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Fourth Quarter 2020 - October, November, December

COVID-19 has ruined almost every aspect of human life for many of us. Some contracted the virus, while others lost their jobs. The video game industry began relying on digital sales more than ever. I invested in a lot of Evercade games and physical copies of the games I wanted. Stay safe and wear a mask!

December 2020 Retro Gaming Articles:

December 31, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Our Top 9 on Instagram

Top 9 on Instagram
December 17, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

this Atari Hotels hat may prove to be the most valuable “Atari” item in my collection

Atari Hotels hat
Atari has a long history of non-delivery from epic fails to quietly walking away from bad ideas. Hence my surprise at receiving this hat.
When I first heard about the Atari Hotels project, at the beginning of the year, we were all waiting to see if this hardware-phobic version of Atari could deliver a new game console. A hotel chain? WTF? Recently they did begin shipping the new VCS (two years behind schedule), so why not erect gaming hotels.

Atari Hotels merchandise I'm uncertain how Atari gaming hotels could ever be a thing, but we can set that aside because they are producing merch for this hotel concept. A few months ago, I heard about limited edition shirts and hats being released with the new AH logo.

My first thought was it's another scam. But you know what? It was much like the new VCS console. I doubted anything would ever come to market, but I bought one of their sexy joystick controllers with some modern flare. Similarly, I went in on an Atari Hotels hat from their Atari Hotels merch site.

After a few weeks passed, I emailed the company asking for a tracking number on my order. They apologized for the delay saying it should be issued in a few days. Skepticism set in quickly, however, in a few days I got an email with a tracking number and several days later I received a delivery date.

Needless to say I was surprised to open my mailbox and see a shipping envelope (shown above) with a large Atari Hotels logo on it. My hat had arrived! I was excited. Combined with the news (and independent third party proof) the new VCS video game console has begun shipping to backers of the indiegogo project.

As time marches on, I wonder how rare this collection of Atari Hotels merchandise will become. I can't believe they will sell a lot of these items. Any ladies seeking a crop-hoodie commemorating a nonexistent hotel chain? Yeah. Might be worth something down the road.
December 15, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

When the perfect gift eludes you, don't forget the holiday discount on a RealDoll

There's a holiday sale for everything!
To be honest, RealDoll makes a pretty convincing case for their product line. I just want to see a pic of the shipping crate wrapped under the tree. Our out in the driveway with a big bow as though is was a new Lexus. Don't miss their sale - these ladies are expensive :)

RealDoll holiday discount
December 11, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The reviews of Cyberpunk 2077 are getting worse, but Billy Idol's 1993 album is superb!

Cyberpunk 2077 is getting terrible reviews
Forget CD Projekt RED this holiday season and go with a classic Billy Idol album!
'd read about the delays, but had no idea Cyberpunk 2077 was announced in 2012. That's a crazy delay and the worst part is the reviews are getting worse as more problems are discovered. We're all used to those huge day-one downloads to fix everything, but this game is so bad, the fixes are months away from being accessible. Refunds are being offered on digital purchases.

If you're a PC gamer, you're in luck. Apparently it plays quite well on a souped up PC. But those with the last gen PlayStation or Xbox are out of luck from what I've read. I can't say for sure, but I'm dying to fire this up on Christmas day. It should be interesting to see how it plays on my PS4.

Cyberpunk 2077

November 2020 Retro Gaming Articles:

November 23, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I love finding easter eggs in video games, but here's a cool one in a novel

easter egg in Apparition Phase
This is clever marketing and a unique way to bring people together over a niche concept, understood by all.
Marketing is typically full of concepts we've all seen many times. Some are tried and true, while others seem inept and grasping. Here's a great concept that incorporates 1,000 books signed by the author, each with a numerical order of his signing, and each one contains a single handwritten word.

The premise is that there are 1,000 words among these copies, when ordered numerically will become a short story unto itself. It seems that copies of Will Maclean's novel, The Apparition Phase, were signed for London's Goldsboro Books giving many of this mass of signed copies an origin point. I'm sure they ship globally, but this hunt for the words from 1,000 different book purchases is a brilliant concept.

Finding 1,000 people via social media may prove harder than one might expect, although they are trying to reign it in under the hashtag, #apparitionphase1000. Since the main novel is a mystery, it should be interesting to see if this hidden short story is the same genre and perhaps it lends to the main novel's story.

I'm a fan of numbers, so this whole concept fascinates and delights me, but...
What if there's a clue or cypher in the main novel that hints at a different way to order the handwritten words? Perhaps a new numbering system would alter the storyline of the "ordered" version. :)

October 2020 Retro Gaming Articles:

October 21, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Since 1965, Peanuts holiday specials have aired on broadcast TV, but 2020 brings exclusivity on Apple TV+

Peanuts holiday specials are now exclusive to Apple TV+
Charles Schulz's beloved Peanuts holiday TV specials are exclusively behind Apple's paywall offering brief free viewings.
As the dumpster fire that is 2020 burns onward, more casualties fan the flames of this awful year of deadly pandemics, celebrity passings, and orange power-mongers. Charles Schulz's Peanuts gang has aired on broadcast TV during the holidays since 1965, but an exclusive deal puts them behind Apple's paywall, Apple TV+.

While these beloved shows will be given limited free airings, it necessitates the Apple TV+ service to watch. This feels like a large company scooping up nostalgia and trying to sell it back to me. No thank you.

I have all the Peanut's specials on DVD, but it's traditional to watch the originals on network TV complete with commercial interruptions. We all watched them as a family. Technology marches forward professing the benefits of streaming media, but so much content is being silo'd by the myriad of streaming services that have popped up. Every month Netflix subscribers lament the loss of timeless classics each month to make room for more stuff.

I don't throw away DVDs when I buy new ones. It's part of my collection. How can corporate giants not build libraries of media in a similar fashion? It's what they professed to do at the outset, but so many great TV shows and movies are cast away - or not profitable enough.

Technology and time change everything. While change is a good thing, some changes are harder to tollerate than others. 2020 has been an awful year.
October 20, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

GMC's new electric Hummer might be more palatable, had the H2 and H3 been less dreadful

Peanuts holiday specials are now exclusive to Apple TV+
With a six-figure starting price on a fairly bland looking pickup truck, what is the target market for the Hummer EV?
As a big fan of the original Hummer, seeing the line devolve into consumer-friendly vehicles was rather disappointing. GMC's upcoming Hummer EV is an electric vehicle with 350-mile battery range, 1,000 HP, and a price that seems to guarantee is will be a fun thing to sit in at the dealership - maybe even testdrive it - but I can't see it selling well.

I think GMC needs to get this model rendered in 3D and stuff it into as many video games as possible. Maybe Bowser would run around in it in Mario Kart or perhaps it would be kink in Wreckfest. Hummer is the sort of brand that has an association with things "over the top" like most vehicle-centric video games. So, garner that gaming cash from license deals, because I don't think we'll see a lot of these on the road. The Jeep Gladiator isn't electric, but it's also a swanky new $34,000 truck.

Peanuts holiday specials are now exclusive to Apple TV+
October 16, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Analogue brings FPGA tech to NEC's TurboGrafX video game consoles in a single unit - the Duo

Analogue Duo
The TurboGraphX got the “mini” treatment this past year and Analogue is bringing it's full power to market with no emulation!
As analogue churns through retro gaming's best hardware, they leave an indelible mark of excellence. Their latest feat is the Analogue Duo a console that plays nearly all of NEC's gaming software from Hucards to CDs.

The Duo offers an original cartridge slot, controller port and CD-ROM drive, giving it compatibility with all game formats: Hucards, TurboChips, and CD-ROM. This compatibility also includes original hardware and accessories. It will be interesting to see how many are available when they pre-order next year. Their Gameboy product sold out in minutes, yet their SNES console is still available. It's an odd business model from my consumer standpoint.

Analogue began making some really high end insane game consoles, Notably the Nt a sexy NES clone driven by an FPGA. I love their subsequent SNES and Genesis releases, again via FPGA using no emulation. Now they have breached NEC territory with an all encompassing TurboGraphX console, the Analogue Duo.

I've always been fascinated by the NEC consoles, but never owned one until several years ago. I have very few games, but have always heard gamers rave about these consoles and the games. A TurboGrafX Mini was released, which gives this game library a modern day boost for those who may not have known about it. This is an interesting choice for Analogue and I'm excited to see it in action... if I can get one. Here's hoping it isn't a limited release that sells out in three minutes!
October 14, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Eddie Van Halen tribute at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards

The guitar legend was an inspiration to many musicians from all genres of music.
During the music awards show, host Kelly Clarkson honored the late Van Halen guitarist among other entertainers who died this year. Eddie Van Halen, aged 65, died last week (Oct. 6) following a battle with throat cancer.

Eddie Van Halen tribute at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards

Clarkson continued, "And just a few days ago, a true giant was taken from us, Eddie Van Halen. He was a legendary guitarist, an amazing musician and an incredible songwriter. Five years ago, he brought his band to the Billboard Music Awards stage in Las Vegas for one of their rare live TV performances. And what made that moment even more special is that he was joined by his son, Wolfgang. That moment is one that all who saw it will always remember."

Eddie Van Halen tribute at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards
October 14, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Netflix is debuting their K-pop documentary BlackPink Light Up the Sky tonight

The record-shattering Korean girl band BLACKPINK tell their story
BlackPink is undeniably popular and and Netflix has created a documentary that seems more of a behind-the-scenes look at the band and some recent concerts. It doesn't delve into K-pop and how it differs from what we're accustomed to in the US. It's much different than the US music industry who finds a girl with a lot of Instagram followers and turns her into a success for the benefit of those atop the music industry. The members of BlackPink auditioned and trained for years before taking a public stage. It seems like a much more competitive scenario. The documentary focuses on the girls and takes a playful look at how the band came to be. I suspect there's a whole lot more to the live-in academy they attend in order to become a star in a band such as BlackPink.

Once BlackPink appeared at Coachella, big things were destined to happen for them. But as soon as the uproar died down, they disappeared from the public eye. No longer were they making US talk show and late night show rounds. They were back to Korea and off the radar in the US entertainment realm.

A new full-length album reignited them here along with a barrage of social media. They deserve all their successa and I hope we get more insights into pop music in Korea.

BlackPink Light Up the Sky
October 6, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Guitar legend and song writer Eddie Van Halen passed away at age 65 after his battle with cancer

EVH is the most influential guitarist of my life and leaves behind a legacy of amazing music that transformed Rock and Roll!
As a kid, I lit up every time a new Van Halen album was released. Eddie Van Halen made me want to play a guitar. As an adult, I light up every time I hear a Van Halen song. Music is such a powerful medium and EVH knew how to maximize every note!

Eddie Van Halen