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Third Quarter 2021 - July August September

Just when that pandemic was declared "OVER" and the game industry thrived on folks trapped at home with nothing to do but play video games... it's back. Mask mandates are appearing again and the Delta variant of COVID-19 is worse than the original virus. It's a shame the US is populated with morons who can't adhere to simple rules and procedures to eradicate the disease in a matter of weeks - even when there's a vaccine! Maybe the gaming industry is headed for another booming quarter... if anyone is alive to play video games.

September 2021 Retro Gaming Articles:

September 30, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

If you liked Missile Command Recharged, check out how Atari has “Recharged” Centipede with lots of extras

Atari Centipede Recharged
Centipede Recharged brings a lot of new dynamics and modern attributes to this reboot. Not a quick & dirty remake.
I loved what they did with Missile Command Recharged, but after playing the similarly modernized Centipede game, it makes this Recharged version far more advanced than just the visuals. With familiar gameplay as the original 80's classic, Centipede Recharged offers power-ups in the form of dual fire, rapid-fire, spread shot, and effects slowing time.

The manic pace of the original is well preserved, but takes the mania further with an assortment of challenges that are akin to mini-games, separate from the core bug-zapping game we've all loved for decades. Arcade games notoriously wanted you to keep putting in more quarters or tokens thus the games themselves were quite short and difficult. As games began migrating to home consoles like the Atari 2600 or Colecovision, those challenging games could be tackled by brute force on the living room floor.

Even with today's modern reboot, Centipede Recharge offers those notoriously short sessions, but is fun and challenging enough to draw you back time and again. There are plenty of games delivering hours of continuous play. For me, I love a short difficult game. Going back to a favorite game is something I still love about gaming. Centipede is a classic and the Recharged version is a delight to return to for a quick game or in-depth session. Check it out!

Atari Centipede Recharged
September 20, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

October is bringing N64 and Genesis games to the Switch's online offering

N64 games on Switch
I'm not fond of the way the NES & SNES games were handled and they want to charge an additional fee for more of the same.
I was excited about the NES rollout of online games, then saw the bland crowded matrix of boxes sufficing as a menu. My interest quickly waned. I bought the NES-style controllers for the Switch - still haven't opened them. The excitement of NES games was drained from me by the presentation and slow pace at which new games were added. I've long thought Nintendo should bring back the NES library... but not 2 games per month. Too slow.

It seems the N64 and Genesis titles will be handled in a similar manner. Below is a list of initial game. Most likely more will trickle in over time. Nintendo has not released the pricing for the new platforms, but all the advertising suggests it will be an additional amount on the existing online bill.

List of games for each of the two new platforms:
    NINTENDO 64 Games for Switch Online

  1. Super Mario 64
  2. Mario Kart 64
  3. Starfox 64
  4. Yoshi's Story
  5. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  6. WinBack: Covert Operations
  7. Mario Tennis
  8. Dr. Mario 64
  9. Sin and Punishment
    SEGA GENESIS Games for Switch Online

  1. Castlevania Bloodlines
  2. Contra: Hard Corps
  3. Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
  4. Eco the Dolphin
  5. Golden Axe
  6. Gunstar Heroes
  7. Musha
  8. Phantasy Star IV
  9. Ristar
  10. Shining Force
  11. Shinobi III
  12. Sonic 2
  13. Streets of Rage
  14. Strider

N64 and Genesis controllers for Switch Online

August 2021 Retro Gaming Articles:

August 26, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Back in the day, after Doom, everyone flocked to Quake - now available on Nintendo Switch

Quake screenshot
If you bought any of the modern Doom re-releases, you probably need Quake too
Doom took the gaming world by storm in the early-to-mid 90s with a first-person perspective, 3D graphics, network play and user modifications. Having introduced the first person shooter, this world hungered for more. In addition to numerable sequels, Quake was another answer in 1996. Recently we've seen a few re-releases of some of Doom's former iterations. They're a blast from the past and a ton of fun, even along side modern releases.

It seems Quake is now getting the reboot treatment as a physical version from Limited Run Games. It's been updated to be a visually enhanced version of the original. You'll get both original expansion packs: "The Scourge of Armagon" and "Dissolution of Eternity," as well as two more developed by MachineGames, called "Dimension of the Past," and "Dimension of the Machine."

I love the influx of older games rebooting onto newer platforms. It keeps the original spirit alive to a degree. While nothing beats an original game on original hardware, the next best thing is to preserve the game and give it new life with older fans and newer gamers. Imagine a world in which kids thought microsoft invented video games. Yikes! Keep retro alive!

Quake for Nintendo Switch
August 25, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

BlackPink's next member to release a solo album will be Lisa in September

September 10th is Lissa's solo album release date.
Everyone seems to be clamoring for Lisa's album. I'm curious to see if it is available in the US on a physical CD. K-pop releases seem to come with booklets, cards, and random stuff, so I'm hoping an actual CD is available.

Digital downloads are such a let down. Besides. I always burn digital stuff to CDR so I can listen to it. I try to keep up with the times, but I'm not moving my music collection to a cell phone!

Lisa's solo album
August 23, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I ordered Super Blood Hockey from Premium Edition Games, but didn't get the Switch game

This modern pixel game for Nintendo's Switch looked like a "bloody" Blades Of Steel, so I ordered a copy.
When the package arrived, it seemed to flat. Packed with too much stuff. When a retro box, manual and CD soundtrack poured from the package, I was suspicious about what I'd actually ordered. Double checking their website, it seemed as though they shipped the wrong stuff. I wanted the bloody hockey game, but got the upgrade pack for the game.

An email seemed to straighten things out, so I should have the game in a week or so. In the mean time, how cool is this retro upgrade. Hate to have to return it! It contains a cardboard box to give your switch case that retro look. There's also a cool comic book with a backstory about the coach. There's also a CD soundtrack.

I'm hoping this game is a blood soaked version of NES hockey games. Dying to give it a whirl!

Super Blood Hockey from Premium Edition Games
August 17, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

BlackPink The Movie, released August 4, broke many theater records globally and in the US

BlackPink The Movie
Every medium this group touches seems to explode with success. I'm eager to see their popularity grow in the US!
In early August BlackPink released a movie on the big screen. Fans accustomed to their Youtube offerings got the big screen experience at movie theaters around the world. The closest one to me was about two hours away and I couldn't make it on the date it played. Recently, Trafalgar Releasing announced that BlackPink The Movie was the highest grossing cinema release in 2021, The film grossed $4.8 million in a minimal release of just under 100 territories.

This theatrical release was part of BlackPink's fifth anniversary celebrations, shown in over 3,400 theaters. It reached No.6 at the US box office on the first night beaten only by Disney's Jungle Cruise.

I'm hoping The Movie will be released on Blu-ray or DVD.

BlackPink The Movie
August 16, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Retro Fighters are bringing wireless controllers to the original PlayStation and PS2

Defender joystick for PS1 and PS2 by Retro Fighters
Sony hasn't changed their controllers much over the years. Retro Fighters have a slick new design for older PlayStations!
Retro fighters have been revolutionizing controllers for retro game consoles with great success. The first controller I bought from them was for my NES and I loved it. Now they have a new option for the original PlayStation and PS2, called the Defender. Check out their PlayStation Defender controller Kickstarter for all the details.

They're wireless, using 2.4 Ghz, and work with the PS1 & 2 via dongles connected to the console's controller ports. The same dongle works for wireless compatibility on both the PS1 and PS2. They say it's rechargeable battery is good for 10 hours with a 30-foot range and has a rumble feature among others.

We've loved their products on the NES and N64. Their modern adaption of features to these older Nintendo consoles brought new life to games and super-charged our desire to delve into a lot of old games we hadn't played in ages. While the original control schemes for these consoles are simple, the comfort and options brought on by the Retro Fighter's controllers makes a stunning difference.

I'd love to see a controller for the old Atari consoles. A combo 2600 and 7800 controller would be amazing! In the mean time, boost your PlayStation skills with wireless controller for Sony's first two consoles!

Defender joystick for PS1 and PS2 by Retro Fighters
August 13, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Take a look at the packaging for Evercade's VS video game console

Evercade VS packaging
Their slick retro multigame handheld game console is coming as a living room appliance for your large-screen gaming cravings!
Overcame released the final versions of the packaging for the upcoming console version. We've had a blast with the multi-game cartridges on the handheld version. The home console model will play all the existing carts on your large TV via HDMI. The even have new arcade packs for the console's launch!

This console is a great step forward in preserving favorite games on a modern system. They have been steadily releasing new game carts full of retro favorites. I'm really excited about the upcoming arcade releases.

Evercade VS packaging
August 5, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Playdate's initial pre-order sold out, proving lots of folks want a handheld game console with a hand crank

Their unique approach and quirky design have won gamers over to Panic's Playdate handheld game console.
The first batch of pre-orders sold out in a matter of hours. That's 20,000 units. That's a lot of Playdates. They'll be delivered in 2021 while those who missed the initial run, can get into the second batch slated for sometime in 2022. The second batch is an open order and will not "sell out". I'm not sure how long the second pre-order will be available, but they are fulfilling all the orders until closed.

We think you should embrace it's uniqueness and pick one up. The 3DS had a lot of nice features, but did not have an analog hand-crank. You need a Playdate! :)
August 4, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

BlackPink's Animal Crossing island is very pink and in your area on August 6th

We've seen music concerts appear in Fortnite, but an island in a prime Nintendo IP is a huge deal!
Blackpink are checking off the milestones as the popular K-Pop group's fan-base keeps growing. However, getting their own custom island in Nintendo's Animal Crossing: New Horizons game is a cool achievement. This is one part of their fifth anniversary celebration.

The island is purported to be coming online on August 6. Aside from it's pink theme, it will offer a shop for getting Blackpink gear for your islanders.

Blackpink's Animal Crossing island

July 2021 Retro Gaming Articles:

July 29, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Atari announced release of a modernized version of 1983's Food Fight arcade game for their VCS console

Atari's  modernized version of Food Fight
I loved Food Fight for the Atari 7800 and would love to see Charley Chuck on modern consoles.
Food Fight for the Atari 7800 is one of my favorite games for that console. I recently had the opportunity to play the arcade game at Funspot Arcade - a first for me! Today Atari announced they are modernizing the game for their recently released VCS game console.

While I passed on the new VCS (I did buy one of those cool looking joysticks) I'm certain any game developed for it by Atari will be ported to consoles with larger user-bases. Releasing in 2022, Megacat Studios is developing the title and say it will come to PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch.

It will feature 3D graphics, new characters and co-op play with online components. This is a great game to reboot and I'm excited to see it on modern platforms.
July 14, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Charge it to BlackPink

As if spending money wasn't easy enough already, you can have your own BlackPink credit card
Having some extra BlackPink credit could come in handy based on the import prices for their music. I love what they do, but I thought partnering with Interscope Records would bring down their album prices as well as expose their music to more fans in the US.

BC Card's BlackPink credit card
July 13, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Playlists and shuffle-play are swell, but albums are best when played in the order the artist intended

A well laid out album is more than the sumof ist's songs
Creating singles seems to be the heart of today's music industry, but they lack the cohesion of a properly arranged album.
Musicians used to release collections of songs as albums. The arrangement and order of the songs was as important as the music itself. It all came together in a package that energized the senses from cover art and liner notes, to the music itself. When shuffle-play became a CD feature, it altered the entire vibe of an artist's album - totally changing my reaction to it. It felt like I'd been given a tool, I shouldn't possess. It wasn't my right to alter an album by upsetting it's order. The artist laid it out as it was meant to be heard.

These days, music is regurgitated by end users who create playlists on streaming apps. The heart of music has been reduced to a digital file played wirelessly over a cheap speaker.

I grew up listening to albums by myself and with friends. What I mean is we didn't play music in the background as we did other things. We listened to albums - that WAS the thing! Today, music is equally important as it was when I was a kid, but way we enjoy music has taken a backseat to the artistry of it all.

Album art is a huge part of music to me, Playing the songs is just a part of the overall experience. I loved finding info on the record sleeves or inserts along with the vinyl. As artwork shrank onto cassettes and then CDs, it seemed as though a large part of the visual beauty of listening to music was reduced.

Albums Define Eras

My favorite part of buying a new album was it often represented a new era in a band's development and growth. Some bands released new albums yearly, while others went for years without any new music. It was amazing to unwrap a new album and listen to both sides in one sitting, listening to a favorite band's new material. Part of the magic was the cohesion of the dozen new songs and how they were arranged to create a vibe around the new collection.

These days new singles drop for a doller of so and often never become released as a cohesive album with an era-defining sound. Today, new singles feel like lonely MP3 files that eventually are forgotten or deleted as new ones arrive. Even the technology behind today's music is very different from my youth.

We bought stereos on which we played our records, tapes and CDs. From amps to equalizers and new play components and speakers, we upgraded to achieve better sound. We had stereo - a term that seems lost on today's music fan. Our speakers moved air to create piercing treble and rich bass that could be heard as well as felt. Try that over Bluetooth with single speaker. It may be full of lights and float in your pool, but I assure you that speaker sucks!

Next time you buy a complete album, sit and listen to it from beginning to end. Like reading a good book, a good album will harness your attention and deliver an experience worth having all on it's own. Sure you want to listen to your favorite songs as a mix-tape, but never lose the magic of an album crafted for a unique experience by the artist who created the songs.
July 6, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Switch Pro announcement highlights features that make me appreciate my old model

Available October 8 for $349, it's a mix of features that don't interest me much as a "living room" gamer.
Nintendo announced the specs for it's upcoming upgrade to it's Switch video game console. For me as a connected-to-the-TV user, the slightly larger OLED screen is not too interesting to me. I like that it has more internal memory, but 64GB is still not enough to fend off the need for an SD card soon after purchase.

I Adore my 2DS and take it everywhere with me. For the price, I can drop it and replace it without too much worry. A $300 game console is another matter when it comes to sidewalk impact. I tend to use my Switch almost exclusively on my TV. Portability is nice, but not paramount to my gaming style. I'm still addicted to my 2DS for that and love the "slate" form factor over the wider Switch.

Nintendo Switch Pro OLED
The larger, more adjustable, stand should have been part of the original release. The inclusion of a LAN port is confusing to me. Are people still running 10BaseT from their console to their router in the age of wifi?