins.
Across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook I've seen a variety of very unique Arby's Restaurant ads. Some are animated, but they are all constructed from Arby's own packaging. From burger & sandwich boxes to napkins and wrappers, these fun creations have an instant color-scheme and a high recognition factor. I think they're very clever and cater to a wide audience.

They've done a really nice job in expanding their reach by creating ads with a variety of tie-ins to current events, like the Nintendo Switch announcement as well as some interesting pop-culture montages, like the NightMare Before Christmas scene. Naturally, we dig the ads with gaming elements - gotta like that GameCube controller!

I see so many other ads for which the content doesn't match the brand or seems disconnected from the product. Every beer ad seems to mimic every other beer ad. Since the retirement of the Budweiser Clydesdales, they all look the same to me.

Arby's approach is low-key and makes me smile. The ads also incorporate an item from the menu, so the "restaurant" theme is there even if you're not familiar with Arby's. Whether they touch on a pop culture element I love or create something amazing - I remember the ad and the brand! I sort of forget these are actually advertisements. Alas, there are no Arby's near me...

Arby's ad with a Nintendo Switch Arby's ad with a Nintendo Switch
Arby's ad with a Nintendo Gamecube controller Arby's ad with a Nintendo Gamecube controller

As a fan of Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas movie, I thought this scene they created (below) was genius! Check out their various social media channels - linked from their website - to see more of these cool creations!

Arby's ad with an NBX scene About Arby's:
The Arby's brand purpose is Inspiring Smiles Through Delicious Experiences. Arby's delivers on its purpose by celebrating the art of Meatcraft with a variety of high-quality proteins and innovative, crave-able sides, such as Curly Fries and Jamocha shakes. Arby's Fast Crafted restaurant services feature a unique blend of quick-serve speed combined with the quality and made-for-you care of fast casual. Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc. is the franchisor of the Arby's Brand and is headquartered in Atlanta, Ga.
November 25, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Park Productions is crowd funding, Arcade Tycoon - a mini board game of arcade management

Arcade Tycoon mini board game
I love the idea of a board game that lets me manage an arcade! The possibilities excite me, but this project needs more clarification.
The idea of an arcade board game is awesome! Bringing in new games, reorganizing the floor, upgrading games, Adding a snack bar, spying on the competitors. I love the possibilities!

Eric Park's Park Productions is crowd funding Arcade Tycoon on Kickstarter, seeking $2,200. The campaign page indicates the game is complete and they've sourced printers and production companies to manufacture the parts. But there are a few cautionary items to address.

Arcade Tycoon mini board game The overall details are a bit sparse for my comfort. They don't seem to offer the standard intro video outlining the project. The game's main description offers little insight into the play mechanics or strategy. Is it a Monopoly-style game? What happens during a typical turn?

You should also be aware of some shipping restrictions. If you live in the European Union, they will ship you a physical copy of the game, but it doesn't appear they will ship abroad. They offer a tier allowing you to back the project and receive a printable download and play version, but if you reside outside the European Union, you're out of luck.

I love the idea of a tycoon game centered around arcade management. Who wouldn't love to become a tycoon via a slew of classic arcade and pinball games. I hope Park Productions will offer some video footage to help define the type of play the game will offer.
November 24, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Happy Thanksgiving! Stay home and play video games - you can shop another day

Happy Thanksgiving
I'm getting dozens of emails about shopping deals. Forget it - I'm staying home to play games!
There are a few deals I'm interested in on Black Friday, but if I can't get them online, I'll just continue playing video games all day. With piles of food to eat, and friends and family to hang out with, why go shopping? Video games bring you together, not retail discounts.

Besides, research shows that all those supposedly great deals will return during December. You're not missing a thing. Enjoy some time off and spend it with those you love.

Stay home with family and friends
November 23, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Video games used to fly off the shelves because the games were awesome & didn't need big displays

When I saw this behemoth Tomb Raider display by the registers at Best Buy, my first assumption was: Tomb Raider isn't selling well.
This Tomb Raider display was at the Best Buy entrance by the registers and caught my attention because it looked out of place. All the games are in the back of my local store. Here this thing was up front.

When I'm stoked about a game, I rush to the racks and seek out a copy. I'd probably dash right past this display since it was near the home appliances, not games. However, on a casual stroll into the store I wondered why such an epic franchise needed it's own display at the front of the store. I figured the game wasn't selling well on the PS4. I haven't played as Lara since the 2008 version for Wii. I was certain I had a PS3 version - I should resolve that ;)

Tomb Raider display I guess that's how jaded I've become. I don't see a store display as a celebration of a new title, but rather a call to action to help move a sluggish title. Tomb Raider has always been a popular IP, but I've lost track of it in recent years. I'll have to get back into it with one of the PS3 releases.

Back In The Day...

Before the internet had us salivating over new game titles 8 months before they are released, games still sold well. When a new 2600 game was discovered at a store (and immediately purchased) or seen in a Sunday newspaper ad, I'd let all my friends know about it. This involved using a telephone for something we don't use them for anymore... talking to people.

Those were much different times, but we got the word out among ourselves. This word-of-mouth even carried into the early NES days. Everyone loved to hear about a new game or arcade port. Would anyone today use a bicycle to get to GameStop? I doubt it - lol.

The internet has certainly made new releases easier to keep track of, but I kind of miss the days when discovering a new game on a retail shelf was such a different experience than it is today. They utter surprise and joy are all but gone in the wake of leaks and insider info.

Lara Croft evolution
November 23, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Local mall mannequin rocking some Def Leppard style takes us back to 1983

When Pyromania released in January '83 we knew it was something big, but had no idea Def Leppard would still release hits in 2016!
mannequin rocking Def Leppard Def Leppard took my school by storm in the winter of 82/83! they brought a different sound and an album full of hits from Photograph to Rock of Ages. My favorite was "Rock! Rock! Till You Drop," which doesn't show up on any of their greatest hits albums in my collection.

In fact, it was that song that made me realize I'd never purchased a copy of this classic album! When Def Leppard released their self-titled album this year, memories of that song echoed through my head. I searched through my CDs and couldn't find Pyromania, nor did it appear on any of the greatest hits collections I owned.

Of all the unlikely places, I found a copy of this 3-decade old powerhouse at a local Best Buy when buying their latest album last year. Glad to have that classic in my possession, but it makes me wonder what other gems live on in my mind that have eluded my purchase!

A trip to the mall last night revealed a store mannequin wearing a Def Leppard t-shirt. I looked across the way after leaving a bookstore and there it was - a reminder that great music never burns out!
November 22, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Game cartridges are forever, but servers are finite and will eventually be shut down

Mega Man headphones
My son and I play Atari games on the 2600 I bought when I was his age. Shiny game discs seem built-to-last- what about the servers?
I read an interesting article about ubisoft and their decision not to sell vital game elements as DLC. While I applaud their understanding that most gamers don't want to pay more for the ability to complete a game they already paid for, that wasn't what caught my eye.

There was a casual mention about the lifespan of games. They have been reviewing how they monetize games and plan on supporting titles for 5 to 10 years. I sort of stopped in my tracks at reading this. Only 5 to 10 years!

Most gamers won't think twice about a 10-year timeframe. Games come & go and players move on to new ones. Retro gamers are a little different. Games we played as kids are just as much fun today as they were decades ago. Sometimes we share the same games with our own kids.

Retro gamers don't always consider games completable. Many of our favorites came from the arcade age of the 80s when the whole point was to kill you quickly and hope you'd put in another quarter. Thus many such games simply became harder and harder as you progressed. That's what made us want to play more. Getting a high score was the pinacle - not finishing the game. Our games never ended!

I still play Berzerk and Wizard Of Wor on my old Atari 800. My son and I recently added Missile Command to our preferred list, but we also love the manic frenzy of Spider Fighter on the 2600. All these classic games are as much fun today as they were in the 80s. So, lets talk servers...

All good things must come to an end, but we should try much harder to preserve video games!
I fell in love with Splatoon last Summer. It's one of the few online games I enjoy. Garden Warfare is pretty cool too, but I'm not into online games. I define "multi-player" as any game in which Player-2 is sitting next to me (with players 3 & 4 if it's Warlords). I"m not one to join a slew of strangers for a pixel romp through imagination-land. I'd rather kill the Qotile or some swarming Galagans.

Many modern games rely on a server connection for some portion of the gaming experience. Some of these interactions are obvious, while other games simply rely on servers for leader boards. While that may seem minimal, will the game play without that online connection? Some do, others check for it right away and signal a problem if they can't connect. So, just connect... right? You bet!

But what happens down the road when the servers for that game go offline? Ten years pass and the manufacturer decides it's not cost-effective to maintain a server for a ten year old game (or maybe it's only 5 years). They shut it down and suddenly you can't play. I'd be devastated if I fired up the Atari 7800 and Dig Dug wouldn't load because it couldn't connect with some distant server. But my favorite dusty consoles and game cartridges don't need to connect. They just work!

Every time I read an article about the lifespan of a video game, I love the fact that I'll likely be able to play Defender whenever I want, but there are a lot of games that will be disappearing despite the best efforts of those who have a passion for game preservation.

I guess this is one of the trade offs of modern technology. We have much more sophisticated games, but they come with a finite lifespan. Maybe the same technology wave that keeps inspiring higher quality games will also speed up computers, allowing them to properly emulate today's games. Original hardware may have finite lifespans, but it pains me to see the reality in print. I love old games and new games, but my life requires Asteroids, Vanguard, Donkey Kong, and countless others!

Here's hoping emulation keeps pace with gaming and saves as many games as possible from total extinction, even in a world where functional servers can play crucial roles in gaming viability. I have much love for Tempest, but know that a few decades into the future, some dude will be reminiscing about Halo, the way I love Streets Of Rage. Will we both be able to play these games? The highs and lows of retro gaming - mostly highs!
November 20, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

These Mega Man headphones from EMiO were designed in conjunction with Capcom

Mega Man headphones
Licensed from Capcom, these Mega Man headphones work with a variety of different devices and the sides light up!
We recently wrote about the Cat-ear style headphones and the confusion between the designer at Axent Wear and the media stating Ariana Grande had created them. Sheer nonsense, but we really liked Axent Wear's innovative design we saw in their Indiegogo campaign. But we know cat-ear headphones aren't for everyone. These Mega Man Headphones may be the answer.

Mega Man headphones
From the EMiO website:
Details Look like the Blue Bomber himself in these amazing headphones! The headphones are officially licensed by Capcom®. The ear pads and headband are extremely soft and are great to use for an extended period of time! The headphones come with a cable to connect with any device that allows 3.5mm cable connection. The sides of the headphones also light up just like Mega Mans helmet!
November 20, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

As the Presidential election aftermath taints an already imperfect system, how did General Mills fare?

General Mills Monster Cereal Election
I'm willing to bet more people voted in General Mills' election than our recent presidential race! Voter turnout was a disgrace to the system.
Just as I was stunned by the Trump win in the Presidential election, I feel the same way about the landslide victory for Count Chocula. I love chocolate as much as the next person, but it's not my first choice for a breakfast cereal.

BooBerry has always been my favorite since childhood. The world faces a dearth of blue food and each Halloween, BooBerry has diligently resolved that issue. Face it folks, once you go "blue" you can't be happy to see your milk turn brown or pink. BooBerry forever!!

Monsters Across America Election Results

General Mills Monster Cereal Election Results

Count Chocula

Count Chocula

FrankenBerry

FrankenBerry

BooBerry

BooBerry

The US Presidential Election:
I Blame The Media And Our Endless Celebration Of Stupidity

In such a crucial election, it's hard to imagine nearly 50% of eligible voters stayed home and did not vote. Perhaps they felt (as most polls indicated) Clinton was a sure-thing or they didn't want to take the time. We may never know, but I'm willing to bet the media played a significant role.

They didn't lie or mislead us. The media simply assumed Trump's vile behavior would send voters to Hillary in droves. And that's what they told everyone - "Hillary has it cinched." "She'll definitely win." But there's a problem with that.

In this country we cultivate and reward stupidity. Increasingly we live in a culture of lemmings. Independent thought is a forgotten skill. The vast majority of people need to be told what to do. The media said Hillary would win. The media never came out and said Trump might win.

When you look at voter turnout statistics, Trump didn't motivate the masses to his side or his cause. Those who supported him, voted for him. On Hillary's side - that's where the low voter turnout occurred. Folks didn't swarm the polls for Trump, they stayed home for Clinton. They didn't vote. It was a close race because so few showed up to vote for Hillary.

Voting is something we regard like Jury Duty. We understand it's importance, but no one wants to do it. Motivating people to vote is difficult. Organizations like Rock The Vote and reinstating Mtv's TRL with Kendall Jenner are desperate efforts to make voting appeal to people. But such efforts need to be conducted the way we now teach toddlers that smoking is bad.

Trying to change an adult's opinion is nearly a waste of time - even young adults. Young kids need to be raised to see the importance of voting and grow up knowing it's value. Reaching an age where they can vote should be as desirable as getting a Driver's License at age 16. Telling them in their 20's (or later) to go vote doesn't work. Hello, President Trump.
November 19, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Instruction manuals for the 30 games on the NES Classic Edition are online

Axent Wear Headphones
You can check out the original manuals just as they appeared in the original NES game boxes or in a modernized format.
I like the way Nintendo handled the game manuals via the console. For those who haven't been able to buy an NES Classic Edition, all the instruction manuals for the 30 games exist in their original printed format.

The manuals can be viewed on line as PDF files or downloaded. They've included 2 versions of each one. Each game has a link to the original "printed" manual with all the artwork and original layout. There is also a link to the "electronic" version offering all the pertinent info in a more modern format - also in a PDF file.

Browsing through these files may remind you of how awesome it was when games had manuals. Aside from tips and explanations, there was very often a background story. Such tales were helpful in understanding the characters, situations and gave players a greater sense of the overall game.

Personally, I miss game manuals. Today's games feel incomplete without them, but for those that include them, very often they are thick daunting tomes full of stuff. I appreciate the complexity and depth of today's games, but I still miss the simpler days when manuals helped me have empathy for that small cluster of pixels I was controlling on-screen! :)
November 19, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Axent Wear Headphones reemerge via Brookstone with an Ariana Grande model

Axent Wear Headphones
Axent Wear seemed poised to be a success then they fell from view only to emerge on Brookstone's website.
In the Fall of 2014 we wrote about Axent Wear and their cat-ear headphones that were all the rage on social media. I thought the design was quite innovative with the external speakers & lights on the headband and a microphone (suitable for gaming) built into the cable. They had a robust social media presence leading up to a very successful Indiegogo campaign surpassing 100% funding, ultimately bringing in $3.4 million.

Axent Wear Headphones After the massive crowd funding, they seemed to partner with Brookstone to manufacture and deliver the headphones. That seemed like an odd move due to the significant funding they received. Soon after, I lost track of them and they seemed to fall off the social media radar.

I looked them up today when I saw an ad for Ariana Grande signature "cat ear" headphones for $150. They looked like the Axent design, yet there was only mention of Brookstone. Both the Axent Twitter and Facebook ceased posing in 2015, still linked from their official website, which now lists a Brookstone email for "more info."

I guess I'm a bit surprised the Axent Wear name vanished. Perhaps that was part of the deal with Brookstone. Artist Yuumei (co-founder of the Axent Wear company) designed the headphones with product developer and retailer Brookstone, stating that they bought the rights. As usual, the media is purporting the design came from Grande, who is known for wearing cat-ear headbands. I'm sure Brookstone licensed Grande's name for advertising.

Axent Wear Headphones In my area, Brookstone is a gadget reseller who pops up each holiday season for a few months. They sell primarily gift items (similar to former stores: The Sharper Image and Hammacher Schlemmer), but they used to be an entirely different operation. They filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2014 and bought by a Chinese investment firm.

Brookstone's Hard To Find Tools catalog

Brookstone began as a catalog company in 1965 from a couple's New Hampshire farmhouse. The catalog was full of amazing tools and hardware. Every time it arrived in the mail, I'd browse through it, astounded by the variety of items they offered. It was a hobbyists dream book! Both my father and I loved their products and could spend hours pouring over their catalogs.

Brookstone's Hard To Find Tools Most folks these days associate Brookstone with electronics and gadgets - a far cry from their beginnings. I won't argue that change is good, but I've never seen another retailer offer the diversity Brookstone had with their hard-to-find-tools catalogs.

these days most hardware stores sell leaf blowers and appliances. Specialty tools have become a niche item for those who rely on them.

From Cat Valentine to Pop Star

From her scratchy voice as Cat on Nickelodeon's Sam and Cat show to her soothing vocals on her albums, Arianna Grande has talent. However, we're seeing no signs of industrial design or engineering in her celebrity success dossier. Despite that, journalists have been going as far as asserting she created these headphones which is irking the actual designer and those of us smart enough to understand how licensing deals work.

It's similar to the "Atari" name appearing on products and fans think the old Atari is back in the game. Nope, it's just a holding company. And Ariana, despite her vocal talents has not designed BRookstone's headphones.

So, anyway...
Buy her albums, buy the headphones, but Brookstone began as a catalog tool company and Ariana doesn't make headphones. By the way, if you've seen her in the recent T-Mobile TV commercials, it may be worth mentioning she doesn't make cellphones either :)

Axent Wear Headphones
November 19, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Ugly Christmas sweaters have gone the way of Retro Gaming Christmas sweaters

I'm filled with a lot more holiday cheer if I'm wrapped in an Atari Christmas sweater. I have one with a moose on it in the traditional style, but a retro gaming injection to the design phase makes any sweater much more enjoyable.

Atari Christmas sweater Atari Christmas sweater with logos, Asteroids, Breakout, and Missile Command. An Amazon affiliate sells this Atari item.
Street Fighter Christmas sweater Street Fighter Christmas sweater. Here's one source for this SF Sweater.

It's worth mentioning my aforementioned Moose sweater is a real sweater. It was stitched/knitted from wool. These days the term "sweater" is used loosely and often the item is actually just a sweatshirt. Buyer beware.
November 19, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Coca-Cola's “Selfie Bottle” automatically takes selfies as you swallow a mouthful - wait what!?!

Coke selfie bottle
Here's an idea that must have looked good on paper, but gets a bit odd when making it's way into real life - the place where we all live.
Coca-Cola has stuffed a camera into the base of a soda bottle and allows it to snap a pic when tilted to 70°. This was apparently part of a campaign in Israel. While I can see the product tie-in, I'm wondering if this was really the best way to portray and engage people with the brand.

As usual, most of the stories are praising this campaign without any details. If a refrigerated bottle of Coke can automatically take my picture and post it to social media, I want to know more about the tech. Is it a single use concept? Can I recharge the battery? Does it use Bluetooth to connect to my phone? What editing options do I have before posting the pic?

So, I want to know about it's inner workings. the selfie concept isn't appealing to me - in terms of photographing myself - but the tech sounds like it could lend itself to other things.

Photo Processing Back In The Day

Digital photography revolutionized the cost of photography, making bad pictures far more tolerable and deletable. I remember dropping off a roll of film and being told to come back in a week to pick up my pictures. I'd hope and pray i'd taken good shots so I didn't have to pay for any blurry ones. This was particularly true when photographing a high-score after a long Atari gaming session!

As technology progressed, I could pay an additional fee for 1-hour processing. Until digital photography was affordable for consumers, we all paid high prices for film development... and then had to figure out what to do with all those pictures. We needed photo albums, rather than today's terabyte hard drives.

Then came the bane of miniaturized cameras in cell phones... the bathroom-mirror selfie. Until teenagers realized mirrors exited outside bathrooms, we were treated to the various toilets, showers, and tubs across the globe as the selfie craze swept in. Thankfully, mirrors have been discovered in other locations, while those with long arms have the freedom to shoot anywhere.

We've also learned that posting "compromising" photos to the internet is a bad idea. They will live on long after you think you've deleted them. At 8-Bit Central, we recommend you not photograph yourself when swallowing with something in your mouth. Seems like good advice to us.

November 19, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Your name is written on a Starbucks cup to identify your order, not your political views

Starbucks cups
Politics needn't be inserted into ordering a cup of coffee. Starbucks employees have enough to do without pacifying your political stance.
Of all the idiotic fads, this one actually motivated me to write a short opinion (or rant). It seems that posting your food and drink orders on Instagram isn't hip enough. Folks are telling Starbucks baristas their name is "Trump." With a less than clever result... "Trump" is then written on the cup and - wait for it - they post that to Instagram or where ever they feel the most people will like, follow, or fave.

Casting practicality aside, I'm thinking the "name on the cup" routine is to identify your order. You know... so you don't grab someone else's coffee. We have become such a self-centered generation of IT'S-ALL-ABOUT-ME morons, they don't stop to think this is only clever once. After a Starbucks barista hears this request for the thirtieth time, it's becomes boring and dumb... like most of these people and their expensive cups of coffee.

Next time you're conjuring up a clever name, be original. Don't follow and do the same thing everyone else is doing. Being an individual is what makes you awesome! If you continually follow others... you simply wind up where everyone else has gone. Trust me - that's not a good place to be.
November 18, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Arrival is a fantastic film and a lesson in storytelling for those making films or video games

Arrival Film
Seldom do films capture my complete attention and draw me in. Arrival did so by letting a powerful story dictate the pace and intensity.
If you haven't seen Arrival, I highly recommend it. It was released in theaters Nov. 11. While the subject of aliens is a staple in scifi flicks, I found the manner in which they reveal and tell this story very original and compelling.

Too often, films sprinkle various elements around a weak premise masquerading as a story. Action films in particular go in this direction, letting special effects eclipse the lead roles. I'm content to see these films when they release on TV or the DVD bargain bin. While the effects can be spectacular, they don't warrant the time or money needed to see them in a movie theater.

Arrival Film Hollywood hasn't learned this lesson and I feel it's also a worthwhile assignment for video game developers. Effects and action sequences only go so far. And most of it has already been done. A great story needs to be told properly and capture the audience.

Early 8-bit video games forced our imaginations to insert elements not represented by the blocky pixels. My heart rate jumps as the Space Invaders begin moving faster and advancing on me. Anxiety comes over me every time I can't dodge an Asteroid and have to use Hyperspace! Even the mutants in Defender send my blood pressure upward.

These reactions are surprising to me - even today - because these games have maintained their effect on players. We still react to them in the same way. They've managed to capture something and unfurl it on players each time.

As games advanced and became much more realistic, developers didn't need our imaginations to infer detail - it's all there in near photo realistic scenes. Today, as Virtual Reality seeks to further blur the line between gaming and reality, like any game dev, they need a compelling storyline. And That story must be told in a compelling way to draw the player into caring about characters and outcomes.

Arrival should be used as an example of storytelling. The way it released info and guided the audience through it's tale was astounding. I wanted more, but they didn't always grant me that. I couldn't look away and didn't lose interest. The story and it's unfolding was such a critical element where in other films "stories" are more like a piece of tape loosely keeping things somewhat relevant.

Making the story the main focus would be a welcome change in gaming. It often gets lost, allowing game play to become the focus. Check out Brie Code's article, Video Games Are Boring for a new perspective. We may have explored all the options we should have... It's an interesting perspective on adding some new ideas to old ways, in gaming.
November 18, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Will the NES Classic Edition follow the AtGames model of releasing consoles yearly with a variety of games?

If Nintendo expands on this device, will we see more NES games, maybe SNES and N64 versions, and will any of this effect the Virtual Console scenario?
Atari Flashback and NES Classic Edition While some folks are speculating about an SNES Classic Edition, others are still angry about not being able to get the NES version last Friday on launch day. Selling out in a matter of minutes, generated a lot of buzz, but also a lot of disappointment and anger. It was a poor role-out, but things will eventually even out and improve. So, What happens next?

As much as I'd like to see this treatment occur for the SNES and N64, lets not forget the NES has ~700 games, thirty of which have arrived in this new mini console format. I'd love another dose of NES titles, but has AtGames set the standard for the mini console market?

Will Classic Edition consoles be released with the regularity of AtGame's Atari line? We hope so!
We all know Nintendo play by their own rules, but each holiday season for the last several years has yielded another Atari Flashback (and recently Colecovision and Intellivision) and Genesis mini consoles. With a few new games rotated in and out of the roughly 90 games.

Nintendo's Virtual Console provides games from several platforms and I'm sure it will do the same for the upcoming Switch console, but will this mini-console concept become a new delivery mechanism for retro games? AtGames' emulators don't replicate Atari games to the same high standard that Nintendo's NES Classic Edition renders our favorite NES games. However, the influx of Atari games delights us none the less and has set a release standard for the holiday season.

If Nintendo wants to pursue the mini-console, they could be a formidable force. Despite a ruthless passion for Atari games, I'd love to see more Nintendo platforms come to retail shelves each holiday... in a tiny little game console full of awesome. I like the model AtGames has developed and would welcome Nintendo into this space.

AtGames has a portable Atari console with an SD slot for adding more games. That's a slick update to their Atari game devices. So, I'm just going to say I'd love a Nintendo mini console shaped like the original GameBoy with a batch of built-in games. Oh yeah!!
November 18, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

A new wave of Pokemon madness begins with the release of Pokemon Sun and Moon games

I wasn't really into Pokemon until my son and I each bought Omega Ruby. He helped me out and I kind of got hooked.
I'm not sure I'm ready to embark on another Pokemon adventure, but I'll admit I'm a bit swept up in the release frenzy. I'm still forging my way through Omega Ruby and also picked up Pokemon Y. Now I have to squeeze in Sun and/or Moon. The life of a gamer is a busy one.

I also have a fixation on Yo Kai Watch and I'm in a quandary over Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls AND a desire to buy a new Pokemon game. I'll likely do the same thing I do at crossroads like this - buy them all and start playing some other random game. Not sure how this happens, but maybe I can break from this scenario.

There always seem to be to many games to play. I frequently hear gamers saying they have nothing to play, yet also admit to having a pile of games they've never touched. An odd group we are... :)

Pokemon Sun and Moon games From Nintendo's site:
Embark on a new adventure as a Pokémon Trainer and catch, battle, and trade all-new Pokémon on the tropical islands of the Alola Region. Discover the Z-Moves and unleash these intense attacks in battle. Call upon Pokémon with Poké Ride to discover new areas across the region and take on the Island Challenge Trials to become the Pokémon Champion!

Choose one of three new partner Pokémon that will accompany you as you set out on an all-new adventure and discover new Pokémon and regional variant Pokémon in the Alola region. Catch and train Pokémon as you encounter captains, and kahunas of the 4 main Islands of the region. Discover the mystery of the Legendary Pokémon while stopping Team Skull from causing chaos throughout the land.
November 18, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

A break in my routine led me to a cool retro radio station; break away from presets

With my ten presets taken, I tend not to listen to radio stations outside those few... until today!
Vintage car stereo I loved listening to the radio as a kid - still do. The clock radio in my bedroom wasn't much, but at 8-years-old it did just fine. That little box hooked me on rock and roll and helped me define my taste in music! It had a manual dial and I had to crank and adjust it to change stations. That seems so primitive today, but it made me feel like I was a part of something really cool.

I went through countless generations of stereo equipment over the years and let my musical tastes expand. Each vinyl record I bought would be played once so I could record it to cassette. Those cassettes were played over and over until I needed to get out the vinyl original again. Those were the days!

Local Radio Kicks Ass

To this day, I still love terrestrial radio. Satellite radio is cool, but I love the local feel of radio with local ads and personalities. I'm a creature of habit and haven't strayed from the ten available station presets (remember when those buttons were manual slides?) on my car stereo. A lot can change when you're not paying attention.

local radio

Break In My Routine

On my commute to work I accidentally punched the scan button. Irritated, I went to bring up one of my usual stations when I realized how long it's been since I've heard Nick Gilder's Hot Child in the City. That song took me back so far it was crazy. That made my day! Fond memories and I found a local radio station that I'd never listened to.

So, what did I do next?

Ditched a station I don't listen to very often and added 102.3 to my pre-sets! I need to spin the dial more often and unleash some more cool stations. Breaking habits can have it's benefits.
November 17, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Upcoming title, Coffee Crisis, for the Sega Genesis is a combination of Metal, Aliens & Awesome

Coffee Crisis is an Upcoming 16-bit Sega Genesis game in Hi-Definition glory. Stop the Smurglians & save the Earth!
Coffee Crisis is an arcade-style beat 'em up for the Sega Genesis, being crowd funded by Mega Cat Studios. I love the premise to this game, but I wish they'd post more game play footage. Their kickstarter page indicates this is their first major release.

You can find info about this campaign on the Coffee Crisis Kickstarter page. While they say the game is nearing completion and they have all the PCBs and cart shells, the funding amount ($10K) seems small. This may be due to the game's completion state, but if it is nearly done, I would expect to see much more game footage. They also plan to deliver in December 2016 - that's a short timeline from what is presented on the campaign page.

I'm hoping they will pst more game footage to give a better feeling for how it plays. Until then, I'm content to watch Coffee Crisis and see what other info they release as the campaign concludes.

Upcoming homebrew, Coffee Crisis, for the Sega Genesis About MCS:
Mega Cat Studios breathes new life into old video game consoles with artisanal, exclusive projects you wont find anywhere else. From the original Nintendo to Virtual Reality ports, were bringing our fans the games they want.

Every game we release has meticulous attention to detail. Brand new custom PCB boards and cartridge shells, professionally printed and bound manuals, and boxes featuring artwork our team pours themselves into bringing the physical product to life.
November 17, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

SwapDoodle is now a free download letting you draw pictures and messages on your 3DS

Despite the myriad of communication options available on modern devices, I've always liked Nintendo's funky comm apps.
Swapdoodle for Nintendo 3DS The Swapdoodle game is an easy way to write messages, draw 3D pictures, and share them with your Nintendo 3DS friends. Swapping doodles is a easy using stamps based on the icons of played titles and your Mii character. You can also purchase in-game add-ons packs that have doodle lessons of Nintendo characters!

Doodle lessons allow you to trace Nintendo characters from the Super Mario series, The Legend of Zelda, Splatoon, and more! With the right add-on, you can also draw more doodles per note, boost your note storage to over 6000, get more than 45 pen colors, and download stationaries featuring Nintendo characters. Put a piece of yourself in your art by sticking on a Mii face with various emotions to choose from.

It's also possible to share in-game screenshots with friends who also have the game and even create secret pages that are hidden until your friend replies.
November 17, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Lurking behind the GameCenter name, how does WalMart offer NES Classic Edition consoles online all week?

While every US retailer sold through their sparse inventory of NES Classic Editions in minutes, does Walmart have a secret source or just enough to sell five-units-per-day for a week?
WalMart sells NES Classic Edition consoles Getting to Toys R Us an hour before opening last Friday enabled me to buy one NES Classic Edition console and one additional controller. I'd read up on the demand the night before and prepared for large lines and disappointment. Living in a low-population area probably helped greatly, but ultimately it was all luck.

In my opinion, Nintendo staged this release poorly. No pre-orders and low inventory was pitted against rabid fan interest. the result was very few folks were able to buy this wonderful little gaming beast.

After prices on eBay surged to 5-times the retail price of $59, it became a different kind of story. The idea that Nintendo would be restocking soon for the holidays was replaced with "limited release" and "buy now or lose forever". This ridiculous banter was click-bait for those who sought attention - and they got it. Gamers were going to great lengths to snag one of Nintendo's mini consoles.

Frenzy erupted and everyone needed an NES Classic Edition RIGHT NOW! Retailers were empty handed with no news about re-stocking or future deliveries. Nintendo assured us more would be coming, but that wasn't nearly enough reassurance to stem the stampede to online auctions.

WalMart Game Center logo

WalMart to the Rescue?

For those who didn't want to pay $300 in online auctions, there didn't seem to be any hope until Amazon opened up online orders at 5pm EST. Customers logged on, loaded their carts, and watched a variety of distressed server reactions - none of which resulted in sales. Carts reverted to zero, froze up, or simply sat there doing nothing. This was the online equivalent of the brick & mortar disappointment.

Earlier this week WalMart (of all unlikely places) announced on Facebook that they would conduct online sales each day this week beginning at 5pm EST. Their disclaimer was "while supplies last," with no mention of how many units will be available each day.

This offer is rife with the trappings of luring folks to the site to purchase... anything. From what I've heard, it's the Amazon-fail all over again - daily. I'm not seeing any online posts stating WalMart saved the day. How many units do they have? Where did they come from?

Here's what I'd do...

...if I wanted to capitalize on the shortage via my dominantly overbearing box-store:
Last Thursday night - at the latest - most retailers knew they had very limited stock. Individual sores were offering anywhere from 2 to 20 units. Some may have had more, but most locations cold have sold through 30 or 40 units easily. It wouldn't take a genius to realize demand will outpace supply quickly.

So, how do I get customers to come to my e-commerce site in droves? Pull stock from each store. Further reduce available brick & mortar inventory. Keep it from the public... just for a few days. Take that inventory and advertise it - maybe on Facebook - as available daily for the entire week!

How it this possible," customers may ask. I'm betting WalMart put a lot of NES Classic Editions into their online inventory and simply allowed a limited number of sales, each day, until the inventory was depleted. All the other retailers who sold through all their inventory would be part of the "Sold out in minutes" narrative. The following week, WalMart, acting as gamer-friendly GameCenter, suddenly has stock for the week. They may only have had five systems to sell each day, but I'll bet they got a ton of traffic to their website... that sells a lot of other stuff.

I could be wrong about this, but I think its a question worth asking. How is it that only WalMart has stock the week after this product sells out nationally in the US? Did they withhold stock on release day in order to sell it when no one else would be able to? Something odd is going on here. Probably nothing illegal, but definitely odd.
November 17, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

The film Space Jam turns 20 and an anniversary batch of stuff is happening

When was the last time you watched 1996's Space Jam? Will it still capture a new audience 20 years later on Blu Ray?
Origineal Space Jam website I'm not one to pass up the opportunity to see Bill Murray do anything! So, the 20th anniversary of Space Jam is just the ticket for Murray and the rest of this oddball cast. Besides, it was the highest-grossing basketball film of all-time - as if that's a huge category :)

Space Jam on Blu Ray DVD It's been 20 years since Michael Jordan, Bill Murray and Bugs Bunny hit the court in Space Jam. To celebrate the November 15 anniversary of the highest-grossing hoops film of all-time, there will be theatrical screenings, a new Blu-ray, and a line of Jordan Brand apparel coming your way.

In the mean time, Warner still has the original Space Jam website archived for your nostalgic trips. I recently went to a Fathom showing of Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. It was a different sort of theater experience and kind of fun. They've done the same kind of limited showing in theaters for Space Jam with a few Looney Tunes cartoons thrown in. God stuff!

I'm also due for a viewing of Strips and Caddy Shack. Might have to make a retro weekend of it... with some Bugs and Jordan.
November 16, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

OutRun has quickly become one of my favorite arcade games

After my son & I discovered a 2-player sit-in cabinet at our local arcade, I've become addicted to the PS2 and 3DS versions.
Nobel prize for Bob Dylan
November 16, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Bob Dylan is too busy to receive his Nobel Prize in person

Nobel prize for Bob Dylan
Someone should tell Bob that a Nobel Prize is more important than a participation trophy from a celebrity golf tourney
While I understand people lead busy lives, how many of us are awarded Nobel Prizes? In the sixth grade I won a trophy for our class' paper football competition. And that was the end of my competitive awards.

Should I ever be awarded this prize for my retro gaming rants, I will gladly put my formidable pastimes on hold to travel to Stockholm and partake in the festivities.

I'm dying to know what Bob has planned on December 10th that trumps receiving a Nobel Prize. WTF!
November 16, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Maybe a Kate Upton tirade would prompt Nintendo to deliver more NES Classic Edition consoles to retailers

Fast Food at Five guys
I'm not a baseball fan, but I can sit back and enjoy a good tWitter rant as much a Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue.
Livid over boyfriend Justin Verlander not winning the Cy Young award, Kate Upton is lashing out on Twitter. Something about his name being removed from ballots. Um... yeah... I'm not much of a baseball fan. Give me a tennis racquet or a skateboard and I'm onboard, but team sports really interest me.

But I'm all over a good tirade! Kate has gone berserk over this award, which makes me think we need to turn her savvy rage on Nintendo's inability to adequately stock NES Classic Edition. Just saying...

Fast Food at Five guys
November 16, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

I'll take my overpriced nutritionally barren food to go... I have video games to play #NationalFastFoodDay

Fast Food at Five guys
I'm down to pillage a bag of chips when I have a game controller in my hand while fighting off space invaders, but I'll pass on the majority of fast food.
Leaving the house to get a bag full of crappy food doesn't need any national recognition. People survive on "Dollar Menus" without the realization of how bad most "fast food" really is.

I'm not one to preach healthy lifestyles - not by a longshot, but I'm not sure we need this sort of promotion for a sector of dining that exists on almost every street corner. Are we shining attention on a dining option that goes unnoticed or under-appreciated?

Why don't we take a day off and eat an apple?

I did my part and picked up a burger at Five Guys. I have to admit fast food is delicious, but it just isn't something I want on a regular basis. I'm down for a burger any time, but not when it comes out of a drive-thru and I'm not sure it ever originated from an animal. Say, "No" to lab food.

I did enjoy my burger today, but I want time gaming in front of the TV not in the bathroom. TMI?
November 16, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

I want to know WHY EMiO's 'The Edge' Joystick is incompatible with the NES Classic Edition

original NES Advantage joystick
The original NES Advantage joystick was awesome, so you'd think bringing it back for the NES Classic Edition would be a good thing.
Nintendo released the original NES Advantage in 1987 and it gave gamers a distinct "arcade" experience complete with an actual joystick and features like Turbo. While it did not use the traditional micro-switch buttons found in arcade controls, it used the same kind of buttons found in the original NES controller. I loved the Atari 2600 joysticks, but never really liked the small NES controller and it's D-pad. The NES Advantage was awesome and I'd hoped EMiO wold bring that same level to Nintendo's new mini console.

Conceptually, bringing back the NES Advantage is a terrific idea, but this time EMiO recreated it for the NES Classic Edition. Being a third party developer, they may not have been privy to the systems exact specs prior to delivering their joystick.

I'm reading different causes for this incompatibility. Some sites are generically stating an "incompatibility", but saying it works with the Wii and Wii U Virtual Consoles. That leads me to think there's an inherent defect in the product. Other sites are saying an adapter is missing from the packaging, causing it not to connect to the NES Classic Edition. That seems simple. It sounds like a physical connection issue - send out the adapter.

I'm confused as to what sort of adapter would be necessary if it connects to a Wiimote, it should connect properly to the new NES mini console. Regardless of the specifics (which are important) The Edge has been recalled and removed from retail, but one should be wary if the product reemerges - hopefully with a fix.

EMiO's The Edge Joystick The Edge joystick as shown on EMiO's website. Alas we live in a world of SEO mavens who cut & Paste content blocks from one site and stuff it onto their site. This may lead to some additional clicks, but doesn't serve the gaming community with good info. So, while they make get some more ad revenue, I'm wondering why they felt satisfied to deliver incomplete info. The reason it is deemed "incompatible" is an important facet to this story.

This is similar to your car's Check Engine light illuminating suddenly. Am I out of wiper fluid or is my engine about to seize? Good thing to know, right? There seem to be two stories that have been pasted from site-to-site. This makes it harder to discern what is going on.

Time will tell the exact nature of the problem, but we hope it can be resolved without too much detriment to EMiO. I was really stoked about this accessory!
November 15, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Nintendo's next mobile venture, Super Mario Run, arrives Dec. 15 on iOS for a fee

Super Mario Run
With Miitomo being free to play on both iOS and Android, this exclusive iOS (for now) release with a price tag seems like a departure from what worked before.
I'll admit I'm not one to pay for mobile games. I'm put off by the $1.99 price point. But that's my issue. On the other hand, ten bucks seems a bit steep for this game. Being Nintendo's second mobile game, doesn't give them much of a track record to rely on. Despite being a powerhouse in gaming, mobile is a new area for them. Mobile has seen great success and even greater failure. No one really seems to know the formula for success.

As I understand it, there are three play modes to try for free, but unlocking the whole thing costs $9.99. This seems better than constant micro-transactions, but it's a premium price compared with the $4 average as cited by Polygon. It arrives on December 15th, yet I'm much more interested in the gaming experience.

Compared with a 3DS, phones deliver a fairly unstable experience when accounting for OS versions on various hardware brands and the amount of lag based on accumulated garbage that needs to be wiped. Inconsistency on phones is very common. These are issues you don't find on Nintendo hardware. They deliver a consistant and awesome experience - as it should be. Thus, I'll pay for a 3DS game, but I'm not a paying fan of mobile games.

Super Mario Run

Three Game Options

Super Mario Run offers three different ways to play. In single-player mode, World Tour, the goal is to collect coins and end up at the end of the level before your time runs out. Toad Rally lets you challenge the play-results of other gamers to earn Toads respect. Finally, the third option teams you up with the Toads who joined you to now assist you in the Mushroom Kingdom where you build your own kingdom.

I'm interested to see the response to this game. Nintendo promises an Android release in 2017, but hasn't offered a firm date. The iOS exclusivity earned them a place on Apple's stage to announce the game, but Android users make up a very significant part of the mobile market that won't have access until... next year sometime.

Despite any shortcomings to this release, Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing are still on the mobile horizon. Nintendo has made a significant commitment to mobile. I'm interested to see how it fares for them when they have little control over the hardware running the games. We hope they do well!

The Value of $10

Online forums and comments are debating the value of $10 just the way one might expect. The issue isn't the relative value of that much money, but rather what an inflated price can do to both the game and the market. Nintendo is huge. If Mario can command a $10 price tag, that shifts the market value quite a bit. This is true even when it's cost is equivalent to two coffees at a cafe. Great argument, but not the way finance works.

In the grand scheme $10 is not a lot of money, but you still wouldn't pay that much for one potato chip or two breath mints, or three crayons, or four sheets of paper. No one wants to flush away $10 but that doesn't alter it's equivalence in mobile gaming. Would you stride into iTunes and pay $50 for Super Mario Run because you are very wealthy? Not likely. So, enjoy your two coffees and heed the pricing regardless of your perceptions and clever comparisons between apples and oranges.

Meanwhile... I still love my 2DS and couldn't give up it's solid performance for that of my phone. My phone is a continual frustration while my 2DS is always a dream. I hope Nintendo can be successful on mobile, but I hope they keep their hardware fans in mind too!
November 14, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

The release strategy of the NES Classic Edition seemed poorly crafted from all sides

Nintendo NES Classic Edition launch issues
When a product is introduced to great response, it's unacceptable to have inventory shortages four months later on release day.
The first sign of trouble was the near complete lack of pre-orders. Pre-orders are often used to judge interest and better forecast demand and how to best meet it. There may be other reasons for not using this strategy to allocate adequate quantities to more locations, but the one that sticks out for me is total lack of inventory.

Nintendo NES Classic Edition console box and packaging If Nintendo had adequate inventory, why not use pre-ordering to best gauge it. Our guess is they began this product launch with very little inventory - knowing they couldn't meet demand. If that's the case, pre-orders would have completely sold-through inventory leaving none for store shelves.

At most locations, product didn't even make it to the shelves. Lines forming before store openings took all the available NES Classic Editions. Compounding the problem were the paltry number of units at most locations.

My Local Stores

My local Toys R Us had 14 units and only one extra controller. GameStop had 18 units, but I've heard many of their locations had only 2 or 3! Best Buy had a similar low quantities. From what I've heard, most retailers don't know how to handle crowds on release days. They need to know how to mitigate bad circumstances so things don't get bad.

Nintendo NES Classic Edition console I was able to buy one unit at Toys R Us. the console was prominently displayed in their holiday catalog, so I assumed they'd have plenty of inventory. With little idea of what to expect, I simply showed up an hour before opening where I became the 4th person in line. Having survived amiibo release days at this same store, I was happy to see they had a pretty good plan for dealing with crowds and disappointment.

Each person on line was given a numbered ticket that corresponded to a specific unit behind the counter. If you got a ticket, you got an NES Classic Edition console. After they gave out the 14 tickets (each ticket corresponding to actual inventory), they apologized to newcomers and informed them they were sold out. Naturally, people were disappointed, but that scenario was much better than the stores letting lines grow to 75 or more people, when they only had 2 units to sell!

National Inventory Issues

Across the U.S., many customers were angry. Low inventory was an issue everywhere and stores sold out in minutes.The lack of inventory was deplorable and caused far too many people to be turned away empty-handed. A store full of angry customers can lead to safety issues very fast.

Social media was purporting the NES Classic Edition to be the hot item for the holidays. Billed by many as "this year's stocking stuffer." I know a lot of retro gamers wanted to get one for their kids.

Nintendo NES Classic Edition size comparison Then stores had next to no inventory! Deplorable situation!

Although manufactured by Nintendo, the device isn't too far from the AtGames mini consoles found at a wide diversity of stores from Bed, Bath, And Beyond to Target. They don't seem to have stocking issues like this and they offer several different retro gaming mini console products.

I know Nintendo is a Japanese company and may prefer to be cautious about product releases, but this was so under-estimated it borders on incompetence. With the far more expensive Switch console release looming in March, the NES Classic Edition should have been a resounding success putting the Nintendo name in consumer's minds and offering a great retrospective of their early gaming successes.

Instead, consumers are angry and posting a lot of negative (and misinformed) comments anywhere they can find an online input box. We hope Nintendo can resolve the supply issues fast and deliver proper quantities for the holidays.
November 13, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Chappaqua hiker meets elderly woman out for a stroll with Yoshi

It just goes to show you never know who you'll run into when you're out in the middle of nowhere minding your own business.
You never know where you may have a brush with fame. A hiker ran into Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton shortly after election day. Hills was out with Bill and the dogs and were generous enough to stop and take photos in the woods of Chappaqua.

If you're wondering about the Clinton's White House pet, Socks the cat, he's dead. Sorry. But don't worry the folks at Second Dimension are bringing him back to the SNES in his own video game! No, really. Check out their Socks The Cat Kickstarter campaign.

Chappaqua hiker meets Hillary & Yoshi

Socks The Cat for SNES
November 13, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Does NVIDIA CEO's passion for the Nintendo Switch translate into consumer confidence?

NVIDIA's CEO loves the Nintendo Switch
While it's nice to hear NVIDIA CEO saying the Switch is Amazing... The Wii U was an amazing console as well. But consumers were led away by fierce (and unwarranted) negativity.
There is a lot of positive commentary about Nintendo's Switch coming from within the companies creating it. When NVIDIA's CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, tells us we'll be "amazed by it", a certain amount of bias comes along with such a statement. With the paltry amount of info released by Nintendo, such statements are almost harmful due to perceived prejudice. He and his company stand to make a lot of money from any success achieved by the Switch. Is he really the best mouthpiece for such commentary?

Switch info needs to come from relatable sources, not those with financial ties
I've seen several articles quoting various praises from NVIDA... about their own product. Don't misunderstand me - I'm delighted to see positive statements, but I feel Nintendo needs to focus on positivity from journalists and reviewers who connect better with consumers.

When Ford Says their pickup trucks are better than Chevy's we understand the advertising mechanism and don't expect to see Ronald McDonald dining out at Burger King. It's business. Marketing. Part of the public relations machine doing it's thing. We see such things in advertising scenarios. The articles I've seen are informational, not paid advertising.

Nintendo's viral video introducing the Switch console captured our attention, but it instigated as many questions as it answered. Nintendo has vowed to dispense more info in mid January, but that leaves a lot of time for speculation, guessing, and an inevitable stream of misinformation. We saw this happen with the Wii U. It was decimated by negativity perpetuated by online misinformation.

We feel Nintendo needs to keep the Switch in the public's eye via relatable media. The NES Classic Edition is the pinacle of simplicity in terms of how it works and what it provides. The Switch needs a similar flow of info regarding its place in the marketplace,, our lives, and how it embellishes play. Negative comments about it's perceived power are already infecting social media. It's pure misinformation repeated by those who can't even create their own viewpoint.

We hope Nintendo will get out in front of such incorrect claims and put forth valid information. Their silence leaves too much space for misinformation to grow.
November 12, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

As the hero of backward compatibility, Nintendo's Switch is a departure from playing Gameboy on GameCube

Backward compatibility - Nintendo Switch
While I understand the technical & financial limitations to putting a disc mechanism in a console as a secondary medium, I'll miss Nintendo's rein as backward compatible heroes.
I was genuinely puzzled the day I found a Gameboy adapter for GameCube in GameStop's discount bin. Bagged in generic packaging like all the other used hardware, I couldn't imagine what this odd device could be. It wasn't until I read the label on the GameCube-sized disc did it occur to me!

I was astounded to discover one could actually play Gameboy cartridges on a Gamecube - brilliant!! Roughly twelve years after the Gameboy's debut, one could play the games on the GameCube. I loved the Super GameBoy adapter for the SNES with the sudden influx of color to the games I'd only known in monochrome. But on a GameCube?!? That was unheard of in terms of backward compatibility.

Super Gameboy for SNES Backward compatibility has occurred among similar and dissimilar game consoles since the Atari 2600 - perhaps earlier. Both the Atari 7800 and Colecovision consoles could play Atari 2600 games. Coleco offered an adapter and the 7800 played them natively. I didn't fully appreciate the GameCube library until I bought a Wii. The GC games were cheap and awesome.

Backward compatibility has always been most appreciated when new hardware is released. Backward compatibility with the Wii allowed Wii U owners to play existing games as new ones were released for the Wii U. For us, this has always been a smart move. It's fun to play new games on a new system, but until you get several titles, it's nice to enjoy familiar classics. The GameCube's transition to mini-discs drew a line in the sand with N64 compatibility, but Nintendo has always gone the extra mile to widen their game console's offerings.

Switch's Functional Design Removes The Plausibility Of Backward Compatibility

The Switch seems to contain it's power within the tablet, leaving the docking station to handle TV output and charging duties. I'm sure a disc mech could fit inside the dock, but at a high cost. And lets not forge the Wii U library is quite small. As much as I loved having 4 GameCube pots on my Wii, the Wii U gamepad, wiimotes and disc media make for an expensive compatibility issue with the Switch's form factor and intended use.

This may be the end of an era for Nintendo's backward compatibility, but it will be a bold new step into how we play video games from the sofa to the passenger seat, park bench, court-side, or anywhere else we wander. I'm sure Virtual Console will come along to make up the difference, but the novelty to the Switch may make the break from backward compatibility a worthwhile step.
November 10, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Has Nintendo drastically underestimated gamer's desires for the NES Classic Edition?

NES Classic Edition
Neither Amazon, Best Buy, nor GameStop offered pre-orders and many stores that did later canceled them. Looks like a dearth of stock will greet shoppers in the morning.
AtGames has been releasing mini consoles each holiday season for several years. If you want one, just go down to your local toy or game store - they'll have them on the shelves. Not so for Nintendo's mini console to be released tomorrow (Friday Nov. 11).

I've seen "strategy guides", on social media, outlining the best way to score one of these little wonders on release day. Even Amazon won't offer them until 2PM PT and they say they have limited quantities. Without pre-orders, nearly everyone who wants one will have to go to a store to get one.

This device should not come to market in limited quantities. NES for all!
No retailers in my area seem to be getting more than 20 units. Out in my neck of the woods, that's not too many consoles. After some of the lines I stood in to get amiibo figures, I wonder what tomorrow will bring. Lots of people - many of whom will not get an NES Classic Edition.

I'm not sure retailers are ready for the demand they are likely to get. Tomorrow would not be a good day to be working the opening-shift at a toy or game retailer.

From what I'm hearing, follow up shipments are weeks away. Everything points to Nintendo shipping limited quantities. With the Switch missing the holiday shopping madness, Nintendo would be smart to get this stocking-stuffer into as many hands as possible.

I'm excited to have a Miitomo update today, but I'm also nervous to see if the early bird gets the worm tomorrow. I want to check out some of these classic NES games via HDMI and my Pro Controller!

If that plan doesn't come to fruition, I'm may pick up the Retro Bit Generations console that is similar to Nintendo's offering, but features 100 arcade and console games from a variety of platforms. This is pending good reviews and no awful lag reports.
November 9, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Nintendo revives retro gaming with NES Classic Edition console and 3 days of it's former Power Line

Ninteindo phone tip line
Don't laugh... Nintendo's tip line assisted players who sought gaming advice long before the Internet was inundated with videos and info.
It's hard to imagine a world where you'd get stuck at a certain level in a game and had to argue with your parents to let you call the Nintendo Power Line for tips and advice. These days, it's hard to find anyone using a phone to speak to another human. It's all texts and social networks!

Nintendo's retro weekend begins with NESterday By this time, we're sure you've heard about Nintendo's NES Classic Edition emulation console with 30 built-in games. Nintendo is actually showing a wonderful commitment to understanding the importance of their own past and retro gaming in general. This shows with the attention given to this upcoming mini-console, but also with the 3-day revival of their former Power Line phone-in gaming tip center!

November 11 through 13 you can dial the Power Line at 425-885-7529 from 6:00am to 7:00pm Pacific Time and get help with any of the 30 games contained on the NES Classic Edition. Tell your online friends with the #NESterday hashtag. Pretty cool!

I'm not sure how this 3-day phone-bank will operate, but back in the day those on the Power Line had large binders full of maps, drawings, and info about various games. As this was a pay-service, they had to provide a valuable service. The phone lines couldn't be run by random idiots who knew nothing about games (try calling your cable tv company for help).

Bringing back 30 NES games, in a slick little console, is a pretty bold step despite the success of the various Virtual Consoles associated with major Nintendo console releases. Adding in a weekend of Power Line tips is an awesome nod to their past and adds a great element of retro to an already great idea. Nintendo really does understand "fun" and that bodes well for the upcoming Switch console emerging March 2017.

In the mean time, we hope to snag a NES Classic Edition console on Friday. It sounds like supplies will be limited as the typical pre-orders simply haven't appeared and others evaporated and even canceled on some folks. This release seems like one that has to be made in person at a retail counter. Good luck!
November 9, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Infamous gorilla, Harambe, did not get thousands of write-in votes, but many people wasted their votes

I'm With Harambe
Fake stories of write-in votes emerged as Hillary Clinton's chances dwindled. Her potential win was stymied by voters who stayed home, not those who tried to elect dead gorillas.
A humorous/sarcastic article began to get traction among those searching for something to blame Hillary's loss on. While the notion that a dead gorilla garnered 15,00 write-in votes seems in line with the number of morons who believe anything put in print, it's not true. the story is fake. All it takes in our modern connected world is a tweet reposted to Facebook combined with a simian Instagram pic and Viral City, here we come!

A lot of folks say their vote doesn't count. That statement shows an ignorance for the Electoral College system. While majority rule within a state may seem like wasted votes, in a close race, EVERY vote counts. Many of the states went to Trump by slim margins.

Here's a statistic for doubters. Trump didn't rally the Republicans to come out to vote. It was Democrats failing to appear at the polls that made the Republican movement seem strong and dominant. So, those of you who thought "my vote doesn't count" have just learned the hard way that your vote could have elected Hillary. Staying home let the count swing to Trump's advantage.

Sometimes, it may seem like a waste of time, but when the race is close, it doesn't take much to make a difference. Trump didn't win by a large number of votes. Everyone who did actually throw away their vote by writing in some random celebrity, is partially responsible for the Trump win. Nice going. Next time - get up and vote. Your vote does count... and go learn about our political system.

I'm sure Harambe got a few votes and who's to say Eddie Van Halen, Tony Hawk, and Candice Swanepoel didn't get some voter laughs as well. Not voting is bad. Throwing away your vote - thinking you're a comedic genius - is tragic. Be a part of your country. Being an idiot is neither helpful or desired. Grow up. Thanks.
November 3, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Let's chat about power because the Nintendo Switch has plenty of it

Ninteindo Switch
The Switch vs Sony & Microsoft comparisons need to stop.
I'll admit to being a huge Nintendo fan, and while that may cloud my ability to be completely impartial, it does not erode my ability to be factual when discussing gaming. Will this serve as a disclaimer for my love of Nintendo? Does this separate my passion for this gaming company versus objective debate of their products? I hope so. I'd like to draw a line between fanaticism and misinformation. But not everyone does.

The ability to make "something out of nothing" is a valuable skill. An empty lot becomes a home. A pile of wood becomes a table. Heaps of fabric become clothing. One can even turn a telephone into a portable gaming device. All of these transformations are uniquely remarkable.

Most of us don't possess the skills to build a home, make a table, sew a shirt, or code an app. That's alright - there are a variety of jobs requiring a wide array of skills. We excel at the things we know and try to master additional skills to further our knowledge. In line with this, most of us wouldn't randomly stop at a construction site to tell the forman how to build a house. Nor do we pull aside the manger at the Gap to discuss a stitch pattern. But, it's a little different with video games... isn't it?

Ninteindo Switch Yep. Everyone is an expert when it comes to video games. And these "experts" are delighted to share misinformation.

The Wii U was largely ruined by misinformation. Some of it came from Nintendo in the form of poor marketing. They didn't properly convey the Wii U's purpose or strengths. At the same time, gaming media ran relentless articles about the console being underpowered. This argument was propped up by numerous comparisons between the Wii U and Sony & Microsoft consoles - regarding "power". This gave consumers a false metric for judging the Wii U. It was judged on the specs from other consoles with no regard for the Wii U's own performance.

This same comparison is beginning to show up online regarding the upcoming Nintendo Switch console. Journalists are parsing info and making a new round of inaccurate apples-to-oranges comparisons. It needs to stop!

Power

When I hear the term "underpowered" followed by a comparison of RAM memory, I cringe. Primarily, most of these "journalists" know 4 is less than 8. This is knowledge held by most 4-year-olds and says nothing about the Switch versus the PS4. Both consoles deliver gaming experiences that will amaze you. The PS4 won't do it twice as well (going back to that bit of math).

Let's use an analogy. Bill and Ted are sitting down to read a novel. Bill sits beneath a lamp with a 60 watt bulb, while Ted's lamp has a 100 watt bulb. Is Bill's reading experience underpowered? Will Ted enjoy the book more? The answer to both is NO.

Both bulbs deliver plenty of illumination for reading, just as all the Generation 8 game consoles delivered plenty of power for great gaming experiences on each console. As for Bill and Ted, Bill prefers Stephen King novels, but that has nothing to do with the illumination.

Ninteindo Switch Yep. Everyone is an expert when it comes to video games. And these "experts" are delighted to share misinformation.

One more analogy... If raw power is such a tremendous metric, why doesn't everyone drive a Ferrari or a Mack truck? It's hard to beat either for horsepower. A Mack truck may not travel too quickly uphill, but a Ferrari towing 85,000 pounds won't budge let alone go up a steep hill. Maybe power isn't the best spec to use when making wide comparisons -or comparing game consoles.

This issue also extends to the term "underpowered". It's not a term for comparing disparate items like apples and oranges or Switches and PS4s. Going back to cars - the kind we all drive as opposed to trucks and super cars - they all meet different criteria.

When I was a kid, my parents bought a station wagon with a V4 engine. It truly was underpowered. It was sluggish, slow, and had dangerously poor acceleration. My parents later replaced it with a V8-equipped wagon and it was a beast. I loved that car and we kept it for 22 years!

Looking at this example, the V4 - in this case - wasn't powerful enough to properly move the weight of our original car. That is what "underpowered" means. It didn't perform to it's expectation or anticipated standard. We didn't expect it to have the power of a V8, but it didn't even have adequate power for a V4. Gaming consoles fit this model - they need to be powerful enough to properly play the games designed for them. The Wii U did this flawlessly. It was certainly not underpowered!

Since then, I've owned various cars with V4 engines that were terrific vehicles. The fact is, a V4 engine in today's cars will take you to the train station each morning, across the country, and/or up the steepest roadways - as will a car with a V8. As a driver you can choose what size engine you want in your next vehicle. Just as you might choose Spaltoon or Halo as the desired gaming experience for your next game console. You wouldn't buy a Nintendo console and complain that it won't play Halo, nor would Xbox One owners feel cheated out of Splatoon or Mario Kart.

Calling All Engineers

The toddler-math example from above is particularly troubling. Larger numbers are not better. Similarly, smaller numbers are not bad.

Too many people are drawing comparisons between processors based only on MegaHertz specs. All V8 car engines are not the same, why do folks think computer processors are identical? So many factors go into the speed at which a game runs, that to pull out one spec and use it as a gold standard for everything is ridiculous.

Ninteindo Switch Even with an easy-to-understand car metaphor, a race car won't win any races if it's driven by my grandmother. There are a lot of facets to how a program (game) will run on different hardware. Understanding this is much more complicated than knowing which number is biggest. I grow weary of armchair engineers who think they can compare various chipsets based on singular specs. Worse, they spew their nonsense causing others to find some truth in their misinformation.

I don't know enough to compare an NVIDIA chipset to that or another device. I highly doubt many forum trolls have such abilities, yet there they are seeking followers. It's fun to dream, speculate and wish. It's quite another thing to preach a new console's demise based on your own intellectual shortcomings. It's OK not to have all the answers. Most of us don't.

Video game retail is a tricky business with thin margins on the hardware. Success comes to manufacturers and developers who can deftly balance all the factors from speed and diverse games to cost and mass appeal. If it was easy, everyone would do it. It's easy to spew misinformation. That's why so many do it.

We're excited about the Switch and, like the Wii U, it will offer some of the best games Nintendo has ever offered. If yo think the Wii U is underpowered, try one of the kiosks in game store and see for yourself. Wii U games are awesome and the Switch will now let you take them from your living room to your next destination without missing a beat. Sounds good to us!
November 2, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

The GameON by Atari earphones “Pre-Order” button goes to an Indiegogo campaign

GameON: Sure-Fit Earphones
Few things excite me as much as an Atari logo, but I've never bought headphones or speakers online. I want to HEAR them for myself.
Maybe I'm old-fashioned, living under a rock, or just delusional, but is it a bit odd that a new brand of earphones is taking pre-orders via a crowd-funding site? I've bought my fair share of speakers and headphones, but I can't imagine buying before trying. I 'm not sure I'd be comfortable buying a name brand like Bose without hearing them myself. I take a cautious approach to a company that licences the Atari name to sell earphones.

GameON by Atari earphones pre order Atari has fumbled with their iconic brand name for years attaching it to things like fast food and online gambling. I don't associate the Atari brand with any audio success or knowledge.

The Atari fanboy in me wants these headphones to be awesome, but I'd be a lot more comfortable if the GameON by Atari Indiegogo campaign was simply to gauge interest. On the other hand, they may be using the Indiegogo platform to segregate the discounted pre-order priced sales at 40% off.

It would be nice to hear of an Atari success with one of these non-gaming ventures. Even last year's fitness app seemed to disappear into the void. Atari recently licensed 100 of their video games to AtGames for a retro gaming release on PS4 and Xbox One. Each time they drift from gaming, they seem to come back to it. Who knows what the future might hold, as I believe AtGames wants to release more Atari games to Generation 8 game consoles.

It would be nice to see Atari reach some success with this partnership, but it's important to realize this is a licensing deal. The "Atari" name still has a lot of recognition in the marketplace. The Atari that brought you Asteroids and Yar's Revenge is long gone. The current holding company that owns the name, is licensing it for this project and perhaps others. I doubt a holding company brings much audio tech to the table.

If you're a trusting soul and adore the Atari name, you can get a discount on these Atari branded earphones via Indiegogo. Otherwise you can keep an eye on the project and see when they come to retail outlets where you can give them a trial run listen.

Atari CEO Fred Chesnais on the GameON: Sure-Fit Earphones
November 1, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Review: Atari Flashback Classic Collections offer arcade and 2600 games on PS4 & Xbox One

Atari Flashback Classic Collection
While most folks are debating the PS4 versus the Pro model and adding Virtual Reality to the mix, I'm stoked to play Tempest on mine!
If you want to dip into gaming history with your modern game console, AtGames has two releases to satisfy the most ardent Atari fans. If you loved Asteroids or Missile Command, AtGames is bringing them (and 98 other games) to both PS4 and Xbox One!

AtGames logo There are two volumes, each containing fifty games. At about $20 each, that's a quick way to get into retro gaming and they feature both arcade releases as well as those for the Atari 2600 home console. While not all the titles are gems, each release has a wealth of great games to enjoy. Some may get one or two curiosity plays, but I'll just say they have historic value. Many, like Basic Math, I've never played before and as a fan of Atari, that's pretty cool.

Each disc is sprinkled with arcade versions and primarily comprised of home console versions. One nice touch to the arcade titles they include are the corresponding home releases. You can compare the Atari 2600 version to the arcade original. Not all had home releases, but it makes for a fun comparison.

Tempest on the Atari Flashback Classic Collection

Great Control Via Modern Controllers

As for game play, I found all of the games played true to their original arcade and cartridge counterparts. While a trackball would be great for Missile Command, Centipede, and Millipede - and a rotary controller for Warlords - the play on the PS4 controllers is great. In fact, you can use either the d-pad or analog sticks in all the games.

It took me some time to adapt from a standard Atari-style joystick to analog sticks, but the transition works well. And the overall control on the PS4 is terrific. No lags, jitters, or oddities of any sort. Just a lot of fun.

While discussing original equipment, like joysticks, the console itself is digitally accessible for all the options you'd expect from the 2600's switches. You can select game options and the variables as you would on the actual hardware. You can even toggle the Color switch if you feel so inclined. Add some scan-lines - it's all in there!

You'll also find a wealth of artwork from box covers to manuals. You can actually browse the manuals for all the games. They may seem simple, but you'd be surprised at how much great info is in those little booklets. Some even include the comic book!

Almost all of the games have local 2-player options and all of them can be played online. You can host a game and join up with others.

Game Lists

Atari Flashback Classics Volume 1 Atari Flashback Classics Volume 1 Game List:
  1. 3D Tic Tac Tow
  2. Air Sea Battle
  3. Backgammon
  4. Basketball
  5. Black Widow (arcade)
  6. Bowling
  7. Brain games
  8. Canyon bomber
  9. Centipede
  10. Centipede (arcade)
  11. Circus Atari
  12. Combat
  13. Combat 2
  14. Desert falcon
  15. Dodge-em
  16. Fatal run
  17. Football
  18. Homerun
  19. Human cannonball
  20. Liberator (arcade)
  21. Lunar lander (arcade)
  22. Millipede
  23. Millipede (arcade)
  24. Minigolf
  25. Pong (arcade)
  26. Quadrun
  27. Radar lock
  28. RS Volleyball
  29. RS Boxing
  30. RS Football
  31. RS Soccer
  32. Save Mary
  33. Slot machine
  34. Slot racers
  35. Space duel (arcade)
  36. Sprint master
  37. Star raiders
  38. Steeplechase
  39. Stunt cycle
  40. Super baseball
  41. Super football
  42. Sword quest EW
  43. Sword quest FW
  44. Sword quest WW
  45. Tempest
  46. Tempest (arcade)
  47. Video Olympics
  48. Warlords
  49. Warlords (arcade)
  50. Yars' revenge
Atari Flashback Classics Volume 2 Atari Flashback Classics Volume 2 Game List:
  1. Adventure
  2. Asgo Concentration
  3. Asteroids
  4. Asteroids (Arcade)
  5. Asteroids Deluxe (Arcade)
  6. Basic Math
  7. Blackjack
  8. Breakout
  9. Casino
  10. Championship Soccer
  11. Checkers
  12. Chess
  13. Code Breaker
  14. Crystal Castles
  15. Crystal Castles (arcade)
  16. Demons to Diamonds
  17. Double Dunk
  18. Flag Capture
  19. Golf
  20. Gravitar
  21. Gravitar (arcade)
  22. Hangman
  23. Haunted House
  24. Major Havoc (arcade)
  25. Maze craze
  26. Missile Command
  27. Missile Command (Arcade)
  28. Night Driver
  29. Off the Wall
  30. Outlaw
  31. Race
  32. Red Baron (arcade)
  33. Return to Haunted House
  34. RS Baseball
  35. RS Basketball
  36. RS Tennis
  37. Secret Quest
  38. Sentinel
  39. Sky Diver
  40. Spacewar
  41. Sprint (arcade)
  42. Starship
  43. Stellar Track
  44. Street Racer
  45. Sub Commander
  46. Super Breakout
  47. Super Breakout (Arcade)
  48. Surround
  49. V Pinball
  50. Video cube

A Diverse Mix Of Games?

I've heard a few comments about filler-games in reference to games that are not as "desirable" as others. We all love Asteroids and Breakout, but multiple football games and Basic Math won't necessarily get a lot of game play. Understandable. It's easy to view the list of games on each volume online, but the packaging lacks the full list. Each box only lists a handful of titles. Part of the appeal of such a compilation is getting stoked about the enclosed titles - that makes the sale for me. The crapshoot element is less desirable.

Some consumers will be expecting 50 amazing games on each volume. Discovering Video Chess and Hangman may be a let down. We like to think of such titles as part of gaming's history and fun to experience. Your attitude may differ. For what it's worth, all such licensing deals involve negotiation and compromise. I'm sure AtGames would like to release more of these titles, thus putting all the AAA titles on the first volume defeats the sales potential of future volumes. At the same time, 50 is a nice robust number of games. Therefore, one has to expect a few lesser titles. Each volume has 9 arcade classics and 41 2600 console games. It's a good deal :)

Retro Gaming In Modern Times

There once was a time when I vowed never to buy any gaming system that didn't have Namco Museum available. That requirement worked out well for a good long while. Other titles have entered the fray, offering various retro games, but the notion of compilation game releases has largely fallen by the wayside.

Canyon Bomber on the Atari Flashback Classic Collection I was excited to hear about the two Atari Flashback Classic Collections being released for the PS4 and Xbox One. Too often, retro collections are relegated to downloads and deemed unworthy of a packaged retail release. Seeing these two volumes on retail shelves is awesome!

Exposure of these timeless classics is important. When kids see these, they may not realize the history staring them in the face, but for those who grew up with Missile Command and Yar's Revenge... we know!

At first I was confused by the name. I associate "Flashback" with the mini consoles from AtGames with 60 to 90 built-in games. To my surprise, AtGames is branching out with this retail release for Generation 8 consoles and a new update to the traditional Atari FlashBack and SEGA Genesis Classic consoles. They even have handheld versions arriving soon for this holiday season!

Most reviewers would split out the two different volumes, but We highly recommend both. As Atari fanatics, we can't imagine buying one without the other. Naturally, not everyone will share our odd Atari devotion - we think both sets are very evenly matched. If you only buy one, simply look at the game lists and see which one contains your favorites.

October 2016 Retro Gaming Articles:

October 31, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Happy Retro Gaming Halloween!

Happy Retro Gaming Halloween
After Trick Or Treating and/or doling out candy to the neighborhood ghosts & ghouls, relax with your favorite retro video game!
Many sites have glorious lists of Halloween-themed video games, perfect to bring out some fear on a spooky Halloween night. While Haunted House on the Atari 2600 seems like an obvious choice for Atari fans like us, we're going with our favorite ghosts... Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde.

Fire up some Pac-Man and let the delightful screen-flicker on the 2600 revive those memories of being able to play Pac-Man at home in the early 80s! Or you can download the updated ROM file that cures the flicker.. among other things :)

Happy Retro Gaming Halloween

Halloween Nonsense

Taylor Swift won Halloween by wearing Ryan Reynolds actual Deadpool costume. She doesn't strike me as a superhero type, so it's cool to discover a fun backstory to this outfit. Meanwhile Hilary Duff became the target of self-righteous morons who seek to find evil in any possible corner.

Duff and friend aren't behaving badly or doing anything racist. These days, everyone wants to be some sort of civil rights crusader and attack anything. This is the behavior that leads to divisions among people, not uniting!

Taylor Swift wearing the original Deadpool costume Taylor Swift wearing the original Deadpool costume. By original, we mean she contacted her pal Ryan Reynolds and got HIS costume. Apparently, it's being reported that she wore the actual costume from the movie. That's pretty slick!
Hilary Duff gets flack for traditional costume Hilary Duff gets flack for traditional costume. I understand that we live in times where everyone is hyper-sensitive to anything that may be remotely "in bad taste", but this controversy about Duff's and her BF's costumes is ridiculous. Can children no longer dress up as a fireman because that's an actual job. So, no more cowboys or indians? People are becoming dreadful. Live and let live. Search for evil where it truly exists!

October 29, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

GameChops released a hip-hop-inspired spin on the water level from the original Donkey Kong Country

water level from Donkey Kong Country
Check out this EDM spin on "Aquatic Ambiance" from the original Donkey Kong Country!
the water level from the original Donkey Kong Country Game music record label GameChops has just released a hip-hop-inspired EDM spin on everyone's favorite water level, "Aquatic Ambiance," from the original Donkey Kong Country, remixed by San Francisco DJ and producer Grimecraft for the Video Game Music Awards.

GameChops is a record label for video game remixes, started by Dj CUTMAN in 2010. they focus on high quality productions of video game music they love.

You can watch the video below or on YouTube.


October 28, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Booqc is crowd funding a terrific book about custom game consoles and the artists creating them

custom consoles and the artists behind them
Some gamers modify consoles with a soldering iron, others take an artistic approach for a different type of result.
If you've ever seen a custom painted game console and wondered about the artist, the process, and how it came about - Booqc Publishing is crowd funding a wonderful coffee-table book, Custom, on Kickstarter, full of images and info about game console artists who modify bland game units into astounding works of art!

Those who frequent museums understand the importance of one-of-a-kind artworks and the uniqueness of being able to view them up close. Many museums can be "toured" online, but it's quite a different experience to stand before a piece of artwork and see the brush strokes, welds, and other facets that led to it's creation. That can be a powerful experience. Art comes in many forms and can be seen in many places - often in everyday places.

Woodgrain N64 One popular console mod involves adding composite video output on an old 8-bit console. Their artistry can come from engineering degrees, electronics tinkering, and/or a desire to know how things work. I'm routinely stunned by the modifications they can make to the consoles I grew up with.

Another form of console modification comes from more traditional artistic talents. The ability to modify the visual appearance of a console can be quite stunning. Have you seen an N64 with a beautiful wood grain exterior? Or an NES wrapped in a Mega Man theme? How about an Animal Crossing village built around a Wii console?

Animal Crossing Wii modification Such works range from interesting to astounding - and everything in between. I've seen many of these online, but only one or two in-person. while I marvel at them, I've noticed there's very often no info about the artist. It makes me wonder if such projects are one-time creations or has the artist been honing their skills from the NES to the Jaguar, and on to The PS1.

These console creations seem like one-of-a-kind creations, but perhaps the NES Mega Man artist has made a dozen of these awesome designs. There's not a lot of info in one place. Author, Antoine Clerc-Renaud vows to change this. His upcoming book, Custom, delves into the beauty, techniques and the artists who create these inspiring custom consoles.

The book will be printed in landscape format to properly display images of the artwork. While focusing on the imagery, it will also be a historic amalgamation of artistic console modding with info about the artists and their techniques. From spray paint and airbrushing to hand-painted details, this is an un-tapped sector of the video game universe.

We hope you will check out the Kickstarter campaign for Custom an consider backing this project. This not Antoine's first foray into publishing. He is the author of Coleco - The Official Book, an impressive history of Coleco from their early days to the infamous Colecovision. Antoine has a great track record heading into Custom!

Sample page from Custom book Sample page from Custom book by Antoine Clerc-Renaud
October 27, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

With an 8-foot screen and a light gun, I'm hoping Space Invaders Frenzy hits my local arcade

Space Invaders Frenzy
When that pixelated cannon becomes a touret-mounted light gun, Space Invaders goes into new territory - FRENZY!
The folks at Arcade Heroes posted info about this upcoming mega Space Invaders game. As a retro gaming fan, I've always had a soft spot for Space Invaders. It was the first video game that really caught my attention and coerced me into visiting the local bowling alley on my way home from middle school.

That bowling alley was pretty far out of my way, but those walks home from school were much better after dropping some quarters and blasting some alien invaders.

Space Invaders Frenzy arcade flyer Of course, the recent batch of retro titles to be reimagined in modern arcades are quite different from those of my youth. For one, they primarily operaton on the videmption principal. Thus the game play is much shorter and not as reliant on your twitch-skills. They dole out redemption tickets, like the new Galaga Assault.

I'm always hesitant about these games until I can drop my own quarters (or swipe my card). The mention of my beloved retro titles coming back to life excites me, but I know that's to capture the retro sector. They may be awesome fun games, but I get suspicious when my favorite titles are rebooted into videmption models. The Arcade Heroes article says this project involves a Taito license and their logo appars on the attract mode. That's a good sign! And the reboot to Space Invaders Frenzy adds mounted light-guns seemingly similar to those used in Jurassic Park Arcade.

I wish there was a Dave & Busters near me - they often get new machines. I'll have to wait and see if one of these enormous cabinets appears an my local arcades so I can grab one of those huge cannons and annihilate enemies! Rumors have this game releasing in early 2018, so I'll have to stick with my '78 Space Invaders for the time being :)

Space Invaders Frenzy
October 26, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Named Karen by the Internet, this Nintendo Switch actress' life is being fabricated by fans

Nintendo Switch logo
Internet memes are a strange phenomena. Meet Karen...
Just days after Nintendo revealed their upcoming NX game console as the Switch, a woman from the trailer has become the focus of internet memes. I don't believe her real name has been made public, but that didn't stop the internet from deeming her, "Karen". Sure, why not?

Netizens are debating whether Karen is a social butterfly who brings the fun where ever she goes via her Switch - or does she have an incurable social inability. Some think she's awkward and doesn't properly interpret social norms, often pestering her friends to play her silly games.

We think Karen is a savvy gal who knows how to have fun. Her new Nintendo Switch lets her bring her favorite games anywhere and even share them with friends who might otherwise get drunk and fall off the roof of a building...

Karen from Nintendo's Switch reveal trailer KAREN'S NEW LIFE IN THE BIG CITY WAS EXCITING, BUT THAT NAGGING QUESTION WAS STILL IN THE BACK OF HER MIND.

Karen is a prophet of Nintendo awesomeness everywhere she goes!
Karen from Nintendo's Switch reveal trailer KAREN SAW OPPORTUNITY WHEN THE TSA WHISKED HER AWAY TO AN INTERROGATION ROOM TO DISCUSS THE DEVICE FOUND IN HER CARRY-ON.

Karen doesn't scare easily and always has a Nintendo solution!
Karen from Nintendo's Switch reveal trailer While a fan of the franchise and appreciative of the craftsmanship, Karen wasn't going to be scared off by the likes of this boss!
October 24, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Device addictions seem eerily similar to chemical addictions, but no connection to video games

Addicted to a fistful of technology
Dread set in when I realized I'd left my smartphone at home and I was at work for the day. It's not the video games. I'm addicted to the drivel!
The term "addiction" tends to invoke scenes of drug and/or alcohol abuse. If I say I'm addicted to retro gaming, it might invoke a smirk and knowing nod. Rarely does the concept of addiction lead to thoughts of a mainstream device to which "addiction" might even bring about that former smirk.

Health-conscious advertising warns about the dangers of smoking and perils of eating cake instead of salad. In my state, laws were passed making it a crime to text while driving, which makes me wonder if it's legal to play the tuba while driving. We instill such laws, but rarely discuss technology addictions. Phones and tablets are becoming the new cocaine.

I see people walk into each other at the mall because they had their head in their phones. People sit together in restaurants in complete silence, all tapping and swiping at their phones. We all seem overly preoccupied with the occurrences on that tiny screen, with little regard for events unfolding around us.

Technology advances have made the phones we once used for verbal communication, hubs for a variety of different ways to communicate. I can't deny the convenience they now offer. What bugs me is how we used to spend a few minutes talking on the phone and now we can spend hours sending and receiving all sorts of varied info.

Addicted

Smartphone/Tech Addiction

I wish I could talk about phone obsession from higher moral ground, but I speak from experience. I'm one of you. We are one.

If I were hooked on mobile games, I could live with that. This isn't an obsessive gaming issue, although I do enjoy a few video games on mobile. No, I'm hooked on info - fueled by FOMO (fear of missing out). What if something awesome happens and I'm not there to see it. I've rationalized this a million times, but we all know social media is largely comprised of junk. There's not a lot to miss.

Last Friday I wound up[ at work without my phone. It was a day full of the same feelings I had when I quit smoking cigarettes. I had all the same feelings of dread, anticipation, and anxiety. It was a strange day of emotions to say the least.

Just as I previously had compulsions to go outside for a smoke, similar cravings came over me as I reached for a phone that wasn't there. I had cravings! It sounds crazy, but I had cravings for that phone. The whole day was much too reminiscent of quitting smoking. On the bright side, it gave me a good sense of how much I rely on my phone for things that are so trivial.

I do use my phone as a source of fodder for social media and to keep up with my lust for retro gaming info. At the same time, I'm convinced a majority of time spent on my phone results from boredom. I don't play very many games on my phone. It was the influx of info I wanted - and I know most of it is awful.

Interestingly, I came home to a sink full of dishes and a few chores that needed attention. Thankfully, I didn't burst through the door and run to my phone. It was where I left it and I was glad to have it close by. It's now time to begin logging off and ignoring the beeps and flashing LED that beckons me back to more drivel from the connected world. My time is far better spent playing Bionic Commando or reading a good book!
October 23, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Rayman franchise creator Michel Ancel discovers lost 20-year-old Rayman game for SNES

Long lost version of Rayman for the SNES
Two-plus decades ago Ubisoft created a version of Rayman for Nintendo's Super NES, but never released the game.
I first discovered Rayman on the Atari Jaguar. It was a very unique game and fit well with the eclectic assortment of games landing on Atari's final game console. I enjoyed the Origins and Legends follow-ups, but often forget both the name and character became entangled with the Raving Rabbids series. I'm not sure how that melding occurred. :)

Rayman ROM for the SNES Nearly a quarter century later a Super NES version has come to light!

Game developer Michel Ancel began to work on Rayman in 1992 for Ubisoft. It was his directorial debut with the French owned company.

The game was never released for the SNES despite it's ports to Sony PlayStation, Atari Jaguar, and Sega Saturn. According to Unseen64, a decision was made to bring the game to the CD-based systems rather than the SNES.

Now that Ancel has found the EPROM, the big question is - what becomes of it? Rom dump? Official SNES release? Update it for the Switch?

If you're in the habit of hanging onto everything, we suggest combing through your collection every now and then - don't let 24 years elapse :)

Ancel released his find on his Instagram account on October 23, showing both the EPROM board in a SNES and a screen shot. It's very cool to hear of such discoveries. Gaming history has an interesting way or evolving. While archeologists painstakingly revise history through removing artifacts buried beneath layers of dirt, gaming historians can update history from boxes in a basement.

This is another example of how recent video gaming's history truly is. Aside from the Atari landfill dig, most of it's history is also fairly accessible.

Rayman ROM for the SNES Screen shots of the SNES version of Rayman from Unseen64.
October 23, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Atari's Difficulty switches are brilliant and should have been adopted by more game consoles

Atari 2600 ifficulty switches
I typically ignored the difficulty switches while others used them to balance game play. Did you ever consider them a marketing coup?
In my early days with the Atari 2600, I took the console's simplicity for granted and rarely every checked the position of the Difficulty Switches. On occasion I'd wonder why my cannon, in Space Invaders, was suddenly so fat, but I was far more interested in blasting aliens.

Not just for VCS compatibility. Atari 7800 games can use the Difficulty Switches too!
The main feature of difficulty switches is to balance game play between players with mismatched skills. The scenario that immediately comes to mind is playing with a younger sibling who hasn't yet mastered the game. Handicapping the experienced player or making the game easier for the novice made it more enjoyable for two such players to compete. That feature on a late 1970s game console is more substantial than one might think. And beckons the question of why such a "balancer" wasn't brought to other consoles of that era.

As an only child I never had occasion to play with a younger sibling or novice player. I ignored those little black switches. Sometimes my friends and I would alter them to add difficulty once a game became too easy. But we never used them to balance game play. I did, however, have a few friends who had to share the family game console with siblings and those switches became quite handy for everyone involved.

In recent years, I've become an ardent fan of the Atari 7800 and it's backward compatibility leap over the 5200, back to the 2600. The convenience of playing both game libraries on one console saves me time and space. Like a lot of folks, I assumed the difficulty switches were a component of the 2600-compatibility. Not true.

Atari 7800 Difficulty Switch settings This chart will hopefully be updated on AtariAge as more homebrew games are released. Not many of the originally released 7800 games use the difficulty switches, but quite a few homebrew games and a few prototypes do. My question is - why didn't more early game consoles adopt this feature?

Many modern games have vast settings one can alter to bring all sorts of change to the experience, but they're not geared toward balanced play as much as for customization. The simplicity of a difficulty switch is what makes me wonder why this feature didn't become standard on more consoles of the 80s era.

The Marketing Angle of Difficulty Switches

Rarely would any of my friends talk about these switches nor how they facilitated balanced game play with their little sister, but that element has great marketing potential! Your little brother or sister never wants to lose and they certainly don't want to be decimated by an elder. That scenario creates tension over who's turn it is to play Atari. Not fun for players or parents.

Naturally, kids want to play video games with their friends as opposed to their younger siblings, but most players know that 2-player games are always better. Using the Difficulty Switches to balance the gaming skills makes those sessions a lot more fun. When everyone is having fun, good times ensue.

Difficulty Switches could introduce an array of cool game options!
I see the inclusion of Difficulty Switches as a means to bring more unity to the game console. The Atari 2600 was the first console, using game carts, that really caught on and dominated the market. Something as simple as balancing the skills-gap in video games can make them more appealing to a wider audience. This was a bigger deal in the 1970s when we realized the TV could offer interaction, not just passive viewing.

The simplicity of flipping a switch to alter global game play seems like a concept other developers would want to replicate. I'm also a bit surprised that Atari devs didn't use these switches for other purposes. It seems like an interesting way to offer more options in any game. Check your manual next time you're playing a VCS or 7800 game and see if those difficulty switches can enhance your session in ways you may not have considered.
October 22, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Eco-focused laundromat teams up with local arcade for best clean clothes ever

Spin Laundry logo
Innovation can save money, save the planet, and even create a lot of fun where you'd least expect it.
We first heard of the Spin Laundromat in Portland, Oregon last year and wrote an article. With a slew of innovations to traditional laundromats and a keen sense of tech and fun, we dig what they've created! No one wants to go to a laundromat... unless it's awesome and Spin Laundry seems to be as awesome as laundry can get. Now they've made it even better!

Spin Laundry partners with local Ground Kontrol arcade I live across the country and recently had to buy a new washer and dryer (an unwanted expense). So, you can imagine the jealousy I feel when I listen to the spin cycle rattling along without free wifi, a cafe with coffee, and no arcade games. That's no way to do laundry - and - why we think Spin is quite innovative in their approach to restoring clean clothing to greater Portland.

You've likely heard of Portland's retro gaming arcade, Ground Kontrol. Apparently, Spin Laundry teamed up with them to get a few more games added to the laundromat's mezzanine - already sporting a few pinball tables and Rampage!

If you've ever had to wait for something, be it a dentist, take-out food, or a clothes dryer - you know how awful waiting can be when you have no way to pass your time.

From food to gaming, Spin obviously understands both the human condition and infusing tech where you may not expect it. Want to receive a text you when your clothes are done - you got it! Don't want to wait for a machine -check availability via text! That's pretty cool.

If your clients have to wait, give them something fun to pass the time!
As in our prior article about entrepreneurs and innovation regarding Spin, I still wonder why so many businesses owners don't focus more on how their clients interact with their business. They may come for a specific purpose, but we're all people who have other things going on. Being able to grab lunch at the laundromat or run errands while your clothes dry is a reality. But it's a reality that few businesses really consider or offer secondary services to facilitate their clients.

Let's face it - if I can play Defender while waiting for my pizza, the sandwich store next door won't be getting my business.
Business owners take note :)
October 21, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Wonder Woman gels team bionic and snags Honorary U.N. title for the Empowerment of Women & Girls

Wonder Woman
A ceremony meant to honor the fight for gender inequality and the character's 75th anniversary led some to protest claiming she has an overtly sexualized image.
I'm not sure if people have changed over time or if the Internet has simply given more people a voice. I hear a lot of folks disagreeing - about everything. Have you ever thought some of those voices seem to be a bit too loud? I have.

Gal Gadot and Lynda Carter Wonder Women It's really true; if you want to start an online argument, simply state a mild opinion and wait five minutes. Someone will come along and tell you you are wrong. I know "you can't please all the people all the time", but would it be so awful to at least listen to each side of an argument?

When I read a headline sating Wonder Woman had been named an honorary ambassador at the United Nations, I expected to see stories about the character being a positive role model. Her appointment as Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls sounds like a good thing and coincides with the character's 75th anniversary (sporting a hashtag, #WonderWoman75)..

I love to see pop-culture being used for positivity. It's a valuable way to bring diverse people together over a common interest and form a better awareness of an issue.

Protesters Deem Wonder Woman Too Sexy for the U.N.

Alas, this scenario was met with protests from those deeming the Wonder Woman character as too sexy. The sad reality is this sexual condemnation is based on the character's appearance. They are claiming Wonder Woman is a bad example because of the way she looks. Not her actions. Not her words. They oppose her message of positivity because of her visual appearance.

I don't claim to have a great solution, but I am adamant when I say most people are quite dreadful. Debate is supposed to be a great tool in which we listen to both sides and offer supportive evidence to prove our position. These days, the person with the loudest voice or most followers on social media are deemed "correct". Sorry, but that is not the way to reach common ground or understanding.

1UpCard Console Cleaner Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman in the late 1970s.
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in 2016.

Wonder Woman Bionic Woman 77 comic book Wonder Woman Bionic Woman 77 comic book While mankind will seek new ways to disappoint, argue, and stomp out each other's differing opinions - I'm kind of excited for the Wonder Woman Bionic Woman comic book crossover in a 6-part mini series releasing in December.

Party like it's 1977 in this cross-over event fans have wanted for decades - but never thought possible! Now, Diana Prince meets Jaime Sommers... or should we say, Wonder Woman meets The Bionic Woman?

In this action-packed mini-series, the two television titans team up to fight a rogue cabal bent on wreaking havoc and stealing deadly weapons. Can CASTRA be stopped before their real targets are revealed and lives are lost? With super powers, bionic enhancements, surprise villains, and an invisible plane, just about anything is possible!

From DC Comics and Dynamite Entertainment, Wonder Woman '77 Meets The Bionic Woman, by Andy Mangels and Judit Tondora, sees Diana Prince and Jamie Sommers tasked with collaborating on a quest to stop havoc around the world.
October 20, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Nintendo's next game console, the Switch, offers both home and portable gaming via cartridges

Nintendo Switch logo
I like the concept but can it's portability replace my 2DS lust?
I'm a StreetPass addict! Virtual Console? Retro gaming?
Fans have been waiting for quite some time to see what Nintendo has planed to supplant the Wii U. Rumors have been running rampant, so it's nice to get some info from Nintendo - including the console's name!

The Nintendo Switch is a hybrid device offering both a home console experience, on your TV, and the portability to take your games on the go. The bridge between the two seems very fluid as though you can continue from your living room TV to mobile on the fly via a crafty docking station.

It's a cool concept, but the trailer released on Thursday morning introduced as many questions as it answered. All the info will come in time, but the specific release date in March as well as the price are high on our list. But there's more to it than that.

Nintendo Switch I love the 2/3DS line and while I see the advantages of having the power of a home console in the portable device, it's seemingly a single device. Thus in a multi-gamer family, Junior goes to a friends house with the portable and Dad wants to play on the living room TV... uh oh, sorry Dad.

Nintendo redesigned the GBA with the clam-shell design of the SP model and brought that folding aspect forward on future handhelds. The rationale was it's ability to fit in your pocket. The original Gameboy, although quite thick, still fit in a pocket. That smaller form factor aided in portability - you gotta put it somewhere!

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller The Switch's portable components look fairly large, which is awesome for gaming on the go. However, I don't think my pockets are that big :)

I'll admit, the Wii U's gamepad scared me in terms of damage. I can get Wiimotes easily, but breaking the gamepad would cause larger issues. With the Switch being an on-the-go device, dropping it rains on the home console parade too. Maybe those store-bought insurance policies deserve a second look.

Until the 3DS came along, I wasn't a huge handheld fan. These days, if StreetPass was a drug, I'd require some serious rehab. The addict in me craves StreetPasses! In all honesty, I saw that as a very social element to the 3DS. I've heard of StreetPass relay points being shuttered in the UK. This makes me wonder if StreetPass will fold all together when the 3DS ends it's retail lifecycle.

With such a new concept will come adjustments to the way we play games. The Thursday morning trailer packed a lot of info into those few minutes. I'm guessing the Switch has a few more tricks up it's sleeve than seen in the video. One such trick is support for Unreal Engine 4 confirmed by Epic Games.

Nintendo Switch NVIDIA wasted no time in touting the custom high-efficiency scalable Tegra processor powering the Switch along with an NVIDIA GPU. Many folks faulted the Wii U as under-powered, but it seemed to play all the games just fine. It's worth noting that most people are idiots. But the switch seems nicely powered and I'm confident it will play it's games equally as well.

However, with games coming on "Game Cards", I doubt you'll find compatibility with your collection of 3DS games and certainly not any Wii U titles. It doesn't seem to have a disc mechanism. One wonders if the Switch will have it's own Virtual Console from which we can re-purchase our favorite games - yet again.

The list of 3rd party developers seems quite robust. We hope to see lots and lots of games in addition to the Nintendo staples that keep us coming back. We eagerly await the listing of launch titles!

Nintendo Switch's Third Party Developer List

List compiled by Nintendo Life.
  1. 505 Games
  2. Activision Publishing, Inc.
  3. ARC SYSTEM WORKS Co., Ltd.
  4. ATLUS CO., LTD.
  5. Audiokinetic Inc.
  6. Autodesk, Inc.
  7. BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc.
  8. Bethesda
  9. CAPCOM CO., LTD.
  10. Codemastersr
  11. CRI Middleware Co., Ltd.
  12. DeNA Co., Ltd.
  13. Electronic Arts
  14. Epic Games Inc.
  15. Firelight Technologies
  16. FromSoftware, Inc.
  17. Frozenbyte
  18. GameTrust
  19. GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE INC.
  20. Gungho Online Entertainment, Inc.
  21. HAMSTER Corporation
  22. Havok
  23. INTI CREATES CO., LTD.
  24. KOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD.
  1. Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd.
  2. LEVEL-5 Inc.
  3. Marvelous Inc.
  4. Maximum Games, LLC
  5. Nippon Ichi Software, Inc.
  6. Parity Bit Inc.
  7. PlatinumGames Inc.
  8. RAD Game Tools, Inc.
  9. RecoChoku Co., Ltd.
  10. SEGA Games Co., Ltd.
  11. Silicon Studio Corporation
  12. Spike Chunsoft Co., Ltd.
  13. SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD.
  14. Starbreeze Studios
  15. Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
  16. Telltale Games
  17. THQ Nordic
  18. Tokyo RPG Factory Co., Ltd.
  19. TT Games
  20. UBISOFT
  21. Ubitus Inc.
  22. Unity Technologies, Inc.
  23. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
  24. Web Technology Corp

Nintendo Switch Controller The "brains" of the device seem to reside in the tablet portion. The dock may contain some additional tech, but it seems geared toward charging the tablet. Speaking of which, is that a touch screen? We didn't see evidence of it in the trailer - no stylus was shown and all the game play was controller-based.

Nintendo is being hush-hush about the screen, but apparently we can alter our games by smacking it with an amiibo. And how about that face-to-face console merging action? That looked pretty cool, but likely the kind of game mechanics we won't see in too many titles. The Wii U gamepad was horribly under utilized and I'm guessing this will be too.

But the nuances won't likely emerge until the Switch hits retail and the masses get their hands on it. In the mean time, Polygon has images and breakdowns worth a prowl.

Here's the real question for us... With an ambiguous release date statement, will Nintendo shock us all and soft-launch this slick little beast in time for Christmas '16? One can hope!! :)
October 18, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

LEGO Ideas brings the Beatles Yellow Submarine to life in over 550 pieces

LEGO Beatles Yellow Submarine
You can buy and build this upcoming LEGO Beatles Yellow Submarine from the famous 1968 film.
On November 1 you'll be able to purchase this slick little submarine and get started assembling the 550 pieces. LEGO Beatles Yellow Submarine lets you build this colorful craft complete with the fab-four figures who fit conveniently inside it.

I recently bought the Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl CD and it brought back a lot of memories. AC/DC and Van Halen began to rule my musical world in the mid-80s, sending the Beatles to the back burner. It was a blast to get back into them especially with an epic live recording! But as fandoms go... the guy who created the brick-by-brick Yellow Submarine is on a whole other level.

LEGO Ideas logo If you're not familiar with LEGO Ideas, it's a site that lets you submit your creations for voting and the potential for your design to be produced and shipped to retail shelves all over the world. Kevin Szeto, who created the initial LEGO Beatles Yellow Submarine, said his inspiration came from being a musician with a passion for the music of The Beatles.

From the LEGO shop:
Build this LEGO® version of the iconic Yellow Submarine from the famous 1968 film, and journey back to Pepperland with the Fab Four! The submarine features a removable top for easy play, a cockpit that accommodates the included John, Paul, George and Ringo minifigures, two rotating propellers, four periscopes, an adjustable rudder, plus assorted accessory elements that The Beatles have collected on their journey. The set also includes a Jeremy figure. An ideal gift for fans of LEGO and The Beatles, it's great for role-play or to create a colorful retro display.

Head to your local toy store on November first and snatch up one of these cool subs. You're probably better off with an online order. Oddly, the LEGO Beatles Yellow Submarine was revealed less than a week before it's retail arrival. I don't follow toy releases, but that seems like a short timeline. On the other hand, the Beatles are an easy-sell for fans. If you love the Beatles, this seems like a fantastic collectible!
October 17, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Is the table full of PlayStation VR units, by the registers, for impulse shoppers?

PlayStation VR
I'm more accustomed to the impulse racks at the supermarket where I don't often see Virtual Reality units.
PlayStation VR case Of all the manufacturers likely to take a good share of the VR market this holiday season, Sony seems best poised. In those who already own a PS4 exists a customer who's halfway there. Others may hold off on the PS4 in favor of the Pro model with enhanced graphics for the VR device. And there's another group who will sell their PS4 to get the Pro model.

All of that sounds better than the pricier options from Oculus and the dreadful options at toy stores. I will admit to buying Mattel's View-Master VR gadget last Christmas. As for the "just add your smartphone" VR options go, I kind of liked it and thought it was one of the better low-end solutions available last year.

VR Standards?

When I began playing video games, I had an Atari 2600 and my buddy had an Intellivision. We each preferred our own systems, but secretly wished those games could be played n both systems. Other kids had Colecovision and the Atari 2600 Expansion Module that let them play games for both systems. As time progressed, so did standards of sorts. Today there are exclusive games, but many are available on multiple platforms from Mobile to console, and computers.

VR will take time to reach this sort of cross platform unity. Until then, every great game becomes an island - unreachable by those with different hardware. Sony seems poised to take off with VR, but what if all the cool games are on Oculus? Yeah, I'll stick with Google Cardboard for a while longer. Thanks anyway...
October 15, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

If you seek a new Atari experience, check out “Boss” for the 2600, from Gemintronic

Boss for the Atari 2600
Fully funded on Indiegogo, BOSS is a single player shoot em up that tests your reflexes, patience, and planning.
Boss for the Atari 2600 Boss is an upcoming Atari 2600 homebrew game that has been funded on Indiegogo. It was developed by Jason Santuci of Gemintronic and produced by indie studio, The Ludicrous Ones Game Studio.

If you've played Cyber Willy (2012) for the Atari 2600, Boss may have some familiarity for you. With several updates to the gameplay and use of multiple boss enemies, the published cartridge version has been renamed "Boss". However, it is not a repackaged game.

Crowd funding involves different tiers of financial commitment with varying rewards. The rewards from the Boss campaign range from a digital version to a loose cartridge, and even a complete package containing a box, manual, cartridge & keychain. Nice!
Boss for the Atari 2600screenshot From the Boss' Indiegogo page:
BOSS is a single player shoot em up that is cut from a slightly different cloth. You pilot your ship against one massively powerful boss ship at a time. These enemies vary in size and behavior, and get stronger as you go.

The one constant is that they're tough! It's a constant battle of attrition that tests your reflexes, patience, and planning. Before you know it, these titans are filling the screen with their shots, and mixing up their patterns. It's the equivalent of a bullet-hell shmup on the classic Atari!


Check out the Boss Indiegogo campaign and see if it's a project you can get behind. Having already met it's funding goal, the risk of this campaign are significantly less. I love finding a new Atari 2600 game on a cartridge. The homebrew community is a continual love-letter to the console I grew up with!
October 14, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

1UpCard Console Cleaners take the fuzz out of cleaning your NES & SNES connections

screen shots form Piko's Custodian for Jaguar
While reaching for a Q-tip is the easy solution, the fuzz they leave behind makes them better suited for ears.
When it comes to cleaning your game carts and consoles, some may give you an odd lok and glance curiously at their vacuum cleaner. Face it, a lot of people don't think to clean their game carts or consoles.

Much like a carpet, I vacuum when it appears to need it (admittedly a poor way to maintain cleanliness). Similarly, I'll wipe off my game consoles when the dust-bunnies attack, but the inside remains largely untouched and presumably filthy. It's sad, but many of us have the "out of sight, out of mind" mentality. No one (myself included) likes to clean things. But sometimes we need to clean our games and consoles...

Every now and then, I'll insert a game cart, turn on the console, and get no result. The familiar start-up screen just isn't happening. Time to clean! When it comes to game carts, I find great satisfaction in wiping doen the contacts with alcohol and a Q-tip simply because I can see the dirt and filth appear on the white tip. This gives me some feedback as to how dirty the game's metal contacts really were.

Don't blow on game carts, clean them - without any fuzz!
The same is true for a game console's inner cartridge connector, but there's a big difference! Cleaning a game card simply entails rubbing down each side of the internal board's edge connector. Inside your console are contacts that must make contact with both sides of this edge connector.

Thus any cleaning utility must fit into the same tight space the game cart slides into. Q-tips son't fit well in that space - they're too big. And once you try to move them in that slot, the fuzz can quickly shed and tangle with those internal elements.

Last year we wrote about the 1UpCard Cleaning Kit for game cartridges. It uses a micro-fiber surface to clean without leaving any detritus (fuzz) behind. You can check out all of their cleaning options, for game carts and consoles, on the 1UpCard website.

1UpCard also makes cleaning kits that fit into your game console's edge-connector slot and can remove the oxidation on the console's connector. I couldn't say for sure where issues lie regarding clean connectors and successful game sessions, but I always begin with cleaning the cartridge and then see if cleaning the consoles internal connector helps revive a non-cooperative game cart. The NES and SNES console cleaning carts let you get into the consoles internal slot much easier than a Q-tip - especially with the original NES model. The NES top loader and SNES are easier to access, but the 1UpCard cleaning carts let you get into that narrow slot and clean out any gunk.

Give these devices a try and I'm sure you'll see how much easier it is to clean carts and a consoles with the right tool!

1UpCard Console Cleaner 1UpCard Console Cleaner for Nintendo NES.
1UpCard Console Cleaner 1UpCard Console Cleaner for Nintendo SNES

October 13, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

100 Atari games are headed to PS4 & Xbox One via “Atari Flashback Classics Vol 1” and Vol.2

screen shots form Piko's Custodian for Jaguar
With an eclectic mix of 2600 and arcade titles, these 2 compilations add some much needed retro gaming to Gen 8's console offering.
As gamers are readying to join the ranks of Virtual Reality With the new PlayStation VR, I'm dying to play old Atari games on my PS4. I own most of these Atari games on the original cartridges, but these game discs are loaded with extras. You'll find leader boards, online play options, box art and more.

In addition to all the games, there's a nice bit of gaming preservation packaged into a slick history lesson - the fun kind. You'll see some original arcade art and get to play these games on a modern TV with HDMI. They've also bundled the 2600 home versions with many of the arcade versions. That will be a fun comparison!

The Benefits of Physical Media

Too often retro games are bundled up and made available for download from the various online stores accessible via game consoles. Both volumes of these Atari gems come in full retail releases and will sit alongside the vast array of AAA titles we all fawn over. Having a physical release gives the games a higher sense of value, rather that being only downloads. It gives gamers of all genres & styles the chance to see the Atari name among all the other titles.

This may seem trivial to some, but the prominence given to games on a store shelf is much greater than downloads. Retro gamers are also very accustomed to owning physical copies of games. Many of us collect games and love having complete-in-box games on display. Thus an actual copy of thee new games is much more appealing to those of us who played these same games on the Atari VCS!

The PS4 versions have been released and the Xbox One games will follow in a few weeks.

If you're considering purchasing these games for either platform, be aware a majority of websites have the incorrect game lists (as of October 22). There is nothing wrong with the games and we highly recommend both of these releases. The confusion is with retailers posting the wrong games lists for each of the 2 releases. Therefore, if you only buy one of the volumes based on the games it contains, double check the AtGames Flashback site to ensure you order the correct volume.

We've linked the AtGames Atari Flashback Classics game list (PDF), but we highly recommend verifying info on their official website.

Atari Flashback Classics Volume 1 Atari Flashback Classics Volume 1 Game List:
  1. 3D Tic Tac Tow
  2. Air Sea Battle
  3. Backgammon
  4. Basketball
  5. Black Widow (arcade)
  6. Bowling
  7. Brain games
  8. Canyon bomber
  9. Centipede
  10. Centipede (arcade)
  11. Circus Atari
  12. Combat
  13. Combat 2
  14. Desert falcon
  15. Dodge-em
  16. Fatal run
  17. Football
  18. Homerun
  19. Human cannonball
  20. Liberator (arcade)
  21. Lunar lander (arcade)
  22. Millipede
  23. Millipede (arcade)
  24. Minigolf
  25. Pong (arcade)
  26. Quadrun
  27. Radar lock
  28. RS Volleyball
  29. RS Boxing
  30. RS Football
  31. RS Soccer
  32. Save Mary
  33. Slot machine
  34. Slot racers
  35. Space duel (arcade)
  36. Sprint master
  37. Star raiders
  38. Steeplechase
  39. Stunt cycle
  40. Super baseball
  41. Super football
  42. Sword quest EW
  43. Sword quest FW
  44. Sword quest WW
  45. Tempest
  46. Tempest (arcade)
  47. Video Olympics
  48. Warlords
  49. Warlords (arcade)
  50. Yars' revenge
Atari Flashback Classics Volume 2 Atari Flashback Classics Volume 2 Game List:
  1. Adventure
  2. Asgo Concentration
  3. Asteroids
  4. Asteroids (Arcade)
  5. Asteroids Deluxe (Arcade)
  6. Basic Math
  7. Blackjack
  8. Breakout
  9. Casino
  10. Championship Soccer
  11. Checkers
  12. Chess
  13. Code Breaker
  14. Crystal Castles
  15. Crystal Castles (arcade)
  16. Demons to Diamonds
  17. Double Dunk
  18. Flag Capture
  19. Golf
  20. Gravitar
  21. Gravitar (arcade)
  22. Hangman
  23. Haunted House
  24. Major Havoc (arcade)
  25. Maze craze
  26. Missile Command
  27. Missile Command (Arcade)
  28. Night Driver
  29. Off the Wall
  30. Outlaw
  31. Race
  32. Red Baron (arcade)
  33. Return to Haunted House
  34. RS Baseball
  35. RS Basketball
  36. RS Tennis
  37. Secret Quest
  38. Sentinel
  39. Sky Diver
  40. Spacewar
  41. Sprint (arcade)
  42. Starship
  43. Stellar Track
  44. Street Racer
  45. Sub Commander
  46. Super Breakout
  47. Super Breakout (Arcade)
  48. Surround
  49. V Pinball
  50. Video cube

I"m looking forward to Asteroids and Asteroids Deluxe on Vol. 1 (the arcade versions). I now live very close to the arcade I hung out in during summers as a teenager. I came to love Asteroids and when Deluxe came along, I was in haven. My son and I go to this same arcade to play Outrunners and Donkey Kong, among others.

Back in those teen years, the local pizza place had a cocktail style Tempest game, that occupied many lunches. In my opinion - any opportunity to play the arcade version of Tempest should be taken. A homebrew version of Tempest for the Atari 5200 came to market, but this gem is best in it's true arcade format. Although we also love Jeff Minter's updated version, T2K for the Jaguar.

Having both the 2600 and arcade versions of Missile Command is awesome. I loved playing at home because I was so terrible at the arcade. But all these decades later I've never again seen Missile Command in the wild. I tend to forget you had 3 independent bases and how great that trackball was. I didn't like that control on Centipede, but the trackball on Missile Command was spot-on.

Finally, I have to admit to adoring any form of horse racing game and Steeplechase is right up my alley - and it's 4-player! If you like getting 4 friends into one game, Warlords comes in both home and arcade variations too. Missile Command arcade controls One change I'd love to see in the packaging - in light of the confusion about games contained on each - is a listing of all the games. When browsing at GameStop, each game case only lists a few of the fifty titles. They mention some of the more prominent games, but there's no mention of Tempest which is the ONE game I really want to play! I think it would benefit sales to list them all and reduce the screenshots to make room.
October 12, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Piko Interactive will ship their first Jaguar game, Custodian, by year's end

screen shots form Piko's Custodian for Jaguar
Custodian is the very first release for the Atari Jaguar by Piko Interactive.
Piko's Custodian for Atari Jaguar Known for bringing both unfinished and homebrew games to retro platforms, Piko Interactive is turning to the Atari Jaguar. Founded in Texas in 2013, they have established themselves in the retro community with offerings for the NES, SNES, Gameboy, and Genesis platforms. Many games are rescueware in which they obtain legal rights to games that are unfinished or were unable to come to market.

This enables them to bring niche games to a variety of platforms. Often, these games have laid dormant for decades before being retooled/fixed by Piko and brought to market. It's exciting to bring life to a game that would otherwise be lost in the archives of time and pixels.

Their upcoming Atari Jaguar release is estimated to ship to customers by the end of the year. Being their first foray into Jaguar territory, it's rather pricey. They state the high cost of initially supporting the platform will lead to more Jaguar games at lower prices down the road.

Custodian for the Atari Jaguar

Custodian is an arcade-style shooter in which you defend your energy bases from parasites trying to drain away your resources. It features 4 levels, many weapons & power ups, along with a cool chiptune soundtrack. It is promised to be a full release with all the amenities. Included with the game cartridge will be a color manual and poster all contained in a traditional cardboard box.

I remember buying my first Atari Jaguar on release day. At a now defunct electronics retailer, Nobody Beats The Wiz, Atari logos were all over the gaming area and there it was! It was a lot of fun to buy an new Atari console on release day. I tend to get excited about new games for the jag! You can follow along with Piko's progress on Atariage's Custodian forum thread.

October 11, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Socks, the Clinton's Presidential pet from the '90s, reaches for immortality on Nintendo's SNES

Socks and Bill Clinton
While Hillary battles to follow in Bill's footsteps as POTUS, lets look at how the Clinton's first stay in the White House effected video games.
Socks wants you Amidst Donald Trumps 'locker room talk", it seems appropriate and fair to even the balance by discussing Hillary's pussy. In fact, her pussy was the focus of a video game that - like many controversies of the first Clinton Presidency - did not reach a satisfactory conclusion. Where Realtime Associates failed to bring that famous pussy to the Super NES a Kickstarter campaign now seeks redemption!

Yes, the cat who spent much of it's life in the middle of the Presidential controversies of the 1990s may grace your SNES, in cartridge format, as Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill.

Wait, what did you think we meant?

Realtime's Game: Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill (1993)

During Bill Clinton's first year as President, Realtime Associates decided the Presidential pet would make a fun focus of a video game. The goal was to release the game in the fall of '93, but delays ultimately resulted in the game's cancelation. However, many believed the game had been completed and review copies sent out. It evaporated...

Many years later discussions of this seemingly "long lost" game brought out arguments as to the actual state of the game. Was it completed? Some said, No Way! In 2011, footage uploaded to Youtube verified that the game existed, but in what state? Again gamers wondered if it had really been finished.

Second Dimension Takes Charge of Socks via Kickstarter

Claiming to have rights to the game, Second Dimension has launched a Socks The Cat Kickstarter campaign to crowd-fund the game. Seeking $30,000, the developer says this amount is to recoup costs. The developer says the game has been cleaned up to make it ready for public distribution. Furthermore, they give the impression the game is currently in a finished state, so the risks would be lower than projects that are in active development.

The Clinton's cat, Socks, garnered a lot of attention in a variety of ways. Although he has long since passed, Realtime Associates' game had received a lot of attention. Anything with Presidential connections tends to have a lasting interest... even a cat. The political scene being what it is these days, a Clinton cat starring in a SNES game seems as normal as anything else.

Check out the Second Dimension Kickstarter and website to see it you want to join in the modern release of Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill is right for you. There are several reward tiers allowing you to obtain the game digitally or on a functional SNES cartridge. As retro gamers, we find it hard to resist the allure of Socks on SNES!

A Cautionary Warning

An cautionary opinion, from Retro Gaming Magazine, surfaced in an article challenging the notion that the developer has rights to this IP and the game's state of completion. One hopes that the developer really has proper rights, having stated as much on the Kickstarter page. The author wonders why a completed game doesn't show more gameplay video.

I feel he has a good point. It would be logical to offer more gameplay footage for a game that alleges to be complete. The sum they are seeking via crowd funding speaks to a scenario in which they may still be funding development, rather than only final production and distribution of the game.

It is curious that more video is not available to show off more of the level variation and how they handled aspects of the original game with this update.

The kickstarter page states it is 100% complete.
Q - Is the game complete, we've only seen a piece of one level....
A - The game is 100% complete and has 8 levels and an ending (we should know, we've played them all and beat the game)

I wish they would do a little more to answer the call for more images and, more importantly, additional gameplay video. Stay tuned in to see if this campaign page is updated with more info.

Socks on Nintendo SNES
October 10, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Ken Bone votes for your inalienable rights as a gamer

Ken Bone sweater
Disinterested in the battling Presidential candidates, the Internet rallied around the first person who wasn't dreadful.
Ken Bone voter In an auditorium full of liars, the internet adores Ken Bone - and his red sweater - declaring him the winner of the second presidential debate. The sad truth is there will be no winners come election day. And worse still - we will have learned nothing for the whole experience. Nothing will change. We'll simply move on to the next thing the media deems "a revenue generator". Along with red sweaters, society prefers following over leading.
October 9, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders is in theaters for one day only - October 10th

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders
Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar reprise their roles, lending their voices for the series' 50th anniversary!
While waiting for a feature presentation, you may have seen a theater ad for a Fathom Event. Typically these are limited showings of classic films or special events. These showings are pretty cool, because they appear on the gigantic screens found in most movie theaters!

On Monday October 10, Fathom Events is showing Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders in theaters around the US. This film is based on the 1960s Batman TV series. It's a one-day event with only 3 showings.

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders DVD This sounds to me like the sort of film Batman fans will want to see on the big screen. It will be released on DVD November 1, but we think it warrants a view on the big screen! Theaters offer superior experiences.

Movie Theaters Give The Best Experience

Some movies were made to be seen on the big screen. Forget your HDTV, surround sound, and 4K nonsense. When the average theater screen exceeds 40 feet, I'm very disinterested in your 60 inch television. Don't underestimate the theater experience!

Regardless of your TV's clear hi-def picture or it's curved screen, commercial movie theaters have obscenely enormous screens. These large screens propel the theater experience well beyond almost all home scenarios! Don't be lazy - enjoy your favorite new releases the way they were meant to be seen!

Netflix Sets It's Sights On Theaters

Not long ago, Netflix proposed that new films be released to theaters and digital markets on the same day. Naturally, theater owners were miffed by this, but the motivation was selfishly induced over a desire to garner Academy Awards for Netflix original programming.

Netflix struck deals to show its original films in theaters purely for Academy Award qualification, CEO Reed Hastings said. He went on to say home theater trumps the movie experience. Um... No, Reed. that is incorrect.

As more and more services are distributed via the internet, companies are trying to convince us to spend all our time connected to their product. Sure, Netflix has some advantages, but to try and invalidate the large-screen experience in favor of your living room TV is ridiculous. Encouraging people to stay home and shift their view between their TV and their mobile device harbors atrocious values.

Corporate Bullies

Lets not forget the evaporation of physical media from music to movies, and video games. This sends the message- we don't need to own things. We're becoming renters of everything. Ownership has advantages whether you're talking about movies, music, cars or homes. Owning is good.

Don't let wealthy companies with selfish interests try to tell you what's best. You must decide for yourself. Product marketing has shifted from promoting their products to surreptitiously tearing down competitor's products. It's a shameful switch in tactics seen in advertising and social media that reveals the poor quality of many new products.

Go see Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders at your local theater and revel in the big-screen experience. Sure, the popcorn and other snacks are over-priced, but the film experience is vastly superior to watching movies at home.
October 8, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Check out the 2016 Genesis Classic Game Console from AtGames with 80 games

2016 SEGA Genesis Classic Game Console from AtGames
The holiday season is approaching and AtGames has a new crop of retro consoles to bring back the good old days of video games.
Disclaimer: AtGames provided the product in exchange for a review.

While names like Atari and SEGA may bring back fond memories of playing video games with your buddies after school, some gamers have such memories from an epic Sonic bout from last night! Some of us never stopped playing video games, while others remember those good times and want to re-live some of that fun.

Primarily aimed at casual gamers, these mini replica consoles make a fun gift since you can't mention SEGA without someone sharing a Sonic tale or two. Their plug-and-play convenience is also a nice feature for quick set up when you have the urge to play.

2016 SEGA Genesis Classic Game Console from AtGames AtGames has been offering retro consoles with built-in games for several years. I grew up with an Atari 2600 and have kept an eye on the Atari Flashback series which is now at version 7 for this years console. The Genesis product doesn't seem to offer a distinct version number, but the games do change with each year's release, although still capped at 80 titles.

Coinciding with Sonic's 25th anniversary, they added an additional Sonic title, Sonic 3D Blast. They've also added Phantasy Star 2 and Phantasy Star 3. However, it seems the all three Streets Of Rage games and Virtua Fighter 2 are now absent. Still there are plenty of games to give you a good jolt of SEGA fun.

Old Carts on a New Console?

The first question many gamers have of such hardware is about cartridge compatibility. Once that SEGA bug bites, you may want to snatch all of your old games from the attic. With the Genesis Classic Console, you're in luck - it does have a functional cartridge slot for all of your old games. Oddly, the Atari Flashback does not support any additional games.

It's important to know that this Genesis console plays games via emulation. While some consoles offer console-on-a-chip technology for precise game play, all of the AtGames consoles rely on emulation. This can lead to some differences from the original games you remember. You may find color and sound abnormalities brought on via emulation. This applies to your game carts and the built-in games. Casual gamers may not notice the difference.

There two main issues I wish would be addressed. These systems have been around for a while, but it seems only the built-in games change. It's time to update the hardware! In 2016, it's safe to assume most gamers have an HDTV with HDMI connections. Alas, AtGames' Genesis still has composite connections. Many retro gamers have an old CRT TV around for those wonderfully pixelated games, but many folks do not. When you attach composite connections to and HDTV, it has to do the upscaling and image processing which may induce som lag in the game play. While one might blame a buggy emulator, often it is simply the TV trying to keep up!

2016 SEGA Genesis Classic Game Console from AtGames I'm so glad both the SEGA and Atari consoles offer ports for the original joysticks/controllers. The wireless controllers included with the Genesis Classic Console use infrared wireless systems which require line-of-sight to operate properly. Thus, if you try to get too comfy on the couch and the angle of your controller changes... well, you'll lose control until you re-aim it at the console. As much as I like modern wireless controllers, as a retro gamer, I like the cables. It feels better. :)

Growing up with Atari, I was pretty stoked to check out AtGames Genesis Classic Console as it gave me a slew of games to get into. Not all of them are top-tier titles, but a majority of them are fun to play. For the casual gamer, this is a good deal compared to locating all the individual carts. Hardcore gamers familiar with the original Genesis will likely want to stay with SEGA's original hardware.

For casual gaming, it offers a diverse selection of games, it's easy to set up, and it's a cost-effective way to play 80 SEGA games. It accepts your old game carts & controllers and it will bring back memories from Sonic to Comix Zone. We'd like to see HDMI on next year's model, but for now it's a solid crowd-pleaser. Kids and adults alike will flock to it at your next party - guaranteed!

Game List 2016

  • Adventure in the Park
  • Air Hockey
  • Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
  • Alien Storm
  • Altered Beast
  • Arrow Flash
  • Black Sheep
  • Bomber
  • Bonanza Bros.
  • Bonus SEGA Arcade / Puzzle games:
  • Bottle Taps Race
  • Brain Switch
  • Break a Fireline
  • Bubble Master
  • Cannon
  • Chakan: The Forever Man
  • Checker
  • Chess
  • Columns
  • Columns III
  • ComixZone
  • Crack Down
  • Cross the road
  • Curling 2010
  • DecapAttack
  • Dominant Amber
  • Dr. Robotnik'sMean Bean Machine
  • ESWAT: City Under Siege
  • Eternal Champions
  • Fatal Labyrinth
  • Fight or Lose
  • Flash Memory
  • Flicky
  • Gain Ground
  • Golden Axe
  • Golden Axe II
  • Golden Axe III
  • Hexagonos
  • Hidden Agenda
  • Hide and Seek
  • Jack's Pea
  • Jewel Magic
  • Jewel Master
  • Jura Formula
  • Kid Chameleon
  • Lost World Sudoku
  • Mahjong Solitaire
  • Meatloaf Rotation
  • Mega Brain Switch
  • Memory
  • Mirror Mirror
  • Mortal Kombat I
  • Mortal Kombat II
  • Mortal Kombat III
  • Mr. Balls
  • Mya Master Mind
  • Naval Power
  • Panic Lift
  • Phantasy Star 2
  • Phantasy Star 3
  • Plumbing Contest
  • Ristar
  • Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi
  • Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
  • Skeleton Scale
  • Snake
  • Sonic & Knuckles
  • Sonic 3D Blast
  • Sonic Spinball
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Sonic the Hedgehog II
  • Spider
  • Sword of Varmilion
  • The Ooze
  • T-Rex Memory Match
  • Vectorman
  • Vectorman II
  • Wall-Breaking
  • Warehouse Keeper
  • Whack-A-Wolf
  • Yawning Triceratops
October 7, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Desert Trip delivers a retro rock concert with bands from The Rolling Stones to The Who

Desert Trip
If attendees abide by the numerous rules and behavioral expectations, they'll get to see an amazing retro rock concert!
With lodging available at the Empire Polo Club, the generation that once screamed along with The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan on anthems about rebellion will now enjoy those anthems while eating gourmet meals after yoga class. The Desert Trip music festival kicks off today in Indio, California, featuring the Stones and Dylan tonight, Paul McCartney and Neil Young tomorrow and Roger Waters and The Who on Sunday. This is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime retro tock concert in the desert!

Desert Trip arcade In perusing the website and online newsletter, it seems evident that the show organizers know your parents quite well. The promotional material is riddled with rules and regulations! Before they even hint at the amazing opportunity to see legendary bands all on one stage or the sheer fun they'll have - the site is besieged with behavioral standards and expectations. Finally, someone is telling your Mom & Dad to be on their best behavior!

If they want to relive the glory days and "camp out", they can, but among the amenities are $10,000 air-conditioned tents, morning yoga and Pilates classes, gourmet meals paired with wine, places to charge smartphones, an organic farmers market, and an arcade. The Desert Trip site notes that typical concert food will be available for those who just want a hot dog.

Whether you grew up listening to these bands for decades or remember your parents playing their albums, the opportunity to see these six legendary acts all on one stage over a long weekend is nothing short of epic! A second weekend was added and if you can get there, this sounds like an amazing event that is as unique as it is bold!

Desert Trip artist list I'd love to have attended this weekend-long concert just to say I'd seen all these incredible performers brought together at one event. If your parents are attending, don't worry about them. This event promises stern supervision and if they misbehave, they'll be promptly sent back to their room... at the Empire Polo Club!
October 6, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Bigben Interactive uses the Wii U's backward compatibility for “The Voice” game

Bigben Interactive's The Voice for Wii
When games are released for PS4 and Xbox One, Nintendo fans hope to see a Wii U version. This time there's a Wii version- compatible with Wii U!
One of the early pretenses of the Wii U was to be it's ease of programming/development. The Wii, while very successful, was a coding nightmare and required developers to create separate code for it. Thus, a game that could easily be ported between Sony and Microsoft consoles could not easily be "ported" to the Wii. This was a costly scenario for devs and Nintendo said they would address it with the Wii U. They did not.

The Wii U found itself in the same situation as the Wii. Marvelous games that should have reaped additional income from Wii U versions were never made. Developers seemed to steer clear of the Wii U platform. Mario Kart and Zelda can't save the day... alone. They needed more games! I've enjoyed the Wii U, but it could have been such a positive part of Nintendo's history.

Bigben Initeractive logo

Bigben Interactive developing for Wii

French publisher Bigben Interactive is not a company I'm familiar with, but they seem to have been around since the 80's with a few PS2 titles. They've also released Flap Flap (a Flappy Bird game for 3ds) and Asterix - Mansion of the Gods, also for the 3DS.

They have an upcoming game (developed by Voxler) based on the TV reality music show The Voice. Predictably, it will release for PS4 and Xbox One. Less expected is it's release for the Wii. Yes, the Wii - not the Wii U. The packaging will assuage Wii U owners with a badge stating it will work with the Wii U (via it's backward compatibility).

This Wii release makes me wonder what motivates such a decision. I initially thought they may have significant experience with the Wii and chose to code a Wii version, knowing it will also play on the Wii U. But is that rational? Consider the retail landscape -where does one find Wii games in stores? I find them scattered in bargain bins with $5 price tags. So, where would a retailer put a new Wii game? Won't this confuse consumers?

I'm fascinated by this decision, but can't figure out the motivation. Would The Voice be the final retail game created for Nintendo's Wii console? Bigben's primary market is in Europe, so this game may not even come to the US or other territories, but this news is part of what makes me love the gaming industry. So many twists and turns that lead to great stories. History is still being made!

The Voice for PS4, Xbox One, and Wii I'm intrigued... even though I'd never watched this show before Miley Cyrus became a guest judge.
October 5, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

A Sony rep was at Best Buy today for a PlayStation VR demo - It was pretty cool

PlayStation VR demo
Best Buy had a Sony Rep showing off the PSVR system. I was mesmerized and didn't ask any of the right questions. I suck!
All I wanted was the Archie Meets Ramones comic and some CD Jewel cases for the growing stack of music I've burned. I successfully snagged the last copy of Archie at Newbury Comics and headed to Best Buy for the cases. I should know better and just order them from Amazon, but impatience got the best of me. Too pricey at BB, but I saw a PlayStation VR set up for a demo. Yay - awesome timing!

As a first timer, I thought it was pretty cool, but I had a great opportunity to ask questions and instead, I got all giddy and dopey. No clue what the game was or if it was on a PS4 Pro or the earlier release. There were a dozen other questions dancing through my head as I drove home wondering why I wasted an opportunity to talk to a Sony-d00d.

PlayStation VR

Virtual Reality at Toys R Us

I also dropped into Toys R Us. My local store has recently rearranged nearly everything in the store, so I must hunt around for all the usual items of interest. I found 2 more TMNT Classic Figures! However,I was aghast at all the cheap VR devices they've suddenly begun to stock. There were easily a half-dozen units of varying cheapness.

I bought the Viewmaster VR unit for my son last Christmas. For the price and offering, it's pretty cool. I didn't see anything viable during my quick perusal. This holiday season seems adrift in questionable products from dirt cheap to disgustingly expensive. This tells me it's not the right time to invest any significant funds into Virtual Reality products/toys.

The new VR aisle at Toys R Us I stopped off at Toys R Us to see if the new Atari Flashback Portable was out yet. Nope- another month. But in my search, I came across the new Virtual Reality aisle in the gaming area. Let's just say toy stores are not the best place to shop for VR this holiday season. Way too much garbage. Lots of cheap "cram your phone here" products.

VR offerings seem to range from too cheap to too expensive. Between a toy store product and the Oculus Rift, Samsung has a nice price point. At the same time, should I invest in a smartphone dependent solution or go with a console or computer device. I feel there are still too many choices and too few standards. Lets not forget about HD DVD and Circuit City's DIVX DVD formats - both of which failed.
The VR aisle at Toys R Us This peculiar "on the fly" VR option was the oddest thing on the shelf. If you want a bargain solution, Google Cardboard is excellent. Avoid those companies seeking to hop on the VR bandwagon with inexpensive products.

From what I've read, the new PS4 Pro is the way to go if you really want a good PSVR experience. It was fun to try it out their demo, but I felt very outside my element and my mind caved in as I peered around with the VR headset.

I've said in the past, I don't think the majority of consumers want a gaming experience that attaches to their face, obscuring the outside world for a developer's pixel-formed one. While that may be the optimum experience, being in a public space (in the middle of a Best Buy) with my outside senses cut off was disturbing. I'm not claustrophobic or anxiety-ridden, but I didn't like being immersed in the VR and not have any idea what was going on right around me - outside the game.

That may be a personal issue of mine, but I doubt I'm the only one who may feel cautious about this experience. To me, it would be similar to riding in a self-driving car that had no windows. That car may deliver me safe and sound, but not being able to see as I traveled would irritate me. Of course I don't feel this way about air travel. Looking out at clouds doesn't tell me much about the journey. So, I suppose VR is just another adjustment I may need to make.

Most importantly, I hope I don't get lice from that demo VR-hat! Yuck!
October 4, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Roam Headphones licensed “Atari” and gamers are again hoping their beloved company has returned

Roam Headphones
The Atari we loved exited decades ago. The name is owned by a holding company who licenses the name as a revenue source.
Roam Headphones Sorry, Atari has not returned. This is simply a licensing deal.

It's easy to forget that Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell was forced out in 1978 and the last console venture was the Jaguar, discontinued in 1996. A lot of amazing products and games evolved in this time span. Atari has changed hands several times but never returned to gaming in any substantial manner.

Roam logo Social networks are buzzing about Atari's return to the market place... with headphones? Alas, this is simply another licensing deal. The gaming company you grew up with is not back. The name was purchased for the purpose of drawing attention to a new product - Bluetooth headphones.

Roam Ropes have been out since the Spring and take a fashion-forward approach to headphones which solves the tangled cord problem. Worn like a necklace, these headphones hang around your neck whether they are in use or not.

The Roam GameON release seems to be the upcoming design combined with the Atari brand. I like the look of the Ropes model and if I had my way, I'd just add the Atari logo and roll.

I'm not sure how the models differ, but I'm curious to see how prominently they use the Atari logo. I know Atari left gaming long ago, but I'm still a sucker for anything with an Atari logo on it! :)

Here's some info from the Roam site:
ROAM has partnered with Atari to create a fresh, fun and creative audio experience for gamers and music lovers alike!

ROAM allows you to connect with the music of your life, like never before. ROAM ROPES are advanced, Bluetooth-enabled earphones that feature personalized audio equalization options, freeing you from a "one sound fits all" listening experience.

Stylishly designed to be worn around your neck, ROPES free you from bulky headphones and messy, tangled-up earbuds. With the Bluetooth connection, we untether you from your mobile device for a safer, smarter way to immerse yourself in your music.

Roam Headphones
October 3, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Other exciting products are looming as Nintendo waits to reveal NX info to the public

Nintendo NX
The holiday season is afoot and money will be spent in large quantities. Is the upcoming NX dictating your budget... for March?
As leaks of Nintendo's NX being a revolutionary concept, fans are eager to know what this new platform will offer... in March 2017. The NES Classic Edition (the console w/ 30 built-in games) is coming on November 11, but Sony and Microsoft want you to spend your hard-earned money with them.

I don't need any Microsoft products, but the PS4 Pro is sounding pretty sweet when you add in PlayStation VR! Pricey, but this will be the first VR product that stands a chance of consumer adoption. Aside from Samsung's VR solution, the Sony option seems to be the most robust option. With an established base of PS4 owners, Sony is poised to do quite well with their VR product.

But lets get back to Nintendo. I want one of these $59 NES gadgets! That seems to be the only hardware item arriving before Christmas. Do I spend my money on PS VR or save it for the NX?

Is Nintendo trying to build anticipation or are they protecting their game-changing new console from duplication. WiiMotes were initially laughed as as children's toys... until they revolutionized the depth of game controllers. Then Sony and Microsoft tripped all over themselves trying to duplicate Nintendo's wireless wonders.

Anticipation and excitement are great, but consumers need info!
Is Nintendo worried that the lesson has been learned and the competition are ready to pounce on NX details in an effort to copy it's innovations? While that may be a wise decision, the holiday season is the spending season! Money is going to flow. If consumers have no concrete info about the NX, they will likely ignore it.

While that may not seem like a big deal with the NX allegedly arriving on retail shelves in mid-March, now is the time for consumers to fiscally budget for it. If I'm going to spend ~$350 on an NX, I can't be buying all sorts of pricey PlayStation stuff. I need to budget some money for the NX. I doubt I'm alone in this financial scenario.

If it comes down to buying PS VR for Christmas, because there is no NX info, my Nintendo budget is blown and the NX will have to wait. Many manufacturers strive to get their products on shelves for the holiday. That didn't serve the Wii U well, but that's another story.

What is Nintendo waiting for? Speculation leads one to think they want to hold off for as long as possible to keep the NX secrets out of their competitor's design labs. But if consumers aren't armed with enough info to make purchasing decisions, they won't buy it. Especially after the Wii U's dismal marketing and perceived failure.

PlayStation VR is expensive. Convince me, Nintendo!
March isn't far away in the grand scheme of things. In my opinion, Nintendo needs to get people excited about the realities of the NX - not rumors and speculation. Frustration need to be quickly converted into excitement for this new console. Let's start with the name - NX is a code name. What's this revolutionary new console to be called?

What makes it different? Does it replace the Wii U and 3DS? What about my Wii U games?

Nintendo has a lot of questions to address. While the Wii U seemed like an obvious upgrade to the Wii, some consumers didn't know it was a new device! I hope Nintendo can avoid the confusion and does a better job marketing the awesomeness of their new console. I'm eager to know the real deal and I know others are too. Hopefully Nintendo will begin laying out the campaign so consumers can make plans and prepare for a new addition to their game room!
October 1, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Make America blocky again! #Intellivision

Make America blocky again hat
As our fate nears with November's presidential election, can't we all agree to make America blocky again?
When citizens would rather move to a foreign nation than pick one of the dreadful candidates, it's hard to discern the correct action. It's hard to say who is best qualified to help America and it's interests around the world.

When it comes to making America blocky - It's Intellivision for the win! Buy yourself a fun hat - you deserve it.

Make America blocky again hat



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