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 2020 - July, August, September

As TVs manufacturers tell us we need 8K TVs (we don't) when I don't even own any 4K movies, gamers are getting many great ways to play our favorite old games on modern TVs. FPGA-based game consoles are playing our old cartridges and firing out pixels via HDMI. We still love our old Sony CRT, but retro gaming is keeping pace with new tech.

September 2020 Retro Gaming Articles:

September 29, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Atari shows pallets of new VCS game consoles prepped for shipping from China... still no delivery date

Pallets of new Atari VCS game consoles in China
Some folks are suggesting the Atari VCS consoles might be delivered to indiegogo backers by Christmas 2020.
Running about three years behind schedule on a set-top Linux box, Atari likes to keep their customers informed every eight months. Today, like all the past updates, we are told the release is just around the corner. OK, but if we've learned nothing else, Atari is a little less than reliable. Not that there aren't logistical issues to deal with when shipping from China during a global pandemic, but this latest email from Atari is as vague as anything else they've ever released.

I suspected this indiegogo campaign would likely be the same sort of fiasco as all Atari hardware projects over the last ten years or so. I opted for one of those retro/modern joystick that look like an updated CX-40. I thought it might be fun to have as an artifact of Atari if they ever released the new VCS. Laughably, this joystick is still not in production yet and was described in the Atari release as "remaining to be finished."

Another wave of happy backers are singing the praises of Atari's efforts, but aside from the Atari Vault (2016) there don't seem to be any games or developers linked to this console. Atari's website claims it will be delivered by December 24, 2020 - but after years of delays, who knows.

Lets not forget that this year we have new Xbox and PlayStation consoles coming to market. The VCS is selling for $389 which is pretty expensive for a set-top box that plays games from Atari's glory in the 80s. Say, I wonder how those Atari Casinos and Atari Hotels are doing...

September 25, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The more I thought about it, the less I need a free Xbox

Sorry Taco Bell, I don't need a ton of email and texts from you and your partners about computers or tacos.
When stopped at my local KFC/Taco Bell for a box of mystery chicken, the usual cups they give out were replaced with these "win an Xbox Series X" cups. Each one has a code and they want to hype you up for a free Xbox. The printing was really low-grade and looked crappy. I'm sure that's due to the individual numbers they print on each cup.

After getting two of these cups, I decided to see what the catch was. Usually these things are a scam in one sense or another. In large lettering they want you to text the printed code to a specific number. Usually this opts you into a cascading batch of texts that are often difficult to get rid of. They also offered a web site for checking your code. So, I gave that a try.

The website had a large list of fields to fill out - just to check your number. To discover you're the winner of nothing, you have to forfeit your name, address, phone number and email. This was the point at which I realized I don't need a free Xbox.

Win an Xbox at Taco Bell

In other news, I picked up the new Public Enemy CD which sounds great on this funky little bookshelf stereo I picked up for my office!
September 23, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Out of all the bizarre Kiss merch, I'm suddenly fascinated by this Kiss Viewmaster with 5 picture discs

Kiss Alive Viewmaster and picture discs
Kiss merch is very over-priced, which is the only thing holding me back on this Kiss Alive Viewmaster
While most bands are content to sell t-shirts and posters, Kiss is a different kind of band. I've loved them since sixth grade when the kid across the street played his Destroyer album for me. I begged my Mom to take me to a record store and the day she did, i was hooked. From there it was Love Gun and then I bought Alive at Giant Music. I was enthralled and the feeling would last a lifetime. But back to the merch...

Currently in the middle of their lates farewell tour - this one lasts 2 years - Kiss merch is still thriving and amidst the expensive swag is a Kiss Viewmaster, although they call it a view finder. It's the same thing. It's reminiscent of the one I had a a kid - the classic red one - and serves the same purpose of displaying images. The Kiss version comes with five discs with images from the 1975-76 Alive tour with three discs of live shots and two offering behind the scenes stuff.

I'd buy this in a heartbeat if it wasn't $75. It also comes in a bundle with a t-shirt and 4 pins for a marked down price of $105. I'm certain much of my interest is nostalgic. I loved the Alive albums and even bought a Viewmaster for my son one Christmas. At this price, I'll pass, but it's a pretty cool collectible.

Kiss Alive Viewmaster and picture discs
September 21, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Retro Game Stands turn stacks of loose games into organized tiers for displaying cartridges

This is a really clever way to display retro game cartridges - no teetering stacks!
Retro Game Stands rovides tiers for displaying cartridges Storing retro game cartridges has never been easy. The titles on splines are often quite small and some carts only have front-facing labels. Retro Game Stands solves this issue with an elegant display using a tiered system allowing carts to be placed securely on rising rows - front to back. This is similar to stadium seating in movie theaters and seems like a great way to show off and organize your game carts.

Retro Game Stands rovides tiers for displaying cartridges This is such a simple idea, yet I've never seen it done before. Simply turning games from the sides facing out on shelves to letting you see the front-facing label is a great idea. This is the sort of product that can change the look of your game room instantly! Genius!

Joe Bourrie from Syncoplay had been creating these stands via 3D printing for his Etsy store. His idea has outgrown that approach so he is using Kickstarter to create his game cart stands from injection molds. This will give them a much nicer robust look. He has several multipack tiers available on the Retro Game Stand Kickstarter page.

Your carts rest on the various levels (six total tiers per stand) by a custom designed attachment point shaped to guide the cart onto the resting point of the stand and held in place by the PCB's edge connection. You can even organize by game variants and platforms on a single stand. This is a very creative product! It's terrific for SNES games that are hard to shelve on-end to read the title labels and even better for N64 games that totally lack end labels.

I just discovered this project today and the Kickstarter ends very soon. If you dig this idea, jump on it soon!

Retro Game Stands rovides tiers for displaying cartridges
September 19, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Blackpink is featured in Pepsi ads in China

These girls are blowing up with cool endorsement deals!
It's wild to see how fast Blackpink is expanding. The group and the individual girls are endorsing a lot of high-end brands and their music is spreading fast too. With 2 EPs released, their first full length album is coming out in October!

Blackpink featured in Pepsi ads Is it too selfish to wish they had a deal to rep Mt. Dew? lol

I wish Blackpink were in Mt. Dew ads
September 19, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Miley Cyrus never disappoints performing live and she killed at iHeart's Music Fest 2020

She's an amazing performer, but also has a way with crazy costumes.
Miley Cyrus was made t take the stage. She's such a strong and confident performer. It's too bad her video game appearances have all been Hannah Montana affairs. I'd love to see her in a music-genre game - something more than a song on Just Dance. She'd be a great video game character!

Miley Cyrus at iHeart's Music Fest 2020 Miley Cyrus at iHeart's Music Fest 2020.
Miley Cyrus at iHeart's Music Fest 2020 Miley Cyrus at iHeart's Music Fest 2020 Miley Cyrus at iHeart's Music Fest 2020.

September 18, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

If you feel sitting in a movie theater is safe, Reagal is showing Empire Strikes Back for it's 40th anniversary

Star Wars on the big screen is always a treat, but I'm not sure how I feel about theaters during a pandemic.
Regal Theaters are celebrating Empire's 40th anniversary by showing the film in theaters on September 25th. I'd love to go, but I'm not too confident in a theater's ability to upgrade their HVAC or enforce social distancing and masks. I've been in too many theaters where someone clearly had the flu and was hacking up a lung through the entire film. Yuck!

I remember how awesome it was to relive the original trilogy in theaters back in the 90s. I don't remember if they showed all three original Star Wars films, but it was crazy fu to see StarWars on a theater screen.

Reagal is showing Empire Strikes Back
September 15, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I've never been to a Red Lobster restaurant and have no desire to, but now they have DewGaritas

As a fan of Mt. Dew variations like Code Red, Liberty and Holiday Brew, I'm curious about this concoction.
Living on the coast makes one a bit uneasy about dining at Red Lobster. There are a myriad of places all serving fresh-catch seafood, so a chain restaurant doesn't inspire the same interest. While I'm confident the local waterfront restaurants serve seafood caught that day, Reg Lobster makes me think I'm getting fish patties trucked in from the midwest. Not sure why.

Red Lobster restaurants introduce Mt. Dew inspired DewGaritas
September 9, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Loving my Evercade handheld, but the upcoming games are getting harder to find in the US

While available from overseas retailers, Amazon has been dropping the upcoming titles, like the Lynx collections.
The 2 Atari Lynx games for Evercade Perhaps Amazon isn't the best source for Evercade games. I've had 2 orders canceled and the games listed as unavailable on their site. Funstock in the UK seems much more reliable. I bought the handheld console through Amazon pre-order with a few games and then ordered more games.

Lately, Amazon seems to be dropping off as a reliable reseller. I was stoked about the Atari Lynx game carts, but both were canceled by Amazon.

August 2020 Retro Gaming Articles:

August 30, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Arcades are not part of reopening plans because they don't fit into politicians' narrow-minded “categories”

Neon Retro Arcade merch
Arcades are businesses that preserve a wonderful history by letting people relive a slice of childhood and enjoy smile inducing fun. That sounds pretty damn essential to me!
Arcades are suffering and many have gone out of business as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Not as a direct result of it, but rather arcades are collateral damage in the wake of re-opening plans. I say this because even though we may apply science to decisions about capacity, distancing, infection rates, and so on - the actions taken as a result are highly politicized by "leaders" who don't have a clue about anything!

Those in Federal and local government. Those developing reopening strategies. Those who are trying to get the economy back on track. All these people suffer the same problem. They are dumb. Don't take this lightly. Being dumb is a considerable malady and it's one that is having a widespread effect on many small businesses. I'm focusing on arcades because I grew up in arcades and love the ones that are here today offering the games I loved as a kid. These amazing arcades now let me play many of the amazing games from my childhood, with my son.

I believe the primary requirement of holding political office is an above-average level of stupidity. Smart people are entrepreneurs who own and run their own businesses, contribute to the economy, and provide jobs - amont many other things. Politicians are bound by greed, stupidity, and inadequacy.

This is why I can go to a barbershop, see a movie in a theater, dine inside a restaurant, shop at a bookstore, go into shoe stores, buy booze and cigarettes, and have service personel come into my home to repair things. However, I can NOT go to my local arcade. It is CLOSED! How can all these close-contact businesses be open while arcades are told to wait. Barbershops? A haircut? You have to be kidding!

Supporting Arcades During the Pandemic

Just because your local arcade is shut doesn't mean there's nothing you can do. A majority of retro arcades are small businesses that may not qualify for federal aid (if there is any). In my area, we lost one of the best retro arcades I've been to in years. Businesses are suffering! Many arcades have websites and sell merch and gift cards. If it's a local arcade, buy a gift card to help them out. Pick up some hats and t-shirts. this is a time to get creative and everything helps.

For myself, the resurgence of retro gaming and retro arcades over the last decade is amazing. But all the hard work they put into creating successful businesses has been wiped away in mere months due to mandated shutdowns. Make no mistake. There's a crisis going on in the small business community. When Trump says the economy is doing great, he means the stock market is up... which has little to do with small businesses that are still at great risk... like arcades.

My local arcades don't sell merchandise, but I've been following the Neon Retro Arcade in Pasadena on Instagram. They've been hit hard by the closures, but have been pretty busy devising other revenue streams. These are definitely folks who are in this fight to win. Check out their arcade merch - t-shirts, hats, face masks, pins and more! All there stuff has a great retro 80s style.

Arcades Around The World Need Help

During hard times, I feel it's important to help out retro arcade businesses because they represent a great part of my life and I'm eternally grateful for arcades that let me enjoy a bit of childhood and share it with my son. Locally, we've lost one arcade so far, while another has just closed for the winter - hopefully they'll reopen next Spring. If you have a retro arcade nearby, go buy a shirt or gift card. But remember, it's not only about YOUR local arcade. This pandemic is hurting the preservation of retro gaming world wide!

If you can afford it, also buy a shirt from an arcade you've always wanted to check out. Maybe it's too far away. Maybe it's in another country. Retro gaming is global and everyone is hurting from the pandemic. If you can help support your local arcade, that's awesome. If you can also help out another one, that's cool too. There used to be an arcade or two in every town, now you're lucky to have one within a few hour's drive. Helping keep arcades afloat during hard times benefits everyone. I really dig the merch designs at Neon Retro Arcade even though Google Maps says I'm 3,000 miles from them. If you have the means, reach out and support a far-away arcade that strikes your fancy.

Do what you can. Help keep retro arcades alive.
August 30, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Blackpink won the "Song Of The Summer" award at the 2020 Mtv Video Music Awards with "How You Like That"

BlackPink was not on-site for the awards sow, but nice to know they scored an award!
August 28, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The urban legend of the Polybius arcade game comes to life as a clever addition to your Quarter Arcade

Polybius arcade game
Be it a hoax or conspiracy, the Polybius arcade game launched a crazy story that can now exist in your ¼ scale arcade collection!
When I first heard about Numskull Design's Kickstarter campaign for Polybius I wondered how anyone could create an actual video game based on a non-existent version buried in lore. Reading a bit further I realized this is a savagely clever addition to anyone's Quarter Arcade Collection of ¼ scale fully functional arcade games. This glorious urban legend comes to live as a 10-port USB hub to power any of the Quarter Arcade games like Pac-Man, Galaga, and soon - Dig Dug.

Legend has it that an arcade game named Polybius appeared in a Pacific Northwest (USA) arcade and soon vanished. During it's brief stint it got a reputation as a very addictive game and some claimed it was a military recruitment tool or a brainwashing device installed by the CIA. Some claimed continued play invoked seizures. What ever it may have been, the urban legend has deemed it evil.

A ten-port powerhouse keeps the urban legend alive, in ¼ scale
The stark black cabinet with green-lettered marquee lives in infamy on the internet, with little to no proof of it's existence. The perfect target for great stories and assorted nonsense. Numskull designs has created the cabinet true to the few online images that exist - or do they?

While it's designed to meld with any of the Quarter Arcade titles, it isn't a game. It's a power source for your games. With ten USB ports and international plug adapters, this faux arcade game is really a power supply for games. However, I believe it has a functional screen that displays random disturbing imagery to keep the legend alive!

I think this is really clever and a wildly unique addition to anyone's Quarter Arcade collection. Give it a look on Kickstarter. This should be a very cool collectible.

Bart Simpson Polybius arcade game
August 26, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Making $1 million in 24 hours is difficult, but Bella Thorne did it on Onlyfans without adult content

Bella Thorne on Onlyfans Bella Thorne on Onlyfans
It didn't stop there as she cleared $2 million by the end of week one.
Largely perceived as a NSFW site for content creators, Onlyfans began in 2016 as other sites like Patreon showed success. Many sex workers use the site to sell content directly to fans. You may be surprised by the number of popular cosplayers who also sell nude and lewd pics on the platform. When Bella Thorne announced she had set up an account for her fans... some may have jumped to conclusions about the content she would offer.

If you were to ask me if I thought there was a shortage of bikini pics of Bella Thorne on the internet, I'd say no. I'm sure the paparazzi chase her often enough to satisfy the global need for semi-provocative photos. She posts a lot of this type of content to her social media anyway. So, why pay $20 per month for her Onlyfans account?

Bella Thorne tweets about no nudity on her Onlyfans I think a lot of folks misunderstand her provocative side and assumed her Onlyfans account would contain nudity. While she did direct an adult film for PornHub, she doesn't distribute such content of herself. If you read her book, The Life of a Wannabe Mogul: Mental Disarray, you'll get an idea why her Onlyfans account is more likely to be a PG-13 rated affair.

Interviews have revealed she set up the account for the "experience" to be used in an upcoming film. She also stated the earnings will go into her production company and various charities. My guess is this fan account is a lark that will disappear or fade away as quickly as it surged.

Maintaining such accounts so fans will continue to pay the monthly fee is hard work. It's not easy money, even though adult content is often misidentified as such. I think she'll either grow tired of it and move on or it will serve it's experiential purpose and be shut down. Enjoy Bella Thorne on Onlyfans while it lasts... if that's your thing.

Then There Was Controversy

Bella Thorne tweets an apology As a subscription service, Onlyfans offers other ways to charge subscribers in addition to the monthly fee. You can sell content individually via a Pay-Per-View model. Some have said Thorne posted nude content for $200 using the PPV setting.

The content turned out not to be nude - no surprise there - and people demanded their money back. This is said to have caused OnlyFans to change the limits on PPV content and tips as well as how often they make pay-outs to creators.

Sex workers have launched numerous complaints about Thorne and how she used the site. They say Onlyfans' new restrictions effect their income from the site. There's been a lot of backlash and accusations.

Bella Thorne has never struck me as a devious or greedy person. If she lied about content to boost sales, her account should be deleted.

She's already wealthy, so I don't see this as a get-rich-quick scheme. It seems poor judgement may be the root of this. She seems to use her celebrity and status to bring attention to causes in a positive way. She apologized in a string of tweets.

I can see how sex workers would initially be angry with Thorne and they have the right to be mad, if she lied about her content. At the same time, that's like getting angry at Ronald McDonald when you get a bad cheeseburger. Bella Thorne isn't the root of the problem.
August 22, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Even after the Beta vs VHS format-war, I was naive enough to think it was the last one. The cloud is not a format!

This t-shirt design brought back memories of the second format-war I experienced. I adored my Betamax!
Betamax and Relax Even after watching cassettes dominate 8-track, I had no idea my life would be a constant change of media formats. I never owned one, but I remember seeing 8-track tapes everywhere. Their portability and push-button track access seemed pretty cool to me. One Christmas we were planning on buying my Dad an 8-track player. I remember my somber reaction to the salesman telling my Mom that cassettes were taking over and not to bother with 8-track. We bought a cassette player that hit me like the ultimate betrayal.

I was stunned. How could that be? I saw 8-track tapes everywhere! I must have been around 8 years old at the time and already I had an affinity for a media format... that was being discontinued. I had no idea my life would be spent updating my media to the latest tech.

During college I had a large cassette collection - mostly made up o my vinyl LPs that I recorded to cassette as a matter of preservation. When CDs arrived, I gladly gave up my analog media for those shiny new discs. Everything about Compact Discs made sense to me. It was a logical upgrade. I still love the analog sound of an LP, but once I was able to burn my own music CDs, there was no turning back.

Betamax and Relax Around this same time I was an ardent supporter of Betamax. The picture quality was better than VHS and the blank tapes offered better recording lengths. But video rental stores were the proving ground for this battle. Beta versus VHS ultimately came down to pornography. When porn began arriving on VHS, largely leaving Beta behind, the war was over.

Converting to VHS was the hardest thing I'd faced as a format fan. I had hundreds of Beta tapes full of tv shows and movies I'd recorded and many pre-recorded films. I bought my first VHS player in 1988 and felt as though I was again betraying an old friend... a friend far superior to my new pal, VHS. Then I discovered Laser Discs, but had to convert to DVD. Then Blu-ray came along, but that was more of an upgrade, I didn't bother re-purchasing my movie collection, I just swapped over to buying that format going forward.

Will I Have To Endure Another Format War?

At my present age, I wonder if I'll have to do this again. I'm a fan of physical media, be it music, video games, or films. To me, streaming and the cloud is not an upgrade. It's a tether. A way to force you into a service with 80% B-movies and assorted garbage. Owning DVDs feels freeing. I love to peruse my collection "blockbuster style" and can always find a movie I love in a matter of minutes. I can spend an hour searching through streaming services and just give up.

Finding a good movie via on-screen searching is dreadful!
To be honest, I feel the online searching issue has to do with discovery issues. Those huge tiles are slow and reveal little information. Their idea of genres is that all movies fit into at least a dozen genres, so I see the same titles in Action as I do Scifi and Horror. It's just too time consuming to search online menus. From music to video games, good choices should be revealed much sooner. That voice-button on the remote is nifty, but doesn't hel at all.

Streaming services made it sound like you'd have access to every film or tv show ever made. Instead, you get a few new additions each month and they remove films as well! I love physical media. 90% of ownership is having the product in your hand - not in a cloud!

I don't view streaming and digital copies to be a new "format." I see it as a way to adjust conformity. When a movie I love watching is removed from a streaming service, I see the value of DVDs and physical media. It offers nothing that enhances or betters the viewing, playing or listening experience. It simply introduces limits masked as convenience. Listening to music or watching a movie on your phone is convenient, but when you trade freedom for convenience, we all lose.

I'll choose browsing through my CDS, video games, and movies any day over digital menus jam-packed with a rotating array of crap!
August 21, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Jersey Shore star Jwoww playing Stern's Stranger Things pinball with her son

Looks like a nice little home arcade with some Arcade1Up cabinets, including Galaga
Stern Pinball gave Jenni Farley (of Jersey Shore fame) a shoutout after she posted a few pics of a home arcade complete with Stern's Stranger Things pinball table.

Jwoww playing Stern's Stranger Things pinball with her son Jwoww playing Stern's Stranger Things pinball with her son.
Jwoww playing Stern's Stranger Things pinball with her son Jenni Farley's home arcade, shown with her son.

July 2020 Retro Gaming Articles:

July 3, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Check out Fire Tiger's new 80s-inspired album, “All The Time”

Their third album is available on CD, vinyl LP, and cassette!
2020 has turned the music world on its head. The virus has concerts canceled. Albums postponed. You need some retro-inspired 80s pop rock blasting from your speakers!

Fire Tiger band Fire Tiger delivers another great album in the middle of a pandemic and it's just what the doctor ordered! They're a Los Angeles based retro power pop / classic rock band playing original songs that will take you back to the glory of the 80s.

You can order physical albums online or download them from your favorite digital music retailer. Buy all three - you won't be disappointed! I bought their first two albums and have All The Time on order. Fire Tiger is like discovering a cool 80s band in today's music landscape.

2020 has been a crazy year with the pandemic altering everything we do from work to entertainment. All The Time is just what you need in a year when the world as we knew it disappeared. Bring back what you loved about late 70s ad 80s rock. Fire Tiger will rock you and leave you smiling.

Fire Tiger's new album All The Time
July 1, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

With the Summer season upon us, I'm taking a break to hang out with my son

We hope everyone has a great summer. Without movie theaters and arcades, there's a whole different vibe around here, but the beaches are open and we hope to get in some mini golf here and there!

The coronavirus is still a deadly threat. It hasn't gone away despite what Moron Trump says. He's responsible for every American death due to his denials and mishandling of the entire pandemic. While most countries are successfully lowering their risk, the US is raging hard into a full resurgence. Stay safe out there!