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 2015 - July, August, September

We strive to create quality, original retro gaming content. We look for connections between our favorite games of yesteryear and modern gaming. Retro gaming is as vibrant as ever, even in today's modern age of video games! Check out the retro gaming things we've discovered in 2015!

September 2015 Retro Gaming Articles:

September 30, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Real3DOPlayer app, 3DO emulator is available for Android devices

3DO logo Before Best Buy crushed the various electronics stores in my area, I favored a place called Nobody Beats the Wiz - later purchased by Cablevision and currently an online retailer run by P.C. Richard. It was a strange name, but having bought most of my tapes and CDs from Crazy Eddie, it seemed fairly normal to me. It was there that I first saw a 3DO. Crazy Eddie

Nobody Beats The Wiz logo The 3DO was created by EA founder Trip Hawkins, but not in the traditional sense of a game console. Rather, it was a series of specifications that was licensed to 3rd party developers to manufacture. Panasonic was first to market with the CD-based 3DO game system. It was released in October 1993, just a month before the Atari Jaguar. I was a manic Atari fan and had budgeted my money for a Jag at the time.

Since this was about 2 years before Sega's Saturn and Sony's Playstation cemented the notion of optical media, I didn't pay much attention to the 3DO. It's price point was far more than the Jaguar and I wanted an Atari. The 3DO came and went in a matter of three years and was even over shadowed by Nintendo's upcoming N64. The 3DO may have been a victim of timing, but it's cost certainly turned away some gamers as did it's lack of games at launch. It listed at $699, but was typically sold for less.

Despite being unsuccessful as a console and business model, the 3DO had a library of over 300 games. With that size library, it's no wonder that emulators were created to keep these games alive for those who owned 3DOs and those, like myself, who wanted to see what we missed out on.

Road Rash for 3DO Real3DOPlayer for Android seems to be in the early stages of development, but it runs very well and has garnered a lot of acclaim for it's ability to deliver on devices sporting a 1.5 GHz dual core ARM. There are some embellishments needed in the interface and a few control issues, but it seems to be off to a very promising start.
September 29, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Even before earning $70,000, the Retro VGS game console's Indiegogo campaign was canceled

Retro VGS game console Indiegogo campaign was canceled Ten days after launching a crowd funding campaign to reignite the face of retro gaming, the Retro VGS console succumbed to it's poor planning amidst confusion and anger from many customers. It's a shame to see this happen, but it's probably the best outcome for all involved. It will hopefully allow them to re-access and come back with a console that will truly revolutionize gaming.

I had high hopes for the Retro VGS and really wanted to see this cartridge based game console come to market, especially with the premise of delivering retro-style games. These are the kind of games I grew up playing and still love to play alongside my PS3 and Wii U favorites.

The idea of a system with no internet connection was refreshing. I loath the massive day-one game updates and frequent console system updates. Each of these makes me wonder why I bother with modern consoles. I certainly value the games I'm able to play with my son now versus those I played when I was his age, but the games from my day were simple, fast and provided just as much fun!

It would be nice to turn on a game console and begin playing a game instantly. No updates. No downloads. No patches, fixes, or purchase offers. I just want to play a game.

A Great Idea Released Too Soon

It was clear before the crowd funding started, the Retro VGS project was not well thought out. It began as a $150 console that would play retro-style games via cartridge. The week before launching on Kickstarter, they switched to Indiegogo and announced a $300+ price point. That alone turned many folks away.

Some were concerned because Indiegogo requires backers to pay up front, while Kickstarter collects funds at the end. More concerning was that Kickstarter requires a working prototype for hardware campaigns and apparently the Retro VGS was still in design. All the photos we saw were renders. They could not show backers any games running on actual hardware. Additionally, there were no exclusive games. All the titles were available elsewhere for less money.

After a quick glance at their Indiegogo campaign, I decided not to back this project. Trying to raise $2 million when they can't even demonstrate proof-of-concept was bad planning. It takes a lot to create a new piece of hardware and they were promising delivery within one year when they didn't even know if they had a viable product. I wasn't the only one to reject the campaign for this reason. The tally of Indiegogo dollars began to flow in reverse as former backers requested refunds!

On September 29, ten days after launch, Mike Kennedy posted to Indiegogo and the Retro VGS Facebook page that the campaign was being cancelled and they would regroup to later deliver the console as it was originally presented. It will be cheaper and they will show it's glory via a working prototype. Hopefully, they will save the bells & whistles for a later release once they develop an install base of satisfied gamers.

Cancelation Notice from Mike Kennedy

Retro VGS game console Indiegogo campaign was canceled From their Campaign page:
Hey Everyone! It's clear, in its current state the RETRO VGS Indiegogo campaign is dead in the water and thusly will be shut down early. Once the Indiegogo team explains to us how we can do this, the plug will be pulled and all of you who have contributed will receive a refund post haste. Or you can go in and request a refund from Indiegogo right now.

The good news is we arent giving up and have made some adjustments to our hardware team, which includes the involvement of... other hardware gurus who were part of our venture in the very beginning. We will also be lowering the price while maintaining most of the cool features you all want.

We will be back in the near future with a prototype RETRO VGS system, front-and-center playing our games on our cartridges and with our USB controller. Sit tight, be patient and RETRO VGS will return.

Thanks again for your support, patience and understanding while we regroup and prepare for the relaunch of a new crowd funding campaign.
Mike Kennedy


I look forward to seeing the Retro VGS resurface once they have a working prototype and can really build excitement around a retro cartridge-based game console. I believe this can be a successful venture and I hope they can deliver the system that their fans crave.
September 28, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

After NASA's announced finding water on Mars, social media felt there may be more...#AlsoFoundOnMars

Mars is Trending I get a kick out of ridiculous hashtags. Admittedly, they are quite useful for uniting disparate pieces of information pertaining to a common cause. But, we all need to laugh at things often enough to not let our heads explode when the going gets tough.

NASA announced finding water on present-day Mars. Having not found life outside our own planet, this is quite exciting as water is one of the critical necessities of life as we know it. I doubt Martians are lurking just out of view of the various rovers we've sent there, but if life ever existed on Mars, the discovery of water means life could exist there in the future.

Several ambitious dreamers have been planning a colonization effort of Mars and are soliciting those who find Earthly dwelling to banal for their liking. There are a handful of efforts you can align with if the red planet is more to your liking. Personally, I'm not going to Mars until they can provide retro arcades that serve food after 11pm.

Also Found On Mars With the "water on Mars" announcement, social media had to jump into the fray and speculate about what else might be found on Mars. I do like moronic hashtags and had to jump on #AlsoFoundOnMars with a Moon Patrol pic. :)
September 28, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

As much as I miss 1980s Arcades, I'm fortunate to live near a few who understand the value of retro gaming

Between 2 of my local arcades, they offer Millipede, Pac-Man, Joust, Frogger, Space Invaders, and Donkey Kong arcade cabinets. In an era when sitting alone at home with a headset is considered gaming, I am very appreciative of the retro gaming offerings in my area.

Millipede and Pac-Man
September 27, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

After playing arcade ports at home, I needed a real-deal arcade game reminder

I loved the 2-player dynamic of Wizard of Wor. It was the first arcade game that I experienced in which 2 players could play simultaneously and decide how the co-op would work. You could team up to clear the dungeons or treat the other player as an enemy.

This dynamic is why I also loved playing Joust. I could play with a friend or random stranger. The longer the game, the more likely the opponent-dynamic would change. You might start as a unified team, but once your buddy shot you (accidentally or not) it was now a survival game for one and all. Not too many games let the players change roles in that manner. Good times were had when these arcade games were the backbone of all our local arcades.

Wiliams' Joust arcade game Out of curiosity, I went through my console games to see how many Joust games I had on different platforms. I was surprised to discover that I can play Joust on the Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, 800, NES, GameBoy, SNES, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation, PS2 and PS3. That's a lot of Joust options! I'm surprised I ever leave the house (aside from grocery shopping), but let me tell you why I'm glad I do :)

Arcade console ports are great, but don't match the real thing!
A local arcade added Joust last fall, which led me to drop a lot of quarters even though I can play eleven variations of Joust at home. As much as I love console ports, there's something magical about a joystick in-hand and a fire button (or Flap button) with an audible click. Hearing the regeneration-sound blaring from an overhead speaker in the cabinet is tremendous as are the crisp graphics.

It's the sort of experience that can not be replicated on a home console. Even though the later ports may be exact replicas of the game play... there will always be a missing component. I say this based on an individual title, but when you mix in the entire arcade experience of the early 80's, there's nothing like it. From the mixture of attract-mode sounds and bright marquees to the day-glow carpeting and vibe of excitement in the air, playing at home pales in comparison.

I'm thankful to be able to play these games at home, but I'd love to see the surge in retro and barcades bring back some of that after-dark awesomeness of video game arcades! If nothing else... it's a good reminder that Spy Hunter arcade games had crazy-cool steering wheels along with a gearshift and pedal. :)
September 26, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

On the eve of LEGO Dimensions' release Toys R Us had this kiosk tucked away

My local Toys R Us has cleared shelf space the the display of the LEGO Dimensions games and accessories. With a day to wait before the release, they had this kiosk set up in the back corner, out of sight from most shoppers.

LEGO Dimensions kiosk at Toys R Us I opted out of the Skylanders SuperChargers game this year and decided to try Disney Infinity again since they've added Star Wars to the mix. Then I discover LEGO Dimensions is coming out. I'm tired of continually having to buy more stuff (stuff I don't have room for) for a single video game titles. I'm still not sure if we're going to add Dimensions to our mix.
September 26, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

September 26 is Batman Day- discuss the Caped Crusader over a few beers

Once again Twitter hashtags have alerted me to another fabricated holiday in which retailers hope you'll open your wallet and let your good credit come forth. Like many of these "holidays", I'd never heard of Batman Day, but I'm wiling to play along. I believe it was "created" in 2014.

Batman Day As I was trying to figure out what Batman Day entails, I came across a series of articles about a controversy as to it's correct date. The circumstance to this holiday is that it's the day Bruce Wayne became Batman. Apparently there are two camps on this debate. Some argue that he became Batman on the night his parents were killed while others say its when he first donned the cape and cowl. These sides agree on the 26th, but argue over it being September or June.

The sad truth is that retailers will take your money on either day, so it's more of a subjective determination that only effects those with a strong connection to Batman's story. Whichever side you fall on, enjoy the day and play a Batman game and share your Batman comics with a friend. Holidays like this should be about the valor and virtue of the character - not buying stuff.

While it's a good day to buy a Batman game, book, or comic - we think it's also a good day to discuss your favorite story arc or detail! Batman's popularity goes back decades and is still a relevant hero in today's world. Crack open a few beers (or sodas) and let the good-natured debates begin.
September 26, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Someone didn't like designing happy homes - GameStop has a used copy the day after release

It didn't take someone long to decide designing happy homes was not for them. The day after it's release, I saw a copy of Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer on the Used Game rack at GameStop.

Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer I wasn't expecting to like the original Animal crossing for 3DS. I got a kick out of Tomodachi Life and figured I'd give it a try. After a few forays into being the Mayor of a town, it kind of grew on me. It's a quirky game, but offers a lot of variation and the local-play options are pretty slick.

Yesterday I picked up the Happy Home Designer game on a whim since it was bundled with the NFC add-on for amiibo support. I'm curious to see how the NFC device works with some the the supported games I own and with these amiibo cards. Apparently the amiibo cards are collectible cards randomized into packs of 5 cards. Each card brings that character into your game and allows you to save info to the card and then share it with a friend.

The version of Animal Crossing again makes good use of connectivity and sharing. It takes the fun of the game and lets it involve other players. Very cool.

I see a lot of folks on social media posting pics of things they are holding in their hand. I know this is to reinforce the idea that it it indeed their picture and not some random advertising shot. I'm not much of a hand model and prefer to insert some ramdom object. I placed my Binatone Bluetooth smartphone handset in this Animal Crossing pic. ;)
September 26, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

GameStop has been discarding retro gaming for years & now wants to ruin 3rd generation games

Please do NOT trade-in your retro games at GameStop! Have a yard sale. Bring them to a flea market. Give them to a friend. Read on to see how GameStop is dumping gaming's history into their dumpsters - for simplicity and profit!

I often wonder about the number of used games displayed on GameStop's shelves that are in generic cases. Do most gamers throw away the plastic game cases and simply leave the bare discs lying on a table? I doubt it.

GameStop puts retro gaming history in their dumpsters Here's my theory- I think each GameStop location keeps enough generic game cases to make their shelf-space appear to be filled - so their shelves don't look bare. Cases that don't fit on the shelves, takes up storage space which is both expensive and minimal in most GameStop locations.

If GameStop's supply of shelved games is full and you bring in a stack of games for trade - they will only keep the game disc and throw away the original cases, artwork, manuals, and any other included items. Just check their dumpsters - you'll be shocked at the treasures they dispose of as trash. It shows how little regard they have for gaming.

Games Take Up Too Much Space

The sad truth is that the game discs alone (without a case and manual) take up less space. If they lack space, they throw gaming's history into the trash to suit their bottom line. GameStop seems to think a video game are nothing more than a game cart or disc. Apparently the artwork and manual is of no value. Having some shelved games in original cases looks good, but their insistance on minimal overhead necessitates having easy access to generic labels which is easier than storing each game's original artwork and other included materials.

GameStop puts retro gaming history in their dumpsters Can you imagine going to a supermarket and finding the shelves lines with generic products - all in white packaging with black lettering? Sounds pretty awful.

I remember picking up PS2 games at my local GameStop. A high percentage of them were shelved in their original cases with artwork and manuals. One day I went to seek a few more PS2 titles and found EVERY PS2 game disc had been placed in a paper sleeve and left on the same shelf.

Without the cases, these games took up far less space. What do you suppose happened to all those cases, artwork, and manuals? The artwork and manuals went into the trash. The cases were stuffed with generic labels needed to fill the shelves and the remainder thrown away.

Retro Gaming Is Going Into GameStop Dumpsters!

GameStop puts retro gaming history in their dumpsters GameStop has long been talking about selling retro games - games for NES, Genesis, SNES, N64, PlayStation, and Dreamcast. You'll now find these gems on their website. This is an online-only affair. Can you guess why? Shouldn't they be able to rotate stock for retro games in a similar manner?

GameStop likes to have one SKU for each product. Can you imagine the difficulty (from a corporate accounting POV) of having multiple SKUs for the same title based on various changing features?

As game collectors know, a CIB (complete in box) game is far more valuable than the cartridge alone. The more complete a game is, the higher it's value. For lone carts, the condition of the cart and label play a factor in determining price.

GameStop puts retro gaming history in their dumpsters Prices fluctuate, so it's hard for a large computerized retailer to manage multiple pieces of info about a single item. It's far easier for each item to have one SKU. Having five SKUs for NES Mega Man is problematic. Corporations don't solve problems as much as they dispose of them. In this case, GameStop has whittled retro gaming down to it's common denominator - the game cartridge or disc. That alone is what they sell. You won't get a CIB retro game from their website.

When you go into GameStop to sell your collection of CIB N64 games, the clerk will gladly accept your games in exchange for a pittance of their value. After you leave the store, they will bring your spectacular collection to the back room and remove all the game carts and throw the boxes, manuals, and inserts into the trash. This video shows what is happening at GameStops across the country:



Every single item from an old video game holds value. Whether it's a box, manual or insert - it is part of a finite amount of retro artifacts that are still around. So many items are discarded by people "cleaning the attic" and don't know the value of gaming items or their rarity. Considering that neither Nintendo nor Atari make games for their past consoles, every item we still have is finite. The games, manuals, and affiliated items are all we have. No more will ever be made. Such a finite supply should be regarded with care, not casually disposed of to ease a profit margin.

It's hard to believe that a company that evolved from the amalgamation of many smaller games stores could add to it's profits by destroying artifacts from gaming's history. It just goes to show that corporations always place profits over EVERYTHING! If you love video games, don't trade your games to companies like this. You'll get more value for your games at a yard sale anyway.

The included video and screen-caps came from the IWALVG YouTube channel. Check them out!
September 25, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

GameStop's exclusive retro amiibo 3-pack is one of my favorite releases

The last thing I need in my life is another "thing" to collect, so I've been trying to stave off the need to buy all the amiibo. It isn't always easy and I've lapsed a few times and bought ones I have no connection with. I started out with the Diddy and Donkey Kong amiibo and then picked up Pac-Man, Sonic, Mega Man, and Wario... and a few others.

My son and I love Splatoon, so I had to pick up the Inkling 3-pack. Oh yeah, couldn't pass on the classic 8-bit Mario. You can see that not collecting amiibo has been a challenge. Today was an exception. I like the retro figures, so today's GameStop exclusive of R.O.B., Mr. Game & Watch,and Duck Hunt was hard to pass up. Had to buy it.

GameStop's exclusive Retro 3-Pack amiibo The selection of characters for this 3-pack is quite surprising. I love it, but of all the characters they could release, these seem like fairly unlikely selections. A tip of my hat to Nintendo for going the retro route. These days, it's hard to find gamers who know these characters. It looks as though Nintendo is feeling the pulse of the retro community and will hopefully continue to release NES and early handheld era characters.

Lots of retro love for early-era amiibo characters!
Despite all the junk mail I get from GameStop, I must have missed the announcement about their amiibo Retro 3-Pack Exclusive. I knew these figures were being released, but I wasn't aware they were GameStop exclusives. Fortunately my boss is a Nintendo fan and directed me to GS. Otherwise I'd have wound up at Toys R Us wondering what happened.

Having played a lot of Chibi Robo on the GameCube, I'm dying to get the new 3DS platformer and Chibi Robo amiibo in October!
September 24, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Stop putting Q-tips in your ears and use them to clean your game carts

I was amazed to learn some people use Q-tips to clean ears - not game carts!

Much the way we use the term Kleenex when referring to any brand of tissue or say "Xerox" as a verb when the copier is most likely another manufacturer - the same is true for Q-tips. They're cotton swabs, but I've always cleaned game cartridges with "Q-tips" regardless of branding.

They say this is the mark of a successful brand - when it becomes a part-of-speech. We don't "search" the Internet. We Google things.

Doctors recommend against using Q-tips to clean one's ear canals, which is sound advice if you've ever gotten a bit overzealous and gone too deep - Ouch. With this in mind, we suggest using Q-tips to keep your retro carts in good condition. This is far preferable to blowing on them since blowing only adds moisture to the contacts.

Q-tips and retro video games Blowing on carts seemed to work simply because each time you re-inserted the cart, it rubbed against the internal contacts and eventually rubbed off enough oxidation to make the cart functional. But it sure made you fell as though you'd done something, right? :)
Q-tips and retro video games Q-tips can be used to clean nearly any game cartridge that may not be working due to oxidation on the contacts. Using Isopropyl alcohol is best as most of it evaporates away and leave moisture behind that causes oxidation - just like blowing on the cart.

Q-tips were invented in the early 1920 by a gent who's invention (cotton balls on toothpicks) went on to become the Q-tip brand. Those who copy this design call them cotton swabs to avoid legal action. One reason we use the Q-tip brand is the fuzz-factor.

Cheaper off-bands cut corners and the cotton on the end of the swab easily comes loose. That's not an issue in your ear, but when fuzz gets caught on the metal contacts of your game, that fuzz can get inside your console. Q-tips tend to be well made, but always lookout for loose fuzz when cleaning your retro video game carts.

Earlier this year I was introduced to the 1-UP Card which eliminates the fuzz-factor with a special cleaning pad made of polypropylene felt. We really liked this product - it takes an old idea and makes it better. What's not to like?

When your game carts won't start up properly, don't push the cart in-and-out of the slot. This can wear out the contacts on the cart. Use a Q-tip (or a i-UP Card) and Isopropyl alcohol. Your retro games will thank you and they'll last longer!
September 24, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

If the Papal Jeep's car-porn causes a spill, use Alyssa's designer towels

Pope Francis' Jeep Wrangler How sweet is Pope Francis' Jeep Wrangler? I love that he's rocking a Wrangler in his fortified motorcade and commuting to it in a Fiat.
Porn, the game PORN: The Game! is an homage to the history and beauty of vintage smut; an era, before the internet, where seedy shops and dirty theaters were where the pervs got their kicks; VHS tapes, Glory holes, Donkey Shows and Orgies; when bushes were as beautiful as mustaches sexy.

7-11 Slurpee cups featuring retro video games 7-11 Slurpee cups featuring retro video games.
Alyssa Milano's designer Viva paper towels Alyssa Milano's designer Viva paper towels Alyssa Milano Alyssa Milano created a graphic novel, Hacktavist, and now she's designing paper towels for Viva, She gave a great interview about her designer paper towels. I'm not one to require a lot of "fashion sense in the kitchen, but I will say that Viva paper towels are far superior to all other brands. Try a roll - you won't be disappointed.

September 23, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Pac-Man is always better with 2 players!

Our local arcade (Wackenhammer's) has been slowly ramping up their retro game collection. They've had this Pac-Man and a Millipede for a few years and last Summer added Joust, although it's sound still doesn't work. This past Summer we discovered they have a cocktail version of Frogger.

Pac-Man arcade game I'm thankful we have 2 arcades nearby that have a few retro games. One can never have too many... :)
September 22, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

When I hear “Photograph” is #1 on the charts, I think of Def Leppard... although I'm sure Ed is swell

I don't know much about musician Ed sheeran. There's really no reason I would, as his style of music clashes with my devotion to 80's rock, heavy metal, and a nominal amount of techno. These days I'm quite attuned to his name because radio DJs keep telling me "Photograph is coming up next." and the next thing I hear is distinctly NOT Def Leppard. This Ed Sheeran has apparently made quite a name for himself with this title that I consider decisively Def Leppard.

In the early 2000s I went to a Guitar Center with a buddy and he began pounding out Def Leppard's Photograph and everyone stopped, looked, and smiled. It brought back a lot of memories - even back then. A few weeks ago I found a live Def Leppard CD at Newbury Comics which reminded me that I never got around to buying Def Leppard's Pyromania album.

I rarely buy CDs at Best Buy, but I was taking a look at their selection of amiibo today, when I decided to stroll through their dwindling selection of music. There is was! Pyromania at Best Buy of all places.

Rare Replay promo In my haste during the 80s, I neglected to buy Pyromania, but I did pick up a couple of Greatest Hits albums. Those sufficed, but none of them contained "Rock Rock (Till You Drop)". Needless to say, this is tragic, thus my need to get the full Pyromania CD. Best Buy to the rescue for under $5!

Pyromania came out in 1983, so I pulled out a few Atari 2600 carts also released in that year... almost a decade before the release (his parents may prefer, birth) of Ed Sheeran.
September 21, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

This Battletoads case was on a shelf in GameStop as a promo for Rare Replay

As soon as I saw this box on the rack in GameStop, I ran toward it. Even though I don't own an Xbox One, I was really excited to see this on the shelf as a promo for Rare Replay.

I'm not much of a Microsoft fan and have never considered buying an Xbox, but this title might convince me to pick up a used one down the road. Rare Replay is a great collection of games!

Rare Replay promo
September 21, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

A completed 1983 prototype video game for Atari 2600, Arkyology, may finally be released

An interesting AtariAge post from Christmas day 2009 saw renewed interest in early September 2015 regarding a game called Arkyology. This user, back in '09, was researching HomeComputer Software and discovered info about this Atari 2600 game and realized it had never been released. Proving the Internet can be a wonderful place - earlier this month, a former Enter-Tech developer chimed in on this old conversation with some very interesting insights...

He was part of the dev team that worked on Arkyology, the game was completed, AND he has the Arkyology ROM!

Arkyology screen shot - Atari 2600 He went on to say it's an 8K Atari 2600 video game with a biblical theme. From his post:
Arkyology was about Noah's ark. The player controlled 'Noah' and the goal was to feed the animals on the Ark. The game showed three floors separated by ladders that contained animal stalls.

Each level had two parts. First was to run around and open all of the animal stalls, the second was to 'feed' each of the animals. Of course, there were obstacles. There were birds flying past, alligators running on the floors, and a couple others if I remember right. Each level sped up with more obstacles.


I'm excited to see what will become of the game's ROM. It's not too often that a game appears from the early 1980s in a completed form. Even better is the discovery of a developer who worked on the game and is happy to share his insights.

Despite it's age, the Atari 2600 has a vibrant homebrew community that create new games. As an Atari fanatic, I love that folks out there still love the VCS enough to create amazing new titles, but there's something equally exciting about discovering a 30-year-old prototype. I can't quite liken it to Howard Carter's discovery of King Tut, but Arkyology was developed during an era when stores clamored to sell the 2600 and everyone wanted to be part of it's enormous success.

Discovering this game 30+ years later is like opening a time capsule that lets us into that amazing time. Here is the article prompting this chain of events, from the Jan 15, 1984 Chicago Tribune. It mentions Arkyology as an upcoming Atari 2600 game in the last paragraph. There are also 2 Arkyology videos (one with sound) that show the game play in action.

If you read through the recent activity on the AtariAge post, the developer is looking into the best way to release the game. Great find - stay tuned!
September 21, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

This is the first Skylanders release day I didn't attend and ravage the shelves

I've greatly enjoyed the Skylanders franchise, but my son and I have amassed way too many figures that go neglected once the next game arrives. Activision only releases one game for each series (although the figures are backward compatible with the new games). We finish the games too quickly and they don't offer much replay value for the most part.

Knowing that Activision is set on only releasing one game for each set of figures, I'm not eager to drop another wad of cash to do the same thing over again. It's been fun, maybe I'll pick up Skylanders SuperChargers when it's a little cheaper.

Skylanders SuperChargers at Toys R R Us
September 20, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

When I see Food Fighters listed in the TV guide... I think Atari

When I scan through the TV programmin hoping to find something worth watching amidst 800 channels of drivel, this show catches my eye. Food Fighters pits amateur cooks against pro chefs to create the contestant's signature dish.

I'm no foodie and I don't care for game shows, but every time I see mention of this show, Atari's Food Fight game comes to mind. I suppose I'm hoping that some TV exec has thought outside the box and created some programming around this creative game. The title, Food Fighters, sounds like a competitive e-sports team!

To be honest, I'd never seen the arcade version and didn't know it originated in arcades - in 1983. The Atari 7800 version came out in 1987 and was exclusive to the 7800.

Food Fight is an exclusive release for the Atari 7800 Food Fight was a modest arcade hit for Atari in 1984, and became an exclusive title for the 7800. As Charley Chuck shrugs off another ice cream headache, you must guide him through a hostile environment including pitfalls and angry chefs guarding another cone.
food fighters tv show Food enthusiast Adam Richman hosts this competition that pits home cooks against culinary professionals. Each home cook brings in the recipe for their signature dish and prepares it, while a professional chef does the same.

Food Fight was the first game my son and I played on our 7800 when I introduced the platform to him. Combined with 2600 compatibility, the 7800 is a great console with quite a few unique games. Food Fight is highly recommended! Take a look at our Atari Food Fight review.

Food Fight is an exclusive release for the Atari 7800
September 19, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The cartridge-based Retro VGS console sets out on Indiegogo to crowd fund $2 million in 45 days

We loved the concept for this video game console. Check out their Retro VGS campaign on Indiegogo.

I was excited when I first heard news of an upcoming video game console that would be cartridge-based. I grew up on carts and loved the instant-on of playing a game. We never had to experience waiting for a 60-minute system update. When I think back to my early Atari and Nintendo days, I had no idea how good we had it!

We'd insert a game and the fun began in seconds. Try that with a new game today. Between system updates and game updates (fixes) you never know if you'll even be able to play.

Retro VGS console Thus the idea of the Retro VGS console seemed to harken back to those simpler times. It was introduced as a $150 console that would play modern retro-style games. They weren't making an emulation box for all your old games.

They want to deliver a console that plays 8 & 16-bit style games made in the modern era. Certainly there is a lot of wiggle room as to the type of games that can be created, but it wasn't for those who wanted to play Defender of Berzerk. Mame satisfies that need quite well.

The Retro VGS wants to bring the joy of 80's and 90's retro gaming to those who adored that style of gaming. Fast access and no need to connect to a server for ANYTHING - ever!

As with most projects, It's scope and price began to expand. What seemed like a simple dream come true had devolved into a product that prompted a lot of questions. They takled about launching a Kickstarter campaign this Summer. That campaign launched Sept. 19 on IndieGoGo - not Kickstarter. They explained that Kickstarter required a working prototype to qualify.

Their crowd funding has begun with doubling the console's price, Indiegogo requiring payment up-front, and no working prototype. Needless to say, folks are restless, angry, and venting on the Retro VGS Facebook page.

Great Idea, Bad Timing

Retro VGS console This project has earned a lot of the anger seen online. They have been slow to communicate info and by the time they do, large changes have occurred. Like so many crowd funded projects, they've not learned how to communicate with and motivate their fans, which will make it much tougher to convert them to customers. A good PR/marketing person can be the difference between success and failure.

I think the Retro VGS is a great idea with tons of potential. I hope they succeed, but it seems like poor timing for 2 reasons. Crowd funding success is generally down in the Fall. As we head into the holiday season folks are thinking about holiday spending. The beginning of Summer may have been a better time frame. The second issue is the lack of a working prototype.

In my opinion, without a working prototype, they may not even have a proof-of-concept to demonstrate their hardware will work. Without that, how can they derive a proper price? Something as simple as an over-heating issue could set things back. Without a working prototype can they really promise this console within a year?

Again, I love the idea, but as soon as the scope expanded, they should have been more transparent with fans and realigned their timeline. Like many others, I don't feel comfortable fronting $300+ on a console that may not even be feasible.
September 19, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Autumn and Halloween are for Monster Cereal (and augmented reality), not pumpkin-spiced atrocities

My breakfast sausage tasted a little off this morning. I'd purchased a batch at the grocery store last night, completely oblivious to the pumpkin on the packaging. As I cooked them, I thought little of the pumpkin packaging since marketers always try to put a Fall spin on everything after Labor Day.

General Mills Halloween Monster Cereals As a child, Monster Cereal was my Halloween passion. I adored Boo Berry, Franken Berry, and somewhat less Count Chocula. I'd cut out the mask on the back of the Boo Berry box and be delighted for hours. I've since had an affinity for blue food and shocked by the relative dearth of this coloring at the market.

Over time, some years yielded marvelous hauls of Boo Berry and FrankenBerry (not a fan of the Count), while other years left me longing for a bowl of blue or pink cereal. I scored boxes of Monster Cereal at the store last night, while also buying breakfast sausages.

Perhaps I was still in a euphoric bliss from a bowl of Boo Berry, but I finally went back to the sausage packaging to discover the cause of the latent foul taste. Apparently someone in a corporate boardroom actually gave the thumbs-up for Pumpkin Spice flavored sausages!

Monster Cereal Goes AR

Blippar logo All the monster characters have been given a makeover for this year's shipment of cereal. As I was snatching boxes off the grocer's shelves, I wondered what the "We're Alive!" slogan was about. At home I saw the cellphone logo and mention of an app called Blippar.

I downloaded the app for my android phone and discovered it is similar to the AR Games found on Nintendo's 3DS. Just as you can use AR cards with the 2/3DS, Blippar has a similar effect on a smartphone when the camera is focused on a known image or video. While Nintendo's AR Games let you inject characters into your real-world photos, Blippar delivers additional "info", in a variety of ways, when it recognizes a product logo or image.

I guess the cardboard masks that used to delight me as a kid have taken a backseat to kid's wielding smartphones who are delighted by animation.
September 19, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Shigeru Miyamoto is the first focus in the “Influential Video Game Designer” book series

Shigeru Miyamoto Influential Video Game Designer Influential Video Game Designers: Shigeru Miyamoto: Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, by Jennifer deWinter, is the first in this in-depth series of books. It offers a more scholarly approach to examining Miyamoto's career, style and influence. While most coverage of legendary game developers skim the surface, the Influential Video Game Designers series goes deeper into the real people behind some of gamings greatest games.

While some see video games as children's toys, the larger populace is aware of the role of developers and the hard work that goes into creating a game - be it a AAA console title or a small smartphone app. But even deeper than that is the target are of the Influential Video Game Designer. This series seeks to go into the philosophies of the designers as well as how they relate to the characters the create, develop and evolve over the duration of a successful franchise.

This is a promising venture. I really like the idea of an academic or scholarly approach - as though it were a collegiate text. However, the validity of the facts has been called into question due to an unfortunate editorial oversight. In the book's forward, Atari developer Warren Robinett is called "Will". The extent of this error is compounded as they explain how he hid his name in Atari's Adventure game. With such mention, it's important to deliver his name correctly. A few other errors have been pointed out as well.

While some feel this error, in the forward, makes the entirety of the book questionable, I think those who read it will be ver interested in it's depth and how it links personality and human factors to the pixel'd wonders we "play" on the screens. Gaming's history needs needs an accurate reference while many of it's pioneers are still alive to confirm, correct and corroborate facts. Mistakes will always occur, but the more diligent this effort becomes, the better it serves the rich (and whacky) history of video games.

We live in a digital era that lets us correct most things with a few mouse clicks. Print is permanent and this error can't be corrected until the next printing. While some wish to call the books entirety into question, let's give the author the benefit of the doubt until all the egregious errors in Wikipedia's myriad of video gaming entries are all corrected!

Like most factual books, it's difficult for the average reader to vouch for the authenticity of all the facts, but I think a majority of gamers will be interested in the deep detail of this book and it's unique approach to a gaming tome. When most books might dedicate a chapter to Miyamoto, Jennifer deWinter's book makes him the singular focal point. Influential Video Game Designers: Shigeru Miyamoto can be purchased via Amazon.
September 19, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Since today is “Talk Like A Pirate Day” we're going to play a pirate game of Dodgeball

Each year on September 19th, it's Talk Like a Pirate Day! Greet everyone with your best "Arrrgh!"

Pirate Dodgeboall for Wii
September 18, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Download the Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows' 8-bit soundtrack by composer Jake Kaufman

If you own Shovel Knight on one of the many platforms for which it was released, there is now a free update that ads a new campaign as well as the ability to play as Plague Knight! The game's soundtrack has also been made available on Bandcamp.

Composer Jake Kaufman presents the authentic 8-bit soundtrack to Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows, the free expansion to 2014's game developed by Yacht Club Games. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows puts you in control of Plague Knight, one of the villains of the original game, exploring his motives while introducing new gameplay mechanics and music that revisits key themes from the original score in addition to some new surprises.

Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows The Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows Original Soundtrack is on Bandcamp for as little or as much as you'd like - Name Your Price - with all proceeds going to improving Jake's studio.

If you are not familiar with Shovel Knight or doubt it's prominence in gaming... all you need to know is Shovel Knight is being released as an amiibo - the currency of pop culture these days. :)
September 15, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Hey Zuck, A “Dislike Button” doesn't foster empathy- it feeds trolls

Harassment on Twitter is a big problem because they won't take a few simple steps to make it more difficult for trolls to spawn endless accounts from which to attack other accounts. The primary reason Twitter will never take the time to make a more harmonious environment is peaceful interaction is boring. Essentially, hatred spices things up and makes it more interesting for a large number of users (typically lurkers).

Facebook needs an Acknowledge button Facebook has some pretty good controls for managing who can see and interact with their various offerings from personal accounts to promotional pages and groups. The truth is, the Facebook experience is pretty homogenous and dull. Zuck can leap on a stage and say they want to offer an empathy outlet, but a Dislike button is a simple injection of hatred to... spice things up.

"Like" is too general a term and we've taken it's Acknowledgment aspect and bonded it to it's dictionary definition. Thus we "like" things we don't really like in the affectionate sense as a way to agree or... acknowledge something. I like books, video games, and sex, but "like" doesn't express the degree to which I adore these things. Like - as a form of Acknowledgment - was a poorly thought out concept. Countering it with a Dislike button (under the guise of empathy expression) is just as ridiculous.

I'd like to see them change the Like button to an Acknowledge button - problem solved. At the same time, if we weren't bred to be so hopelessly lazy, we might comment on a post to let the author know exactly what's on our mind. Clicking a button has no real meaning.
September 15, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

You can buy the newly remastered Streets Of Rage soundtrack on vinyl via Data Discs

The original soundtrack from the classic SEGA game, Streets Of Rage, has been newly remastered in collaboration with legendary composer, Yuzo Koshiro. London-based record label Data Discs is offering this as well as the classic Dreamcast adventure game, Shenmue. Data Discs is the first record label solely dedicated to releasing video game soundtracks on vinyl.

remastered Streets Of Rage soundtrack on vinyl The remastered Streets Of Rage soundtrack on 180g black vinyl.
remastered Streets Of Rage soundtrack on vinyl The remastered Streets Of Rage soundtrack on 180g translucent red vinyl.

If you view the offerings from Data Discs, you may be surprised to see they offer only 2 products at this time. As a label that only releases video game soundtracks, it will be interesting to see how they grow and expand their catalog. The renewed interest in vinyl is, like all trends, cyclical. What happens to Data Discs when vinyl recedes to even more of a niche format? If you want SOR or Shenmue, you may want to order soon.

My last AC/DC vinyl purchase was a Jem Import of Dirty Deeds!
It's interesting to see the recent surge in vinyl appreciation. Both my local comic shop and Barnes & Noble offer a selection of vinyl albums. It's like I've travelled back in time to my pre-CD childhood when all music was released on vinyl. Newbury Comics sends out a weekly newsletter with all the new releases on vinyl along with a Top-20 listing. They carry everything from AC/DC to Taylor Swift.

From the Data Discs website
We carefully remaster game soundtracks and present them as officially licensed, high quality packages. Our intention is to promote the work of game composers, which is all too often overlooked, and introduce people to an area of music that, despite being culturally significant in many ways, has seldom been available on any format, let alone on vinyl. We aim to release soundtracks that work as standalone pieces; albums that can be enjoyed by casual listeners as well as game fans, and showcase the creativity and ingenuity of the people behind them.

Streets of Rage - Track List

A1. The Street of Rage
A2. Player Select
A3. Fighting in the Street
A4. Attack the Barbarian
A5. Dilapidated Town
A6. Moon Beach
A7. Keep the Groovin'
A8. Round Clear

B1. Beatnik on the Ship
B2. Stealthy Steps
B3. Violent Breathing
B4. The Last Soul
B5. You Became the Bad Guy!
B6. Big Boss
B7. My Little Baby
B8. Game Over
September 14, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

National Watermelon Day reveals the voice behind Melony Mellon from Stern's Whoa Nellie pinball

Melony Mellon cardboard stand-up Last Fall we wrote an article about Stern Pinball's partnership with Whizbang to create a unique pinball table called Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons. It's a cool blend of old and new tech in an electro-mechanical style table.

This past August, I heard about National Watermelon Day (Aug. 3) and used it's hashtag, on Twitter, to promote our article and this really slick pinball game. I have no idea how these "holidays" are created, but I saw it as a nice tie-in with Whoa Nellie.

An interesting thing happened yesterday... I got a response to my watermelon tweet! Combined with a Watermelon emoji, there was something about this tweet that demanded further investigation.

A Tweet from the real Melony Mellon Who is Jess? A Stern employee? A pinball fanatic? A melon farmer? It only took me 2 clicks to realize she's actually the voice of Melony Mellon from the pinball game! How cool is that!?!

Aside from celebrity voice-overs in movies and commercials, I often lose sight of how much talent is behind the scenes adding a richness to media. As a retro gamer, I'm accustomed to gaming sounds and voices being computer-generated, but that hasn't been the case for a long time. Voice-over is a huge field.

As it turns out Jess is a radio broadcaster with a resume full of voice-over work. The game designers went with an audio company that reached out to her boss, in the radio industry, seeking a "female voice". She wound up getting the gig. Coincidentally, she also runs her own audio production company, JG Productions.

The Life of the Party

I'm not one to tell others how to live their lives... but if I were Jess, I'd drag out this story at every party I attend! Her voice will be heard in bars, arcades, and homes for decades to come. She's Melony Mellon! I'd milk that for all it's worth! After years in radio, I'm sure she's accustomed to hearing her voice in a variety of product scenarios, but as a gamer, I thinks it's pretty awesome and I'd be telling everyone about it for years. :)

Jess - the real Melony Mellon If you haven't seen a Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons pinball game and are curious about the voice of Melony, you can listen to these Whoa Nellie! MP3 files.
September 13, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Donkey Kong II Jumpman Returns looks more like a sequel than the actual Nintendo sequels

Donkey Kong II logo I loved the tale of the father who swapped Mario and Pauline for his daughter. In the wake of that awesomeness, I'm surprised I didn't know about the unofficial Donkey Kong II Jumpman Returns game!

Prior to letting my son play DKCR on the Wii, I showed him the original, and Donkey Kong Jr., on my Atari 7800 console and the real-deal at a local arcade. I often wonder if the Donkey Kong at Holiday Hill is the same cab I played as a teenager.

Donkey Kong II Jumpman Returns levels Jeff Kulczycki of ROM Hack created this game in 2006. It is a homebrew game having no affiliation with Nintendo and can be applied as a chip update to a Donkey Kong PCB. Adding the DK2 chipset allows you to switch from original Donkey Kong to DK2 via pressing both Player Start buttons followed by the Jump button.

The modded game offers a total of 8 levels. This includes the original 4 levels, with a few minor (clever) updates, and 4 new levels: Mixer, Foundry, Refinery, and Incinerator. I love the chip-swap implementation making this upgrade fairly easy for most owners. But what astounds me most is the visual integration of the 4 new levels!

After playing the original Donkey Kong, both Donkey Kong Junior and Donkey Kong 3 look and play much differently as though they are tied in primarily by title. Jeff's Donkey Kong II Jumpman Returns seems to flow seamlessly from the original. Partly due to including the original's 4 levels, but the design and play makes it feel like a Nintendo sequel. Without being told, I wouldn't have guessed it was a homebrew created decades after the original.

Donkey Kong II Jumpman's Retrun levels This game has been so well received, the artwork needed to complete a dedicated Donkey Kong II Jumpman Returns arcade cabinet is available online (pending availability). You can also play Donkey Kong 2 online, if you don't mind playing Flash games in a browser.
September 12, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

There was a Pac-Man game on the enormous video wall in SalesForce's San Francisco lobby

Word of a huge video wall displaying a Pac-Man game have been strewn across the Net. Some find it stunning to look at, while others want the controller! This is apparently in the lobby of the San Francisco headquarters of SalesForce. While I applaud the 80's vibe, I'm pretty sure an LED video wall is different than a mural - it changes.



SalesForce may become besieged with resumes from retro gamers seeking the comforting surroundings of a Pac-Man workplace. However, I caution those seeking a retroGaming-friendly company... SalesForce is a cloud computing company - with a cool LED video wall.

The video of the Pac-Man game seems to have been posted by one of SalesForce's Marketing Communications Managers. After a slew of "retro gaming is awesome" comments on the video, he posted some of the other scenes appearing on their video wall. Yes, the point of a video wall is the ability to change the image or animation.

The enormous video wall in SalesForce's San Francisco lobby The guy who posted the Pac-Man video followed up with a few other images that have adorned the huge video wall.
The enormous video wall in SalesForce's San Francisco lobby Another image from SalesForce's video wall. As you can see, it's not exclusively a Pac-Man video wall.

Before you pack up your life to move to California, it's just a video wall... not a retro gaming destination. We're just glad that the Pac-Man animation made it's way out of the lobby and onto the web!
September 12, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Toys R Us celebrates #NationalVideoGameDay with poor planning: 3-hour+ Skylanders SuperChargers Xbox update

I've been debating whether to purchase the upcoming release of the Skylanders franchise - SuperChargers. I feel as though we own a ton of unused figures for which Activision has been unable to reignite any interest. Each new game supports the older figures, but game-play necessitates buying the new characters. If only they would develop more games for each series. And don't get me started about buying a new "starter pack" each year. The whole thing seems poorly planned.

Skylanders SuperChargers event On Facebook, Toys R Us announced a chance to play Super Chargers before it was released. This was an event taking place at all store locations today from Noon to 2:00pm. I figured this would be a good chance to try out the game and use this event to help in my purchase decision.

I arrived a few minutes early to find the Toys R Us employees inserting the game disc into their Xbox and beginning an update over the store's wifi. They apologized for the delay and I decided to look around while the update was downloading. 30 minutes later the update was at 17%. They said the event would be extended until the end of the day. I opted to go out for lunch and check back later.

I did a few errands, got a few StreetPasses at the mall, and played a few games at the arcade. After eating lunch, I went back to Toys R Us to play Skylanders SuperChargers. Upon arrival, 2 hours later, the update was only 37% complete. even though I got a free folded Skylanders poster, I've decided I probably don't need to buy another expensive round of Skylanders.

Skylanders SuperChargers event This was the extent of the Toys R Us Skylanders SuperChargers Event - an update screen lasting the duration of the event. If my local Toys R Us had expected any results from this "event", they would have installed the game the night before or the morning of the event. Waiting until the start time of the event is just poor planning. For me, this hands-on opportunity was a big factor in my purchase decision. Maybe we'll try Lego Dimensions this year.
September 12, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Kiss' Destroyer was the 1st album I bought and let me know it's OK to be a kid

When I was in 6th grade, my friend doug lived across the street. He was a cool guy and I looked up to him. We hung out a lot and one day he played an album that changed my world. That album was Kiss' Destroyer. From that day onward, I always asked him to play it when we hung out at his house.

My exposure to music, at that time, was on a clock-radio and the FM band. My parents played classical music on their stereo quite often. Until I heard Kiss' Destroyer, I hadn't made the connection that I could buy albums from my favorite bands and listen to them any time I wanted. This was an eye-opening realization and I asked my Mom if I could buy this amazing album.

I bought it at Giant Music and revered it as a prize. On that day, I was able to bring my first love of music home and listen to it on my parent's stereo. They were definitely not Kiss fans, but they let me play it quite a lot.

Kiss Destroyer was my first album As a kid, I didn't know anything about the music industry or how bands released music. At my young age, I had a strong sense of loyalty. I was a Kiss fan and as much as I liked other bands I heard on the radio, I only bought Kiss LPs for several years.

Another friend of mine owned Kiss Alive and I was astonished to realize that this was like seeing Kiss live at an amphitheater! I begged my Mom to take me back to Giant Music so I could buy it. When I opened that double album and saw the concert shot inside, I was in awe that I owned this record. Oddly, I didn't really explore Giant Music. I simply went there to find a specific Kiss album. I never knew that there were several earlier albums - even though they were represented on Kiss Alive.

Finally, my mind was blown when Love Gun was released. New music from Kiss! It was becoming clear to me that there may be more releases from Kiss and that Giant Music sold albums by many other bands I liked. It wasn't too many years later that I discovered Atari. I've been a lifelong Kiss fan and have bought every album and seen them live on several occasions.

The final myth I was able to overcome was that rock & roll is for youth. I remember being quite concerned, as a kid, that I would grow up and begin to like classical music - like my parents. I assumed that all adults loved classical music, as did all of my parent's friends. I was relieved to discover this was not true and I submit as proof the Motorhead CD I bought last week! And I recently bought a Wii U!

Growing up is for other kids!:)
September 11, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

There was actually a small line at Toys R Us for the September amiibo release

After reading about the 3-hour+ amiibo lines in some metropolitan areas, I'm kind of glad I live off the beaten path. I've been to many release-day events at local stores and there's never been a crowd. often I'm there by myself wondering why I didn't sleep in.

Amiibo line at Toys R Us So I was rather surprised to see 5 others had arrived at Toys R Us before me. It was 9:50am and they let us stand in the entry lobby since it was raining. When they opened the doors at 10:00, there were about a dozen of us waiting to get first crack at the available figures.

I'm not sure if they feared being stormed by manic amiibo shoppers, but before the store opened they distributed small chits, each with the SKU of one of the new figures. Each customer was given a chit for each amiibo they wanted to buy. When they let us in, we simply went to the register in the game section and they rang us up. Amiibo were distributed from behind the counter. Thus there was no storming the aisle and rabidly snatching figues off the shelves.

This round I was interested in 4 of the figures. Actually I also wanted Dr. Mario, but the closest Target is over an hour away and I had to go to work. Perhaps I'll find one at some point.

Amiibo line at Toys R Us It was a fun day since I was able to find all the amiibo I wanted and didn't have to camp out for hours. Now that I own a Wii U, these figures are taking on a new meaning. Prior, I considered them mere eye-candy, but now I'm curious to see how they enhance various games. This initiates the quandary of whether to open an amiibo package or leave it sealed. :)
September 10, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Eye Games puts an index of new & retro game specs on your iPhone coupled with smart features

As mobile devices overtake computers as the primary access point to online information, it becomes harder to find the good apps amidst all the junk. I don't mind doing research or hunting down info, but when I'm in a store trying to make a purchase decision, I want easy access to good info. Eye Games is a promising app that seems to hold up for modern and retro gamers.

Eye Games logo Eye Games I came across Eye Games, an iOS app, that has 28,000 indexed video games and a lot of cool features. Of particular interest, to me, was mention of both retro games and consoles. Typically this means you'll find a few NES titles among a sea of Xbox and PlayStation titles. Eye Games seems to be a different breed.

When I saw a slew of Atari consoles, along with ColecoVision and Intellivision, it was apparent that this app may be different from the rest. My first question was - where's the Android version? My dilema is not being able to try their app for myself. They are perfecting the iOS release while determining the best way to deliver an Android version. The reviews on iTunes are stellar and Eye Games is laden with smart features.

So many apps try to "do it all" and become a bloated island unto themselves. Eye Games has a watch-list to track your favorite upcoming games, as well as calendar integration so you can easily put release dates into your calendar. You can also share info via social media from within the app and it offers a trending feature. I like that it works with your phone rather than duplicating existing functionality. It's also designed to work on iPad and iPod.

I'm excited to see this for Android. There are a lot of cool features and I really want to see how the retro info holds up. I'll be pretty stoked If this app has robust retro gaming info!
September 9, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Dream Gear's Retro Machine boasts 220 games no one has heard of

I'm accustomed to finding these all-in-one video game units at the toy store. Most of them are about $20 and offer a dozen games that can be played when you connect it to your TV. This small unit, The Retro Machine, from Dream Gear caught my eye with it's 200 buil-in games.

Dream Gear's Retro Machine - portable arcade My mind began to spin at the notion of 200 arcade game. With that many games, it must contain all of my favorites from the Golden Age, right?

Normally, this is the sort of product I'd snatch up and run to the checkout with a dopey smile on my face. However, the claim of 200 games seemed a bit too good to be true. I'm sure this compact gaming contraption sports 200 games, but I'm not sure any of us have heard of it's vast collection.

Wouldn't you think a retro gamer would recognize a few of the highlighted titles on the back of the box. I didn't recognize any of the titles or game screens. They only featured a handful, but I didn't know any of them.

The final straw was it's 2.5" color screen. Until I discovered that facet, I assumed it connected to a TV set like similar units. No - it does not... because it has a very small screen. Even the Atari Flashback 5 has yet to crack 100 built-in games. I have my doubts that the Retro Machine managed to put 200 real arcade games into this device.

If the Retro Machine had 200 arcade games that I'd seen in arcades, I'd pay twice the price and would have bought it instantly. One of their selling points is: "Nostalgic feel with modern games". I'm not sure what that means in terms of it's game offering. I had to leave this one on the shelf.
September 9, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Force is strong with Covergirl as Star Wars invades the retail sector

Toys R Us recently had a midnight release of Star Wars toys which seems to mark the beginning of the all-things-Star-Wars onslaught. Toys are one of the few markets that I follow to some degree, so once the Star Wars toys hit TRU, that marked the beginning for me. I hadn't expected to see mascara with light Sabre appeal taking on the Force Awakens branding.

It's been so long since a Star Wars movie was released, that I forgot how prolific the Lucas brand can become. Everyone wants to be "attached" to the Star Wars brand. It will be interesting to see how Disney handles things.

Covergirl's The Force Awakens tie-in I'm looking forward to the vast array of products bearing the Star Wars branding. When Episode I was released, it seemed as though everything was branded with Star Wars - from pajamas to fast food wrappers and cups. I hope Disney goes big!
September 8, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

There's a lot of news about Pikmin 4's release considering we don't know its platform

Nintendo's Pikmin 3 for Wii U This past Summer I became obsessed with Pikmin 3 for the Wii U. My obsession didn't begin with an amazing gaming session or even a fond remembrance from the GameCube era. It began with my inability to find the Wii U version of the game locally! I found the prior release for the Wii, but #3 was not to be found on retail shelves - in my area.

I bought a lot of used GameCube games after the Wii was released, and I don't recall ever seeing Pikmin in a store - new or used. I know if I ever crossed paths with it I would have snatched up the GameCube version.

Having just bought a Wii U this Summer, I thought Pikmin 3 was a must-have title! I came across an article describing it's perceived rarity on the Wii U - which is actually a combination of 2 factors. It's a Nintendo title and a very good one. This explains my difficulty in finding a copy locally. Gamers tend to hold onto games like this.

My son was visiting, so we wanted to get a copy quickly and resorted to ordering it from GameStop. As with a majority of their used games, the copy they sent us was defective and wouldn't even generate a startup screen - despite our best cleaning efforts. Getting that sorted out took 2 weeks.

It's a fun game with a good deal of strategy - a perfect mix for a title that will engage us for quite some time. No sooner had we delved into Pikmin 3 when I started reading about the release of Pikmin 4!

Pikmin 4... for which platform?

Maybe I'm late to this party, but I'm reading that Pikmin 4 is "nearly completed". That's the quote in a myriad of online articles. So, when will it be available for the Wii U? If it's almost done, then they should at least have a Wii U release window, right?

Nintendo's Pikmin 3 for Wii U Oddly... No!

Whereas Nintendo is saying it's nearly complete, they won't give up a release date - and get this - they won't even commit to it being released on the Wii U! What?!? Could Pikmin 4 be held back for the "NX" console? This brings up a lot of thoughts about the Wii U's life cycle and Nintendo's next rumored console. But here's where the logic breaks down for me....

I'm not a programmer, so much of the coding/development of a video game is somewhat mysterious to me. However, it seems strange that the game could be nearly complete, yet not be designated for a specific platform.
Pikmin 4 development is "nearly complete" and they can't or won't confirm it's platform?

I suppose it's like a musician who has a final master tape, but has not decided whether to release his/her music on vinyl, CD, or digital. At the same time this video game analogy seems more akin to an automobile manufacturer being nearly complete with a new model, but hasn't decided if it's a 4-cylinder commuter or a V-12 supercar. there comes a stage at which one has to commit to the final output.

Without a programming background, I can't claim any expertise on this, but how often do we hear about a title's release confirmation and not know if it will run on the manufacturer's current hardware? That seems quite peculiar to me.

Naturally, this will all work itself out and the mysteries will be revealed, but I can't think of another game that got this much online attention with such a vague outcome. Wii U or something else? We shall see... :)
September 7, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I like to be organized, but this is how I want my Game Room TVs set up

From Facebook to Pinterest I constantly see photos of amazing home game rooms. The walls are lined with games organized by console - I'll bet they're alphabetized too. Display cases highlight a myriad of video game consoles, each with it's own private cubby. Controllers are nicely placed atop. The flick of a switch lets each console bask in a delicate glow of backlighting. You'd think Ikea had a Video Game Furniture division!

Although I admire these lavish layouts, highlighted with statues, momentos, and rare boxed items, the organized life is not for me. I know these folks clean up and get everything properly in it's place when they photograph these game rooms. But they sometimes have a museum quality to them - like that room in your grandmother's house that NO ONE was allowed to enter.

I like to see a game room that's been used heavily. Stacks of games by the TV. Several non-matching controllers laying on a table next to an open bag of chips. That's my kind of gaming set up :)

When I saw Miley Cyrus posing in this room during the MTV VMA awards, I have to admit to liking her outfit (NSFW), but my real craving was to hook up my Atari 2600 and NES and play some games in that crazy looking room!

Miley cyrus - MTV Video Music Awards VMA 2015 Miley Cyrus hosting the VMAs 2015 Miley Cyrus' first outfit as she hosted the MTV Video Music Awards in 2015. Just put a nice long couch facing that crazy array of TVs and let the 4-player Warlords begin. Maybe a few connected GameCubes and a massive Mario Kart session. A room like this begs for insane gaming sessions across multiple consoles and friends dropping in to join the fun. Miley is welcome to join in as well ;)

Even the mountain of TVs on MTV's Remote Control game show, from the 80s, was pretty cool. They seem to be on the same wavelength as my media room dreams. One day I'll have the time to put together a game room and fill it with a chaotic montage of CRT wonders. If you're planning a game room, give some thought to throwing organization out the window. Chaos is often better!
September 7, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Aquanoids is a new homebrew platformer for the ZX Spectrum involving deep sea robotic cleanup

With an eco-friendly theme reminiscent of Wall-E, Aquanoids look a little like Minions, but are robotic devices employed to clean up mankind's waste that threatens the oceans of the world. This ZX Spectrum game comes from Neil Parsons of Program Bytes.

Neil Parsons ZX Spectrum game, Aquanoids Your robot Aquanoid has only one life and 60 units of energy, so you have to make the most of it. There are only 2 places in the entire mapping where to find energy capsules.
Neil Parsons ZX Spectrum game, Aquanoids If you lack the Speccy hardware Aquanoids is designed for - like me - you can download the game and run it via emulator.

This adventure takes place in a utopian future, where humanity has left behind many of their old practices. Mankind has nearly managed to eliminate the negative elements of their behavior and basic instincts. However, they have not been able to clean oceans and seabeds of the garbage man has been generating and throwing into the sea since the late twentieth century. A remedy in the form of robotic units, called Aquanoids, do all the work to remove as much of the waste via recycling.
September 6, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Wow- that Star Wars bed, from Pottery Barn, really costs $4,000

When I read about a $4,000 Millennium Falcon styled Star Wars bed from Pottery Barn, I was curious. It has to be awesome, right? When I saw a picture of it, I assumed there was some sort of miscommunication or typo. Having only seen it referenced in third-party articles, I figured someone had their facts mixed up. Who would pay $4K for a kid's bed when its such a simplistic reduction? That's a pretty weak rendition of Han's beloved craft.

At four thousand dollars, that cockpit should be illuminated with plenty of realistic dials, buttons, levers, gauges, and lights. All the details of the cockpit are merely painted on. How disappointing!

Star Wars bed Is anyone fooled by the accents painted on the floor and wall in an attempt to make this monstrosity look like it's hurtling through space? I feel sorry for every kid who gets one of these from their wealthy, unimaginative parents.

It wouldn't be too difficult to create a cool kid's bed yourself for far less than PB Kid's price. When my son was no longer thrilled with his bunk beds, I built him a custom bed-fort! The Game Fortress
September 5, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Bandai Namco's Pac-Man 256, developed by Hipster Whale, uses the arcade glitch as a foe

Hipster Whale In January, I came across one of those all-in-one multi-game devices shaped like Pac-Man which touted a bonus level 256. Being familiar with Pac-Man's arcade glitch (kill screen), I was curious to know what they had in mind. The packaging even displayed the famed glitch screen on the back. I never got around to buying that little device, but things have a way of coming full circle...

Many of you will be familiar with Hipster Whale's Crossy Road game. It's a brilliant reboot of Frogger as an endless runner. Having received critical acclaim, it's not surprising that Bandai Namco partnered with them to develop Pac-Man 256, a new game for smartphones and tablets - not the same as the all-in-one unit mentioned above.

This modernized version of Pac-Man takes on an isometric view point, adding a thinness to the yellow 80's icon we thought to be round. Like Crossy road, the Pac-Man 256 maze is endless. You still must navigate the maze, avoid/devour the ghosts, and outrun a wave of kill-screen code (the glitch) advancing on you. No problem, right?

Bandai Namco's Pac-Man 256, developed by Hipster Whale Bandai Namco's Pac-Man 256, developed by Hipster Whale One can play the original arcade Pac-Man through emulators, game consoles and the occasional arcade cabinet still surviving out in the wild. It almost begs the question of why we need another variant of Pac-Man. Playing this game answers that question. Hipster Whale added great elements to the traditional game play, leaving enough familiarity while making it fun on today's smartphones and tablets.

It's hard to describe what makes a game successful when other similar ones fail, but it all comes out during play. If the formula were readily apparent, all games would be great. However the translation from a golden age arcade game to modern fun on a tablet is an art form that only a few developers seem to have mastered.

Just as Hipster Whale has done some phenomenal reboots, M2 had brought great additions to the Nintendo 3DS via is updating of Sega classics. As a consumer, my goal is to enjoy as many of these wonderful reboots as I can. You never know when, or if, another gem will appear.
September 4, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Iron Maiden has been rocking since 1975 and just released Book of Souls and a retro game

Iron Maiden - Book Of Souls Here's another amazing band that began in the mid 70' and is still going strong with the release of a 2-CD album, Book of Souls. It's cool to hear Bruce Dickinson as his vocals defined Iron Maiden, for me, in the early 80s.

One of the tracks, Speed Of Light (video), pays tribute to 40 years of video games alongside 40 years of Iron Maiden and their iconic mascot, Eddie. Iron Maiden always gives back to their fans and in addition to a double CD release, they created a browser-based video game called, Speed Of Light.

It's a platformer with an 8-bit retro look. Reminiscent of Donkey Kong, Eddie navigates a series of ladders and ledges as he gets closer to rescuing the damsel in distress atop the building.

Iron Maiden - Speed of Light Mimicking the look of an arcade game, Speed Of Light plays in your browser as an 8-bit platformer.

Iron Maiden - Speed of Light game You can play Speed of Light in all it's retro gaming glory on Iron Maiden's website!
September 4, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

If you're considering wearing a Smart Skirt you may want to include a pair of Pixel Panties

The idea of wearable electronics surfaces now and then in various forms. The creators have differing notions as to the functionality or benefit of such a garment. Sometimes it's a LED light show synched to the surrounding beat. Other times it reacts to wifi or Bluetooth vitals. It's a growing field in terms of fashion, tech, and wearability. It's open to a lot of interpretation.

I read a few articles about SexyCyborg's Smart Skirt and was really enthused by her passion for tech and the unique application she's developing. An Android app connects to the skirt via Bluetooth for a variety of control options.

Smart Skirt created by SexyCyborg A circle of LED lights is sewn into the hem of this mini skirt. Her product is a fashion/tech fusion allowing the model's smart phone to dictate the colors - among other attributes - of the skirt's lighting.
Smart Skirt created by SexyCyborg The controller is built into a custom 3D printed belt buckle and links to the lighting. I hope the LED system is password protected from those who might "discover" the Bluetooth signal and have some fun of their own.

Smart Skirt Here is another creator's vision of an illuminated skirt.

Pixel Panties

If you plan to hit the town with an illuminated smart skirt, you'd be wise to have a little protection from sudden updrafts that might expose more than just your electronics. We think a pair of Pixel Panties are the perfect solution.

Pixel Panties
Pixel Panties Pixel Panties - 8-bit underwear!
Pixel Panties Pixel Panties

Light up your life with a smart skirt and add a pair of Pixel Panties! You'll be cutting edge with hidden retro flair. Sounds like a good combo :)
September 4, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Billy Skyscraper plays like Flappy Bird with a super charged Jetpack- which is kind of a good thing

When I see a game that claims to be "retro" and contains multiple instances of "pixels" in it's description, I feel obliged to give it a try. So strong is my craving for games with a retro feel, I'll even do a few finger swipes and taps on a mobile screen to get a fix of pixelated delight.

Billy Skyscraper game Billy Skyscraper is an Android game where the hero is a jetpack-wearing "Robin Hood" of sorts. He raids the towering skyscrapers of the banking sector, retrieving money stolen by a secret organization.

Long before I tired to apply this storyline to the game play, I'd died several times. I flew from the roof of a skyscraper into a window and collected some money - then touched something that killed me.

This is a difficult game with simple controls. Billy stands still until you tap the left side of the screen to rise vertically and tap right to propel him. sounds simple... but it's not! It really is like putting a jetpack on Flappy Bird. Everything happens fast and somewhat randomly, so memory won't always save or guide you either. It's a twitch game in which your gut reaction had better be right or you'll die.

Billy Skyscraper game Some will find Billy Skyscraper frustrating - possibly irritating - but there's also a segment of the gaming population that loves an impossible challenge. Those who dropped quarters in 80's arcades are very accustomed to games that can not be beaten. We kinda dig impossible games :)
September 3, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Toys R Us empties the Star Wars aisle in preparation for The Force Awakens toy rush

My local Toys Us has emptied their shelves of all the Star Wars toys from the trilogy I grew up with (the one in the 70s) in hopes of cashing in on fans seeking Force Awakens merch.

They're opening for an hour at 12:01AM as part of their Friday release. I love Star Wars, but I don't have the energy to drive down to TRU for a midnight peek at the new toys. Past experience has taught me that all the glory will still be there at a reasonable hour the following day.

The Force Awakens toy preparation The Force Awakens toy preparation Sure, I wish I had the youthful enthusiasm that would have had me filling a carriage with Skywalker swag in the middle of the night. However, I can be just as content to get a good night's sleep on my Episode one bedsheets and snatch up a few choice figures at Toys R Us tomorrow ;)
September 3, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Amazon opens a digital Nintendo store allowing games to be sent directly to your console

Using Amazon's digital Nintendo store Amazon has sold digital codes for Xbox and PlayStation games for quite a while. Conspicuously missing was Nintendo! Fear not - mega online retailer Amazon has corrected this and done so in a unique way. Jump into Amazon's Nintendo Digital Downloads area and search for Wii, Wii U, and 3DS games.

Currently, you'll find mostly Nintendo manufactured games and DLC along with some Virtual Console titles. I presume this offering will widen to include more 3rd party titles and indie games, but for now it's primarily digital versions of cartridge-based games.

Using Amazon's digital Nintendo store Remember how Kickstarter used to dump you into Amazon to fund a campaign? Amazon is following a similar scenario by dumping you into Nintendo's site to redeem a code for the game you purchased via Amazon. It sounds convoluted, but I see 2 advantages to the ability to buy digital games via Amazon as opposed to doing it via Nintendo's E-shop.

1 - Pricing seems to be the same, but once you complete your Amazon purchase, you are pushed to the Nintendo site where you log in with your Nintendo Network account. Your purchase is then sent directly to your console. So, you are using Nintendo to deliver the software, but bypassing the the E-Shop for everything but delivery.

2 - Nintendo often has E-shop sales. Amazon is now another outlet for potential savings as they often run specials as well.

Amazon opens a digital Nintendo store Amazon's digital Nintendo store will let you pre-order games. Too be honest, I'm not too interested in digital DLs of cart-based games as I'd rather buy the carts and not use up space on my SD card (or hard drive) - full games are huge. However as more indie titles and VC releases arrive, I'm definitely going to give this a try... and hope for some amazon sales.
September 2, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

‘77 Carrie Fisher interview at Sega Center piqued my interest in Anti-Aircraft & Time Out Tunnel arcades

I saw a really cool picture on Carrie Fisher interview at The Sega Center Arcade Carrie Fisher was interviewed at The Sega Center Arcade for the Making of Star Wars. They filmed a segment with Carrie Fisher talking about the movie at The Sega Center.
Carrie Fisher interview at The Sega Center Arcade In the background of this Carrie Fisher interview at The Sega Center Arcade you'll see an Atari Anti-Airraft video game behind her - among others.



Atari's Anti Aircraft Arcade Game

Carrie Fisher interview at The Sega Center Arcade Atari's Anti-Aircraft game was released to arcades in 1975. This 2-player game has you on the ground aiming a cannon at incoming bombers. You have three positions to shoot from and the object is to shoot down more planes than your opponent within the allotted time. The screen is very stark looking with little on-screen action, but these games were the precurssor to the insane explotion of color and sound that would belt out of all arcade games just a few years later!

This is an early game running on a 23" monitor housed in a plywood cabinet. There is an undocumented option that switches the bombers into UFO's. This is a hardwired option, but a jumper can be installed to switch between planes and UFO's.

I love the game cabinet array in the Sega World pics above. Few arcades I visited in the mid 80s were doing cool things like this with their floor space. Most operators simply lined up the cabinets and moved them around now and then to keep the layout fresh. I wish there had been more progressive thinking owners in my area. It just goes to show what a little creativity can achieve.

Time Out Tunnel Arcades

Like the location in the Fox Hills Mall (mentioned above), many of these video game arcade locations later became Time Out arcades. Segas locations were on the west coast and Time Out was an east coast company headquartered in Fairfax, VA. I'd never encountered a Sega Center, but did have the opportunity to visit a few Time Out locations.

This was back in the day when arcades had yet to be forced into the redemption model. They were amazing spaces inhabited by dazzling CRT attract modes, beautiful marquees, and sounds that excited me to play video games and pinball.

I believe the Sega Center from the Carrie Fisher pic turned into the Time Out Tunnel Arcade which seemed to garner a bit more attention due to its cylindrical shape  not your standard footprint for a mall location. This physical attribute was just one of the facets that made Time Out stand out from many other locations. Innovation never goes out of style!

Time Out Arcade Time Out Tunnel Arcades actually had a conical shape to them giving these locations a uniquely cavernous gaming area. Created by entrepreneur Tico Bonomo, a candy maker specializing in Turkish Taffy. Oddly his candy was neither actual taffy, nor Turkish.
Time Out Arcade Bonomo sold his candy business and started up Time Out Arcade in Colonie, NY in 1970. More successful than the candy biz, he opened more arcade locations and was in the right place at the right time when Pong came along and everyone was crazy for this new game!

Time Out Arcade By 1978 he had twenty locations and again was well positioned to let Time Out Arcade showcase Space Invaders. Mall construction was booming and Bonomo was setting a precedent for the inclusion of arcades in shopping malls.
Time Out Arcade As arcades peaked, Time Out Arcade was poised to buy out the West coast locations run by Sega and introduced redemption games with prizes. The strategy of merging was one of the few strategies for staying afloat in the arcade business.

In 1992 Time Out Arcades were sold to Edison Brothers. They filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1995.

Time Out Arcade high score card Did you ever fill out a High Score of the Week card at a Time Out Tunnel Arcade?
This site has some great images and info about Time Out Tunnel Arcades. It's a mirror site, so the original site is long gone, but check it out while the info is available - great resource!

As barcades gain ground and game-centric entrepreneurs, like Games Done Legit seek out venues in which to engage the masses with retro and modern video game competitions, my hope for an arcade renaissance remains high. Modern arcades simply don't have the vibe of those in the 80s. It was a magical era full of games that were simple to learn and impossible to win. We dropped quarters without much thought about how lucky we were to play those amazing video games as soon as they were released!
September 1, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Without social media, I'm not sure I'd have noticed Google's new logo #GoogleDoodle

Google Logo When a company the size of Google changes an element of their branding - like their primary logo - everyone seems to stop and take notice. That is.. if they notice.

The logo is so similar to it's former one, that I doubt this change would have registered with me without all the hoopla on social media and the fact that it's now animated. Their new logo is a custom font they've christened as "Product Sans".

Google Logo If you explore Google across multiple platforms, you'll see that their new logo, aside from no longer being static, is actually responsive. When you summon Google, the letters in the logo morph into undulating dots. If you are speaking to Google, the dots change to an equalizer reacting to your voice. This scenario is nifty, but I'm not sure it serves a more valiant purpose than letting you know Google is working on your request.

I guess in the fast paced world of corporate marketing, such intricacies can translate into meaningful relationships with those who use their services. Won't the world be fun to navigate when everyone has an animated logo that dances around when it senses your desire to spend money. It's cute and unique now, but just you wait... everyone else will catch up and want a cool jiggly logo that moves in tandem with your vocal discontent. :)
September 1, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Resurrecting my Moon Patrol arcade game was a very rewarding father/son project this Summer

Moon Patrol arcade marquee In the early 1990s my roommate and I decided the house we were renting needed some arcade entertainment. We found a local amusement dealer and loaded up a U-Haul with several cabinets. I bought Dig Dug, Asteroids, Stargate and 2 PCBs - Moon Patrol and Vanguard. My buddy picked up Mr. Do and Zaxxon.

We decided the Moon Patrol PCB wold be a fun project. With only the set of boards, I ordered a CRT monitor, power supply, a joystick, and several fire buttons from Happ Controls (now Suzo Happ). I was a pretty good amateur carpenter and my buddy had some good electronics skills. Between us we assembled Moon Patrol on his kitchen table and I went to work building an upright cabinet to house the innards.

I loved my Moon Patrol game because it gave me a great sense of accomplishment to have it working. Eventually, I had to get rid of the cabinet when I moved, but I kept all the parts. Nearly 2 decades later, I decided it was time to resurrect Moon Patrol. I'd left almost everything connected. Upon connecting two speaker wires and plugging in the power supply and monitor, Moon Patrol was now running on my kitchen table!

Moon Patrol arcade project I had told my 10-year-old son about my box full of arcade parts and decided this Summer would be a good time to get him excited about a real arcade game!

He was stoked when the monitor came to life since we'd played Moon Patrol on other home systems, but this was the original arcade game and it was being served up via a chip-laden PCB!
Moon Patrol arcade project I had rigged an extra fire button to serve as the quarter-drop for initiating a 1 or 2-player game. It acted up a bit, but reconnecting the wire to the JAMA connector and it was good to go!

I loved playing Moon Patrol in arcades which makes this project truly special.
With the guts laid out on the table I worked the joystick while my son hed the Fire and Jump buttons in each hand. Together we played our first game of Moon Patrol together. He was only visiting for another week, so I wanted to get the game up and running in a playable configuration, so we build a quick cabinet, that I'll have to put some more finishing touches on.

The next order of business was to build a cabinet. We bought 2 sheets of plywood and a few 2x3s and tied them to the roof of our car. Over the next 2 days we constructed a frame that was sturdy enough to house the monitor, power supply and a few buttons mounted to a control deck.

He was fascinated by the drill bit that dug out perfect oles for the fire buttons. He was a big help and learned a lot about wood working, electronics and the golden age of arcade games.

Moon Patrol arcade project The day after we had Moon Patrol playable in our new cabinet, I saw this Matchbox vehicle at the grocery store. We took it as a good sign. I'm looking forward to putting the finishing touches on the cabinet and getting it ready for his next visit in a few weeks.

This was a great project for us to embark on this Summer. I love being able to share my arcade days with him 30 years after. I've even taken him to one of the arcades I played at in the 80's - they still have a Donkey Kong cab that makes me wonder if it's the same one I played on as a teenager.

August 2015 Retro Gaming Articles:

August 31, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

There's more gold in d'em hills- I mean, in that hole in the Alamogordo landfill

Atari Dig Operational Consultant Joe Lewandowski Those who actively buy and sell used video games on auction sites or local markets are familiar with the ebb and flow of the game market. What if you were able to dig video games out of the ground and sell them? You know, like digging up vegetables or picking fruit. That sounds better than going to endless yard sales and flea markets to acquire more games to sell.

They say "One man's trash is another man's gold", but can it really be taken literally? You'll recall the Atari landfill urban legend was laid to rest in April of 2014 as excavators, followed by a documentary film crew, unearthed a lot of Atari games buried in the mid 80's.

From this event, the myth was widely exposed and moderately corrected, although many still believe millions of ET carts were dumped. The Game Over documentary was made and the city of Alamogordo, NM claimed rights to all the "trash" in their defunct landfill. Off to eBay they went!

Atari landfill I bid on a few of the recovered carts (Defender and Yar's Revenge), but was outbid in the end as the price went above my budget. However, the City of Alamogordo was able to sell 881 rancid game cartridges (some still crushed inside their original boxes) to folks in 45 states and 14 countries. The highest Atari 2600 E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial cartridge went for $1,535.

Atari Dig Operational Consultant Joe Lewandowski announced the grand total of the Atari Dig sale on eBay to City Commissioners at their regular City Commission meeting on Aug. 25, 2015 (Alamogordo Daily News). The $107,930 auction earnings will be split between the city and the Tularosa Basin Historical Society.

297 Cartridges Remain Unsold

At the time of the dig, it was determined that only a sampling of games would be removed from the site. I wasn't sure why they made that decision. Certainly, those excavating Egyptian tombs didn't stop after the third gold cup. Had I been in charge of the Atari Dig (with unlimited funding), I'd have dug until every last cartridge was recovered. Alas, I was across the country watching in awe via social media postings the day of the dig.

There must be more folks willing to buy a smelly part of Atari's history
It was later disclosed by former Atari Manager James Heller that he was tasked with disposing of 728,000 cartridges stored in an El Paso warehouse. Let's do some math... As you can see, the Atari Dig only scratched the surface of what is potentially buried out there. The City of Alamogordo has not determined what to do with the remaining 287 recovered carts. They will remain in storage for now. But what about the future?

They pulled over $100,000 out of the ground in a single day. I see a bright future for Alamogordo as long as they realize the value of their defunct landfill and the passion we all have for all things Atari.
August 30, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I'm with her - Summer doesn't end until school starts

Even as an adult, I cringe at the first school bus sighting in September. I know it's childish, but I still remember that amazing stretch of time between school years when I felt this amazing sense of freedom. As Summer wound down, I always felt as though something really great was ending.

Summer's as a kid were full of bike rides, fast food, arcades, and pushing boundaries. It was a time to get outside the structured confines of the classroom and see how we faired in the hit-or-miss world. We got into trouble and wiggled our way out. Overall, we had tons of fun.

I relive a lot of that when my son comes to visit for the Summer. We hang out 24/7 and have a blast together. I really related to this DQ Blizzard ad where this girl is adamant that Summer isn't over and the "sign people" need to hold their horses! Every year I want to hold onto my Summers too!

DQ Blizard ad
DQ Blizard ad

My childhood Summers were spent on the beach, wailing on a guitar, playing in arcades, dominating mini golf, seeing the latest movies, and packing as much fun as possible into each day. I guess I've never learned that time moves forward regardless what you may do to try and prevent it's passage. These days, I try to make the most of every minute - especially in the Summer!

DQ Blizard ad So, where does one purchase a cup holder for a BMX bike? I need one!

August 30, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Disney Infinity 3.0's Star Wars release at my local Toys R Us was quite uneventful

Upon arriving at Toys R Us this morning, I was pleased to find the aisle was now full of Disney Infinity 3.0 merch. I stopped by yesterday to find a barren aisle waiting to be filled. I had my dates mixed up. As usual, launch day offered only 1 additional playset outside of the Star Wars playset sold with the starter pack. With fairly paltry selections, I'm curious to see how this version fares against the prior two.

Similar to the last two release days, for the previous DI versions, the gaming area at my local Toys R Us was empty.

Even the release of a Star Wars playset with several characters didn't seem to stir much excitement. I'm surprised with the low turn out contrasted with the yearly release of Skylanders. When the new Activision game arrives, my TRU has an large area at the store's entrance full of figures, games, and all the accessories. This is in addition to the dedicated aisle in the gaming section of the store. Employees are answering questions, restocking the shelves, and customers are out in force.

Disney Infinity 3.0 releade day at Toys R Us I find the calm emptiness of the same store on the release of Disney Infinity rather odd. I'm much more of a Skylanders fan, but sales seem to be going well for DI, so where are all the customers?

I scooped up the Star Wars, Tron, and Mickey & Minnie figures- hoping 3.0 is worth it.
It will be interesting to see what happens when Lego joins the fray with the release of Lego Dimensions. Will there be a crowd on launch day or will tumbleweeds be once more blowing down the game aisle?

I'm not fond of the term, but it seems that Toys-To-Life is a category that is here to stay and more developers are jumping on it. I thought it was unique at first, but the magic wears off quickly and the figures begin to pile up with no real playable longevity for the most part.

The whole marketing premise seems to get you to buy a lot of figures that are mostly applicable to one game and then strongly suggest you buy the next version and a whole slew of new figures. Yes, that model gets old. I'm hoping Lego sees more purpose to the characters and worlds they can interact within.
August 29, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

My local Toys R Us is prepping for the release of Disney Infinity 3.0

With my release dates a bit confused today, I stopped by my local Toys R Us to pick up Disney Infinity 3. Their stockroom is brimming with DI3 video game stuff, but they can't sell it until tomorrow morning. I found the former Disney Infinity aisle barren awaiting the 3.0 items. The opposite side of the aisle is loaded with DI 2.0 stuff.

Toys R Us preping for the release of Disney Infinity 3.0 Were it not for the Star Wars figures and most importantly the playsets, I'd have no interest in this franchise. My son and I were quickly bored with the original game and opted not to buy the 2.0 version. As much fun as the Toybox seems in the TV ads, I'm not too excited about mix and matching characters together. I'd much rather enjoy the characters in their native worlds via playsets.

I found it odd the way they decided to release some figures with playsets and some without. Did the Lone Ranger really need a playset, while Jack Skellington doesn't even have Sally... let alone a Halloweentown playset. That alone turned me off to Disney Infinity. They offered a cool Jack Skellington poster, but no other figures?!?

And don't get me started about the holes in Phineas and Ferb. I hope they do a better job with Star Wars and don't leave gaping holes in the releases. With the latest Star Wars movie (under Disney ownership) being only a few months away, they would be wise to give the DI Star Wars video game ample attention!
August 29, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Bad Magic is a stunning new album from Motorhead - a band who formed the same year as Atari's Steeplechase

I was stoked to pick up the new Motorhead CD and discover they're rocking just as hard as ever! I'm still riding a wave of excitement from bands I've followed, for most of my life, who are still creating great music.

As a point of interest I've been looking at the games released the same year each band formed. Motorhead began in 1975, the same year Atari released their Steeplechase arcade game. Lemme formed Motorhead and is still the frontman - and lone original member.

Motorhead Bad Magic Atari Steeplechase arcade game Atari's Steeplechase is a horse racing game for up to six players who can play against one another. The game involves making your horse jump over obstacles on a narrow horizontal course. The monitor has six rows - one for each horse - each with an individual colored overlay. You always play against a computer player with horse number 7. The fastest horse wins.

Steeplechase arcade controls Can you imagine crowding 6 people around this control deck? Even Rampage's 3-player option offered a flanged front pannel to give players some space.

This arcade game was ported to the Atari 2600 and years later wound up on the Atari Flashback series of emulation consoles. Steeplechase was included on the Atari Anthology release for PS2 and Xbox.
August 28, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Did you say... Retro Gaming?

This photo, from the movie Tangled, has been used in countless memes. We figured it was high time we appropriated it. I love the "instant attention" in Rapunzel's eyes as though she'd just discovered something amazing... like retro gaming!

Rapunzel from Tangled - retro gaming
August 28, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Shovel Knight's amiibo confirmation makes us wonder how many other devs are courting Nintendo for this special deal

Shovel Knight amiibo Shovel Knight came out in 2014 and quickly became the darling of the modern retro movement, winning several awards. It's a 2D side scrolling platformer originally released for PC, Nintendo 3DS, and Wii U. It has now been released on all the major platforms and consoles. We highly recommend you get a copy for your gaming device of choice.

As indie games go, Shovel Knight has done very well and garnered many awards and acclaims. Yesterday, Yacht Club Games announced that Shovel Knight is slated to be released as an amiibo figure! This will allow 2-player co-op on the Wii U, and unlock additional challenges and customization options for both the Wii U and 3DS.

Yacht Club Games says the amiibo functionality will be carried forward in other games as well. This is a really huge feat for an independent video game. This is the first officially licensed amiibo for a 3rd party game.

A New Licensing Structure for Indie Games?

However, the structure of this amiibo deal is a little different. As reported by Destructoid, Yacht Club Games is actually licensing the amiibo tech from Nintendo and doing the manufacturing and distribution themselves. Nintendo is overseeing things in the manner they are accustomed. Nintendo will ensure it's look and game play options fit the Nintendo mold.

With the array of complaints about insufficient stock levels of many amiibo figures, will Yacht Club Games be able to handle this responsibility? Creating and perpetuating a successful game is very difficult for an indie studio who can't rely on a single title for too long. I would think that being responsible for manufacturing and distribution would take a large toll. I hope they are being properly supported to be successful in an area that may not be familiar to game devs - keeping store shelves stocked.

Many are already asking if this means there will be proper supplies of the Shovel Knight amiibo since Nintendo has had great difficulty keeping amiibo in the supply chain. Is Nintendo the problem and will turning distribution over to the game devs work well? Do indie devs have the time, workforce and money to make amiibo manufacturing and distribution go smoothly? Time will tell. Who else has been courting Nintendo for a similar deal?

This development & release strategy seems awfully strange, but lets hope this method will encourage Nintendo to branch out when considering how to broaden the amiibo character base and their potential enhancement to various Nintendo games.

I'd love to see some amiibo created for Capcom's Shantae and perhaps a few classic figures in line with the "retro Mario" amiibo figure. I can think of several Namco characters I'd love to see interact with a modern game or two. Couldn't Dig Dug lend his pump-weapon to a modern day gaming hero - maybe for one of Splatoon's Inklings? :)
August 27, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Retro websites are a constant reminder of how shoddy modernity has become

Retro gamers tend to have a fondness for their first game console. For me it was an Atari 2600. For others it was the NES or PS2. My son began gaming on Nintendo's Wii, although I it was playing Dig Dug on a handheld multi-game joystick device that lit the fuse.

Regardless which console gave you the first taste of video games, chances are that console is still pretty important to you. I recently bought a Wii U after deciding that the PS4 wasn't the right choice for me. My son was ecstatic about this decision. Just as he played Donkey Kong in our local arcade before we took on DKC Returns on the Wii, I showed him my NES before we hooked up the Wii U.

I really wanted him to appreciate what led up to all the games he sees on store shelves these days. I was delighted when he recognized a few titles from reboots we have on other systems. We had a good time playing my old NES games and then went back to Wizard of Wor on the Atari 800 computer.

Retro arcades and cars Check out more Muscle cars and arcade games on our Pinterest board! Retro gamers are used to a melding of old and new. Most of us love old games on cartridges and dusty consoles while also playing PS3, Xbox One, or other modern consoles. Rare Retro just came out for the Xbox One. That's quite a testament to classic games and their inclusion in modern gaming... even for those who don't consider themselves retro gamers.

Technology has allowed great strides in human achievement, but these strides aren't always great leaps. There are a lot of classic car shows in my area and I love to go see the cars I grew up around as a kid. They have such character and style. Each one is so unique and distinctive - and operational 30+ years later! Compare that with cars on the roads today. It's a sea of homogeneous rounded boxes lacking style and individuality. It's disheartening.

I think part of my attachment to things from the past is twofold. Naturally, my childhood familiarity with various toys, cars, random products, and technologies makes them dear to me. At the same time, I find most of these things are of such higher quality than their modern day counterparts. That isn't true of everything, but overall, quality has fallen in many respects when it comes to manufacturing.

We live in an increasingly disposable society where we dispose of things without so much as a thought to repairing them. That statement alone is a threat to retro gaming! Years ago, I found innumerable 2600s at yard sales. These days... not so much. As I've matured (well, sort of matured) I'm more aware of the value of ALL retro games and consoles. No one is making them anymore. Atari and Nintendo still exist, but they aren't making 2600s or NES consoles. There is a finite supply of these original devices!

Nostalgia is a wonderful thing that can take you back to times when things just seemed better... because in some cases they were!
August 26, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

How Brawler Arcades Stay Relevant

Written by guest author, Jared Harris.

Fighter and brawler games have always been some of the more straightforward options on the market. You choose a character to control and face him or her off against an adversary, either computer controlled or handled by another player. And that's about it; you fight in a controlled, contained level with limited space until one of you is knocked out or runs out of energy. Then you do it all over again.

Well, it's not quite that simple. These types of games have always contained a nice variety of characters with different special moves, and sometimes different personalities and back stories or motivations. Generally speaking, plots and objectives don't play a significant role in this genre, but a lot of the better brawlers do provide a level of purpose. For example, the order of the adversaries you face might change depending on the character you control, and your final fight may be against a different rival due to conflicts and objectives stated in quick blurbs in between fights.

Street Fighter But even given the fact that different characters can help to make these games more dynamic, it's incredible just how long the genre has remained not only relevant, but prominent in the world of video games. We're talking about a style of gaming that originated on old arcade devices with the first Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat games and has endured into present day almost without change. The latest versions of these games are basically the same as the originals.

So how exactly have brawler games remained relevant all these years?

The simplest answer is to point to very gradual adaptation. To see just how gradual, this is an incredibly detailed history of the Street Fighter franchise, dating back to the very origins of Capcom. While the history is filled with information that will only be relevant to extreme fans, the overarching idea is that the franchise has basically crawled through time. The presentation is of a somewhat-stubborn gaming series that, while consistently offering new titles with minor changes, has never made a dramatic leap forward or a pronounced change at a single moment.

Street Fighter is Street Fighter, no matter what numbers or additional words are thrown into a title. But along the way, new characters have been added, graphics have been improved now and then, and the game has been optimized for new systems and consoles. The actual action never changes, and some characters have the same moves and physical tendencies now that they had in the very beginning. However, some of the surroundings change just enough, every couple of years, to keep fans interested. This is pretty typical of the brawler genre as a whole.

Another way that the genre has stayed interesting is that its key franchises have often been open to crossovers and integration of characters from other forms of media and fiction. The prevailing example is the extensive Marvel vs. Capcom branch of the Street Fighter series. It pits classic Street Fighter characters against Marvel superheroes, who exist in a range of games on their own, but hadn't really appeared in fighter-style arcades. Some characters, such as Spider-Man and the X-Men, have fairly extensive gaming histories, but for the most part games have been used for specific purposes.

Here you can find a number of popular Marvel characters in a manner that makes its own arcade games more interesting to players, and it's also common to see simple, short Marvel games used to promote specific films. But through gradual integration with brawler franchises, Marvel characters have become known in more action-packed corners of gaming in addition to film promotions and casino games. The result is that now app fighters like Marvel: Contest of Champions and, in the DC realm, Injustice: Gods Among Us have gained immense popularity. These games employ classic brawler formats with legions of comic superhero characters, keeping the genre relevant for a new generation.

It's also worth mentioning that the transition of Marvel and DC superheroes into a fighter/brawler format is by no means the first instance of new characters joining the genre. When we think of this type of video game, most of us consider three franchises first: Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Tekken. Indeed, those are in many ways the three that founded and defined the genre. But there have been other consistent series, as well as other examples of popular characters from other realms of gaming and fiction joining in on the fun.

Take a look at this countdown of the 10 best fighting video games, and you'll see some examples. Virtua Fighter and Soul Calibur are successful series despite not having quite the name recognition of their more popular counterparts. Also, the Super Smash Bros. series on Nintendo has been absolutely huge as it brings classic Nintendo characters into the genre. Again, none of these series or characters have changed the format of fighter games. However, merely by introducing new settings and playable personae, they've kept the whole genre fresh.

The fighter genre has somehow managed to stay fresh for close to three decades by changing existing games just enough to keep fans intrigued, welcoming crossovers with other games, and inspiring new series to form. That's pretty crazy when you consider Ryu, Ken and Co. are throwing the same punches, kicks, and hadoukens they were in the early '90s!

About the author:
Jared Harris is a writer, husband, and lover of technology. And he still plays Nintendo 64 games, often winning any race against his wife in Mario Kart 64 (as long as he can play as Yoshi).
August 25, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

After ruining Paolo Porpora's “Flowers”, Don't let this kid near your Stadium Events

In wake of a kid accidentally punching a hole in a painting, I wish parents would take the time to explain the value (culturally and financially) of items displayed in museums. Kids shouldn't be allowed to randomly bumble around in museums without any respect for the displays.

Stadium Events In our digital world, it becomes increasingly difficult for the younger generations to understand how things were in the analog age. Some kids today consider PhotoShop to be an artist's primary tool. While that can be true, I can't help wondering if that kid has ever been to an art museum.

The ease with which we right-click and save images is staggering. If you want to see Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel work, go to Goole Images and set it as your desktop, right? The notion of a one-of-a -kind original is nearly lost.

Artists often sell prints of their original works as the original can only be sold once. These days we use the term "digital rot" for those jpegs that travel around the interned being resized, altered, and saved again only to be degraded in the process.

Have you ever seen a year-old meme that looks a little fuzzy? That's the effect of the degradation that happens as the file is manipulated and re-saved. The original will look great until the end of time, but altered versions litter the Net.

Hide Your Stadium Events

Recently during a museum visit, a 12-year-old in Taiwan tripped and put his hand through a 1.5 million dollar painting by Paolo Porpora. The video show his fall. Rather than fall to the floor, he simply reaches out and remains upright by pushing his hand through a 350+ year-old painting. No RESPECT! His family is not being asked to cover the costs in the assumption that insurance will cover restoration costs.

This is a good lesson for those with valuable collections of anything. Don't assume a kid has been raised to respect the property of others. When I think about the outrageous prices of rare video games on auction sites, I wonder if kids have any sense of their value. Can you imagine showing a child your newly acquired copy of a rare in-box game only to watch as the child rips the box open to see what's inside?

Not everyone raises their kids to respect the world around them. Don't let these kids handle your copy of Stadium Events!
August 25, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Mega Man Legacy Collection salutes the individual games & combines them for a true challenge

Capcom's Mega Man character The Mega Man Legacy Collection from Capcom was released in digital format today. This set includes the first 6 games as a digital download for PS4, PC, and Xbox One. Originally these were all released on the NES/Famicom between 1987 and 1994.

However, this collection is much more than just the first six titles. There are a lot of interesting things from artwork to game play options that make this a really great release. A complete database will let you peruse all the villans, their weapons and the best ways to defeat them.

A wonderful Collection of artwork, including concept pieces, can be viewed in Museum Mode. Challenge Mode takes select portions from all 6 games and presents them to you as a challenge - complete with all the weapons from that game!

Capcom's Mega Man Legacy Collection From Capcom's website:
Mega Man Legacy Collection is a celebration of the 8-bit history of Capcoms iconic Blue Bomber. Featuring faithful reproductions of the series origins with the original six Mega Man games, the Legacy Collection will remind long-time fans and introduce newcomers to what made Mega Man such a popular and iconic character. Mega Man Legacy Collection will feature all six games and much more.

Combining the Power of the Individual Games

This seems like a great collection of games that has been curated to add a great deal of value. The awesomeness of amalgamating retro games is to be able to enjoy them individually, but also collectively. The sum of the parts can add up to something amazing with a more powerful experience than delivered by the original cartridges.

The database that outlines all the villands and weapons is tremendous, but pales compared to the Challenge Mode that conjoins game play from all the games into a challenge. THAT is what makes such a compilation better than it's individual components themselves. This colection takes into account the power of the individual gmes and their combination. Love it!

Capcom's Mega Man NES

Why Stop at #6?

I assumed that this collection was comprised of Mega Man 1 through 6 as this covered the NES/Famicom releases. A notion on the PlayStation Blog suggested the title choices had more to do with developer Digital Eclipse's method of accurately bringing the exact NES experience to other platforms only works for the NES titles. I don't know enough about this technology, but they asset that there is no porting or emulation. It's an interesting read - check it out.

I read an interesting story about the artist who did the original cover. As the story went, he was tasked with creating the cover art from the 8-bit sprite for mega Man. Typically, an artist would create the character and it would then be translated in a game sprite. Due to the lack of detail in the sprite, the artist was unaware of the robotic apendage as opposed to carying a gun. Interesting story - anyone know if it's accurate?

BTW - I'm excited to learn this collection will come to the Nintendo 3DS with next year's (2016) physical media release.

Capcom's Mega Man NES
August 24, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Public release of Nintendo patent results in numerous psychic predictions and random nonsense

It's difficult to venture into social media without stumbling on another moronic prediction about Nintendo's next gaming console - The NX. Recently it was discovered that Nintendo filed for patents in February (publicly published last week) for a gaming device. Evidence suggests this console contains no optical drive. The internet erupted in fits of random speculation - positive and negative.

Nintendo patent image It's fun to speculate about the potential ramifications of the info contained in the patent. A console lacking an optical drive is a real game-changer. However, too many folks are making claims as thought they just got off the phone with Japan. These "folks" are not solely random fanboys, but those hailing from well-regarded gaming publication.

Companies like Nintendo that are frequently creating new products and procedures are in the habit of patenting many things as part of the process. They wouldn't for example create a game console and then dash out to apply for a patent. During the creative process, ideas that are unique can be patented. If they discover a new way of achieving something that is proprietary, they can patent that process. In other words, a final product can be protected by numerous patents.

The patent seems to reveal a lot, but it doesn't mandate a path for Nintendo.

It's a Patent Doc, Not a Press Release

From what I've read online, one would think the NX was arriving on store shelves at the end of the week. Projects can change much quicker than people may realize - even hardware. Nothing is set in stone. From a development perspective, the NX may still be in a state of change. There is still plenty of time to completely change the device.

With nothing set in stone, I think the most interesting thing displayed in the patent document is the memory card along with an internal hard drive. Some have speculated that Nintendo might be going back to the N64 days and deliver games in some sort of cartridge-like format. I'd love to see a zero-load-time console!

As I said, it's fun to dream about what Nintendo might deliver next, but I think it's irresponsible for so many gaming news outlets to be interpreting a patent document as though it was a press release. Companies often patent things that never reach completion or development. POne can't gleam the future of Nintendo's next console by a single patent document. I wish more journalists would properly define their content when reporting news versus speculation/opinion.

For the masses of outraged humans commenting on every site they can find, that this patent document sets forth the death of Nintendo... well, you can simply go away. Thanks.
August 23, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

KFC taunts your desire to print out chicken-devouring memories via a Bluetooth chicken bucket printer

This KFC chicken bucket has a Bluetooth printer When I want something that I can't have it irritates me. As a retro gamer, there are many games I'll never find or be able to afford. Despite this, I can always go to a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant and snag anything off the menu.

Yes, the analogy seems weak, but there have been some clever tech-oriented promos that make me wonder about this one from KFC.

KFC is no stranger to viral marketing with tech flare, but there are too many other promos that give the customer/client a tangible item. Another recent campaign was a game titled, Colonel Quest.

As cool as a chicken bucket with a built-in printer sounds, they aren't producing them in any quantity. This seems to be the sort of campaign where they hope you will like the bucket printer and share the video.

Useless tech needs to be fun AND accessible! #ChickenBucketPix
Alas, there are a slew of apps that let me do somewhat interesting things that are sort of fun and engaging. Telling fiends to "check out this chicken bucket" isn't one of them. Chevy can put a printer in the glove-box of a Camaro... to what end?

Here's my selfish opposition to this campaign: I can't have one. If I could trundle around with a custom chicken bucket and print out photos, I'd be all over it! That would be awesome! Even if I had to plunk down ten times (or more) the cost of a bucket of chicken to get one, I'd have a blast with it.

The reality is this chicken bucket printer is a prototype for making a promo video. Maybe they'll make a few and give them to strategic partners who will cary on the viral nature, but you and I can't have one!

I want one and can't have one - Grrrr! It's pretty cool, but if you don't offer it to customers, it doesn't really resonate as much. Polaroid has been reborn in several iterations, with little traction due to the proliferation of camera phones and decreased interest in printing photos. I think this bucket printer has the ability to leap over the "print is dead" misnomer, but it should be somewhat available to KC customers.

KFC chicken bucket printer Now I'm craving a bucket of chicken and a Game Boy Printer :)
August 10, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Straight Outta Compton meme generator is a slick marketing promo lending to many situations

I'm a huge fan of the gangster rap of the 80s. There were so many great groups from NWA to Ghetto Boys and Ice-T. They brought their worlds to life with hardcore lyrics that were such a surge of energy for music at the time.

With the upcoming movie Straight Outta Compton, a Straight Outta meme - arcades

Straight Outta meme - Sunnyvale

Straight Outta meme - arcades

Straight Outta meme - Retro Gaming

Straight Outta meme - Inkopolis
August 9, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Player 2 arrives for Summer vacation part II

My son is returning for a few weeks to round out our Summer of mini golf, bike rides, building sand castles, and arcade gaming. Since we play hard 24/7 I rarely find time to update the website, so I find it better to simply take a brief hiatus from the online world and play with my son in the real one.

I hope you all have someone awesome to share retro gaming with. As we take a few weeks to revel in 8-bit awesomeness, I encourage you to share your passion for retro gaming with someone who may not have experienced pixelated bliss. Have fun!!
August 8, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Speculation about the 3DS lifespan worries me that StreetPass will fade away

StreetPass Mii PLaza logo A mention of the 3DS lifespan by NIS America presiden & CEO Takuro Yamashita has spiraled into speculation on it's demise. He stated that it likely had another 2 to 3 years before fading away. Suddenly,the Internet is ablaze with people offering their opinion on when is will cease.

Here's the problem and I'll admit this is my own personal selfish problem, but I'm going to share it. I love StreetPass! From all those funny little games in the StreetPass Mii Plaza to having random travelers come to my island in Tomodachi Life, I can't get enough of it. For me, handheld gaming wouldn't be the same without StreetPass!

StreetPass Miis I live in a somewhat remote area, so the StreetPass Relay Stations at the mall really help out. I'm sure the infrastructure behind that would be one of the first things to go. I feel it adds a really unique element to all types of games and can be implemented in so many different ways. It's a feature that really lets a developer explore ways to bond gamers within their games. This notion is very similar to the use of the Wii U gamepad - it offers many paths toward very diverse game play.

Will AAA focus create an opportunity for smaller devs?

An interesting side note to the fading of the 2/3DS is that it may happen naturally as developers focus their efforts on newer platforms. One has to wonder if this might leave an opening for smaller devs to get their games in front of a larger audience of 3DS owners who still want new games.

Stranger things have happened in the video game industry. Time will tell, but the 3DS is barely 4.5 years old and has a great library of games, not to mention DS compatibility. That number of games would keep me busy for years to come. As new hardware and technology arrive, I hope the interactive concept of StreetPass carries forward.
August 8, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Mentioning NX may have been to stop rumors that the next Nintendo console was a sleep monitor

sleep Speculation has run rampant as people try to guess what the next Nintendo console will be. Amidst harsh criticism of the Wii U platform, Nintendo said development of it's next console was underway. I don't know if the criticism really pushed the announcement, but they admitted that NX as coming.

Anyone who has played throughout a few of gaming's generations knows that the next console is usually underway shortly after the current console's release. Before NX was alluded to, Nintendo filed several patents for some sort of sleep monitor. people flipped out and began speculating that the Wii U had forced Nintendo to delve into other markest and abandon gaming.

Of course this wasn't the case, but even after all these years, folk don't seem to realize that Nintendo plays by different rules. They don't compete in the traditional sense. They innovate and more often than not it puts them out in front of the competition.

I'm sure if the going gets tough, they can go back to their roots and release: Sleep: The Quality of Life First Person Sleeper Roll Playing Game.

sleep
August 8, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Analogue is promoting their Nt NES console in a wonderfully calm unobtrusive manner

Analogue logo Analogue has come to be known for recreating unusual and beautiful video game consoles. Their AES console came in a variety of beautiful wood finishes and is as much art as game. Recently they came out with the Nt, a $500 NES console made of aluminum. It too is a work of art that can also play the entirety of the Nintendo NES game library.

We've written a few articles on the Analogue Nt. Aside from it's striking look, it is the only NES-compatible console on the market not using emulation and it offers a host of great features. The Nt is based around the original NES hardware making the playing experience identical. It also features both NES and Famicom game slots with no lockout issues or region control.

The Analogue Nt is an RGB NES. This provides a sharp image with great clarity. The Analogue Nt natively outputs the highest quality analog signals available: RGB, Component, S-Video, and Composite. With the HDMI Upgrade (sold separately) - you'll be able to connect to your HDTV with HDMI, upscaling to 1080p or 720p.

With such specs, you'd think there would be a flashy campaign for the Nt. They've taken a very even tone with promotion online. They are simply releasing pictures of the Nt - with a game inserted - in front of an HD TV displaying the start up screen from the game. They offer no marketing blather - just the name of the game.

Metroid on the Analogue Nt Metroid
Bionic Commando on the Analogue Nt Bionic Commando

Balloon Fight on the Analogue Nt Balloon Fight
Bill & Ted on the Analogue Nt Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

I like the nonchalant way they are promoting the Nt. They're showing a lot of the prime NES games as well as some lesser known titles that demonstrates the breadth of games it plays

At $500 it's not for everyone, but it is a spectacular looking console that operates closer to Nintendo's original than anything else currently sold.
August 6, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

GameStop opens early to take amiibo pre-orders while in-store amiibo shelves are barren

I don't know who's to blame with the under fulfillment of amiibo on store shelves. It frustrates collectors who strive to own every singe one of them, but it also frustrates gamers who simply want to unlock a feature or play a new character.

From toys R Us to Best Buy and GameStop, no one has a sufficient supply of amiibo. I have a hard time going to GameStop to pre-order more of them when their shelves are barren in the amiibo section.

Time Magazine's cover story on Virtual Reality I've read so many articles about canceled pre-orders at a variety of stores, that I'd rather sleep in on Saturday until someone can show that there will be adequate stock.

Between all of these stores I can buy anything from Sea Monkeys to refrigerators... but no amiibo! I'd love to pick up ROB or Duck Hunt, but the whole retail process seems geared toward those who mark up prices for eBay sales of these figures.
August 6, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

As the Net claims Time Magazine has killed VR, we wonder if anyone will care by Christmas

Time Magazine's cover story on Virtual Reality When I saw the Time Magazine cover photo for their Virtual Reality story, I had to chuckle. The barefoot guy floating around the beach seemed like an odd visual to capture the looming success of VR technology.

I don't really follow the players in the VR race-toward-public-acceptance. I've seen VR come and go several times in the last 20 years. Upon closer examination, the guy floating over the beach is none other than Oculus founder Palmer Luckey! Thus the Internet has exploded with folks saying "Time Magazine has killed VR!"

I'm fairly certain Time Magazine doesn't have the ability to determine the fate of Virtual Reality, but it does bring up an interesting point in terms of perception. Public perception will be an important component to consumer acceptance of VR. If the public thinks it's a joke, they won't spend their money on it.

Format Wars Confuse Consumers

I've said for quite some time that compatibility is a major area that needs to be addressed. Each time the tech sector thinks VR is going to gain traction and be a part of daily life, 10 companies come along with 1o different product that do things in a proprietary manner.

Remember when DVD HD and Blu-ray came out together? Consumers weren't sure how it differed from the standard DVD and retailers were displaying all 3 formats on their shelves. That was only TWO new products! So what will the public think of the myriad of VR headsets aiming to burst out during the holiday shopping season? And if VR is so great, why does it depend on being part of the holiday shopping scene?

Virtual Reality If I own a PS4 should I buy Sony's VR product. Many have heard of Oculus, but they own Windows PCs... so maybe they should buy the Microsoft product. There are too many players trying to grab a very limited market-share full of people who may discover they own a Betamax when all the good stuff is on VHS. Format wars are a problem that needs to be resolved.

Let's face it - no one looks cool bobbing around with a VR headset over their face. And how comfortable are these devices over long time frames?

Nintendo solved the 3D glasses quandary by building their 3D effect into the screen of the 3DS. Folks thought it was nifty and promptly turned the 3D feature off. I find it laughable that anyone thinks a consumer will buy VR in great enough quantity to make it viable in the public sector.

What Problem Does VR Solve?

And what about the "why" factor? Why do I need VR? What will it do for me? It seems like high-level tech and gamers are the market. That's great, but I doubt the average gamer wants a shoe-box strapped to their head for any length of time. To become a sustainable product, VR must solve a problem common to the majority. It can't be a luxury gaming accessory. It has to save me time, solve a problem in my life, or do something that's insanely helpful. It can't be sold simply because manufacturers say it's the next big thing.

I feel we're ramping up for the next big rollout of a technology no one needs. Apple Computer seems pretty savvy about what consumers want. Steve Jobs claim to fame was developing products to solve problems people didn't even know they had. And he was very successful with his creations.

Say, is Apple making a VR headset? I didn't think so. Oh... one more thing. The world has gone mad. We live in crazy times. How would I feel with a giant box over my face that limited my external senses? Vulnerable!
August 6, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Nintendo Quest film soundtrack by John McCarthy arrived... on cassette!

My copy of Nintendo Quest arrived a few days ago and I've been going through the enormous amount of bonus footage on the 2 additional DVDs. It's a great film with a lot of epic footage and a lot of heart. This flick will become beloved by gamers because it stays true to the human side of collecting games. You'll cheer them on and feel their pain.

Read our review of Nintendo Quest.

I was stoked today when the soundtrack arrived on a bright yellow cassette! It doesn't get any more retro than this. I was thankful I held on to my boombox since it contains the only cassette player I own that doesn't require me to be driving.

The Nintendo Quest soundtrack on cassette The Nintendo Quest DVD shown with the soundtrack on cassette.
The Nintendo Quest soundtrack on cassette The Nintendo Quest soundtrack was released April 17, 2015 and contains 15 tracks by John H. McCarthy.

In McCarthy's words:
I've taken the cues I wrote for the movie and expanded them into 15 songs presented here in all their 8-bit glory. This has been a dream project for me. I do sound design and music for video games as my day job and was overjoyed to have this project as my evening/weekend job for the last year or so.

If you missed out on the Kickstarter campaign that offered this awesome analog version of the Nintendo Quest soundtrack, you can still get a digital copy on Bandcamp.
August 5, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Mindscape's computer game D/generation is making a comeback via West Coast Software

Mindscape logo Remember the adventure game D/generation on computers in the early 90's? Mindscape released it in 1991 for PC, Amiga, and Atari ST. The story involved a courier sent to Genoq Corp discovered the security at the bioweapon manufacturing facility has gone offline and deadly Neogens (bioweapons) were spreading rapidly. You had to get the courier to the chief scientist who desperately needed the package you were delivering.

It was an interesting game requiring you navigate the maze-like rooms of this building while engaging Neogens in action sequences as well as solving puzzles along the way. You got to battle, but you had to think too. A bit of brawn with some problem solving.

D/generation game screen The original Mindscape game was well received and a team at West Coast Software is recreating the game for our modern world on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Mac. It may also trickle down to other consoles like the Wii U and Vita.

I love finding games like this in which someone's passion for the original takes the form of upgrading it. They say the play-mechanics are the same, but the visual and aural experience has been modernized.

Of particular interest is they have the support of the original developer Robert Cook, but it gets better! John Jones-Steele, one of the game's original programmers, is on board as well as original musician, Mark Knight. It's really cool that original team members have reunited to make this happen.

D/generation game comparison Think of how awesome reboots would be if original developers were actually working on the projects. As much as I love reboots, very often they are "interpretations" by the current team. So with Robert Cook's approval they have a Kickstarter campaign where you can become part of D/generation's newfound history!

Check out the D/generation website where you can download a demo of D/generation and find links to their social media. You can also check out the original D/generation game on iOS.
August 4, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

iam8bit teamed up w/ Rare to produce deluxe vinyl soundtracks for Battletoads, Banjo-Kazooie, & Perfect Dark

Not long ago we wrote about the upcoming Rare Replay for Xbox One, featuring 30 games from Rare's library on one game disc! Today is it's release day and although I don't have a Microsoft console I do have a turntable... you know, a record player. If you've been shopping lately you may have seen the dramatic influx of music being released on vinyl records. It reminds me of childhood :)

Rare has teamed up with iam8bit to release 3 different soundtracks on vinyl from games on Rare Replay. These records are slated to be available in November 2015.

Battletoads on Vinyl

Battletoads Vinyl Soundtrack Battletoads Vinyl Soundtrack - 180 Gram Vinyl, Music Composed by David Wise, Album Art by Nick Gazin, Limited Edition of 3,000.
Battletoads Vinyl Soundtrack This vinyl isn't just 40 minutes of that infamously funky beat. Deemed one of the hardest - if not the hardest - game ever made, the frustration that Battletoads has inflicted upon players over the past 25 years has not diminished anyone's love for our favorite toad-trio.

With this in mind, iam8bit proudly presents the original soundtrack composed by the legendary David Wise.

Battletoads track list

  • Side A
  • 1. Title Theme
  • 2. Ragnarok's Canyon
  • 3. Wookie Hole
  • 4. Turbo Tunnel (Prelude)
  • 5. Turbo Tunnel
  • 6. Arctic Caverns
  • 7. Pause
  • Side B
  • 8. Dark Calling (Cutscene)
  • 9. Surf City / Terra Tubes
  • 10. Karnath's Lair
  • 11. Volkmire's Inferno (Prelude)
  • 12. Volkmire's Inferno
  • 13. Intruder Excluder
  • 14. Rat Race
  • 15. Clinger-Winger
  • 16. The Revolution
  • 17. Boss Battle
  • 18. Stage Clear
  • 19. Game Over

Banjo and Kazooie on Vinyl

Banjo and Kazooie Vinyl Soundtrack 2xLP Banjo and Kazooie Vinyl Soundtrack 2xLP - 2xLP 180 Gram Vinyl, Music Composed by Grant Kirkhope, Album Art by Jacub Gagnon, Limited Edition of 3,000.
Banjo and Kazooie Vinyl Soundtrack 2xLP Music is such an integral part of the game - it's no coincidence that the pair are named after instruments. To honor composer Grant Kirkhope's incredibly iconic score for the game, we proudly present the original soundtrack as a beautiful double vinyl set, featuring art by Toronto based pop-surrealist Jacub Gagnon.

Banjo-Kazooie was one of Jacub's favorite games growing up, and it shows through how heartfully he recreated Banjo and Kazooie for this cover.

Banjo and Kazooie track list

  • Side A
  • 1. Main Title
  • 2. Banjo Overture
  • 3. Spiral Mountain
  • 4. Witch's Lair
  • 5. Mumbo's Mountain
  • 6. Treasure Trove Cove
  • Side B
  • 7. Clanker's Cavern (Exterior)
  • 8. Bubble Gloop Swamp
  • 9. Freezeezy Peak
  • 10. Gobi's Valley
  • 11. Mad Monster Mansion (Exterior)

  • Side C
  • 12. Rusty Bucket Bay (Exterior)
  • 13. Click Clock Wood
  • 14. Grunty's Furnace Fun
  • 15. Tooty's Theme
  • 16. Credits
  • Side D
  • 17. Mumbo's Barbeque
  • 18. Top of the Lair
  • 19. Final Battle
  • 20. On Vacation
  • 21. Bottles' Bonus

Perfect Dark on Vinyl

Perfect Dark Vinyl Soundtrack 2xLP Perfect Dark Vinyl Soundtrack 2xLP - 2xLP 180 Gram Vinyl, Music Composed by Grant Kirkhope, Graeme Norgate and David Clynick | Album Art by Marco D'Alfonso, Limited Edition of 3,000.
Perfect Dark Vinyl Soundtrack 2xLP Rare is known for an eclectic library of games, each cherished by fans all over the world. Joanna Dark is such an incredible bad-ass. To create an eye-catching cover for our Perfect Dark double vinyl set, artist Marco D'Alfanso took the thematic iconography of the classic 007 paperback novels and gave us his interpretation of what if would look like with Joanna on the cover.

Perfect Dark track list

  • Side A
  • 1. Main Titles - Graeme Norgate
  • 2. Institute menu - Grant Kirkhope
  • 3. dataDyne Central- Defection - Graeme Norgate/Grant Kirkhope
  • 4. dataDyne Central- Investigation - Grant Kirkhope
  • 5. dataDyne Central- Extraction - Grant Kirkhope
  • 6. Carrington Villa- Hostage one - Grant Kirkhope
  • Side B
  • 7. Chicago- Stealth - Grant Kirkhope
  • 8. G5 Building- Reconnaissance - Grant Kirkhope
  • 9. Area 51- Infiltration - Grant Kirkhope
  • 10. Area 51- Rescue - Grant Kirkhope
  • 11. Area 51- Escape - Graeme Norgate/Grant Kirkhope

  • Side C
  • 12. Airbase- Espionage - Grant Kirkhope
  • 13. Air Force One- Anti terrorism - Grant Kirkhope
  • 14. Pelagic 2- Exploration - Grant Kirkhope
  • 15. Deep Sea- Nullify Threat - Graeme Norgate/Grant Kirkhope
  • Side D
  • 16. Carrington Institute - Grant Kirkhope
  • 17. Skedar Ruins- Battle shrine - Grant Kirkhope
  • 18. Alien Conflict - David Clynick
  • 19. Credits - Grant Kirkhope

These look like great collections and iam8bit has a terrific track record for delivering high quality specialized products from vinyl LPs to digital strategy. They're a very cool company and a great selection for this awesome vinyl release.
August 3, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

My copy of Nintendo Quest, on DVD, arrived in the mail today!

I backed their Kickstarter in 2013 and the path to getting this DVD in my mailbox was a really great experience in the form of the terrific promotion Rob and Jay did! They put forth such a great effort within the retro gaming community and contributed so much to is - beyond a great film!

Nintendo Quest on DVD
August 3, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Hitchbot's Exploration into the kindness of strangers proves successful until the U.S. got involved

Hitchbot was a Canadian experiment to test the kindness of strangers by way of a friendly robot with a mild ability to communicate. He'd talk or offer up factoids, but he wasn't able to move. He relied on enchanted strangers to take him along on their journeys and recharge his batteries. As his name suggests, he hitchhiked.

Hitchbot He traversed the entirety of Canada, relying on strangers to be inspired by his solo expedition and take him along. He went to baseball games, weddings and apparently spent a week with heavy metal band. He also traveled across large swaths of Europe.

Equipped with GPS and a hashtag he seems like a friendly social media event waiting to happen. I'd take a selfie with him - what's not to like? I think it would be really cool to encounter Hitchbot and spend a day with him.

Alas, he met his demise in Philadelphia. Having traveled from Boston, he didn't get too far before the worthless segment of society got hold of him and seemingly destroyed him on purpose. Some people have no heart... or soul.

These are likely the sme sort of people that would stomp on R.O.B. the Robot. A tech group in Philly has offered to repair the digital traveller, but it's not clear if the creators are willing to continue the experiment.

Raise Your Children to be Global Citizens, Not Assholes

Take this opportunity to Show your kids the Hitchbot website. Explain how he was created as an experiment to see if people would help him travel across the country. Explain the GPS tech and his ability to communicate and take photos along the way. I'm sure your kids will be pretty excited about Hitchbot. Everyone likes robots and this one is making such an extraordinary effort to embrace humans.

Then gently tell your child that Hitchbot's journey ended when he was destroyed by the very people that one hoped would ignore or assist him. It's an excellent lesson in empathy and demonstrates the benefits of being a good person. Being a jerk is easy - that's why there are so many of them. Being a descent human is difficult but the rewards are great. Ask your child if he/she would rather have someone help them or pull their arms off. The world is a cruel place full of stupid people.

Help the world by not raising yet another asshole!
August 2, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Little Player magazine seeks a niche with gamer kids who's parents want a safe, ad-free zone

Little Player magazine When I see a small child cuddling up to an iPad or tablet, it makes me very aware of my addiction to online media. Whether I'm playing a game or doing some research, there's no excuse for the obscene amounts of time I spend on Internet connected devices. My son is well on his way to being a digital-kid, so I try to curtail my consumption to read & play with him.

I garner a lot of great info from gaming websites and social media, but nothing beats sitting down with a good book or magazine. From Retro Magazine and Game Informer to Popular Science and Thrasher, I've always loved magazines. This may have started when I was a kid and my Aunt bought me a subscription to Ranger Rick magazine.

Whenever I hear someone say "print is dead", I wonder if anyone has informed Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or the myriad of stores selling magazines. Print is certainly in decline, but reading from an analog medium (I should have said "book") is still quite popular, I assure you.

I was pretty excited when I first heard about the Kickstarter campaign for Little Player magazine. This is a great idea for gamer kids!

This magazine is aimed at kids in the 7 to 12 year old bracket. It provides an ad-free reading environment that caters to gaming. My son loves video games, but I'm not comfortable with him reading Game Informer yet. It's full of ads that simply scream "gimme money" and the content isn't always appropriate for him. It's a great mag, but not appropriate for my kid. So, I'd be really excited to give him a reading experience focused on video games. If that keeps him away from the connected world - all the better.

Little Player magazine I grew up loving magazines and Little Player is an outstanding idea! There are so many kids who play video games that would devour a gaming magazine. Alas, none of the gaming magazines I have seen provide content appropriate to young kids. Check out their kickstarter and see if this magazine is right for your gaming kids... or someone you know. Share the joy of video games!

Kids Are the Customers

Even if a parent is purchasing Little Player, the child is the actual customer. He or she is the one that will make or break this publication. It must be nerve wracking to have your creation's success in the hands of pre-teen kids!

gamer kids While I love this idea, I question the publication's title. Kids are a lot more sophisticated than we imagine. Those kids with their nose glued to a tablet probably see their parents doing the same. They emulate what they see. Gone are the times when a toy computer will satisfy a need. Even toddlers seem to be drawn to a laptop rather than a cute talking toy computer.

Do you know any young kids who like to be called "little"? Kids don't identify with that - certainly not gamer kids. Whether my son is playing Skylanders or Kirby games, he's an adventurer, fighter, champion, strategist, leader, problem solver... there's nothing little about that.

Take a look at some of the titles on newsstands. Sports Illustrated, Soldier of Fortune. Rolling Stone. How about Nintendo Power! That was a great title with a strong image.

I hope this magazine comes to fruition. Pre-teens are largely ignored by almost everyone, not just gaming publications, and would love this magazine. But give it a stronger title!
August 1, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

In pursuit of presidential domination, Trump definitely needs Morton Downey Jr. as his VP #DonMort2016

After seeing Donald Trump throw his hat in the ring for POTUS the last several elections, I assumed 2016 would be another 4-week ego boost that would fade away as he went back to hosting his game show. He's currently way out in front and will certainly be in at least one Republican debate. Needless to say, I'm super stoked to see what will fall out of his mouth!

The only thing that could amp this nonsense to the next level is a deftly chosen Vice Presidential running mate... like Morton Downey Jr.

awful books
August 1, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Nintendo's organized Splatoon battles, Splatfests, are the first multi player games I've really enjoyed

Nintendo's July 4th Splatfest - Dogs vs Cats As a retro gamer, I still consider multi player games are a local event... you know - people gathered in the same room. We get together and dive into a 4-player Warlords battle on the Atari 2600 and progress forward in time to include several Nintendo consoles. It's a weekend necessity! It's fun and reminiscent of what "multi player" meant as I grew up with video games.

As connectivity technology improved, living rooms around the world contained fewer gamers, fun, and laughter. Those elements were replaced by headsets with microphones and a new era of cyber anonymity.

Most of us wouldn't turn to a friend sitting on our couch and call them a F&%#ing A$$hole. But a massive majority of gamers easily let the insults fly when they think no one can identify them. That entire scene disgusted me! I love having friends over to play video games. Being cursed out by some angry 12-year-old who hates his life isn't something I care to deal with.

While everyone was playing various war games and shouting at each other via headset, I was playing Yar's Revenge and expanding my NES library. Games are for fun. Everyone who games should have fun. It's sad that some people are incapable of any enjoyment that doesn't involve degrading others.

Nintendo's Splatoon Splatfests

Splatoon Callie & Marie cosplay When we bought a Wii U - primarily for Splatoon - my son took to it fast! He loved it and I had a blast playing with him. After the first few Turf Wars I watched him play... I realized this was my first experience with an online multi player game in a very long time. Lacking the ability to interact with teammate or opponents didn't really impact the game.

I'm sure each player was cursing out their opponents from the comfort of their own homes. Not listening to that sort of useless chatter was great. It let us simply enjoy the game and the other players he'd been paired with.

Then came the first Splatfest where we chose Team Dog (over those who preferred Cats) and spent a day in many Splatfest battles. Watching my son play was great fun and he had a blast with this new element of the game.

We're excited about the next Splatfest on August 7th. This time the teams are divided over campfire grilling. I'm thinking we're Marshmallow people rather than Hot Dog grillers. It should be another fun day of Splatoon battles!

Nintendo's August Splatfest I hope all the Atari, NES and SNES games I've played with my son will still resonate with him years from now. I see how excited he gets about Splatoon on the Wii U and some of our PS3 games. He still asks to play retro games and we spend a lot of time in the basement playing Berzerk, Missile Command, Joust, Robotron 2084, Food Fight, and a slew of others. Sometimes we go for Bionic Commando, but very often a game of Spider Fighter is needed.

His initiation into a communication-free online multiplayer seems like a safe environment for him to have fun. I can't imagine having the same amount of fun with anonymous cursing and name-calling over a headset. I wasn't made for this modern world of gaming. I hope my son sees the difference between playing games and being a jerk. The world is full of misery and hatred - games should help whisk us away from those things for a few moments of genuine fun. Splatoon is great fun... but so is Asteroids! :)

July 2015 Retro Gaming Articles:

July 31, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I want to play retro games on Samsung's video-equipped Safety Trucks... at 60MPH

Samsung's video-equipped Safety Truck Samsung has a clever solution to the difficulty in passing large trucks on 2-lane roads. A surprising number of deaths occur from people trying to pass a large truck and underestimating traffic conditions in the approaching lane. It's very difficult to see around 18-wheel delivery trucks.

With a camera mounted on the front of the truck and a large display pannel on the back, Samsung lets drivers "see" through these trucks and estimate safe passing. That's pretty clever, but as I thought about it I realized the retro gamer in me saw an opportunity...

I understand that this set-up is for safety, but that's a really big screen and sometimes driving can get a little dull.

Smart TVs seem to have a lot of built-in tools and apps that enhance the TV experience... unless you simply enjoy watching tV. So, If one were to tailgate this truck with a bluetooth controller... might one be able to play a game on the wide screen?

Retro gaming on Samsung's video-equipped Safety Truck The display on the back of the truck is achieved via four monitors so obviously none of this would be feasible - for a variety of other reasons as well. And yes, I'm aware that this entire scenario would be dangerous and stupid. But that doesn't stop my head from conjuring the notion.

Retro gaming is EVERYWHERE! :)
July 30, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I'm stoked about Clarence's PlayThang game console in Cartoon Network's Atari tribute

Clarence's PlayThang game console If you're a retro gamer, you might get a kick out of this episode of Clarence on the Cartoon Network. They had a short segment in the July 21, 2015 episode, titled Chalmers Santiago, with an Atari 2600 tribute.

While going through a box of old toys, Clarence finds a few old memories including his PlayThang video game console. With obvious Atari styling, I couldn't help but cheer him on as he went through the hassle of attaching it to the TV for an 8-bit game session!

Clarence's PlayThang game console Clarence's PlayThang game console

Clarence Hooks Up His PlayThang Game Console

They even paid tribute to the hassle of hooking up a retro system and the sonic blast of white noise that sometimes erupts. They've definitely got a retro gamer on staff!

Clarence sets up his PlayThang game console Clarence gets down & dirty and climbs behind the TV to attach all the cables for his PlayThang video game console.
Clarence sets up his PlayThang game console Sometimes those attachment points are just out of reach...

Clarence sets up his PlayThang game console Sometimes those cables don't fit as well as you'd hoped.
Clarence sets up his PlayThang game console Just slide that beast of a tV back against the wall and it's playtime... almost.

Clarence sets up his PlayThang game console It's nice to see that even cartoon-created video games become oxidized over time and display those awful screens.
Clarence sets up his PlayThang game console And the bone-jarring sound of white noise when the cartridge fails to load.

This is a step-by-step guide to retro gaming! Check out Clarence on Cartoon Network online and catch him weekly on TV. It's one of our favorite CN shows.
July 29, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Similar to Lunar Lander, Terra Lander (2015) sports vector graphics and a retro vibe

Terra Lander I came across Terra Lander, released in February 2015 and available on Steam along with a demo. It's obvious influence from Lunar Landar shows in it's physics and vector graphics, but it goes deeper in terms of features. Progressing involves navigating your lander to each landing pad without getting shot or crashing. Like the arcade classic, gravity is your enemy.

Unlike the 1979 classic arcade game, you can fire on enemies - some of whom are shooting at you. Just as thrusting uses your limited resources, so does shooting. You have to take out enemies wisely to maximize your chances of a successful landing. Trying to wipe them all out will deplete the fuel you may need to get to safety.

Some of the paths you must navigate are narrow and winding. This is a really slick looking update to Lunar Lander with a nice touch of modernity with an nice nod to the golden are of arcades.

This game only has 20 levels, so you should investigate it prior to tossing money. Reviewers have had mixed reviews for a variety of reasons. It could use some diversity and more levels, but I wanted to mention it because it's a really nice update to the Arcade game I remember playing in the early 1980s.

The Terra Lander website has broken links (as of 7/29/15) to both Android and iOS versions of the game. I searched both and wasn't able to find the game. I'm not sure if they plan to port it to mobile or not.

Terra Lander
July 29, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

No Donkey Kong Country For Old Men #nintendoAMovie

Every day there's a new hashtag with the unmistakeable air of the @Midnight show. Occasionally they have some pretty good ones with a gaming edge.

No Donkey Kong Country For Old Men #nintendoAMovie
July 28, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Dukes of Hazzard TV show gets snagged in Confederate flag controversy while the Atari prototype slips by

Catherine Back as Daisy Duke on the Dukes of Hazzard I was fascinated by the recent controversy over the confederate flag at the state capitol in South Carolina. I'm not one to take sides on such issues, but it seems that some folks tend to appropriate things for their own purposes. Let's not forget that "gay" used to simply mean happy - no sexual orientation attached to it. Everything changes over time - that's just how things are.

In the wake of any controversy you always have to keep an eye on those who try to bend the truth just to support their views. Politicians are the masters of that art, but some of the flag opponents tried to tie in any reference to the confederate flag - truth be damned.

Some folks began saying that cable channel TV Land pulled the Dukes of Hazzard reruns off the air due to it's display of the confederate flag. Everyone bought into that story except gaming historian Patrick Scott Patterson who decided to look into that statement. He discovered that the show was indeed off the air, but it was simply part of the channel's show rotation and it will be back in due time.

The Duke boys seem pretty removed from any part of that controversy, yet someone tried to use it to push their opinion and agenda. It's a dangerous world we live in. It is so important for everyone to do their own research and question everything. Don't take anyone's word on anything. If the Dukes were taken off the air due to it's content, that online article should have linked to the press release from TV Land stating that fact. There was no PR because it was all fabricated!

The Dukes of Hazzard Video Games from Atari to PS2

I remember watching the series on TV as a kid. It ran from early 1979 through 1985, giving the series 7 seasons and 145 episodes. Not a bad run! With all the chatter about the Dukes of Hazzard made me wonder how many times the Duke Boys appeared in video games. In fact they appeared on 2 Sony consoles and even an Atari 2600 prototype that was never commercially released.

Dukes of Hazzard prototype for Atari 2600 Dukes of Hazzard prototype video game for Atari 2600 was developed in 1983 but never commercially released. The game was nearly complete and burned to ROM chips when Atari abruptly cancelled the game.
Dukes of Hazzard prototype for Atari 2600 Dukes of Hazzard prototype video game for Atari 2600. This is a great website for info about Atari prototype games.

Dukes of Hazzard video game for PlayStation Dukes of Hazzard: Racing for Home video game for PlayStation was released on November 30, 1999.
Dukes of Hazzard video game for PlayStation Dukes of Hazzard II: Daisy Dukes It Out video game for PlayStation was released on November 7, 2000.

Dukes of Hazzard video game for PlayStation 2 Dukes of Hazzard video game for PlayStation 2 even had a shapely rendered Daisy Duke. It was released on September 28, 2004.

July 27, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Konami Cookies are full of fortunes when it comes to playing Contra

One of the tougher video games to progress through was Konami's Contra for the Nintendo NES. This infamous cheat code came to public knowledge and aided many in beating the game. Known as the Contra Code, it is also referred to as the Konami Code as it was employed in many of their games.

I believe it's earliest use was in the Gradius for the NES in 1986. You can check this list of Konami Code games for others.

Konami cookies
July 27, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Sold to Razer, Ouya CEO leaves the helm & hardware will fade away for Forge TV

Ouya I bought an Ouya through their initial Kickstarter. The Wii U was struggling, new Sony & Microsoft consoles were on horizon and I was looking for something new and exciting. I'd heard about Android micro consoles, but hadn't felt enthusiasm until I began reading about the Ouya.

They purported to be taking the speed and ease of mobile development and putting it on your living room TV. I loved the sound of that! Small screens and finger swipe controls weren't my cup of tea. I was excited for the premise of game console offering the wealth of games I was seeing in online mobile stores. I wanted something NEW!!

Ouya promised demos of EVERY game it sold - a terrific sounding "try before you buy" model. Perhaps I was naive, but it seemed as though this odd little box was going to set the gaming industry on it's head. At the time I felt a shake-up with an admirable competitor might yield a positive result.

I felt as though I was on the cusp os something awesome! When it finally arrived, I set it up and began searching through the games. The first thing I discovered were the vast array of emulators. I began installing them and suddenly, my new Android micro console became my ROM Station. I loaded a USB drive full of games and was delighted to skip from 2600 to NES to Genesis and beyond. I loved the ease of going platform to platform on a big screen!

Th Ouya Was OK

Over time I found some cool games, but by and large, I used my Ouya to play ROMS. I've never liked playing them on a computer with a keyboard and I'm a console gamer at heart. So the Ouya was great for that. As time marched on, I saw the insidious glut of awful mobile games. Customers didn't have a good way to find the right games and developers were having a tough time getting their games noticed.

The Ouya didn't have this problem despite being akin the the mobile game arena. The fact was, few games were ported to the Ouya, so it wasn't too difficult to see what was being offered. I had hopes that the Ouya wold connect cool indie devs with consumers who loved what they did. That social aspect never seemed to happen for me. I still felt like I was shopping in a store. I wanted to feel like I was closer to the devs as they honed their games and added more content. I guess I was seeking an impossible dream or I was just out of my mind. Who knows.

Razers Forge TV

Razer Swoops In

Razer bought a large chunk of Ouya on June 12, 2015 including the content catalog, software assets, online store and the name "Ouya". Coincidentally, the purchase didn't include the hardware. I'm shocked they didn't want that clunky controller in their purview.

It's now being reported that Ouya founder and CEO Julie Uhrman is no longer with the company, but is assisting with the transition.

Razer wants to leverage Ouya software and customers for their Android TV and Android-based console, Forge TV. Ouya's 1,500+ games are already optimized for Razer as a nice starting point. Part of the plan is to make games more widely available on Android devices. Ouya was proprietary to it's hardware.

Polygon posted an article that sorts out a lot of the details of Razer buying Ouya. It was stated that the Ouya hardware will be phased out in an effort to sell owners on a Forge TV device. It sounds as if Ouya hardware has about one year before it is completely shut down. So... um... buy the games you want now - i guess.

My enthusiasm for micro consoles has dwindled as I'm no longer sure of their role. They don't seem to be standardized on anything other than running on an Android OS. Frankly, I don't care what the device runs on (OK, that's not entirely true). I'm more concerned with what games - and other functions - wil run on the micro console. I was interested in Ouya as I hoped it would bring a new vibe for game development to TVs rather than tiny-screened phones.

In the end, I'm more excited about Nintendo products at the moment. I love what the Ouya brought to my enjoyment of ROM files, but the games didn't draw me away from my love of traditional console gaming. In fact I recently bought a Wii U and still love my 2DS. Still, I see interesting functions being included on Android micro consoles, so I'm still interested to see if this sector will really bring great mobile games to larger TV screens. Maybe they will fill a completely new void.

I'll hang on to my Ouya as a bold step in video game history, but I wish it's significance has included the re-shaping of console gaming that I'd longed for. It was a cool ride and I'm curious to see how micro consoles fit into traditional console gaming. What will future products bring to the table. What problems will they solve? Will they become the new gaming consoles as Microsoft and Sony branch into home entertainment devices... that also play games. As always, it will be a wild ride. :)
July 27, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

We Bare Bears is a new series debuting on Cartoon Network tonight #BearStack

We Bare Bears started off with really great promos of this bearStack wandering through familiar sets from other cartoon network shows like Adventure Time, Regular Show, and others. I'm hoping it will be another quirky cool show to add to the roster.

We Bare Bears on Cartoon Network #BearStack
July 26, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Lynyrd Skynyrd releases live 2014 concert, One More For The Fans

The flow of retro bands - as I call them - continue to deliver amazing music to old fans and new. It still amazes me that bands I listened to as a kid are putting out music in 2015! Just a few weeks ago I was buying the remastered Van Halen albums and now Lynyrd Skynyrd comes a long with a live album.

I've loved their music for a very long time. This past week an album was release from a 2014 concert they headlined along with a terrific assortment of artists all playing Lynyrd Skynyrd songs.

Lynyrd Skynyrd began in the 60's using several different names before adopting their final name in '69. In 1976 part of the campaign to save the Fox Theatre from demolition involved Lynyrd Skynyrd recording their live album, One More From The Road, at the landmark theatre. The title Lynyrd Skynyrd - One More For The Fans, was inspired by that legendary album s title.

Lynyrd Skynyrd - One More For The Fans In high school, when ever we were being disruptive in the school's library, the head librarian would demand our names. One of us always said, "Leonard Skynyrd".
July 26, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Have you played Mortal Kombat today... on your Atari 2600?

Mortal Kombat for Atari 2600 A recent Kotaku article about a Mortal Kombat homebrew for the Atari 2600 has been making the rounds on the Internet. Originally released in the Fall of 2013, the Kotaku article has given this ROM a reprise - and justly so!

Mortal Kombat: Netherrealm Journey is a platformer that mixes the adventuring traits of Pitfall with the leaping/spinning characters from Mortal Kombat. As a platformer, it's a great deal of fun since few games offer an adventuring experience full of traps and obstacles for the 2600. You'll be quite surprised at what you can do within this game! Give this ROM a try with Stella or your preferred Atari emulator.

As the developer states, this game is much closer to Pitfall.
It is a platformer somewhat akin to Pitfall, and it's set in the Mortal Kombat universe. You play as Scorpion, who has been defeated in mortal kombat and banished to the Netherrealm. Your goal is to traverse its treacherous depths and find the portal that leads back to Earthrealm.

Mortal Kombat for Atari 2600 Your default Mortal Kombat character displays in yellow, but you can change this via the codes below.

Atari 2600 Mortal Kombat Cheat Codes

Who needs a selection screen? Input the controller sequences below to play as your favorite Mortal Kombat character.

  • Play as Sub-Zero - At the title screen press: Up, Down, Left, Right, Fire
  • Play as Reptile - At the title screen press: Up, Down, Left, Right, Left, Fire
  • Play as Ermac - At the title screen press: Up, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, Fire
  • Play as Rain - At the title screen press: Up, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, Up, Fire
  • Play as Smoke - At the title screen press: Up, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, Up, Down, Fire
  • Play as Noob - At the title screen press: Up, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, Up, Down, Up, Fire
Mortal Kombat for Atari 2600 Playing Mortal Kombat as Sub-Zero displays him in blue. We've really enjoyed playing Mortal Kombat, but like to think of is as more of an adventure game than the renown fighting game. The game play will delight platformer fans with a passion for pixels. You can get a quick primer on it via this YouTube video.

Mortal Kombat for Atari 2600 fatality screen If you like improbably sounding 8-bit game ports, you may also like Halo for 2600.
July 26, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Our diversity makes us strong while a passion for video games unites us all

Most of my gaming experiences are during the era in which "multi player games" involved getting together with friends - in the same room. Food and joysticks were shared and everyone had a blast playing games and catching up. As a kid these scenarios often took place as all-nighters at sleepovers and as an adult my couches and floor were full of friends. It's a great way to play that has been greatly eroded by the online multiplayer model.

The advent of high-speed Internet connections has given way to playing with your friends online - not in the same room. The internet also gives the illusion of anonymity which some people hide behind in order to release their inner self-loathing. It's become so pervasive, that studies are now being conducted to validate the notion that trolls are in fact, losers. We didn't require a study to prove that, but it's always good to be able to back up such claims with data.

Gamers come in all shapes, sizes, and types. Diversity among gamers is what makes us interesting. We gain new perspectives from folks that have differing experiences. This notion should be celebrated among any group of people. Learning makes us grow and we tend to learn a lot from those who bring us new ideas.

I think social media has made us less social when it comes to face-to-face socializing. Typing is not the best form of socializing. Get out there, meet new people and tell them about the amazing games they'd be playing if they were retro gaming!

Bailey Jay - gamer If you don't know Bailey Jay, catch up with her on Twitter. She tweets about gaming now & then and seems like the kind of person I'd love to play 8-bit Atari games with. Never a dull moment with this one!

Bailey Jay - gamer
July 25, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Rare Replay commemorates 30 years of gaming with 30 games for $30 reviving compilations

Ask Me About Battletoads - button seen at Gamestop Not long ago, GameStop employees were displaying some new flair on their lanyards - "Ask Me About Battletoads" buttons. Anyone whose played Battletoads in an arcade or was lucky enough to own an NES copy must have gotten chills when seeing this button. I asked.

The promo buttons were for Rare Replay, an Xbox One exclusive featuring 30 games by Rare Ltd. to commemorate 30 years.

I don't own an Xbox One and am not likely to. Of course exclusivity in the gaming industry is often a fleeting concept. Were it not published by Microsoft, I'd suspect it would emerge on other platforms in a few short months. Time will tell...

Recently, a promotional video for Rare Replay swamped the Internet. It's been getting a lot of attention... despite being a musical - and by "musical" I mean they've set the video to a showtune style.

You'd have a hard time not getting your money's worth out of this video game release! I'd love to see it on other platforms.

Rare Replay Game List:

30 games on Rare Replay
Between Rare Replay and NES Remix, could compilation discs return?
Video Game Title Year
Jetpac 1983
Atic Atac 1983
Lunar Jetman 1983
Sabre Wulf 1984
Underwurlde 1984
Knight Lore 1984
Gunfright 1985
Slalom 1986
R.C. Pro-Am 1987
Cobra Triangle 1989
Snake Rattle 'n' Roll 1990
Digger T. Rock: Legend of the Lost City 1990
Solar Jetman: Hunt for the Golden Warpship 1990
Battletoads 1991
R.C. Pro-Am II 1992
Battletoads Arcade 1994
Killer Instinct Gold 1996
Blast Corps 1997
Banjo-Kazooie 1998
Jet Force Gemini 1999
Perfect Dark 2000
Banjo-Tooie 2000
Conker's Bad Fur Day 2001
Grabbed by the Ghoulies 2003
Perfect Dark Zero 2005
Kameo: Elements of Power 2005
Viva Piñata 2006
Jetpac Refuelled 2006
Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise 2008
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts 2008


Return of Compilation Discs

The power of the original PlayStation was my first foray into compilation discs. It's not just the convenience and savings. There was something special about compilation games and the assortment of games found within them. I liken it to CD Singles versus an album full of great music. Something in the arrangement and inclusion of the songs (games) makes a very unique and special release. It seems like a different experience than the singular elements.

Rare Replay
July 25, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Amy Schumer's unsanctioned Star Wars gang bang skirted copyright infringement via parody

Some Star Wars fans think comedian Amy Shumer went a bit too far when she did a somewhat scandalous photo shoot with various Star Wars characters. Many wondered how she could get away with using these characters in a very "un-Star Wars" manner. Apparently the key is parody.

Parody falls under fair-use regarding copyright law. As long as you are clearly making fun of something you can do what you want. That's an interesting tidbit to keep in mind...

Amy Schumer's Star Wars photo shoot Amy Shumer shows R2D2 and C3PO a good time to the chagrin and disdain of Star Wars fans.
Amy Schumer's Star Wars photo shoot Amy Schumer on the cover of GQ with Star Wars' C3PO.
Amy Schumer's Star Wars photo shoot Amy Schumer's unique use of a lightsaber.

Large companies always like to distance themselves from any sign of controversy. Ms. Shumer has served up a hefty quantity of unsavoriness from which upsets the big boy. Lest fans think they're viewing stills from the upcoming Star Wars film under the helm of Disney.

Retort to Amy Schumer's Star Wars photo shoot But not everyone feels that way...

Retort to Amy Schumer's Star Wars photo shoot By the way- I have an exciting concept for a new Star Wars video game franchise.
May the Force be with you!
July 24, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

NASA can't convince me to inhabit Kepler 452b until Debra Farentino clears it

Someone must believe we have nearly decimated this planet if NASA is actively hunting for a similar one. I don't know the backstory to this planetary search, but it's emphasis is always on finding an "Earth-like" planet. For what purpose? Stories are surfacing in highly legitimate publications about an effort to locate Earth 2.0. It's the sort of thing straight out of a scifi movie.

Earth 2 starring Debra Farentino I've visited countless galaxies and battled aliens during the most revered era of video game arcades. During the 1980s, no creature was safe as long as I had a pocket full of quarters!

I must admit that the notion of seeking an Earth-like planet scares me. I doubt the planet will implode during my lifetime, but let's not forget the premise behind finding another suitable planet. The goal is to preserve mankind... not you or I. In other words, the race would be populated on Earth 2 while we are left behind to perish in some unimaginable Hell. Fun, right?

As an avid scifi fan, I loved 1994's Earth 2 TV show staring Debra Farentino, as Devon Adair. She heads up a group who have been sent to an Earth-like planet to begin plans for colonization... because Earth has been ruined. I loved that show and was so disappointed when it was canceled after only one season. It was really a great show. But now I feel as though we're getting a front row seat to a real-life version as NASA combs the dark distant void for a new home for humans.

In the New York Times

Here's a NYT story on finding a new Earth:
"Inching ahead on their quest for what they call Earth 2.0, astronomers from NASA's Kepler planet-hunting spacecraft announced on Thursday that they had found what might be one of the closest analogues to our own world yet.

Earth 2 trending on Twitter It is a planet a little more than one and a half times as big in radius as Earth. Known as Kepler 452b, it circles a sunlike star in an orbit that takes 385 days, just slightly longer than our own year, putting it firmly in the "Goldilocks" habitable zone where the temperatures are lukewarm and suitable for liquid water on the surface - if it has a surface."


I'll stick to my television-based Atari alien hunting for now and hope the Earth can rebound from all the atrocious things we've wrought upon it. Playing Space Invaders as a kid hasn't really prepared me for a galactic expedition that doesn't involve a video screen. My passion for Galaga brings immense joy, but few useful skills in actually saving mankind.

When I saw "Earth 2" trending on Twitter, I stared at the screen hoping it was a revival of Devon Adair's quest to entertain us. When the day comes, I'll volunteer to be the guy who stays behind to make sure Wall-E's batteries are charged. Maybe he'll build me a garbage-cube mansion!

Earth 2 books I was so taken with the Earth 2 TV show, I bought a few of the novelizations of the story.
July 23, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Duke War demonstrates that fun can erupt from a simple game created in a 24 hour jam

Monument Valley by UsTwo I had heard a lot of positive clamor over Ustwo's Monument Valley game and I decided to give it a shot. It was regaled as a "beautiful" game. I saw a lot of beauty in Lollipop Chainsaw, so I was certain my taste in games might not jibe with this title. I'm also not a fan of puzzle games, but I quickly became infatuated with Monument Valley and let my son play through it. He too was mesmerized and delighted.

I heard similar praise for thatgamecompany's Journey and bought the Journey Collectors Edition for PS3. When my son came to visit, I told him it was reminiscent of Monument Valley in terms of it's artistic styling. Upon installing flOw, we were stunned by it's simple beauty, elegant control, and how different it was from any game we'd ever played. He quickly figured out the mechanics and I dabbled along trying to catch up. We soon installed Flower and Journey and found them very enjoyable too, although we both really bonded with flOw.

Duke War - thatgamecompany's game jam project These 3 games were the main features of this collectors edition of Journey. It contained a lot of additional content which we were eager to navigate. The PS3 disc seemed filled with various mini games, so we dug right in and launched Duke War.

I wasn't fond of it's stick-figure art against what looked like a whiteboard, but my son seemed drawn to it. After giving it a few minutes, I lost interest and took a break. My son insisted on sticking with it to see what it could do.

To my amazement, he'd figured out large hunks of the game play and strategy in about 10 minutes. I'm horrible at figuring things out and discerning patterns. This may be why I adore games with single-button joysticks! :)

Video games needn't be overtly complex. Even a simple game can deliver a lifetime of epic fun!
Once he explained it to me, we sat there for 3 hours playing Duke War! It supports up to 4 players and lets you build a kingdom of multiple castles, collect gold, forage for resources, and wage war on other players.

The best part is Duke War's backstory. It was created in a 24-hour game jam! It's a pretty cool game with a lot of features, so it's astounding that it could be the result of one day's work.

It really put game development in perspective for me. We hear of the massive budgets and epic timelines that often result in release dates being pushed back. So how can such epic fun evolve from a black & white game created in 24 hours?

There are all kinds of things one can say about AAA games and the colossal effort to get them completed (or completed enough to sell with a few gigs of downloadable patches).

However, rather than get snarled in arguments about big budgets, high prices, and epic fails - I encourage everyone to do some research and find an unknown indie game that speaks to you. There really are a lot of great games made by hard-working developers who put their heart and soul into their games. It's a privilege to find one of these games and be able to share in their hard work.
July 22, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Tara Reid is back for another installment of over-the-top idiocy we can't resist in Sharknado 3

Sharknado began as a 2013 made-for-tv film that aired on Syfy channel (I still think it should have remained as SciFi) that received surprisingly positive reviews. We all know it's a dreadful movie with a base premise stemming from reality that becomes so distorted we wonder if the 2015 sequel will have sharks invade the moon.

To get ready for the festivities of another Sharknado flick, you can install the Go Shark Yourself app allows you to photograph yourself into a Sharknado and share it on your social networks. Be on the lookout for a lot of cameos as well. A sequel is a nice addition, but when you get a 3rd installment, it seems clear that this will be a yearly event and everyone want to be part of the silliness.

With a third movie debuting, I think the Skarknado franchise now offers more factual info than Discovery Channel's dismal faux reality show, Shark Week.

Sharknado 3 The Sharknado franchise has revived Tara Reid's career to some degree. Last I recall she was Hollywood's party-girl with her reputation circling the drain. These days she's Shark-tastic and has a pretty entertaining Instagram account.

TV Guide and the Wii Version of Jaws This pic of TV Guide and the Wii Version of Jaws was taken with the Sharknado app for Android. Fun stuff!
Archie Comics Sharknado 3 Even Archie Comics are in on the action with the Riverdale gang in a shark infested water spout!

The producers (and everyone else who strives to collect money from this franchise) have assured us that Sharknado 4 will be arriving next summer in 2016 to resolve the outcome of April Wexler. From Tara Reid's Instagram post, fans seem ardent about keeping her in the cast...

Will April return in Sharknado 4?
July 21, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Scooby-Doo & KISS: Rock & Roll Mystery now out on DVD

When a ghoul begins to terrorize an amusement park, the Mystery Inc. gang come head to head with the legendary rock group, KISS, who claim they're also there to solve the mystery. Now the two groups must learn to work together as the clues lead them on a cosmic journey to another dimension.

Scooby-Doo & KISS: Rock & Roll Mystery
July 21, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Pack-in games are long gone, but replacing them with download codes still irritates me

Atari Combat for Atari 2600 Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review I'm a romantic when it comes to retro game consoles and their pack-in games. My Original Atari 2600 came with Combat. Years later my NES contained Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt while my Virtual Boy was packaged with Mario's Tennis. There were others, but those still stand out most when I reminisce. I often bought a few games to accompany a new console, but I always found something magical about the pack-in game.

Very often the pack-in game was chosen by the manufacturer to give new owners a special experience. Sometimes it was a game that showcased a facet or technology of the console. Other times it was a new release that everyone wanted. Either way I gave the pack-in game more of my attention. It was special and although I wasn't sure why at the time... those games made me lean way in toward the TV.

As consoles moved through their retail cycle, they were often upgraded with the latest hot game to entice consumers to make a purchase. There didn't seem to be a formula to the pack-in model. Many consoles were bundles with the same game for years and then moved to more popular titles as the system aged.

Very often pack-in games were packaged in the same manner as games sold separately on the shelves. The cartridge was in a box with inserts and a manual. Occasionally the cart was included without the fanfare of packaging, but I remember many of mine came with full blown wraps!

Download Codes are NOT pack-in Games

Splatoon is a download While spending the Summer with my son, I realized the Wii U will never drop in price until I purchase one - so we did. But we did our research. Of particular interest was Splatoon. We'd seen lots of advertising and it was getting a lot of press. We concluded we would get Splatoon with our Wii U and then decide what other games we wanted. He was excited for Mario Kart and I wanted DKC Tropical Freeze.

As luck would have it, Best Buy had an exclusive Wii U Splatoon bundle. We headed off to the mall. In our local Best Buy we easily found the Splatoon'd Wii U console boxes and headed toward the register.

As we gazed at the box with a sensation of glory, I read the description. Splatoon was a free download - not a pack-in game! Ugh!! Suddenly the joy of buying a new console was turning into a reminder of how advancing times don't always yield better outcomes. Overall, Best Buy is like all box-stores - They suck money out of the local economy and do little to benefit it (unless you need a cheap fridge).

We went to Toys R Us and bought a Wii U and a copy of Splatoon. In retrospect, that wasn't the wisest choice from a fiscal standpoint, but I felt much better about the purchase and TRU will give us a slew of bonus points for the purchase.

The bottom line is I still love the tactile feel of a video game, even if it's just a shiny disc. I love CDs not MP3s. I love DVDs not Netflix. I'm a fan of ownership! My stance is dated and will one day (if not already) be the dinosaur of the modern age, but for now my son and I are loving our Nintendo Wii U and he learned a useful history lesson about the joy of pack-in games.

The upcoming Retro VGS will be the first console in decades to offer a pack-in game... and it's a retro game!

History of Pack-in Games

A more robust list can be found on Digital Press' List of Pack-in Games

Astrocade - Gunfight/Checkmate/Calculator/Scribbling (built-in)
Atari 2600 (1977-1983) - Combat
Atari 2600 (1983-?) - Pac-Man
Atari 2600 - Asteroids
Atari 2600 Jr. (some models) - 32-in-1
Atari 2600 (Coleco Gemini) - Donkey Kong Jr.
Atari 2600 (Sears Video Arcade) - Air-Sea Battle (Sears)
Atari 2600 (Sears Video Arcade II) - Space Invaders (Sears)
Atari 5200 (1982-?) - Super Breakout
Atari 5200 (later version) - Pac-Man
Atari 7800 - Pole Position II
Atari 7800 (Europe) - Asteroids (built-in)
Atari 7800 (Australia & New Zealand) - Asteroids (built-in) and 32-in-1
Atari XEGS - Bug Hunt
Channel F - Tennis/Hockey (built-in)
ColecoVision - Donkey Kong
Colorvision - Monster Chase
Dreamcast - Sega Smash Pack Volume 1
Dreamcast (UK) - Chu Chu Rocket
Dreamcast (Sports bundle 1) - NFL 2K and NBA 2K
Dreamcast (Sports bundle 2) - NFL 2K1 and NBA 2K1
Dreamcast (Sonic bundle) - Sonic 1, Sonic Shuffle and Sonic 2 demo
GameBoy - Tetris
GBC (kiwi) - Pokemon Crystal
GBC (special Pokemon version) - Pokemon Yellow
GameCube - Mario Sunshine
Game Gear - Columns
Game Gear - Sonic the Hedgehog
Genesis 1 (1989-1991) - Altered Beast
Genesis 1 (1991-?) - Sonic the Hedgehog
Genesis 2 - Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Genesis 2 (Sports bundle) - NFL '94
Genesis 2 - Streets of Rage 2
Genesis 2 - The Lion King
Genesis 2 - Vectorman
Intellivision (1979-1983) - Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack
Intellivision (1983-?) - Astrosmash
Jaguar - Cybermorph
Neo Geo Gold - Fatal Fury 2
Neo Geo Pocket Color - Sonic Pocket Adventure
NES - Gyromite and Duck Hunt
NES - Super Mario Bros.
NES (NES Action Set) - Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt
NES (NES Challenge set) - Super Mario Bros. 3
NES (NES Power Set) - Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt/World Class Track Meet
Nintendo 64 - Star Wars Pod Racer
Nintendo 64 - Pokemon
Nintendo 64 - Donkey Kong 64
Nintendo 64 (special Pikachu Edition) - Hey You Pikachu TRU exclusive
NUON - Ballistic
Odyssey - Cartridges 1 - 6
Odyssey2 - Speedway!/Spinout!/Crypto-Logic!
Playstation 2 - Gran Turismo 3
RCA Studio II - Doodle/Patterns/Bowling/Freeway/Addition (built-in)
Saturn - Virtua Fighter
Saturn - Virtua Cop/Daytona USA/Virtua Fighter 2
Saturn - Sega Rally Championship
Sega 32X (1995) - Star Wars Arcade
Sega 32X (1995) - Doom
Sega 32X (1996) - Virtua Fighter
Sega CD (launch) - Sega Classics 4-in-1 CD, Sherlock Holmes I, Sol Feace, Hot Hits/Rock Paintings
Sega CD 2 - Sewer Shark
Sega CDX - Sega Classics 5-in-1, Ecco the Dolphin and Sonic CD
Sega Master System - Snail Maze (built-in)
Sega Master System (Light Phaser package) - Hang-On/Safari Hunt
Sega Master System (SegaScope package) - Missile Defense 3D
SNES (launch) - Super Mario World
SNES - Killer Instinct
SNES - Donkey Kong Country
SNES (1997) - Yoshi's Island
SNES (UK) - Street Fighter II
Turbografx-16 - Keith Courage in Alpha Zones
Vectrex - Mine Storm (built-in)
Virtual Boy - Mario's Tennis
Wii - Wii Sports
X-Box (Sega bundle) - Jet Set Radio Future and Sega GT

A more robust list can be found on Digital Press' List of Pack-in Games
July 20, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

TGI Friday's Restaurant has a social media promotion that would work well with indie game marketing

Jump Burger from TGI Fridays Sifting through millions of games online in the hope of finding a winner is a pretty dismal premise - even if it only costs 99¢. Many mobile and indie games are quite reasonably priced, but discovering their existence can be a challenge even in the era of social media. A restaurant chain is running a promo that I believe would work well in the promotion of indie games at the lower end of pricing.

control your burger Social media exposure has become a major element in game promotion and can work well because we tend to follow folks that have similar interests. Thus posting about a game you've enjoyed tends to put that game in front of others who share your taste in gaming. Incorporating a giveaway adds a bit more fun to the equation with an interactive component.

TGI Friday's restaurant has a "buy one, give one" promo, called Jump burger, that lets you use your burger to give a free burger to someone else. It's hinged on social networks and lets you toss a burger out to your followers on Twitter, Facebook, or email. Whoever clicks it first scores a free burger on their next visit to Fridays.

Jump Burger from TGI Fridays I think this would work well for promoting indie games as it leverages the "trust" your followers have in you. It seems like a random giveaway, but when factoring in the "connection" between you and your followers, it spreads the word in a targeted manner with the giveaway adding interactivity to the mix.

We've become too keen at recognizing corporate giveaways & promotions that tend to turn off customers. Social media has tricked us into thinking we're always "talking" to a person not a corporation. When a giveaway comes from someone you chose to follow on social media, it removes the instant skepticism. It translates the relationship from seeming corporate to being an offer from an acquaintance.

I see social media giveaways regularly. While some come from random folks, you still get the notion that the developer handpicked them for the status of their social media accounts. What I like about the Friday's promo is the reward comes from a customer in a clearly random fashion. There's no hint of a larger entity overseeing the transaction. I'd love to see folks I follow grant me a free game based on their positive experience. It would prompt me to try the game and tell my followers about it. This is the sort of promo that can be run for a limited time and is based on trust from a peer's gaming experience!
July 19, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Has anyone watched The Watchmen on a Watchman?

Sony Watchman Singular -vs- Plural
July 19, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Following Google Cardboard's cue, BaDoink flys under the pornography radar with Free VR Goggles

You never want to underestimate the adult industry. For decades, they have used technology to further their business in savvy ways that elude many tech companies. From VHS and CD ROM to e-commerce and video streaming, the adult industry has done it better - and pioneered business models long before anyone else!

Free VR Goggles from DaBoinnk If you didn't take advantage of Google Cardboard's inexpensive VR solution for smartphones, there's a porn site that wants to lend a hand (pun intended). DaBoink is offering free VR goggles similar to those offered by google.

As many journalists came away from E3 with VR stamped on their brains, other industries are keen to get in on the action. With no hint of impropriety or stylishly designed hardcore sex motif, DaBoink has set up Free VR Goggles from which they will send you a cardboard DIY VR headset.

"Free samples" used to rule the day from music sampler discs to a toothpick of Chinese food at a mall-restaurant. These days you have to pay for everything. "Free" seems to be a bygone concept. DaBoink is hoping that their free VR goggles and deftly referenced smartphhone app will lure you into the stereoscopic world of watching porn. Curiously, only the DaBoink VR app received a 5-star rating out of all the contenders... Hmmm. :)

The thrust of Google Cardboard (no pun intended) was bringing VR experiences to classrooms in an affordable manner. Since there is a vast supply of free porn on the Internet, I can only assume that DaBoink is replicating the model, but avoiding the classrooms. The idea of an innocuous site doling out free VR goggles is pretty slick especially since they offer content to support the device. Their DaBoink VR website (NSFW) sells content formatted to work with Google Cardboard, Occulus, and Samsung Gear VR.

Free VR Goggles from DaBoinnk As tempting as VR porn may be, I don't think consumers at large are ready for VR - porn or otherwise. I say this partly because the application of the technology is still too techie rather than resolving a common challenge. We simply don't hear of VR helping the common man unless he's a doctor performing remote surgery. I recognize VR's entertainment value,but there has to be more to really ingrain in into lifestyles.

Secondly, it's price-point is still above the level at which they can really deliver a full-motion, 360 degree experience without inducing nausea and vomiting. Folks still say Nintendo's Virtual Boy caused similar maladies and it was a stationary console. Ready or not, companies are marching forward with several initiatives to offer VR to consumers.

VR porn from DaBoinnk I've tried a few of these devices and they're nifty, but my dollars are residing in my wallet until a useful scenario arises. Let's not forget how quickly 3D televisions disappeared from retail shelves... If consumers don't need/want it, Virtual Reality will likely slink away only to return with the next rev of technology developments. See ya down the road, VR!

Once the technology is truly perfected, I'm sure emulators will be developed and I can play retro games in an 8-bit stereoscopic helmet or HMD. The issue is I really want to play Missile Command and be able to "look to the skies" for those incoming ICBMs.
July 18, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Awesome decor for your game room- wallpaper from Murals Wallpaper will adhere to an actual wall

I recently received a tweet asking me to check out some retro gaming wallpaper. I assumed I'd find the standard fare of desktop wallpaper, but I was in for a very pleasant surprise!

Retro Game Wallpaper Murals Murals Wallpaper offer a wide selection of real wallpaper and murals that will adhere to your walls. A cursory glance at my Twitter feed led me to believe that they were talking about digital images. I was delighted to discover these folks make actual wallpaper murals with retro gaming themes!

It wasn't until I saw the full image, with the chair and flooring, that I realized how retro-cool this is. They'll even work with you to get an exact fit to your space.

They make a variety of wallpapers and murals, with retro gaming being just one of many categories. If you're planning a game room, man cave, or seeking a retro decor to set your space apart from the rest, check out all they have to offer.

Retro Game Wallpaper Murals As a netizen of the current era I'm familiar with gussying up my computer desktop with wallpapers. It seems not long ago I was downloading 640 x 480 creations, marveling at those lucky enough to be using the 1280 x 1024 and 1920 x 1080 options. Luckily I upgraded and discovered the world beyond 640 pixels...

From their press release:
Inspired by the console controllers that revolutionized the way we play video games, Murals Wallpaper have paid homage to the most iconic of them in an exciting new wall mural range. Featuring everything from Master System and Mega Drive pads through to Nintendo's GameCube controller and beyond into the realms of the Xbox, there's something for fans of every platform. Coming in a host of eye-catching colourway's the retro gaming collection has the perfect accompaniment to any entertainment or games room.

Retro Game Wallpaper Murals About Murals Wallpaper:
Murals Wallpaper was founded in 2009 with the vision of bringing interior spaces to life through producing beautiful wall murals. With a passion for innovative design, concepts and experimenting with the latest interior trends, Murals Wallpaper can provide you with the perfect finishing touch to your home décor. Whatever the design or look you want to achieve, our murals are tailored to suit your individual wall measurements to bring you a unique, bespoke service that will transform your home no matter where in the world you are.
July 14, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The passing of Satoru Iwata united gamers in a way few would imagine

Sad news washed across the gaming world with the passing of Satoru Iwata, President of Nintendo. Unlike most people in his position, he was liked, revered, and respected. For a few days, the gaming community joined together in speaking of his contributions and the unimaginable void in Nintendo's upper ranks.

Satoru Iwata "On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer."



The Internet seemed to be on it's best behavior. Suddenly the petty gripes were replaced with kind remembrances. The "I know best" faction was silent. The general tone across social networks, forums, and blogs was that of positivity for Iwata's accomplishments and how his role changed Nintendo for the better.

Clearly the Internet is everyone's soapbox for bitter resentment, but it was nice to see a positive attitude was possible, if only for a day.

A fan made a hack for the NES Balloon Fight game - one of Iwata's earliest game projects - to include his likeness as a playable character!

Iwata in Balloon Fight

Iwata mii Add Iwata's mii character to any game that accepts QR codes.
July 10, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Opinions Collide over music's global release on Fridays, but July 10th yielded 4 Van Halen albums

New Music Fridays Global Release I always looked forward to Tuesday (in America). It was release day. New CDs and DVDs were being pulled from the back-room storage of retailers and shelved for consumer delight. I didn't think too much about the logistics, I simply knew that good things would be waiting each Tuesday.

Choosing Tuesday had more to do with pre-digital shipping and delivery issues. If a store received a shipment of new music before their nearby competitor, they would have a distinct sales advantage. Too much relied on when deliveries were made. In 1989, the Recording Industry settled on Tuesday as the day on which stores could sell new music. Movies seemed to follow along (I believe).

I'm on the mailing list of my favored music and movie store and eagerly sleuth my favorite bands and films when it hits my inbox. As a creature of habit, I'd head down to Newbury Comics for my weekly fix of entertainment media - onTuesdays. Some weeks were exciting, while others less so. Recently I received their weekly release email and was surprised to learn about Global Release Day... on Fridays. It's being called, New Music Fridays.

I see the logic in having everyone release on the same day. This way countries around the globe are all in sync with debuting new music. I'm sure there are still some time zone quandaries that leave small windows of illicit behaviors.The digital age still battles the analog-ness of some systems, even though we view ourselves as all sorts of modern.

4 re-mastered Van Halen albums and an Atari game released the same year 4 re-mastered Van Halen albums and an Atari game released the same year Having purchased the recent Van Halen re-mastered CDs, I was stoked for July 10th since another 4 re-mastered albums were hitting the retail channel! Coinciding with "New MUsic Friday" seemed a glorious combination for a retro soul like myself. However, not everyone is happy about this unifying release day.

A unified release day helps cut down on illegal copies since everyone has the chance to buy new music on the same day. Previously, there could be several days lag and on part of the world was excluded from hearing new releases already in rotation in other regions. For those selling physical media - brick and mortar stores - this can cause a problems that are often not considered by the industry's big boys.

Tower Records logo Stores are generally busier on weekends. Folks have more free time to shop. Formerly having new releases on Tuesdays, gave the smaller stores a mid-week boost. Often this was a much needed boost to get through the week as the weekend would bring more sales as always. Combining a traditionally heavier shopping day with the perk of new music, deflates the early part of the week and this can have a strong effect on indie shops.

I used to love shopping at Tower Records. They were huge and I assumed they'd be around forever. When they closed, I was devastated. Then Border's Books closed. You have to enjoy what you have in the present and ensure that actions taken now won't jeopardize the future.

Technology is eroding the media I loved and thought would last forever, but I cling to as much retro as I can. Few things are as wonderful as indie record and book stores. Help to preserve them!
July 4, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Happy Fourth of July!

Have a fun and safe holiday full of burgers, retro gaming and illegal fireworks!

Happy Fourth of July!
July 4, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Yes, EVERYONE has a 4th of July sales event

Avoid the crowds and packed parking lots - shop from home for a silicon sex doll from Real Doll. Just when you thought there must be ONE retailer not having a sales event going on...

Real Doll 4th of July sale
Real Doll - Rene This is definitely not your typical sale item. Blue-Light Special in aisle 7 :)
Real Doll - Rene Holiday discount on the companion who is amenable to everything.

July 3, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Another Castle was canceled two years after being funded via Kickstarter

I loved the idea of Another Castle, by Uncade, when it appeared on Kickstarter in early 2013. It was to be an indie platformer game that could randomly generate levels, thus making the game very unique each time you played through.

Uncade's Another Castle wascancelled Sadly, the game was just canceled by the developer. He had created a few mobile games, but Another Castle was to be his first really ambitious project. It sounds as though he was creating the entire game himself and the project simply became too big to complete without a team. This is my interpretation - I could be wrong.

On one hand, I feel bad that he wasn't able to create this game. I loved the overall concept and thought the art was very unique. We are all familiar with platformers, however, Another Castle didn't seem derivative of other games. It looked pretty cool on the playable demo.

It's also important to take this as a cautionary tale for crowd funding. Another Castle was funded via Kickstarter by over 800 backers who contributed over $15,000. While Uncade developer David Byers has generously offered to refund backers, that's a lot of money to accrue without delivering on the promise of this game.

I don't feel there was any deceit by Uncade, but 2 years is a long waiting period, only to find out there is no game. Crowd funding has become a very popular way to fund games that might not ever come to fruition, but it's a "buyer beware" scenario that offers little protection to those who contribute. Choose your projects carefully!

We wish David the best of luck and hope to see games from Uncade in the future. Another Castle was a great looking game with a wonderful premise. Check out some of the screen shots from Another Castle:

Uncade's Another Castle wascancelled Uncade's Another Castle wascancelled
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