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First Quarter 2022 - January, February, and March

After nearly two years of varying pandemic conditions, the rich got richer and everyone else suffered the consequences of new COVID variants brought on by the uneducated anti-askers and hoax folks. The first year we stayed home from work and gamed. The following year, the rich ordered us back to work so the 1% would continue to benefit from our labor... and we still played games even though gas and groceries were inflated to ridiculous costs. Game on!

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January 2022 Retro Gaming Articles:

January 20, 2022 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Record Store Day has a global ambassador who's long been a supporter of indie record stores - Taylor Swift

Record Store Day has a global ambassador Taylor Swift
She's so much more than a crossover country star dominating the world of pop music.
Aside from all the unique releases that arrive specially for Record Store Day, the event takes music to a higher level than simply listening. Album art was a huge component to music in the days of 12" vinyl albums, the canvas of the cover was planned and adorned, given equal importance as the music. Many times artwork was printed on the album's sleeve as well.

RSD reinvigorates the glory of buying and enjoying music!
Owning an album had visual and tactile elements that enhanced the listening. The bland sterility of an MP3 takes so much away from listening to music. These days music is largely a background activity that accompanies something like jogging, exercise, houseword, etc.

In my youth it was quite common to sit around the turntable and just listen to a new album. Eager to hear the latest from Aerosmith, Genesis, or Van Halen we wanted to ingest every bit of a new album's release from liner notes and art to the actual music.

Today, we have digital previews and all sorts of marketing that leads up to a new album. As a kid, new music simply appeared at retail and word spread fast. We loved hearing what our rock heroes had released. It was a moment of wonder that is largely lost today. Record Store Day brings back a lot of the joy I remember from buying records as a kid. I love the durability of CDs, but have no love for MP3 files blasting from a single Bluetooth speaker.

In her ambassador statement, Taylor Swift said:
I'm very proud to be this year's ambassador for Record Store Day. The places where we go to browse and explore and discover music new and old have always been sacred to me. Record stores are so important because they help to perpetuate and foster music-loving as a passion. They create settings for live events. They employ people who adore music thoroughly and purely. Those people and shops have had a rough few years and we need to support these small businesses more now than ever to make sure they can stay alive, stay eccentric, and stay individual.

It's been a true joy for me to watch vinyl sales grow in the past few years and we, the artists, have the fans to thank for this pleasant surprise. Happy Record Store Day, everyone! Stay safe out there.

Record Store Day has a global ambassador Taylor Swift
January 18, 2022 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Microsoft's purchase of Activision is more about Candy Crush than COD, but lets not forget those 2600 gems

Microsoft's purchase of Activision
We tend to forget there's a huge population that loves Candy Crush with an aversion to shooting while shouting into a headset.
As I began reading the stories about Microsoft's purchase of Activision for around $70 billion, I saw countless comments about the fate of Call of Duty. Sure. It's a huge franchise with a big following, but Activision is so much more including games I'd never touch like King's library of loud colorful games like Candy Crush. And it was the ex-Atari employees who became fed up and formed Activision in the late 70s, making some of the best games for Atari's 2600 VCS game console.

Hey Microsoft: Don't forget about Activision's 8-bit games!
I'm most curious to see what will become of the early games for Atari consoles. I went the Playstation route in the mid 90s, ignoring the Xbox and it's library. I couldn't afford both consoles along with the games. Will these early 80s games be locked inside the Xbox world or will they be leveraged and maybe rebooted in a "Recharged" manne as seen recently with severa Atari classics.

I really like the Recharged versions of Centipede, Asteroids and Missile Command. Activision has an eighties library of games lending well to such treatments. Retro seems to be an ever-growing market segment... Let's see some of those classic Activision games from the 80s return to glory. Or perhaps they'll be lumped into Xbox Game Pass. Here's hoping they share the wealth on some of their 8-bit gems!
January 10, 2022 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

When the temperatures drop, I tend to buy more hoodies

So which provides the best chance for survival - Kendall's fuzzy boots or fuzzy hat?
I'll admit my Winter fashion is far less stylish than I'd like, but my version of warmth is mostly relegated to a new hoodie. This past week I bought five new hoodies - Never done that before... ever! Radio Shack had a sale on their logo zip-up hoodies and I love a zip-u with a classic logo. Next I got an email from the Van Halen Store and for once the prices weren't sky-high! Then the Megadeth Store had a sale and I discovered another zip-up I liked.

As if that weren't enough, I stopped into my favorite local skate shop and they had a fleece-lined hoodie... and it was a zip-up too! So this week I bought 5 hoodies which almost guarantees the temperatures will roar up into the fifties.

Kendall Jenner enjoys the snow Kendall fends off hypothermia and death with fuzzy footwear.
Kendall Jenner enjoys the snow Kendall's survival instincts kicked in and her fuzzy hat added minutes to her survival strategy.

I dig Kendall Jenner. She seems to be the sanest member of her clan and her car collection is to die for. She has amazing taste in fashion and automobiles!
January 7, 2022 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Check out this Ska tribute to Mario Kart 64, Skario Kart

Ska tribute to Mario Kart 64, SKario Kart
Enjoy 16 tracks of ska arrangements of the music from this classic Nintendo 64 video game!
GameGrooves game music - celebrating the diversity, passion, and creativity of the VGM community - released Skario Kart, a 16-track album featuring ska performances from the N64 classic. The Skario Kart album is available on Bandcamp!

This ska-infused trip down memory lane, covers everything from Toad's Turnpike and Frappe Snowland to Koopa Castle and Rainbow Road. The album's 14 artists get rhythmic, funky, and even retro with a variety of different takes on the ska genre.

From the Scarlet Moon press release:
"Drawing inspiration from Skatune Network, I wanted to transform Mario Kart 64's soundtrack into a ska-filled celebration," comments GameGrooves producer Allen Brasch. "With the help of Brent and Jer from Skatune Network, I was able to contact several artists in the ska community, and together with existing GameGrooves artists, we created a one-of-a-kind album for fans of ska and video game music alike!"

Skario Kart track listing:
  1. Mario Kart 64 Theme 2
  2. Raceways / Mario Stadium
  3. Moo Moo Farm/Yoshi Valley
  4. Koopa Troopa Beach
  5. Kalimari Desert
  6. Set up and Kart Select
  7. Toad's Turnpike
  8. Frappe Snowland/Sherbert Island
  9. Choco Mountain/Battle Arenas
  10. Koopa Castle
  11. Battle Arenas
  12. DK's Jungle Party
  13. Banshee Boardwalk
  14. Rainbow Road
  15. Trophy Presentations
  16. Victory Lap
January 6, 2022 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

PlayStation VR2 is coming to PS5 with eye-tracking and some confusion about PS4

PlayStation VR2
As game hardware mixes and matches various compatible elements, how do they all fit together, if at all?
Rumors have Sony's PlayStation VR2 arriving in late 2022 for the PS5. The main attraction seems to be eye-tracking which will give developers/players another input mechanism for controlling games. Blink to fire a weapon or quickly change directions, for example. It's a pretty cool feature not found in a lot of VR options on the market. An adaptation of the Horizon series will accompany the VVR2.

It seems pretty clear that PSVR2 is exclusive to the PS5, thus owners of Sony's initial Virtual Reality setup will have to be content with keeping their PS4 on deck for their original PSVR games. Where this gets a bit muddled is the fact that the PS5 is backward compatible and can play PS4 games. Can it play PSVR games for the PS4? Will PSVR2 allow you to play your old PSVR fames? I'm guessing the answer is No, but it adds an unnecessary level of confusion to the market.

Horizon for PlayStation VR2 Most gamers won't be confused by these options, but hardware is often purchased as gifts when consoles and new accessories are released during the holiday season. The PS4 Pro console brought on a lot of questions that few had solid answers for in terms of exclusivity and new gaming standards that may have left the former PS4 over-worked.

When Grandma and Grandpa hit up Best Buy or GameStop at the end of the year, the fewer questions they have to answer, the better. One can only hope there won't be a PS5 Pro by that time.

Virtual Reality is certainly growing and gaining more traction with the price points of Oculus and PSVR becoming reasonable. A growing population is accepting one-player games that remove sight of anything outside the game (bump ouch crash). The same "headset scenario" seemed to doom similar 3D TV offerings. Gaming, although also social, may not be bound to the same expectations as watching a movie on the couch with friends. And that eye-tracking seems like a game-changing tech, really setting the PS5 apart.
January 4, 2022 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The new line-up from Arcade1Up begins with Killer Instinct and Suzo-Happ controls

Arcade1Up Killer Instinct with Suzo-Happ controls
Arcade1Up has a few more upgrades including wifi and larger screens!
Slated for a mid-January release, arcade favorite Killer Instinct is coming to the realm of Arcade1Up home video game cabinets. It comes with more bells & whistles than older games and a larger price tag. Shown at $699 on their website, the Killer Instinct game comes with a larger 17" monitor, wifi, and Suzo-Happ joysticks and buttons.

This is the arcade version of KI and the cabinet also comes with KI2, Battletoads (arcade version) as well as the 8 & 16 bit home version of Battletoads. I've felt these cabinets are too small and the controls are cheap. I've read they are now using Suzo-Happ controls wich I used for many home joystick projects and loved their quality.

While I think they are striving to deliver a better product, I'd like to see a more robust demo display in retail stores. Seeing them constantly broken at Best Buy and Walmart is uninspiring to me as a consumer. They need to be on display in more balistic manner to fend off the toxic morons that like to break things. I love the way they are expanding titles, but the size just isn't right for me.

I'll have to say, their announcement of Out Run got me excited. If I could find an in-store demo with a solid build and their new standards, I can see having one in my living room!
January 3, 2022 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

These highly-detailed diecast models from 1970's science-fiction show Space: 1999 look amazing

Space: 1999 diecast model ships
Space: 1999 was a British scifi show of 48 episodes, televised between 1975 and 1979.
A cult classic of 70s sci-fi, this TV show, Space: 1999, detailed the adventures of Moonbase Alpha, whose 311 personnel were stranded after a nuclear explosion sent the Moon hurtling into deep space. I've loved this scifi show since seeing it in the 70's. The fact that we've passed 1999 by two decades contrasts with how futuristic it seemed at it's debut.

These ten-inch diecast replica ships from Eaglemoss Hero Collector look great in a size that separates them from the typical toy models.

Space: 1999 diecast model ships Powered by 4 fusion rockets, the Eagle One could reach speeds of 23,700 miles per second, and fly for up to 48 hours. This Transporter Eagle (or "Type A") could hold 8-12 passengers, plus the pilot and co-pilot, sacrificing space for scientific equipment or weaponry in favor of a passenger pod.

Measuring an impressive 10 inches in length, the Eagle One Transporter model replica is accompanied by a companion magazine packed with design info, interviews, and more.
Space: 1999 diecast model ships Designed by Academy Award-winning SFX director Brian Johnson (Alien, Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey), the Eagle One is the iconic hero ship of Space: 1999, and the primary transport for the crew of Moonbase Alpha. This modular vessel had many alternative configurations: it's presented here with its booster pod module.

Measuring an impressive 10 inches in length, the Eagle One Booster Pod model replica is accompanied by a companion magazine packed with design info, interviews, and more.

Space: 1999 diecast model ships The "Type E" Eagle One boasted a remote laboratory pod, modified from the passenger pod. It was used to locate and refine crude minerals on planetary surfaces, and offered an array of scientific equipment for contact-and-survey teams, who could use it as a planetside base for several weeks.

Measuring an impressive 9.8 inches in length, the Eagle One Laboratory is accompanied by a companion magazine packed with design info, interviews, and more.