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

8 Bit Central - Retro Gaming Blog

Archive of Classic Video Game Blog Articles
Third Quarter 2017 - July August September

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!

September 2017 Retro Gaming Articles:

September 30, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Nickelodeon's “I Am Frankie” would improve if the network stopped equating stupidity with humor

Fake laugh tracks have been a staple of TV for ages, but equating stupidity with humor needs to end in kid's programming.
Nickelodeon's I Am Frankie Aside from an occasional intake of SpongeBob mania, I don't pay much attention to the Nickelodeon network. However, when I saw promos for their new show I Am Frankie (adapted from a previous foreign language version) I figured I'd check it out.

Who doesn't like robots and the idea of an android girl hiding in a high school as a student sets the stage for a decent concept. I like some of the characters and relations they've created. The show has potential, but I wish they'd let the humor flow naturally - it feels too forced.

I decided to check it out since they were going to run new episodes every weekday for three weeks. That's interesting way of putting the concept out there as opposed to weekly releases. Alas, even though it's a kid's show, its much too dumbed-down. Give kids some credit. They aren't dopes.

Kids are much more sophisticated than TV executives will ever know. So much programming is beneath them - even little kids. They shouldn't be served dumbed-down ideas. Kids are pretty sharp when it comes to tech. The villan in the show is a complete moron and ruins what is perceived to be a threat.

Give it a watch online if you haven't seen the episodes on Nickelodeon. It's not bad, but could be much better and still be appropriate for younger audiences.

I Am Frankie's plot synopsis via Wikipedia:
Sigourney is a scientist working for the company EGG who has developed a teenage android girl named Frankie. When the head of EGG, Mr. Kingston, plans to use Frankie for the military company Warpa's Project Q, Sigourney quits her job and smuggles her out of EGG. She moves her family far away from EGG over so that Frankie can live a normal life.

As Frankie adapts to normal life as a high school student at Sepulvata High, she befriends a girl named Dayton and gains a rival in Tammy. She and her family work to keep her secret safe so that EGG doesn't find her, but Mr. Kingston is determined to do whatever it takes to locate Frankie. Unbeknownst to Mr. Kingston, he's not the only one who's after her.

Nickelodeon's I Am Frankie
September 30, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Nintendo and AtGames have a newcomer to the mini-console game arena - the C64 mini

The C64 Mini
Despite a decade of AtGames Flashback mini consoles, Nintendo's mini consoles drove it home. Now The C64 Mini enters the fray.
A fully-licensed mini version of the best-selling 80's home computer is coming in 2018! At 50% scale, The C64 Mini replica mini console comes with built-in games like many of the similar Minis on the market. It outputs via HDMI with pixel perfect graphics and features 2 USB ports with mention of a full size keyboard (the keyboard shown on the case is noon-functional).

While I've seen several images of included games, I've not seen a definitive list of the C64's games. It seems to offer around 40 built-in games, but the site says it will have 64 games, only ~40 are shown via images. Perhaps they don't want to release the full list, but it's a bit confusing without any clear definition. Like it's predecessors, The C64 Mini does not have a cartridge slot or mechanism for adding additional games.

I'm certain many more details will emerge soon. This should be an interesting addition to the "mini genre" since it's coming to market via Retro Games Ltd, with distribution by Koch Media. Thus it's a new company bringing it to market, so it may differ from what we've seen so far. It's great to see these consoles bringing a variety of games to market.

The retro scene is bustling with energy toward original hardware and games, but has seemingly embraced mini consoles as a unique way to relive memories and try games previously difficult or impossible to obtain.

C64 Mini games My family didn't embrace the home computer revolution until 1986. We weren't a tech savvy family and didn't really see the computer revolution coming until it was already well underway. While most trends were too new to really know where computers would take us, we relied on salesmen to assist our computer purchases.

My first computer was a Kaypro that was allegedly a "portable" device even though it was the size of a suitcase. It featured dual floppy drives - one to run programs and the other to save documents. It had a few games, but they were pretty rudimentary and I didn't know how to obtain more - if any others existed... I didn't know :)

When I hear my peers talking about their home computer gaming experiences, I have no relatable stories. This may have greatly influenced my dedication to console gaming. I grew up with Atari & Intellivision and later embraced Nintendo. Having not experienced many of the computer games from the 80s, I'm excited by The C64 Mini and it's ease of delivering a sampling of the games I missed. An original Commodore 64 would be preferable, but this is an easy way for a console-fan like myself to get a taste.
September 29, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

There seem to be fewer complaints this year at the close of the SNES Classic Edition launch

Signage for the SNES launch at Toys R Us
Everyone was mad at Nintendo after last year's NES mini launch. Inventory seemed much higher this year.
Having called around during the prior few days, most stores in my area (it's somewhat remote) had about 60 SNES Classic Edition consoles. Based on last year's anger and this year's intense interest in the SNES version, I was unsure what to expect at the store. I wasn't able to get a pre-order, so I had to go to a local store in the morning before work.

I took the "early bird gets the worm" approach and decided to head out as early as my aging body would allow. I groaned when my alarm went off at 5:00am, but managed to get up and get moving. With a book, folding chair, and a jacket, I headed out to Best Buy. They were allegedly handing out tickets which would allow me to snag one and come back later to actually pick up the SNES Classic Edition.

Many signs point to a much more organized and successful console launch.
Arriving just after 6:00am, there were only 8 people ahead of me. After listening to video game rants, comparisons, and tall tales, a Best Buy rep came out to dispense tickets. I went back to the office to start me day with every intention of a quick break at 10:00 to claim my cute little console.

Best Buy was quite organized in their operation and I was back in the car with my SNES Classic Edition in five minutes. The short trek to the office takes me by Toys R Us. Can you tell where this is heading?

Clearly, there was no need for me to be up and running at 5am. This was driven home when I stopped into Toys R Us around 10:20am to discover they had about ten tickets remaining. I did what any retro gamer would do- I bought another one. After finding a second console far later than I'd have expected, it seems that Nintendo did indeed increase stock for this year's launch.

It will be interesting to see how future deliveries stack up as the Holiday season gets into full swing.

The SNES Classic Edition mini console
September 29, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Tomorrow I'll be waiting on line in a desperate attempt to get an SNES Classic Edition

Nintendo says stock levels will be high. Local retail numbers disagree.
SNES Classic Edition The deja-vu factor is high after the awful waiting-in-line scenarios of last year's NES Classic Edition launch day. I made out well and was able to get one, but I'm having doubts about tomorrow's release of the SNES Classic Edition follow-up console.

I'm in a somewhat remote area - no thriving metropolis - I'm not sure how that factors into the equation, but I'm trying to convince myself it's a good thing.

Toys R Us has 60 units, Best Buy probably has the same, but they won't release any info. GameStop only has 14 consoles. So, like last year, stock levels are uneven and no one really knows what demand will be like when stores open Friday Morning.

Tomorrow promises to be an interesting day. Many pre-orders are already delivered and images are fluttering around the web. I'm jealous. I'm in it for Starfox 2. We wish everyone luck luck if you're setting your alarm for an early hour!
September 27, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

“Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View” tells the original tale from other character's POV

More thane 40 short stories re imagining scenes from the original film, told from the perspective of a supporting character.
Star Wars From a Certain Point of View I love the concept of re-telling the original Star Wars film from the perspective of other characters and letting the stories come from a wide variety of authors. Very Cool!

Arriving on bookstore shelves October 3rd at a hefty 496 pages, you may have seen some of the promos using the hashtag, #OperationBlueMilk. I think this is going to re-invent the story through other perspectives enhanced by other characters via varied authors!

From the Star Wars website:
In celebration of Star Wars 40th anniversary, Del Rey is going to shine the spotlight on those unsung weirdos, heroes, and villains with a unique, new anthology. Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, coming October 2017, will bring together more than 40 authors for 40 stories.

Each will be told from the perspective of background characters of A New Hope  from X-wing pilots who helped Luke destroy the Death Star to the stormtroopers who never quite could find the droids they were looking for.
September 26, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Atari released a bit more info about Ataribox and confirmed indiegogo crowd funding

The Ataribox game console with partial screen shot
It's never good news when a manufacturer releases limited information surrounded by ambiguity.
Another blast of limited info came from the Ataribox mailing list this morning. There was also an Instagram post showing what looks like a game selection screen.

Previously we'd been shown renders of what the Ataribox might look like. Today's email began with pictures of prototype consoles both in wood-grain and Vader styles. They also confirmed indiegogo will be their crowd funding platform. Many feel that Kickstarter is the preferred way to go. I'm much more comfortable with Kickstarter, but that's simply the site I've used more often.

The Ataribox will run on Linux and be a somewhat open platform, powered by an AMD customized processor with Radeon Graphics technology. Atari is still holding back a lot of info that I would want before even considering this console. As much as I love what Atari was, their current state is frustrating.

Ataribox It's a nice looking console, but it will take more than looks to charm gamers into spending $250 or more.
Ataribox It would be nice to see a picture of the controller. Doesn't that seem like something Atari would want to share with prospective backers?

For #300, I can buy a Switch, PS4, or Xbox One. All of these systems offer online games via eShops as well as the ability to play physical media. Currently, Atari is presenting a console that relies on a library of built-in games from Atari and other developers. It seems focused on classic 2600 games, which has been aptly handled by the AtGames Flashback consoles for the last several years. It doesn't appear to accept any form of physical media.

Does it have a controller? I'll bet it does. Can we see it, Atari? Not yet... it would seem. Nothing about this project is alluring. It's frustrating and circling the drain. Atari Flashbacks let me enjoy a rich sampling of 2600 games for $50 (often less). If the Ataribox has the ability to play other Atari console games from the 5200, 7800, Lynx, or Jaguar libraries, that would be swell, but not for $250. They say there will be "tons" of games. OK.

Where's Nolan Bushnell, with an insanely awesome concept, when we need him!

The Ataribox email info released this morning:
Ataribox: More pics and news!
Thanks for your patience & support so far.
Today we're sharing brand new pics, more on what's inside, & more info on launch.

The pictures we're sharing today are of first prototypes. Everyone that has seen Ataribox first-hand loves it, feeling the Atari 2600 influence, while still being a modern design.

Ataribox will be powered by an AMD customized processor, with Radeon Graphics technology. It'll run Linux, with a customized, easy-to-use user interface. This approach means that as well as being a great gaming device, Ataribox is also a full PC experience for the TV, bringing you streaming, applications, social, browsing, music, and more.

Most TV devices have closed systems and content stores. Linux lets us be more open; you can access & customise the OS, & you can access games you've bought from other content platforms (if compatible with the OS and HW).

There will be tons of classic Atari retro games pre-loaded, & current titles from a range of studios (we'll start talking titles very soon, stay tuned).

We're launching Ataribox on Indiegogo this fall (read: pretty soon). To reiterate why: we want you, the Atari community, to be part of this launch. We want you to have early access, grab special editions (& pricing) and to have you as active partners in the rollout of Ataribox. We want you to be part of the story.

We plan on shipping late Spring 2018, with an expected price range of $249-$299 (depending on specific editions & memory configurations).

Hope you like what we are sharing today, and are ready for lots more in the weeks ahead.

The Ataribox team.

PS: To confirm what many of you have asked: the Wood Edition is made with real wood ;)
PPS: Please continue to let us know what you think via our social channels; and also please like, follow, subscribe, and share as much as possible!
September 23, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I'm sure the Civic Type R is a spiffy ride, but it's all about R-Type

When it comes to Honda vs. Irem...
Irem wins with their 1987 arcade game, R-Type!
The Civic Type R is all about the R-Type
September 22, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Comic Book Story of Video Games book takes a unique approach to electronic gaming's history

The Comic Book Story of Video Games book
If you sat in the back row reading comics during History class, this may be the Gaming History book for you!
Author Jonathan Hennessey and illustrator Jack McGowan have created an interesting approach to conveying history. As a kid I can recall many times when my parents would make me put down the comic books and do my homework. The Comic Book Story of Video Games: The Incredible History of the Electronic Gaming Revolution (via Penguin Random House) is a combination of the two! History is laid out in a style similar to a comic book.

Relative to video games, the starting point of this book is much different from most. Myself included, many of us pinpoint video game history beginning in the mid 1970s. This book doesn't even get to Atari until midway through the book! The timeline and the graphic style excite me to see this book. There is moe info on the book's website.

Arriving on shelves in early October, I'm really excited to see how well this format portrays video game history. There are other books, not related to gaming, in this comic book history format by Hennessey. I've always been a fan of using the right approach to deliver information. Traditionally, kids often find history boring - even video game history. Maybe a more playful format would increase some interest. Everyone who games should know how today's gaming industry grew to what it is. This may be just what is needed to deliver gaming history to a new audience!

You can pre-oreder/order a copy of The Comic Book Story of Video Games book on Amazon or ask for it at your local bookstore.

The Comic Book Story of Video Games book The Comic Book Story of Video Games book I have not seen a copy of the book yet, but I love the format and think it has great potential for brining video game history to a whole new audience!
September 22, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Magic Door is an interactive game you can play with Alexa, via Amazon's Echo

Magic Door - an interactive game for Amazon's Echo
Much like the "Choose Your Adventure" books, Magic Door lets you explore several fantasy realms by interacting with Amazon's Echo.
Many of the Echo's utility comes from issuing commands to Alexa, Amazon's digital assistant, whose voice will deliver news snippets, update your shopping list, or turn on a light. While I adore my Echo Dot, the relationship doesn't go too deep.

Magic Door is a skill for Alexa (and Google Home) that elevates your digital helper to new deeper levels. Rather than simply demanding info from Alex's database, you can have an interactive experience and navigate a fantasy world with your voice!

In today's world of 60 frame-per-second video games and instant gratification via the internet, you may think such an adventure might be a bit plain and dull by comparison. Not at all! Magic Door lets you have fun with Alexa as she takes you through a vivid world where you can choose how you progress. We recently tried Jagex Games' RuneScape, also an interactive Echo experience, and the two follow similar ideas.

Magic Door seems oriented towards younger kids and RuneScape has more advanced/detailed stories. RuneScape lets you save your adventure to continue later and has more variety in the voices. Magic Door uses Alexa as the primary narrator and her monotone voice doesn't always do justice to the tone of the tales. However, both are fun with a group of people... not necessarily just kids.

These are fun games that may seem like simple endeavors, but they offer a good deal of sophistication and engagement. Give Magic Door a whirl and see how you think it compares with RuneScape. The depth they bring to Amazon's Echo is a nice change from the otherwise brief one-way conversations.

If you ever read Choose Your Adventure books, these games might bring back some fun memories and let you share the experience with kids and/or friends.

From the Magic Door website:
The Magic Door, LLC, founded by Laura and Andy in July 2017, now continues to release new interactive stories inside The Magic Door and also works with partners to launch interactive stories on Alexa and Google Assistant/Google Home using the Magic Doors software platform.

Magic Door's map Alexa, open The Magic Door.
September 21, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I was loving this Tomb Raider poster with Alicia Vikander until someone directed focus to her neck

No advertising photo in the public domain goes unaltered in PhotoShop, but some things you can't un-see!
Tomb Raider poster with Alicia Vikander
September 21, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

After seeing an ECG unit powered by Gameboy, we remember the Atari Jaguar dental camera

Medical ECG unit powered by Game Boy Advance
Prior to the Coleco Chameleon's plummet, we learned the Atari Jaguar mold was purchased by a company making dental cameras. So yeah, here's a GBA powering an Electrocardiogram unit.
OK, I'll admit this isn't a very good analogy or comparison, but we shouldn't be too surprised to see repurposed electronics in a foreign product. I'm not sure this was done via a licensing agreement. Having the GBA logos on the display, behind the ECG's bezel, seems fishy. But who knows.

Initially upon hearing this story, it seemed as though this ECG was only employing the GBA monitor. However, it turns out the entire Game Boy Advance is deconstructed and embedded inside this German manufactured device. I saw a PDF laying out the benefits of using the GBA, touting it's ROM loading ability as a factor for loading software onto the GBA for use with the ECG unit. It's interesting if nothing else.

This sort of repurposing isn't too uncommon. The Game Boy Advance was inexpensive, hackable and already suited for loading software. It also predated the single board computers (SBC) we see today, like the Raspberry Pi. Thus, embedding a GBA may have been the best (potentially illegal) route to take.

Medical ECG unit powered by Game Boy Advance The GBA screen is apparent in the photo, but the innards of the GBA SP model are used to run the ECG software. More than just making use of the display.
Medical ECG unit powered by Game Boy Advance The closeup shows the Game Boy Advance lettering is still present inside the ECG unit.

Ever Visit A Dentist With A Jag?

Imagin Systems purchased the molds for the Atari Jaguar and used the design to house their dental cameras.While this unit does not employ any of the electronic innards of the Jaguar video game console, it's an example of technology finding a more economical route toward a goal. It's much easier to use an existing mold than having one custom made.

Imagin Systems dental camera Imagin Systems dental camera housed in a case formed from the mold for the Atari Jaguar.
Imagin Systems dental camera Imagin Systems dental camera.

September 20, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

As a 32-bit app, Flappy Bird is no longer compatible with the latest iOS

Flappy Bird
Flappy Bird's stormy past is again rumbling. It's author will not be updating it for 64-bit compatibility. It's over.
Flappy Bird No one could have predicted the insane popularity of Dong Nguyen's Flappy Bird app. The app was removed from online stores back in 2014, but fans side-loaded the game as needed. Apple's latest iOS 11 won't support 32-bit apps and will not run the existing versions of Flappy Bird.

I still have a version running on my Android phone, but I am slightly behind on system software. When the app was originally removed from online stores, people were selling their phones, with Flappy Bird installed, for exorbitant sums. It was crazy.

the oddest part is how frustrating, yet simple the game really is, while still having a huge following. OK, it's popularity has died down considerably these days, but many of us remember the Flappy Bird mania in the Spring of 2013. I rarely achieved a double-digit score and yet I kept at it. There was something alluring about it and it's savage difficulty. Good times!

I wonder what will become of this epic game if it ages out of existence. Will it be solely remembered via YouTube? Flappy Bird is a point in the history of video games that should be preserved. Sure, there are many clones, but none of the clones generated $50k per day in ad revenue!
September 19, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Seedi Console is a CD-based retro gaming emulation device focused on CD games

Seedi Retro Gaming Console
This upcoming CD emulation console is being crowd funding and takes a similar role as many cartridge-based emulator hardware devices.
Seedi Retro Gaming (phonetically it sounds like "CD") is crowd funding a retro gaming system dedicated to CD-based games from the original PlayStation, Sega CD, TurboGrafx CD, Neo Geo CD, and more. It will also emulate cartridges via a Retrode Adapter (sold separately).

Much of modern retro gaming hardware has focused on the older cartridge based games. A few companies, like Polymega, have looked at the PlayStation and other CD-based games, but it seems to be the next format to receive proper retro treatment.

This console plays your game discs directly from the disc, without the need to copy the game to a faster storage medium. It also works with a wide variety of Bluetooth controllers and outputs 1080p HDMI. The device does not employ a FPGA - it relies on traditional emulation.

Check out the Seedi Console's indiegogo's page for all the details. There's a lot more to it than just games - give it a look!

Seedi Retro Gaming Console Front
Seedi Retro Gaming Console Rear

Emulation Hardware Is Vital To Retro Gaming

In the last year or so, many retro emulation hardware has come to market. None of these systems truly replicate the original hardware, but many of them tackle a hurdle that is very important to preservation and continued enjoyment of retro games. They offer HDMI output and compatibility with modern HD televisions. Retro game consoles all evolved in the midst of the CRT era of televisions. While CRT TVs can still be found, that will not be the case as time marches on.

Enabling our old games to look great on modern flat screen TVs is vital. Some purists may find this scandalous, but the future of retro games needs to enable as much of the retro experience as possible. Much of it can be done on a computer running an emulator, but many of us love our old game carts and discs. A modern system that will play old carts and CD games - and even work with original controllers - is vital to the continuation of many of these games.

I'm glad to see more solutions come to market for the CD based systems that are beginning to age. Keeping these games alive is so important. I'm excited to see what innovations will evolve around CD games. Seedi seems to be offering a solid concept with a lot of added value beyond gaming.
September 18, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I hope Chapter 11 will enable Toys R Us to regroup and service their debt without liquidation

Toys R Us storefront
As the internet goes off the rails with speculation, let's remember Chapter 11 is a protection to help companies make changes and return to viability.
Ever since March, I wondered why Best Buy and GameStop were selling Nintendo's new game console while Toys R Us never had any inventory. News of pending Toys R Us bankruptcy may be the reason. Stories are already circulating about manufacturers tightening and restricting shipments to this renown toy reseller.

Headlines are appearing rapidly with maximized doom & gloom emphasis. We all know the phrase "sex sells", but this is a toy store, so news outlets will boost the story with as much negativity as possible. It seems these journalists may not know what chapter 11 bankruptcy really is.

Bankruptcy isn't a death sentence. It may well save Toys R Us.
Certainly, bankruptcy is not a good thing, but it's a preferable option to liquidation. Bankruptcy does not mean Toys R Us will go out of business in a matter of weeks or months. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a protection allowing the company to shift gears, regroup, and make necessary changes to stay in business.

there's no guarantee that TRU can turn things around, but a pre-holiday liquidation would be a nightmare for everyone from consumers and employees to manufacturers and creditors. I love Toys R Us and grew up in their G.I. Joe aisle. Not long after, i was flipping those wall-mounted video game box covers trying to discern NES game info from the info on the backside. Everyone wants to see TRU continue.

Toys R Us Geoffrey If they went out of business, I'd be heartbroken. WalMart is NOT a toy store - no one has the variety of TRU! If they went under, creditors would be relegated to receiving pennies-on-the-dollar for any owed money. That scenario benefits no one. It's in everyone's best interests for TRU to become viable.

The timing of this announcement is interesting since the holiday season makes up for about 40% of yearly earnings. Some speculate that many holiday items have already been delivered to TRU, but there must be more to come as Black Friday and Christmas week loom. This news could have a devastating effect on their prime season. Time will tell.

Neither Amazon nor WalMart Have Ruined Toys R Us

Many like to preach the low prices of box-store giants like WalMart and the ease of online shopping as the demise of modern brick and mortar retail. These are certainly factors, but the numbers don't add up. In short, retailers like Toys R Us have not modernized properly to compete with newer business models. Look at TRU, Sears, K-Mart and other flailing retailers. None of them have changed much in the last few decades. Their offerings and shopping experience are almost identical to shopping in the 1970s!

Toys R Us is in a precarious position due to some high risk financing that enabled them to revert to being a private company. This saddled them with so much debt, they haven't been able to modernize properly. With this in mind, I think TRU will be more likely than other retailers to right the ship and perhaps operate far into the future.

Kids will always love toys (a few adults too), so I don't think demand will diminish unless it's population related. I loved TRU as a kid and my son is the same way. No kid wants to shop online! They want to go to the toy store and touch everything! Shopping in stores is boring. It hasn't changed much in decades. Malls need to become destinations again, but it won't be through traditional retail.

Stores need to deliver unique experiences. Sales can be shifted to easy online transactions, but physical stores myst adapt to deliver relevant experiences to bolster those online sales. I think the two need to be combined to be very successful. I don't see one without the other.

A funky cool giraffe may not be enough to lure shoppers into stores. Stores need to become destinations. A local mall just revamped itself with several arcades, laser tag, go karts, an escape room, and trampolines. It used to be a defunct mall, now it's quite vibrant. Now the retailers surrounding all these amenities need to bring people into their stores with unique demos, experiences and trials. Be inventive! the 70s were swell, but the swelling's gone!

UPDATE - Sept. 19, 2017

Toys R Us has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy and secured $3 billion to remain open while working to restructure their outstanding debt. I guess we can still line up next week for the SNES Classic Edition and perhaps pick up a Switch for Christmas. We hope they can turn things around and get their finances in order.
September 17, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

With comparisons to Metal Slug, John Mambo from Iction Games looks like crazy fun

Space Invaders Frenzy
The upcoming John Mambo action video game features hand-drawn pixel art based on 90's arcade and 16-bit console games.
This top-down, over the top video game has drawn comparisons to several games we love from Metal Slug to Ikari Warriors, and Cannon Fodder. The creator, Iction Games, is seeking crowd funding via their John Mambo Kickstarter campaign. We think you'll like what you see :) John Mambo arcade game

I love the way the main character is portrayed - from the hand drawn pixel art to his casual distaste for others. Or perhaps its "others" who don't like him. Either way, John Mambo takes a humorous and over-the-top approach to being a one-man army.

As you explore (and kill lots of enemies) you'll come to many alternate routes and forks in the road. Each of these options will effect the game and your fate. Sneaking around may be the smart move - blasting the main gate could bring an onslaught of enemy fire! Choose wisely.

One of the Kickstarter stretch goals is a PS4 release of John Mambo and currently it's slated for release on Mac, PC, and Linux. The Kickstarter page has links to game demos for these three platforms. Check out John Mambo for yourself!

The stretch goal for a PS4 version kicks in when the Kickstarter campaign reaches $35K - which is $10K beyond it's funding goal. I'd love to see this on PS4 - to me, it seems like a perfect fit for console gaming!

Check out the Iction Games' Kickstarter page for their Upcoming game, John Mambo. We're excited about this game and eager to see how it progresses! If you don't try the demo, visit YouTube for some game-play footage. This game looks like it's going to be crazy fun!

John Mambo video game screenshot
John Mambo video game screenshot Nobody in the allied army trusts John (besides his co-op partner!), but John Mambo doesn't care. He knows his mission and he will put all his effort to neutralize the enemy.
John Mambo video game screenshot The game is structured by missions during which the story of our protagonist is revealed. The colonel tells us our goal and John Mambo will do everything he can to reach it.

September 15, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

What 12-year-old, with $1 million, doesn't demand video games be integrated into their epic treehouse?

Grace VanderWaal on Treehouse Masters
Last year's AGT winner, Grace VanderWaal, wanted a sick treehouse and got Pete Nelson (Treehouse Masters) to do it up
I had a treehouse as a kid. My Dad built it for me and I loved it. However, when reality TV presents a show about treehouses, you know it's going to be ridiculous.

Pete Nelson has built a name for himself by building mini-mansions high up in the trees. His creations are showcased on Discovery Chanel's show, Treehouse Masters. These made-for-TV builds are quite different from the treehouse I had. In fact, I've never encountered a treehouse with electricity and indoor plumbing. Nelson creates some impressive habitats in the trees. When you combine a 12-year-old millionaire with Nelson's flare for excess - you get a hell of a nice treehouse!

In 2016 Grace won the grand prize on the TV show, America's Got Talent. She was twelve, at the time, and writes her own songs. After performing several of them, she went through to the finals. Upon winning, one of the things she wanted to do with her winnings was build a sick treehouse. She got it.

My one complaint was a lack of video games. What 12-year-old doesn't incorporate video games into the most spectacular treehouse they'll ever own? It has electricity - I'm sure there was room for a CRT and a Colecovision. Gross oversight on the part of Nelson :)

Grace VanderWaal on Treehouse Masters Check out Pete Nelson's blog for more photos of Grace VanderWaal's treehouse.
September 15, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

April Switched while everyone skipped iPhone 9 and the Trumps are still shoveling turds

The Switch is selling like crazy while we wonder why iPhoneX skipped 9 and the Trumps are shoveling a lot of what looks like Denny's sausage mascot.
April Oneil with Nintendo Switch April O'neil is a popular character from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but it's also the stage name of an adult film star. April chose the name from a passion for TMNT. She's also a Nintendo fan and has a Switch.
Apple skipped the iPhone 9 Apple revealed their iPhone 8 line and the upper echelon model, the iPhoneX. Apple seems to have skipped the iPhone 9 and the internet took notice.

Trump has a golden shovel It doesn't surprise me in the least that Trump would have golden shovel to dole out his bullshit. Those who know him in the business world have described him as a con man. Way to to America - you elected a self-centered game show host to run the nation.
Denny's Sausage mascot The internet thinks Denny's Sausage mascot is a turd.

September 14, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

You'll never be as cool as Elvis with an iPhone

While we did not create this image, it's safe to assume there was some PhotoShop involved.
Elvis with an iPhone #notTheiPhoneX

Yes, we are aware the iPhone was not in production in the era depicted above.
September 13, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I yelled out loud when I reached the bonus on Space Invaders Frenzy in single player mode

Space Invaders Frenzy
Space Invaders was the first arcade game I ever played, so I'm pretty stoked to have a Space Invaders Frenzy game at our local arcade.
With an addition being completed at a local resort, their arcade doubled in size this Summer. Part of that expansion included Raw Thrills' Space Invaders Frenzy. Needless to say, my son and I spent a lot of time delighted with this enormous update to the Taito original.

He and I have played Space Invaders on several retro consoles and even discovered an arcade with an original cabinet. I was eager to tell him of my first experience with SI. In the late 70s, the local bowling alley in my hometown had a Space Invaders cabinet which was my first exposure to arcade games. When I bought an Atari 2600, space Invaders was one of the first titles I bought... after Asteroids.

The two-player co-op of Space Invaders Frenzy is insanely fun. With two cannons firing, we were able to get several high scores. As the Summer drew to a close and he returned to his Mother's house, I kept going back to play more SI Frenzy. It's much harder in single player mode.Today however, I achieved the bonus and got 500 points playing alone!

I've been trying to get that bonus (and land on the high score screen) but was always a few hundred points shy. Today, I hit a few extra bonus ships and the bombs came at al the right moments. I actually yelled out loud and several kids looked over - probably thinking the old guy was having a heart attack.

I was so stoked. It was like being an kid again and achieving some nominal goal, but it still meant a lot and the joy poured forth. I was excited to tell my son!
September 12, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

They say “More Is Better” but how many SNES Classic Editions is that?

NES & SNES Classic Editions
I think we're all a bit weary of Nintendo's comments regarding Classic Edition consoles. More SNES. More NES next Summer. Whatever.
I love Nintendo, but the secret to their success is certainly a well kept secret. I have no idea how they do it. It's a mystery. Many of us think the NES Classic Edition should have been a gold mine of income for Nintendo, but it was always in short supply and was finally canceled. Many did not have the opportunity to buy one due to short supply.

We tend to forget this has been Nintendo's strategy since inception. Every Nintendo console (yes, beginning with the NES) has been in short supply. Nintendo hardware has NEVER been plentiful on retail shelves. Try to find a Switch - not as easy as you'd think. You may encounter one or two on a shelf, but how many Xbox Ones and PS4s were there too... lots!

Start lining up now! "More" seems like a dubious guarantee.
Nintendo is again making promises that they may not be able to keep. As the SNES mini console release day nears, Reggie says they are making more than last year's NES release. OK. In my area, stores got between 6 and 10 consoles every other month. So, what can we expect with the SNES... 10 to 15 consoles every few months?

I realize there are issues sourcing all the necessary parts for manufacture, but I get the impression that "more" isn't going to cover it. The demand for the NES model was astounding and I'm seeing more interest in the SNES model. And if the marketplace wasn't angry and confused enough, Nintendo is resurrecting the NES Classic Edition (yep, the one they canceled) and will begin selling it once again... next Summer (2018). Wait... what?

Just go to your local toy or electronics store - right now - and wait until one of these darling little consoles shows up. Good luck. Be careful out there. This is going to be another interesting launch day on the 29th.
September 12, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

At $1,000 the iPhone X makes Apple look like a luxury brand, not a smart brand

I love Apple computers, but their Iphone line has turned me off since the first model. I chose Android.
I've loved Macintosh computers since my first Mac SE back in the 80s. Great machines that understood the relationship between the machine and it's human user. PCs were designed to tork well with other PCs, but never really understood how to meld with the human condition.

When the iPHone first came out, I went to my local phone store and they showed me the one single model. I was a bit surprised especially when the salesman showed me the dozen different Android models - several of which had much larger screens. I really love Apple computers, but the Phone never appealed to me and the idea of paying $1,000 is laughable. I'm not even interested in it's features. The price is a joke and I love my Android.

At the outset, the iPhone did have a more robust app offering, but they lost that lead early on. I have yet to find a necessary iPhone feature that isn't available for Android.
September 10, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Upcoming book, The Minds Behind the Games, examines video game history via developer interviews

The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Game Developers
This book will showcase over 50 interviews with some of the greatest minds in the video game industry, interviewed by Award-Winning journalist Patrick Hickey Jr.
Patrick Hickey Jr's upcoming book The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Game Developers, published by McFarland and Company, takes an unique path toward video game history. He lets the history unfold via game developer interviews with each chapter focusing on a specific game. You can pre-order the book on Amazon - to be released in February 2018.

The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Game Developers While many intricacies and behind-the-scenes stories of pop culture are widely known, That's not always the case in gaming. As the video game industry grows in epic leaps some of it's history gets left behind. Many of the developers who've made games during the last forty years are still with us. Some have moved on. Some have retired. And some are still making amazing games for today's platforms.

Rather than "teaching" us a history lesson, this book examines gaming from the creator's perspective via interviews with those who made the games you love to play. From the Atari 2600 to the SP4, Patrick Hickey Jr. lets each chapter focus on a single game with all-new exclusive interviews with developers like Yars' Revenge creator Howard Scott Warshaw to NBA Jam mastermind Mark Turmell and Mortal Kombat co-creator John Tobias. 

Mortal Kombat arcade game If you like to repeat the age-old nonsense about E.T. The Extra Terrestrial being the worst video game ever made, pay attention to the wise words of it's creator Howard Scott Warshaw. He also crated one of the best Atari 2600 games ever - Yar's Revenge!

We don't want to give away too much, but you'll delve into chapters about renown favorites as well as some unique gems. It's an eclectic mix of genres. The book assembles, and preserves, a history from many perspectives by those who influenced gaming's beginnings to it meteoric expansion and technical innovation - all through the eyes of game developers.

For more information about this book, follow The Minds Behind the Games Facebook page. From what I've seen it's as much a love letter to the history of video games as it is a serious look at issues and elements of the game industry. The folks interviewed not only created great games, they helped shape the industry in their eras and beyond!
September 9, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Georgie wants his boat back, but he's curious for a peek at the Ataribox

Like many of us, Georgie is curious about the upcoming Ataribox and wants more info... even if it comes from a demonic clown!
Atari seemed eager to make their Ataribox announcement during last Spring's E3, which made of us think they were close to showing off their new game console. So, far they have dropped enough hints to make us realize this "new game console" is careening toward disappointment.

I'd love to see Atari make a comeback and release an innovative piece of gaming hardware. However, at this point, I'd settle for a cool t-shirt with an Atari logo. With no solid info and the admission that the Ataribox will be crowd-funded, I don't have high hopes for this device.

On a positive note, the "It" film is good. I love Stephen King books, but never cared for the movies. However, I thought this one was well done. I liked he characters and the way they unfolded the story, even though many of us know the tale. Definitely worth a look.

Georgie wants an Ataribox
September 9, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

US Open winner Sloane Stephens should be added to the rosters, but tennis video games have vanished

Where did Tennis Video games go?
I loved Topspin and Virtua Tennis with real tournaments and actual pro players changing with each release. Suddenly all the tennis games disappeared! Where did Tennis Video games go?
I loved Jimmy Connors Tennis on the NES. The start up screen has a recognizable 8-bit headshot of Connors and I thought that was grand! Once you were in a match, the visible essence of Connors slipped into a pixelated bliss, but it was better than RealSports Tennis. But tennis would become epic as technology improved!

Mario Tennis for Wii U Being a tennis player myself, I snatched up almost any video game with a hint of tennis. From Snoopy Tennis on the GBA to Outlaw Tennis on PS2. But the games really pulled me in with the realism of TopSpin and Virtua Tennis both featuring real player rosters and tournaments. How cool was that? But can you believe 2K Games canceled TopSpin back in 2011? Has it been that long.

Other sports franchises have stayed te course year after year, its so strange that tennis games faded away. Mario and Peach still hit the courts in a zany version of tennis, for the Wii U, but those "more realistic" games just ceased.

As I watched Sloan Stephens win the US Open this year, my first thought would be... "Will she be in Virtua Tennis or Topspin - both perhaps?" But the sad reality is - neither. They're gone. Tennis has vanished from video games. Sports games are as popular as ever and thrive, but tennis has not made that cut.

But tennis may be on the rebound and coming back next year. This past May, Big Ben and Breakpoint Studio announced Tennis World Tour for PC and consoles in 2018. That would be a welcome addition to sports games. I wonder if Tennis World Tour will come to Nintendo's Switch. I'll have my Joy-Cons ready if it does!

Pierre André, Game Designer on Tennis World Tour and former Producer on Top Spin 4: "For years we've wanted to create a new tennis game, a spiritual successor to Top Spin 4. Technical evolutions now mean we can create the ultra-realistic simulation that we've been dreaming of."
September 7, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

As Toys R Us seeks bankruptcy advice, I'm torn between their vast offerings vs high prices

Toys R Us seeks bankruptcy advice
I've loved Toys R Us since I was a small child. Now I've gone from being a toddler with wide eyes to a parent questioning their high prices.
Stories recently surfaced about Toys R Us seeking legal options/advice regarding bankruptcy proceedings. Like many of us, TRU has been a part of my life since I was a toddler. Bankruptcy doesn't mean "the end", but it certainly calls their longevity into question.

I live in an area largely free of large box-stores that exist in most locales. These large stores are typically bad for local economies, though they thrive on low pricing to attract consumers. While I lament the possibility of TRU sinking (I'd miss them horribly) their prices are ridiculous!

I've never visited a Target or WalMart that had anywhere near the breadth of products as Toys R Us, yet such stores continually undermine them. We have a few independent toy stores that carry some really nice items you'll never see in TRU, but I still need an aisle dedicated to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

There seems to be a missing component to this equation. Big box-stores that beat TRU prices offer relatively small selections of toys amongst tube socks and produce. I love the selection at TRU, but their prices are too high. Quite the conundrum. I love TRU and visit my local store weekly, but a majority of my purchases involve their price-matching policy.

Even their Birthday Club falters - a $3 discount - lame Birthday incentive if you ask me. They seem to spend a lot of money snail-mailing me catalogs with discount cards that don't apply to items I often buy. Most of those 15% off cards go into the trash since they come with a long list of non-applicable products - like anything related to video games.

Traditional Toys Are Out Of Vogue?

I"ve heard a few people saying kids are shifting away from traditional toys, favoring digital offerings that are more commodity items easily purchased from online retailers. I think that's nonsense! Sure kids are more interested in phones and tablets than ever before. They see everyone around them with these devices. But to translate that into a decline for toy stores scares me.

When I see kids with zombie-like expressions staring at a screen, I feel bad for them and wonder about their parents. I grew up riding bikes and climbing trees. Much of this was do to lack of other options, but G.I. Joe was my go-to toy. In my own son, I see his devotion to the pixels staring back at him, but he always loves a board game or playing with toy cars, space ships, and a variety of other analog toys.

We play a lot of video games together, but he loves to create his own adventures and play with various toys. I don't see tablets full of apps dominating his time as some have suggested of today's youth. When I see parents buried in their phone while their kids are trying to talk to them, I wonder what's wrong with them. Does your kid need to Tweet you to get some attention?

Obviously, price is a huge issue with TRU, but kids still love toys and Toys R Us is the king of toys as far as I'm concerned. I hope they can find a way to restructure, shed some debt and become more competitive with lesser stores scant quantity of toys.
September 6, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Let “Read A Book Day” be a reminder to read every day!

Read A Book Day is a terrific initiative as long as the message resonates that you should read every day - not just today!
I have t remind my son to read every now and then. Usually, this pulls him away from a movie, TV show, or video game. As much as I over-indulge in all three of these things myself, they're the ones I most want to disrupt with a good book. He'll roll his eyes and sometimes wait until I ask again.

Overall, I think he's realized the superiority of a good book over most entertainment. As much as I want him to read, I have a growing stack of books awaiting my time. Just like the stack of video games, I've yet to play, there are just as many books... which isn't a bad thing.

My son and I frequently play games together and he really likes the engagement and time together. I've found the same to be true with reading. It's one thing to tell him to read a book, but much different if I sit down with him while we both read our books!

Setting an example is much better than telling him to do something. He respects the request more knowing that I read too. So, I'm trying to read more and part of that comes via reading with my son. Once you make it part of your routine, it's relaxing and exciting! Just as it's true of video games, reading takes you to some amazing places. Go there daily!

data mining video games
September 5, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Data mining video games is like finding your hidden presents weeks before Christmas- not in a good way

data mining video games
We live in a society, trained to expect immediacy to our every query, concern and urge. Why can't we chill out and be pleasantly surprised?
Data mining in video games has taken on an interesting extension of the notion that all information is available NOW! Decades ago, I used to frequently check the gaming area in Sears to see what new Atari games might be available. There was no internet and by the time such info was in print, it was old news. My, how times have changed.

The internet has long given us great access to massive amounts of information. Smart phones let us access that info from almost anywhere. In the 90s I'd grow impatient listening to the 2400 modem tones (soon to be 9600 and 14.4 after saving up for new equipment) as I connected to online sites like Prodigy, Delphi, and CompuServe. Destinations like these, along with BBSs, offered info and insights about many of my passions. But finding that info took a lot of time.

What the internet has evolved into today would be incomprehensible to that 90s version of me who trudged through info via modem. Today we can find almost anything instantly. Isn't it strange that capability isn't enough for some folks? They have to know everything now!

Data mining takes us into the lines of code that make up our favorite games, and digital wonders, giving us a sneak peak into things to come. I suppose once I buy a game, I can hack into it's innards to see what mysteries might be revealed, but do I really need that info? Does anyone need that info? I think there are some folks who thrive in doing things simply because they can.

Ruining Christmas And Data Mining

long ago in my childhood, I begged my parents for a G.I. Joe Training Center playset. It was three feet tall and came with a zip line. As a G.I. Joe fanatic, this was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen. I was excited about it, but still had enough smarts to know I might not get it. Santa might forget or Dad might not be able to find it at the store.

As I anguished about this playset uncertainty, a friend suggested I look around the house. If my parents bought it, it had to be somewhere. At three feet tall how hard could it be to find it. My friend was right and I was elated to confirm that fabulous amenity would soon be added to my arsenal of G.I. Joe stuff.

Data mining video games seems more invasive than useful. The end-game is inevitable!
Then a funny thing happened over the next few weeks before Christmas. The magic was gone. Sure I was going to play the Hell out of that enormous tower and send all my Joes down the zip line, but something was missing. As much as my anxiety stressed me out, I missed that giddy feeling of the unknown. I never went snooping for another Christmas (or any other) present again!

When my son marveled at the Halloween release of Eye Brawl for Skylanders on our Wii, I explained to him how the character had always been "part of the original game" we bought. Activision simply waited until the following October to release the character. Data mining would have told us of Eye Brawl many months in advance, but like my Christmas debacle, that info would have ruined the surprise.

Lately, I'm reading about data mining efforts for a variety of games and what these snoops have discovered. New layouts and weapons in Splatoon 2 seemed like a predictable find. That info is dispersing across social media as though it was news. For the game to remain viable, new stuff has to be added. No worthy discovery there. Now and then an interesting nugget surfaces, but typically, mined info simply ruins an upcoming surprise.

What irks me most is those who feel data mining is some guerilla form of journalism or discovery. It really isn't. You may possess a talent allowing you access to hidden info, but dispensing it doesn't necessarily serve an interest.

Enjoy the game you paid hard-earned money for. Explore it. Play the Hell out of it. Earn the right to gain more from it, by advancing and honing your skills.

Having a new Splatoon maps will be awesome, but the game is a lot of fun right now. New maps will add to is as I delve farther in and improve my ranking. Knowing other maps exist is superfluous, unrewarding, and has no effect on the game play today. Chill out and play your games. That's the best thing you can do with a game - play it often!
September 2, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I love retro gaming and chose the PS4 for modern games, but I can't keep my eyes off dat Switch!

It's hard to balance out the right number of game consoles to enjoy classic games and still keep up with gaming's newest technology. I've always loved Nintendo's innovations!
A kid today, just realizing the awesomeness of video games, might have a hard time deciding which console to buy. Can there be only one? The Big Three offer a lot of options from horsepower to exclusive titles. I'm not sure how I'd even go about making that decision in today's gaming environment.

Thankfully, I don't have to worry about such decisions. Having grown up with Atari, the next big thing on my radar after the Jaguar was Sony's upcoming PlayStation. As CDs were allowing computer users to store vast amounts of data, bringing those shiny discs to a game console seemed to open up a Pandora's box of exciting possibilities. I was dying to get one... EnoS!

Even though I rely on my PS4 for modern games, I can't ignore the unique home & portable options of the Switch!
The PS2 had an enormous and terrific game library. By the time Microsoft came along with the Xbox, I'd had my fill of Microsoft Windows at work and refused to let their products into my house. I was a Mac fanatic - still am - and loved what Sony had achieved in gaming. I kept up with their consoles up to and including the PS4. Sony was my go-to solution for modern games.

At the same time I kept up with Nintendo as well. I always felt a divide between Nintendo and other gaming companies. This wasn't a fan-boy reaction. Both Sony and Microsoft seemed to share a large percentage of available games, while Nintendo went off and did their own thing. I liked that "dare to be different" mentality. There were some titles I wished would come to a Nintendo console, but Nintendo developed really great gaming franchises.

Having aged to the point of having a son, I've enjoyed sharing my passion for retro gaming with him as well as staying on top of modern gaming's tech. We play on my original Atari 2600, along with other retro consoles, as well as the PS3 and PS4.

I loved the Wii U and was upset by the backlash from developers and consumers. Devs never really put the second-screen capability to good use and consumers didn't care. I thought it would be a game changer, but games didn't use it properly, if at all, and it's benefits were largely ignored by all involved. That's a real shame.

When Nintendo upped it's innovation factor again with their Switch announcement, I was leery that it might be another misunderstood console that may again confuse dimwitted consumers. I knew gamers would see it's virtues, but to be successful, those outside the traditional gamer profile needed to develop a craving for this new device. It had to sell to the masses, not just gamers.

It did and it's ability to go from your living room to your backpack is an amazing concept that will only expand as people discover all the places it can go... and back to your big TV! I still love a large number of 8-bit games and love playing Namco Museum on any platform, but the Switch and it's capabilities has changed the way I look at gaming. Splatoon 2 and Arms are terrific exclusives. Everyone has their eye on Nintendo's Switch!

What's your favorite modern ga ming console?
September 1, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Another Atari hardware announcement arrives with little credible detail. Atari Retro Handheld - Real or fake?

Atari Retro Handheld
Similar to the AtariBox announcement in June, we are now hearing about a handheld device with built-in games... and few specifics.
Some fans and a few gaming news sites (IGN for example) are tentatively publishing info about another piece of upcoming Atari hardware. While most news outlets have somewhat dubious info/specs, they all point back to Funstock Retro in the UK who lists the Atari Retro Handheld as an upcoming product.

The images seem rough and don't really look like actual product shots, which leads me to question the authenticity of this portable handheld announcement. BTW - who announced it? I can't find any Atari press releases.

Even the earlier news about the AtariBox - announcement coming from Atari - seemed odd to me. Both the AtariBox and this Atari Retro Handheld fly in the face of agreements I presume are in place with AtGames who manufacture the Atari Flashback console and portable. Why would atari come to market with hardware that seemingly duplicates (or infringes upon) products they already licence?

I have my doubts about the Atari Retro Handheld details. Atari needs to make the announcement, not a reseller. The lack of chatter and publication about it makes me wonder if this is a prank of some sort. Time will tell... as always.

Atari Retro Handheld - back

August 2017 Retro Gaming Articles:

August 31, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Capcom has an interesting lottery for the 30th anniversary Street Fighter II SNES cart

Capcom's 30th anniversary Street Fighter II for SNES
The $100 price of this anniversary game cart is steep, but it's part of the lottery for a rare glow-in-the-dark variants.
Shipping in late November, Capcom's 30 anniversary re-release of StreetFighter II for the Nintendo SNES looks pretty cool. I dig the red plastics used for the cartridge and the additions to the packaging. It's available for pre-order from Iam8bit.

Here are some of the specs for the anniversary SFII cartridge:
  • Limited Edition of 5,500
  • Brand-New Playable SNES Cartridge
  • Tri-Fold Box w/ Foil, Gloss & Embossments
  • Premium Instruction Booklet
  • Retro Pack-In Surprises
  • Package Design & Restoration by Jango Snow Art & Design
  • Manufacturing by Retrotainment Games
Capcom's 30th anniversary Street Fighter II for SNES Many are complaining about the $100 price tag and I agree that's a steep price for a single cartridge release. However, one facet of this 30th Anniversary campaign that isn't always mentioned is the "lottery component". This is a limited run of 5,500 cartridges, however 1,000 carts are different!

Most of the advertising displays the red (Opaque Ryu Headband Red) cartridges, but these only comprise 4,500 of the total. The remaining 1,000 carts are "Glow-in-the-Dark Blanka Green". These special carts are randomly put into unmarked boxes that are identical across the entire run of games. Thus, your $100 cost includes the allure of potentially receiving a cool glow-in-the-dark cart for your SNES!

If I could choose the special cart, I would be more open to paying this much, but as a blind lottery, I'm not sold on that price-point. That isn't to say it's a bad deal - my decision concerns my economics and desire to risk that amount on a longshot. If you're a fan and diehard collector of Street Fighter items, then this i a much different story. Also remember this is a really cool package with some interesting enclosures for fans. There's more to it than an expensive cart. It's a nice CIB item.

Capcom's 30th anniversary Street Fighter II for SNES The warning on the Iam8bit site is making consumers wonder if their fire-safety readiness is up to par:
WARNING: Use of this reproduction game cartridge (the "Product") on the SNES gaming hardware may cause the SNES console to overheat or catch fire. The SNES hardware is deemed a vintage collectible, so please exercise extreme caution when using the Product and make sure there is fire extinguishment equipment nearby. Use of the Product is at the sole risk of the user.

I'm not sure what to make of this, but folks have gone bonkers regarding legal issues. It's interesting that they specifically reference over heating and fire. Maybe you should put your SNES in a heavy duty frying pan before delving into battle :)
August 30, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

What are the odds of seeing the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile parked next to LL Bean's Bootmobile?

the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile parked next to LL Bean's Bootmobile
Last night I was stoked to discover the Weinermobile at a local hotel. Tonight, LL Bean's Bootmobile was next to it!
I'd seen a press release about one of the six Oscar Mayer Weinermobiles coming to my area. While running after-work errands, I saw the Weinermobile parked at a local hotel. This was too good to be true and I stopped to take a few photos.

While I was there, others saw the crazy hotdog vehicle and stopped as well. In the five minutes I spent there at least a half-dozen folks randomly stopped by to take pictures. I'm sure local social media lit up with Weinermobile hashtags. It was a fun find.

The following day I drove by the same hotel and was astounded to see the LL Bean Bootmobile parked next to the Weinermobile! That seemed too good to be true and again there were several people stopping by to take pictures. My timing allowed me to meet the Weinermobile driver and ask him some questions.

He was excited to tell me all the new details of OM hotdogs, but I was drooling over his slick vehicle. I was dying to know more about the truck. The model in these pictures is a 2012 model - one of six full size vehicles. Apparently, college grads are recruited to drive the truck within a certain territory, The Weinermobile becomes their daily-driver for the duration of their contract.

I got a real kick out of seeing a Weinermobile up close. I've seen many pictures and heard of their travels, but this is my first hands-on experience. I felt like a kid. Lots of fun!

Oscar Mayer Weinermobile One of six Oscar Mayer Weinermobile's traveling the US.
Oscar Mayer Weinermobile This Oscar Mayer Weinermobile is based on the original 1936 vehicle, but was created in 2012.

It was only a few weeks ago that my son and I saw the Planter's Peanut Mobile at our local supermarket.
August 30, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Vixen, the animated series, airs in its entirety tonight on the CW channel

Vixen, the animated series
The animated series Vixen makes its network broadcast premiere in a two-hour event on The CW.
Originally from Africa, Mari McCabe's (voiced by Megalyn Echikunwoke) parents were killed by local greed, corruption, and wanton violence. But the orphaned Mari refuses to succumb to the terrors surrounding her. Inheriting her family's Tantu Totem, Mari can access the powers of animals - anything from the super-strength of a gorilla to the speed of a cheetah.

As Vixen, she fights valiantly to protect the world from the threats like those that claimed her family. Based on characters from DC Comics, VIXEN is produced by Blue Ribbon Content and Warner Bros. Animation, with executive producers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kriesberg.

Vixen, the animated series
August 29, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Best Buy laid out all the swag for the release of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle release at Best Buy
Best Buy had Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle front and center with a few switches and swag.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle The Switch console is an innovative concept in video game console design both in visual appeal and functionality. It takes gaming in new directions. Similarly, I find many of the games coming to the platform have the same innovative characteristics.

Bringing the craziness of Ubisoft's Rabbids to Mario's world is the last mash-up I'd have dreamt up, but it works really well. Surprisingly well! My son and I have played Rabbids games since he discovered Rabbids Go Home on the Wii. The Mario mash-up for the Switch is grand.

The game takes on an ordinarily difficult game play scenario and makes it easy and fun to immerse in. While the craziness of Rabbids is present, so are the beautiful worlds found in many Mario games. This time out, two unlikely allies team up and give gamers a great introduction into squad-based tactics. Whether you like or dislike Rabbids, this game is certainly worth a look!

From the Nintendo website:
Mario & Rabbids universes collide in this new adventure that combines the best of these two worlds! Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Yoshi join forces with four Rabbids heroes with their own unique personalities. Easy to play, difficult to master. Solo and co-op turn-based combat is a fresh gameplay experience.

From the Polygon review:
Most tactics games are incredibly daunting because the player is constantly presented with new choices and failure points. Mario + Rabbids cuts most of that out, focusing instead on just core combat mechanics, minor character customization and some basic puzzle solving. There's no permadeath, no base building, nothing to distract you from figuring out the absolute core concepts of the genre. And yet, despite the mask of simplicity, the combat in Mario + Rabbids is tremendously strategic.
August 28, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

After trying online movie tickets, I decided waiting on line isn't so bad

The digital movie ticket has a few analog complications
Modern technology seems hyper focused on saving time. Shaving seconds off an online purchase takes on Olympic-like importance but digital movie tickets still have a few analog complications.
My son and I love going to the movies. We have a fairly large TV, but the home theater experience for most of us is easily dwarfed by any local cinema. Some films are just better on an enormous screen.

Overall, I"m a retro kind of guy, from gaming to modern convenience. I like shopping in stores. I still buy all my music on CDs. I like stereo sound loudly blaring from big speakers wired to a kick-ass receiver - no Bluetooth pod speakers for me. I have forgone my VCR, but I don't have DVR capability. I have never had the impetus to buy movie tickets online. But then...

Fandango Gift Card For Father's Day, my son got me a Fandango gift card. Cool! I was excited to use it with him on his next visit this Summer. I use the Fandango phone app to look up theater listings, so this seemed like a good opportunity to check out how well the internet can facilitate an afternoon flick!

Moving the funds from the gift card to my Fandango app was simple as was redeeming it for two tickets to The Dark Tower (great flick by the way). I was charged a $3.00 convenience charge - WTF. The end result was a QR code on my phone that would grant us admission. Upon arriving at the theater, it seemed to me that we sold be able to have the ticket-taker scan the code and let us in.

The gentleman at the entrance beyond the lobby had no clue what I was trying to show him on my phone. If I had a ticket, he'd tear it, but the glowing screen was not registering with him. We went back to the box office window to wait on the line that we were supposed to be bypassing with this digital purchase.

The woman at the counter issued us paper tickets and said the guy at the other entrance didn't know how to scan QR codes. Just to make sure I understood how the transaction was supposed to work, she assured me I should have been able to go right in, bypassing the line we had to wait on.

I know things can go wrong and I don't fault Fandango or the theater, but I don't see any point in paying a convenience fee for an inconvenience. The only time I bought MP3s from iTunes, it was a great experience that I repeated when buying Hey Violet's first album. I won't be repeating the internet movie ticket experience. I love CDs and I don't mind waiting on line to buy a movie ticket. If you don't have the time to wait on a short line, I'm jealous of all the important things you can accomplish with that saved time.

Technology is good, but let's not pretend that books aren't the best story telling medium available or that reading Facebook posts is a valuable use of anyone's time. Take your kid to a movie and talk to them about awesome things while you wait on line.
August 27, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Atari 2600 homebrew game Primate Plunge is a fast fun free fall game

Atari 2600 homebrew game Primate Plunge by Atarius Maximus
Your monkey instantly begins a free fall, leaping side to side to grab tree branches and the occasional parachute. Good fun!
I stumbled onto this Atari 2600 homebrew game, Primate Plunge, and it's simple, fast, and a lot of fun. As soon as you press the fire-button, your monkey begins a fast free fall toward a certain death. You maneuver him side-to-side, helping him grab tree branches to slow his descent.

Atari 2600 homebrew game Primate Plunge by Atarius Maximus Those branches only slow his fall for a few seconds before he's in trouble again. The more branches you grab, the higher your score rises. small trampolines appear and let your monkey bounce upward... hopefully he'll be able to grab another branch.

Your other saving element is the occasional parachute that falls from the top of the screen. Grab it and gain double points for a few seconds before you're back to grabbing tree branches.

Primate Plunge is a certain death style game in which you know the end is near, but getting a higher score before your ultimate demise is the goal. It has a "Flappy Bird" vibe with the notion that you won't last long, but it's fun to beat your last score. It's kind of addictive in that sense.

You can download Primate Plunge from this thread on AtariAge. It seems to be a 10-year-old game at this point, but I just saw a Facebook post about it today. You never know when you'll find a new game... that's only new to you :) Give it a try. I think you'll like it!
August 26, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

With lots of press for this once controversial title, I wish Limited Run had produced more copies of Night Trap

Limited Run's re-release of Night Trap
Night Trap fueled congressional outrage, prompted the ESRB ratings system, and featured Dana Plato in a full motion video game. We all knew it would sell out instantly!
I love what Limited Run Games does. If you've never explored their site, they produce physical copies of independent games previously released only as digital downloads. Typically, they offer 5,000 copies on a first-come-first-served basis. They have one morning time and a late afternoon time when they open up sales. Hence the name "Limited Rum".

I've purchased several Limited Run games for my PS4 and have been very happy with the entire experience... until Night Trap was released. Night Trap is renown for the controversy that surrounded the title when originally released by Sega in 1992. This brought about a lot of online coverage of the game's re-issue via Limited Run. I was doubtful about being able to buy a copy. With only 5,000 copies worldwide, they sold out in seconds. So, I was not too surprised when I was unable to purchase Night Trap at either of the posted times.

I understand the limited number of copies is part of their business plan, but with such a popular title and the huge coverage this release received, I wish they had made more copies. The small number may have to do with tiers of duplication costs through Sony or other vendors. I don't know the details. All I know is Limited Run could have sold many more copies.

I hope in the future, they might consider scaling production up with demand. A second run would sell well... I'd be there!

Night Trap for SEGA CD featuring Dana Plato Night Trap for SEGA CD featuring Dana Plato.
Night Trap for SEGA CD featuring Dana Plato Night Trap for SEGA CD featuring Dana Plato.

August 13, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

35 Years Ago: 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' Revolutionizes Teen Movies With Tasty Waves and a Cool Buzz

Jeff Spicoli Colt 45 t-shirt
Fast Times at Ridgemont High was released in theaters on Aug. 13, 1982
Fast Times at Ridgemont High remains one of the most realistic teen movies of the '80s. Here's an interesting article with some insight behind the book on which the movie was based.

That's largely because the film's source material was based on a true-to-life book written by Cameron Crowe, a journalist who had spent much of the '70s writing about and interviewing artists such as Led Zeppelin, the Eagles and Steely Dan for Rolling Stone. When Crowe was 22, however, he and his publisher had an idea for a book: The writer would find out what it was really like to be a kid by going undercover at a high school.
August 5, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Summer vacation part 2 is about to commence!

Taking some time off to tour the beaches, arcades, mini golf, and water parks of our local area. Enjoy the rest of the Summer!
Every time we take time off to explore our surroundings, my son and I find new things we hadn't discovered before. From the gigantic Pac-Man and Space Invaders Frenzy to 4-player Air Hockey, there are a lot of cool things out there.

As always, I try to expose my son to retro gaming. From Joust at the local arcade to some great releases from Limited Run Games for the PS4, every platform has some retro goodness to it! If your kid is hooked on Xbox, show them the wonders of Yar's revenge and Pac-Man! You may be surprised at how much the get into those old retro games we adore!
August 4, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

30 years after Def Leppard released Hysteria, I realized I'd never bought it

I debated buying the remastered Hysteria CD by Def Leppard until I scanned my collection and discovered I'd never bought a copy!
I wrote a similar article when I found a copy of Pyromania at Best Buy and discovered I'd omitted that one too. My CD collection has been in disarray for the last decade. I'm finally organizing it, which is a daunting process, but I'm discovering great music I'd forgotten about and finding holes that need filling.

So, I discovered last night, I'd never bought a copy of Hysteria. Fortunately, it's 30th anniversary was today and a remastered version hit retail shelves. AS I get my music collection in order, I'm sure I'll discover more items I need. It really says something about a band when I'm certain I owned all their CDs only to discover I don't. Def Leppard's music had such a powerful effect on me, I was certain I must have bought those discs. Glad to be finally catching up and revisiting these great albums!

Hysteria CD by Def Leppard
August 1, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

If your right-thumb is itching for an NES D-pad, the Goofy Foot controller is for you

The Goofy Foot NES controller
It's not about being left-handed or rolling right-foot-forward on your board. The Goofy Foot controller is for those looking to boost their skills & scores.
The Goofy Foot controller for the NES is a reversal of the standard control layout - it's backwards, in a good way. This isn't a controller for everyone. It's designed for those who have felt their right-thumb was better suited to guiding their gaming via the D-pad. Traditionally, this has been a left-thumb duty, but who says that's the only way to play? Not Steve DeLuca!

Creator of the Goofy Foot NES controller, Steve DeLuca, offers this labor of love to those seeking an alternate way to play NES video games. If you've ever thought you may have more control skills in your right hand... check out this slick controller. Currently fully-funded, the Goofy Foot controller Kickstarter, page outlines what may be the most unique accessory you've ever tried.

This is a really cool project and you can back it for varying levels of "kits" or a complete ready-to-play controller. It even has an open design with an accessible board that includes additional power and grounds to accommodate your own mods like custom LEDs. Check it out and see if this is something you want to back and be a part of.

July 2017 Retro Gaming Articles:

July 31, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Play Brew releases their “Arcade '86” craft beer inspired by classic video games

Play Brew Company's Arcade 86 beer series
Bringing you craft beer with a nostalgic twist, born from influential culture of the 80's & 90's.
It's cool to see a craft beer company making a connection between their passion for beer and video games. Check out the Play Brew Co website for more info and to see if it's available in your area.

Play Brew Company's “Arcade '86” Death Wish beer

Play Brew Company's Death Wish beer

Play Brew Company's “Arcade '86” Twin Turbo beer

Play Brew Company's Twin Turbo beer

Play Brew Company's “Arcade '86” Quick Strike beer

Play Brew Company's Quick Strike beer
July 30, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Radio Shack never had to label these adapters for Atari compatibility, the way Amazon does

Amazon decribes this RF adapter for Atari 2600 use
I bought many of these adapters over the years for my Atari 2600, and now Amazon labels them for our dumbed-down world.
The RF switch-boxes sold with most video game consoles in the early days were designed for the old 300 Ohm connections on the rear of most TV sets. As times modernized, those switch-boxes would have an F-connector for the coaxial connection on the set.

I never liked these boxes as they tended to be finicky and often needed some TLC (or a good smack) to deliver a proper picture. As a kid I dealt with the inconvenience of these magical little boxes. Once I moved into the big cruel world and had to fend for myself, I knew there had to be a better solution. Radio Shack to the rescue. It was easy to find an RCA-to-75Ohm adapter that would link my Atari 2600's output cable to the F-connector on the back of the TV.

I loved this solution and bought many of these little over the decades. I even bought a few more as the Radio Shack franchise faded away. I was certain they were readily available from any number of sources, but it felt good to buy them at The Shack.

During a random Amazon search, this favored product appeared with an "Atari 2600" description. I'd bought these for my 2600, but never saw it described for this purpose! It's a changing (and dumbed-down) world we live in today.
July 29, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Amazon's Treasure Truck was doling out NES Classic Edition consoles for $60 in select cities

Amazon's Treasure Truck was doling out NES Classic Edition consoles
Were there any retailers out there NOT hoarding these popular Nintendo Mini Consoles for future gains?
I'd never heard of Amazon's Treasure Truck. At first glance I'm not sure what to make of it. It's design makes me think several rickety carnival rides are about to be assembled in a vacant parking lot. Would you see this vehicle and expect a deal from Amazon?

If you were savvy to this mobile deal-wagon from Amazon (operating in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Seattle) and were lucky enough to have one cruising your town today (how likely is any of this?) you could have purchased an NES Classic Edition console for $60. Not a bad deal if you happened upon this opportunity. As much as I like the cool-factor of giving gamers another chance to obtain one, I can't help but remember the long lines for 3 or 4 consoles and the way Amazon sold out each wave in minutes.

WalMart pulled a similar sell-a-thon after one of last Fall's deliveries had sold out - suddenly Walmart had them. Clearly stores were putting some inventory aside for a rainy day.... or some occasion. While these cherished units still sell on eBay for well over $100, it's odd to find retailers still able to sell them at MSRP.

We've already had Walmart canceling orders for the upcoming SNES Mini Console due out this Fall. These mini mini consoles are duper awesome... if you can get one. I'm looking forward to trying my luck this Fall. It's the ultimate Nintendo Challenge!
July 29, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Unimpressed with 3D, I opted for the 2DS slab-model and now love the 2DS XL

Nintendo 2DS XL
The new design of the 2DS XL is wonderfully similar to the New 3DS without the 3D capability.
I"m sure the pricing wouldn't have been inline with what we have come to expect, but I wish this new 2DS had originally launched as a 3DS Lite. It's a great handheld console complete with the C-stick, larger screens, and amiibo support!

Dislike 3D? Dive into the 3DS game library with the 2DS XL!
I've said this in several prior posts - I ried to like the 3D effect, but found it disruptive and not a facet that really enhanced my enjoyment of games. I bought the initial 2DS for cost savings and to dive into the 3DS game library, which is full of great titles both physical and via the eShop.

I purchased the slab-model of 2DS when it was $80, so the $150 price tag of the 2DS X may seem high. I also feel this 2DS really has a lot more to offer and is still $50 less than the 3DS Xl. I'm hoping this will give new life to Nintendo's handheld console business... I'm secretly addicted to StreetPass!

While the Switch certainly has portable capabilities, I can't treat it the same without StreetPass or it's cost. I bring my 2DS everywhere, but the Switch stays home for the most part out of fear of dropping it. My 2DS is outfitted with a nerf case that's quite robust when it comes to tumbles.

If you haven't had a Nintendo handheld for a while, this may be a great fit for you to enjoy the 3DS game library!
July 28, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I've always said: all game consoles should have a version of Namco Museum!

Namco Museum for Nintendo Switch
I've played Namco Museum on six different consoles, then this amazing compilation title faded away... until today on Switch!
I was excited for Sony's PlayStation back in 1995. The notion of a disc-based console - my first - seemed to open gaming to great new possibilities. And it did that and more, for me!

Dig Dug - Namco Museum for Nintendo Switch Despite the amazing new kinds of games coming to market, I discovered compilation games. Shiny discs full of my favorite arcade games from Williams, Midway, Activision, Intellivision, Atari, and more. As a kid, I loved the arcade ports on my Atari 2600. Both Pac-Man and Defender suffered from flickering and glitches galore, but I played the Hell out of them - endlessly (still do).

The compilation games released for the PlayStation looked to me like perfect arcade ports. As much as I loved Atari 2600 arcade ports, I knew the arcade was the only place I could really play true versions of these gems. But the PlayStation was different. I didn't give up on visiting arcades - not by a longshot - but playing my favorite arcade games at home was truly special.

Sky Kid - Namco Museum for Nintendo Switch At the time, Namco Museum was the disc that occupied my PlayStation more than any other title. Coincidentally, it was one of the few compilation titles to expand and grow with the advancements in the gaming industry. With a core set of games, it returned time and time again in various incarnations as I bought new video game consoles.

My final version was for the Nintendo Wii. From there, my beloved Namco Museum faded away. It was a download on a few more consoles I didn't own, but the physical releases disappeared from my favorite game shops.

Physical releases of Namco Museum seem to be a thing of the past, but the game itself has been redesigned for Nintendo's Switch! I wish it was coming as a physical release, but it is only a digital download. Such an iconic retro title really should offer a physical copy, but in these new times, I can't complain too much.

OK< i'll complain just a bit. Sure, I'd love a physical copy, but it's the pricing that gets me. At $30 it seems a bit pricey for a digital download. Times are changing, so I guess mainstream games won't be discounted even though a digital copy costs less to produce and distribute. I do like the new titles coming to this version including Pac-Man VS. It's reminiscent of the early viersions with interesting additions.
Unique to the Switch tablet, games can be played in portrait-mode like many arcade originals!

Namco Museum For Switch - Game List

  1. Pac-Man
  2. Pac-Man VS
  3. Dig Dug
  4. Galaga
  5. Galaga '88
  6. Rolling Thunder
  7. Rolling Thunder 2
  8. Splatterhouse
  9. Sky Kid
  10. Tank Force
  11. Tower of Druaga

July 26, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

WalMart confirms they meant to cancel your SNES Classic Edition pre-order... and all the others

Walmart cancels all NES Classic Edition pre-orders
Walmart accidentally posts SNES Classic Edition pre-order web page too early, then purposely cancels everyone's orders.
Last Fall's NES Mini Console launch madness was characterized by poor planning and the strangest product rollout I've seen in a long time. Despite all the peculiarities and limited quantities, I managed to get an NES Mini Console and it's just as cute and fun as I'd anticipated.

If I learned anything last year, it would be to pro-order the SNES Classic Edition this year. Nope. And I'll tell you why.

I liked the thrill of the chase. It's part of collecting... as is disappointment. I waited on a few lines only to be denied, but that got me into a few interesting conversations that led to other discoveries. Attempting to get a mini console last year and the following months was a mini adventure.

So, to set me up for another Fall of standing on lines, Walmart has kicked off this season with widespread pre-order cancellations. Just the way I like it. I'm excited to get on line in September and see if I can score the upcoming SNES version!
July 25, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

After the dreadful dearth and cancellation, Think Geek NOW has thousands of NES Mini Consoles!?!

Think Geek NOW has thousands of NES Mini Consoles
GameStops in my area had 4 or 5 NES Classic Editions each time another delivery arrived. How does Think Geek have thousands?
I recently bought a Nintendo Switch at Best Buy. Prior to this feat of good fortune, I'd ask the GameStop clerk if they had any Switches... and each time he said, YES. Then he told me they were only available online as part of a $480 bundle of stuff I didn't want. I wanted a $299 Switch!

Not long ago, GameStop bought online retailer, Think Geek. This is why many GameStops are now cluttered with random geek goodies sprinkled throughout their stores. During the height of NES Classic Edition madness, stores in my area were getting 3 or 4 units per month - GameStop included. Hundreds lined up to discover they only had 4 NES Mini Consoles.

Three months after it's official cancelation by Nintendo, Think Geek has thousands of them for sale as part of bundles beginning at $139. I'm not a fan of such cash-grab tactics of bundling a bunch of stuff along with the coveted mini console. But the real story here is how can GameStop/Think Geek have thousands of NES Classic Edition consoles!?!

Fan boys are once again vying for ways to place an oder, but there seems to be little interest or outrage about "thousands of consoles". I'm seeing terms like "found", "discovered", "stumbled onto" and the like in online articles. Are they kidding? Where the Hell did these units come from? Apparently, GameStop is not releasing any details.

Wal Mart pulled a similar stunt of "suddenly having lots of stock" weeks after one of Nintendo's scheduled blights. It seemed logical to think they hoarded them in an effort to sell them later as an exclusive when everyone else's supply was long gone. Is this what GameStop has done? How could they have thousands? Strage things are afoot at the Circle K, my friends... that's for sure!

By the way - Yes, they all sold out very quickly.
July 25, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Dreamcade Replay runs Windows 10, with features not found in many retro gaming consoles

Dreamcade Replay
Anyone lamenting the dearth of NES Classic Editions is besieged by Raspberry Pi fanatics, but there are other gaming options.
8/1/17 Update:
The Dreamcade Replay Kickstarter campaign is back in business. The intellectual property dispute issue seems to have been resolved. Pay attention to the details of the campaign page regarding any changes to the campaign's original offering.

7/28/17 Update:
Yesterday we received an email notification from Dream Arcades stating they were contacted by a third-party law firm regarding the inclusion of Atari games (intellectual property dispute) with their Dreamcade Replay on Kickstarter. It sounded as though this is a glitch or misunderstanding based on the relationship they claim with Atari.

Today we received a similar email from Kickstarter's Integrity team confirming the legal issues and stating the Kickstarter campaign will be put on hold until the issue is resolved. This will account for the "disappearance" of the Dreamcade Replay info on Kickstarter. All claims infer this is a misunderstanding and should be resolved within days. That would be great, but legai issues can drag on for months if not years over total trivia. We hope to see this cool project move forward and deliver a kick-ass console, but now is the time to be mindful of what is going on that may impede the campaign's success.

While many gamers play ROMS, from Atari and Nintendo to Sega and Sony, on computers, smaller ROM-based game consoles are often built around single board computers (SBC). Raspberry Pi is one of the popular solutions to running multiple emulators for a wide variety of retro game consoles.

Dream Arcades have a more powerful solution for $99. It's small in size, based on Windows 10, and plays the games from nearly every console made in the 70s through the 90s. That's a lot of video games! Their Dreamcade Replay is already funded on Kickstarter, but still has a few weeks until it's conclusion - with additional stretch goals.

Dreamcade Replay For the price conscious retro gamer, a Raspberry Pi running RetroPi can offer a lot of variety when it comes to playing old console and arcade games. But some of the later commercial consoles can tax the power of these SBCs.

Some PS1 and N64 emulators can overwhelm Pi-based devices. Your home computer has the power to tackle this issue, but what about those of us who love consoles and playing together on the living room TV?

Dreamcade Replay, from Dream Arcades, runs on Windows 10, has twice the power of Pi-based consoles, and boasts a robust software solution for managing games, adding more games, and controller compatibility.

ROMs exist in a legal gray-area in some instances and many manufacturers tout thousands of games, but their products don't really make it easy to play this massive array of games that exist across the web. It's wort noting this console comes with over 100 pre-installed games (listed on their KS page) and a solid strategy for expanding it's game library via USB and online streaming.

Check out the Dreamcade Replay Kickstarter campaign for more detailed descriptions of this console's offerings. I like that it seems more robust than the Raspberry Pi solutions and offers many options outside of gaming by being a Win10 device. Naturally, it supports keyboards and mice. Pretty slick!

Dream Arcades has been building multi-game arcade machines since 2003, however, these aren't individual build-to-order cabs coming from a small shop. Having streamlined their products, their factory can build hundreds of arcades at a time in an assembly line. Having done this type of work suggests they know how to bring new products to market, unlike many Kickstarter folks. Give their campaign a look and see if this project matches your gaming cravings.

July 24, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Excited to share your SDCC comic book finds with friends... start with the TSA

Airlines force passengers to remove Comics from carry-on bags at TSA checkpoints
Satellites in space perform facial recognition, but TSA scanners are stumped by comic books. Remind me why travel is safer now.
Stories are emerging, on social media, from San Diego Comic Con attendees complaining of airport TSA agents demanding removal of all comic books from carry-on bags at the TSA checkpoints. Bizarre changes of this sort have been in the news, from banning laptops to removing books and magazines for inspection. Now comic books are the target.

Isn't this simply the latest failing of a system designed to pacify and make us believe these intrusive demands somehow make us safer? With all the technology they purport to install in airports, none of it seems to recognize common items. When I see how far technology is growing and progressing, airport scanners yield similar results to TSA agents poking bags with a stick.

Not long ago, my son's bag was pulled by the TSA for additional inspection because his Nintendo 2DS was in his bag. I'm sure many handheld consoles go through these scanners every hour, how can this set off alarms, when the inspection of the questionable device doesn't even involve turning it on. The agent looked at it and let us go. Say, how much did that scanning device cost to install? And it's flagging of a bag results in a casual glance. How does the TSA define safety?

When I was a kid, air travel was a luxury and fun. My family didn't travel often, but when we did, it was an organized affair. The utter chaos that riddles airlines and travel these days is insane. TSA employees glancing at comics and electronic devices has no real effect on airport safety nor travel safety.

Today's society loves to put up a flimsy facade and pretend it offers strength. The real weakness of any airport is the utterly ignored area directly outside the airport's property. Think about that next time you're standing in line barefoot while some person in a security uniform asks how to turn on your laptop.
July 23, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I'd buy this Atari hat in a heartbeat... if it didn't have built-in speakers

Rendered images of the Ataribox
I'd love to see an Atari lifestyle brand full of beer koozies, t-shirts, and hats... without speakers, microphones or batteries.
Steve jobs created products we didn't know we needed until we saw how quickly they changed our habits and lives. Maybe that's a bit overstated, but a ballcap with built-in speakers is the complete oposite. It's the sort of thing we scoff at on ABC's Sharktank. It doesn't seem to solve a problem or offer a benefit.

We've all seen that person who has a boombox blasting in a public space. We hate "that guy"! We don't embrace his music and groove to the beat. We avoid eye contact and scowl with disdain. How can a baseball hat with built-in speakers be much different? And more importantly, how did this become an Atari product?

Atari hat with built-in speakers This hat's two built-in speakers and a microphone can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth. You can answer phone calls as long as you don't mind the convo blaring over your Speakerhat.
Atari hat with built-in speakers I'm not sure I want this much tech stuffed into a hat, especially a rechargeable battery - recharged via USB-micro. Will this be the chat-conduit for the Ataribox console?

Atari Speakerhat price I'm not sure why Atari won't sell shirts and hats. They'd make a killing from those full of nostalgia. I'd buy several. They already have an Atari Life website. Can you buy a shirt? Nope! Just Speakerhats.

You can sign up for a chance to beta-test a Speakerhat, but lets look at the more interesting facet - the approximate value. By looking at the whopping $300 value of this beta program, it would seem they put the price tag of a Speakerhat around $250! I think $30 is a lot for a ballcap, but $250!?!

From the Atari Life website:
What is a Speakerhat?

A new listening experience
The Atari Speakerhat is a baseball-style cap with high-fidelity stereo speakers and microphone that can connect instantly to any Bluetooth-enabled device.
Connect to any smartphone, tablet, personal computer to play any music or other media content, initiate or accept phone calls, receive voice commands, etc.
The Atari Speakerhat feels natural and normal to wear for long periods of time, and achieves a balance of weight vs. sound quality and functionality. The intent is to continuously improve on design and engineering, until the technology is completely invisible.

Sound Science
The Atari Speakerhat is designed to be ultra-thin and lightweight. The technology inside consists of proprietary high-fidelity stereo speakers and microphone, V 4.1 CSR/Qualcomm® cVc audio technology, 5-band EQ, Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP), Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP v1.4) and Headset Profile (HSP v1.2), rechargeable lithium Ion battery, universal control button, and LED indicator light.

Multiplayer Mode
Powered by Audiowear, the patented Speakerhat technology is a new listening experience, combined with Social Synchronous Broadcast technology, will allow multiple Speakerhat users to simultaneously listen to a single audio stream in perfect synchronization.

I applaud Atari's inclusion in the upcoming Blade Runner 2049 movie. That's powerful, well placed, and relevant in a number of ways. A hat with speakers? Not so much. Come on Atari, you're better than this.

In related product news: the "corn-on-the-cob hat" allows hands-free enjoyment of corn while shading your eyes from the sun's harmful rays.
July 23, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Any contender in the console wars should not begin the climb as a crowd funded mystery box

Atari did the requisite Ataribox tease. Now is the time for information and specs. Sparing with the Big 3, requires solid info, not fantasy.
Nostalgia is a powerful force. Despite Atari's downfall and current status as a brand owned by a holding company, it's name still evokes it's renown gaming past from arcade games to home consoles. Atari wants to come back. Cool, but which Atari is this?

The former gaming company was pivotal in shaping the beginning of the gaming industry. The holding company of the Atari brand wants to revive their gaming past with some sort of new game console, the Ataribox. I'd love to see an Atari resurgence, but "today's Atari" is just a name. The legacy of greatness resides with those who originally made it happen. None of these folks are part of today's Atari.

Atari is a brand that would probably sell best as a logo on a t-shirt. I can see great success if Atari were to become a lifestyle brand with an array of soft-goods that could expand into other areas.

Ataribox I'm still eager to know what Atari has in mind with their Ataribox game console, but I think the time to be coy and mysterious has passed. Consumers and gamers want information. If this console plays retro games as well as catering to modern games - we need to know more details.

If this is a solid concept with the goal to fill a void in current console offerings... Give us the facts!

Until Atari releases real information (not nostalgia-fueled fantasy fodder) and dismisses rumors of crowd funding, the Ataribox will have a hard time reaching enough people for it to be any more than a humorous footnote in Atari's history.
July 17, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

This Ataribox “tease” seems more of an admission they may not have a working prototype

Rendered images of the Ataribox
A proper tease can start with rendered images, but must soon move on to photos of the device and screenshots of games or UI.

Update: Crowd Funding?

Eurogamer reports the Ataribox may be crowd funded to limit risks for Atari's holding company!
"To limit risk taking, this product will initially be launched within the framework of a crowd-funding campaign," the note reads.
Could this be a crowd-funded product (aka: Kickstarter or similar site)? This detail has been absent from Atari's announcements. I see little evidence they have a proof-of-concept or prototype and even ATARI isn't confident enough to release the Ataribox without crowd funding. Combine that with past "Atari" products from the last few years and it paints a fairly dismal picture for those assuming this will reboot Atari's console fame.

Atari's brand has been in the possession of a holding companies for years. In the last few years the brand has been licensed for a variety of projects and products. All seem to have been executed by third party companies, which made a recent (early June) Atari announcement quite intriguing. They announced a new game console - the Ataribox. They touted it was "years in the making" and would support retro and modern games.

This brought widespread interest across the web, but quickly died-down as no new info appeared on their Ataribox website. Today they sent out an email to those who subscribed. It contained some rendered images and another round of vague info with no real specs.

At this time, I'd have to say we won't see the Ataribox for sale for another year. I wonder if they shouldn't have begun the tease at next year's E3 2018. I'm guessing they are teasing again with rendered images because they don't have a prototype console to photograph. Further supporting this is the lack of game info - not even a screen shot. The controller? Another mystery.

When they say is will cater to retro and modern games... will it play Asteroids and Railroad Tycoon? We live in a world of information and recently, a plethora of fake news. I wish Atari would release more info or at least tell us what phase of development the Ataribox is in currently. Their dearth of info suggests the project is in it's infancy. They wouldn't want to tip their hand too much, but their info makes me want a Retron 77.

I am excited to get more info, but the slow trickle doesn't satisfy me when I compare it to some of the former "Atari" products recently released. I'd like some justification to become legitimately excited for this. If it's just another download box or wanting to topple the Xbox empire, then I can quietly leave it alone. But if there's a chance that a cool Atari console could come to market, I'd like to know a bit more about it all! :)

Rendered images of the Ataribox In the information age, one can't tease too much without upping the ante. With this round of rendered images, one has to wonder if they have a prototype yet.
Rendered images of the Ataribox I'd like to have seen some controller pictures and more info about potential games. With this info lacking, it's hard to know how soon the Ataribox is slated for retail release.

I Really Do Love Atari... no really

I love Atari as much as the next person. At age twelve I used all my powers of persuasion to get my Mom to take me to a local appliance store that, among the washers, dryers, and refrigerators, carried Atari's home gaming console, The Atari 2600. That day changed my world and converted our family TV from an idiot-box to an interactive experience.

So, I do love "that" Atari, but fully realize it no longer exists. Gone are the days of Nolan Bushnell's crazy inventive ideas. Atari today is a holding company that bought the brand and it's iconic IPs. They've licensed the Atari brand for a bunch of projects, none of which made much impact.

Rendered images of the Ataribox The Atari email sent to Ataribox list subscribers On July 17
Thanks again for signing up to learn more about the Ataribox project!

We've been blown away by the feedback since the teaser release, and today, we're excited to share an exclusive first look at the Ataribox design with you.

Our objective is to create a new product that stays true to our heritage while appealing to both old and new fans of Atari.

Inspired by classic Atari design elements (such as the iconic use of wood, ribbed lines, and raised back); we are creating a smooth design, with ribs that flow seamlessly all around the body of the product, a front panel that can be either wood or glass, a front facing logo, indicator lights that glow through the material, and an array of new ports (HDMI, 4xUSB, SD). We intend to release two editions: a wood edition, and a black/red edition.

As you can guess, those ports suggest modern internal specs. It also means that while we will be delivering classic gaming content, we will also be delivering current gaming content.

We know you are hungry for more details; on specs, games, features, pricing, timing etc. We're not teasing you intentionally; we want to get this right, so we've opted to share things step by step as we bring Ataribox to life, and to listen closely to Atari community feedback as we do so. There are a lot of milestones, challenges and decision points in front of us in the months ahead. We'll be giving you lots more information and status updates as we progress, and we are thrilled to have you along for the ride!

Hope you like where we are taking this, we'll be in touch soon.

The Ataribox Project team.

PS: Please let us know what you think via our social channels; and also please like, follow, subscribe, and share as much as possible!