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8 Bit Central - Retro Gaming Blog

Archive of Classic Video Game Blog Articles
First Quarter 2017 - January, February, and March



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 oddities we've jumped on in 2017!



2017 Blog Navigation »
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January 2017 Retro Gaming Articles:

January 19, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

The “pack-in game model” is part of why I'm not fond of Nintendo's decision not to include 1-2-Switch

pack-in games
I've never purchased a console because of the pack-in game, but they often turn out to be my favorite games.
All mobile games are downloads. They have no physical media. It's the nature of the beast. While smartphones come with a lot of utility, almost everything that makes them fun is added post-sale... via download. I was turned off by the PS Vita (bought the PS TV instead) for just that reason - most of the games were online downloads. There's something about physical media that I love dearly and the pack-in game is the the first for each console.

Uncharted 4 - PS4 By the way- a pack-in game only qualifies as such in physical format. I refused to Buy a Wii U with a Splatoon download code. I wanted the physical game!

My recently purchased PS4 came with Uncharted 4 as the pack-in game just as my PS3 contained the prior, third installment (enjoyed them both immensely). As I was purchasing the first two games last night, I began thinking about pack-in games and the way they've shaped my initial thoughts about each console. Truth is - they don't!

I bought a PS2 at the tail-end of it's retail lifespan and Toy Story 2 was included. My son was at an age where he loved Toy Story and was all over the game. I enjoyed it, but it had nothing to do with my decision to buy the PS2. Toy Story 2 was simply a nice add on.

Like many of us my gaming fascination began with the Atari 2600 and Combat was the pack-in game. I was all about Street Racer and Indy 500 with the custom paddles. I came to like the diversity of games on Combat, but it had nothing to do with my craving for an Atari VCS.

Similarly with the NES, I bought a few games when buying the console - having no clue what Mario Bros was about. I considered Duck Hunt nothing more than fodder for the included light gun accessory. StarFox was the first game I bought with my SNES and although I enjoyed Mario Bros on the NES, I didn't know anything about Super Mario when seeking out the console.

Cybermorph - Atari Jaguar Had anyone heard of Cybermorph when Atari's final console was released? I bought a Jaguar on release day and picked up Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy (and Doom soon after). I really enjoyed Cybermorph, but it didn't figure in to my purchase decision. It was Atari - I had to have it!

OK, I'll admit it... I love Pack-In Games

My lame tale of pack-in game dismissal ends with a confession. Later on - with each console - the pack-in game became a favored title. So, these titles are often included to demo a console's features, but I tend to buy a few games with a new console based on reviews, box art, or other off-kilter metrics.

Isn't the Switch crying out for a title like 1-2-Switch to show us what those Joycons are all about? Buy a cow-milking game? Um, no thanks. If included (as a pack-in) I'm sure I'd give it a whirl and end up loving it! Pac-in games are an essential part of a new console!

Many have said the Switch is expensive, arriving at the same price point as the competition, but this cost apparently came at the demise of a pack-in game. I'm excited about the Switch and I can get behind the portable/home modes and the whacky joycons... but don't mess with my pack-in game!!

January 18, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Chuck E. Cheese's is rumored to be prepping for a mid-2017 IPO with $1 billion in burgers & claw machines

In a move to impress investors, Chuck E. Cheese's wants to differentiate themselves from other chains via an IPO, but may also solicit a buyout under the right conditions.
I've always wanted to visit a Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant arcade, but they all seem to be full of redemption, pusher, and claw machines. Not exactly what I look for in an arcade. And I've read several articles about parental fist-fights while the kids play. That gives me the notion that it's a pretty janky sort of place. Maybe they're not so far from being a Burger Kink with a few kiddie games.

None the less, Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell did start it in 1977, so from that perspective.... I should have visited one a few decades ago - lol

Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant arcade Chuck E. Cheese's parent company and its franchisees operate 603 Chuck E. Cheese restaurants and 144 Peter Piper Pizza stores, with locations in 47 U.S. states and 11 other countries. That mouse has been busy over the years. I had no idea they were that prolific.
January 16, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

You gotta stay warm if you're waiting on line for an NES Classic Edition

Nintendo continues saying they were surprised by the demand for mini consoles, yet they are still under-delivering!
NES hat and NES Classic Edition box - Prisma filter Nintendo has been asked if similar shortages will come on the Switch's launch day. While they say no, GameStop is already warning of low inventory on both consoles and games! Will 2 million consoles satisfy global release? If not when will the next wave of consoles be delivered?

Consumers also need to remember that the games may also e in short supply. It would suck to get a Switch pre-order and not be able to get the games you want. With only a handful of available games on launch day, best to order them now.

I'm starting to feel a bit of FOMO on Switch's launch day. I decided to hang back and see how things played out, but now I kinda want a Switch. More accurately - I want one before Summer, but I'm fearing a similar inability to deliver product. I'd hate to see a Wii U scenario unfold, fueled by investors and morons. It's a tough call. Cool product, but the Wii U could so easily have been a big success.

Maybe I should drown my FOMO in a few rounds of Nestor's Funky Bowling Nestor's Funky Bowling - VirtualBoy
January 16, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Has purchasing a new game console become bland due to the games or my advancing age?

Video game consoles
I understand why Kids get excited to buy anything, but games today just don't rev me up the way they used to.
I'm not opposed to accepting my age and facing the fact that youthful exuberance may be a thing of my past. At the same time, I still get excited about new products coming to market - from music to games. I haven't lost the ability to get stoked! Yet, the last few consoles didn't come close to the excitement I had for an Atari 2600 when I was a kid.

Over the last several years, I've picked up a PS3, NeoGeo X, Wii U, and PS4. The PlayStation buying experiences were pretty bland compared with the Wii U.

Kids always want the latest greatest thing, without regard for history. As my son delved into gaming several years ago, I ensured he played the classics from 8-bit to 80's arcade favorites in tandem with modern games. From this he still loves the 8 and 16-bit games from my past as much as the modern games. He racks up astounding scores on Robotron:2084 and has a keen sense of navigating through Uncharted 4!

NeoGeo X

SNK NeoGeo X handheld unit I was excited for the NeoGeo X due to it's unique handheld-to-TV capability and I'd never owned an AES, but loved many of the games. The AES was the first console to duplicate the arcade games on a home console. Being able to share these games with my son was really cool.

However, it became quickly apparent, the product was going nowhere and promised game additions were canceled as disagreements played out between SNK and Tommo. Despite this, we enjoyed many of the games and it fueled our passion for Metal Slug, Cyber Lip, and others. Neither of us had much of a frame of reference for these games, but we came to love them and it became part of our retro gaming arsenal.

Wii U

Nintendo Wii U I really wanted the Wii U since it launched. However, it quickly became apparent it would have a short life cycle and the game library would be small. I held out for a price drop that never happened. Finally, I gave in and bought it with the launch of Splatoon. There were plenty of titles I wanted to play.

Splatoon turned out to be one of my favorite games. Along with Nintendo must-haves from Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze to Mario Kart, there were plenty of titles to excite me about the console. My son and I bought it one Summer and his excitement certainly rubbed off on me.

PlayStation 3

Sony Playstation 3 game console I bought the PS3 toward the tail end of it's life cycle with zero fanfare. I simply didn't want to be left behind and was curious to check it out when the price dropped - probably a holiday sale. While the graphics were obviously improved, the games were more akin to watching/controlling a movie. Pushing boundaries while playing seemed rife with cut-scenes and trying to guess what to do next.

I'm not a big fan of FPS full of idiots yelling into headsets. it astounds me that so many of these games are approaching double-digit sequels. I'm more of a Plants Versus Zombies or Splatoon kinda guy. The PS3 game library doesn't excite me. There hasn't been a game I really craved and couldn't wait to buy. Most of the few titles I have were impulse buys.

PlayStation 4

I yawned as the PS4 came to market. There weren't any games that excited me. When I spoke with friends, they could only point to a handful of titles to recommend. Even the PSVR didn't intrigue me. I've tried a few VR options and while impressive in their own right, it's not the experience I seek from a video game.

To be honest, I bought the PS4 so I could play the 2 Atari compilations from AtGames. It was a Christmas gift this year for my son. He gets stoked about new consoles and the possibilities that come with them. We picked it up together at a WalMart, but I wasn't dying to get home to start playing. In fact, we got home rather late and didn't open the box until the next morning.

I also picked up the Megaman Legacy game along with Rising Star's SteamWorld Collection. I'll admit Uncharted 4 was awesome, but the titles don't jump out at me when I'm shopping.

Age Plays A Role

I won't deny my age has a lot to do with my feelings toward new purchases. Kids have a remarkable ability to ratchet up their enthusiasm and that may wane as we age. However, I assure you I'm not very mature. I'm just fed up with games these days. Maybe this tale would benefit from some info about my earlier purchases that really got me pumped up.

My First Atari

Atari 2600 quarter view After playing Space Invaders at a local bowling alley, I was blown away when my buddy got an Atari 2600 for Christmas... and could play it at home. My eyes popped out of my head! I instantly began a campaign to convince my parents that I needed an Atari VCS!

I adored arcade ports most, since I was familiar with the games, but my heart would always race when my Mom took me to the game store. I'd look through the boxes to see what was new. I'd evaluate each game from the cover art. When something really caught my eye, I'd read the back for more detail. I was bursting with excitement every time I found a potential addition to my small pile of games.

You can bet I dashed home as fast as possible to pop my new game into my 2600. From Defender and Berzerk to Vanguard and Pac-Man I was a happy kid! I was disappointed with Space Chase (but played the Hell out of it anyway) and couldn't believe how awesome Demon Attack was. My son and I still play a lot of Demon Attack.

My First Nintendo

Nintendo NES console - front left view My next big craving was Nintendo's NES. I had been removed from gaming for a while, but couldn't resist the allure of Nintendo's ads and how amazing the games looked compared to what I had played.

A friend and I were going on a week-long ski trip and wanted to chill out with some video games and Nintendo was the hot item. I began shopping around for one and no one had stock - No One! Down, but not out - we stopped at every shopping mall on the 5 hour drive to the ski resort. We must have visited 5 or 6 malls before discovering a Kay-Bee Toys store with inventory.

The clerk told us he didn't think he had any, but would check in the storeroom. We were super stoked when he reappeared with the box! That was a great trip and each night ended in beers and NES. I still own that console and my son and I often play Blades Of Steel on it!

My Next Atari - The Jaguar

Atari Jaguar console with Cartridge inserted Clearly Nintendo brought video games back from the brink of destruction, but the Atari Jaguar launch was an amazing day for me. Just the idea that an Atari product was coming to market was incredible! A friend and I took a very extended lunch break to go to Nobody Beats The Wiz to pick on up.

That night we played Cyber Morph with wide-eyed wonder. We were amazed at what Atari was offering. I bought every game I could get my hands on. It wasn't long before the gap widened greatly between the good and bad games. The good ones were awesome and the bad ones were nearly unplayable. Still I bought them all as the console took a quick exit from retail shelves.

---------------

To wrap up my feelings - I'm not stuck in the past. I appreciate many of today's modern games while still enjoying a good game of Yar's Revenge. However, I don't think my current enthusiasm for Uncharted will last 30 years. While I'm always down to battle the Qotile, jumping from ledge to ledge with Nathan Drake probably won't last nearly as long as my passion for jumping on alligator heads in Pitfall!

I haven't lost my passion for video games or the excitement of a cool new console, despite growing older. I'm simply not as excited about story-based games with definitive endings - forcing me to buy the next sequel. I love playing Defender to see if I can beat my high score. It's always a fun and challenging game. It never ends. It just gets more difficult.

The PS4 is a nice system, but the most fun I've had on it was playing games from the 80s. Advancements and technology have enabled games to become almost cinematic, but I don't want to "play" a movie. I want an experience that challenges me while delivering fun. There are no where near enough games that deliver fun.

I bought a ton of games for the Wii. It's a great console and offers a lot of alternatives in the motion control Wiimotes. Ever since that console, I've bought few games-per-console than ever before! Modern games can be fun, but they don't have the lasting appeal of those I grew up with.
January 15, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

If you missed out on the Nintendo Switch pre-orders maybe a pin will assuage your loss

If you pre-ordered a Switch, don't forget to pre-order games too!
Nintendo Switch pre-orders were available Friday Morning (Jan 13) but they were gone by Noon. Nintendo claims to have 2 million consoles on hand for launch day. I'm guessing I won't see a Switch in my living room until the Summer. Remember that the console has no pack-in game therefore you'll want to pre-order a game or two as well. You don't want to wind up with an expensive door-stop. No games = no fun.

GameStop is contacting customers with console orderes to also pre-order games. The games will be in short supply just like the console. I'd be pissed if I got the console, but couldn't find games in stock. My feeling is everything will be in short supply on launch day and those who did well flipping NES Classic Edition mini consoles online will try with the Switch. Pre-orders are already showing up in online auctions!

Metroid Rogue Dawn
January 15, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Check out Metroid Rogue Dawn, an unofficial prequel to the NES game released in 1986

Experience the events that unfolded before Samus's famous “Zero” mission on planet Zebes.
Metroid Rogue Dawn I saw this news on Retro Collect and you should definitely check out this ROM hack that's been two years in the making! With a new soundtrack and amazing graphics seeming beyond the capability of the NES, it's easy to update an existing Metroid RM file. More info, screen shots, and instructions can be found on the Metroid Construction forum, including the downloadable files.

I think you'll be truly surprised by the additions. The homebrew community is full of surprises - you never know what will become released. In the end those who love to expand on the games they love are true heroes of retro gaming and add such amazing games to a variety of consoles.

Regardless how insignificant a console may seem, there are others who love it as much as you do and are still creating games for it.

Metroid Rogue Dawn screenshot 2 Never underestimate a passion for retro gaming!
January 15, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

As Trump's circus invades Washington, the real one is closing due to the economy

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey logo
Ringling Bros' "The Circus Wants The Circus Back" campaign was brilliant during election season. It's sad to see them close down.
As a child, we went to see the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus every year in Washington DC. I still have vivid memories of sitting in the stands and watching the mayhem unfold. With child-like wonder, I had no idea all that mayhem was part of a well-oiled machine that had entertainment down to a science. It is the greatest show on Earth!

News is rushing through social media about the economy finally taking it's toll on this entertainment giant. On January 14, the CEO of Ringling Bros. parent company released a statement regarding the show's closing in May of 2017. "The decision to end the circus tours was made as a result of high costs coupled with a decline in ticket sales, making the circus an unsustainable business for the company."

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey - the real circus Ringling Bros. provided amazing entertainment and it was passed from generation to generation. Kids grew up and took their kids to see the circus. There's really nothing quite like it!

Taking Back The Circus

But there's another side to the circus - or at least the word "circus". During the recent presidential campaign, the US (and the world) saw things happen that are unheard of in any election. The media likened the whole affair to being a circus. That word has somehow become likened to disarray and chaos. However if you've seen a Ringling Bros. show, you know it's intricately crafted.

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus had enough and launched "The Circus Wants The Circus Back" campaign. Fed up with political antics overtaking the notion of a circus, Ringling Bros. set out to set the record straight. This was spot-on the best idea ever - the circus demanded to be removed from the idiocy that is our election process. Can't blame them - who'd want to be associated with that nonsense?

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey video game

The Circus in Video Games

Curious to see how much circus I could find in my own video game collection, there were two clear standouts.

Who could forget 1980's Circus Atari - the simple but fun game of popping square ballons via paddle-controlled clowns on a teeter-totter? It's a pretty fun game and the precision with the paddle controllers is quite good!

in 2009 2K Games released the branded, Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth for Nintendo's Wii console. While compatible with the balance board accessory, it doesn't quite replicate the excitement of the real deal.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey - the real circus Kristen Michelle Wilson, Ringling Bros. First Female Ringmaster Check out Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's tour schedule and see if they're coming to ta town near you. It's a great show and something the whole family will enjoy. It's way better than Circus Atari. See them while you still can!
January 14, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

I didn't expect Nintendo Switch pre-orders to last long, but I did expect a pack-in game

Nintendo Switch pre-orders
I can't recall ever buying a game console that didn't have a pack-in game- something to play right out-or-the-box!
Over the decades, pack-in games have been a staple of buying a game console. Often they are a mechanism for showcasing a new system's capabilities and giving players something to play right away. Apparently the Switch will NOT have a pack-in game. I find that very strange considering the variety of uses for the joycons and the system itself. It seems like the sort of system that needs a special game to expose and train gamers on new features.

Nintendo Switch - Karen playing Mario Kart I think the Switch is a bit overpriced at $299. Discovering it doesn't have an included game (pack-in), kind of makes it more of a $360 game console.

I hope nintendo is on top of things with this launch. To no surprise, the pre-orders filled up quite quickly. By lunchtime on Friday, I couldn't find any. Toys R Us has a "coming soon" mention on their site, but no indication of a pre-order event. Yes, eBay is already full of folks reselling their pre-ordered Switches.

In all likelihood, launch-day will generate a new kind of Nintendo anger among those still trying to get an NES Classic Edition while standing on a long line for a Switch.

As far as I can tell, this will likely be a Summer purchase for me. Over the last few generations, I've learned to suppress my urge to buy on day-one, but from servier issues to insane system updates, I'm content to wait. A great console will still be just as great a few months down the line. with no Mario game at launch... I can wait.
January 13, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

It's Friday the 13th!

The films are better than this game, but if you have the cart... give it a play.
Fire up your NES and dive into LJN's 1988 game - Friday the 13th. While it has a lot of options and details, it doesn't really capture the despair of the films... unless you play too long :)

Nintendo Switch
January 13, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

The biggest issue facing Nintendo's Switch is the misinformed chatter filling social media

Nintendo Switch
The Switch seems very cool, but it's success will come from the quality of it's game library over time.
I stayed up late, drank more coffee, and watched Nintendo's latest info-push about the Switch game console. I like it. It's a cool concept and it has just as much potential as the Wii U. For those who've forgotten, the Wii U was very innovative as well.

Specs don't tell the whole story.

Play Like A Madman

The Atari 2600 launched with 9 games. Sixteen years later the Atari Jaguar launched with Cybermorph, as a pack-in, and Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy on retail shelves. I bought the Jag and Trevor and played the Hell out of those two games as I waited for more. I loved Atari and adored the games they offered. I was blown away by having a new Atari console!

I started gaming in the Atari era, but quickly saw the value, integrity, and creativity Nintendo brought back to a dwindling gaming industry. Their NES brought life back to a pastime that could just as easily have vanished in the mid 1980s. I loved what Atari brought to the table and bought the Jag without a single doubt. I even took off from work to make sure I got one on launch day.

Passion Trumps Processor Speeds

As a gamer, the same passion and respect I had for Atari was earned by Nintendo. I don't listen to the drivel online. Nor am I a blind fan-boy craving anything with a Nintendo logo. I'm a historian. I've watched and played Nintendo since their entry into video games. While I don't always understand their actions, they've proven the path they follow.

If you choose specs over fun, you deserve what you get.
Just as I still play Jaguar games with my son (we still love T2K) we also play on my original NES. Nintendo has 4 or 5 games lined up for The Switch's launch day. In addition to misinformation about processor chips, the internet wants you to believe that these lone titles will cause dismay and claim there must be more. Relax. More games will come.

If you have a pre-order - congratulations - play the Hell out of those launch titles. Remember this expenditure you've made is all about having fun and Nintendo has been delivering fun for decades!

The Jaguar was called a failure. So was the Wii U. I still love both game consoles and will continue to play the games I love on each one. I'll bet a lot of you are just like me and love your retro consoles along with newer ones. We love to play! We all have individual ideals and desires when it comes to gaming, but if you've been playing games for decades, then you know the value of ONE GREAT GAME and the fun it instigates!

People complaining and spreading misinformation online, need to find that one game that captures their wonder and leads them into an amazing game. Some of these folks have way too much free time. From Atari to the PS4, I rarely have time to waste. There are too many awesome games to play!
January 12, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Are Retail clerks the new "bar tenders" in the fight against underage game purchases?

M-rated video games
I'm not sure underage gaming can be equated to the perils of underage drinking, but my town is trying it out.
During the purchase of an M-rated game the clerk asked to see my ID. I had to stop and think for a second as I've never been carded for buying video games. I couldn't figure out why he needed my ID. Regrettably, my days of being mistaken as a teen are long gone, so it's been a while since I've been carded anywhere - let alone at a GameStop.

I've had several clerks alert me to the M-rating of a game, but always as a cautionary acknowledgement - no ID required. There have been a few times when I've seen the same warning given to a parent buying an M-rated game for a small child. It astounds me when the parent shrugs and buys a renown violent game for a 10-year-old. To each their own...

So, I remarked that I'd never been asked to verify my age over a video game purchase and asked if there had been a recent change in the law. He said no - the change took place about a year ago! Apparently, my town has equated underage game sales with underage drinking. In other words, a GameStop employee caught selling GTA to a fourteen-year-old could lose his job among other things.

The area's bars and restaurants are wary of underage drinking because the police often send decoys into these establishments to ensure IDs are being checked. I used to object to that sort of sting operation, but seeing the accidents caused by drunks kind of necessitates doing something to keep it in check.

Having said that, I have to do a lot of introspection to see how I feel about a similar categorization for video games. We live in a society where people will get drunk and drive down the highway texting friends from their phone. With that level of stupid in the general populace, I guess there needs to be some accountability. But games seem different.

Custer's Revenge for Atari 2600 The ramifications of a young teen playing a violent video game speaks more to an evolving issue than an immediate one. A drunk driver can easily kill someone as soon as they get behind the wheel. A kid playing an M-rated game isn't susceptible to causing harm in the same manner or likelihood.

The media likes to perpetuate a link between violent video games and actual violence without any proven connection. Reporting on heinous crimes seems to involve mention of the perpetrator's passion for gaming - as if that explains their criminal behavior.

Many have fought hard to advocate for video games and showcase the positive effects of video games. But such arguments entangle many more issues than gaming should have to defend.

I've always viewed the ESRB's ratings guide as just that - a guide. Similar to movies, I know my son can see most PG-13 movies, but I need to be very selective for R-rated flicks. The same is true for video games. I know games and have a pretty good idea of what is appropriate for my son.

Some parents know nothing about games and it may be helpful for them to get a high-level overview of a game's content. That sounds reasonable to me. When a store clerk is fearful an undercover cop might try to bust him for selling a video game to a kid... Well, that's not right. It's a guide. Be a responsible parent. Cops should be arresting murderers, not clerks.

January 12, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

The TotalRadNES Goofyfoot NES Controller was just short of it's Kickstarter goal

TotalRadNES Goofyfoot NES Controller
This is an awesome product and it will easily get funded if it relaunches. The holidays are tough on crowd funding projects.
I was sad to see the TotalRadNES Goofyfoot NES Controller fall just short of it's Kickstarter goal. Bringing an innovative idea to market is a tough job even in the age of crowd funding. The holidays are a particularly tough time to get funding. Many folks have allocated money to gifts and all the trappings of the season.

This project must relaunch! While some simply see a backwards controller, others know that placing the D-pad under your right thumb brings gaming to a new level. I'd gladly back it again and hope to have one of these slick controllers in the near future!

Keep and eye on TotalRadNES for details...

TotalRadNES Goofyfoot NES Controller box
January 11, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Every business with a "waiting scenario" should be legally obliged to provide arcade games

No one wants to leave their laundry or have a cold pizza. If you have to wait, you should have arcade games!
Pac-Man Laundry It's tempting to put in an order for a large pizza and run next door to check out the music store. I'll just try out one guitar - just one. Then there's a crazy shaped full-on metal beast on the wall... gotta jam on it. Next thing you know your pizza has been sitting on the counter for 40 minutes and it's desired temperature has long since left. Damn that cool guitar and my inability to just wait for my order!

Or you pop coins into a washer at the laundromat and duck out to kill time only to return to your wet clothes sitting on a table and all the dryers are in use. Which of these degenerates touched my clothes. My skin is crawling already. No touchy. Ick!

You know what would solve both of these tragedies? Arcade games.

Yes, arcade games are the saving grace of free time. Waiting in a restaurant, how about a game of berzerk? Long wait at the dentist's office, lets fire up Defender. If that ancient clothes dryer is taking way too long, a few rounds of Star Castle solves that problem. Arcade games are the solution.

If you own a business, chances are it would benefit from a couple of strategically placed arcade games (preferably of the 80s era). Don't make your customers wait idly, give 'em some Joust and Galaga!
January 11, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Action figure maker NECA announced they acquired the license to BLADE RUNNER 2049

NECA makes great figures - Can't wait to see what they have in store for the upcoming Blade Runner film.
Blade Runner is one of those iconic films I can watch over and over and discover something new each time. In a world of endless spiraling-downhill sequels, It's nice to have a few films in which a reboot takes a new look at a classic.

Toys often accompany film releases, yet seem like cash-grabs. A film like Blade Runner 2049 deserves better, so I was stoked to discover NECA has the license to create figures and collectibles for the new film coming out in October.

BLADE RUNNER 2049 From the NECA press release:
JANUARY 9, 2017 - Leading action figure and collectibles maker NECA announced today that it has acquired the license to BLADE RUNNER 2049, the hotly anticipated sequel to the legendary sci-fi movie. The company plans to release a full range of figures, die cast vehicles, replicas, games and more in 2017. Additional details will be revealed at New York's International Toy Fair in February.

ABOUT BLADE RUNNER 2049
Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

The science fiction thriller is directed by Denis Villeneuve (ARRIVAL) and features a star-studded cast that includes Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, with Dave Bautista and Jared Leto.

Original BLADE RUNNER director Ridley Scott executive produces the dystopian tale based on characters from the novel DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? by Philip K. Dick. Produced by Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson and Cynthia Yorkin.

BLADE RUNNER 2049 opens in theaters on October 6, 2017. Visit the official Blade Runner 2049 website for more details.
January 11, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Seeing the sale of Craftsman Tools brings memories of playing and buying Atari games at Sears

Super Retro Boy from Retro-Bit
I consider Craftsman one of Sears' stronger brands and am saddened to see them fading away having shopped there most of my life.
Headlines stating Craftsman was being sold to Stanley Black & Decker was quite a shock and for only $900 million. Sure, I could go on an awesome spree with that sort of cash, but it seems like a small amount given the brand and quality associated with Sears' renown tool brand.

Wasn't it just yesterday I was looking through Atari 2600 games in Sears, debating which title looked the most promising? In the early 80s, without the internet's vast resources, box art and word-of-mouth were the primary factors in choosing a new video game.

Super Retro Boy from Retro-Bit However, in my area, Sears was one of the few stores in which you could play a selection of Atari titles! Alas, that was decades ago, but I still shop at Sears for all sorts of things from shirts and tools to Christmas lights.

I have quite a few Sears Tele-Games game carts from the era in which they rebranded Atari as an in-house brand. The Sears Video Arcade was an Atari-sanctioned rebranding of the 2600 game console. These items were found in Sears from the late 70s into the early 80's.

Sears stopped selling video games in late 2014 with the Wii U - oddly timed in the swing of the holiday shopping season. Earlier that year, in late April, rumors of inventory blowouts surfaced with $99 Wii U consoles. In November, the Sears website displayed deep discounts in error for the Nintendo 3DS. Both events led to price-matching fiascos with other retailers.

As a side note: I still own my grandfather's old Black & Decker power drill. It's a beast and still works wonderfully because it came from an era when craftsmanship and quality mattered. Products were built to last. Today, Black & Decker is low quality and resides on box-store shelves. Planned obsolescence is a more modern concept focused on selling poor quality items as a cost-cutting and revenue generating model.

January 10, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Luxtive Arcade System melds 80's retro games with Michelin tires to create the Wheelcade

Luxtive Arcade System - Wheelcade
Yes, it's a beautiful multicade coffee table in a tire, but not just any tire. It's a Michelin Latitude Sport 235/55 R17 99V.
A recent article on Top Arcade Machines highlighted a very cool multicade concept from Spain. The Luxtive Retrogame Arcade System has a familiar foundation.

Luxtive logo The futuristic round table with tinted glass and familiar arcade controls is based on something most of us know well. In fact we typically buy four at a time. Tires! These slick arcade systems are housed in Michelin tires.

Having taken French when opting for a foreign language in school, much of the site is a mystery to my uni-lingual abilities. Those with a better command of the language will likely discern more info about availability and pricing. It's creative and an old tire has more of a sleek look than I would have imagined - very cool!

Luxtive Arcade System - Wheelcade Luxtive Arcade System - Wheelcade features: a JAMMA PCB multiplayer system with 60 Retro games, 2-player arcade kit consisting of 8 classic white buttons and 2 Joysticks for 2,4 and 8-way action.
Luxtive Arcade System - Wheelcade Luxtive Arcade System - Wheelcade

Luxtive Arcade System - Wheelcade From the Luxtive website (via Google Translate):
All the elements of the machine are meticulously integrated to the last detail. The joysticks and game buttons together with the speakers are integrated into the tire representing a surprising shape never seen before.

The image is composed of high resolution LCD screen integrated inside the tire being protected by a subtle dark tone crystal to further reduce the unwanted influence of light.

At the same time the top glass panel provides extra functionality to our machine making it an elegant coffee table or auxiliary to decorate any room or environment.

The two-way loudspeakers are integrated inside the tire taking advantage of the tire's structure as a speaker and are powered by a high-power amplifier and precision.

The lower panel of the machine is composed of 4 small wheels that facilitate the sliding or transfer. As a finishing touch, the chrome-plated console base gives the tire a subtle expression and floating feel.
January 10, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Capcom's MegaMan Mobile games now come in a $10 bundle of suck

These games were derided at $1.99 each, so I'm guessing a discounted bundle does little to better the game play.
Many issues have plagued the MegaMan Mobile games. They originally launched individually for $1.99 each and now are bundled (six games) for $9.99.

From poor controls to changing frame rates, folks are predominantly warning retro gaming fans of this series and suggesting they avoid it and pick up the Legacy collection for 3DS or PS4. I have both console releases and they're a lot of fun - as retro games should be :)

There's no excuse for releasing a beloved series of games when the game-play is so tarnished. I wish they had taken the time to properly bring these games to mobile. The MegaMan Mobile games fuel the fire regarding mobile releases of

MegaMan Mobile Bundle
January 10, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Cozi TV brings back Gage & DeSoto with 1972's medical drama, Emergency!

I was riveted to the screen when Emergency! came on the tube in the afternoons.
Before Ponch and Jon took on the California highways, I was a huge fan of John Roderick and Roy DeSoto who were paramedic firefighters saving lives and bringing people Rampart General Hospital.

Emergency! TV show I'm really psyched to see some of these episodes again. They are available on DVD, but I've never seen syndicated reruns. Emergency! ran from January 15, 1972 until May 28, 1977 with a few 2-hour movie specials as well.

I had the Emergency! board game, but it must have been disposed of at some point. I still have many of my childhood board games - wish I stil had that one. It was a fun game of racing to the scene of an accident.

From the Cozi website:
This beloved show stars Randolph Mantooth, Kevin Tighe as two specially trained firefighters, who formed Squad 51, part of an innovative field of paramedics. They're authorized to provide initial emergency medical care to victims of accidents, fires and other incidents in the field in order to stabilize them for transport to Rampart General Hospital. That's where the medical staff (Robert Fuller, Julie London and Bobby Troup) take over. Be a part of Squad 51 weekdays at 1PM/12C.
January 9, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

CES 2017 was very receptive to the Super Retro Boy, but some are berating the front-facing "shoulder buttons"

Super Retro Boy from Retro-Bit
The Super Retro Boy's compatibility with GameBoy, GameBoy Color, and GameBoy Advance trumps the placement of GBA shoulder buttons.
Retro-Bit showed off their handheld console at CES 2017 and most were delighted by it's GameBoy look and feel. Furthermore, it plays game carts from three Nintendo portables. That in itself excites me greatly for this portable console and it's August launch window. It sounds like it will be around the $80 price point and will be powered by a rechargeable battery.

The Super Retro Boy has a backlit display and will come with a 10-in-1 game cartridge. The company says you can play for 10 hours on a single charge.

I love it's reminiscent look and compatibility with later Nintendo games. I loved the GameBoy Advance and bought one on launch day in 2001 - therefore it was the original flat design. I had skipped the GBC, so the color screen was of particular interest back in those days. Additionally, it had shoulder buttons which would expand game control. All these things made the GBA my favorite Nintendo handheld until the 2DS came out.

My love for the GBA was so strong, that I bought a DS lite - at the tale end of it's cycle - because it still retained GBA compatibility via an additional cart slot.

Super Retro Boy from Retro-Bit In reading some online comments, it seemed a larger than expected number of people don't like the button layout with regards to the shoulder button placement - not on the shoulder. The original GameBoy had an A & B button, but you'll see 4 buttons on the Super Retro Boy. the two additions are L & R, which are the GBA shoulder buttons. Placed on the face in a 4-button cluster may not be ideal, but folks seem displeased.

A Word Of Caution

While internet users are fairly reactionary toward anything they don't like, there are 2 things worth noting. The Super Retro Boy shown at CES was a prototype - the "shoulder" buttons could be moved to the sides by the time it launches. The other facet is the Generations console that launched late last year. It was an interesting mixture of built-in arcade and console games similar to the NESClassic Edition. However, it was not well received and the final product seemed rushed.

I'm hoping the Super Retro Boy will be a solid robust console. Hearing of the issues with Generations that should have been caught in early stage QA leaves me skeptical. Ordinarily, I'd pre-order the Super Retro Boy in an instant, but I'm going to have to wait and see how it fares in the hands of the savage internet who won't hold back about every detail they hate.

Of course I'm hoping it is adored and well breathe new life into a series of handhelds largely ignored by such emulation systems.
January 9, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Take a seat and enjoy the simple beauty of the NES Classic Edition... and Ariel Rebel

There's no way to pacify those still unable to obtain an NES Classic Edition, but maybe Ariel will take your mind elsewhere.
NES Classic Edition The "steady delivery" during the holiday season was a joke. Stores were restocked only a few times before Christmas. Those new deliveries were the same paltry quantity as those we saw on launch day - stores getting 15 or fewer units each. Most had far fewer.

Even in the weeks following Christmas, I've only heard of one restocking of Nintendo's mini console. Nintendo is renown for under-delivery, but this is abnormal even for Nintendo! Skeptics have suggested they are purposely doing this to keep a buzz in the air. They say "all publicity is good publicity." Is this true when so many are angry about the product?

The Switch must launch with a deluge of awesome games and plenty of inventory.
ALL SHALL PLAY!
I'm beginning to wonder if we'll ever see this product on a retail shelf. By this I mean Nintendo has satisfied the masses and an NES Classic Edition will last long enough to be placed on a shelf. So far, they have flown out the door as soon as stores open.

And what does this say about the Switch? It's launch is only a few months away and the mini console debacle doesn't leave much faith in it's availability at launch. To make matters worse, a GameStop insider hinted that their stores will not be getting enough consoles to meet demand. Labeled as "rumor" in an era of fake news, it's hard to know what will happen in March.

Ideally, the NES Classic Edition should have been plentiful enough to get a large amount of positive energy behind the Nintendo name. This would be a great help in generation 8 where gamers have been led to believe that gaming is all about the primary processing chip. Nintendo knows better - gaming is about having fun and they always deliver - when they have sufficient inventory.

I don't want Nintendo to have to prove anything or overcome the faults of the Wii U. I want them to come roaring out of the gate with a great console backed by awesome games with more on the way. The Switch has to be a must-have both in terms of launch titles and price. Consumers shouldn't start the launch plagued with doubts about waiting on long lines to be disappointed.

Ariel Rebel Are you familiar with Ariel Rebel? If not, let me say she's awesome, a foodie, photographer, and frequently naked. She blends her daily life into wonderful social media posts across multiple accounts, each with unique a focus. Whether in front of the camera or behind it, she graces her kitchen the same way she lights up a secluded photo shoot surrounded by the great outdoors.

She has a flare all her own and it shows in every photo. Check out her free site, Rebel Mayhem and consider a subscription to her more revealing website.
January 8, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

The best way to get an NES Classic Edition may be taking down an Amazon delivery drone :)

With Nintendo still unable to meet demand for the NES mini console, your best bet may be taking aim at the skies with a slingshot.
On December 7, Amazon completed it's first package delivery by drone. It was a light weight item traveling a fairly short distance, but it happened without human interaction. That's pretty impressive, but at the rate Amazon ships, we wonder how crowded the skies might get and what's the likelihood of scoring something cool via slingshot.

So, If you've been unable to get an NES Classic Edition, look upward. There might be one flying overhead. OK, we're not advocating abuse of passing drones, but you have to wonder how vulnerable they might be and, well... people do the strangest things.

We hope Nintendo can step up the manufacturing of these units and learn from this mistake when the Switch launches in March. A repeat drought of inventory could be devastating for the upcoming console.

NES Classic Edition on an Amazon delivery drone You can find out a bit more about Amazon Prime Air drone deliveries on their site. I wouldn't expect this service to be widespread any time soon. If you've ever had to look in the bushes for the morning newspaper, you may have some reservations. Imagine getting a delivery confirmation on your phone and arrive home after dark to "find" your package. How much wandering around with a flashlight might this entail?

Delivery-wise, a UPS truck can load up and deliver across a route, but a drone has limited range and capacity. How many drone trips would it take to keep up with a UPS truck? I'm sure Amazon has the tech and logistics dialed in. At the same time, I'm not sure I want a drone leaving a few Wii U games in the middle of my yard. In time we can adjust to anything, but right now, it seems improbable. We shall see.
January 8, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

FuncoLand stores were once full of Atari, Nintendo & Sega games

Funcoland's stores were full of Atari, Nintendo & Sega games
As gaming shifted into higher-capacity disc media, I was drawn to FuncoLand's commitment to game cartridge sales.
Seeing this image of FuncoLand's game boxes brought back memories of many visits to the one near my house, If you look around online you'll find plenty of complaints about their sales process, but where else could you go and browse through 2600, NES, and Genesis games? FuncoLand and similar stores played a vital role in broadening the reach of video games.

FuncoLand
Bring Home the Fun!
Long ago when I was a kid, I bought Atari 2600 games in all kinds of crazy places from TV stores to pharmacies. My original VCS was purchased from an appliance retailer. They had to get a long ladder and climb up to the overhead shelves to retrieve the box that would change my young life. My Mom and I stood amidst washers, driers, dishwashers, and refrigerators waiting for the rep to bring down a box... and a copy of Space Invaders!

When video game stores began to pop up, they brought competition which helped level out prices and offered more variety. In my area from the early 80s and beyond, there were Electronic Boutiques, Babbages, Software Etcs, and FuncoLands.

When these places dried up, GameStop moved in. At the time I had no idea who GameStop was nor that they had bought out all of my favorite stores. All I knew was gaming selection was dwindling and the NES and 2600 carts I used to buy disappeared from retail shelves. From my youthful perspective, GameStop was the enemy. They drove away the variety of stores I loved. Dark times indeed.

Funcoland game storage boxes As you can see below, all the places I once loved to shop for video games were swallowed up by GameStop through mergers and acquisitions. Seeing these stores vanish was a great loss to the gaming community in terms of the variety of products they once offered. The worst loss for me was FuncoLand as they were the only one selling older games, like Atari 2600 carts.

From Funding Universe:
  • 1983: James B. McCurry and Gary M. Kusin found Babbage's, Inc., opening the first Babbage's software store in a Dallas regional mall.
  • 1984: B. Dalton Bookseller Inc. creates a division called Software Etc. to open software stores within B. Dalton bookstores.
  • 1986: Dayton Hudson Corporation sells B. Dalton to Barnes & Noble, Inc. (B&N) and partners.
  • 1987: Software Etc. is split off from B. Dalton, begins operating as Software Etc. Stores, Inc., and starts shift to standalone locations.
  • 1988: Babbage's is taken public to accelerate an expansion drive.
  • 1992: Software Etc. Stores is taken public.
  • 1994: Babbage's merges with Software Etc., forming NeoStar Retail Group, Inc.
  • 1996: NeoStar files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection; an investor group led by Leonard Riggio buys the Babbage's and Software Etc. chains, operating them within the newly formed Babbage's Etc. LLC.
  • 1999: New strip-mall-based chain, GameStop, is launched; e-commerce web site, later called gamestop.com, begins operations; Babbage's Etc. is sold to Barnes & Noble for $215 million.
  • 2000: B&N acquires Funco, Inc., operator of 400 FuncoLand video game stores, mainly in strip malls; Babbage's Etc. becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Funco, which changes its name to GameStop, Inc.
  • 2001: GameStop Corp. is incorporated in anticipation of an initial public offering (IPO).
  • 2002: B&N completes a partial IPO of GameStop stock; it retains a 67 percent stake in GameStop.
  • 2004: B&N distributes its remaining stake in GameStop to B&N shareholders, making GameStop a fully independent corporation.
  • 2005: Shareholders from EB Games (Electronics Boutique) and GameStop agreed to a $1.44 billion takeover deal.
Time changes everything and that can be a harsh reality when I think back on all the opportunities I neglected. I can recall many sales on old games as new consoles came to market. At the time I couldn't fathom any of this going away. Yet it did. But I did learn form those days and make it a point to pick up games as often as I can and take advantage of shifts in the marketplace. The video game industry is ever evolving and always taking us in new directions, leaving great deals on yesterday's greatness. Tomorrow may hold great innovation, but yesterday was full of good times!

It may seem small, but www.funcoland.com still works... although it resolves to GameStop. :)
January 7, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Forget this Blizzard nonsense... Mrs. Smith & I are baking a pie and playing retro games

I never get the proper supplies when it comes to riding out a bad storm. This time I went with apple pie and retro games.
Some folks have a pantry full of canned goods and take pride in being self sufficient in times of need. With blizzard conditions across much of the East coast, I felt that pie and Megaman was the best way to survive whatever Mother Nature has in mind.

You might laugh at my preparedness, but while you're putting more gas in the generator and opening a can of beans, I'm living like it's 1987... with pie!

apple pie and retro games
January 7, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Add ROMs to the NES Classic Edition over USB with recent system hack

Hacked NES Classic Edition
A recent hack seems to allow adding more games to the NES Mini console without opening the case or soldering.
Hackers in both Japan and Russia have devised ways to add additional games to Nintendo's impossible-to-buy NES Classic Edition mini console. The method is gaining traction due to it's non-invasive soft-mod. You don't need to open the case or solder anything. You can even use the included USB cable to connect it to your PC.

I've usually been hesitant to mod any of my systems due to the soldering component. That's not my primary skill and there always seems to be some step that isn't quite clear... and I stop. I can't complain. I adore my systems and view mods from a standpoint of technical innovation. There are some truly talented folks out there with a knack for seeing things in a different way.

Basic Background Info

Each game, on the NES Classic Edition, has an associated image file that must be added in addition to the ROM files. These images identify each game in the on-screen selection menu. It's being reported the NES Classic Edition has a total of 512MB for the images and ROMs. Folks are beginning to post the games they have successfully added. I have not yet seen any posts about incompatible games. At this time it's hard to know if any NES ROM can be added.

NES Classic Edition As time passes, it will be interesting to see if hacks delve deeper into actual hardware mods inside the box. It's hard to imagine curiosity not taking that path. Apparently the internal emulator is quite robust and hackers might be inclined to further probe it. At the same time, if Nintendo ever releases the NES Classic Edition in proper quantities for retailers, they may make changes to thwart the mods discussed here.

A word of caution: while this hack may seem simple due to not requiring any soldering inside the NES Classic Edition, you can still damage the unit! During this modification, you will be making changes to the unit's files to facilitate the addition of more games. It's not simply "adding games". You need to change settings that you may not be able to recover from if done incorrectly or something goes wrong.

Some folks are reporting viruses tagging along when they try ti install the applications and files needed to alter the NES Mini console. This is not a point-and-click solution that does all the work for you. If you're not familiar with modding software, you may want to enlist some qualified help. I've seen some folks asking how to connect the console to a PC and others asking it the mod is an automated process. They should not be attempting this mod.

Since this device is very difficult to purchase at standard retail pricing, be careful if you choose to add more games via the hack. Details of the hack have been posted online. Good luck if you choose to add more files!
January 7, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Define “new product” when your Christmas video game console takes a pornographic turn

Squid Sisters
No child should "accidentally" receive porn for Christmas, but this event brings up questions about the reliability of of "new" products.
I recently read a few articles about a kid receiving a Wii U and a copy of Splatoon for Christmas, only to find the game case contained an adult film DVD (Sensual Seductions 2 NSFW) rather than the game disc. I'm sure the parents were horrified and want an explanation from the box-store that sold it to them. They're not likely to get any satisfaction from the store who will become part of a long chain of denial back to the distributor.

In all likelihood, some random idiot with a misguided sense of humor replaced the game disc, shrink wrapped the case and put it on the retailer's shelf. I'm sure this idiot will snicker at their prank and continue to regress in social development.

What I found interesting were the comments beneath the article, focused on various experiences with alleged "new" products that clearly were not. I was not surprised to see GameStop's name appear. Several people complained that the game retailer frequently has opened product on shelves while claiming it as new inventory. I experience this regularly!

Opened Products are NOT New

My local GameStop used to have 5-year-old Wii game cases sitting on the shelves - marked as New. Clearly an old game in an open package would not be deemed "new" by any other retailer, but GameStop seems to get away with this practice. Once a game has been opened, you have no way of knowing if it's complete or missing components. Was there a manual? Other offers? Stickers? A poster? The average consumer won't know. But everyone agrees this condition is NOT NEW and should not command the higher pricing.

Retailers don't care if they sell opened product as new. Consumers must inspect their own purchases!
The only way to truly get a "new" (unopened) game from GameStop is to buy it on the release date when they have stacks of shrink wrapped copies behind the counter. After selling through those, they open the cases, for shelf display, and put the game discs into sleeves, filed among the other games. This is the same treatment for their used games and I'm stunned that they can get away with this!

I rarely buy new video games at GameStop. The cases are always open and who knows what condition the disc is in. Most of their used games are heavily scratched, which probably happens prior to being traded in at the store, but the fact they are content to sell damaged games to consumers doesn't inspire me to pay full retail prices for opened merchandise.

Given the condition of their used games, I also don't buy used hardware (consoles, tablets, etc.) from GameStop since they have such a poor precedent for the condition of used items.

GameStop's Anti Theft Strategy

Games sitting on GameStop's retail shelves do not contain media. All the cases are empty and the actual games sit behind the counter. Their stores do not have the traditional detectors at their entrances. With the actual merchandise behind the counter and sequestered in the storage area, there's not much to steal, thus no detectors at the entrance.

They also don't require the hardware to deactivate the RF tags. Have you ever gone into another store with a used game from GameStop and set off their alarm? I've done this many times. With the inclusion of Think Geek items strewn around the retail floor, I'm wondering how much longer they can go without anti-theft measures.

For now, they seem to be saving money that would ordinarily go toward anti-theft hardware, it's maintenance, and the system's overhead. I'd rather see them cut fewer obvious corners and stop selling used merch at full retail value!

Always Inspect Your Purchases

Next time you are making a purchase - at any store - inspect the packaging to ensure it hasn't been returned and simply put back on the retailer's shelf. You'd be surprised how easy return processes are on items that have spent weeks in someone's house, used, abused, repackaged, and then sold to you. Buyer beware.

While we feel the kid who got stuck with Christmas porn instead of Splatoon, it would have been a non-issue if the Wii U was able to play DVDs ;)
January 6, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

The dream of taking the arcade home with you... The Neo·Geo Anthology in print

A unique work of reference with over 400-plus pages retracing SNK's incredible history from their first arcade machines to every single game ever released.
NEO·GEO ANTHOLOGY This SNK and NEO GEO reference book is coming to life via the Neo·Geo Anthology kickstarter campaign via Geeks-Line Publishing. It features every AES, MVS, CD, Hyper N.Geo and Pocket game cataloged, the history behind SNK and the Neo·Geo.

NEO·GEO ANTHOLOGIE - french version of the book This looks like a very cool and robust project. The NEO GEO is so unknown to a lot of gamers. I never owned one, but always regarded it on a higher level than consoles of it's era.

Commanding a hefty price tag for the console and it's games, it was the home console that didn't have arcade ports like other systems. It ran the same games you played at the arcade - at home! No other console could make that claim despite the high volume of arcade ports to home game consoles.

Several times, the kickstarter campaign states the Neo·Geo Anthology is a reference tome. I love that! Every book that lays out the history of video games, as a reference tool, helps preserve the history of that segment it covers.

This book is an adaptation of the "Neo·Geo Anthologie" already published in France. It has been reworked and rewritten in order to meet the specific requirements of the American and British markets. This may account for Amazon handling some of the global shipping needs.

Across the retro gaming spectrum we're seeing wider topics being covered in reference-style books. Although many may say print is outdated and fading (it's not), it's a great way to chronicle information in a familiar and useful format.

We encourage you to check out the Neo·Geo Anthology kickstarter and see if this is the kind of project you'd like to support. It looks like a great book and has the advantage of having already been published in French, making it's execution much easier and less likely to encounter problems that plague some crowd funded projects. Give it a look!

NEO·GEO ANTHOLOGY Never having owned the NEO GEO console, I was excited when the Neo Geo X was released. It quickly lost support of the manufacturer, but it was quite faithful - as a handheld - to the original AES console.
January 6, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Skee Ball may not be the highlight of your local arcade, but it has it's merits

I love video games and pinball, but no arcade is complete without Skee Ball and air hockey
Skee Ball Conceived in the early 1900s, Skee Ball is a bowling-like game that became one of the first redemption games. While not the center-piece of any arcade, most of the good ones have a few of these. I'm sure I'm not the only one who digs this game! :)

My son and I always fire up a side-by-side Skee Ball challenge at our local arcade. Long ago I played Space Invaders at my local bowling alley. Could this have translated into a Skee Ball craving? It could explain my interest in the Arcade Bowling Game I found at a local theater a few years ago.

For me, my Skee Ball passion is right up there with Air Hockey. Like the need to flip balls into that tiny 1,000 point hoop, I also can't pass up a game of air hockey. Ice makes a nice 3-lane Skee Ball game and one of our local arcades has it. They also make Super Chexx bubble hockey.

I really love arcades. The experience is just as much fun as the variety of games. I find a great connection to my love of various games and the way I encountered them in the arcades I frequented growing up.
January 5, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

After MegaMan Legacy Collection arrived for 3DS and PS4, $2 Megaman Mobile is not faring well

MegaMan Mobile
The Megaman games released for mobile platforms are getting mixed reviews - many are not happy.
I picked up the MegaMan Legacy Collection for 3DS last February (my local GameStop had the originals for play on an NES!) and loved it. My only complaint came from having played many of the games on my NES, I really wanted to see this version on a big TV, not just the handheld screen. The PS4 version resolved that issue and I really enjoyed playing the various titles again. I'd forgotten how hard they were! Good fun!

MegaMan Mobile I'm slowly coming around to mobile games, but not to the point where I'm going to shell out money for them. Having the MegaMan Legacy for console and portable, I don't need a phone version...which apparently is a good thing. As Polygon reported (incorporating the word "terrible" in the headline), folks are not pleased with finger-swiping their way through these games.

Unlike the Legacy released, on mobile, Capcom decided to sell each game individually for $1.99 each. Many are complaining about the frame-rate and control scheme. I've not tried the games, but it sounds like they were ported with little regard for the logistics of mobile phones. It should have been possible to publish awesome (and playable) mobile versions of the MegaMan franchise if they were designed for phones and that type of control scheme.

From Capcom:
These lovingly-crafted adaptations will remind long-time fans and introduce newcomers to what made the Blue Bomber such a popular and iconic character. Each game has been optimized for the mobile devices with adjustments to game speed.

  • Mega Man Mobile - The evil Dr. Wily must be stopped in this classic action platformer, the original Mega Man!
  • Mega Man 2 Mobile- Dr. Wily resurfaces to threaten the world again! Only Mega Man can stand in his way.
  • Mega Man 3 Mobile - Fight berserk robots on uncharted planets. Mega Man must set a course for space to resolve this mysterious crisis.
  • Mega Man 4 Mobile - A year has passed since Mega Man's battle in space. A new enemy appears - Dr. Cossack.
  • Mega Man 5 Mobile - Manic robots cause chaos in the city. How is Proto Man involved? Only Mega Man can find out!
  • Mega Man 6 Mobile - The Global Robot Alliance is formed, but this newfound peace is threatened by a new foe - the enigmatic Mr. X!
I'm seeing a lot of online hate for mobile games in general, but that's true for any release - nothing new there unfortunately. It seems strange the MegaMan Mobile games would be so disappointing after the awesome console releases. Who knows? But buyer beware! If you're inclined to try them out, do some research first and watch a few videos to better judge them for yourself.

January 5, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Investor predictions for Super Mario Run seem rash when the Android version has yet to launch

Investors make odd statementsand predictions regarding Super Mario Run
It's harder to compare apples and oranges when no one has seen an orange. Predictions made days after launch prior to the Android release.
While I can see some interesting info in the statistics released around Super Mario Run's fiscal performance, I don't understand why investors want to react so quickly when the Android version has not launched. All the data they have is for iOS players. It seems to me that this makes the numbers even more impressive, despite the ratio of players to payers.

Chill out! The app was just released and Android data is unaccounted for.
After 90 million downloads, it seems investors hoped more conversions would occur even though the 3% rate is higher than many other popular mobile games. At $10 I think the game is doing wonderfully. I think $5 would have been a better price point in a marketplace dominated by Free-To-Play games. I wonder if they are simply assuming the Android community will purchase at the same ratio.

I'm also curious to know how they are making so many predictions based on other games release data without stipulating if these comparisons are also iOS-only releases - or for both platforms.

The second thing I learned when studying economics and statistics is: you can make any assumption you want regardless what the numbers show. Numbers alone don't correlate directly to reasoning, thus can be used to "validate" any BS you want to embellish.

The first thing my Stats Professor told us was the cornerstone to economics is TANSTAAFL.

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.
January 4, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

My local GameStop (in the US) has a marketing poster in the window for Nintendo's Switch

Nintendo Switch marketing poster at US GameStop
I've seen pictures of the Nintendo Switch marketing posters on social media for other territories, now my local GameStop has it up.
I'm getting excited to hear from Nintendo on January 12 as I continue to ignore all the unfounded Switch rumors. It's sounding more and more exciting simply from the uniqueness of the console and it's ability to play the same titles at home and on the go. I've loved my 2DS and won't abandon it, but this new way to play has my interest.

For me, it's nintendo's commitment to altering the status quo that makes them an exciting company. No one thought the Wiimote was a good idea, until it changed the way we could control a game. Next Sony and Microsoft were stumbling to replicate it (poorly). So, I'm getting a similar vibe about the Switch and the way it will alter my play time by letting me take my games on the road. Can't wait for more info from Nintendo. The rumors are largely ridiculous and spreading click-bait across the web.

Happy to wait for real info.
January 3, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

I've read Archie Comics since I was a kid and hope the CW TV drama is good

Archie is coming to the CW in Riverdale
The Riverdale Gang has gone through a lot of changes and now we'll see how they fare as a TV drama.
Archie is coming to the CW in Riverdale Welcome to a town where everything is perfect, but nothing is as it seems. Riverdale premieres January 26 on The CW!

This looks like a crazy-dark version of Archie. Some of the latest magazine-style comics took on darker topics. This should be interesting if nothing else, but I hope it has enough tie-ins with the comics since the trailer looks pretty dark.

I guess the zany days of sharing milkshakes at Pop's have come to a close. But with Mädchen Amick as Bettie's mom and Molly Ringwald & Luke Perry as Archie's parents... it's gotta be good, right?
January 3, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

It took me 11 months to find a GameStop employee who could resolve my Game Informer problem

I still want to punch the kid who switched me to the digital magazine! Print rules!
Last February, while making a purchase at GameStop, when the clerk said my Game Informer subscription was expiring soon. I agreed to have it renewed and upon looking at my receipt - in the store - I asked why he had switched me to the digital version. I've always received the print mag. He said the stores could only renew for the digital version and I had to call the 800 phone line to switch it back. He was lying - about everything.

My hate for GameStop rose quickly... and brewed for nearly a year. There are plenty of reasons to hate this company, but I don't like lazy employees who take the easy way out by lying.

My passion for "print" isn't about being retro. Digital mags suck!
I asked EVERY GameStop employee I"ve encountered in the last 11 months how to resolve this issue. They ALL referred me to the 800 number. Yeah, I tried that many times. Never reached a human. Sometimes it rings forever. Sometimes it picks up and the line seems dead - no menu or human. I gave up and went back to questioning GameStop employees about changing it. It became a joke. Some were sympathetic, others just repeated the lie about "nothing can be done."

A few days ago, I was again asked if I wanted to renew my Game Informer subscription. This was the moment I realized it has been nearly a year of not enjoying the mag - which I do like a lot. I emphatically said, "NO." She asked why, so I gave her the abbreviated version of my plight, stating I wanted it to expire so I could start anew - with PRINT.

She says she can change it for me. What? Tell me more. Via the same computer all of GameStop employees use, she made the change. She even gave me the latest print version! This is one of the few times I was absolutely delighted with GameStop. I've missed reading GI.

Game Informer I tried to give the digital magazine a try. It's such a poor substitute for a print mag. I won't say "print" is without issues, but why do digital versions of print pubs not resolve any of the issues, nor offer any advancements of improvements? I did not like the digital version of Game Informer.
January 2, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Moving on from The Matrix, CNN uses game footage from Fallout as a backdrop to a hacking story

CNN uses Fallout game footage
In a world laden with stock photos and generic video, it seems odd to use content from a copyrighted game.
Did CNN not realize the backdrop to their Russian hacking story was from Bethesda's video game, Fallout? Or are they so lazy they simply grabbed some "computer footage" and dropped it in?

A Reddit user saw the Pip Boy similarity and the debate has rolled on encouraging CNN in this new direction and cease using footage from The Matrix for "computer" stories. One can only wonder if Fallout will be the new Matrix for conveying "complicated stuff".

Simulation from The Matrix The sad truth is - none of this matters. News has ceased being an informative enterprise with actual journalism. It's simply bait to garner advertising revenue. Coverage of Foreign Affairs has sunk to new lows as metrics indicate viewers don't care.

Folks are content to sit at home and watch stories about potatoes that look like Jesus while "reacting" to things appearing in their Facebook timeline. Complacency is the norm these days. Apathy is a way of life for some people.

Technology is getting smarter while, as a population, we delight in becoming dumber. As time marches forward, the likelihood we'll be wiped out by an army of robots seems more likely... or maybe we'll just all be run over by Elon's smart cars. Either way there's going to be a Cyberdyne logo on our demise.
January 1, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Article:

Ariana Grande's guest appearance in Square Enix's Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius speaks to the uncertainty in mobile

Ariana Grande meeting with execs
Introducing a character associated with Grande's celebrity may open new revenue streams enabling enhancement of the renown IP across it's other platforms.
And the Internet reacts as one would expect... Detractors are filling message boards with their varied opinions of Grande as a person, actress, singer, and human. That would be significant if anyone cared. Aside from her star-power, I'm not sure how Grande got on Square's radar, but she could easily have a dramatic PR benefit.

Entertainment outlets are jumping on this story as if Grande is branching out into video games. Some gaming fans are reacting as though the woman herself was being inserted into Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. It's a character, based on Grande's likeness from her Dangerous Woman album cover.

I highly doubt you'll encounter an in-game Citibank arena headlining a world tour with magical creatures out front scalping tickets and selling swag. You can also rule out any impromptu a cappella numbers - it's a video game with a long respected history.

By the way, Square Enix is a video game company and large parts of managing & growing any business involve day-to-day decisions based on changes in the marketplace. A franchise that began in the NES era has to adapt over time in a number of ways - both direct and indirect to the actual games themselves.

Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius

The game was first released in Japan in the Fall of 2015 and worldwide in June of the following year. It's available for both iOS and Android devices.

Ariana Grande playing Dance Dance Revolution If you follow mobile gaming news, you may have read stories about it's success. Some AAA games have done very well as have some shot-in-the-dark indie games that came out of left field, but there is little consistency or trending to these successes. Articles about mobile gaming these days often reveal the frustration of predicting what truly makes a successful game! Developers can't point to a sure-thing with any guarantee of success.If you've played any of the mobile versions of Final Fantasy, take a moment to look at Flappy Bird and see the disparity in success.

Benefits of Final Fantasy With Ariana Grande

Whether you like Ariana Grande or not, she has a huge fan-base that may skew outside your traditional gamer profile. Integrating her likeness as a Final Fantasy character could broaden the appeal of the game and bring in a whole new group of players. That translates into money. Her massive online following alone could tip the scales in favor of Square Enix's presence. Grande's mention of the company and game on Instagram and Twitter is tremendously valuable.

As I read the toxic online comments about her character's inclusion, I'm reminded why people suck. The hate aimed at Grande and Square shows a phenomenal lack of knowledge about business and the human condition. Grande's inclusion in FFBE may well enable the series to generate new revenue streams via mobile that enhance the IP across all platforms. Wake up folks - the world doesn't revolve around you, Ariana Grande is quite talented, and video games are fun! STFU and play :)
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