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

8 Bit Central - Retro Gaming Blog

Archive of Classic Video Game Blog Articles
Second Quarter 2017 - April, May, June

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!

June 2017 Retro Gaming Articles:

June 30, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

We're taking some time off to chill for the Summer with Player 2!

Sumer doesn't begin for me until my son comes up an we hit the local arcades, mini golf courses and a few beaches. With sand in our shoes and quarters in our pockets, we're off to enjoy a few weeks together!
June 29, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Copyright laws are confusing until you try profiting from stealing iconic imagery

Kendall + Kylie trample copywrites
With all the money flowing through this family, shouldn't someone be smart enough to hire an attorney to keep things semi-legal?
Kendall + Kylie logo Celebrities seem to think their public image levitates them above all else... including laws. Kendall and Kylie Jenner released a line of "vintage" t-shirts consisting of their images layered over iconic rock 'n roll bands.

Kendall + Kylie: side-boob sells Kendall wearing a K+K shirt with a Kiss image and logo As one who likes to wear the familiar black t-shirts emblazoned with my favorite bands, I can't imagine desecrating a Pink Floyd, Doors, Kiss, or Metallica t-shirt with Kendall or Kylie's mug. The sisters claim to listen to these bands, but I find it hard to believe in light of thinking they were somehow above these iconic artists.

To make matter's worse, no one associated with this clothing line stopped to get permission to use the images. Can you imagine taking a Doors t-shirt, putting your name or face over it's image, and trying to make a profit? These shirts were selling for $125 before they pulled the line!

Sharon Osbourne said it best, "Girls, you haven't earned the right to put your face with musical icons. Stick to what you know... lip gloss."

while Atari is promising big things with the mysterious announcement of their Atari Box. maybe they could put out a few Kendall t-shirts of their own. Atari seems a tad befuddled regarding the expansion of their brand and I'm sure they could use a few of Kenny J's images... right? No prob.

If Atari stole some Jenner images I doubt the KUWTK clan would tollerate any corporate entity stealing their pics...
If Atari stole some Jenner images We think Atari would do well with these festive Kendall-Atari shirts. Maybe a $275 MSRP - yeah, that sounds about right.

I'm not sure how this fits into the retail equation, but anyone selling any t-shirt for $125 should be slapped!
June 29, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Break out Mario Paint, Hyperkin is bringing back the SNES Mouse at a great price

Hyperkin SNES Mouse
Even if you aren't into Mario Paint, the SNES Mouse supports several dozen SNES titles. Great price - go for it!
In a gaming era long long ago, nearly every game console purported to have an upgrade path to become more "computer-like". From Atari's consoles to Mattel's Intellivision, keyboards were the hot add-on item... that really never made an impact. Years later, a mouse arrived for Nintendo's SNES. Bundled with Mario Paint, this mouse was compatible with a large number of SNES titles.

Hyperkin SNES Mouse With the recent news of the Retron77 console from Hyperkin, they certainly maintain a diverse product line. They have announced a reboot of the SNES Mouse with a retail price of $20. Called, the SNES Hyper Click Retro Style Mouse, it may have been inspired by Nintendo's upcoming SNES Micro console (Fall release) raising SNES awareness.

Regardless, this is a cool accessory to reappear for the SNES. It will be compatible with your original hardware as well as the SNES clones - some manufactured by Hyperkin. It's also compatible with over 60 SNES games!

Hyperkin's SNES Hyper Click Retro Style Mouse is an optical device and has a six-foot cable with a standard SNES controller connection. Keep an eye out - you can purchase it direct from Hyperkin and Amazon has a listing as well.
June 28, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Champ joystick has a standard 9-pin connector for the Champ Keypad for Colecovision

Champ Joysticks with separate keypad is a nice workaround to the original Colecovision controllers and it's Atari compatible.
Champ Joystick for Atari 2600 or Colecovision I found a nice Colecovision console and was debating whether I needed another Coleco Console. I knew I did, but I had to take a moment to justify it. The tipping point for me was the pair of Champ Joysticks being sold with it!

I'd never seen Champ sticks or heard of the name/brand, but they had a unique look to them with a dual fire-buttons and a top-of-the-stick fire-button. That's a facet I liked in my Wico stick for the Atari 2600.

After doing a little research, they have a standard 9-pin connector compatible with 2600 and Colecovision. I'm sure they will work with most consoles/computers using a 9-pin port. On the Coleco side of things, there is a Champ Keypad that works in conjunction with the Champ joysticks. This enables the numeric keypad options for game selections and so forth.

Wico made a similar keypad/joystick for the Atari 5200, but they also created a Y-cable that enabled connecting both the Wico joystick and an Atari 5200 joystick. This gave you the best of both worlds with a Wico stick and the keypad from the existing 5200 stick. I'm surprised the Champ solution didn't go this route and make use of the Colecovision's original controller keypad in conjunction with the Champ joystick.

Upon first inspection, the cables seemed really short - very short! I assumed the optimal use of thee sticks was with the Champ Keypad that would act as an extension to this short cable. I also felt the base was oddly loose on each joystick. Some reading revealed the cable is retractable, allowing it's 4½ foot length to be completely stored in the base by turning the upper portion.

Now I need to snag the Champ Keypads to go with the Champ Joysticks. Never having been a huge fan of the Colecovision joysticks, these Champ joysticks seem like a very Atari-like solution. I've always loved the Atari 2600 joysticks as well as the Wico compatible model. So, I may not have really needed another Colecovision console, but discovering the Champ Joysticks certainly made it a great purchase - even without the Champ Keypads.
June 27, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Never mind long lines and low inventory, how about the controller ports on the SNES Classic Edition

Nintendo's SNES Classic Edition
The NES Mini's controllers work with the Wiimotes for Virtual Console games. The SNES Mini seems to have a hidden set of similar ports.
The reproduction of the NES controllers was pretty slick for last year's NES Mini. In addition to the visual style, they could connect with a Wiimote and give some retro-feeling to Virtual Console games. Very cool. The ports on the SNES Mini look like tiny SNES ports and not compatible with... well, anything. But that may only be a cosmetic facade.

Images of the European version show a removable panel on the front that reveals the same Wiimote style connectors. Presumable the US version will have a similar style which opens the possibility of similar Virtual Console compatibility. Rumors also have it that the controller cables are longer. I assumed the NES Mini controller cables were short to Wiimote compatibility (like the nunchuk). Time will tell if any of this is accurate.

Is The SNES Mini Hackable?

Last year, it didn't take long for the NES Mini to be hacked, allowing the entire NES game library to be copied onto the mini console. I imagine the SNES will follow the same path. One has to wonder about Nintendo's stance on hacks. I know they aggressively combat it on the 3DS platform via system updates. The mini consoles have no connectivity, so once hacked - it's all over and the ROMs are there to stay. It will be interesting to see what sort of internal storage is available on the SNES Mini.

Personally, I'm curious to see how hard it will be to find an SNES Mini at a local store. The thrill of the chase and a great selection of games raises my curiosity enough to get up early on launch day. We'll see how it goes and I hope Nintendo really learned from last year and produces enough inits to meet demand. No one should be disappointed during the holidays for wanting to relive childhood memories!

I"m guessing fewer folks will want this one - the NES was the console most casual gamers seem to align with rather than the SNES. Time will tell, but until then, enjoy the Switch for the Summer :)
June 26, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Nintendo's SNES Classic Edition announcement sends waves of excitement and animosity

Nintendo's SNES Classic Edition
Waiting in line for two hours to discover the store only received four units was all too common with last year's NES Classic Edition.
Remember that kid who borrowed your bike and brought it back with a gash in your banana seat? Or how about your neighbor who returned your hedge trimmer with the plastic safety guard broken off? We tend to remember those who've wronged us. Mind you, this sort of angry retention is not healthy, but at the same time, you just don't mess with someone's banana seat!

Nintendo's SNES Classic Edition Nintendo messed with us! I love Nintendo, but the entire scenario around last year's NES Classic Edition was dreadful. I was able to buy one at a local store, but far too many people were denied... and then it was suddenly canceled. Rather strange.

I thought the NES Mini was released as a distraction to the Wii U's abrupt cancellation, to put a Nintendo product on retail shelves while they ramped up to release the Switch. Now that they seem to be advancing to the next retro console, I wonder what the overall strategy is with these retro consoles. One per year, presumably skipping the VirtualBoy.

So, anyway...
The SNES Classic Edition will be released on September 29th and nobody believes they will be able to get one. Does anyone even want one? Nintendo created a lot of bad blood among gamers who grew up with the NES and wanted that cute little console for holidays to relive some memories. Many of us still have the original NES and a hefty stash of games, but we sought out the NES mini for nostalgic lust. Then there were the scalpers who were delighted to sell the $60 trinket for $300+. They will return, come September...

The Super NES version is a bit more expensive ($80), but also comes with two controllers, but only 21 games. Nintendo claims to be producing significantly more SNES Classic Consoles but also states production is not guaranteed beyond the 2017 calendar year. The real hook of this console is the inclusion of the previously unreleased Star Fox 2 and the ever popular Earthbound. As pissed as I was about last year's release, I want one of these!

Nintendo's SNES Classic Edition
Although poorly handled last year, I want an SNES Classic.

SNES Classic Edition Game List

  1. Contra 3: The Alien Wars
  2. Donkey Kong Country
  3. EarthBound
  4. Final Fantasy 3
  5. F-ZERO
  6. Kirby Super Star
  7. Kirby's Dream Course
  8. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
  9. Mega Man X
  10. Secret of Mana
  11. Star Fox (originally released as Starwing in Australia)
  12. Star Fox 2
  13. Street Fighter 2 Turbo: Hyper Fighting
  14. Super Castlevania 4
  15. Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts
  16. Super Mario Kart
  17. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
  18. Super Mario World
  19. Super Metroid
  20. Super Punch-Out!!
  21. Yoshi's Island
June 21, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Retro games have a classic warmth on CRTs, but preservation necessitates modern compatibility

One day, all old game consoles will fail. On that day, be thankful someone saw the future and ensured classic games have modern compatibility.
If you're reading this, you probably like classic games that were the shining pinacle of technology about 25 or 30 years ago - maybe more. Perhaps you were introduced to games like Berzerk, Missile Command and Defender in the arcade. I'll be you were happy to see those gems come to home gaming consoles like the Atari 2600 and ColecoVision. Those home ports weren't as good as the arcade versions, but we loved playing them day and night in our living rooms, dens, and bedrooms.

Zaxxon on a CRT Decades later, the game consoles I bought as a kid still work. I've bought several consoles online to fill in the gaps that my childhood allowance didn't afford. As a retro gamer, I love sitting on the floor in front of the TV with my son and play my favorite Atari 2600 games with him. It's a blast from the past and he loves many of the games I've shared with him. We also have a Wii U and PS4 that keeps us up to date with modern games too. But it's the old games I love.

RCA vs HDMI

I have a few more modern compilation discs containing retro games. This lets us play Out Run on the PS2 and Spy Hunter via the PS3. Occasionally, we play ROMs on the computer when we can't locate a specific game. We've even purchased several of the all-in-one joystick games as well as a few of AtGames' Flashbacks. Playing retro games is an addiction.

You'd think we'd be set for life with all this stuff. To a degree, yes. But most of these scenarios involve older CRT televisions. While I still have a few of them, my primary gaming areas have newer HD style TVs requiring HDMI for optimal viewing.

This creates a problem. Most of the old consoles are in the basement with the older CRTs while the newer ones are in another location. The older consoles aren't able to output a good signal on modern TVs. Ideally, I love playing original cartridges on original game consoles with the familiar controllers. But that scenario has a finite life span. All equipment will eventually fail.

This year's Flashback consoles from AtGames feature HDMI output and the ability to play in 4:3 aspect ration of that old beast of a TV you grew up with. This is a tremendous step forward in allowing old games to integrate with modern TVs. You can also use your original controllers with the Atari and Sega Flashbacks. This is one method for future-proofing old games in a modern era.

Are ROMs The Only Future For Playing Classic Video Games?

Many consider ROMs the future of retro game preservation. Computers are continually becoming more powerful and capable of emulating bigger better consoles. However, that only allows gamers to experience the games outside their intended space. playing ROMs eliminates the physical media and often the original controllers.

I love playing old games, but the game itself is only part of the overall experience. Fitting an old cartridge into the game slot and feeling that old controller in your hand is a great tactile experience. So does all that disappear with future proofing that ability to play Zaxxon? Not at all!

companies like Hyperkin and Polymega are creating new consoles that make use of both classic media formats and controllers. The "box" may be new and have modern amenities, but it also caters to the original game carts and controllers. Thus we have an HDMI output that looks far superior to older consoles trying to work via RCA connections. These two companies are the first I've seen to allow old media and controllers to carry forward and bond well with modern technology.

Hyperkin's Retron 77 and Polymega's console are two examples that make me think the future of retro gaming won't be relegated to ROMs on your computer. Sure, it will continue to be an option, but I love how these two consoles modernize retro gaming and make use of many original components - media and controllers. The future may be brighter than we think as favored hardware succumbs to age.
June 21, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

SEGA Forever on mobile is a great awareness concept, but I want the games on Switch

SEGA Forever
I'm more of a casual mobile gamer, but I can't resist trying the first batch of Sega Forever titles and hoping they come to consoles.
Last year, as Sega released several of it's retro catalog on the 3DS, I scooped them up as they arrived. Titles like OutRun, Thunder Blade, and Streets Of Rage are a blast on the 3DS. I later bought the SEGA 3D Classics Collection containing: Power Drift, Puyo Puyo 2, Fantasy Zone II w, Sonic The Hedgehog, Thunder Blade, Galaxy Force II, Altered Beast, Fantasy Zone II, and Maze Walker.

SEGA Forever - Comix Zone for Androoid Hearing of Sega's next round of retro games coming to modern platforms, again boosted our hopes. Sega Forever has been released as a series of mobile games for Android and iOS. Sega seems intent on releasing a significant number of games to mobile platforms under the Sega Forever moniker.

I understand they will be releasing additional games on a biweekly schedule. I'm not sure of the scope, but it sounds like a lot of games are coming to mobile. The first set of individual downloads are: Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast, Phantasy Star 2, Kid Chameleon and Comix Zone. I downloaded ComicZone to my tablet since it was a title I'd never played before.

Mixed reviews are coming in across all of these initial titles. Most complaints surround frame-rates and control issues. I'm not a fan of "controller" buttons mapped to the screen for tapping. It doesn't always work out. Not having played te original, I can't properly assess Comix Zone, but I did enjoy it. As a mobile game, it was fun and I'll keep playing it. I would expect better play on PC or console, but it was alright for my style of casual infrequent play.

The games are free to play and contain ads - a one-time purchase will remove the ads. I like that model as it gives great exposure to the games, by ostensibly being free, while allowing the option to remove the ads. But I consider the mobile releases as a tease for what might come. Some have wondered if these games will come to consoles like Nintendo's Switch.

I like to think some of these titles will ultimately come to one or more of the Big Three consoles and give us the large screen experience of a modern TV. For me, these type of releases are primarily about putting amazing games back into rotation. I enjoyed them a a kid. Now today's kids can have that opportunity. Many folks of my generation will gravitate toward favorites from days gone by, but I've already encouraged my son to try Comix Zone. As an SOR fan, I'm sure he'll dig it and want to see what else Sega Forever has to offer.
June 21, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Various rap artists' remixes to benefit public education via Street Fighter II charity album

Galloping Ghost Arcade
Richmond music community joins to benefit public schools with Street Fighter: The RVA Warrior and streaming charity event on Twitch.
Twenty producers, DJs, and emcees from Richmond, Virginia are excited to present a collaborative hip-hop tribute charity album featuring the iconic melodies from Street Fighter II. Street Fighter: The RVA Warrior breathes new life into each of the world warriors' themes, and best of all, proceeds will be donated to the Richmond-based Building a Better RPS charitable organization to benefit public schools in the area. Street Fighter: The RVA Warrior is available today wherever digital music is sold.

Check out the tracks on Bandcamp.

A release show and fundraising event will be held at Garden Grove Brewery on Thursday, June 22nd, at 8:00pm. The show, which will be streamed live on Twitch, will include a Street Fighter 2 tournament and costume contest. Garden Grove will also be serving a Street Fighter-themed beer, Hundred Hop Slap.

Funds from donations, a raffle, and profits from CD and digital sales will go towards projects aimed at improving Richmond's public school system.
June 19, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Galloping Ghost Arcade announces the 600th game on their floor

Galloping Ghost Arcade
I can't fathom the amazing overload from being surrounded by 600 arcade games, but I would like to move in and live there!
Sega Star Wars Chicago's Galloping Ghost Arcade began in 2010 with a worthy premise - create a space that celebrates the advancement of arcade gaming in a fun hands-on environment. Starting with 130 games, today, owner Doc Mack announced the 600th game to be displayed on the floor!

One of their hallmarks is giving gamers the opportunity to play extremely rare games, like Primal Rage II, next to classics like Donkey Kong and Missile Command. As their collection grew, they've been releasing games to the gaming floor with a bit of a tease.

The 600th game, revealed today, is 2-payer Sega Star Wars - another very rare game. Having played in numerous arcades that rotated games onto the floor to keep things fresh, those rotations meant a machine had to be taken off the floor. Much respect for Galloping Ghost's ability to expand and grow. With a $20 door-fee, you can play as long as you want - all the games are on free play!

Billed as one of the largest arcades in the world, if you're in the Chicago area, it's worth a visit. You could actually plan a week-long vacation there and not get your hands on every game. It's an epic wonderland.
June 18, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Top-selling music game Just Dance coming to many platforms including the original Wii

Just Dance 2018 for Wii?
Can a new Wii game succeed on a retail shelf in 2017?
As Just Dance prepares to release on nearly every existing platform, for the 2018 version of the game, will Ubisoft really include an original Wii version? Nintendo Life is reporting UbiSoft will be releasing it on many platforms from Switch, Xbox One, and PS4, to the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, and Wii. I've found all the online listings except for the Wii version - perhaps it's forthcoming.

Considering the massive number Wii consoles sold, it likely makes more sense to release a Wii version rather than a Wii U version. But the fact that Ubisoft is considering Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, and Wii versions shows how the retail landscape is changing and why GameStop is desperate to branch out from physical games.

Search engines also direct consumers to physical goods ineligible for costly retail shelves.

Retailers Don't Have Unlimited Shelf Space

My local GameStop is very small. The fact that they still have a small section of Wii games amazes me. Now that the Wii U, Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 are outdated by newer replacements, where does a brick and mortar shop store all that inventory? My local store can't do it properly with all the Think Geek items taking up shelf space.

I'm guessing Ubisoft is counting on search engines to direct consumers to Just Dance 2018 for the older platforms. Where would you find a Wii game in a Wal Mart or Target store? This speaks to the seldom-mentioned power of online sales in gaming. It's not just digital games that come into play with search engines leading consumers to products.

We constantly hear about digital downloads creating large inroads on traditional physical games, but online also directs consumers to products that don't perform well on costly retail shelves. Anyone who loves fitting a game cartridge into a console probably has an affinity for physical games, but many signs point to needed changes to brick and mortar retail strategies. Make malls great again... if possible.
June 17, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I love seeing classic albums in stores when I remember buying them as a kid

Kiss Alive II album
I was obsessed with Kiss' first live album, so when Alive II released in 1977, I was all over it!
Kiss Alive II album Browsing through Newbury Comics the other day, I saw Kiss Alive II in the used vinyl section and memories came rushing back. This was one of the few Kiss albums I owned on both LP and cassette. I became obsessed with their first live release when a friend played it for me.

This was my first exposure to a live album and I loved the roughness and roar of the crowd. I vividly remember the excitement of buying it at Giant Music and marveling at that iconic cover shot behind the shrink-wrap.

Up until then, music was something that emerged gloriously from my Dad's stereo. I hadn't given much thought to the human involvement or how bands created the music I loved. Keep in mind I was quite young at the time :) When I saw Kiss on a TV special, I was astounded!

By the time Kiss Alive II came out, I was a manic fan of the band. My Dad bought me a copy of it on cassette, but I still loved vinyl and had to get a copy of the LP!
June 16, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Atari CEO Fred Chesnais tells VentureBeat, “We're back in the hardware business”

Is Atari back in the hardware business?
Many things hint at some sort of retro gaming device, but those close to it claim no connection to retro.
Last week, just prior to E3, Atari began hinting at some sort of new hardware with the "title", Atari Box. The Internet instantly wanted more info, but their cryptic website offered little satisfaction to the curiosity it stirred. Is this real? What is Atari doing?

A video posted to their ataribox.com website vaguely shows a device with some strong Atari 2600 traits. Atari, as a holding company, has managed the various IPs and licensed the name to a variety of odd projects. Many of these have tried to leverage the retro feel of Atari as a brand. They are perceived as an iconic video game brand from hits like Asteroids, Missile Command and a bevy of early 1980s arcade games. Thus it makes sense that their mysterious new console would be some sort of retro gaming device.

Is GameStop ready to make space for Atari Box titles? Can Atari Compete in Gen 8?
However, this is hard to believe as they already have a deal with AtGames for the popular plug-n-play consoles containing about 80 built in games from Atari's past.

Atari CEO Fred Chesnais told VentureBeat they are indeed creating new hardware and that it is based on PC technology. My belief it Atari is engaging in some misdirection (not out of malice) to draw attention to the brand as they begin to release tidbits of info. Some folks in forums who seem close to this project are saying it has no relation to retro gaming.

Hyperkin announced the Retron 77 - a console that plays Atari 2600 cartridges via HDMI - which brings your old VCS carts to modern TVs. AtGames is also adding HD compatibility to it's Flashback console line. Many are assuming the NES Classic Edition's success has triggered Atari to "go retro". I think they are doing something completely different and it wouldn't surprise me if it wasn't even game-related.

Is Atari Box A Modern Game Console?

If folks doubt Nintendo's ability to compete in Generation 8's modern times (incidentally, they can and they're killing it!), how can Atari possibly compete? I'm guessing they are leveraging their history in gaming by teasing a new product in the midst of E3, but I suspect it's more of an IoT product not a game console in the traditional sense - despite Fred Chesnais saying it's a game console. Might Atari really have found an untouched niche to delve into? Could they truly make a comeback in gaming?

I think gamers are hoping to see Atari return to gaming... and Atari knows it. Thus, they are leveraging this to their benefit. Time will tell, but I get the feeling they are in no rush to give any substantial info. When they say it's a product "years in the making", they'd have to come to market with an amazing and solid product.

Is Atari back in the hardware business?
June 14, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

There's no better place to wear Pixel Panties than the local arcade

All you need is a fist full of quarters and a cool arcade!
We wrote an article about Williams' Gorgar pinball table a while back as it was the first pinball games to use voice. With a seven-word vocabulary, several phrases were triggered by gameplay events.

Pinball arcade
June 14, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Playing 8-bit games on a modern hi-def TV isn't about improving picture quality

Some people play video games while others love video games. Yes, there is a difference.
When I get excited about repairing a ColecoVision Roller Controller so I can play Slither and someone tells me I could play thousands of games on a Raspberry Pi... that's the difference between playing games and loving games. It may sound trite, but there is a lot more to video games than sitting in front of a TV with a joystick in hand.

Better still, the crowd that believes retro games must be played on a CRT television without acknowledging they are no longer being produced and retro gaming must eventually be compatible with modern TVs. The Retron 77 seems to be the next solution for retaining the vibe of retro gaming (useing original carts and controllers) via HDMI on an HD TV. I think that's a grand achievement and needs to happen to preserve the amazing games in a manner close to their origin.

I love playing games, but I also love rubbing a Q-tip dipped in alcohol across the contacts of an old cartridge and seeing a dark smudge appear. It's a bit gross on one hand, but it means the game that previously displayed a strafed screen and loud monotone sound will now let me select 2-player co-op with moving shields and invisible Invaders! Oh yeah!

Let me tell you about the happy-dance I did when I found Metal Slug Anthology for the Wii or The Sega Classic Collection for PS2 so I could play Out Run. Lets not forget the broken Tempest arcade cabinet in the back room of my local arcade. Will it be fixed and on the floor this Summer? What about the Donkey Kong cab at my favorite arcade from when I was a kid. I still go there and I'm convinced that DK cab is the one I played as a teen.

So when Hyyperkin reveals the Retron 77 - a console that plays Atari 2600 cartridges on HD TVs - it's not about seeking a better picture. For me it's about options. This lets me play my favorite games on any modern TV. As my CRT TVs fail, it's not always easy to find another and it will get progressively harder. Such devices are finite.

Sure I could play any game imaginable on my computer with an emulator, but I'd much rather find a dingy 8-bit cart in a thrift store and see it I can clean it up enough to play. It's a game I've never heard of and I'll risk $2 to see what it is. When the screen illuminates and I dive into it headfirst surrounded by dirty Q-tips and paper towels, I'm going to play the Hell out of this game! Playing it on a wall-mounted flatscreen is of little consequence because I love playing video games. It looks the same, but feels great!

Vintage games on modern TVs isn't about picture quality
June 13, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Hyperkin's Retron 77 will play your Atari 2600 carts on your fancy TV via HDMI

Hyperkin Retron 77
It's not about spectacular graphics. For me, the awesome-factor is the Retron 77's compatibility with HD televisions!
Like many retro gamers, I have a few obscenely heavy CRT televisions at home. Slowly, but surely, they fail and I move on to the next. Sure, I can find discarded ones now and then, but for how long? New technologies have taken over and while it's nifty to sling a TV onto the wall like hanging a painting, they lack the charm of the former CRTs.

CRTs have a "warmth" to them in the way they render images on the screen. Firing electrons from the back to the front gives retro gamers a lot to view as aliens descend, heroes prevail, and flying ostriches litter the screen with airborne jousting. Light-gun compatibility also comes to mind.

I don't have a beautifully adorned man cave like the ones showcased on Instagram. I keep much of my retro gear in one room and that becomes the obvious place to put the gargantuan TVs that best accomodate retro gaming consoles. Old TVs with dials are partial to 4:3 aspect ratios that cause glaring letter-boxing with many movies. Who remembers buying DVDs with "full screen" versions of films? lol

Retron 77 To The Rescue

HyperKin's Retron 77 lets you play your existing collection of Atari 2600 games (on cartridges) on moden TVs via HDMI. High resolution TVs offer clarity beyond those old CRTs and many folks begin to scratch their heads wondering why anyone would want to play Asteroids on a hi-def TV.

The awesomeness of this console is it gives me options. I'm no longer relegated to that one room with the CRT! I can play Missile Command in the living room, Wizard of Wor in the bedroom, and Yar's Revenge in the den. As things stand now, I play certain games in specific rooms because of the consoles set up in each. The Retron 77 lets me play Atari 2600 games anywhere. This may seem dumb, but it changes my world in wondrous ways! :)

I think the ability to play VCS games on modern televisions will appeal to a great many retro gamers and give them the ability to go from Rivier Raid to Tomb Raider with great ease. That may seem inconsequential, but it would change the way I approach gaming, by offering the opportunity to easily mix a larger variety of games in one session.

Hyperkin Retron 77 The front of Hyperkin's Retron77 showing the 2 DB-9 controller ports. This is an early-stage prototype and although they've shown packaging, most bets are on a 2018 release for the Retron 77.
Hyperkin Retron 77 The rear of Hyperkin's Retron77. I've read that Difficulty Switch settings are handled via software.

Add 5200 & 7800 Compatibility

I know I will buy the Retron 77 the second it becomes available. However, it won't be long before I want the same capability for other Atari cartridge-based consoles. Hyperkin is known for packing multiple cart-slots and game engines into a single console, so why limit the Retron 77 to only playing 2600 games? I love my 7800 because I can also effortlessly play 2600 games on it. Imagine a Hyperkin console with a single controller for Atari's first three home consoles!

Dare I suggest Intellivision and Colecovision consoles in this same vein? It was only a matter of time before it was necessary to begin bringing vintage games to new televisions. I adore the AtGames Atari FlashBack Classics for PS4, but the ability to retain more of the retro feeling via original cartridges and controllers adds a brilliant blend of vintage-meets-modern!
June 12, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Opinions divide on Atari Box- an HD console for 2600 games or a modern device with no retro ties

Atari box
Tease-marketing is annoying rather than exciting, because I want to be excited by the product, not a premise. And I'm an adult.
I feel some folks are thinking Hyperkin's upcoming console is part of the "Atari Box" mystery. It sounds as though Hyperkin is releasing the Retron 77 that will bring HDMI output to your collection of Atari 2600 games. Now you can better play them on modern TVs. That's cool, but I'd love to see support for 5200 and 7800 carts. AtGames is doing the same thing, adding HDMI to their Atari and Sega Flashback consoles. I'm not convinced this is the mystery as there seems to be enough public acknowledgment of the Retron 77 while the Atari Box site remains silent on info.

I'm praying to the retro gods hoping the "Atari Box" won't suck.
Those on forums who are dropping mild clues - presumably because they are part of the project or have inside knowledge - tell a different tale. They speak of a hardware device with no ties or connection to retro gaming. The plot thickens....

Keep in mind many projects have gone the route of licensing the Atari name without any connection to gaming or retro gaming. They simply want to associate the prominence of the Atari name with their product to boost interest and credibility.

Tease Marketing Is Irritating

At this point, I'm just annoyed at the entire marketing tease. If I knew it was gaming related, I'd be stoked to discover what this mysterious product is. From the woodgrain tease in the Atari Box video, I assumed it was 2600 VCS related.

The possibility arises that it may be a kick-ass pizza oven or innovative bike rack. Who knows. I'm going to save my excitement for SFII on Switch and Mutant Mudds on my PS4. If Atari delivers the goods, I'll be all over it :)
June 11, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Email from atari.com teases about their new product - years in the making

Atari box email
I'd read about this on social media, but now I have an official Atari email telling me very little about their upcoming "box".
After more reading online, I feel confident in saying Atari has some sort of hardware in mind. When it comes to "years in the making", I wonder why they only registered their ataribox.com domain name last month.

While the sparse website has links for Media, Jobs, and Devs - they omited the social media links shown (but not linked) in their video. The email I received this morning resolved that and lets me view the blank accounts that also display no information. At least their Facebook page has a bit of interatction to show someone is watching fromthe Atari side.

I'll reiterate, today's Atari is simply a holding company that licenses the brand name to other products. You are probably most familliar with the AtGames' Atari Flashback game condoles that come out each holiday season, but the Atari name has been lent to a variety of things including a home automation product line.

Atari Box Twitter account with no posts
June 10, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

This Dance Beat superstar's Instagram post was used as a communication link for malware

This comment on Britney Spears' Instagram account was used as a communication link for hackers
A strange looking, meaningless text string in the comment section helped direct malware to a specific destination.
Hacker's are damn clever people. When it comes to using technology in ways it was never meant to be used - these people take it to new levels. While Britney Spears fans sift through her Instagram account, some will like her pics, some will leave comments, and others will just pass by.

A malicious Firefox extension sought out Britney's Instagram account for a different purpose. Installed on user's computers by another site, the extension was directed to a specific post on Spears' account where it would scan the comments seeking a component to complete a bit.ly URL that would then know where to send stolen info.

The needed info hid in plain sight as a peculiar comment that most of us would simply ignore. There was no threat to anyone following Britney's account or interacting with it. The odd comment was buried among the hundreds of comments, waiting to be found by the hacker's malware. Using social media is a great scheme for putting added distance between the hackers and anyone on their trail as well as the ability to easily erase traces of it. I commend their choice of imagery.

While she surged to stardom in the late '90s, Britney Spears currently has a Las Vegas residency that showcases her ability to entertain night after night. All these years later, she still delivers solid entertainment and has a following large enough to hide innocuous malware clues on her Instagram. You need a lot of interacting fans for that honor ;)

Don't forget she's stared in her own video game on Nintendo's GameBoy Advance and Sony's PS2. in tribute to her celebrity prowess, put ...Baby One More Time on the turn table and fire up Britney's Dance Beat on your console of choice!

Britney's Dance Beat for PS2
June 10, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

AtGames adds new consoles & features to their line of all-in-one Flashback consoles

AtGames Atari Flashback 8 Gold Activision Edition
We've grown accustomed to the yearly Flashback consoles, but this Fall they offer some cool new features and models. A brief overview.
With the onset of climate change, we seem to go from the blazing heat of Summer straight into the frigid chills of harsh Winters. Like seasonably warm Springtime memories, Fall has also left my recent memories. If the leaves didn't turn color and flutter to the ground, how would I even recognize the onset of the holiday season?

AtGames to the rescue! Fall springs to life when we are treated to the new game lists for the various Flashback consoles along with release dates. OK, I still rely heavily on my Ninja Turtle wall calendar, but AtGames will return to retail shelves with more options than usual. Sure, they'll have an Atari Flashback 8, but you'll have some cool features to consider this year!

All the typical Flashback consoles will return with a few additions and subtractions to the included built-in games. The ColecoVision and Intellivision Flashbacks appear to be the same versions originally released. Like the Sega consoles, they lack a version number - which makes it difficult to easily discern the version (the Atari Flashback 8 will arrive this year). They others can only be identified by knowing the specific games that change year-to-year.

AtGames Atari Flashback 8 Gold Edition

Atari Flashback 8

Starting off with the standard console we've grown to love over the years, the Atari Flashback 8 now comes with 105 built-in games. This version sports wired controllers and ports compatible with your original Atari joysticks. I wasn't a fan of the previous wireless joysticks as they used IR which saves money, but causes connection difficulties. But wait... the Atari Flashback 8 has two special Gold editions, hopefully improving controller connections!

AtGames Atari Flashback 8 Gold Activision Edition The first Atari Flashback 8 Gold Edition features 120 games, but the real treat is 720P HDMI output, scan line filtering, a save/pause/rewind feature for every game, and two 2.4ghz wireless controllers. Now you can play your favorite old games on your fancy wall-mounted TV and even use your original controllers to save games and adjust scan lines. These upgrades add $20 over the cost of the standard Flashback 8, but it seems like a pretty good deal!

The second Atari Flashback 8 Gold Edition console, the Activision Edition has the same specs as the plain Gold Edition. This console offers 130 games, 39 of which come from the Activision catalog. As a special bonus, while keeping the same pricing as the plain Gold Edition, you also get a set of paddle controllers letting you play games like Kaboom with more authenticity.

Sega Genesis Flashback

AtGames Sega Genesis Flashback Withe several releases under it's belt, the Sega component to AtGames' console line has been called, Sega Genesis Classic Game Console - having no "Flashback" moniker. While that console will return with 81 built-in games and a working cartridge slot, it too is getting a nice upgrade!

Like the Atari Flashback Gold Editions, there will be a Sega Genesis Flashback with 85 built-in games and the same upgrade seen on the Atari model. Thus you'll have legacy controller ports along with 2.4ghz wireless controllers, 720P HDMI output, scan line filtering, and a save/pause/rewind feature for every game!

You will also see a visual design change in that it looks more like the original console. This version will also command the $20 price hike over the standard edition.

The standard Sega Genesis Classic Console has had issues with sound in terms of replicating it properly and accurately. At this time we don't know how the emulation is being achieved on the new HD consoles - or if it's even been altered at all. When the consoles are sent to reviewers and retail stores, we'll have a better idea of how the Sega Flashback compares to the standard model in terms of reliable emulation.

AtGames Atari and Sega Portables

AtGames Atari Flashback Portable On the Atari side of the portable product line, the Atari Flashback Portable marked AtGames' first effort to add customization of games via an SD card slot. Through this innovation, gamers could add their own games (creating a legal issue no one wants to be party to) and homebrew titles. Containing 70 built-in games & rechargeable battery, you can take it on the road and play on the 2.8 display or connect it to your TV for a big-screen experience.

AtGames Sega Genesis Portable The Sega Genesis Ultimate Portable Game Player is back with both Genesis and Megadrive games, 85 in total. Functionally, it is identical to the Atari portable, with an SD card slot, and Sega gaming on the go or your TV.

Owning neither of the portable units puts me at a disadvantage for speaking to their performance, I hope to resolve that this year. The addition of the SD slots on both Atari and Sega units really makes me want them!

Overall Conclusions

This article is primarily to alert you to the new wireless control sceme and HDMI output on both the AtGames Atari and Sega Flashback consoles. I think the NES Classic Edition added new interest in nostalgia and an overall boost in casual interest for old games. While the Flashback consoles are made by AtGames via licensing, Nintendo was behind their recent mini console. Neither Atari nor Sega exist in the same manner as Nintendo, who are still actively creating modern consoles and games.

It's worth noting that all of these consoles are targeting those looking to relive childhood fun with Mario, Sonic, and classic Atari games. These consoles, while evolving and improving, are not designed with hardcore gamers in mind. I see a lot of bitterness about the choice of included games and level of emulation. While these are valid concerns, AtGames' consoles deliver a fun "flashback" to playing these games decades ago. If you seek perfection of that childhood experience, you will probably be happier with original hardware.

When you factor in the ease of use and the large numer of built-in games, these mini consoles are quite a good deal... and now they have improved wireless controllers and HDMI, opening them to wider TV compatibility. For a fun and quick way to jump into a favorite classic video game, AtGames makes it remarkably easy and cost effective. Go to the AtGames website for all the specs.

Look for these consoles at game and toy stores this coming holiday season!
June 9, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Prior to E3, Atari rolls out a cryptic video on ataribox.com

Atari box
Speculation runs wild as we wait to see what Atari has in store... a box, eh... hmmmm.
With news of AtGames releasing an Atari Flashback 8 in September including HDMI output, what is Atari hinting at... right before E3? I want to say the video has a hardware vibe with a leaning toward the wood grain of the 2600, but that's just an inkling of a feeling.

Atari box Their cryptic video resides on ataribox.com, a domain only recently registered on May 25, 2017 with Go Daddy. If this is the future site of some hardware offering debuting at E3, you'd think they'd have secured the domain long ago.

My mind wants to launch into a world of new Atari hardware fantasies in which a modern gaming console storms the status quo and gives the gaming world an amazing console that keeps retro gaming fondly in the fold. Every time I see the Atari logo in the news, my hopes rise, but each time the announcement comes and goes with little fanfare.

Their recent smart-watch performed well on Kickstarter, but I've heard very little since. This is a familiar tale with the holding company behind the once vibrant brand. I know better than to get too excited, but I can't help myself... it's Atari. I'm weak.

June 9, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Tapes? No tapes? In 2017 can we assume cassettes have given way to digital audio in the White House?

Everyone involved in this latest Trump fiasco is talking about tapes without realizing how outdated it sounds.
With all the Nixon comparisons, the news media and all involved in this dreadful comedy of despair seem to have forgotten that not many things are stil recorded on analog tape. I know there are a lot of legacy systems and scenarios in place, but lets assume that if there are recordings of Trump burying himself, it won't come to light as a shoe-box full of cassettes being read into evidence.

Sure, it's possible they're just using the term "tapes" metaphorically, but are you really prepared to give that much credibility to anyone involved in this idiocy? Shouldn't someone be tasked with running the country amidst all this?

Lordy, I hope there are tapes Lordy, I hope there are tapes.
June 9, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The MixxTape reinvents the cassette tape for listening via headphones, Bluetooth, or in your Trans AM

The MixxTape reinvents the cassette tape
The rash of visually designed storage drives mar the brilliance of the MixxTape which stores 64 GBs of music and plays in any tape deck!
The MixxTape is a big step ahead of most portable storage devices by adding actual functionality to it's "cassette" design. It not only looks like a cassette - it plays just like on too! They are crowd-funding it via a MixxTape Kickstarter campaign which I urge you to check out!

Flash storage devices were sleek little "memory sticks" as we called them due to their appearance. My first one only held 2 GB but I thought is was amazing. They have grown in capacity and shrunk in physical size. Then they grew again...

Having gobs of gigabytes in your pocket was replaced by larger devices that tried to add style to the equation. Now flash drives are adorned with super heros, cartoon characters, video game mascots, and more. I guess it's more fun to plug Batman's head into your laptop than to have a device small enough to disappear into a shirt pocket. And do we need to store MP3 files on a drive shaped like a cassette? The MixxTape smashes that stereotype with a very slick concept!

The MixxTape connects to your computer via Micro USB While a big fan of pop culture, the physical size of the drive is much more important to me, but that's not our focus here. You should check out the MixxTape. It's a 64GB storage device for music that's shaped like a cassette because it will play your stored music files through any cassette deck! That's pretty cool and wonderfully retro and analog!

As a modern device, it will send your music to headphones or a Bluetooth speaker, but for old school fans of physical media, it will play in your Walkman, Boombox, or car stereo. If you have a cassette player, the MixxTape will play through it!

The MixxTape has a micro SD slot as well as a magnetic head to pump your tunes out via a cassette deck/player. The headphone jack is self explanatory and the Mico USB port allows connection to your Mac or PC to load files onto the MixxTape. It supports FLAC, MP3, WMA, OGG, APE, WAV, AAC-LC, ACELP, and Audible music files.

With reels that spin and actual analog playback through a cassette deck, this is a much different product from ones that may have some visual similarity. Take a look at their Kickstarter page and see if your cassette deck could benefit from 64 gigs of digital music in analog splendor!
June 8, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Way Of The Rodent's irreverence is being revived in a Book, Our-Type, and online magazine archive

Rodent's irreverence is being revived in a coffee table Book, Our-Type
If you've read the irreverent pages of WOTR, this coffee table book of collected articles from 10+ years of retro gaming may be for you!
Way Of The Rodent began in 2003 and continued onward for 94 issues taking it into the next decade. Over that time a lot of interesting articles were published with a unique flair for irreverence. I love this project and bringing back the back issues along with the coffee table book is such a great tribute to retro gaming and some great writing.

Check out Way Of The Rodent's Kickstarter for their compilation book, Our Type.

From the Way Of The Rodent Kickstarter page:
This is WayoftheRodent calling from Britain, we were the online magazine that wrote about videogames in a funny, sweary, irreverent and sometimes deeply personal way. If you liked eccentric British humour, not giving a damn for authority and got a bit emotional remembering the arcade cab that sat in the corner of your local chippy when you were 13; then you loved reading Rodent.

And now we're bringing you a lavish book of Rodent's fifty finest moments; we're calling it 'Our-Type' and it'll be the sort of art book that would be at home on Richard Branson's coffee table that he had made out of swans, diamonds and all them women he turned upside down at product launches.
June 7, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I just discovered Friendly's Purple Potamus ice cream and it is crucial I have more of it

Friendly's Purple Potamus ice cream
After a round of mini golf, my son & I enjoy the awesomeness of Dinosaur Crunch ice cream. Now I've discovered Purple Potamus!
I stopped off at the grocery store to snag some milk and wound up in the frozen aisle where I noticed the Friendly's brand ice cream was on sale. Not one to pass on my fave brand, I saw Purple Potamus. This was new to me and I loved the name, so I took home a batch.

I think Dinosaur Crunch will stay atop our list of favorites, but Purple Potamus is certainly a top 5 flavor!
June 6, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

An official GameStop letter arrived in the mail with news of a “security incident”

GameStop sent me a letter about a security incident (hack)
For all those times I've saved $1.25 with my rewards card, I hope some moron hasn't racked up astonishing debt in my name.
After a day at the office, I was thinking about firing up some Crispy Crowns, checking out a few of my recent Atari 2600 finds, and catching an episode of iZombie. But first, I went through the stack of incoming bills and found a curious envelope from GameStop. Not a business size envelope, but one of those large square ones. Hmmm...

Did I win something?
News of an amazing new game?
Will Crash Bandicoot's N Sane Trilogy release early?
Perhaps another irritating credit card offer?

Nope.

They were apprising me of a "security incident" which likely means they were hacked six years ago and are now telling me about it. Just in case my credit hadn't already been ruined, here was a mandatory disclosure about some sort of breach in their systems resulting in theft of customer information.

While many are quick to praise businesses that dole out such disclosure letters, their action is not altruistic, nor an attempt to assist their customers. Such letters are usually sent out years after the "incident" and are part of a mandatory agreement with another controlling party.

I was going to delve into this Pokemon Ultra news I heard, but now I'm wondering if I should slide down the rabbit hole and see how many credit violations I can track down and report to an automated digital assistant at some acronym'd state agency. Thanks GameStop.

I'm a sucker. I'm sure I'll be back to put my credit worthiness on the line for a kick-ass space shooter adventure!
June 5, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

While Capcom is condemned for MMLC2's lone PS4 & Xbox release, it may still come to Switch

Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 coming in August
Ignoring Nintendo Switch's success and momentum seems unlikely, suggesting the Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 will arrive eventually.
When I heard about the original Mega Man Legacy Collection, I darted down to GameStop and snagged a copy for my 2DS. Had to have it and revel in the 8-bit wonders of this franchise! Later, I picked it up for PS4 to play it on a large TV.

Capcom announced the sequel to the Collection - the Mega Man Legacy Collection 2, coming in August, but only for PS4, Xbox One, and PC - no Nintendo platforms were mentioned. Excitement still mounts on several fronts, mainly the ability to play an amazing set of games on modern consoles and televisions. This gives immense validation to games that might otherwise go unnoticed by younger gamers who never experienced these games in their heyday.

It's hard to resist such a broad franchise as Mega Man when it comes to reissued games. Being able to play games spaning multiple consoles, on a single platform lends to some great gaming opportunities across the various titles. I loved the first Collection and am looking forward to the next. But not everyone feels that way.

Some Mega Man fans are lamenting (condemning Capcom) the lack of a Nintendo announcement. The Collection, slated for an August release, is coming out for PS4, Xbox One, and PC - but no 3DS or Switch announcement. While that doesn't bode well at the outset, it doesn't seem to indicate this as a permanent situation. MMLC2 may still reach one or two Nintendo products. Folks need to realize that Nintendo consoles are not like the other Generation 8 consoles. Coding for them is still a much different process.

SFII may have revealed release intricacies, causing Capcom to initially debut Mega Man to PS4 & Xbox.
It's entirely possible that Capcom wants to get the MMLC2 out this Summer to the widest possible audience. That would be the Sony and Microsoft install bases. While it may be perceived as too late in the lifecycle for the 3DS, it stands to reason the Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 will eventually be released for the Switch.

The success and momentum of the Switch can't be ignored. I have a feeling, they are pushing the game to the easiest release and tackling Switch development later. When looking at their release of Super Street Fighter II for the Switch, this experience may have led to a decision to relegate the Mega Man games to a later Switch release. I'd be shocked if the Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 didn't wind up on Switch at some point. Have faith and enjoy SFII with the Joy Cons for the time being.

Pricing SFII at $40 while the MMLC2 will debut at only $20 may be a telling factor, speaking to the ease of bringing Mega Man to the Switch. I'm confident it will happen... timing is everything.
June 4, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I'm not into super hero films or comics, but Wonder Woman is an epic adventure in storytelling

Wonder Woman film
Not knowing much about her backstory, I thought the film did a great job of putting her character in context - very cool flick!
I remember watching the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman series on TV in the mid 70s. It was kind of corny, but an enjoyable show I remember watching despite a change in networks and a total re-casting except for Carter.

Wonder Woman Collection on DVD With no idea what to expect, I set out to my local theater primarily on good reviews I'd read. Super hero movies tend to be very good or dreadful - no middle ground. I have a pretty high tolerance for bad films and the theater has a small arcade, so I figured this would be a win one way or another.

After a game of Time Crisis 4, I rolled into the theater for the festive array of commercials - all telling me to turn off my phone. I've seen the Baby Driver trailer a few times on the big screen and I'm amped for it. There's something about car stunts that I love - except for Fast And Furious.

I liked the back story and how they introduced Gidot's character and it blended so well into the main storyline. Some of the effects were a bit too over-the-top, but it was a fun movie to watch with an engagingly serious plot. A nice mix.

I should admit that I loved Suicide Squad. As mentioned, I don't read super hero comics - unless you consider Tank Girl a super hero - so I don't have any preconceived notions. I think a lot of people are harsh on film versions of comic heros due to Hollywood's misunderstanding of the stories fans are expecting. Whether Marvel or DC is behind a film, there are a hundred industry fat-cats who don't know or care about anything but ROI.

I highly recommend Wonder Woman for it's ability to tell a story with a serious edge and lots of action, but nicely mingled with some humor in all the right spots. Gal Gidot does a great job as Diana, from epic battles to heartfelt compassion.

Should you need an erotic take on the traditional story, you may want to check out porn star Tori Black as Wonder Woman in a porn parody version of Wonder Woman's plight. Tori Black as Wonder Woman
June 3, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Eskimo Bob graduated from Flash cartoons to a puzzle platformer for the NES

Eskimo Bob homebrew game for NES
Based on animations from the early 2000s, this upcoming homebrew looks like a lot of fun for your NES.
I love homebrew games along with the concept behind them. They are born of great ideas, love for aging video game consoles, and the technical knowhow to turn that great idea into functional code. I'd love to be able to take notions from my head and see them come to life on a screen!

Eskimo Bob's Kickstarter is winding down having met it's funding goal and a few of it's stretch goals. Check out this campaign by Tomas Guinan, creator of the Flash animated series Eskimo Bob. He's taken the characters he created and programmed them into a platformer video game. The gameplay footage looks great and has a strong NES vibe.

Eskimo Bob for the NES is an arcade-style puzzle-platformer with 64 levels, 15 enemy types, two playable characters, two support characters, and a fully functional password system allowing you to save your progress.

My only concern is this is Guinan's first effort at creating a video game from code to shipping a final product. While he says the game is fully coded and tested, the delivery date is January 2018. This seems like a long time (about six months) to get the game into cartridge format.

Eskimo Bob screenshot Eskimo Bob screenshot
Eskimo Bob screenshot Eskimo Bob screenshot

I'm hopeful this campaign will deliver a great game. I backed this project and urge you ta take a look and see if you want to back it as well.
June 2, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

From the 8-bit clothier, Maison Pixel, comes a gender bending Mr. Meeseeks

The brilliance of Rick & Morty runs deep and it's influence shows up... all over - even on the beach.
Maison Pixel unleashed Pixel Panties on the unsuspecting world, bringing a wonderfully pixelated look to undergarments. They've branched out to swimwear and will likely forge ahead, pixelating all forms of clothing!

If you've seen the Mr. Meeseeks episode of Rick & Morty, you'll get a kick out of this series of Instagram pics. The third season should air this Summer and I'll be keeping a eye out for Mr. Meeseeks at the beach ;)

Gender bending Mr. Meeseeks
June 1, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Covfefe is just another presidential blunder, but the Contra meme was refreshingly brilliant

Covfefe is another Trump blunder
Setting aside his presidential blunder, putting covfefe into a gaming meme was a refreshing laugh amidst the depressing political news.
There's not much to smile about with the daily scandals surrounding trump. However, I tip my hat the the wonderful person who took this dimwitted tweet and put a "Contra" spin on it. THIS made me laugh out loud!

I love that this deranged nonsense from the president has nothing to do with video games, yet here it is on the Contra start-up screen. Brilliant!



June 12 Update:
In an odd twist of fate, Covfefe has become the acronym for Rep. Mike Quigley's (D-Ill.) legislation to classify presidential social media posts - including President Trump's much-discussed tweets - as presidential records. The Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement (COVFEFE) Act, which has the same acronym as an infamous Trump Twitter typo last month, would amend the Presidential Records Act to include "social media."

Presidential records must be preserved, according to the Presidential Records Act, which would make it potentially illegal for the president to delete tweets.

May 2017 Retro Gaming Articles:

May 31, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

As PS3 ends production, some ask if it's games are now “retro games“. No, they are not.

Sony PlayStationn 3 discontinued in Japan
I find the varying definitions of "retro gaming" quite confusing. Why can't we agree to a time-based standard?
After eleven years, the PS3's production ends in Japan. The PS4 is already in it's second iteration with the PS4 Pro, so it's no surprise that the former console would come to an end. Sony warned of this just a few months ago, in March.

We always hate to see a console come to an end. While the PS4 has taken hold during the past 3½ years, it's yielded a lot of titles I've greatly enjoyed. Not long ago, I was a bit stunned to realize how many retro-inspired PS4 games I've found for this 8th generation console. Even though I can play DARIUSBURST Chronicle Saviours on my PS4 doesn't make it a retro console any more than the production end of the PS3 redefines it's game library as retro games.

PlayStationn 3 meme Your old table doesn't become an antique because you bought a new one. Mom's 2005 Chevrolet Cavalier isn't a classic car. I think the passage of time is the deciding factor of retro classification.

We've adopted a 20-year mark to define retro gaming. Once a console is twenty years old, we say it's retro. We love the quirkiness of Nintendo's VirtualBoy, but it wasn't a retro console when it was canceled in 1996 after only eight months on retail shelves!

Regardless how you feel about labels, gaming will forge ahead, leaving a trail of history that will repel or delight future generations. That history will always remain awesome to those who lived within it. I still love my Atari 2600 as much as I look forward to my next PS4 purchase... and how about that Nintendo Switch!?!
May 30, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Retroblox re-brands their modular HD retro game console as Polymega

Polymega modular HD retro game console
Sounds as if some behind the scenes incidents caused the name change and delay in the Kickstarter campaign.
Polymega logo We heard about the modular design of the Polymega console in February and were excited for the April Kickstarter. Their approach is to have a singular base console with a disc drive (supporting: PS1, TurboGrafx-CD and Sega CD) and the ability to plug in modules designed to emulate various game consoles. This modular approach would allow you to buy an NES module and an Atari VCS module to play your collection of carts for those systems.

Ideally, the Polymega would have additional module coming to market to support other consoles like the Atari 5200 or N64. We love the idea and are glad they are coming back with more updates an info. The next few days and weeks should be filled with announcements about this revolutionary console.

Systems like this are tackling retro gaming in new ways, which lends well to preservation of platforms as original equipment deteriorates over time. The Polymega's ability to cater to a wide, and ever growing, group of game consoles makes it an important part in the evolution of retro gaming. Keep an eye out for their Kickstarter and upcoming announcements!

Polymega modular HD retro game console
May 28, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

With Arnold returning to Terminator with James Cameron as producer, who else might appear?

Terminator
I'm hoping the Terminator franchise will be properly resurrected with the return of James Cameron.
While finding plenty to like across the various Terminator films, like many fans, the first two films resound most with me. The idea of James Cameron returning to the franchise with Arnold Schwarzenegger really fires me up for another time traveling adventure with Cyberdyne.

Cameron, who seems mired in Avatar sequels will once again have rights to the Terminator franchise in 2019 and Arnold will seemingly star in it. He made mention of this at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.

As the franchise rolled forward, I've found a lot of great elements to it, despite a real passion for the Cameron era. I really enjoyed the televised part of the story via the Sarah Connor Chronicles. I was sad it only lasted two seasons.

Fans seem quite excited to see a new film with Cameron at the helm. It sounds like he'll be producing (not directing?) but reports indicate he wants to return and has some good ideas. Some are speculating he might make a sequel that fits in after T2 Judgment Day. We're excited for it and hope the resurgence will inspire merchandising for the film. A video game would be tremendous! I'm a sucker for tie-in toys and games - bring it on!

Ariel Rebel as a Terminator I saw this pic of Ariel Rebel (NSFW) in a perfect "Terminator" pose and couldn't resist. Apocalyptic Ariel Rebel
May 27, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Arcades upgrading from tokens to swipe-cards offer convenience, but perhaps at a cost

Time Crisis 3 arcade game with a card reader instead of a coin slot
It's VERY easy for arcade operators to change the price of a game when everything is digital.
Watching dollar bills disappear into the change machine in exchange for four tokens was the start to many good nights at the arcade. Most of my weekends during the 80's began like this. When Dragon's Lair came to The Electric Playhouse, I gladly put in two tokens for the opportunity to interact with a style of animation I'd never seen in an arcade game.

Many years later, I found an arcade game with a bill acceptor - I was outraged. I'd drop multiple tokens, but the idea of charging one dollar for a game opened up a possibility I was certain would ruin arcades. Many arcades did meet an untimely demise, but no tie-in with the ability to tender dollar bills.

While technology can bring convenience, it's not always in your favor ;)
Many arcades operating these days are still doing anything possible to reign in costs. Some have done away with redemption tickets. Those dreadful machines are still going strong, but the physical tickets are gone. The ticket-count simply transfers across the local network to the "account" attached to your swipe-card. My local arcades changed over to swipe-cards for payments a few years ago.

The networking that lets redemption tickets appear on your account is part of the networked arcade. A lot of machines connect to the web for a variety of functions for both gamers and operators.

I stopped by the mall arcade tonight and discovered they'd repaired the broken gun on Time Crisis 3. At the same time I also realized they'd raised the price! Suddenly I saw another side to upgrading the arcade's backbone - pricing. Back in the day, there were varying methods for operators to adjust pricing, from the number of "lives", difficulty, and the number of required tokens. Changing these settings was a time consuming venture. These days, the price can be changed remotely and at will.

I'm sure there are some governing rules to this practice, but none the less, Time Crisis 3 went from 69¢ to 95¢. As a fan of Bill & Ted, when an arcade game costs 69¢ - you tend to remember. "69, Dudes!" Granted this is the start of the Memorial Day weekend and the tourists will be descending in great numbers. Even the arcade wants to maximize the influx of money.

This may be a permanent price hike rather than a holiday jump, but the ease with which prices can be changed makes me wonder where this will go. I guess it's hard for me to get out of the 25¢ per game model of the 80s. You'd think by now I'd be accustomed to everything rising in price. :)
May 26, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Star Wars reached it's 40th anniversary, but was like any unknown sci-fi flick in ‘77

Star Wars
Today it's easy to see how Star Wars has taken on a cultural dominance, but who knew back in 1977?
I loved Star Wars when I saw it at a theater, by Tyson's Corner in Virginia, in 1977. My Mom took me to see it and I was enthralled by the sights, sounds, and adventure. It contained all the right elements to be a spectacular movie for a little kid like myself. As time marched on, it's easy to see why the Star Wars universe has enchanted the masses, but like any successful franchise, it began with an unheard of film.

The New York Time published an interesting article looking back at how the film was received and reviewed in the late seventies, before it became a huge success. Take a look at The First 'Star Wars' Through The Times for an interesting look at what people thought about Star Wars when it was first released.

Vanity Fair - Luke and Leia Vanity Fair - Luke and Leia. Star Wars 40th anniversary
Vanity Fair - Leia Vanity Fair - Leia

Vanity Fair's images of Carrie Fisher are spectacular and a wonderful way to remember a Princess who led us through an amazing series of stories!
May 26, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

On the Today Show, Miley displayed a ton of star-power which she uses for good causes

Miley Cyrus on the Today Show
While many celebrities bask in their routine, Miley Cyrus reinvents herself with great success and champions many great causes.
Miley Cyrus is a quirky gal to say the least. I'm a huge fan of her eccentricities. Say what you will, but how many people can wear a strap-on dildo center stage in concert, campaign for a presidential candidate and champion social issues. She's insanely diverse and that goes to her music as well!

I loved Wrecking Ball and now she's back with Malibu which is a grand departure from her last album, Bangerz. Appearing on the Today Show as part of their Summer concert series, her fans came from all over, many camped out to see her perform Malibu.

I'm routinely amazed at how she does things by her terms. No matter how insane she seems, she's done it herself with purpose and keeps coming out stronger each time. People give her a hard time, but I think they don't stop to see what she's really doing. They'll call her out for wearing a crazy near-topless outfit, but miss the charity work she does. There's a lot going on with Miley and I look forward to her next stunning upset!
May 25, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Since today is #NationalWineDay, lets celebrate the pure awesomeness of Ozzy Osbourne.

Yeah... so, I don't know much about wine. But I do know that Ozzy RULES!
SOLAR RED: A medium bodied dry red wine made from a blend of high quality Zinfandel and Syrah grapes. Solar Red contains fruity notes of fig, plum, cherry and cranberry jam combined with some earthy characteristics and a backbone of oak. It finishes with a slightly spicy black pepper taste.

National Wine Day with Ozzy
May 25, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Stoked to find this Scooby Doo Team Up With Hong Kong Phooey comic book from DC comics

I grew up watching Hong Kong Phooey even though it only lasted a single season in 1974.
I loved Hong Kong Phooey when I was a kid. Apparently, that fixation never wore off and runs strong these days considering I was excited to find this Scooby Doo comic book at Newbury Comics today!

I've been picking up Honk Kong Phooey stuff for quite some time and get a real kick out of anyone who still remembers this Saturday morning crime fighter. He was voiced by Scatman Crothers who I also watched in the sitcom, Chico And The Man.

Later I was amazed to discover there were only 16 episodes. My memory left me thinking I'd watched it for years. I probably did, but loved the same episodes over and over. Yeah, he's that good! :)

Scooby Doo Team Up With Hong Kong Phooey comic book
May 24, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Trump's Papal visit looks like all his recent overseas meetings - everyone knows he's an idiot

Pope Francis' expression sums up how the entire planet views Donald Trump. Even his family looks annoyed.
At first glance, this could be an Adams' Family portrait. The childish grin on Trumps face contrasts so well with the Pope's look of extreme displeasure. This US President is so oblivious to things happening right around him and how embarrassing it is for the world to see him parading around like a buffoon.

Trump's Papal visit
May 24, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

ABC's Toy Box game show Should have been “Dev Box” focusing on video games

ArtSplash won the ToyBox game show
Seeing someone's hard work being trashed by a pretentious child for entertainment value made this ridiculous show hard to watch.
At the very least, I hoped this program would showcase some interesting new toy ideas. There were a few cool ideas, but nothing really jumped out at me. Strangely, few of the toys were very technically oriented. But the real downfall for me was the predictable format of the show.

Inventors met with three professionals who prescreened their creations. Next the toy would be presented to four kids who were the weak link of maintaining any standards. But alas, it's just a game show, so I guess we can't expect anything serious - which is a shame. Shows involving creating, should consider their audience and develop content that stimulates, rather than catering to lame humor.

The ArtSplash creation won the final prize, but seemed the least interesting to me. Interestingly, there were two runners-up who also got contracts with Mattel/Toys R Us - both seemed like better choices, especially the Noisy Persons card game!

The Dev Box ??

After watching a few episodes of the Toy Box, I concluded this would have been much more fun as The Dev Box! Get a bunch of game developers onto a show to vie for best game. I'm oversimplifying the idea, but there are numerous game jams where devs have a set time in which to create a game and are judged on it. Good fun and evokes loads of creativity and camaraderie.

TV programming should speak to a higher audience and stimulate creativity - even game shows!
If you dig through ThatGameCompany's Journey disc, you'll come across Duke War which evolved from such a jam. I love this game! It's simple, fun and 2-players battle on a single screen. Check out this game and picture the variety of games that might evolve from a TV game show highlighting video game development!

Want to boost interest in STEM programs? Focus a show on game making and toss it on primetime TV. I'm certain you'll stimulate a lot of kids to explore what their computers are really capable of.

The Spectrum was a huge instigator of game development in the UK back in the 80s where folks discovered they could make their own games inspired by the ones they'd played! This explosion of development interest came to both Atari and Commodore computers as well as others.

I think kids today could use a tech jump start and realize smartphones and computers do a lot more than send messages and display timelines full of useless crap. Go make something awesome!

ToyBox game show judges The 4 judges who randomly eliminated contestants, making the whole outcome a matter of luck, not great design.
May 23, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

It's “World Turtle Day” - who remembers Stern's Turtles arcade game?

When you say Turtles, people think of mutant ninja teenagers, but don't forget about Konami's Turtles published by Stern!
In 1981 Stern published an arcade game called "Turtles" in which your turtle navigates the floors of a building collecting baby turtles and delivering then to their homes while avoiding beetles. It's a maze game in which you progress floor by floor. Aside from avoidance, your best move is to drop a bomb that briefly stuns the pesky beetles.

Be kind to animals and play lots of video games!

Stern's turtles arcade game flyer Flyer for Stern's turtles arcade game.
Stern's turtles arcade game Stern's turtles arcade game.

May 22, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Despite chaos after the Manchester attack, many people raised the bar on being truly good

In the face of adversity people helped take children to a nearby hotel and worked to reunite them with parents.
A terror attack outside the Manchester arena occurred shortly after an Ariana Grande concert, when fans were beginning to leave the arena. News swept across Twitter and then it became front and center on televised news. There wasn't much information as random kids were giving accounts of what they remembered seeing and hearing.

There were people helping get kids away from the arena and posting their own phone number to reunite them with parents. The whole scene was pretty gruesome as it was confirmed a bomb was set off in the crowd. It's amazing to hear about fearless individuals who jumped in to help. It restores a bit of faith in humanity.

Terror attack at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester UK
May 22, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The gorgeous, but wildly expensive, Analogue Nt Mini goes on pre-sale next week

Analogue Nt Mini
If you have the money, this is a stunning NES clone console centered around an FPGA!
As NES clones go, most focus on features and compatibility - which is a sound practice. The folks at Analogue also lean heavily on artistic aesthetic which shows on the Analogue Nt Mini. Their consoles are wonderfully functional and beautiful. This is no plug & play device. It works with NES and Famicom cartridges and outputs at 1080p HDMI.

Analogue Nt Mini Once you get past the beauty of the Analogue Nt Mini console, it sports one of retro gaming's finest clone attributes - FPGA. While many clones use various emulation schemes to approximate NES game play, the Analogue Nt Mini uses a Field Programable Gate Array (FPGA).

The inner workings of the NES have been replicated into a sophisticated FPGA which delivers truer game play than emulation which often misrepresents both colors and sounds.

With four controller ports, compatible with any original NES controller, and no lockout chips or region limitations, this is a very cool retro gaming device. It's break from the usual emulation makes this console worth a look for it's implementation of an FPGA. From a marketing standpoint, I urge you to check out Analogue's Instagram where they have many images of familiar NES start-up screens with the game carts in an Analogue Nt Mini. A great Instagram follow!

I'd love to own one, but the price is prohibitive for many gamers, but it is a fascinating device. Analogue is saying the upcoming pre-sale is for a very limited number of consoles. Each wave of both the original Analogue Nt and the newer Mini has been quite limited. It's a difficult price point to go beyond a niche group of customers, but I hope they can begin to produce the console in larger numbers which may bring down the price.

It is currently listed at $449 and will be available for pre-sale on Wednesday, May 31st at 8am PST.

Analogue Nt Mini
May 20, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I bought a PS4 for the next-gen tech, but my inner retro gamer took charge

PS4 games with retro rootsPS4 games with retro roots
I've enjoyed several titles showcasing the PS4's capabilities, but 70% of my PS4 games have retro origins!
I've been a PlayStation fan since the "eNOS" ads of 1995 and was eager to finally buy a PS4 this past Christmas. As much as I love retro gaming, I'm always curious to see where technology is taking gaming and the amazing games that result. I found the latest Uncharted title very engaging and really drew us in as we explored. But it wasn't modern gaming that sealed the deal for me and made the PS4 a must-have console.

PS4 games with retro rootsPS4 games with retro roots Have you bought an Atari Flashback console lately? AtGames have released several varieties, each with slight variation of built-in games from the early days. This past holiday season they also added a "Flashback" product for PS4 and Xbox One - Atari Flashback Classics Volume 1 & 2.

Volume 1 of this wonderful compilation contains the arcade version of Tempest! For me this was a tremendous windfall. Prior to this release, MAME seemed the only way to play Tempest, so I cheerfully bought a PS4 so I could play Tempest, also knowing it would offer the ability to delve into some great modern games.

It may seem a bit irrational to buy an expensive game console to play a 1981 arcade game. It is.

Upon looking through the games I've purchased, a commonality was readily apparent - they're predominantly retro games. In addition to the Atari Flashback Classics, I have the Mega Man Legacy Collection, Mighty No. 9, DariusBurst CS, Mutant Mudds, and a few others. I was surprised to see how many of my games were retro or inspired from the early days.

In contrast, on PS3 all my games are current to that generation with the exception of Midway Arcade Origins and Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection. Guess which two games get the most play? :) I naturally try to include as many retro games as I can on my modern consoles, but I was quite surprised by the PS4, considering I've had is less than six months. Just goes to show - retro runs deep!

May 19, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Luigi death-stare was fine, but Inklings making gestures is deemed offensive

Inkling making rude gestures
Social media is breeding a generation who can't control their need to display outrage and demand conformity to their views.
For me, video games are an escape! Between what I see on screen and the gaps my mind fills in, I can overthrow armies, defeat alien invasions, and drive a race car at breakneck speeds (even underwater). Games let us do amazing things. Sometimes it's a release from a mundane day. Other times it's an educational experience.

Sometimes I love the irreverence of South Park's The Stick of Truth, while other times I become swept up in the adventures of Nathan Drake, despite the coarse language. I can't pass up a good Garden Warfare battle even though every match involves some kid telling me he's "doing my Mom".

Inkling making rude gestures When it comes to foul language, a lot of it comes out of me when my Humanoids turn into Mutants as I desperately fail at Defender - but I still love playing it! Video games offer vast choices from 8-bit space battles to modern photo realistic adventures.

Gaming offers a lot of choices from games for toddlers to those that will haunt your dreams for weeks. Some are fun. Some expose us to serious issues and let us test our choices. I'll love space Invaders forever because of the manic sounds as they creep closer. The span of options is immense. Of course I always love to being berated by Ratchet & Clank's Mr. Zircon :)

I have to admit I grow tired of whiners demanding all products cater to their specific needs and desires. I got a kick out of Luigi's death-stare as he passed by. Very out of character and sinister looking - awesome!

I think the Inkling gesture is the same thing. I know Nintendo is a family-friendly company, but I think a little bit of irreverence doesn't really dent-sales or engagement with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

Here's the rub. If you don't like something about a game, don't buy it. We do this with every single purchase. Each item we buy likely has dozens of alternatives. Buy the one you like and be happy. You wouldn't buy an album by a band you don't like, so why complain about something you don't like in a video game?

BUY A DIFFERENT GAME!

Across social media, I see so many people who think everything should be made to "their" standards. They act as though the world should cater specifically to them and they can't figure out why this isn't happening. Outrage over the Inkling's gesture? buy a different game. Simple. With so many serious battles to wage in the tumultuous world we live in, find a real cause to get behind and let video games take you to a special place you can enjoy.
May 18, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

You never know where you'll be when you realize, Highway To Hell is a great album!

AC/DC Highway To Hell t-shirt
Highway To Hell (1979) is a great album from AC/DC's Bon Scott era!
AC/DC Highway To Hell t-shirt Model Joy Corrigan in Runyon Canyon | Los Angeles, CA
May 17, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Hyperkin's SmartBoy is Samsung-licensed and plays both GameBoy & GBC carts via USB-C

Hyperkin SmartBoy
What started as an April Fool's prank now has backing from Samsung and will appear in the U.S. later this year.
One of the better April Fool's pranks was a device that docks with your smartphone to use it's screen as a display for playing GameBoy and GameBoy Color games. It looked legit and the idea was brilliant. The main problem was the date - April 1st. We all know you can't believe anything occurring on this day.

Fast forward a couple years and the product is real and licensed by Samsung. Time does appear to change... everything. With a $50 MSRP, Hyperkin's SmartBoy may be fairly limited in terms of smartphone compatibility. With Samsung on-board, one can only imagine they want their phones to be the flagship hardware of the SmartBoy. While the majority of us still have phones with micro-ISB ports, SmartBoy requires USB-C.

Hyperkin SmartBoy packaging USB-C is a connection found on Samsung's Galaxy 8 and a variety of other manufacturers. Since the phone slips into this device, the physical form factor plays a crucial role in compatibility. Google's Pixel uses USB-C, but does it fit and align correctly with SmartBoy? My guess is that this device has moved forward with "assistance" from Samsung, which may translate into some proprietary facets.

Despite my feeling that this is "for Samsung Galaxy S8", it may also serve as a trial to see how it performs. I'm sure it would be possible to redesign the device to accomodate a wider variety of USB-C equipped phones.

It's interesting that Samsung agreed to licensing. The SmartBoy requires GB or GBC game carts, which caters to a niche market at best. If it works with an emulator and ROMs, that would be splendid, but from Samsung's perspective that opens up a vast gray-area that few corporations want to launch into. As a retro gamer, I love the idea, but I'm not seeing the benefits for a behemoth like Samsung.

I recently upgraded to a Samsung S7 and have no desire to upgrade any time soon. However, I really like the idea/novelty of the SmartBoy. If it becomes available to more manufacturers phones and drops a bit more in price, I'd get one!

From Hyperkin's press release:
Hyperkin, a video game hardware development company from Los Angeles, has announced it will be releasing the SmartBoy through the Samsung Mobile Accessory Partnership Program (SMAPP) to the U.S. and Korean market. Originally a development kit in late 2016, the SmartBoy attaches to Android smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S8, turning your smartphone into a handheld gaming device. Hyperkin is aiming for a Q2 or Q3 release with an MSRP of $49.99.

The SmartBoy is compatible with actual NTSC/PAL Game Boy and Game Boy Color cartridges, while sporting a classic-style tactile button set, making the SmartBoy look and feel like a real handheld gaming console. The SmartBoy is compatible with other apps and games, including Game Boy Advance apps from Google Play; configuration for such apps may vary. Out of the box, the SmartBoy was designed for current-gen Samsung devices with USB Type-C ports, like the Samsung Galaxy S8 - other Android device compatibility may vary. Hyperkin Product Developer, Chris Gallizzi, was ecstatic to learn his team's baby is now a retail-ready device officially licensed by Samsung.

The SmartBoy has been about two years in the making - three if you count the months we were kicking around the idea," Gallizzi said. "From an April Fool's Joke, to a successful dev kit, and now an officially licensed device, that little guy has come a long way!"
May 16, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Mystic Origins has arrived and a full NES game and creation documentary to follow

Mystic Origins yellow beta tester cartridge
Not many of us have a childhood dream that we can actually bring to life decades later. This guy did it via an NES homebrew game.
New 8-Bit heroes logo In the Fall of 2014 I came across a great story about a filmmaker who had always dreamed of creating an NES game. Like many kids, he had drawn out many of the concepts and thought long and hard about how such a game might evolve. As with many of us, life begins to get in the way and things fall by the wayside.

However, years later this developer, Joe Granato, decided to actually make the game and film the process for a documentary. The result of this enormous labor of love is everything he set out to do through his company, New 8 Bit Heroes!

Mystic Origins yellow beta tester cartridge Signed Mystic Origins NES cartridge He created Mystic Searches for the Nintendo NES. As part of the beta testing for his upcoming game, he released a pre-quel story that uses the same engine for the final game. He released this prequel, titled as Mystic Origins and used a yellow cartridge.

The yellow beta carts are sold out, but visit his site to pre-order the final Mystic Origins game and the documentary on Blu-ray DVD.

From the New 8 Bit Heroes website:
THE BETA - MYSTIC ORIGINS: Rather than release a small portion of the game as a beta, we decided instead to create an entire mini quest that acts as a prequel. It is a nice vertical slice of what Mystic Searches will be that you can play for free right now!

May 15, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The MP3 format has not died regardless of misinformed articles circulating on the web

Long live the MP3 format
Patents on MP3 technology are expiring at the end of this year, making the format open and not encumbered by licensing.
Articles are circulating about the demise (death, even) of the MP3 format. False! Hogwash! Ridiculous! Untrue! And the list continues. If anything should be branded "fake news", this is it.

Patents on the MP3 technology are expiring this year as do all patents after 20 years. You can still buy MP3s, create your own, and freely play them on all the devices you've grown accustomed. If you want to stream Miley Cyrus' Malibu, buy the latest Hey Violet EP, or burn your favorite Black Sabbath tracks to a CD... go for it. MP3 is NOT evaporating!

I'm surprised by the headlines appearing across the web about the overnight demise of the MP3 format. Journalists have somehow been tricked into thinking the MP3 format suddenly died or disappeared overnight. Perhaps these writers weren't actually tricked into believing this story line... they may not have been very smart at the outset.

Why Patents Expire

Patents help protect unique ideas and stimulate innovation by allowing an inventor to benefit from his/her creation for 20 years. By the same token, patents expire after twenty years to remove the ability of a technology to be "permanently" withheld.

Just as protecting an invention stimulates it's creation, future innovations are often based on prior knowledge, thus the expiration of patents allows new innovations to occur as previously protected info is made public. This is what has happened to MP3 technology. It is no longer protected by patents and is open.

We often hear about patents regarding medical innovations, particularly in pharmaceutical areas. Generic drugs are created when the patents on the "real" drug expires. Pharmaceutical companies wait for these patents (like buzzards at a kill) to expire so they can begin producing their own versions of these drugs.

Other audio formats have evolved alongside the MP3 standard and new ones are gaining traction. The expiration of these patents has no effect on the technology or devices using it. The primary change is legal in nature, regarding licensing. Rest easy. Your MP3s are safe and sound. Rock on!
May 14, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Check out Bliptastic, the new chiptune release from ComputeHer

Bliptastic from ComputeHer
Composed primarily on Commodore 64, Game Boy, and NES - this is a great album!
I've been a fan of ComputeHer and 8 Bit Weapon for several years. They create really unique chiptune albums using a wide range of computers and game consoles. Check out Bliptastic on Bandcamp, the latest release from ComputeHer.

BLIPTASTIC! is the long awaited 3rd solo album by ComputeHer! With a larger arsenal of vintage computers and classic video game consoles at her disposal than ever before, this electro chip dance album never waivers from achieving it's promise: a truly BLIPTASTIC audio experience!

Michelle Sternberger is ComputeHer, a one woman wall of lo-fi sound! Michelle creates her unique music using vintage computers and video game consoles, as well as an assortment of other fun synths & drum machines. When she isn't blasting bits with her beats, she can be found in her garden where she tends the beets you can eat! Michelle is also a member of the band 8 Bit Weapon.
May 13, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Cara Goes bald for beauty and chills on a pinball table

Sometimes a picture speaks to you. This one of Cara Delevingne sitting on a pinball machine is pretty cool.
Cara Delevingne sitting on a pinball machine Cara Delevingne sitting on a pinball machine.
Cara Delevingne at the Mtv Movie & TV Awards Cara Delevingne sporting a new bald look at the Mtv Movie & TV Awards.

Cara Delevingne speaks out on beauty standards on Instagram Cara Delevingne spoke out about beauty standards on Instagram:
The more we embrace who we are as people and rely less on our physical attributes, the more empowered we become. Beauty shouldn't be so easily defined. It is limitless.

Its exhausting to be told what beauty should look like. I am tired of society defining beauty for us. Strip away the clothes, Wipe Off the make up, cut off the hair. Remove all the material possessions. Who are we? How are we defining beauty? What do we see as beautiful?
May 13, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

A.C. Slater to host a Candy Crush game show on CBS this summer

Hyperkin Retron HD
It astounds me that a mobile game can woo the powers above to develop a televised game show based on colorful candy!
If you watched Saved By The Bell in the 90's, you may recall Mario Lopez's character A.C. Slater. If you really loved the show and ventured to Chicago recently, you may have dined at The Max, a pop-up restaurant themed based on the show, that seemed to have resounding success.

My first reaction to a TV game show based on Candy Cush was: how does such a thing happen? I imagine the horrific popularity of this mobile game played a large role. The entertainment industry loves to repurpose already established entities rather than risk creating something good. Can you tell I'm not much of a fan? Although, I have to admit to playing a lot of Pokemon Shuffle on my 2DS.

Candy Crush blew up since it's inception in 2012 and has been a huge mobile hit ever since. They are one of the few mobile games with a budget for TV commercials. King Digital Entertainment manages all the Candy games, but did you know they are owned by Activision Blizzard? Activision bought King in late 2015. When I think Activision, the Skylanders come to mind, but I got my intro to this company in 1982 with Pitfall and Spider Fighter.

As the Candy Crush game show is set to debut on TV in July, it seems to be a combo of the typical game play combined with a physical element. Some have said it has elements of Wipe Out in terms of physicality. I'll try to catch the premiere out of curiosity, but as an hour-long show, they'll really need to engage the audience to keep them interested. Audiences can be fickle. It should be interesting to see if they can make a success of this.

Personally, I'd like to see Berzerk or Wizard Of Wor turned into live action game shows. I guess I'll have to settle for the Atari boardgames arriving this Fall.
May 12, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Selena Gomez re-releases her 2015 album, Revival, on cassette

I love seeing a modern artist releasing their work on analog media, but one of Selena's tracks has a serious twist.
When I first encountered a story about Revival being released on cassette, my inner retro nerd smiled - the outer one too. I loved buying records back in the 80s. I discovered bands like AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Kiss, Judas Priest, and countless others via LPs. I usually only played my albums once - to record them onto cassette tapes.

This was my early 80's method of preserving my favorite bands. When the tapes wore out, I could re-record them. Needless to say, I had a ton of cassettes and still have a fondness for the way a pencil fits into the sprocket. But there's a serious tone to this release.

Radio Shack tape layer Selena Gomez is an executive producer of Netflix's new show 13 Reasons Why that deals with teen suicide. The story focuses around the teens who conspired in their classmate's demise. Prior to taking her life, Hannah Baker (played by Katherine Langford) recorded cassettes that speak to those who led to her demise.

Gomez lent a song from Revival to the show's soundtrack. Releasing Revival on cassette has a connection to the show's suicide theme. However you feel about the analog link to the teen's demise, you know the Internet has managed to blow it out of proportion.

I love analog music and I think there's a cool-factor in here and it brings awareness to the tragedy of teen suicide. For me, what can be seen as a nod to analogue music for a popular artist of our day also serves as awareness to a cause. How many of your favorite bands have released a cassette lately? I'm down with any modern artist who decided to go analog! Look for Revivial on cassette in late June.

Selena Gomez Revival on cassette
May 12, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Celebrities flock to be on Tanked, including Alyssa Milano, so why aren't they in the game?

Alyssa Milano on Tanked
Celebrities play such an engaging part of Animal Planet's Tanked show, why aren't they part of the mobile game?
Have you watched Tanked - that show about the two guys (Wade and Brett) who moved to Vegas to build Hella-cool fish tanks? It's a fun show. They're true entrepreneurs, but the show is focused on the ingenious fish tanks they create for A-list celebrities who open their homes to the show's cameras.

Tanked mobile game With the popularity of Tanked on Animal Planet, you'd think their mobile game would have a stronger tie-in to the show. It's a pretty lackluster game that really doesn't capitalize on any of the things that make the TV show engaging. The TV show is littered with celebrities and humor, while the mobile game is more like a Candy Crush Fish-Sim.

While they build tanks for a lot of celebrity athletes, they have their share of other red-carpet types, like Alyssa Milano. Everyone on the show reacted to her the way you'd expect - everyone loves her!

So, with all these celebrities letting you get glimpses into their lives via their homes, why is the mobile tie-n (game) focused on being a cartoonish "keep your fish alive" game? This show is more about entrepreneurs, fun, and celebrities. Fish almost take a backseat to the engagement of the show. Sure, they do build spectacular tanks filled with beautiful fish, but the show's highlights are the humorous interactions Wade and Brett have with their celebrity clients.

As mobile games go, this one is too predictable which doesn't let it tie in well with the show. Outside of the title, you'd never see the affiliation. This is a fun show that isn't using the game to it's advantage. As a game, it should support and showcase the fun and creativity of the Tanked TV show - driving engagement with the show. I'd rather see it as an app with some utility rather than just a game. If they can get Alyssa Milano stoked for a fish tank, they can certainly come up with a better mobile experience for fans!
May 11, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

In my fantasies, Kendall listens to the bands' gear she rocks

Band t-shirts should be about passion and love for the music, not a fashion statement. Kendall needs a rock 'n roll infusion.
If only she weren't so darn cute.

Kendall Jenner Kendall Jenner wearing a Slyer t-shirt.
Kendall Jenner Kendall Jenner wearing a Frehley's Comet t-shirt.

May 11, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

How long will it be until people forget the meaning of the term "a real page-turner"?

Hyperkin Retron HD
The demise of newspapers is not due to "getting news online" any more than eBooks are toppling book stores. People are not reading.
Andy Hunt, The Final Day at the Westfield Arcade - classic retro gaming video game book review I've loved video games since I was twelve-years-old and my friend received an Atari 2600 for Christmas. Playing Space Invaders at his house astounded and delighted me. Within weeks I weakened my parent's resolve and was the proud owner of an Atari VCS! I still made regular forays to the local bowling alley to play the arcade game, but I loved the ability to play at home.

Just as video games can take you to distant lands... so do books!
Despite this electronics deluge, and all the awesome things that came with it, video games were an addition to my list of things I loved doing. I still loved board games. Evel Knievel was my hero and I loved riding my bike with a heedful of notions about building ramps. I upgraded my cheap plastic skateboard with a sweet set of Road Rider 4's and was completely hooked on Kiss' Destroyer album. I wasn't an avid reader, but I still loved a good book.

When I think of a great page-turner, my thoughts go to any one of many Stephen King novels. I get lost in those so quickly. He paints a scene with words that envelops me and takes me into one of those dark places his stories so casually reside in. Next thing I know, time evaporates and I'm turning pages without realizing it. The story draws me in.

Atari Inc. Business Is Fun - classic retro gaming video game book review I love the convenience of online shopping, but I can browse through a book store for hours. The convenience of tablet is not lost on me, but I don't like to "read a book" on a digital device. There's a tactile element to a book that makes it much more enjoyable to me. Besides, I can't get into a plot if I'm fending off Facebook notifications, or texts, and all those emails from faceless companies vying for my attention.

Reading a good book should take you away from such annoyances and further validate an enriching reading experience over endless tiny strings of characters and those dreadful emoji things.

Reading books stimulates your mind and makes you sharper.
Everywhere I look, I see people with smartphones just inches from their faces. No one is talking - phones aren't used for that anymore - they're all typing. All this typing is spawned by tiny bits of info sent across wide networks of innumerable apps. THIS is the new "reading". Social media is a disease.

I'm convinced most people these days are not capable - by choice or otherwise - of reading more than a sentence before losing interest. I see this frequently on social media where several people will ask a question or make a point, clearly showing they've read no more than the heading without clicking the associated link. Some will even admit to 'TLDR' - Too Long Didn't Read. And if there's an acronym for it...

Racing The Beam - classic retro gaming video game book review When you can't get someone to read more than 140 characters yet they show enough initiative to respond... but won't read more than the 140 characters, that's a problem. The concept of reading has become diluted. Did you "read" on your commute to work because you saw a roadside billboard? Glancing down the headlines at cnn.com is not at all similar to reading a newspaper.

If you can't remember the last book you read, but are still exacerbated by an exchange on Twitter, it may be time to visit a book store and promise yourself to find one book and read it. Once you've done that you may discover how much richer the experience is with a good book. I enjoy social media, but it cannot replace actually reading a book. Reading books makes you smarter. Reading posts on social media robs you of time better spent elsewhere.
May 10, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Hyperkin's RetroN HD is an upcoming NES clone outputting HDMI for $39, without emulation

Hyperkin RetroN HD
This NES clone goes HD with 720p HDMI output from Hyperkin.
Old School CRT televisions can still be readily found, but their bounty decreases as time marches forward. With retro lust going full steam ahead, an inexpensive HD NES clone sounds great. Hyperkin is releasing the RetroN HD (aka: RetroN 1 HD) on May 25.

Hyperkin RetroN HD box I'm hoping this device will be a robust clone and not one of those flimsy emulation boxes. There is currently a pre-order page for the RetroN HD on Amazon and it has a few interesting stats.

It outputs HD audio and video at 720p and can switch between 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios via a switch. At the bottom of Amazon's product page, the questions section has an answer from the "manufacturer" where they state this product is all hardware - no emulation.

Does it use an FPGA (Field Programable Gate Array)? Can that tech be feasible at this price point? In all likelihood it's using a NOAC (Nintendo On A Chip) which is indeed a hardware solution.

Like an FPGA, a NOAC relies on the fortitude of it's code to properly run the games on your NES cartridges. There are an assortment of clones out there that louse up the sound or color-schemes in certain titles. While a hardware solution is thought to be the preferable solution to game console clones, they too must properly replicate the original console's operations. Some are better than others, but you can't tell until you pop in your favorite cart and se the results for yourself.

Hyperkin RetroN HD box Hyperkin's RetroN HD wil be out in a few weeks, so I'm curious to read more about it and see what sort of tech lies beneath it's case. I've read the Analogue Mini NES clone uses an FPGA and it sells for $450, albiet it caters to a more artistic edge and commands a very high price. I'm excited by this because I would love to see a retro revolution in which decades-old consoles could be re-imagined via an FPGA.

Although flawed and poorly conceived, this was the principal behind the failed Coleco Chameleon project. It was a brilliant idea, but ran into problems that were magnified through numerous poor decisions. Maybe Hyperkin is onto the future of retro gaming preservation - I hope so!
May 9, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Worried about Alexa listening in? Amazon's “Echo Show” lets her watch you too :)

Armed with new visual abilities, Alexa will show relevant images for your queries and host video chat between devices.
I love my Echo Dot. It's ability to build my shopping list, from my shrieks in the kitchen, and then placing my panicked requests for peanut butter onto my phone is worth the price alone! Alexa's pleasant voice responds to rudimentary questions and engages deeper in specific areas making the whole experience pretty darn good for $49. And let's not forget her ability to stream music. It's a slick device!

Amidst security concerns about the original Echo, I'm certain the Show can't see you.
Amazon just released a "video" version with a small screen. In addition to adding a relevant image to your requests, Echo Show will also allow Skype-like communication. While I suppose this is a logical progression for the Echo line of products, I wonder if it's too soon.

The Echo is quite robust and useful for an inexpensive device, but adding "video" to it doesn't seem to add much more. For me, it adds more to the cost than the functionality it offers. I won't pay that much to see a picture on it's screen.

I like Alexa being an "out of the way" assistant. I don't need to focus on her location. Gaining value from her presence is as simple as calling out to her. A video screen makes me focus on her physical location. Naturally, Amazon wants Echo appliances to facilitate more sales from it's expansive offerings. Pairing an image with that shopping experience may increase sales, but what does that offer me? Not a whole lot.

I think bringing Echo into the video realm necessitates more robust features and benefits, for me to need a screen on it. I like the idea very much, but I'l wait and see what offerings begin to emerge from it's screen.

Im sure a new round of security concerns will mount, but I think the recording concerns are closer to paranoia than reality. However, the Show's camera will likely raise eyebrows. Personally, I feel the probability of spying is quite low. We all want privacy in our own homes, but if the device is hacked, it's more likely it will play Doom, not spy on you!

Amazon's Echo Show "Alexa, what is your favorite portable gaming device?"
May 9, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I'm stoked about Hyper Sentinel on PS4 and now it's coming to Switch too

Hyper Sentinel for  Nintendo Switch
Huey Games announced their retro-inspired space shooter, Hyper Sentinel, will be coming to the Switch eShop this Summer!
In simpler times, I was stoked to get the latest pixel wizardry from Hewson Consultants (now, Huey Games) for my PS4. Having developed amazing games since the 80s, like Uridium, Paradroid, and Nebulus, backing Hyper Sentinel on Kickstarter was an easy decision. Life has just become more complicated.

I've stopped being the rampant early adopter I was in the past. I adore Nintendo, but wanted to sit back as the Switch came to market and see how things panned out after the Wii U was sabotaged. Clearly the Switch has done well and seems to be on a trajectory to bring Nintendo to a stronger position in the industry. Now, I gotta get a Switch!

My cautious approach leaves me Switchless as all sorts of great games are headed it's way. Huey Games announced Hyper Sentinel will be coming to the Switch this Summer! I wanted this game and assumed my PS4 would be the best place to play it. It's come time to fill out the backer survey for the Hyper Sentinel Kickstarter and I have to figure out what to choose - Switch or PS4!

Ordinarily, I'd jump for the Nintendo release, but I don't own a Switch. Do I stick with the PS4 version or try to save up for a Switch? I really wanted one for the Summer, but now I'm second guessing things. If I get Hyper Sentinel on PS4, I'm sure I'll get a Switch, but if I go for the Switch version... maybe I won't be able to get the hardware.

I'm fairly certain I know the answer. When life throws you a curve ball... go Nintendo! Problem solved. Besides, I totally want to ge able to take Hyper Sentinel on the go - Switch to the rescue.
May 8, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Turn One Gaming brings a 1978 arcade game to tabletop with Space Invaders Dice!

Space Invaders Dice!
Just when you thought arcade games required pixels, game companies are re-imagining classic video games for tabletop gaming.
As much as I love video games and arcades, I still have a lot of love for board games. My son and I will go from the Wii U and PS4 to a raucous game of Zombie Dice or Adventure Time Monopoly. I've saved my original Atari 2600 games as well as board games from my childhood and we play 'em all.

Space Invaders Dice! Gaming should be diverse! We go from Croquet on the front lawn to local Super Street Fighter IV battles on our 2DS's. Retro gaming is still evolving and growing. It's not just about finding dusty game carts at yard sales. Retro games are returning in the form of comics and board games of varying types.

Space Invaders Re-imagined Via Tabletop Dice

Turn One Gaming Supplies is reviving 1978's Space Invaders arcade game as a dice game! Space Invaders Dice! comes with 13 custom dice and a pad of score sheets that really track progress through the game. Solo play is possible or you can add up to three friends.

While a dice game may not have the increasing manic heartbeat as invaders descend closer to your demise, we think it's cool to take the concept and create a different experience from it. Games like this excite me because they bring back memories and breath new life into a decades old Taito arcade game. This brings such games to a new stage of relevance.

They are running a per-order on their website. Take a look and see if this is your kind of game. Below is a video which will give you a better idea of how the game works and the way the dice relate to the scorecard.

May 7, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Dynamite's first Atari comic book, SwordQuest issue 0, released May 3rd for only 25¢

SwordQuest issue 0
Peter Case was a boy on a quest to win the prizes from Atari's SwordQuest challenge! Now, as an adult, his obsession with SwordQuest is reignited!
SwordQuest issue 0 Peter Case Released in 1982 Atari's SwordQuest was the first video game to offer players substantial real-world prized if they could solve all of the puzzles. It was to be a 4-part series of conquering various worlds. The franchise was canceled before the 4th installment was released, leaving fans in the lurch. The comic book series uses this real-world tale as its inspiration, telling the story of SwordQuest super-fan Peter Case.

Down on his luck Peter moves back in with his mother, but discovers she kept Atari VCS and his passion for SwordQuest comes back to him. Written by Chad Bowers and Chris Sims (X-Men '92, Down Set Fight) and art by Scott Kowalchuk (Batman '66, Down Set Fight). I'd heard about Dynamite brining some Atari video game titles to life via comics and it's cool to see the first issue on shelves.

It's a bargain at only 25¢ and free on Comixology (as of this writing). We're looking forward to the upcoming releases as well as Centipede - all from Dynamite Comics.

SwordQuest issue 0 from Dynamite Comics Dynamite's first Atari comic book, SwordQuest issue 0
SwordQuest issue 0 from Dynamite Comics Dynamite's first Atari comic book, SwordQuest issue 0

Original Three SwordQuest Comic Books From DC Comics

wordquest Earthworld wordquest Fireworld wordquest Waterworld
May 6, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Between Guardians Vol. 2 and Free Comic Book Day, I barely had time to find Atari games before the Kentucky Derby

Seldom do so many things fall on one day in my boring life, but today was full of awesomeness!
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 Caught an early show of Guardian's of the Galaxy Vol. 2 this morning.
Guardians of the Galaxy themed Crosley record player While killing time before the movie, I found this Guardians of the Galaxy themed Crosley record player in Barnes & Noble. They even had the soundtrack on vinyl!

Free Comic Book Day 2017 This year's Free Comic Book Day had one of the larger selections I've seen in recent years. I was excited to get Riverdale and the Rick & Morty books.
Atari 2600 games On the way home from the movies, I decided to stop off and see if I could find some Atari 2600 games. Came across Atari Video Cube and Bobby Is Going Home... and SFII for the SNES.

Herbie the love bug At the theater, I saw this VW with a Herbie-themed paint job. Fun! Today was a good day!
May 4, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

May The Force Be With You on May the 4th, and ever after

It's Star Wars Day! What are you doing to celebrate?
Of all the made-up holidays, Star Wars Day is one of the more imaginative and fun ones that people really get behind. I'm stoked to drop in to Newbury Comics for some pop-culture awesomeness!

Later I plan on firing up the original trilogy!

Star Wars Day - May The Force Be With You
May 4, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

McDonald's can't deflect the cancellation of Orange Hi-C with a ridiculous utensil

McDonald's is replacing Orange Lavaburst Hi-C
McDonald's french fry utensil, the frork, solves a problem no one has, while the orange goodness of Hi-C is traded for a proprietary Sprite flavor.
Available for one day only - the frork. Yep, you read that right, a frork. While they replace Orange Hi-C with an alternate Coca-Cola product, Sprite TropicBerry, they're trying to buy us off with a useless utensil. In theory, a frork is an hunk of plastic that holds 3 fries and allows yo to scoop up excess ketchup or other sauce without soiling your hands.

McDonald's  Frork So, if you're napkin-challenged and need a solution to getting sauce on your hands, Friday is the day to get one of these devices at your local McDonald's. Mind you, there is a great chance you will not be able to have orange Hi-C along with a test-drive of Ronald McDonald's whacky utensil.

We're not fooled, Clown! We want Hi-C, not a misspelled fork that seems like a poor substitute for further solidifying your Coca-Cola deal with a Sprite addition. And those new McDonald's uniforms have an odd 'sci-fi' vibe. They can shift their color-scheme, but ditching Orange Hi-C tor TropicBerry has not gone unnoticed. It's not a favorable alteration.

By the way... how about bringing back the Hamburgler, Grimace, and Mayor McCheese? I'd gladly trade away this new Sprite beverage for a return to McDonaldland! :)
May 3, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Happy Badger Studio announces the official launch date for SmuggleCraft on PS4 and Steam

Happy Badger Studio announces the launch date for SmuggleCraft
No two players will have the same experience with SmuggleCraft.
I'm stoked to see SmuggleCraft from Happy Badger Studio on the PS4 after backing it on Kickstarter. For those who missed their campaign, SmuggleCraft is coming to PS4 and Steam on May 23rd! There will also be an accompanying book, SmuggleCraft: Stories from the Sideways, short stories from the world of SmuggleCraft, by narrative designer Caleb Sawyer.

This game looks slick, well thought out, and fun! I'm stoked to play this game. I've loved Happy Badgers' style since loading Turkey Chase on my phone - great 8-bit fun. These guys always put a lot of thought into their games and you'll see that in the many dimensions their projects take. What may seem like a cool hovercraft racer will be doused with intricate additions to what you think you're playing. I'm really stoked to fire this game up! Get it if you haven't already.

Happy Badger Studio SmuggleCraft From the Happy Badger Studio press release:
Happy Badger Studio announces May 23rd, 2017 as the official launch date for SmuggleCraft on PS4 and Steam. The studio also announces SmuggleCraft: Stories from the Sideways, short stories from the world of SmuggleCraft, by narrative designer Caleb Sawyer, available now!

SmuggleCraft is a quest-based, hovercraft racing game placing gamers in the role of Ferre Astraea, a lone Smuggler surviving in the torn world of Dirahl. Players will encounter several factions and accept missions to increase their reputation as a Smuggler. Every track is randomly generated using over 200 track pieces, so whether you're on a delivery run or racing against friends online, no two adventures are ever the same. Players can also customize their hovercraft, fitting it to their specific needs.
May 2, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

“Iggy Azalea Announces Release Date For Switch” - Does Reggie know?

I got a kick out of headlines about Iggy announcing the release date for Switch :)
Upon reading headlines that "Iggy Azalea Announces Release Date For Her New Song, Switch" I did a double take. I haven't kept up with her since Fancy dropped in 2014. Discovering she has a song named "Switch" and that she was announcing it's release date... well, it struck me as funny.

Iggy Azalea has a release date for Switch
May 1, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Could you be duped into attending a gaming convention that turned into a Fyre Fest fiasco?

The perils of unfounded conventions and events
We all laughed at the outcome, but it's easier than you may think to be led into what appears to be a good idea.
Picture this...
You're stoked to board a flight to a remote tropical island for a long weekend of retro gaming with like minded fanatics and industry luminaries. They even hav e few chiptune bands coming in to keep things rocking. You forked over a hefty $1,800, but there are luxury accommodations, four-course meals, and nine arcades.

That's the one that got you hooked. Aside from all the amenities being constructed for this special event, they are creating nine different arcades! Each one will be stocked with the games you've loved since the 80s and 90s. Imagine a wall of head-to-head Daytona, aisles of Defender, Berzerk, Dig Dug, Pac-Man, Missile Command, Tron, Wizard Of Wor... the list seems endless. The lights. The sounds!

Combined with beautiful beaches, bikinis, eSports, and a myriad of gaming's top developers, could it get any better? Imagine attending an intimate forum in which Eugene Jarvis talks through his mindset as Robotron 2084 came together. Next you're off to liten to Nolan Bushnell talk about his post-Atari entrepreneurial forays with his son appearing to discuss the Polycade.

It would be hard for me to walk away from a slick sounding retro arcade festival. I'd fall into the trap!
Too good to be true, right? So, why did you buy those expensive tickets? Like Fox Mulder, we want to believe...

Alas, the world we live in today is full of phishing scams, fake telemarketing calls, and celebrities paid to "promote" fantastic events they have zero stake in. That's how so many fell victim to the Fyre Fest debacle. Attendees who were able to get to the island discovered the vast preparations that lured them in, had not even begun. They arrived to a baren wasteland with shelter tents and meals you might find in prison. Not an ounce of luxury.

Most events are not on the grand scale touted by Fyre Fest, but think of the gaming conventions you've attended. New ones pop up and we are tempted by guest lists and vendors who will be demonstrating their wares. The allure of endless 80's arcade games would be enough to get me on a plane. But we have to be diligent in protecting ourselves.

When things seem too good to be true, you have to ask questions. Anyone buying games from online auctions or forums is all too familiar with the devious schemes and scams. From repro-carts to misrepresented quality there are many ways to be cheated out of your time and money.

The best comment I read about Fyre Fest was - it was designed to entertain thousands and wound up entertaining millions. I've gotten a chuckle out of this bizarre event, but don't forget, scenarios like this can happen anywhere. Be vigilant about who you deal with and verifying everything!

April 2017 Retro Gaming Articles:

April 30, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Piko Interactive is bringing back two SNES beat-em-ups, Iron Commando & Legend

Iron Commando for SNES
Here's a chance to own two classic SNES titles on actual Super Nintendo cartridges.
When it comes to retro gaming, nothing beats a resurrected video game returning for use on original hardware. The vast digital stores affiliated with today's top game consoles are full of retro goodness, but don't you love the feeling of a cartridge sliding into place in your favorite console from decades ago. We dig that! Piko Interactive is known for bringing new games to old consoles and they have two cool titles coming via Indiegogo!

Iron Commando for SNES Iron Commando was released in Japan for the Super Famicom in February 1995 and has a "Streets of Rage" vibe. It also offers 2-player simultaneous play.

Legend was released in North America in 1994 and delivers a beat-em-up experience set against a medieval/fantasy backdrop. Piko Interactive has rights to both games and is bringing them back to the SNES on cartridges with CIB options. Both games are part of their Indiegogo campaign.

If you love this genre of games but don't have a Super Nintendo, you can get a PC download key or a custom SNES clone - the RetroDuo from retro-bit. Their Indiegogo campaign has several options for obtaining both games to suit your cravings. Check out the campaign page for all the latest details.

Give their main website a look too - they publish games for a variety of retro platforms.

Legend Screenshot of Legend for Super Nintendo | SNES
April 29, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

If you bought Yummy Mart's Pikachu lingerie, maybe you need some Kirby PJs

Kirby PJs
Just when you save enough for a Nintendo Switch, along comes a slew of Kirby merch.
Last year, some Pikachu lingerie was sold through Yummy Mart. This year several Kirby-themed items seem to be arriving at Yummy Mart in late April...

Kirby pajamas from Yummy Mart Kirby pajamas from Yummy Mart
Kirby pajamas from Yummy Mart

Kirby merchandise Kirby merchandise
April 28, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Nintendo gives the 2DS' slate a nifty update, releasing as the 2DS XL this Summer

The 2DS XL
As we question the lifespan of Nintendo portable systems, with the Switch's mobility and their foray into smartphone games, they announce an upgraded 2DS XL. Didn't see that coming.
When the 3DS came out, I went to GameStop to experience the 3D effect. It was interesting, but every movement I made seemed to cause the screen to react strangely. For me, the 3D was impressive as a glasses-free technology, but for all the motion associated with gaming-on-the-go, it was distracting. The expense of the initial unit led me to pass on it.

However, when the 2DS came out, I was very excited. I bought one for my son and another for myself shortly after. With a great game library, StreetPass, and Local Play... I loved it! Despite it's bulky shape, I take it with me everywhere - yes, everywhere. It provides a solid reliable gaming experience incapable on the dreadful smartphones on the market today.

The 2DS Gets The "XL" Treatment

Nintendo announced an update to my favored portable game console. in July, they will release the 2DS XL which seems to be predominantly a 3DS minus the 3D visual effect. It will have the clam-shell design, larger screens, a C-stick, and built in amiibo support. It almost seems like a 3DS killer unless you really dig the 3D visuals.

The other upgrade is the price - it goes up to $150. I seem to recall some $80 sales, so this is quite a jump, but it does have some cool addition. To be honest... I liked the flat slate design. I also preferred the original GBA before the SP model came out with the clam-shell design.

Again, with a backdrop of the recently cancelled NES Classic Edition and Switch launch, it's hard to keep up with Nintendo's strategy. Will the Switch take over the 2/3DS duties with smartphones absorbing the rest of the portable scene? With only a year or two of support left, it's hard to say what will become the mobility we've loved since the original GameBoy.

I'm eager to see what the 2DS XL brings and how Nintendo's portable strategy adapts and changes. It will be another exciting time in gaming :)

The 2DS XL
April 26, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

A 15-date UK tour is reuniting Bananarama for the first time since 1988

Bananarama is reuniting for a 15-date UK tour
Bananarama started in London, in 1979. In 2017 the original members are heading out on tour!.
Bananarama last performed together at the Brit Awards in 1988, before petty squabbles caused Siobhan Fahey to quit, but Venus, and other hits, were not forgotten. Rumors say the eighties trio have put their differences aside and Siobhan will be joined Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin on this brief UK tour.

Their 15-date UK tour kicks off in Glasgow on November 12, and will end in Southend on December 2. While many bands I grew up with have forged onward all these years, It's interesting that Bananarama have been apart so long, yet are venturing onto a tour bringing them back to their roots in the 80's. I hope if goes well, stokes all involved and leads to an new album!

Bananarama sold more than 40 million songs worldwide and made it into the Guinness Book Of Records as the most successful female group of all time on account of the fact they'd had more hit singles than any other girl band.

I hope if goes well, stokes all involved, and leads to an new album!
April 26, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Night Trap's 25th anniversary will have a limited physical release on PS4

Night Trap's 25th anniversary
Night Trap garnered a whirlwind or controversy that took mainstream news by storm and led to a video game rating system.
Dana Plato was an actress who sadly had several downfalls after starring on TV's Diff'rent Strokes show (as Kimberly Drummond) from 1978 to 1986. In 1992 Plato was one of the first actresses to appear in a video game. While video games have had movie and TV tie-ins since inception, Full Motion Video (FMV) was a new thing in the early 90s.

Today, video games are nearly indistinguishable from movies. The action on screen is quite realistic and smooth. Technology has taken us a long way. Back in the day FMV was revolutionary because video games had graduated from somewhat static pixel clusters to characters made of pixels that simulated nominal movement. Fighting game characters could now throw punches and kick with enough reality for us to see a dramatic improvement in game play and engagement.

Night Trap for SEGA 32X Night Trap, although a moderately awful game (released in Oct. 1992 for Sega CD, 3DO, Mac, and PC), it used FMV and gamers were fascinated to see cinematic scenes in video games with recognizable actors, like Plato. In '83, arcade games like Dragon's Lair were delivering smoother animation via laser disc. Gamers seemed to like this new movement to add better graphics to games via film clips.

Night Trap Returns Via Screaming Villains and Limited Rum Games

Having released several great games as physical copies on PS4, Limited Run will soon (Spring 2017) be releasing a limited quantity of physical copies of Night Trap for PS4 and Xbox One. Previously, they have released great games like Xeodrifter and Mutan Mudds. Developer Screaming Villains brought Night Trap to life for the 25th anniversary release.

Having lived through the initial controversy, it should be a 'blast from the past' to be able to play this game on a modern console. Keep an eye out for the physical release! Keep in mind you won't be able to pre-order it at GameStop or even buy it at traditional retail. Limited Run's releases are savagely limited. Check their site for details, but typically they sell solely from their site in two waves and the product goes quick!
April 25, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Marvel & Doritos partner for a boombox-in-a-bag promotion for Guardians 2 soundtrack

Marvel & Doritos partner
This bag-cassette motif will play the entire soundtrack, provide a snack, and can be recharged if you want to rewind and play it again ;)
You need this bag of Doritos with a built-in cassette tape deck-inspired player that will rock out the entire Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 soundtrack. Even though items like this are extremely limited and primarily created to generate hype, you have to like a bag of doritos with enough tech to give you a snack and an 1/8" headphone jack so you can listen to some classic tunes. Not everyone wants to hear a bunch of hits from the 70s, but we're down for that!

Limited to an online offer available on April 28 via Amazon, don't get your hopes up about finding one at your local supermarket. If you liked the first film's soundtrack, this one is as eclectic as it is awesome! We suggest downloading it or doing what we do... buy the CD. Or how about a nice juicy cassette? Yeah, we're that kind of retro.

I can't wait to see the film - loved the first one. I'm hoping Vol 2 will continue along the lines of the first film, breaking Hollywood's craving for repetition and re-makes.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 soundtrack listing
April 25, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Target is dressing up for Friday's launch of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Target stores participating in a Nintendo Kart makeover
650 Target stores are participating in a Nintendo Kart makeover to stoke shoppers for the latest Mario Kart video game.
For a limited time, Target stores are decorating with a flare for Mario Kart and commerce. With the initial success of the Nintendo Switch and a long-running Nintendo favorite coming to market, it's a great time to remind customers to get their copy of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

I hope they have higher stock levels than usual to satisfy the day-one buyers who will mob stores to revel in their Mario-ness and snag the latest edition of this video game racer. It would be upsetting to march in through the Nintendo arch belting out the Mario theme song, grab a Mario Kart themed shopping cart and dash toward the video games only to discover they sold out of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

Sadly I don't have a Target nearby. I'd certainly take the opportunity to hop in a shopping cart for a Kart-selfie. My advice would be: get there early, avoid the trappings, and make a dash for the game aisle. You can hop in a Mario shopping Kart after you get your copy of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe!
April 24, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

“Karen” from the first Nintendo Switch trailer has shed her pseudonym on Instagram

Karen from the first Switch trailer on Instagram
She even identifies herself as "Formerly Nintendo Karen". I love this - let's hope we get to know her better through Instagram!
Nintendo Karen Fans became enamored by an actress in the first Nintendo Switch trailer in which she demonstrated the Switch's ability to go from the living room to a party on the rooftop next door. She wasn't credited in the trailer, so the internet named her, "Karen". Memes appeared and the theme was all about Karen. It's a strange world we live in.

Fans identified with her and the passion she exemplified for playing video games and sharing the experience in her travels with friends. In an interesting twist, the actress from the trailer now has an Instagram account and her name is likely not Karen. It's way cool of her to embrace "Nintendo Karen" and share more about herself.

Sometimes people surprise you in all the right ways!

Karen from the first Switch trailer
April 24, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Is Best Buy's final shipment of NES Classic Editions part of the master plan?

Best Buy's final shipment of NES Classic Editions
What is likely the last we'll see of the NES Mini kept the brand in the news as Nintendo prepared to rebound via Switch's success.
I was lucky and able to buy an NES Classic Edition for Christmas, but the majority of folks who wanted one, didn't get the chance. Nintendo said this would be a limited product, but in the same breath hinted that supply would eventually satisfy demand. Sadly, that never happened.

After many media outlets, including USA Today, said Monday would be the final opportunity to buy an NES Mini at Best Buy, I hoped it would be a larger shipment. Alas, no.

Out of sheer curiosity, I dropped by my local Best Buy around 9:30am - a ½ hour before they opened. A small group was waiting by the roll-down security gate. They had received tickets-to-purchase at 7:00am which led me to believe it was game-over for getting another NES Classic Edition. It turned out my local store only had 7 consoles. I found out about a Best Buy in Boston that only had four!

It's sad to see this item going for $200+ on eBay. The extra Nintendo-branded controller I paid $9 for at Toys R Us has gone for over $100. I'm sure prices will spike with this final shipment, although you never know when they may trickle in until all stock is depleted. Just as consumer FOMO fuels a strong desire, it also brings out the scalpers. The gap between the Wii U's cancellation and the introduction of the Switch is an anomaly that may be a clue to the real reason for the NES Classic Edition.

That cute NES Mini put distance between Wii U's failure and Nintendo's vital rebound with a radical new console design.

Look At The Wii U/Switch Gap For Answers

Many things go into bringing a product to market, even for seasoned pros the size of Nintendo. Most consoles blend from one to the other with some overlap. Most recently you may have seen the $99 Wii Mini arrived in the US (Nov. 2013), a year after the Wii U launched. Such scaled back consoles have been common as manufacturers try to squeeze maximum revenue from the previous platform prior to retirement.

With this in mind, it's odd for Nintendo to cancel a console, even though it was selling poorly (although the Wii U was a great console) and leave a gap in Nintendo's exposure on retail shelves and shopper's minds. Brands require constant exposure and it's best if it's positive.

It has been suggested the NES Classic Edition was released to keep the brand on shelves and in the media. Nintendo likely wanted to separate the poor reviews of the Wii U from the Switch's launch. What better way to shift focus from the Wii us commercial failure than a cute little mini NES with some of childhood's favorite games? The answer is: nothing!

Mostly, they needed exposure and short-shipping product (a really cool product) may have fit the bill for their needs. You can't have the world forgetting about Nintendo when they are on the comeback trail with a brand new revolutionary console release. Disguised as a hella-cool stocking stuffer, the NES Classic Edition distanced the Wii U, received high marks, and proved that an SNES Classic Edition will sell very well. See ya next Christmas!

April 23, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Tecmo Cleveland is putting “Sports” into eSports with a Tecmo Superbowl tournament

Tecmo Cleveland Tecmo Superbowl tournament
Have you noticed the top games in eSports center around Orcs, street fights, and military strategies? Tecmo Cleveland knows sports.
Tecmo Cleveland Tecmo Superbowl tournament Even if you've been watching the eSports segment of the video Game Industry grow, you may still be surprised to learn it's poised to become a multi-billion dollar industry. These massive events grew from smaller tournaments and those operating them who sought a larger audience and global scale.

As pricey endorsements and professional teams competing on ESPN become the norm, there are still many smaller tournaments focused on the love of old games that are just plain fun! Some of these games even date back to some of our favorite retro game consoles.

From local bars to conference halls, gaming tournaments are an ever-popular and growing trend. I was recently contacted by a group that has an upcoming tournament focused on an old Nintendo NES favorite AND it's an actual "sports" game!
Tecmo Cleveland - Tecmo Superbowl tournament

Tecmo Cleveland Superbowl - Coming This Summer

Tecmo Cleveland has been growing for several years and is hitting the big-time this August with a Tecmo Superbowl tournament in Cleveland, OH. You can register to participate on their website as well as find out all the details for this event.

Of particular interest is the stipulation that this is a 100% emulation-free event. The tournament runs on real Nintendo NES consoles and controllers. From the feel of inserting a game cartridge to wired controllers, authentic retro gaming is their mantra.

You might even find a few Cleveland Browns players or legacies attending for appearances and/or autographs. Sounds like a cool event focused on a terrific NES game and Football is definitively a sport ;)
April 22, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Cosplayer Jessica Nigri as Fox McCloud from Nintendo's SNES game StarFox

She is regarded as one of the top cosplayers on the convention circuit.
Jessica Nigri got her start when her "Sexy Pikachu" cosplay went viral. She began cosplaying in 2009, modeling in 2012, and served as an official spokesmodel for several video games and comic book series. In 2012, she won IGN's contest seeking a model to portray Juliet Starling, from Suda51's video game Lollipop Chainsaw. Definitely a fan favorite.

Here she cosplays StarFox's Fox McCloud.
Cosplayer Jessica Nigri as Fox McCloud
April 22, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

There will always be more Stadium Events cartridges in landfills than trophy cases

video game preservation
Video game preservation can be as simple as not tossing something into a dumpster, but all too often people take that easy option.
Knowledge is one of the key factors to preservation. That isn't to say you need a degree in rocket science or experience curating for the Smithsonian. The requisite knowledge can be as simple as knowing not to throw gaming items into the trash. People tend to live in the present and only show concern for things in their immediate vicinity.

Hence the "not in my backyard" mantra is a mentality that rarely seems to manifest in the truth that "it" will always be in "someone's backyard". This is easily combined with mankind's ability to be content as long as we have no direct knowledge of travesties. For example, the majority of video game's history has already been relegated to landfills by owners, businesses and manufacturers. Yes, a majority of it!

Most people argue that can't be true and cite how easy it is to find Combat or SMB/Duck Hunt carts. Sure, a few decades ago, they were everywhere. Look around now. When you find them, you may be surprised they are no longer 50¢!

Video Game Preservation Isn't Solely for Rare Items

Atari's Combat As gamers we'd never throw an NES Stadium Events cartridge in the trash, but your father may not know it's value. Worse still, he probably won't call you when he finds your old copy in the attic... and into the trash it goes. Or maybe you are certain you randomly bought a copy back in the 80's only to discover he sold it for $3 at last Summer's yard sale. Whoops.

The truth is, Stadium Events is a terrible game and most copies were thrown away in disgust shortly after purchase.

But preservation shouldn't be relegated only to rare items. ALL gaming artifacts are valuable. Yes, ALL of them including your broken N64 and that Atari joystick that no longer "moves left."

When I was a kid there were businesses called repair shops. They fixed things. All things. You can still get your car fixed or have a leaky roof repaired, but what about your TV, sofa, or blender? When the TV stops working, into the trash it goes along with everything else. TV repair shops were easily found in my youth, but no more. In fact, most electronics are deemed unrepairable.

We live in a disposable society that doesn't value material things once they are no longer new. And when they are broken, they become an embarrassment - one worth disposing of quickly. Enter the dumpster and the ease with which deposited items disappear forever... unless you visit the local landfill.

Video Game Preservation Is Easy And Important

I'm not suggesting you park your car outside and turn your garage into a warehouse for broken gaming artifacts. All I ask is that you not throw them away. I know how easy it is to toss something into the trash, but don't. The spring on that old arcade button can be replaced. The motherboard in your Atari 7800 can be re-capped. You may not know how to do these things, but I assure you someone out there does and they'll be glad to repurpose your old stuff!

Super Mario Bros / duck Hunt game for NES Life would be grand if everything was easy. Alas, that's not the case. That old coat that no longer fits you slides so easily into the trash, but somewhere out there is a person who'd love to have that coat. The same is true of video game items. What seems like trash to you will likely be gold to someone else. We're all different people. Some of us love shiny new things. Others like old dusty things.

Here's the real reason video game preservation is so vital. These items are finite. No longer in production. Many of the companies that made amazing games and hardware are now defunct. Their once grand creations often still function, but so many have fallen to the fate of the uninformed and been thrown away.

For every Atari 2600 you find at a yard sale, thousands have been thrown away. Even Blockbuster and Funcoland threw away most of the games they formerly rented or sold. The ugly truth is the majority of the video game industry's history was thrown away long ago! Even if it doesn't garner top-dollar, items from the 80s and 90s have tremendous historical value and should be cherished.

No one wanted the games - they seemed so common and plentiful at the time - and they wound up in landfills. Decades later we are outraged and can't believe someone would throw away a video game. Welcome to the disposable world. Nothing is sacred and everything is easily removed to a landfill. How many SMB/Duck Hunt carts have you seen lately? Remember how easy it was to find Atari's Combat cart at 80's yard sales?

Today, GameStop still fills it's dumpsters with gaming items from packaging and manuals to out-dated store displays and old product (games!). It's just trash to them and it's easier to have it carted to a landfill than to find someone to buy it. They take the easy route without regard for how it effects their own industry!

Decades from now, game collectors may have the same disdain for how our modern games are treated. It's a cycle and it will continue to be repeated until those who play games also realize the importance of them. We love playing games, but that passion goes beyond the experience itself. There's much more joy in gaming than simply having a controller in hand.

Sometimes we need to put down the controller and realize the amazing aspects of the entire gaming experience. Else we'll continue to find interest in landfill excavations as a means of exploring our vibrant history!
April 21, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Vertical video has a place at Cannes for filmmakers refusing to rotate their phone horizontally

vertical video
The Nespresso Talents Vertical Film Festival seemingly challenges the global wide-screen standard. WTF?
As a gamer, I love the notion of taking a handheld console (not my phone) to play games on the go. It's almost a logical extension of home-based console gaming. While the screens are small, sometimes it's nice to bring a favorite title along for the ride.

Nintendo has capitalized on this with their recently released Switch game console. It's a hybrid allowing a handheld tablet, with custom controllers, to also attach to the big screen in your living room via a dock. While smartphones are very prevalent, those small screens just don't do justice to the content we can explore on a large HDTV.

It took the TV industry so long to match the movie industry's screen standards. Many of the early release DVDs had a widescreen version on one side and full screen (square format) on the other. Sometimes they only had the fullscreen version. I had to return innumerable DVDs that I accidentally purchased in full screen. And don't get me started about all the grotesquely letter-boxed laser discs I watched on my 4:3 television back in the day.

I still have a few square Sony CRTs around for my old retro game consoles, but you don't find me digging up old VHS tapes watch a movie! I also rotade my phone horizontally when I shoot video. Maybe I'm too much of a conformist.

Should Vertical-oriented Smartphones Dictate Film Standards? No.

Even though smart phones are everywhere, their owners don't always understand how video works. All sorts of atrocities wind up on CNN via witnesses who took out their phones to record some random crime. Alas, they frequently hold the phone vertically and take those oddly tall videos that the news organizations squish down to fit that ridiculous height into today's HDTV sizing.

What if it wasn't a mistake? What if that tall video was an artistic statement made not by a phone owning heathen, but by artist who's medium is smartphone film? When I read about the Cannes Film Festival's Vertical Film Festival, I wasn't sure what to think. Having seen too many tall, shaky witness videos on CNN, I'm not sure I can call this "film". Although, intent may be the deciding factor.

Whipping out your phone to record a criminal should be different than artistically staging a set for a vertical oriented film. But can't the artist, turn the damn phone for some 16:9 footage?

Of course one man's trash is another's gold... so, I guess I have to be more lenient in how I define right vs. wrong. Vertical video is wrong, by the way. At the same time I feel a bit conflicted because art is art and should be free of judgmental nonsense. I'm beginning to feel some personal anger brewing in this article I'm writing. I'm all for freedom in art, but the Mashable article previously linked is pissing me off.

When Mashable asks:
Why are we still making video for horizontal screens? We're long past consuming content on horizontal screens, and it's time the video industry caught up, before storytelling is left behind.

Frankly this is the most ignorant thing I've encountered online - from a source that is often knowledgeable - in quite some time. Storytelling will be left behind because some dope can't rotate his phone? Utter nonsense!

If you want to be artsy and make a vertical film, go for it - dare to be different, but if you are recording a felon fleeing police, turn you damn phone horizontal. Thanks.
April 20, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Even with the resurgence of vinyl records, the B-side concept is mysterious to newer generations

vinyl B-sides
I discovered some of my favorite songs on the B-side of 45 records and I played them through an amp connected to real speakers!
Everything from hand-crank car windows to telephones that actually "hang up" mystify newer generations. Just when you think the revolving nature of fads will return things you once loved to the forefront, they don't. I'm stunned at the number of records I'll see in mainstream stores.

We have a few used record stores in the area, but I'm talking about stores that carry brand new releases on vinyl. Seeing the latest Metallica album on vinyl sitting next to Taylor Swift's 1989 is pretty amazing in 2017! Demand is so high that defunct vinyl presses are being updated to accomodate demand. Never saw that coming.

Technics turntable I love to flip through bins of LPs in the stores and relive a bit of my youth. I've always loved music and often upgraded my stereo equipment over the years. The state of music these days seems to no longer involve two speakers.

In fact, gone are the stores that sold things like amps, receivers, turntables, and speakers. In their place are department stores with end-caps full of $70 bluetooth speakers. You'd almost think the concept of stereo has vanished with the onslaught of single speaker offerings.

Not long ago, I asked a Best Buy employee about the best speaker solution. He asked me what type of phone I had. Has music been reduced to this? Has analog all but disappeared? What seems to qualify as a speaker these days will make a racket, but that's not really what sound was about.

I remember buying spools of speaker cables at Radio Shack. When stereo amps had surround options, I set up a 5-speaker system for watching movies along with my stash of CDs. I kept having to buy DVD players in order to play my CDs on real speakers. Then I had to buy a Blu Ray player for the same purpose. Now it's all blue tooth from phones to some sort of noisy pod. WTF?

No doubt I sound like some old guy who just crept out from under a rock, but sound was formerly an artform not a commodity purchase. Sound had warmth, like the soothing sound of an old LP on a turntable. Now it's crisp and sterile sounding and pours from these tiny speakers forcing way too much treble from a small hole.

As technology has forced me to upgrade, I am indeed a fan od CDs, but I can still play an LP. However, going forward I feel we are all losing analog sound in favor of technologies that don't deliver the same (or better) quality. Sure, it's nifty to pack hundreds of songs on a smartphone, but our addiction to headphones - most of which are tiny buds shoved into our ear canals - can't be healthy, nor is it the way sound is meant to be enjoyed. Pure digital solutions from phones to a bluetooth speaker lacks both feeling and warmth. I suppose I'll have to succumb to this new standard, but I expect some additional kicking and screaming.
April 19, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

One inkling of an SNES Mini console and the internet has declared it fact

SNES Mini
Nintendo is as quirky as it is smart. I'd hold off before declaring the SNES Mini a holiday hit... it's only April and E3 looms.
The internet has exploded with holiday cheer for a Super Nintendo mini console appearing under the Christmas tree where the former NES Classic Edition began. All hope of this continuation comes from a rumor posted by Eurogamer. They have a track record for accuracy in such matters, but the web lit up as though Reggie had announced it himself.

Some have speculated about the chipset in the recently cancelled NES Mini, remarking that it contains more power than necessary to drive emulation for other Nintendo game consoles. While that may be true, it's cheaper to use a more powerful chip than going through the process of manufacturing a custom chip - especially since it was a limited product from the start.

Don't misunderstand me - I'd love to see ann SNES Mini console later in the year, but we've yet to get through E3 and already people are labeling this phantom product, "stocking stuffer of the year". It certainly could be, but with no corroboration, lets not push the hype wagon down the hill just yet. It's only April.

From Eurogamer:
Nintendo will follow up its smash hit NES microconsole with a mini version of the SNES, sources close to the company have confirmed to Eurogamer.

The SNES mini (or, to continue Nintendo's official branding, likely the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System) is currently scheduled to launch in time for Christmas this year. Development of the device is already under way, our sources have indicated.

If nothing else, the NES Classic Edition inventory issues should give Nintendo a better idea of stock levels and demand. Despite the frequent "sour grapes" posts online, I'm certain demand will be high among those who did and did not get an NES Mini. And those who heard about the hype... they'll probably want one too. So, lets hope Eurogamer is onto something.
April 18, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Citigroup predicts a smaller Nintendo Switch will arrive sooner than you may think

Citigroup predicts a smaller Nintendo Switch
Will Nintendo drop the 3DS to make a more portable Switch? I'm guessing, No. A smaller Switch is not a 3DS replacement option!
I was glad to see support continue for the 3DS as Nintendo's Switch came closer to market. I'm sure Nintendo is carefully watching the gray-area between the 3DS and Switch's ability to satisfy the gamer-on-the-go. While I see the benefit of the Switch's portability, it lags in a few areas as a replacement to the 3DS.

Battery life is a big issue to me and the Switch doesn't compare favorably with the 3DS. The dual screens, with touch-screen ability, is another factor I like very much about the 3DS. And most of all I'm addicted to StreetPass which is not a Switch feature.

So, Citigroup comes along with the prediction of a "mini" Nintendo Switch in Nintendo's next fiscal year (between April 2018 and March 2019). A smaller version of the Switch. Their primary assertion is the Switch, in it's current iteration, is too big to be a viable portable solution. I've seen no mention of what Citigroup believes will become of the 3DS. They simply say the Switch is too big.

While I love the games Nintendo has put forth across their long line of portable gaming consoles (GameBoy through 3DS), I've felt those screens were too small. The Switch offers a great resolution to that issue and lets you play the same titles on your large living room TV. Seems like a win-win! The notion that a "portable" game console must fit in my pocket has never been part of my definition. I'm actually a 2DS owner and take it with me almost everywhere I go via my backpack.

The utility of a Switch Mini doesn't seem comparable to current 3DS functionality.

Can The Switch Be Reduced?

Obviously some of the Switch's dimensions are tied together. The height of the tablet is tied to the width of the Joy-Con. Many find the Joy-Con to be quite small - certainly when compared to most controllers. Would Joy-Cons be reduced in Citigroup's prediction - or permanently attached? If a mini version was Joy-Con compatible, it may appeal to some gamers, but adding a set of controllers would bring the price right up to the current offering.

The ability to detach them seems a vital part of the portable experience. Reducing the Switch's size doesn't bode well for using Joy-Cons out in the wild. I'm all for the pro controller for the living room, but minimizing the footprint for portability, seems to remove some of the tablet's agility and simplicity.

I'm not entirely clear about Citigroup's prediction, but it may involve a different sort of Switch - more of a 3DS replacement. It would likely not use the current dock to connect to a TV, potentially bringing down the price. Naturally, this is all supposition, but there are a number of things to consider in such a device. I'm curious why Citigroup thinks it will come so soon in the Switch lifecycle.

As for my own two cents...
I like the curent size of the Switch. My concerns going forward are largely around how the Switch's evolution may effect the 2/3DS and the need for a portable gaming console. The trend in larger smartphone screens is catching on. What was once mockingly referred to as a "Phablet" has become more of a standard. Reducing the Switch's screen size doesn't sit well with me.

Mobile gaming is about combining gaming with the devices we all seem to carry around at all times - Smartphones. The ability to play Nintendo games far from the living room TV should not be married to the notion of tiny screens, as seen on today's phones. I like the switch's current size. Reducing it to make it conform to smaller objects we like to cram in our pockets, defeats a large part of what makes Nintendo games awesome!
April 17, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The internet sure got excited at the premise of the Star Wars sub-titles being a sentence

Star Wars sub-titles sentence
The hype-machine always finds something to inflate, but there must be something more interesting than a sentence to garner attention.
I love what Disney is doing with Star Wars. They've given it a defined future, in terms of continuing the franchise with both continued and new stories. The idea of alternating years with the main plot is great and delving into "smaller" areas is very cool. That's enough to stoke me up.

The idea of guessing the what the latest trilogy's sub-titles will spell out seems kind of anticlimactic.Has the internet and prevalence of social media led fans to hone in on minutia rather than enjoying the big picture? I love Star Wars and vividly remember the day my Mom took me to Tyson's Corner to see the first film in the 70's. but a sentence fragment?

I want to read more of the books. If you haven't looked into the various novels, you may be surprised at how many there are! One of my favorite authors, Terry Brooks (Sword of Shannara series), wrote the Episode One novel from the 1999 film. Check out a few novels rather than the promise of an obtuse sentence... and play Atari today! Star Wars sub-titles sentence
April 16, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Don't be upset when this painfully angular Atari console never reaches Kickstarter

Atari console concept for Kickstarter
Recently circulating is this rendered reminder not to invest in "cool console concepts" without a verified working prototype.
Like many Atari fans, it's hard for me to accept that Atari is no more. The creativity that created the 2600 and countless arcade games vanished decades ago only to be resurrected by a series of holding companies. These companies only see dollar-signs and seek to use the backlog of Atari IPs as a licensing business. For the most part, they'd be better off selling t-shirts than games. Although I love the Flashback Classics games for PS4 and Xbox One.

A lone image is hardly reason to box-up your Atari consoles!
Recently, I've seen the above image floating around social media with the insinuation that an upcoming Kickstarter campaign is seeking to create an Atari-branded game console that will play games from Atari's primary game consoles. As if the "2015" text isn't enough, let's not for get the lesson we learned from the Chameleon game console that spun out of control amidst lies and false promises. Until you see a verified working prototype, don't get excited!

I'd love to see a game console capable of playing the various cartridge-based games from Atari. An article suggested the creator wants to work with Atari on this aleged project. Having Atari partner with such an endeavor might lead to proper emulation of the various consoles. I often wonder why the various multi-cart clones (Retro Freak, Retron5, etc) completely ignore Atari games. There must be a reason.

However, the logistics of creating a console capable of playing carts from the 2600, 5200, 7800, and Jaguar is daunting to say the least. Even the Flashbacks don't have cartridge slots. I love the concept, but know it takes more than a picture to launch enough interest.
April 15, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Consumer demand is only one side of the story in which the NES Classic Edition was cancelled

NES Classic Edition was cancelled
Even though everyone seemed to want one, the NES Mini may not have been a desirable product for Nintendo.
About six weeks ago, a TRU employee said the NES Classic Edition would soon be canceled. Seeing no corroborating stories online and more NES Mini shipments arriving, I chocked it up to misinformation. Now that the news is all over, it seems the cute little emulation box - a damn good one - has actually been canceled.

Since it's release last November (2016), there have been two primary stories about the device.
  1. It's awesome!
  2. It's impossible to buy due to high consumer demand.
I was lucky to get one on release day, but that was largely due to the remote area I live in. Simply showing up an hour before Toys R Us opened was enough to garner an NES Classic Edition... along with 14 other shoppers. And that began the articles of drastic under-deliveries of the system. Stores around here received less than ten units every four or five weeks.

Nintendo NES Classic Edition ports & connections Low inventory was the common story across social media and this caused understandable frustration. Many assumed if they waited long enough, Nintendo would get its supply chain in order and begin delivering proper quantities. The device's cancelation has angered many who were unable to purchase one and with the price doubling and tripling on auction sites, the rest of us were a bit irritated as well.

Consumer Demand Doesn't Guarantee Success

While the high demand for the console may make you think it was an financial-win for Nintendo, there are a lot of other factors making up a product's success. Their inability to deliver enough units and consequently sell many more certainly has a big effect. However, I suspect there other large expense was the license fees for the third-party games included on the system - half the included games were made by third party devs. With it's high-demand status, it's possible some of the license holders may have started legal maneuvering to obtain a larger cut of the profits - although that's pure speculation on my part.

The fact that the unit was hacked and easily allowed folks to put the entire 700+ NES game library on the device hurts the future sale of another device next holiday season. We're accustomed to the Flashback consoles appearing each holiday, so the NES Mini has a tougher time selling a new device with 30 (or more) games when it's easy to put hundreds on the original.

Nintendo NES Classic Edition ports & connections Nintendo may be going back to the drawing board to tighten security and perhaps look at he SNES or N64 libraries. I would be surprised if another device with built-in games didn't appear again in the next year or so. Nostalgia is huge these days and Nintendo played a large role in the memories we have. I feel there were some behind-the-scenes issues that caused this seemingly abrupt cancellation.

I haven't given up hope that, even with the Switch's success, Nintendo won't bring back some of their nostalgic past in another all-in-one device. I say this primarily because there were some well-thought out facets to it like the controller ports allowing Wiimote compatibility. Nintendo didn't create the Mini as an island, but rather a farther reaching device. Let's hope for another round next year!

From Nintendo:
Throughout April, NOA territories will receive the last shipments of Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition systems for this year. We encourage anyone interested in obtaining this system to check with retail outlets regarding availability. We understand that it has been difficult for many consumers to find a system, and for that we apologize. We have paid close attention to consumer feedback, and we greatly appreciate the incredible level of consumer interest and support for this product.
April 8, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I'm taking a week off to paint some eggs and play video games with Player 2

I hate to reduce Easter to egg hunts and time off to play video games... but that's my plan!
My son is coming up for the week, so we're taking some time to play games and disconnect from the sordid atrocities of the web. As always, I encourage everyone to share some retro games with a kid. Show 'em how awesome gaming was long before Microsoft made a game console.

April 7, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Shout out to Old Milwaukee on National Beer Day- the perfect companion for weekend #retroGaming

Old Milwaukee Beer now comes in pin-up cans!
No weekend in college was complete without a case of OM. Great taste and a cost-effective way to enjoy the weekend. Old Mil is the perfect companion for every weekend adventure.

Old Milwaukee beer Old Milwaukee Pin-up beer cans From the Old Milwaukee website:
The new American Pin-Up Series will run on all Old Milwaukee Lager, Old Milwaukee Light, and Old Milwaukee N.A. packaging and will be available at retailers, bars and restaurants nationwide. The first pin-up in the series, "Stars and Stripes," is modeled after iconic female wartime heroes harkening back to WWII. The next pin-up design in the series, which gives a nod to the hunting and outdoor traditions, will launch in September 2017 with a new design to follow every four months.
April 6, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Both gaming media and consumers should be demanding better games, not faster consoles

Project Scorpio
The mightiest processor is useless without great games to showcase a console's superiority.
The stats are out on the Xbox Scorpio and the media is having a frenzy as though faster processors will magically make games better. On any system, crappy games with higher frame-rates isn't exactly a win.

In general, hype about faster processors needs to stop. We live in a fantasy where speed is everything and we seem willing to sacrifice quality for more speed. Already folks are talking about how great it will be to play games on the Xbox Scorpio. What games? How many exclusive titles will it have?

A false notion is gaining way too much traction regarding "speed" and "power". These conversations and info are coming from folks who don't know anything about electronics or engineering. Random fans are praising anything with a bigger number in the speed-column.

Game consoles are essentially computers these days. How's your computer running? My PC at work takes 6 minutes to boot up while my Mac at home takes 45 seconds. That's an interesting comparison to me. But on either computer, MS Word runs at the same slow sluggish pace. But let's look at computing in general.

Computers are supposed to double in speed every two years. OK, why do most programs run like an old moped creeping up a steep hill? Shouldn't applications be faster on these super-fast computers? The answer is bad programming. Applications get more and more bloated with every release. There's a direct correlation between hardware that the software designed to run on it.

Like Computers, Consoles Require properly Coded Games

Gamers don't seem to believe in this correlation. Games are the software running on your console - which is a computer. Games, like any software, need to be optimized for the hardware they are to run on. Proof of this comes from watching games evolve over a console's lifespan. At the outset, programmers are not as familiar with the hardware and it's nuances. As they learn the system, we see better, more complex games arriving for the platform.

This concept is alive in the Atari homebrew scene (among others) where programmers are still discovering better ways to execute code on an Atari 2600! And this knowledge shows in the way their games play and the complexity of each game.

So, when Microsoft releases specs for Scorpio, let's not be duped into thinking it will be great simply because of a chip. It needs great exclusive games! Great games make a console great. For all the stories about the Wii U being under-powered, it's game play was spectacular! Isn't that what we want - spectacular games? Great games evolve from spectacular programming! Fast chips are secondary at best.
April 5, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I'd have tried a Switch... Pepsi should never be used as a peace offering

Can a Nintendo Switch get this hot and warp? Doubtful.
I predict the advertising industry will crumble because it's no longer possible to reach the masses when they are comprised of whiners.
Internet outrage over this Pepsi ad, with a harmony context, is becoming more and more typical in the changing landscape of recent human evolution. The Internet has gone from being a tool providing access to vast amounts of information to a soapbox from which to spew anger.

Anger is the new smart. There are no more "pats on the back" or kudos. You will never again be congratulated for a job well done. In today's social climate, outrage is perceived as smart & sexy. The ability to align oneself with like-minded intelligence has been trumped (pun intended) by the idea that we need to be vigilant and capable of converting any scenario into a vile attack on our sensibilities.

People today are morons. Embarrassing morons who lack the ability to see the big picture or have an introspective thought. We've become a reactionary society ready to pounce without a thought or a care.

Can a Nintendo Switch get this hot and warp? Doubtful. If you haven't seen Pepsi's ad, it may not have hit the mark, but the outrage and reactions are ridiculous. Pepsi said: "This is a global ad that reflects people from different walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony, and we think that's an important message to convey."

No rational person thinks a can of soda will actually relieve tensions when protesters meet law enforcement. The ad was a metaphor. Perhaps a way to start a useful dialog. Those who saw the ad wanted to take it literally and pounce on the opportunity to deride Pepsi, Kandall Jenner and anything/anyone else they could attach to it. We live in a world of discontent and hate... mixed with a healthy dollop of stupid.

Headlines across the web identify this as the "Kendall Jenner Pepsi" ad. Congrats to Kendall for becoming so recognizable, but lets remember she was cast in this by Pepsi. She didn't produce it or create it. She appeared in it. The hatred should have been directed at the creative team and those who approved the ad's creation. But we tend to lash out at whoever is conveniently available.

Some have tried to pin this on Jenner by saying she's an adult and should know better. Most ads of this sort are not shot in a linear manner. They shoot all the footage they need and then assemble it to convey the message. Jenner may not have known how the final version would compare to what they may have told her or the shoot itself. Those trying to blame her need to realize how things work and how much better it is when people have discussions, not faceless rants on social media.

This Ugly Mentality Effects Video Games

The Kardashian clan seems to attract their own haters with ease, but this kind of senseless outrage is the new normal and applies equally to video games. No one is immune to it. Nintendo dealt with innumerable attacks on it's former Wii U console which, I feel, likely aided in it's demise.

The Switch is seeing the same moronic treatment of utter outrage at any issue that arises. An issue arose with the joy-con and Nintendo was instantly assaulted by idiots who needed to spill some rage to offset their lack of hugs. Next we have accusations of overheating and alleged bending issues. And the senseless attacks are leveled at Nintendo - even from those who own a Switch, not just the haters.

Misinformation and fake news distribution, fueled by hate and stupidity, have become normal behavior. Humanity is slowly devolving until you look at the timeline and realize it's happening quite quickly. There's not harm in pausing to think. Thinking is good. We all should do more thinking.
April 5, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

If your Switch's dock heats up enough to bend metal, you may want to become a blacksmith

Can a Nintendo Switch get this hot and warp? Doubtful.
Most of us own a few devices that get extremely hot, yet don't seem to cause metal to bend. Furnace, stove, oven, clothes dryer...
For the uninitiated, this article is steeped in sarcasm...

There's been a report from a Nintendo Switch owner about a slight bend in his Switch tablet. He claims an over-heating issue in the dock is the culprit. Others are coming out and reporting similar "warps", but I'm not convinced. Is this a change that's occurred over the month since release, or was this distortion a facet that was not realized until now - might it have been a pre-existing condition?

Can a Nintendo Switch get this hot? When I see folks posting images depicting the warp or bend in their Nintendo Switch tablets, they are showing this alleged defect using various straight edges from books and tables to hunks of cardboard. I'm certain a carpenter's level would be the best tool to verify such a determination. After all, we're talking about bending a metal frame with heat. Might a blacksmith have some useful input here?

I haven't visited a Renaissance Faire in quite some time, but that's the last place I've encountered a blacksmith. My recollection was they used fire to shape metal. From what I saw, this process took a great deal of heat and some additional force.

Take a look around your home. I'm sure you can find a few things that generate significant heat inside an enclosure. I'm not a big fan of microwave ovens, but I adore my toaster oven. A properly-crisped piece of toast is a breakfast delight. And let's not overlook the deliciousness of a small pile of tater tots.

Both of these dishes of savory sustenance result from fairly high temperatures inside my toaster oven. I've owned this awesome little oven for ten years and at no time has the thin metal rack inside, ever bent, warped, or lost it's shape - even from extreme heat. For comparison, your game console gets nowhere near as hot as an oven.

The tablet should maintain proper rigidity when exposed to heat and it certainly looks as though something may have caused the warping in these tablets. But to speculate it was from heat build-up in the dock seems dubious. None the less, oodles of people are now claiming Nintendo is incompetent and delivered a sub-standard product. These people typically come out at any opportunity to deride Nintendo.

I'm sure Nintendo will address these claims and resolve it appropriately for those effected. Lets give Nintendo some time to investigate before dropping the hate. Tirades and outrage doesn't accomplish anything. If your tablet is bent, contact Nintendo. Don't be a dick.
April 4, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Are recent Yooka-Laylee reviews applying modern standards to this retro-inspired game?

Yooka-Laylee
The more I read oddly dubious reviews of Yooka-Laylee, the more I want to play it!
After a very strong Kickstarter campaign, Playtonic Games is very close to releasing their retro-inspired game, Yooka-Laylee. Reviews are beginning to appear and I'm having flashbacks to the Mighty No. 9 release. Some have given Yooka-Laylee positive reviews (great one from Hey Poor Player), but many are being quite harsh and some of the commentary seems as though they are surprised that a retro-inspired game plays like a retro game. Isn't that the point?

Yooka-Laylee for PS4 I'm trying to hold out for the Switch version, so I haven't played it, but the things people dislike seem downright strange. With Banjo-Kazooie as a base, seems like a great start to Yooka-Laylee.

One reviewer said "gaming has progressed since the N64" as though we hadn't noticed. Many say it's "rough around the edges", but I'm not sold on any of the reviews. The game-play videos show a beautiful game that seems full of diversity and options.

There are quite a few good reviews too. this seems to be a case in which I want to find out for myself. I'm liking what I'm seeing and that's enough for me to want to delve into this gorgeous looking title.

As with Mighty No, 9, the negative reviews make me want to play it for myself! MN9 had it's drawbacks and that seems to be the primary analogy with Yooka-Laylee. Reviews seem very critical of small portions without taking in the whole experience. I suspect I'm going to love this game and I'll bet you might too. I try not to let reviews rule my decisions - I've fallen in love with plenty of awful games and found some amazing gems.
April 3, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

My local arcade chain switched from tokens to swipe cards and removed physical redemption tickets

Space Ballz redemption arcade game
I'm not really a fan of redemption games, but weren't the physical tickets part of the appeal?
I'm lucky to live in an area that still caters to the golden age of arcades. I can locally find Joust, Pac-Man, Frogger, Donkey Kong, and a few other games. I marvel at this every time I find one of these gems up and running. Or course, much of every arcade's available floor space goes to various redemption machines.

From coin pushers and claws to random luck spinners, these redemption machines dispence everything from plush-toys and random junk to more tickets. Every time I visit an arcade there are often kids racing around with huge armloads of tickets and big smiles across their faces. My son has a favored redemption machine, Space Ballz, that he likes to play.

Arcade game redemption ticket reel Personally, if I'm getting redemption tickets, I'm playing Skee Ball. I despise redemption, but have a weakness for Skee Ball. I probably have underlying jealousy issues due to my inability to win more than 10 tickets at a time from any of these devices. Meanwhile, toddlers are cheering as tickets roll out in thirty-foot aliquots. Damn kids!

One of the larger bowling/arcade chains around here converted from tokens to swipe cards a few years ago. A single card is valid at any of their locations, which is convenient, but I'm still fond of tokens jingling in my pocket.

On a recent trip to their mall arcade, we gave Space Ballz a whirl and won ten tickets - my disappointing magic number. However, no tickets came out! I paused and then saw a sign by the dual dispensers, stating that ticket values automatically go onto your account - no more tickets. Hmmm...

So, I swipe my card to activate the game and debit my card. The outcome of the game (any tickets won) goes back to my card through some sort of network magic. Don't kids like having armfuls of tickets? I understand that removing the tickets cuts costs in a variety of ways, but when redemption machines redeem via a wireless network... well, that's kinda dull. Maybe I like some of those dumb redemption machines more than I'm admitting. It's fun to see a ton of tickets come flying out!

I guess the lame economy is effecting more and more elements of daily life - even arcade tickets. I guess I can get over this change as long as I can still use my points to get an illuminated alien head.
April 2, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Ghost In The Shell takes a more all-out-action approach leaving the cerebral elements in the background

Too many reviews are focused on casting instead of the films many elements. It's a cool flick.
It's frustrating to see so many reviewers and websites jumping on the "whitewashing" term as though it means anything relevant. Changing the ethnicity of a cast or cast member doesn't really change a movie. Acting is a craft. It's not about "looking like" some visual expectation. Acting involves bringing a character and story to life - to the screen, etc... Scarlett Johansson is top notch

Ghost In The Shell video game for PlayStation I"m not a huge fan of anime in general, but I like the storyline of the original Ghost In The Shell. Knowing that Hollywood long ago gave up on creating original works, we are subjected to remakes, reboots, and the like. While this interpretation of the story was more of an action film, there were hints of the underlying issues of human enhancements. the way Hollywood operates, I'm not sure they could have properly balanced the original duality of the plot.

As a stand-alone film, I likeed it. It was a fun film to see. That may be a shallow take on it, but I'm about fun. From video games to film, my metric for entertainment media comes down to fun. It was a cool flick. I'm sure I'll pick up the DVD when it comes out, but the purists who want the original work duplicated, will not be happy.

I liked it. Go check out Ghost In The Shell - it's fun. For those reading reviews claiming the movie was bad because of casting decisions, you know those reviewers are trying to jump on a trend and send out enough controversial hate to garner some recognition. That has nothing to do with the rating of a film. We took in some Time Crisis 4 and air hockey in the theater's arcade and that makes everything better. Check it out. Eat some pop corn and play some video games. If it's not your thing, sneak into another theater for a do-over :)

Ghost In The Shell movie with Scarlett Johansson See if you can find a copy of the game for the original PlayStation. I didn't realize there was a Ghost in the Shell video game. It's a 3D shooter based on the original comic, not the film. There's also Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex for PS2.

Ghost In The Shell video game for PlayStation
April 1, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The only April Fools joke to actually be real - Rick And Morty season 3 premiere

Rick And Morty premiere
As fans gripe about the delayed season, Rick And Morty premieres on April Fools Day... further aggravating fans.
As I flipped through the channels and came across a new Rick And Morty episode, it seemed like an odd day for such a thing. I don't believe ANYTHING on April 1st. However, this was the real deal! Season 3 premiered and was on-loop for the following 24 hours. Gotta like that!

After the many delays, fans rejoiced, but they were anticipating the episode would end abruptly with an April Fools tie-in. However, the whole episode played with hope that the rest of the season will arrive soon.
April 1, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

We know not to believe much on April Fool's Day, but lets discuss global time

Dream Stream April Fool's Day
I will blatantly disbelieve anything I see online today... and I've seen some really good things I wish were real!
Some of gaming's best April Fool's pranks have been awesome! Any other day of the year, I'd be cheering and sending money - but it is April Fool's Day. We know better and chuckle at the brilliance of these ideas floating around the web today. Dreamcast games for Switch? That would be awesome! But alas...

Many intricate pranks began showing up yesterday - March 31. As most of us know, time is relative to location. Thus when it's 5:00pm where you are... there are large parts of the world where it is not 5:00pm. Adding complexity, folks in Australia are often a calendar-day ahead of me.

I began to see people defending the authenticity of various April Fool's pranks by stating it wasn't April 1st yet!
"This must be true. It's March 31st."
It's kind of funny, but so sad to realize people are either dumb or so self-centered they can't fathom another time zone.

If you're lucky, you'll find someone wondering why people in Australia can't predict the future for those of us in the US. Dumb can be so precious. Don't fall for the great sounding gaming pranks today and be happy you know how clocks and calendars operate. Enjoy the day!



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