Classic Video Game Blog of Rants, Raves, News and Info

8 Bit Central - Retro Gaming Blog

Archive of Classic Video Game Blog Articles
Second Quarter 2016 - April, May, June

We strive to create quality, original retro gaming content with ties to our favorite games of yesteryear as well as modern gaming. Retro gaming is as vibrant as ever and nostalgia is at epic levels! Take a look at the retro gaming things we've jumped on in 2016!

June 2016 Retro Gaming Articles:

June 25, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Summer vacation!

Player 2 is coming up for Summer Vacation, so we're taking a few weeks off to do... everything!
From video games and mini golf to beaches and the arcade, we don't anticipate having time for anything but fun! We hope you all have an excellent Summer with plenty of time to play retro games and relax. See ya in a few weeks!
June 23, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Old Spice advertising is more than quirky, it's now an 8-bit video game, YouLand

Old Spice YouLand
With Wieden + Kennedy at the helm, Old Spice advertising has gone crazy and is now invading in the form of a 1980s style video game.
On those occasions I need to replenish my supply of deodorant, I frequently find someone camped out in front of the display of roll-ons giving every one a sniff-test of sorts. Lacking a lab coat, credentials, or any sanctioned authority to be sniffing around the deodorant shelves. On any ordinary day, I'd steer clear and be no worse for the wear, but when deodorant is on my shopping list, I reluctantly persevere.

Old Spice YouLand I'm not picky about which deodorant I use. They're all the same to me. For the deranged shopper sniffing them all, I want to help him. It would be a kindness to explain that no scent will really enable his assimilation into cordial discourse. I don't want to talk to him, and politely smile as I grab an Old Spice from the back of the rack - hoping he has not yet smelled this particular one.

I suffer no delusions. I'm aware some folks like smelling deodorants prior to purchase. The one I swipe past the scanner at the checkout lane has likely been smelled by several patrons in days prior. My only salvation is not having to witness their inhalation prowess thus no crippling mental image come with the purchase. Yeah, I'm not keen on folks opening and smelling products I want to purchase.

This behavior seems to accompany nearly any product that is perceived to have a scent. No one sniffs the raw beef, but they'll be huffing up a storm by the shampoo. With this oddity in mind, why is it that Old Spice advertising takes on such a bizarre tone? Wouldn't they rather steer clear of the sniffing-shopper stigma?

Old Spice YouLand Isaiah Mustafa has been sporting some crazy starring roles in Old Spice commercials lately. But their ad agency has now lept the rails and created a retro video game, YouLand, with just as much craziness as their ads and it's beautifully pixelated like your favorite Intellivision and Atari games.

With a few different ways to play, they'd prefer you log in via Facebook and play with some of your friends who will appear in-game, but we all know Zuck will be handing our your personal info like candy on Halloween. However you decide to go about it, give it a whirl. You'll encounter talking animals, wooden VR headsets, tattooing enemies in the face and more.

If you feel this has an air of familiarity, don't forget 2012's Dikembe Mutombo's 4½ Weeks to Save the World
June 22, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Daniel-san should challenge Elisabeth Shue to a game of Moon Patrol

Moon Patrol arcade marquee
Karate Kid is one of those classic 80's films that are full of pop culture icons - including arcade games.
The original Karate Kid film (June 22, 1984) debuted on this day in '84 and has gone on to become a staple of classic 80's films. Watching such films brings back a flood of memories from days gone by. It's fun to watch and see all the iconic things tucked harmlessly into the background.

This screen shows Daniel (Ralph Machio) and his girlfriend Ali (Elisabeth Shue) in an arcade with a Moon Patrol arcade game behind them. Dust off that Karate Kid DVD and relive the glory of the "Crane" and the fall of the evil Johnny Lawrence.

Daniel & Ali with Moon Patrol Daniel & Ali in the Karate Kid with Moon Patrol in the background
June 21, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Upcoming digital mag, Mega Visions, aims to deliver SEGA coverage from past to present on all devices

Mega Visions Does
If you loved gaming magazines back in the day, but find newer digital mags irritating, the folks at Sega Nerds have a mag for you!
I loved Nintendo Power and Next Generation magazines. Between those two titles, I always felt as though I was armed with great info. From maps and strategies to reviews and new innovations, flipping through gaming mags was a true joy!

Mega Visions digital magazine Mega Visions Magazine is an upcoming digital publication focusing on all things Sega from retro to tomorrow. They are currently crowd funding their project on Kickstarter. Give it a look and see if this digital digest from the Sega Nerds deserves a spot on your hard drive.

I have yet to see a digital publication that didn't irritate me, but I'm certainly willing to check out Mega Visions and see how they structure the mag. They promise not to do the typical print-to-PDF that results in a pretty lifeless result.

There's a lot of good technology out there that can add interesting dimensions to digital publications. Too often they are laden with scripts that cause problems when simply trying to read an article. Game Informer's digital pub is like this.

I was happy with the print version until a kid at the register swapped me to digital. I've hated the Game Informer experience ever since. Thanks for nothing Game Stop - another customer service fail. OK, I'm calmer and may well be done complaining for the time being ;)

My SEGA saga

The Sega Saturn was the first Sega console I'd ever owned. I looked over at the Genesis selection when I was yanking chits off the Toys R Us NES wall, but I couldn't afford to support two systems, so I stuck with Nintendo.

When the Saturn came around, I was back at Toys R Us, but this time I was picking up my Saturn on release day. We used to have epic Virtua Fighter battles in my living room and then chill with some Daytona. It was an exciting time, but the Sony PlayStation sidetracked my Sega funds and I eventually became a Sony convert. I always loved the Saturn even though my funds began going toward the PS1. Still, it's a great system that still gets a good amount of playtime. Mega Visions should bring back a lot of great memories, even those from the arcade scene!
June 20, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Don't let the lackluster Mighty No. 9 reviews determine YOUR opinion of the game

Mighty No. 9
Despite crowd funding $3,845,170... Mighty No. 9 failed to impress reviewers as bland reactions surged across the web. We love Mega Man and are eager to play the game for ourselves!
I'm not a big fan of reviews. All too often, I love movies that get terrible reviews and enjoy playing games that wind up in the discount bin weeks after release. To each their own. We all have different expectations and desires when it comes to entertainment. Reviews can be helpful, but gamers should not rely on point-scores alone. We'd hate to miss out on a cool game over poor reviews.

It was hard not to be excited when the Mega Man Legacy Collection finally released for the 3DS a few months ago. I've long been a fan of the compilation game release. Packing all those amazing games onto one cart was an awesome move.

If you love Mega Man, don't avoid Mighty No. 9 based on reviews alone!
Going back to the Fall of 2013, a Kickstarter campaign for a Mega Man "sequel" met funding goals within days and finally amassed nearly four million dollars. Several hurdles delayed the release and it's development cycle seemed to go on and on. None the less, Mighty No. 9 has come to market!

Now that it has been released, it's disheartening to read so many reviews that call it limp, lifeless, and bland. Worse are the obvious copycats who are simply regurgitating the reviews and statements of other publications. I haven't played the game and can't comment on it, but I will say that you should do your own investigation into Mighty No. 9 before writing it off.

Mighty No. 9

Reviews Won't Always Tell The Whole Story

I played Mega Man decades ago on my NES. I bought the Legacy Collection to relive the glory. Do you honestly think I'll ignore Mighty No. 9 due to a series of 5 or 6 out of 10 reviews? Hell no!!

I've made mistakes, bad choices and wound up with some awful games. I've also taken risks and tried unproven titles and wound up with some of my favorite gaming experiences ever! If you loved Mega Man from Nintendo's early days, why deprive yourself of the "sequel" over a few low point-score reviews? I loved Mega Man and I'm certainly going to try Mighty N0. 9 for myself!

Almost anyone you ask will say that E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, for Atari's 2600 console, is the worst game ever made. It's the default answer to "What's the worst game ever?" The sad truth is that ET is a good game! It's not great, but it's been maligned by lemmings who are too lazy to play the game themselves. They repeat the same drive they hear... from reviewers among others. So, decide for yourself. If you love Mega Man, you may love Mighty No. 0. but only YOU can make that assessment.
June 19, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Check out the 8-bit flare of this upcoming Metroidvania style game, Andromeda

Andromeda - There's no God Up Here
This game is inspired by old Metroid games with an open-world full of retro style action.
I like the 8-bit look and diversity of this game from the Andromeda Project. Their game Andromeda is currently seeking funding via Kickstarter. This appears to be their second attempt at crowd funding this game as an earlier campaign was cancelled last month.

They display clips of several different areas of the game which make it look like it has broad offerings in classic 8-bit style. It definitely reminds me of some of my favorite space-shooters from the NES era. They have a PC demo and will try to expand the platform releases based on the stretch goals of their Kickstarter campaign.

The Andromeda web site currently redirects to their Kickstarter page, but this may change as the development progresses. Their projected release date is not until October of 2018, but the are planning to open an Alpha version of Andromeda to allow those participating in the crowd funding to play the game as it is being developed.

We always love to see a modern developer bringing back the 8-bit aesthetic to the gaming platforms of today! Check out their website and be sure to back them if you like what you see!
June 18, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

All hail the Queen... of Atari fashion

Andromeda - There's no God Up Here
When Queen Elizabeth went fashion forward in a "green screen" green outfit, the Internet promptly launched PhotoShop
If you poke around the Net, you'll see a variety of patterns replacing the festive green outfit worn by the Queen. The Internet reacts in many strange ways. We couldn't help but jump on the PhotoShop bandwagon and adorn England's leader in some Atari box art.
June 15, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Crash Bandicoot games being remastered for PS4 while Crash prepares to be a Skylander

Crash Bandicoot PS1 screen
Originally exclusive to the first Sony PlayStation, 3 Crash Bandicoot games are coming back on the PS4 and Skylanders.
Through a special deal with Activision (the IP owner) and Sony, three former Crash Bandicoot titles are being remastered for the PS4. Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, and Crash Bandicoot: Warped were announced at E3 to be forthcoming in 2017.

While on the topic of Activision and Crash... why not put him into the next Skylanders release, Imaginators. Donkey Kong appeared Last year's SuperChargers game, so it seems we're getting anther guest star in October.

Part of me likes the ida of a few "known" characters guesting in the Skylands, another part really likes the anonymity of the Skylanders characters. When a new character is released, there's curiosity with no expectation. Unlike the former Disney Infinity, when I wondered why Jack Skellington was released without Sally and when would the Star Wars games arrive? Once a franchise crosses into "celebrity" territory, very often it's a case of the flood gates opening.

Crash Bandicoot & Skylanders Last year's Donkey Kong Skylanders figure was only available with the Wii U starter pack. This year's Crash Bandicoot is exclusive to the PS3/4 (and comes with the starter pack), but will also be available as an individual purchase. Cool!
June 14, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Janet Waldo, the voice of Judy Jetson (and countless others) passed away at age 96

Janet Waldo, the voice of Judy Jetson
Ms. Waldo played Judy through 1988 when the studio decided to replace her with the pop singer Tiffany.
In 1962 Ms. Waldo landed her first, and most enduring, animation role. She played Judy Jetson, the teenage daughter on The Jetsons, Hanna-Barberas futuristic answer to The Flintstones. The show initially lasted only one season; those episodes ran in syndication until new ones were made beginning in 1985.

Ms. Waldo voiced many other cartoons, including Josie on Josie and the Pussycats and, in a departure from her more winsome roles, Freds hectoring mother-in-law on The Flintstones.
June 14, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

News about Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has me wishing I'd played Zelda in the NES era

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Having won over gamers in the NES era, Zelda games are always big news, but today the upcoming game really saturated the web :)
A lot of Zelda footage was shown in a live-stream today and Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime touted the game as a completely different approach. "This is easily one of the biggest experiences ever created by Nintendo," Fils-Aime said.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild trending on Twitter Shown as a large open world game, the upcoming Zelda game entranced gamers at E3 and across the web. Many were saying it is 12 times the size of Twilight Princess! There were times today when the above image was plastered across every social media platform via accounts with any gaming intent. It was a Zelda day to say the least.

I've never been an RPG fan and haven't really explored any of the Zelda games. I know that sounds like heresy, but the videos I've seen has certainly impressed me and make me want to delve into the franchise. A lot of it depends on when the "NX" releases and finding out what it actually is.

Many gamers are seeing elements from the original NES game as well as things from other games across the franchise. I like that they are going back to the game's roots while incorporating elements from other Zelda releases.

Zelda Is Trending on Social Media

I always like to see video game elements trending and Zelda was trending on many networks, including Twitter. It's been an interesting week, news-wise, as you can see from the other trending topics to the left.
June 13, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Check out Easy Roller Dice's variety of beautiful hand-crafted dice and gaming accessories

Easy Roller Dice
From casual gaming to hardcore RPGs, Easy Roller Dice have a wide variety and good pricing.
As a kid, I grew up with board games. From epic Monopoly marathons with the family to chess with my Dad, games were always a part of our lives. I loved playing Go For Broke, WaterWorks, Stratego, and Battleship.

These are all games I kept and now play with my son, among others. Despite our avid passion for video games, both of us still love the tactile familiarity of game pieces, dice, and elaborate boards. He's recently begun playing in D&D group, which brings back many memories of when I first discovered not all dice are square!

Easy Roller Dice I was excited when I was asked to take a look at some of Easy Roller Dice products. As a retro gamer, I'm accustomed to having a joystick in my hand, so this was a great opportunity to reconnect with my son and his new obsession with D&D.

Packaging and Presentation

The first thing you'll notice about Easy Roller Dice is their presentation. Each acrylic set came in a velvet draw-string bag with brightly colored interiors. This is a great introduction to a new product and set the tone for the great sets they sent.

Both the Green Opaque and Burnt Amber sets are beautiful. The numbering contrasts well with the unique coloring of each set, with the numbers neatly inscribed on each surface with no leaking. This gives each set a very crisp, easy to read look. The Green is a 10-piece set while the Amber has 7 dice. You just know you'll get great rolls from dice this clean looking.

Easy Roller Dice


As for the weight, each set feels great. They have a nice light-weight feel, yet don't scatter off across the table, giving a nice solid roll.

For those who collect, both of these sets have a great shine in motion and subtle color tones upon examination. We're really pleased with both the look and feel as well as the performance.

Easy Roller Dice are reasonably priced and arrived in beautiful condition without any nicks or stray inking on the numbers. If you check out their online catalog you'll see they have a diverse offering of dice as well as accessories.

Gun Metal Dice

The Gun Metal series is truly astounding! Cast from polished nickel, these dice are plated for a unique metallic look. These dice are heavy - in a brutal conquering fashion. The cool metal spheres will prickle your palm if you swirl your hand and they land on the table with an authoritative rumble. They come packaged in a slick custom box with a foam insert to ensure they won't shift during transport.

The gun Metal sets are a more expensive than the acrylic sets, but we think you'll be pleasantly surprised by their bold feel. You deserve a cool heavy metal style dice set and this is spot on!

Easy Roller Dice

Customer Service

Michael from Easy Roller Dice reached out to us about reviewing their products and was both timely and helpful with a few email exchanges regarding some questions I had. The dice arrived in my mailbox just a few days after we exchanged info. For those who are leery about dealing with online retailers they haven't dealt with prior, I can say I was impressed with the entire experience I had with them.

From my brief dealings, I get the impression they strive to deliver a quality product from start to finish. They were quick and responsive which is always nice to see. Additionally, they offer a 30-day no-questions asked money back guarantee. We rate our whole experience highly!
June 12, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Saved By The Bell's The Max restaurant has opened as a pop-up eatery in Chicago

Saved By The Bell's Max restaurant
Fans of 90's sitcom Saved By The Bell have been flocking to Chicago where a pop-up version of the Max restaurant is dishing burgers and neon fun!
Saved By The Bell was a sitcom that ran for five seasons, in the US, from 1989 to 1993 on NBC. It was a lighthearted comedy with frivolous plots, but something about the characters made it a hit with audiences. The kids from Bayside hung out at a restaurant called, The Max. The spirit of the TV show has been resurrected in a real-world restaurant in Chicago!

Saved By The Bell logo While one might expect such a restaurant to appear in Los Angeles, it's the work of a Chicago event promoter that led to it's installation in Chicago's Wicker Park area. Another odd facet is it's timeline. Having just opened on June 1, The (new) Max will only be open through August.

Entrees seem to all be under $15, although they also sell liquor. I guess restaurant margins are higher than I thought. Obviously, a promoter only creates a pop-up event if it will quickly turn a profit.

Saved By The Max has a Facebook page and folks are posting about long lines and being turned away. Reservations are recommended since they are limiting the number of walk-ins. As disappointing as that may e, it shows there's a lot of interest in dining "Bell" style. If you plan on checking it out, get a reservation.

Saved By The Bell's The Max restaurant The pop-up restaurant is open Monday through Sunday serving dinner and a late night menu every night! Their Late Night offerings go until 1:00am on weekdays and 2am on weekends. It sounds like they are moving people through at a rapid rate to accommodate as many guests as possible.
Saved By The Bell's The Max restaurant All of the menu's offerings, including drinks, have names tied to various elements of the show. A.C. Sliders, Tori's Fried Chicken, Spano's Seasonal Veggie, and drinks like Jessie's Joan Of Arc.

It's nice to see they've captured the era with the inclusion of Atari's Centipede and Data East's Kung Fu Master arcade games!

When it comes to the cast of Saved By The Bell, fans seemed partial to Tiffani-Amber Thiessen's Kelly Kapowski, the cheerleader who dated Zack (the male lead). I always thought Lark Voorhies' Lisa Turtle was the one to watch. She was wise to decline Screech's advances... since Dustin Diamond had been in and out of jail on a regular basis. Just saying...

June 13 Update: I just read that The Max has been so well received in Chicago, the event promoter is keeping it open through the end of 2016. Originally, it was to close in August.
June 11, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Playbox Entertainment has a brilliant secret weapon for YouTube engagement - cosplayer Evey Dantes

Evey Dantes playing Overwatch
If you follow Evey Dantes on social media or have met her at a con, you can now see her playing video games on the Playbox YouTube channel.
When I saw Playbox Entertainment's description - plays a large variety of video games with the lovely Evey Dantes, I couldn't resist checking it out. I've followed her on social media for a while and she's wonderfully quirky and creates amazing cosplays. She's a great fit to rep their channel! I hope this partnership continues with more Let's Play vids.

Evey Dantes BMO cosplay Evey plays Doom While technology marches on, the divide between film and video games is narrowing. It seems not long ago that adding more detail to a video game character was a balance between having enough polygons to depict the character and your game console having enough horsepower to move them properly. A lot of original PlayStation games grappled with this balance in delivering realism. Looking at the evolution of Lara Croft is a great example of technology enabling better results over time.

Cosplay's Epic Reality

Today, video games are closing in on photorealistic display - blurring the lines between pixels and reality. But have you been to a comic con and seen your favorite character walk past you? It doesn't get more real than that! That realism comes from the dedication and amazing work that so many cosplayers put into bringing their favorite characters to life - often with over-the-top accessories.

Evey Dantes cosplay Having a talented cosplayer doing Let's Play videos for a gaming YouTube channel makes a lot of sense. Many cosplayers are avid gamers as many of their cosplays are based on gaming's elaborately crazy characters (as well as comics and film). We wish we'd thought of it! :)

We encourage you to catch up with Evey Dantes on Facebook as well as Instagram & Twitter. She's very active on social media and always working on a new cosplay. And be sure to check out her Let's Play videos on Playbox! Evey selfie
June 9, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

When confronted by a Best-Of game list, do you seek out the titles you've never played?

1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die
Gaming Jay has taken the "1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die" to heart - playing and reviewing them all.
When was the last time you played a game based on a "best of", "top ten", or similar listing of titles? I began thinking about it because, for me - this is a rarity. Not so for Gaming Jay who is playing his way through the 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die book. He's even documenting it on his website and YouTube channel!

Why am I not doing this? I love the idea! I'll dig through my collection or find a ROM (as needed) when I see an interesting post about a retro game I'm not familiar with, but lists tend not to motivate me. Perhaps they should!

This makes me want to dig deep into my stash of game carts!
Even after reading The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987 it never occurred to me to go through my game collection and play all the games he mentioned. I've played many of them, but today I find myself wondering why I haven't sought out the games I haven't had the opportunity to play.

Like many collectors, I'll complain about the large stack of games waiting to be played, but the various lists I encounter don't seem to light a flame for me to partake. Similarly I don't dine at the 5 best restaurants, hike any of the top-rated trails, or listen to music at the "top" of the charts. I wonder if it's an intentional struggle to be independent.

I'm often interested to see what titles end up on such lists, but oddly I never feel compeled to play the ones I've missed or never head of. If ever there was a good time to try a new game, you'd think a "best of" list would be it, right?

One of the challenges to Gaming Jay's quest, aside from the 1001 games, is the platforms they span. In a world chock full of emulators, it's not difficult to find most of the ones you'd need, but the list spans both computers and game consoles. I dig this challenge and loved seeing Spy Hunter and Chibi-Robo on his site. Keep an eye on his Let's Play 1001 Games website.

About the Book: 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die

Published in October 2010, here is the Amazon description of Tony Mott's book:
For devoted gamers as well as those interested in groundbreaking graphic design, this is the first, most comprehensive, and only critical guide ever published to video games. The video game has arrived as entertainment and as an art form. This is the first serious critical evaluation ever published of the best video games and is a testament to the medium's innovativeness and increasing emphasis on aesthetics.

Organized chronologically and for all platforms (PC, Xbox, PlayStation, etc.) and covering all genres from the bold (Grand Theft Auto and Halo) and dark (Resident Evil and Silent Hill) to the spiritual (Final Fantasy) and whimsical (Legend of Zelda), the book traces the video game from the rough early days of Pong to the latest visual fantasia.
June 8, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Some folks like Surf & Turf, we're dining on Surf & Circuits with clams and Chibi-Robo

Clams go well with classic video games and we're in a Chibi-Robo mood. Let's open some clams and clean up the Sanderson's house - lol
I bought Chibi-Robo on a whim with my son. Neither of us knew anything about it, but he liked the cover art and thought the little robot was pretty cool. We had no idea how much we'd like cleaning up and exploring a strange house. Chibi-Robo is one of those endearing games that makes you smile for no good reason.

clams and Chibi-Robo
June 7, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

My commute led me to chasing down a BTTF DeLorean headed for a local fundraiser

Back To The Future DeLorean at a local fundraiser
I'm not one to get crazy on the highway, but when a fully decked out "Back To The Future" Delorean blew by me, curiosity kicked in and I wound up at a Michael J Fox Foundation fundraiser.
Out in my neck of the woods we don't see too many notable vehicles on the average commute. I was heading home when a small car when shooting by me on the highway. To my surprise it was a DeLorean with a full-on Back To The Future makeover!

I followed it as far as I could before losing it on the surface streets near home. I thought it made for a fun story and told my coworkers about it the next day. They had heard that there was a BTTF themed event happening and that must have been a part of it. With that in mind I Googled it and found the location. I decided to drive by to see if I could get a glimpse of the car. To my surprise it was on display at the local inn.

I dropped in and met the couple who restored the car and gave it the Back To The Future makeover. They've owned it for 16 years and take it to these events all over the country.

Back To The Future DeLorean Coincidentally, this cool car wound up at an inn hosting a fundraiser for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. They also had a Mattel Hover Board on display!
Back To The Future DeLorean The owners of the car were on hand and told me they created the BTTF makeover themselves and have been using it to bring attention to Michael J. Fox's foundation. Really nice folks!

For a small town, this was a pretty cool find. As I said, most cars around here are lacking Flux Capacitors.

From the Back To The Future site:
Seven DeLoreans were used throughout the filming of the Back to the Future trilogy. Six stock DeLoreans were purchased for the production in order to convert into time machines, and a fiberglass DeLorean replica was fabricated for the flying sequences in Back to the Future Part II. Of these, only three of them are believed to have survived and exist still today.
June 6, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Famicam64 app provides real-time 8-bit effects for your smartphone's camera

Dial in your favorite console's visual style with this slick iOS app!
Instagram gave us the notion that filters are cool, but Zuck's photo app nowhere near as cool as the Famicam64 app. It boasts over 40 real time filters, adjustable parameters and classic retro palettes from iconic computers and video game consoles. Famicam 64 allows you to easily capture great looking 8-bit pictures. Famicam64

Famicam64 is not just a simple camera app. It's a complete 8bit Photo Editing Suite with a set of modules to enhance your photos including:

DRAW: to pixel-sketch on your photo with different colors, effects and retro brushes
TEXT: to add captions with awesome 8-bit and retro fonts
SPRITES: with +350 retro-inspired stickers
FRAMES: to turn your photos in old game covers or an old CRT screen

Check out the video below to see how it brings your favorite computer & console styles to life in real time. I love this concept!

Famicom64 is currently available for iOS devices and in a communication with the developer, he says it may come to Android users (like me) in time. Some days I wish I had an iPhone. This app definitely makes me envious of those with Apple phones!
June 5, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Challenge Djokovic in this French tennis game for browser & mobile, Le Défi de Djoko

Challenge Djokovic in Le Défi de Djoko
This game is a bit too easy, but I love the NES-style retro soundtrack!
While watching the French Open, I decided to give this wacky tennis game a try. It's browser-based, but I believe it's also available for mobile. Alas, all the French classed I took in school haven't proven useful in interpreting everything about this game. Give it a whirl!

Challenge Djokovic in Le Défi de Djoko
June 3, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Apparently today is National Donut Day...

If you think "America runs on Dunkin", try a local bakery and see the wondrous donuts THEY make!
National Retro Gaming Donut Day
June 2, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Atari is heating things up... via smart-home thermostats, through a licensing partnership

fake Atari branding
Atari is licensing it's name to make another cash-grab in the wake of releasing Atari Vault on Steam.
Because I grew up in the 70s, the Atari name still makes me think of arcade games and amazing home console gaming. To today's gamer, the Atari moniker may have closer ties to discount t-shirts in Khol's discount bin. "Hey look! An Atari t-shirt!"

Once again the Atari brand is in the news for yet another cash-grab. The owners of the Atari name are licensing that infamous name to French iOT developer Sigfox. This will allow Sigfox to release a variety of products under the Atari name. Sigfox is looking to capitalize on the recognition of Atari to help sell it's products. While specifics of these new "Atari" products have not been released, it is speculated they will be part of a wireless smart-home line.

fake Atari toaster For me, Atari hasn't had any real meaning for a few decades. Long gone is it's gaming business and affiliation. They own rights to the existing games, but clearly the holding company who owns the Atari brand are fairly unsure what to do with it.

They've used it in a failed MMO Asteroids Outpost, fast food gaming tie-ins, gambling website, a fitness app, and the recent release of Atari Vault (March 2016). While the former value of the brand was in the video game sector, the brand has been vastly diluted as it becomes affiliated with diverse, largely failed, products.

While I wish the Atari brand still held some ties to the games I grew up with, they seem adrift in a sea of opportunity. I play Missile Command with my son and drive home the goodness of Atari, but I have to footnote that with the fact that the Atari I grew up with is gone.

I'm sure there are others, like me, who instinctively get excited to see "Atari" in the news. While I've often said Ill buy anything with an Atari logo on it, I think we need to realize that Atari's partnership with Sigfox is only the licensing of the brand name. Atari is not getting into the home automation market. Their name could just as easily appear on a toaster...

Someday I'll hopefully be less bitter about the present use of the Atari brand. Having bought the brand, they are free to do anything they want with it. As a gamer who grew up with Atari consoles and arcade games, I'd love to see them come back and regain their status as an innovator in gaming. The release of Atari Vault gave me hope... Maybe one day :)
June 1, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Facebook's algorithm hones in on it's worst content, leaving your preferences behind

I think their algorithm is financially driven rather than delivering what clients want to see.
Once each month it occurs to me that Facebook is full of nothing but click-bait mass market articles, advertorial ads, and irrelevant articles. I believe Twitter delivers a far superior experience, but there are a bunch of pages I enjoy following on Facebook.

The problem is Facebook can't deliver all the content I have purposely "liked" so I can keep up with their content. Facebook alleges to deliver content based on my on-site actions. Thus they should deliver content from pages I interact with. Still, every few weeks it seems to me that I have a timeline full of useless crap.

Facebook It then occurs to me, I haven't seen any posts from "XYZ Company" (among others) and I manually go to their page and discover they have been avidly publishing content. This is content that Facebook decided I didn't need to see. So, I "like" a few of their posts and read a few articles. When I go back to my timeline, XYZ Company begins to appear in my timeline.

Aside from wondering why Facebook is so poor at delivering content, I wonder how many times I need to click, like, poke, share, or whatever to get the content on my timeline. Sure, I know there are options to force content to be displayed, but that's more work than simply "voting" with my clicks, likes, and shares - which is supposed to do the same thing!

My suspicion is Facebook tends to deliver content based on finance. Paid posts seem to show up far more often. This certainly accounts for the horrendous amount of garbage Facebook likes to deliver.

So, when your timeline seems laden with junk, just remember you get what you pay for. Try Twitter! Twitter is a great source of info and far less cumbersome to use!

May 2016 Retro Gaming Articles:

May 30, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Lets be clear- If there's a screen on my fridge, I'm playing retro games

retro gaming refridgerator
If I need to know what's inside my fridge, I'll open the door because there's going to be some arcade action on that Samsung's screen!
When I first saw the TV commercial for Samsung's Family Hub Refrigerator, I thought it was a parody. Cameras inside your fridge so you can connect to it via your phone, from the supermarket? Are you kidding me? This is where technology is heading?

The guy in that TV ad is talking to his wife on the phone and she can't be bothered to turn around and look inside the fridge - so he connects to it from the store? Get a divorce and save some money on a standard refrigerator.

tinfoil hat Maybe if you're some sort of deranged serial killer and want mobile access to your severed head collection... OK I can't come up with a valid reason for this fridge.

If I need to know what's in my fridge, I'll open the door. If I'm at the store and don't know if I need milk... maybe I'll wind up with an extra carton. To pay $6,000 for a "connected" fridge seems unnecessary.

But let's say I bought all the right vowels and made a terrific guess, landing me in a game show's winner's circle... so if I won such a refrigerator, I'd have to bluetooth a controller into the mix and have MAME running on it.

Forget the calendars and grocery list apps. Let's get some arcade emulation going on the Hub and put it's built-in speakers to task with those 8-bit bleeps and bops.

Being a Samsung product, I assumed it would be running some variant of Android, thus letting you install apps the way you would on a phone. The details aren't very clear as to what OS is on it and what apps it supports. I find this strange since it would likely cater to tech-savvy consumers who'd like such details. The website lists a batch of generic apps... and MAME isn't one of them!
May 27, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

If you're concerned about data mining & privacy in Miitomo, I suggest a protective tinfoil hat

tinfoil hat
Even if info was being captured and sold, usage statistics say Miitomo may not be the goldmine it seemed to be during it's launch.
Miitomo was highlighted on the main gaming screen on Google Play when I downloaded it on release day. Reviews were good and the number of downloads supported my feeling that this was definitely worth checking out. Being Nintendo's first mobile game, Miitomo was an exciting launch. While Know-It-Alls said the only hope was putting SMB on smart phones, Nintendo delivered a very "Nintendo" experience to our phones and tablets.

Billed as a "social game", we began answering questions and reading our friend's answers, making this app see like a hoot! The questions it posed were mostly harmless inquisitive topics designed to start conversations, although you can't converse with other users of Miitomo. You have little control over anything other than the answers you submit. From favorite books to what you had for dinner, we racked up Miitomo coins.

Fake Miitomo conversation Then bouts of paranoia began surging across social networks as articles began touting Nintendo's ability to get users to open up and give information willingly that skilled marketers would die for. Thus, we saw speculations about data mining and sale of Miitomo info. Nintendo quickly squashed such rumors, but it makes us wonder if such info really has any value. I suppose all info is valuable in today's slimy world of marketing & sales.

It's been fun to answer questions, but we seem to get the same ones quite frequently. I'd have thought more would be added, but that has more to do with usage by the overall base of users. Next we noticed the Friend Requests were fewer and many of those who had clever witty responses seemed to disappear.

With mobile games there is always a disparity between overall downloads and usage. While a game may have a "successful" number of downloads, revenue isn't generated unless users interact with the game (and it's micro-transactions).

I like Miitomo, but it doesn't have the lasting appeal I like to see in a mobile game. Maybe updates will provide more activities, but right now, I feel like I've done it all. The Miitomo Drop games are mostly devoid of skill and the offer of "candy" seems inadequate. As far as I can tell, candy is a only a currency for viewing more of your friend's responses to questions. The clothing store is kind of fun, but is hardly representative of my fashion sense. Maybe that has to do with localization, but I don't want to dress up as a hot dog.

Miitomo Should Still Be Viewed As Successful

While it has it's drawbacks, Nintendo proved it can build excitement on a new platform. I feel it's very important that Nintendo developed Miitomo as a social game, leaving behind it's renown IPs. If Mario appeared in Miitomo, I'd have vomited, but the way Nintendo created a unique experience on mobile shows they are innovating and not relying on old ideas.

You may not care for Miitomo, or be "over it" at this point, but lets not forget how many sequels and knock-offs exist in online gaming stores. Nintendo has shown they can develop new ideas and make the experience unique to mobile gaming. I"m sure we'll see more traditional games released over time, but this is a good first release. And who knows... they may release updates to further freshen the Miitomo experience. Never stop believing in Nintendo - they never follow, they most often lead the way.
May 27, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

It's #NationalHamburgerDay - go play some video games and scarf down some burgers!

National Hamburger Day
With the long holiday weekend happening, there's no better time to grill up a ton of burgers and play video games all weekend.
Despite the frivolity associated with holidays, we'd like to take a moment to remember those who've fought for this country. Some gave all, all gave some.

With the long weekend here and National Hamburger Day, we're firing up the grill and anticipate conquering the Qotile, Fighting like a chicken, and destroying the warlock in a Double Score Dungeon! Game on... and pass the ketchup!

National Hamburger Day
May 27, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

How I know Nintendo's 3DS is better than a smart phone

Sea Green 2DS
When the masses suggest Nintendo's salvation lies in dumping IPs onto smart phones, I wonder if any of these folks ever owned an NES.
Not long ago I came across an article that made me realize how smart Nintendo has been regarding mobile gaming and why I adore my 2DS. The article suggested Nintendo leave console gaming and focus on mobile gaming. The author's assertion was: the majority of gamers have shifted to mobile.

In an era where many people still believe anything displayed in print, I'm glad I stopped to laugh at this premise. Many people (who seemingly don't own a Nintendo product) have suggested Nintendo start dumping their IPs onto mobile in an effort to save themselves after the commercial failure of the Wii U console. A lot of people are under the illusion that Mario's prominence will dominate any and all platforms.

Pokemon on 2DS His popularity isn't the issue. You'll notice that nintendo designs it's games to both it's audience and platforms. They know that handheld gaming is different from console gaming on a large TV. Similarly, the divide between Nintendo hardware and smart phones is tremendous too.

While some gamers are content to install emulators on their phones to play SMB and a huge selection of games, game play on a phone is much different. The controls alone make the two platforms very different. Tapping and finger swipes don't provide the same options as 4 buttons, a D-pad, analog sticks, and shoulder buttons.

You wouldn't think it necessary to mention this disparity, but yet another article stated Nintendo is losing the handheld market to kids with smart phones. Again the assertion was smart phones are a better product than the 2/3DS. Many kids who have smart phones receive them as hand-me-downs from older siblings or parents. Thus the ease of giving such a device to your kid is simple and cheap.

My Smart Phone Sucks

Candy Crush mobile game I bought my smart phone with one goal in mind - a big screen. Through my first year of ownership, it was agile, fast, and impressive. Now, it's slow, annoying, and no longer allowed system updates. All my phones have followed this pattern of slowing down to the point of futility. Not a very smart product. The latest system updates are exclusive to the phones with newer processors. I've been left in the dark which is Verizon's way of forcing me to upgrade - also known as spending more money.

Compare this with Nintendo's portable consoles and a much different story unfolds. I bought a Game Boy in the early 1990s because everyone had one. I guess FOMO existed back then too. I enjoyed it, but the monochrome screen was a bit disappointing in light of the game consoles I owned. I went to the GBC and then the GB Advance - that was my all-time favorite. I wasn't wild about the DS series - it seemed like feature overload and I didn't like the inclusion of a stylus. But I finally gave in and picked up a DS Lite since it still had a GBA game slot!

My son and I each have a 2DS and we love them. From the immense game library to SteetPass and Local Play, it continues to delight at every turn. I think it's a clever device from top to bottom and it's integration into my lifestyle is proof. It's not as portable as a smart phone, but when it comes to gaming, I'm all about my 2DS - not my smart phone.

That isn't to say I'm all business and no play. I have a slew of games on my phone, but they don't engage me the way my 2DS does. The phone games come out when I have a few minutes to kill and social media is stale. For my 2DS, I want to play it when I have a good half-hour or so to really play. It's not a way to kill time, but rather my 2DS is a fun way to spend some free time.

Over time, my 2DS has run lawlessly. No slowdowns. No incompatibilities. No hassles. It's fun, reliable, and I take it nearly everywhere I go! It's also worth noting, all my former Nintendo handhelds have held up the same way. They don't degrade in performance and sliding an old favorite into my GBA brings back countless memories. Such performance is to be expected in the older handhelds, but my 2DS - with frequent system updates that change it's core - runs like a champ. I no way has it become a sloppy mess, like my smart phone!

So, when a journalist tries to tel me that Nintendo needs to shift to mobile and the 3DS is inferior to mobile games, I laugh and point them to Miitomo. Miitomo is Nintendo's first mobile game and it fits the hardware and play-scenario. It shows Nintendo's understanding of mobile gaming. Will Miitomo be a runaway success? Hard to say, but when you contrast it with 3DS games and Wii U games, you'll see how well Nintendo understands their hardware, software, and customers.

Regardless of my gaming habits and preferences, I'll always find good times from my phone to my TV, but I encourage you to question and challenge the media when they think they have all the answers. Nintendo isn't always right, but their track record is superior to the average news outlet. Believe in your own views and play the way you want to!
May 26, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Retro gaming unaffected by closure of Victoria's Secret catalog

Victoria's Secret cancels catalog
Between e-commerce and pornography, the masses should survive this decision to cease distribution of the physical Victoria's Secret catalog.
Playboy stopped publishing nude photos and now Victoria's Secret will stop mailing out its infamous catalogs of scantily clad models.

L Brands Inc., the parent company of Victoria's Secret, this week unveiled strategic changes that include evolving how the business connects with customers through more focus on loyalty programs and brand-building engagement rather than traditional catalogues and offers.

Having also closed down their swimwear line, VS retail stores now have adequate space for their upcoming used video game business, specializing in cartridge games from the 1980s. So, anyway...

Victoria's Secret cancels catalog
May 26, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Hyper Light Drifter now has a special iam8bit release, but no update on Kickstarter stretch goal for Wii U

February's update from Heart Machine offers no evidence a Wii U port will be released.

The Wii U Port?

Part of the Kickstarter stretch goals (which were met) offered a Wii U version of the game. An update this past February left some doubt about this port coming to fruition. They state there is a "business issue" that is out of their hands. From their Kickstarter update:

The Wii U port is, unfortunately, currently in limbo.
So what happened? We had information about our engine, two years back, when we announced support for the platform. This had assured us we could port to the Wii U with relatively little hassle by now. However, due to ongoing internal contractual issues beyond our control between the platform holder and engine developer, we just don't know when or if this situation will have a good resolution. We are looking into the options available and doing what we can to help push the issue, including posting about it here.

This means we will still offer the option of Wii U in the Surveys, with the stipulation that if you do choose it as your platform, and we end up unable to support it this year, we will offer you a key on another platform of your choice. We would rather keep this option open, knowing there's still a possibility for it to work, than cancel the port right now.

I realize this isn't ideal, and plenty of people are looking forward to the release on a Nintendo platform (as are we, being life-long fans). Please understand business can sometimes get in the way of production, and there's only so much we can do to help sway these types of events with larger entities. We'll keep everyone updated as soon as we know more.

As of this writing, I've seen no further mention of the Wii U version outside of backers' comments regarding it's whereabouts.
May 25, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

iam8bit releases a collector's edition of Hyper Light Drifter w/ vinyl soundtrack & SNES tie-in

Hyper Light Drifter - Collector's Edition
Leaving you to fend for yourself is an understatement in this beautiful world of extremely difficult gameplay.
Explore a beautiful, vast and ruined world riddled with unknown dangers and lost technologies. Inspired by nightmares and dreams alike. Hyper Light Drifter, by Heart Machine, is available on Mac & PC and soon for PS4 and Xbox One consoles (no word on the Wii port). iam8bit has released a collector's Edition with a 4-disc vinyl version of the soundtrack along with an SNES style box.

Hyper Light Drifter - Collector's Edition From the iam8bit website:
No detail was spared! The SNES-style box, 24-page instruction manual and even the metallic sticker on the cartridge were designed by Hyper Light Drifter Heart Machine to perfectly capture the special essence of 16-bit magic. The cartridge is is custom modeled with colored plastic, replicating the now-defunct production process used back in the day. This is the REAL DEAL.

While looking completely authentic, this cartridge won't play anything when plugged into your Super Nintendo... but that's why we're giving you a game code with purchase!

For more info about the game, check out Polygon's review.

Hyper Light Drifter
May 23, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Skylanders diversify via BattleCast, a physical card game with mobile tie-in

Skylanders BattleCast
What happens when you meld Skylanders with a bit of Hearthstone? A cards-to-life game set in the Skylanders universe.
While still perplexed by Disney's inability to make a success out of Infinity - despite the Marvel and Star Wars IPs - I'm curious to see how veteran Skylanders and newcomer LEGO Dimensions fare in the next holiday season. Activision is releasing their BattleCast card game and companion mobile game.

Skylanders BattleCast I was growing tired of continually buying more figures with each Skylanders release, but I loved the vehicles in superChargers. Within the packaging as a foil enclosed BattleCast card. Neither my son nor I had heard of it and set it aside. It wasn't until I got a pre-order announcement from Toys R Us that I made the connection and realized we already had a BattleCast card!

The cards and mobile app can be used somewhat independently (like Pokemon cards), but it seems that you scan the cards once and that's your last interaction with them as far as the mobile game is concerned. As a collectable, I'm not sure I like the minimal involvement of the cards with the mobile game. It's all new to me, so I may be mistaken about this.

Another interesting facet is how the cards are scanned into the mobile device. Apparently you need to protect your cards and not photograph them for display online without the included "card protector". It seems to only mask the edges, but you can only scan a card once, so don't post online photos of your cards or someone else could scan it into their tablet.

I can't detect anything on the cards making them unique in that respect, so I'm looking forward to discovering more about that aspect. I recall printing out a few "AR cards" I found online for the 3DS and they worked well both on-screen and printed.

You can download the app for iOS and Android. The cards come in starter and booster packs. I believe they are being released in the US on May 24, so I'll be heading to Toys R Us to check out BattleCast and the various options. I'm a sucker for this franchise, so I'm excited to see what it offers.
Skylanders BattleCast Toys R Us pre-order offer Let's face it, the next evolution of skylanders, on the mobile front, needs to be an 8-bit Skylanders game. I could be a happy guy with an 8-bit Skylanders game. Let BattleCast cards bring the characters into the game and then the 8-bit fun ensue!
May 22, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

We weren't persuaded by Trump's taco bowl, but we like his stance on retro gaming

Donald Trump Tempest
Love him or hate him, you have to respect Donald's stance on retro gaming.
I saw a few 'shops of the peculiar Donald Trump taco bowl image he tweeted. I came across one in which he was holding a JFA album, at which point I knew this needed some Atari flair!

Donald Trump AtariAge
May 22, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Chipocrite takes to SoundFly for a free ChipTune crash course on Nintendo's GameBoy

ChipTune crash course
Get your feet wet in the world of ChipTune music and how to use your old Game Boy as an instrument!
I've long been a fan of chiptunes and have found really great works from original albums to video game soundtracks and even movie soundtracks. Confounded by the exhaustive amount of keys on a piano and frets on a guitar, I thought it might be easier to generate some original music with a D-pad and a fire-button. It sounds simple enough, but if you're like me, you may need a bit of help to get yourself started.

Check out the ChipTune Crash Course on SoundFly! This free tutorial is quite robust and takes you step-by-step through the basics with audio clips and videos.

Little Sound Dj for Gameboy Their 4-part course starts off with a basic description of chiptunes as a concept and how sound chips work in various consoles. Early 8-bit games were very small in terms of how much code could be used. Your game console had a sound chip that interpreted instructions from the game cart. Onboard chips could produce a variety of sounds rather than attempting to store actual sound files on the game cart. Not happening on a 4k cart :)

The Crash Course will explain how robust four sound channels can be when you push the limits of an old GameBoy. You'll discover how to use Little Sound Dj on a Game Boy or via an emulator on your computer. After a few short tutorials, you can be on your way to creating your own chiptunes. It's addictive and each console has a sound chip you'll want to explore!

ChipTune crash course
May 21, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I'd prefer to see Britney Spears American Dream as a kick-ass 8-bit space shooter

Britney Spears American Dream app
These celebrity apps should shift focus from redundant "be like me" wealth building and put Team Spears in a starship setting out to defend the galaxy... in an 8-bit game!
I must sound like a broken record every time one of these "celebrity" apps is launched. I understand that some people are fascinated with celebrities, but is that interest best served by repeatedly releasing apps that simulate that celebrity's life style? I know these apps are geared toward a female demographic, but do women want to "be" Britney as a form of entertainment? I think gamers (male or female) demand a better experience.

Britney Spears American Dream app Maybe I'm an anomaly in the gamer demographic, but I'd much rather put on Britney's greatest hits in the background and play a game in which Britney is a savage warrior defending the galaxy in a starship or mech-suit.

Celebrity Games Should Kick Ass

I've previously suggested that Taylor Swift's app be a horizontal shooter and the next console tennis game be a FPS on the lawns of Wimbledon. So, it seems logical to put Britney in a starship on a mission to save our planet. That sounds like more fun than attaining stardom in the palm of your hand on iOS or Android.

At the same time, Glu (makers of many celebrity apps) knows they only need to leverage a bit of star-power to get people to interact with the app and thus generate revenue through micro-transactions. There seems to be a disconnect between the purpose of creating such an app and the experience delivered to the player. The "greed" component floats around between capitalizing on celebrity star-power and delivering an app that seeks to draw more money from the player.

Britney Should Defend the Galaxy

I've seen the term "casual game" used for these apps. These aren't games. Perhaps they are experiences. I'd like to see a better term for this type of app. Maybe they're just apps. Who knows. I feel that these apps are becoming formulaic and they simply insert a new celebrity. THAT is why I think Ms. Spears needs to set her sights on delivering a gamer's game. Put her in a game where we feel compelled to help her on a quest, a battle, or even a race. I don't want to replicate her career in an app. I want to lead Britney Spears on the destruction of evil across the galaxy!

This quote from The Verge suggests Ms. Spears should spend much time gaming. You'd think her kids could offer some insight in this area.
"I'm a creative person by nature, and... now I get to flex my creative muscles in a whole new way," said Spears in a statement. "I'm so excited to share this project with my fans. Mobile gaming is something completely new for me and I can't wait to hear what my fans think of all the fun music, outfits, pets, and artwork. I hope they adore it as much as I do!"

Let's get that mech-suit ready and put Britney on course to battle invading armies of mutant aliens. We can't expect Rick and Morty to take care of everything!
May 21, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Arcade awesomeness in the 80s went beyond the games - the vibe made the scene

Arcade vibe
I grew up playing gaming's most iconic games in local arcades, but I loved the entire vibe found in those dark, day-glow rooms full of chaotic sounds and flashing lights!
Every time I find a classic arcade game in a local arcade, it brings me back to the time when arcades were cavernous rooms full of amazing games. There were no claw machines or toddlers running around with armloads of redemption tickets. These glorious places were filled with video games and pinball.

Arcade vibe In the mid-80s it never occurred to me that arcades would disappear. How could something so amazing and packed with people ever come to an end? As a kid, we lacked the experience and knowledge to know about cycles. Everything has one. Some cycles are longer than others, but they all exist.

Think about all the fashion trends that go out of style only to return later - sometimes in a few years. Other times it may be decades. Have you been to a barcade lately? They're quite popular in metropolitan areas. Armed with liquor licenses and vintage arcade games, we're seeing a resurgence in classic video games. There's that cycle.

Alas, most comebacks are less stellar than the their origins, yet it's nice to still see a Donkey Kong or Space Invaders cabinet tucked in the corner of a local arcade. You may have to navigate past rows of redemption games, claw machines, and token pushers, but those wonderful ofd cabinets can still be found in some areas.

Even our local movie theater has a Galaga/Ms. Pac-Man cabinet in their small game room, but it was more than just the game that made arcades special. I can play most of the games from the 80s at home and they are still just as much fun as when I was a teenager without a care in the world.

However, those arcades were more than a row of Pac-Man cabs and Missile Command, Berzerk, Asteroids, Vanguard, Berzerk, and numerous others. There was an arcade vibe!

The combination of sights and sounds culminated in something you don't get from popping Midway's Arcade Treasures into a PS2. You can dim the lights and play some 80's new wave, but the arcade was awesome partly because it wasn't in your home.

We've grown to expect everything to occur in our homes. Thankfully some folks will still get off the treadmill to go outside for a hike or drive to a local arcade just to drop a few quarters into a Joust cabinet who's sound drops in and out for some reason. If you dare to leave your home in search of an arcade experience, bring a friend along and share it!
May 20, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

If you ever relied on a video game's box art to sway your purchase, this film is for you

Box Art - A Gaming Documentary
I could wander the NES aisle at Toys R Us for hours selecting my next purchase through a detailed examination of the artwork on the packaging.
For any kid, like me, who spent hours evaluating video games by their cover art, Rob McCallum has a film concept you're gonna love: Box Art - A Gaming Documentary. If his name is familiar, perhaps you own his Nintendo Quest documentary or backed his Power of Grayskull film. Are you a fan of metal band, Kittie? He's also working on a film focused on the band!

From my experience, Rob has a great track record delivering quality films and tackles a wide variety of topics in that pursuit. If you love video games, check his latest gaming project focusing on video game box art. There must be dozens of great stories behind every game to adorn a retail shelf. Collating this history should make a great documentary film.

The amazing artwork of gaming lives on among collectors and the internet, but the fascinating stories behind these works really needs to come out. Rob McCallum recognized this need and is now winding down the Kickstarter to launch this project into full gear. Head over to the Box Art Kickstarter and sign up. It's funded, so join in to receive this upcoming film and help the project reach more stretch goals!

Box Art - A Gaming Documentary During my early days I felt I possessed the ability to pick out a great game by it's cover art. By the time Nintendo revived the gaming industry, I knew my deductive powers were nonsense, but this was pre-internet and reviews were scarce.

During the late 1980s Toys R Us was my go-to store for video games. I preferred Kay Bee Toys, if I knew exactly what I wanted - they had most games behind the counter, so it was an easy store to shop. But there were many Fridays on which I'd get off work and decide the weekend would not be complete without a new NES game! THAT required the sort of research that TRU provided.

I bought British Steel by Judas Priest based on the cover alone. I knew the band behind that razor blade cover had to be amazing. They were and I still love Judas Priest to this day! In 1980, that was proof enough that great artwork equaled great product and I applied this from music to video games.

I'll admit I bought a lot of crappy games that I judged solely on their cover art, but that goes to show that the art was diverse across all kinds of games. I can't wait to hear the stories behind some of the art work that seemed peculiar until you get the back story.

This is a great topic for a film. So few have explored the packaging art. Many kids simply threw away the cardboard boxes and that mentality may have carried forward with little emphasis on those creating the iconic imagery that helped us believe that a tiny cluster of pixels was actually a mighty ship out to save the world! The campaign is winding down tonight, so check out their Kickstarter and see if you want to get in on this cool flick!
May 19, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I love seeing an arcade taking a modern approach to their marketing - go for a Daily Deal

Wackenhammer's Clockwork Arcade used a daily deal site for promotion
What better way to market your arcade than broadcasting your business to the community along with a half-price deal?
Many arcades are coupled with other businesses from laundromats to bars enabling them to offer retro gaming alongside a more resilient business plan. While the term "barcade" has become a fixture for one of the more popular arcade couplings, there are still many arcades wishing to cater to families. A liquor license prohibits a fair slice of those who love gaming!

Wackenhammer's Clockwork Arcade used a daily deal site for promotion A local family-friendly arcade has taken to a Daily Deal site to promote their business and pass along a cool 40%-off deal for their arcade and carousel. While it's hard to find arcades in today's gaming landscape, those that survive are taking modern approaches to marketing themselves within their communities.

I wrote an article about Wackenhammer's Clockwork Arcade a few years ago. They have a good family vibe and offer a wide array of retro games from 80's classics to earlier electro-mechanical games. It's an interesting and eclectic collection. Last year they introduced a cocktail-style Frogger and upright Joust the year before.

They announced their Joust acquisition via Facebook. It's hard to imagine any business being without a handful of social media accounts. How did they ever survive in the 8s? What a different er it was back then.

I hope innovation and arcades will continue to expand and meld into new models for offering retro games to those who grew up with them and those who may find it a brand new experience. I recently read an article about a group of kids who went out to a retro arcade to see what it was like. They had only experienced home console gaming and couldn't believe anyone actually drove to an arcade to play games. After saving game-states on their Xbox One's, they were surprised how fast they went through quarters and how hard games were in the 1980s.

I can't imagine not driving to an arcade now and then. It's just how gaming should be. My son and I love our home set-up of retro and modern consoles, but we love to explore the local arcade scene. When he goes back to school (fifth grade) he may be the only kid in his class whose played Donkey Kong and Joust in an arcade. He may also be the only kid who listens to Van Halen and Cheap Trick, but while his friends have their heads buried in their smart phones, we've conquered fun in a bold retro manner. Long live local arcades!
May 18, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

This less than porn-tastic plug & play video game from Jenna Jameson will one day be a retro gaming relic

Jenna Jameson's strip Poked video game
The moniker "Retro" is thrown around gaming circles, but we feel video games and consoles are not "retro" until they've aged 20 years.
With this logic in place, Ms. Jameson's plug & play strip poker will one day fall into the Retro Gaming category. Will this porntastic nonsense even last that long?

When you reach a certain level of fame, your name and likeness become bait for increasing sales. A no-name strip poker video game won't sell a half as well as the same crappy product with a famous porn star's name attached to it. Fame does strange things to all sorts of people.

But on the topic of gaming, there are a lot of handheld games (like Electronic Football and Merlin) that are certainly wonderful retro gaming relics in today's world of gaming. What will become of Jenna's Strip Poker game in a couple of decades? We should never discount any part of gaming's history regardless how ridiculous they may seem. Time changes everything and such devices actually play a role in gaming.

Collectors and gamers alike still have interest in Mystique's Custer's Revenge, so it's conceivable that Jameson's legacy might extend value to this plug & play game. You never know...
May 18, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Nintendo partners with Mojang & Microsoft to inject some Mario into Minecraft Wii U

Super Mario comes to Minecraft Wii U
The free Super Mario Mash-Up Pack comes to Minecraft: Wii U. Gamers will get access to new skins, a Super Mario-themed world, and Super Mario-themed music & item textures!
If you type "Mario" into any search engine, you may wonder if Nintendo's pudgy plumber has some form of exclusivity to this name. If I type in my first name, all sorts of random detritus comes up. Mario is certainly an iconic character (and IP) in the world of Nintendo.

When I bought my first NES back in the 80's, I wanted to fire up Duck Hunt first to try out that slick looking light-gun. Unable to kill the annoying dog, Super Mario Bros fired up next and it was clear that a new era of gaming was upon me. The sound alone was amazing, and the visuals were stunning. The shift from Atari, Intellivision, and Colecovision to an NES was mind blowing. And it all started with Mario!

Super Mario comes to Minecraft Wii U Mario has traversed borders, platforms, languages - everything! He's a universal symbol that keeps growing in capabilities as technology marches forward. When you look at all the titles he's appeared in, it's a staggering list that even surprises me!

My son and I have recently begun exploring my original NES games on a top-loader. We enjoyed playing the classic Mario games on the Super Mario All-Stars for Wii, but pushing the individual games into my old NES really sets the scene! I began gaming in the Atari 2600 era and often marvel at owning Joust on 6 different platforms.

For my son, Minecraft is the game he loves to play across multiple platforms and devices. Don't worry - he likes Joust too!

Last Christmas he was delighted to download Minecraft for our Wii U. Moving forward several months, there will be a physical disc-release of Minecraft for the Wii U as well as a free update for the Super Mario mash-up - putting Nintendo's plumber into Steve's blocky world that eludes me on several levels. My son loves Minecraft and I can tell he wants me to better understand it, but there's a complexity to it that I find overwhelming.

Perhaps, I'm simply better at games involving frantic twitches and a single fire-button. Maybe it's just a generational difference. Either way, my passion for the NES and it's various Mario franchises has now met with my son's passion, Minecraft. I hope this will bring each of us to better understand the gaming worlds we adore and share.

Super Mario comes to Minecraft Wii U
May 17, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Price-conscious video game publisher chronicled in upcoming book, Mastertronic Archives

Mastertronic Archives book
Known for publishing games far below competitor's pricing, Mastertronic, found fame and fortune. Their history is being detailed in a new book.
In today's economy, game publishers seek the maximum return on each unit sold. the idea of garnering more customers by lowering prices is foreign in today's market. Jump back to the early 1980's and Mastertronic did quite well with this scenario. I found out about this gem on ausretrogamer's website.

Mastertronic Archives book Player One Books has a Kickstarter campaign seeking to fund a standard edition and a collector's edition of their book detailing Mastertronic's history.

The Standard Edition will be a 256 page hardcover book covering all of the Mastertronic £1.99 releases including game reviews, game credits, screen shots, cover images and more. The Collector's Edition contains all the info from the standard edition plus an additional 256 pages featuring game reviews, game credits, screen shots, cover images, more of the other Mastertronic labels, and unique disk releases.

Check out their Kickstarter page and see if you can support this project to get a hardcover history of one of the UK's largest home video game publishers.

From their kickstarter page:
Founded in 1983 by Martin Alper, Frank Herman and Alan Sharam, Mastertronic went on to become one of the UK's biggest home video game publishers of the 1980s. The company's marketing strategy of putting games on shelves at the low price of just £1.99, when most other games sold from £4.99, resulted in booming sales and massive profits for the London based company.

Here is a good site if you're seeking more Mastertronic history.
May 16, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Snow White gets hardcore in this recently discovered NES prototype- Happily Ever After

Happily Ever After
Happily Ever After was released in 1994 on the SNES, but a prior, completed NES version never made it to market.
Everyone loves the story of a long lost game discovered in the wild and shared with the gaming community. Such is the case with Happily Ever After for the NES. Based on Filmation's sequel to Snow White a version exists on the SNES, but our tale goes farther back in time.

Beginning with copyright issues with Disney, Happily Ever After had a lot of problems, one of which was the negative reviews. No one seemed to like the film. This may account for the tie-in game for the NES, by Sofel, being cancelled. Recently it was discovered that the game was completed before cancellation and is now available via ROM on Nintendo Player along with a great retrospective on all the details leading up to this prototype's discovery.

NES proto - Happily Ever After
NES proto - Happily Ever After

NES proto - Happily Ever After
NES proto - Happily Ever After

NES proto - Happily Ever After
NES proto - Happily Ever After

May 15, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Can Disney's Art Academy help me turn my awful scrawling into art via my 3DS?

Disney's Art Academy
I'm a terrible artist - always have been. I've seen a slew of "how to draw" books, but can the interactivity of the 3DS make me an artist?
A promo for Disney' Art Academy appeared in my inbox and made me revisit my complete inability to draw. My son and I used to draw together when he was a toddler and it wasn't long before our drawings looked remarkably identical and then his skills began to dramatically outpace mine. It was humbling, but I was happy to see how well he progressed.

There's no shortage of "how to draw" books on retail shelves, but drawing just ins't my thing. However, when disguised an an interactive lesson on my favorite gaming handheld... well, my desire to draw may be stronger than I'd imagined. At the very least, Art Academy makes me wonder why there aren't more tutorials or lessons of this sort.

play retro games with your kids It would be easy to put art classes onto any electronic device. What I like about Art Academy is the way it embraces that which is unique to the Nintendo 3DS. In addition to 40 step-by-step lessons traversing over 80 Disney & Pixar characters, you can share your art via Miiverse, online, and via Local Play. The Local Play option also allows you to share a few lessons with a friend. That sort of integration with the 3DS makes me appreciate this non-gaming title. It fits well with what the 3DS offers as a platform.

While the appeal of such a title may be less than traditional gaming titles, I think this is a great implementation on the 3DS. Long ago, I bought my son a "math game" for his 2DS and he hated it. When I told him I thought leaning some math may be more fun on his game console than a sheet of paper, he agreed. Mario Kart 7 is way better, but he did come to like math on the 2DS. While drawing is ore fun than mat - for many of us - such a title really shows the breadth of the 3DS and what it can provide.

Expanding Console Utility

I often wonder if we don't treat game consoles too rigidly, ignoring other things they could deliver. Computers offer a wealth of options outside of gaming, but few of us consider how similar modern game consoles are to computers. Consoles lack many aspects of computers, but we've only scratched the surface of what game consoles could to beyond serving up our favorite games.

I think such diversity will increase the likelihood of the continuation of game consoles. Conversations about the future of game consoles often look bleak. I grew up with dedicated consoles and still love their separation from the computer-world. At the same time, the unique spaces consoles fill can be greatly expanded without duplicating the dominance of computers. Disney's Art Academy is both fun and a genre that should be further explored by companies both inside and outside the gaming industry.

They say you need to reach people where they are. Gone are the days when people will flock to you. Many argue that mobile is the place to be, and that may be true for certain types of info. Never forget that NO ONE delivers an experience like Nintendo and no hardware integrates as seamlessly with software than Nintendo hardware!
May 12, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Classic games from the 1980s are still fun for today's kids

Atari games
I've heard many retro gamers wonder if their kids will enjoy old Atari or Nintendo games when faced with all the modern gaming options.
At only age five, it hadn't occurred to me that my son might enjoy video games. I didn't get into video games until I was 12 or 13, so I was unsure what age gaming would be appropriate for him, but I felt we should probably wait a few years. Video games didn't really exist prior to that time in my life. I'm sure my age played a role in not presenting the option to him at age five.

However, it's true what they say about 'best laid plans'. My son discovered video games on his own when he found one of my multi-game joysticks that offers a dozen games and easily connects to the TV with an RCA cable. When I tried to explain what it was, I did a poor job and decided to show him what it was. Honestly, I didn't know what I was starting.

play retro games with your kids When Dig Dug appeared on the screen, he was interested. Upon realizing we were controlling the on-screen action, he was fascinated and wanted to try. That's where it began - with one of my favorite games from my arcade days. While retro arcade games are still sought after, the gaming industry has grown and offers gaming we couldn't imagine when we were playing Defender and Zaxxon in the arcades of the 80s.

As gamers age and have kids of their own, one has to wonder if those kids will ever have interest in those old games from gaming's origins. I think it's similar to cars. While you may drive a sporty sub-compact to the office each day, many of us would rather be sporting a '69 Camaro. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Old games are beautiful!

I often refer to myself as an "Atari kid" having grown up with the 2600 as my first game console. By that standard, my son is a "Wii kid", but with a retro gaming Dad, it's hard to avoid the classics. Those classic games I still love, because they are so much fun, definitely appeal to my son. When we play video games together he always wants to include a few Atari and NES era games.

My son is a Minecraft addict and loves to play it on everything from the Wii U to an iPad or iPhone. He's also kept pace with modern console gaming from the PS3 to the Wii U. Between retro compilation games for the PS3 and the Wii U's Virtual Console, we have a variety of retro games to play on our latest consoles. Many of our gaming sessions span the decades from Berzerk and Wizard Of Wor to Splatoon and Lego Star Wars.

He knows i adore retro games, but most of the smiles I see come from the retro classics that are lots of fun to play. They lack the deeper commitment one makes to many of the epic titles in modern gaming, but from Defender to Jackal we have a blast playing retro games. So... today's kids, when given the opportunity, do enjoy 8-bit games from the 80s!
May 11, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Nintendo drops the price of the 2DS and rolls out a snazzy new slogan

Nintendo slogan
"Now you're playing with Power" is one of the more memorable slogans from Nintendo's past. Let's see how this new one fares.
Having more than a few reservations about the 3DS, I was excited about the launch of it's slate-like companion, the 2DS. I bought one for my son for Christmas, a few years back, and one for myself the following Spring. The Game Boy Advance had been my favorite handheld, but the 2DS won me over fast!

From StreetPass and virtual console to amazing new titles and discovering som DS gems, it's been a great system. The only issue... I want a green one!

Nintendo rolled out a commercial for the 2DS price cut, down to $79.99, with a new slogan - "There's No Play Like It". A code to download Mario Kart 7 is included, but the real question I have is about the colors. Will they offer green? I'm dying to have a green 2DS!

Nintendo 2DS price cut The ugly truth is that my son got the blue 2DS, but I wasn't fond of "red", but it didn't make sense to have two blue ones. My solution came to me when GameStop announced an exclusive on the Peach Pink 2DS and I figured, "why not?"

I don't mind following a different path, but there are times when having a bright pink game console just doesn't fit in. Thus, I'm hoping to find a $79.99 green 2DS :)
May 10, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Disney shuttered Avalanche and canceled Infinity due to shrinking toys-to-life genre

Disney Infinity
Toys-to-life was a cool concept, but developers didn't count on it's fan-base aging out of it's offerings.
I must admit I was shocked to hear Disney has left video game publishing and shuttered Avalanche blaming a shrinking market for the Toys-To-Life genre of video games. They will still license their IPs for video games, but they are not going to publish the games any longer.

From Disney via VentureBeat:
"After a thorough evaluation, we have modified our approach to console gaming and will transition exclusively to a licensing model. This shift in strategy means we will cease production of Disney Infinity, where the lack of growth in the toys-to-life market, coupled with high development costs, has created a challenging business model. This means that we will be shutting down Avalanche, our internal studio that developed the game. This was a difficult decision that we did not take lightly given the quality of Disney Infinity and its many passionate fans."

We Started With Skylanders

When Skylanders arrived for the 2011 holiday season, I quickly snatched a copy for my son along with a slew of cool figures. He loved it and I loved playing it with him. Giants came out the following year and offered some innovation - we bought it. I continued to buy the yearly games, even though I knew that meant buying a new line of figures.

As time progressed, we lost interest in past figures despite their compatibility with the newer games. While the Skylanders franchise mixed things up and delivered new experiences - some better than others - all the games were aimed at young kids in several ways. in 2011, my son was the perfect age to delve into Skylanders with wonder, zeal, and rampant enthusiasm.

I vowed not to buy Skylanders Superchargers, but I loved the vehicles - so cool - and bought it for our Wii U. Over the course of five years, my sone grew up, began playing different kinds of games and sought something different from gaming experiences. We tried the initial Disney Infinity and neither of us really liked it. With the excitement of new Star Wars movies, we tried Infinity 3.0 and both liked it more than the first iteration.

Toys-To-Life Didn't Account For Gamers Aging

Disney Infinity If you ask me why I feel this genre of games is faltering, it's because it's target audience is growing up and seeking different experiences. Over the course of 5 years, Skylanders maintained it's focus on young kids. These kids grew up, but the games remained the same. Yes, they changed up the mechanics, but these really aren't games for teens. They're still aimed at younger kids.

If anyone understands this - it's Disney! Look at their movie releases. They know the age range of their iconic films and that's why they stagger re-releases. The next generation of kids are not constant enough, but staggering the releases allows for better sell-throughs. So, why not apply that to the Infinity games? They needed to target the games to a wider age range to bring gamers along for the ride and not letting them age out of the series' enjoyment!

What About LEGO Dimensions?

I have not - and will not - buy LEGO Dimensions. We have tons of these figures and don't need more that come in hundreds of pieces. But LEGO seems to be a savvy company, so it will be interesting to see if they can maintain Dimensions after coming to the game years after both Activision and Disney.

Disney Infinity was trending

Retro Gaming

I'd be remiss if I didn't draw a retro gaming comparison. As a gamer who grew up with an Atari 2600, I never aged out of the games I played as a kid. However, I don't think that boils down to my being "a big kid" nowadays :)

Back in the late 70's and 80's gaming was fairly new, but still they didn't make sequels the way we see today. Some games might get a follow-up game, but not seven or eight of them. Defender was awesome and Stargate even better, but there wasn't an eternity of Defender games. Developers innovated!

Risk was the path to success in the early days. Today we are scared and rely on proven IPs that seem to sell well year after year. While that may generate income, it doesn't take gaming to the next levels the way risks did decades ago!

Movies fall into the same quandary. We have endless sequels based on proven sales records. Hollywood wonders why we don't go to theaters any more. They want to blame bigger TVs and home theater setups. The reality is crappy movies aren't worth the exorbitant ticket prices. Let's hope the fall of Avalanche might result in risks and the glorious things they often result in - fantastic entertainment and riches. Kinda win-win, eh? Let's take some risks!
May 10, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Virtual reality's success could have more to do with your Mom than hardware pricing

VR helmet
Even if Virtual Reality becomes "Mom approved" do you want something strapped to your face for hours?
I've seen the potential of VR and it certainly can do some incredible things, but I have doubts that it will become popular for gaming. Many of us had Moms who would tell us to move farther from the TV. As I played games on my Atari 2600, I slid closer and closer to the TV. My parents were always there to make me move back. That left a strong impression on me that I still vividly remember.

Will VR overcome concerned Mothers? When I think of how much my habits have changed regarding television, I have doubts about the singular view point of VR. Let me explain...

Changing Viewing Habits

AMC has had some interesting dual-screen experiences for viewers. I first tried it during the airing of Breaking Bad. The Dual Screen allows viewers to receive content via the web while watching an episode. It was fairly primitive and only moderately interesting, but it certainly opened my mind to the possibilities of dual-screen. I'm sure this will grow.

My attraction to dual-screen was having something else to do that just sit passively watching a show. I used to have a book or magazine on-hand when watching TV. The advent of smartphones and tablets gave me a lot more to do while watching TV. The bottom line was few shows engaged me enough to warrant my undivided attention.

I can stroll through the web and social media sites, learning new things, sharing things, all while enjoying the shows I like. Arguably, one might ask how much I really enjoy any show if I wander from it to browse the web. Point taken, but it's how I've come to watch TV. And I still have a magazine in my lap too.

Get Off My Face!

Circling back to VR, this scenario makes me wonder how long I want all of my attention focused on ONE thing. With a headset on my face, I can't reach for a snack, reply to a Tweet, see how a kickstarter campaign is progressing, look up Judas Priest tour dates, flip through Popular Science, look at the clock, answer my phone, chat with a friend, or anything else!

VR puts all your senses into a single focus. The things VR can do are impressive, but I don't want something attached to my face that prevents me from doing anything else - even for a moment. I love having a lazy afternoon to play video games for hours. A virtual reality headset would rob me off all the other things going on around me. And don't get me started on how many times I knock over a lamp trying to explore a virtual world.

The capabilities are impressive, but don't lock me into a singular thing - even a game I love. With social media soaring in popularity, FOMO could ruin VR - lol.
May 9, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Libretro's RetroArch multi-platform emulator released a new version you should explore

RetroArch multi-platform emulator
RetoArch packs a lot of punch when it comes to a well-rounded emulator with a lot of great options.
RetroArch isn't like other emulators. Upon launch it does exactly what its creator states is will do - NOTHING. It will stay on your screen for as long as you care to look at it. Hopefully during this staring contest you'll feel motivated to poke around and explore. For an emulator that does "nothing" it emulates a ton of computers and game consoles.

Libretro logo It works as a front end for emulators, called Cores. Until you add cores to the mix, there isn't much for it to do. Via this application you can download console/compter specific cores, point them at your ROM files, and let the fun begin. I'm simplifying the process, and you may run into some frustrations, but if you persevere, you'll discover a very cool emulation scenario. Keep in mind it's designed for controller input, not your keyboard and mouse.

In about 5 minutes I had the homebrew version of Berzerk, for the Atari 2600 (with voices), playing at an insane frame rate that sent my guy careening across the screen and into a wall. A bit of tweaking may be necessary, but you'll get the hang of it :)

The navigation is reminiscent of the PS3 and Ouya. I still use my Ouya as a ROM station because I can load it full of emulators and ROMs and go from console to console with ease. RetroArch is similar in that respect, on your computer. You can also run it on iOS and Android. It's definitely worth checking out!

May 8, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

RetroUSB's AVS console provides HDMI output & 4 controller ports for NES & Famicom games

RetroUSB AVS console
This NES clone console looks reminiscent of Analogue's Nt, at only $185 and includes 4 controller ports!
RetroUSB logo After wishing I had the funds for an Analogue Nt and watching the epic crash of the Coleco Chameleon, it's refreshing to see a console project within reach!

The folks at RetroUSB are soon releasing a $185 NES/Famicom clone featuring HDMI output (with variable scaling) and four controller ports. Currently, most of the info is coming out on their RetroUSB Facebook page. They are projecting a late-June release for the AVS console. At that price, this looks like a great console to kick off the Summer!

One question I have is about the guts. What will games be running on? They tout a high rate of compatibility with old, new, and future NES and Famicom carts, making it sound like it has some NES boards inside. Their one-sheet states it uses "real hardware" with no software emulators or NOAC (Nintendo On A Chip) chips. I see mention of an FPGA (Field-programmable gate array) on one of their documents, but I'm not sure if that's the basis of this clone. I want to know more about the innards and whether they have actual NES parts - like the Analogue Nt - inside the case.

The Analogue Nt was a niche NES console selling for $500 and later came out with a gold plated $5,000 console (both currently sold out). If you've seen their previous NEO GEO AES consoles constructed of various hardwoods, you'll see it's a much different product. By comparison, I love what I'm seeing so far with the RetroUSB AVS. It's a reasonable price-point with some great additional features.
May 8, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

GameStop's CEO thinks the Nintendo Wii U disappointed everyone

Wii U
Does he mean the Wii U disappointed everyone... who didn't buy one?!?
When the CEO of GameStop was quoted, on numerous websites, saying the Wii U disappointed everyone, it shows how centered GameStop is on money and finance. That's certainly an important facet of any business, but I argue how smart that statement is when it appears across news and fan sites.

I'm sure he was simply lamenting the further slow-down of GameStop's reign as a video gaming destination. Without another Nintendo blockbuster to drive hardware and game sales, GameStop must reach further to maintain their business. Too many other options exist for both new and used game purchases.

Certainly, Wii U consoles sold poorly compared to Sony and Microsoft, but I've encountered very few owners who don't love their Wii U. We'd all like to see it succeed on a larger scale to induce a longer lifecycle and more games, but it's game library is quite good! I've only owned a Wii U for about one year, so I knew going in, it wouldn't have a game library anywhere near it's predecessor, the Wii. Those consoles flew off the shelves exceeding everyones predictions!

Retailers didn't reap the rewards of the Wii U, but gamers did!
I wish the Wii U had stuck to one of it's promises to be an easier system to design for, thus allowing the franchises we associate with PlayStations and Xboxes to flourish on (or at least be available for) the Wii U. Sadly, that aspect of the console didn't come to fruition, but the games that arrived are great fun. I'm delighted with my Wii U and hope that the upcoming "NX" will be backward compatible while also delivering the next crazy profitable adventure from Nintendo.

In the mean time, I'll continue to decline the credit card offers I get from from GameStop every time I approach the register. Sorry Paul Raines, the Wii U is a delight, not a disappointment. Perhaps the next gen Nintendo console will help GameStop stave off the scenario that crumbled Blockbuster Video.
May 7, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Newbury Comics has a great selection of books for Free Comic Book Day

Free Comic Book Day 2016
Newbury Comics kicked off FCBD with severa Star Wars characters in full gear!
Newbury Comics is a class act and one of my favorite stores - comics and otherwise. They always have a great selection of comics, music, movies, and collectibles. From vinyl LPs to Card Wars games, I can't imagine living here without them! They offer a unique product line, not carried by any other store in the area.

Free Comic Book Day 2016
May 7, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Get in the spirit of Derby Day with a classic horse racer and stylish bow tie

Vans Nintendo shoes
The Kentucky Derby runs today. Celebrate with Gallop Racer - one of the few horse racing video games.
We spent the morning hanging out at our local Newbury Comics shop for Free Comic Book Day and catching opening weekend of Captain America Civil War. Cool flick. Now, it's derby time. I like to play thematic video games on days like this, so we got out a few of the horse racing games we own and fired up the PS3 for some Gallop Racer.

Gallop Racer began as an arcade game before coming to the original PlayStation via Tecmo. We've run a few horse races on the PS3 and will soon tune in for the festivities of big hats, Mint Juleps, and the Kentucky Derby!

Kentucky Derby Day Snag a snazzy Derby bow tie at Bow Tie Club.
May 6, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Playing old games simply feels good!

The gaming industry has grown in leaps and bounds, but Missile Command will always lead to good times.
retro gaming Missile Command Despite passion for Missile Command and retro gaming, this click-through is NSFW.
May 5, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Nintendo collaborates with Vans to put more game in your sneakers

Vans Nintendo shoes
From Duck Hunt to Donkey Kong, Vans has taken Nintendo's 8-bit appeal to heart in a summer release of Sk8-Hi and Old Skool styles.
I've been skateboarding several years longer than I've been playing video games. Not long before buying an Atari 2600 from a local appliance store, I was upgrading my skateboard with a set of Road Rider 4's. It was a blue plastic deck with no-name trucks, but those new wheels meant the world to me!

I loved Town & Country Surf Designs: Wood & Water Rage and the Skate Or Die games on the NES as well as the Tony Hawk games on later consoles. I used to play video games in the afternoon when it was too hot to skate. Those were the days! Responsibility set in and skateboarding and video games had to be dialed back a bit, but they never left me.

I've long been a fan of Vans shoes - particularly their slip-ons - so, what better way to relive the glory days than 8-bit Nintendo shoes from Vans? Coming this Summer, the first wave of designs is slated to release in June. Sole Collector has some good pics and info. Get ready for Summer!

Vans Nintendo shoes Duck Hunt camouflage.
Vans Nintendo shoes Princess Peach in pink.

Vans Nintendo shoes
May 4, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Regal Cinemas offers collectible movie tickets & comic downloads for Captain America patrons

Captain America Civil War
I collect video games and a few assorted oddities, but I'd never heard of "collectible movie tickets".
I kept my ticket stub from seeing Star Wars The Force Awakens with my son last year. It's just a plain white ticket stub, but it's Star Wars! I also kept the stubs from the Blair Witch Project and Tank Girl - again, they're nothing special, aside from movies I really enjoyed.

I wish I had my stub from seeing Star Wars in '77! THAT, I would consider collectible, but I was surprised to find this email from Regal Cinemas regarding collectible tickets for the Imax showings of Captain America: Civil War. Most surprising was the notion that I could get all three variants if I saw the Imax presentation three times in as many weeks. That idea felt more like "Hollywood desperation" than clever marketing.

I'm pretty easy to sway, so maybe a mylar ticket or one of those holographic doo-dads... yeah, that would do the trick!

In all fairness, Regal is also offering three free digital comic books and if you're a Regal Crown Club member you get four more digital comics. That's a pretty good deal and seems far more enticing than collectible tickets. Is that a thing?

collectibleTickets Regal Cinemas is offering these digital comics to patrons" Captain America Civil War #1, Invincible Ironman #1, and Captain America: Sam Wilson # 1
Regal Crown Club members also get: Black Widow #1, Hawkeye #1, Scarlet Witch #1, and Antman #1.

I'm pretty stoked to see Captain America: Civil War. I have to admit, I'm not much of a super hero movie fan. But seeing Antman changed that - awesome flick. High hopes for Captain America... and some free comics.
May 4, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

May the fourth be with you on Star Wars Day

May the fourth be with you on Star Wars Day Although the first Star Wars movie was released on May 25, 1977, fans opt for the pun and celebrate all things Star Wars on May fourth.
May 3, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Developer of VVVVVV is as surprised as everyone about his game's homebrew exploit

VVVVVV Screens
This game has received critical acclaim for years and now it's been removed from the 3DS Shop!
VVVVVV tweet We only discovered Terry Cavanaugh's game, VVVVVV for the 3DS, a few years ago and have raved about it frequently! It's a terrific game! With a few simple rules and an 8-bit vibe, it can be a wonderfully difficult game. It was released in December of 2011 and was just recently removed from Nintendo's 3DS Shop due to a homebrew exploit.

It was originally released for Mac, PC, and Linux, then went to mobile platforms and was ported to the 3DS and Sony Vita. You can probably still obtain it on other platforms, but I was a fan of it's portability on my 3DS. It's a fun game to jump into and try to get past the next difficult spot.

You may remember another title-specific exploit involving Cubic Ninja also for the 3DS. It was selling for about $4 (for a used copy) and quickly excalated to $50 - at Gamestop - as news of the homebrew exploit spread. Apparetnly the exploit affecting VVVVVV is not a priimary, so other software is needed or other mod. As I understand it, this means the game itself may not need an update or patch to be restored to the 3DS shop.

VVVVVV on the 3DS I hope VVVVVV will return to the 3DS, but upon checking Cubic Ninja on GameStop and Amazon, the price is still right up there, even though this issue occured in the Fall of 2014! Not sure if that has any foreshadowing about VVVVVV being restored on the 3DS store. We hope this is resolved because VVVVVV is a great game!
May 1, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Jennifer Aniston's mom unintentionally funded her childhood arcade expenses

Celebrity news bores me to tears until I see the words "video games" and "arcade"!
Jennifer Aniston was recently asked about the worst thing she did as a kid:

"I dont know taking money from her purse, maybe a dollar. I dont think I would steal large sums of cash. A dollar went a long way when we were kids. It was for video games, the arcade, nothing serious".

Jennifer Aniston quote Do the math: Jennifer's childhood arcade days would have been during the Golden Age! Best time ever!
May 1, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Stay fresh with Splatoon's Squid Sisters, Callie & Marie, amiibo arriving this Summer

Callie & Marie amiibo
The rumors proved true and Splatoon's Squid sisters will have amiibo figures in early July along with updated boy, girl and squid inklings!
Recent rumors suggested two new amiibo were coded into Splatoon. Speculation began suggesting these might be for the Squid Sisters Callie and Marie, an idol group in Inkopolis. They host the Inkopolis News show that begins each launch of the game, letting players know what's new. Nintendo announced they will be released on July 8!

Callie and Marie are an interesting choice for for focus of the release since they are not playable characters in Splatoon. The Squid Sisters amiibo will provide new performances and songs. Tucked into this news is a re-release of the original Girl, Boy, and Squid with new colors. New colors? That sounds nice for collectors, but do they have new functionality in-game? Like any toys-to-life game any figure released has to be coded into the original game - unless a coinciding update is pushed to your Wii U.

I'm a fan of blood & guts, but Splatoon's use of paint is very clever in this genre

We Need More Games Like Splatoon

Splatoon is one of the few "online" games that's had any appeal to me in recent years. Nintendo has done a great job in taking a shooter-style game and fitting it within their family friendly mantra. I certainly don't see games with a friendly backdrop, but I've been very put off by many of the FPS franchises (all of them, actually) and Nintendo's Splatoon is a wonderful answer to a genre that irked me.

I was hoping for a sequel to Splatoon, but that seems unlikely until the "NX" is publicly defined and we see what sort of new experiences Nintendo has in mind. They say the Wii U will still get the new (again delayed) Zelda game, as will the upcoming NX. Perhaps we'll get a Splatoon sequel for the NX or an even better game. Regardless, I hope Nintendo's creativity is never lost and might rub off on other devs looking to bring excellence to gamers.

April 2016 Retro Gaming Articles:

April 30, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Finding air hockey and Time Crisis 4 at the local theater outweighed The entire Ratchet & Clank film

movie theater arcade
My son and I have enjoyed playing Ratchet & Clank on the PS2, but the film didn't capture the fun of the video games.
Having played several of the Ratchet and Clank video games I felt compelled to go see the film. I had high hopes for this movie, but that feeling sank quite quickly as I sat in an empty theater with 2 other patrons. From what I had read, the film was based on the new PS4 game which was a new take on the original video game from 2002.

The film seemed rather generic and could have involved any cast of characters. The film's sense of humor was completely aimed at young kids, offering no tongue-in-cheek elements for the parents. It was not a funny film, shall we say.

The best part of this weekend outing was discovering the arcade at the theater had been expanded. Previously they had a Galaga/Ms. Pac-Man combo cabinet, Terminator Salvation, and a broken Bowling game. Alas, the Galaga combo cabinet was missing, but they now have air hockey, Time Crisis 4, and Namco's Dead Heat racer.

Arcade games at movie theaters are few and far between, so it was nice to see an upgrade to the number of games offered. Or course we're hoping the Galaga/Ms. Pac-man cab returns!
April 30, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Break out your favorite board and card games for #TableTopDay

Pandemic and Waterworks
We love finding a new game to play (Pandemic) as well as enjoying an old classic (WaterWorks)
Today is International TableTop Day, so we're sharing a few games we love to play when we need a break from Missile Command and Spy Hunter.

Waterworks is a game of leaky pipes and your proficiency at connecting a certain number of pipes between a faucet and spout. I've had this game since I was a kid - it came out in 1972. I still have many of my childhood games and my son and I find them as much fun as I did when I was his age. Never throw anything away.

With the zombie-craze that's taken over everything from TV and movies to video games and bar crawls, Pandemic (2012) seemed like a fun game to try out. It mixes some science with strategy and lets the game play change each time you play. You have to play a few times to get the hang of it and see how various strategies play out. I recommend both of these.

Card Wars on TableTop Day I can't say enough good things about Card Wars. I saw it once on Cartoon Network's Adventure Time and not long after it was made into a physical card game with multiple editions. Truly a grand homage to Jake, Finn, and the cast of whacky characters.
April 30, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Explore the overlooked significance of Macintosh in Moss' book, The Secret History of Mac Gaming

Mac gaming
The untold story of a creative, innovative, fiercely-independent gaming scene that was serially ignored by the outside world.
You may have seen Richard Moss' work in publications like Polygon or Ars , but we're hoping you'll also see his efforts in his upcoming book, The Secret History of Mac Gaming. He'll be restoring faith in those who love gaming on the Macintosh with stories from the early days when gamers and developers were defining techniques that would be instrumental to gaming on all platforms. These contributions seem uncredited and forgotten as modern gaming plows forward, but will be showcased in this book.

Moss is seeking crowd-funding on Unbound, a site specific to launching written works. Check out his campaign video. This looks like a very compelling book about a topic I wish I were more familiar with since I've used Macs since the days of the SE and Classic.

Mac gaming There seems to be a constant feud beween console gamers and PC gamers. Each takes a stance of hardware superiority, yet I've always wondered what happened to the genre formerly called computer games?

Back in the day, Atari ruled the console scene, even though both Coleco and Mattel, among others, had formidable consoles. We enjoyed the computer game genre as they often had more sophisticated games or better versions of the games we loved on consoles and in arcades. These computers spanned many brands and models. From TRS-80 and Apple ][ to Commodore 64 and Amiga 500 there were a lot of options, each with distinct benefits.

Mac gaming When I think of PC gaming today, the Macintosh is largely ignored. Certainly, the Mac has a comparatively small install base, but games seem to be secondary to owning Macs. At the same time, PC users are buying specially designed gaming mice and keyboards.

It's easy to forget the influence of the Mac. Among the first on the scene was the Mac with a scheme for mouse-driven game play as well as the use of multiple window and online play to a certain extent. We often take these things for granted assuming they were always a part of what we now call, PC gaming. Nope!

Mac gaming While many games of the early 80's were reflex-type shooters, the Mac brought more intuitive experiences to people who wanted more of an experience than a quick game. For the record, we love twitch-shooters! :) Just as the Mac's design was to compliment it's human users - PCs were so rigid and strict - it's games brought a similar effect.

If you ever played a game created in Hypercard, Richard Mss' book, The Secret History of Mac Gaming may be just what you're looking for! We think this will be a great look at a topic largely ignored in gaming history. Check out the website for more info.
April 28, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Nintendo's NX release date wasn't announced as much as it was discovered then confirmed

Nintendo NX logo
Let's not get too excited about marking NX on our March 2017 calendars.
As of late, Nintendo has been the victim of perception, misinformation, and lemmings. The Wii U has not sold well. We all expected to see it's sales trajectory mimic that of the Wii, but it did not. Across forums and social media folks enjoy weighing in on the cause of this. Most often I read people saying the system is under powered compared to the PS4 and Xbox One.

While the Wii U should have prevailed and been growing into it's third year of sales, it is not and the 3DS is coming to the end of it's lifecycle. Thus the Wii U was meant to be growing as the 3DS faded. Instead, Nintendo has it's two flagship consoles dwindling. Combine this with those who like to say the Wii U is underpowered (it is not) and the lemmings who agree with this out of ignorance, Nintendo is in a predicament.

Starfox and Zelda are cornerstone games and should have carried the Wii U along, but hardware sales won't support even renown titles at this point. In my opinion, this has to do with perceptions that are being repeated across the Internet and accepted as valid info. I love my Wii U. I read all the negative articles, opinions, and alleged facts... and still bought one. It's a great game console! This is a useful lesson in not believing anything you read on some web page.

Insist on Multiple Sources

Let me recant a brief example: The recent death of Prince roared across social media as fans discovered the news. Apparently TMZ was the first to report the pop-star's passing. Others were quick to notice that TMZ has been breaking a lot of stories before other traditional news outlets. A gamer I formerly respected came out in praise of TMZ and went so far as to say that we really don't need other sources since TMZ is always first and always right!

STOP... and think about that statement.

We don't need to check multiple sources because a tabloid celebrity news show cracks a story 20 minutes before CBS or CNN news? That is ridiculous! We ALWAYS need multiple sources even if The New York Times and the Pope are saying the same thing! Multiple sources are the basis of any good journalism. Social media purports to deliver instant gratification and many users think the seemingly "real-time" nature of social media is a de facto truth. Being "first" and being "correct" are two distinctly different things with no causal ties.

FAKE Nintendo NX

Nintendo's Difficult Position

So, Nintendo is in a tough spot that even their flagship titles can't resolve. Mobile gaming is another element they are delving into and seem to have an initial success with Miitomo, but only time will tell how that pans out. Their problems exist now and require more timely delivered resolutions than the future success of mobile gaming endeavors.

Releasing the next game console seems like a prudent move given the corner they have been backed in to. New hardware often stimulates excitement and sales. This seems to be the path Nintendo is heading down.

Rumors (of obscene mangitude) have roamed the Interned for months now about the next Nintendo game console, code named NX. Nintendo adamently refused to discuss this console for a long time. Suddenly we begin to hear rumors of a march 2017 launch date and then we hear Nintendo has made this announcement. Really? Nintendo announced this?

Let's Wait For The Real Announcement

Are today's gamers so young they've never experienced a game console release? Well, what Nintendo did was confirm this date during an investors meeting. I hate to tell you, but that's not a release announcement. That's a confirmation of intent based on events that forced the acknowledgment. The NX doesn't even have a retail name - Wii V?

Go to Nintendo's home page. Do you see mention of a new game console? Dig around a bit... anything? If you search NX you will find some textual info, but you may also notice that Starfox has it's own subdomain. Now THAT is a release announcement! Garnering info from a financial discussion is not an "announcement"!! What Nintendo had to do was a forced confirmation.

Most financial meetings are about "pats on the back" or "reassurances". Given Nintendo's situation with the dwindling hardware sales and fledgeling mobile strategy, they need to give investors reassurance. Part of that can be achived by giving a release date for the next major innovation. That dat will likely change, but for today's purposes, I'm sure it offered the proper reassurnace that goals are being set to get back on track.

A March release date gives Nintendo plenty of room to shift the actual release without missing the 2017 holiday season. I would say it's safe to assume we won't see the NX in March. In the mean time, Nintendo has an amazing console yo may want to try out. It's called the Wii U and we highly reccommend it!
April 27, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Su, Yui & Moa will become a part of Super Mario Maker as a playable Babymetal sprite

The trio of girls in Japanese pop-idol metal band Babymetal will be combined into one playable character in Super Mario Maker complete with sound!
Japanese vendig machines contain items I never knew existed, let alone might be available in a vending machine. The Japanese do a lot of things their own way without the need for outside approval. Much of that spirit exists in Nintendo.

8-bit BabyMetal sprite When Nintendo speaks, people listen. Ten minutes later many of those people deny, doubt, and deride Nintendo's decisions. Sometimes the Big N has ideas that don't immediately make sense, but often - down the road - we see the wisdom to those doubeted decisions we didn't believe in. They don't get it right every time, but more often than not, they prevail.

I'm a fan of thinking in an unconventional manner, but some of Japan's exports would never have occured to me. Take music for instance. Have you heard of Babymetal? They've nearly taken the world by storm, singing idol pop vocals over a metal band. Babymetal has played Nippon Budoukan, Wembley, and received a lot of positive press from large stadum events.

Their 2nd album, Metal Resistance, released on Apri first. Treat yourself to their unique sound on YouTube - try Gimme Chocolate!

So this trio of metal crushing idol vocalists are coming to Super Mario Maker. If you look at all the imposibly crazy levels gamers have created, you'll see how Babymetal is a perfect fit to the insanity. You can find Babymetal in Super Mario Maker on April 28. We think they're a pretty good fit for Super Mario Maker!

April 26, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The U.S. may never adopt the Metric System, but we know how to measure via Doom units

As technology gets faster, coding has become lazier and bloated. Wired Magazine reports the size of the average web page equals the original Doom game.
You wanna talk about liters? As long as we're talking 2-liter bottles of Coca Cola - no problem. If you want to tell me your height in centimeters and your weight in kilograms, I'm not going to know if you're tall, short, thin, or hefty. And don't ask me how many kilometers to the nearest GameStop.

Yes, I'm one of the guilty ones who has little grasp of Metric units and probably never will - I'll leave that to my son. On the other hand, having lived through the computer age, I've often remarked that all this fast new technology doesn't seem to translate into speed. Computer CPUs double in speed every year, yet the "welcome screen" on my Windows 7 computer at work takes over 5 minutes to boot up and don't get me started about the frequent lags.

Fast CPUs need refined code. Bloated code runs slowly!
This is not problem unique to the PC - the issue is everywhere! We are surrounded by fast processors running dreadful software. We are also connecting to other pieces of hardware that could suck the speed out of a fleet of Lamborghinis!.

From web pages to apps, software has a serious obesity problem. Look at Microsoft Word. Typing hasn't changed much in a very long time, yet that application keeps getting bigger. It doesn't do anything faster than previous versions and the files it generates are big.

The human race should be outraged at the sloppy, poorly written, bloated software that eats up the speed achieved through technology. Man walked on the Moon in 1969, aided by computers comperable to Gameboy. So, why does it take 30 mintues to process a PS3 system update!?!

Measuring In Bloat

When explaining to friends how little file space developers of Atari 2600 games had to work with, I used an analogy. I told them to open MS Word, type a single word, and save the file. Go look at the size of that file. It's about 4 times the size of Missile Command for the 2600! I used that story in the mid 1990s. I hate to think about it now. Similarly, Wired Magazine posted an article stating that the average bloated web page is about 2.3MB which is the size of the shareware version of Doom!.

the purpose of the Doom analogy is similar to my Atari 2600 analogy, but we are reminded that Doom was a multi-level first person shooter that shiped with an advanced 3D rendering engine and multiple levels, each comprised of maps, sprites, and sound effects. Today's internet struggles to deliver the same amount of info for each page loaded to your browser. Aren't you glad you don't need AOL to connect at 14.4?

Game Console Learning Curve

Remember tha last game console you bought on release day? The new games were pretty cool because the system was new and had me power than the last one. Now fast-forward a few years... the games got better. OK, not all the games improved, but as developers became more familliar with the system, they could write code that took better advantage of the console's hardware. These are the kinds of developers we need across the tech sector. The ones that strive to make their code faster and better. The ones who take a challenge in maximizing their circumstance.

My point is all is not lost. We frequently see this cycle of improvement with new consoles, so there must still be a steady stream of developers who take pride in maximizing every cycle. We applaud them and hope to see more STEM kids raise the bar on coding and create better code for our expensively fast hardware. Put an end to bloated software or we'll have to keep measuring it in Doom increments. ;)

I realize the shareware version of Doom was the metric used by Wired and that I have used the Atari Jaguar box art above. I loved Doom and the version for the Jaguar is the first version I owned. I loved that it came out for the Jag!
April 25, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Retro Receiver offers wireless NES play via modern controllers you already own

A partnership between Analogue and 8Bitdo brings Wireless game play to Nintendo's NES and the Analogue Nt.
When it comes to NES clones there are none that compare to the Analogue Nt. They recently released a $5,000 gold-plated NES (which was a bit silly), but the Nt is a thing of beauty - even if the price is high for many 8-bit fanatics.

What if it came with wireless controllers? Would their standard $500 seem more appealing? What if you could use your PS3 or Wiimote to wirelessly play Mega Man and Jackal? That pricey Vt is sounding better and better, right? I would get a kick out of playing Super Mario Bros. 3 on the NES with a Wiimote controller!

Through a partnership between Analogue and 8bitdo you can use their custom wireless bluetooth controller or a variety of modern controllers including: PS3, PS4, Wii, and Wii U - on your NES. In addition to modern controller compatibility, you can attach up to 4 Retro Receivers for wireless multiplayer games. The pricing seems quite reasonable at about $20 for the Retro Receiver.

But Is This Retro?

I suppose one can't tinker with "retro" without a few folks coming forward to say the NES should be played with original controllers, not a comfy PS3 controller. Everyone has to make such decisions for themselves, but we feel such a device is a boon to those who enjoy the games and would like the ability to play longer with a me comfortable and convenient control scheme.

When I introduced my son to my early Atari consoles, we used my custom 2-player joystick simply because it enables us to play longer without worrying about failing joysticks. Certainly the tethering-effect of a cabled controller brings a retro dynamic to these old games, but there is a point where I become engrossed with the game itself rather than the physical mechanics of playing it. I love to advance through a game and re-visit levels I haven't seen since I was a kid. Seeing those scenes and encountering certain aspects, release memories of days gone by and that's largely why I love retro gaming. It's fun and brings me back to simpler times when fun was the main goal of any day.

These days, I feel each day is more about survival than fun. Paying bills, going to work, mowing the lawn, home repairs... This stuff that begins to encompass my life when I'd much rather be piloting a ship toward the City of Mystery to defeat the Gond - because that's much more fun! Original equipment is cool, but reliving an amazing game level is better - no matter how I got there. :)

April 24, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Retro Fighters' NES/PC controller has reached the prototype phase

If you think this doesn't look like an NES controller - REJOICE - it is!
Last month we wrote about Retro Fighters upcoming controller for NES and PC. Having suffered through the 80s with the NES' small rectangular controller, the "dog-bone" update was only a mild improvement. Sony seems to feel they got it right the first time and have modernized their controllers with few visual updates across all 4 consoles. Even the Wii offered their Pro Controller to link in with their innovative wireless Wiimotes.

Little has been done to bring retro console controllers into the modern age. This is where Retro Fighters becomes a very interesting idea. Their controller works with both original NES consoles and attaches to computers (Mac and PC) via USB. I've seen a few USB controllers for the NES and they've all been that small rectangular shape.

I love the idea of bringing a modern format to the physical design of such a controller. Their controller will aid with playing ROMS on your computer as well as the original (and Top Loader) NES game console! Even the NES clones featured the same rectangular controllers. It's high time the NES had a modern style controller. This should be a huge benefit to retro gamers who love the NES console and those playing games on their computer.

Having completed testing of the PCB, Retro Fighters now has a prototype of it's modern Nintendo NES controller. Hopefully It won't be long before the controller comes to market. You can sign up for updates on the Retro Fighters website and keep up with them on Facebook.

April 23, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Nickelodeon and Nintendo pit Spongebob versus Patrick in Splatoon's latest Splatfest

Nickelodeon Spongebob Splatfest
Splatoon's rival tournament finally gets a pop culture injection from Bikini Bottom!
While Call Of Duty has long been the standard for FPS games, I love Nintendo's spin on the genre with last year's release of Splatoon. While the combat may lack blood and military regalia, it emanates Nintendo's family oriented fun with a lot of effort going into creating a fun game.

Every few months the online battles organize into a Splatfest where all combatants join one of two teams for an all-out battle usually spanning a weekend. In the past the teams have been pretty forgetful - dogs vs cats, etc. - but this time out they pit Patrick Star against Spongebob Squarepants through a Nickelodeon partnership. Broadcast since 1999, Spongebob has evolved and become a commercial success many times over and being a part of a Splatfest is another milestone.

If you don't have a Wii U - Get one! If you don't own Splatoon - buy it! If you already play Splatoon, be sure to join in this weekend's Spongebob Splatfest!

Nickelodeon Spongebob Splatfest Sometimes I'm in the mood to change a gaming character's outfit. My son loves these changes and will spend quite a bit of time perfecting an avatar's look. If you were part of the Splatfest, you get one of the swell shirts pictured above. If you have tried Nintendo's first mobile game, Miitomo, there's a Splatfest tie-in for you too!

I've enjoyed Miitomo on my Android and I have to admit I have been building a wardrobe and changing outfits. Right now I'm sporting a mini skirt, bow-tie and a pineapple hat - don't ask. Tying in with the Nickelodeon Splatfest, there is a Miitomo crossover hashtag that might earn you some Inkling style for your Miitomo avatar. Folks are retweeting #Miitomo_Splatoon_RT hoping to reach a predetermined peak that will put a few items in your Miitomo closet.

Nickelodeon Spongebob Splatfest
April 21, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Prince 1958 - 2016 RIP

"Dearly Beloved, We are gathered here today to get through this thing called life"
Prince 1958 - 2016 RIP
April 21, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Nintendo 64 Anthology chronicles the console's history for it's 20th anniversary

N64 Anthology
372 Pages, 388 Game Reviews, Interviews, History, Collector's Guide... Everything You Need to Know about the Nintendo 64!
Mathieu Manent went to French publisher Geeks-Line to publish his definitive book on the Nintendo64 video game console. Currently being funded on Kickstarter, his book should coincide with the N64's twentieth anniversary.

The Anthology will cover every game released for the N64 with varying space dedicated to each title depending on it's prominence. That's a nice feature give the rather large game library. Such an undertaking would dominate an NES book, but the N64 Anthology also leaves ample space for the console itself and interviews with those influential with it's design and game library. A hardware section looks at the console, it's many variant releases, controllers, and accessories.

N64 Anthology The N64 was the first console from Nintendo that I did not purchase during it's primary lifecycle. It was the last mainstream console to use cartridges. Released a year earlier was the Sony PlayStation. It's shiny high-capacity discs gave it a modern edge and I was deep into the experience it brought. Financially, I couldn't support both the PlayStation and N64 at the time. Due to it's head-start and new tech, I wen with the PlayStation. I think that may have happened for a lot of folks in the mid-1990s.

Having the opportunity to revisit the N64 era revealed many great games I'm glad I finally had the opportunity to play. I loved the NES, but didn't delve too deeply into the SNES. Nintendo-wise, I lept from the NES/SNES style of gaming to the Game Boy Advance and GameCube. I've enjoyed seeing the amazing games falling between these eras.

The Nintendo64 Anthology looks like a promising tome that gives proper space to the elements making up one of Nintendo's finer consoles. Check out the Nintendo64 Anthology Kickstarter and see what they have to offer.
April 19, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

GameStop rolls out a game publishing label under the name GameTrust

After a trial run with Insomniac games, GameStop seems poised to add game publishing to their roster.
This past January GameStop partnered with Insomniac Games to publish their game, Song of the Deep. Since then, GameStop has moved forward with their publishing endeavor and been in talks with close to 20 developers.

GameTrust Their strategy is to take on smaller-budget games that often find it difficult to find support for their projects. they feel they can offer value and support to the smaller games as they build their publishing model. They don't seem averse to working with larger AAA games, but the risk is too much for their current situation.

They tried diversifying with the purchase of online retailer, Think Geek. To me, that seemed like a pretty good fit and they didn't rebrand it. when you visit the TG website, there's really no mention of GameStop. It seems that some of the Think Geek product is appearing in GameStop retail locations. I'm seeing more of that sort of geek stuff in my local stores. However, the really good merch is online. I fawn over the items on the website, but the items at GameStop stores seem more like clutter. The awesomes tuff doesn't seem to be there.

Think Geek was bilt as an online entity, so it's no surprise that the best merch is for online sale only. My only complaint is my local GameStop is tiny. During the holidays, its hard to even breath in the store, so perusing the games in nearly impossible. Add the nominal goodies from Think Geek and the store is cramped, crowded and a mediocre shopping experience.

Conflict of Interest?

Some are saying GameTrust is a conflicct with the retail arm of GameStop. While it may seem odd for a company to publish the games that will then be sold on their own retail shelves, this model is quite prolific across retail sectors. From the supermarket to clothing stores, most of them sell their own "house brand" side-by-side with other competing products. There's nothing terribly new aside from the industry itself. Typically, the lines are clearly drawn in the video game industry.

If anything, we see a touch of irony in this relationship. When a GameTrust title is delayed, it will cary that delay to GameStop shelves. So, they may get a few peculiar comments from shopers suffering delays on games that GameStop is delaying! Now, that's something we didn't see coming. :)
April 18, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Box Art documentary is launching on Kickstarter to explore the imagery that once sold video games

The Box Art documentary
From the team that brought you Nintendo Quest comes a documentary about the artwork adorning video game packaging before the information age.
Filmmaker Rob McCallum is launching a Kickstarter campaign on April 19th for Box Art - A Gaming Documentary. After seeing the way he intertwined our love of the NES with a compelling story and a unique challenge, in Nintendo Quest, we're excited to see his Box Art film evolve!

Atari Yar's Revenge for Atari 2600 Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review If Twitter glitches or Facebook goes down for 20 minutes the collective world trembles with nervous anxiety. Having a reliable wifi connection has become a necessity, following closely behind food and shelter. Before wifi there were things called cables and even farther back was my childhood - a time when I discovered video games in the darkness of an unconnected world.

The Early 1980s

When I think of video game box art I am immediately transported back to the early 80's when I would study every facet of an Atari 2600 game box in an effort to decide which game to purchase next. My allowance was finite, but my time was plentiful and I spent it assessing the new games lining the shelves of the local electronics store.

There was no Internet, no reviews, no game trailers, and the magazines that might make casual mention of the titles I was holding in my hand wouldn't be published for another three months. It was up to me to see between the colorful strokes and myriad of pixels to select the next gem to be played long into the night at our next sleepover. The box in my hand had a story to tell and I was determined to see it.

Capcom Bionic Commando for Nintendo NES Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

The Latter 1980s

The same scenario played out in the aisles of Toys R Us in the latter part of the 80's after Nintendo reignited video gaming with the NES. I'd peruse the expansive ticket-wall full of video game boxes in transparent envelopes, desperate to find a great game.

Discovering games like Air Fortress, Bionic Commando, and Mega Man, I began to think I had mastered the science of finding great games through box art interpretation. Like most of us, I bought plenty of awful games too, but overall, I became enchanted by the insane worlds contained in those cardboard boxes.

In those days, there was more to box art than an artist's vision of the enclosed game experience. Those covers told a story and gave an iconic view of game elements. As the array of pixels swirled around the living room TV, I knew it represented that amazing spaceship I gazed at in the store.

Atari's RoadBlasters for Atari Lynx Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review I understand the economic realities that require manufacturers to reduce costs... at any cost, but artwork has become diminished in that wake. From CDs to movies, and Video games, today's packaging has been reduced, honed, and formulated. It lacks the intrigue one used to see on retail shelves in decades past.

I have high hopes that Box Art will take me back to the glory days of video game artwork and unravel some of the mysteries and complexities of the creation process, personalities and games behind those cardboard boxes.

Our Endorsement of Rob McCallum

When I recommend a Kickstarter campaign, I often include a cautionary paragraph about the risks of crowd funding. In this case, I'd rather tell you what a delight it has been to be a backer and follower of Rob's past crowd funding campaigns.

I don't know him personally, but I backed his Nintendo Quest project simply based on it's premise. As the project progressed, I became drawn into it via frequent social media updates, podcasts, and his team's enthusiasm. He is very good about keeping backers and fans up to date on his projects. He's very professional.

During the Nintendo Quest campaign it was clear that he was delivering much more than the promised documentary film. He gave back to the gaming community by bringing his passion and skills to the gaming community's social scene. I'm seeing that already with the Box Art project!

Check out his other projects and take a look at the Box Art Kickstarter. Consider backing it - we're confident you'll enjoy the experience from start to finish!
April 18, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Nintendo teams up with Sonic... Drive-in restaurants, not the hedgehog

The 64
Wacky Pack kid's meals will include one of several Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam toys.
I've seen Sonic TV advertisements in various areas I've lived, but I've only seen one of these fabled restaurants once. I must live in the fringe of their broadcasting range, as I can assure you I'd be all over a fast-food drive-in! I'm trying to eat in a somewhat healthier manner, but I wouldn't be able to ignore the allure of Sonic's drive-in retro-factor!

Headlines flew across social media at the miraculous partnership between Nintendo and former rival Sega. Specifics of the deal simply stated Nintendo had ironed out a deal with Sonic. Excited minds began to wonder what such a partnership might deliver to gaming fans. For fans who live near a Sonic Drive-in, you can get various Paper Mario toys in your Wacky Pack meal.

No Sega involvement. No Sonic crossover titles. Just more collectable toys to fill the shelves of your YouTube backdrop. But I wouldn't mind a bit more Mario and Sonic (the hedgehog) interaction. Aside from the Olympic games that go back to 2007, these characters have co-existed on shelves, but not in many of the same games.

The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones

We Need More Gaming Crossovers

Crossovers are kind of cool. TV series tend to do this as a ratings booster. Perhaps gaming doesn't follow that model by nature of not having weekly ratings to compare the way a TV show does. Certainly television shows have tie-ins with video games, but not in the crossover sense. I'd love to see more "character invasions" where a character from one game has an appearance in another.

The IP lines are drawn fairly rigidly with plenty of legalese in the wings which I'm sure contributes to characters staying within their own game worlds. I loved watching The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones movie (1987), with the Jetsons arriving in the past - in Bedrock. I'd love more of that in gaming... if the lawyers could work out the details.

Until that happens snag a Mountain Berry Blast and some Paper Mario toys with your Wacky Pack. when I was a kid... Wacky Packages were trading cards & stickers, not meals - lol.
April 18, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Ratchet & Clank arrives in theaters April 29 with Bella Thorne voicing Cora

The 64
Bella Thorne was on the Ratchet and Clank movie panel at Wondercon on March 25, 2016
My son and I have enjoyed the Ratchet and Clank franchise between the PS2 and PS3 releases. I'm happy to read great reviews of the latest game, currently a PS4 exclusive.

Based on elements from the original Ratchet & Clank (for the PS2) the new PS4 game has been billed as - the game, based on the movie, based on the game. It does have a circular relationship of sorts. I have high hopes for this film, since so many movies based on games are fairly awful. They have an interesting array of celebrity voices, including Bella Thorne as Cora. Yeah, we kinda dig her :)

My one hope is that someone had the good sense to include Mr. Zurkon in the movie. He's been included in the PS4 game. His quips are funny and he's definitely one of my favorite elements.

Bella Thorne is Cora in Ratchet and Clank movie Bella Thorne took part in a Ratchet and Clank panel, at Wondercon, with James Arnold Taylor (voice of Ratchet), David Kaye (voice of Clank) and producer Brad Foxhoven.
Bella Thorne is Cora in Ratchet and Clank movie Bella Thorne at Wondercon. She voices "Cora" in the upcoming Ratchet and Clank movie.
Bella Thorne Bella Thorne
A bit of background info:
Ratchet is the last of his kind, a foolhardy Lombax who grew up without a family. Clank is a pint-sized robot with more brains than brawn. After stumbling upon a weapon that can destroy entire planets, they join forces with a team of do-gooders known as the Galactic Rangers. Together, they must stop the evil alien Chairman Drek from utilizing this dangerous technology. Along the way, Ratchet and Clank learn valuable lessons about heroism, friendship and discovering one's own identity.

Developed by Insomniac Games, the Rachet & Clank IP is owned by Sony and has been exclusive to their consoles. Our favorite Lombax and his robot companion originated on the PS2 and have also appeared on the PSP portabel, Vita, PS3, and most recently on the PS4.

Ratchet & Clank Games

  1. Ratchet & Clank: PS2, 2002
  2. Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando PS2, 2003
  3. Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal PS2, 2004
  4. Ratchet: Deadlocked PS2, 2005
  5. Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters PSP & PS2, 2007
  6. Ratchet & Clank: Future: Tools of Destruction PS3, 2007
  7. Ratchet & Clank: Future: Quest for Booty PS3, 2008
  8. Secret Agent Clank PSP & PS2, 2008
  9. Ratchet & Clank: Future: A Crack in Time PS3, 2009
  10. Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One PS3, 2011
  11. Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault PS3, 2012
  12. Ratchet & Clank Collection PS3, 2012
  13. Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus PS3, 2013
  14. Ratchet & Clank PS4, 2016
April 17, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Buying Star Wars The Force Awakens at Newbury Comics came with some cool freebies

Marvel's Poe Dameron comic book
I can't say enough good things about Newbury Comics. They are a wonderful cultural oasis with great products and people.
Newbury Comics logo When we see movies at the mall my son and I always stop in Newbury Comics to see what wonders we might find. From Finn the Human's hat, and ugly Christmas sweaters, and the latest vinyl & CD releases, they always have something fun.

Ever since seeing Star Wars The Force Awakens at Christmas, we've been eagerly anticipating the DVD release. I saw the film a second time which only fueled my desire to own the DVD. When it finally came out, I got a few of the freebies associated with Marvel's Poe Dameron comic book.

Newbury had a Poe Dameron button and print based on the comic book cover. It's nice to be able to support a local shop that's so unique and a great resource in my area. Or course, I loved seeing the film at home and all the behind-the-scenes footage on the Blu-ray release.

Marvel's Poe Dameron comic book Star Wars TFA DVD, Poe Dameron figure from Disney Infinity 3, Poe button and print based on Marvel's comic book.
April 17, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

THE 64 project sets out to re-imagine the Commodore 64 in both desktop & handheld versions

The 64
Crowd funding on Indiegogo, THE 64 is a very large undertaking particularly for both a desktop and portable model.
The Commodore 64 is a beloved computer that was "the first computer" for a generation who would enter the workforce with a passion for programming and technology. Many who loved playing video games on these early computers began creating games to play on them - honing a variety of skills. They would have a dramatic impact on implementing technology across a broad spectrum of industries. Few tech revolutions bring that level of power to consumer end-users! It was an amazing era.

The 64 THE 64 is being crowd funded on Indiegogo, with a $150,000 goal, to deliver both a desktop Commodore 64 computer and a game-ready portable device. THE 64 seems to be offering a "best of both worlds" scenario using the original design (having licensed the ROMS and BIOS) with an original cartridge slot adaptor and adding an SD slot, USB ports and HDMI output.

The classic cartridge compatibility offers some retro compatibility and they say they will include some classic games as well as newer games exclusive to the system. Hopefully we'll hear more about this as the campaign only has one month left before it's conclusion.

My primary concern revolves around the guts of THE 64 - what is it? Is this a clone or perhaps an emulator box? Aside from the retro design of the chasis and cartridge slot, a Raspberry Pi or Pine 64 could provide everything needed. Their Indiegogo page needs to better distinguish this project. Certainly the handheld sets itself apart, but I'd like to see more info about it's internals.

Their Indiegogo page briefly mentions licensing of Commodore ROMs and BIOS, but I hope they will elaborate on this:
We have gained all the appropriate Intellectual Property licenses for this project from Cloanto Inc, the owners of the ROMS and BIOS of the Commodore 64.
At this writing, THE 64 website is very sparse - hopefully this will change as the project evolves. They seem to be putting most of their info on THE 64 Facebook page. Follow along for more info and updates.

The 64 We've also seen a number of hardware projects undertake reboots of both old and new technologies. In 2011 Commodore USA came along as a reboot of the Commodore and Amiga brands with modern PC ammenities. You may also have seen the more recent Spectrum Vega project. On the game-centric front, the Ouya tried to become a game-changer in game dev via their Android game console. PlayJam's GameStick went a similar route.

The Commodore 64 has a huge following and I'm sure we're not alone in wanting to see THE 64 project mature and evolve into a retail product. There is an enormous amount of games and software that should be compatible as a result of licensing original components. Additionally, there are still many developers looking to expand the outreach of their newer games and applications.

A Word of Caution

Hardware projects are inherently more difficult than many of the other gaming-related crowd funded campaigns. The risks are greater as the reliance on outside suppliers/manufacturers is greater. Attempting to deliver two very different versions of this device seems dubious at best. I would be far more confident if they brought the desktop model to market and then set out to create it's handheld alternative.

THE 64 campaign is using the flexible model which will deliver all funds to them regardless of the campaign's success. Take a look and see what you think.
April 16, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Upcoming book- The Atari ST and the Creative People: an anthology of the Atari ST Demoscene

The Atari ST and the Creative People
This hardcover book series tells the story of a generation of people who wanted to be creative at all cost.
The demo scene of the 1980s and early 90s was pretty astounding. Creativity surged in an open manner allowing anyone with the desire to create to showcase their programming skills. Intricate programs emerged touting the designers skills at integrating images and audio into insane animations. Those who followed the scene became familiar with various artists as numerous programmers joined the fray.

The Atari ST and the Creative People Without rules or boundaries, computers became arenas for maximizing every cycle of a it's processors. While some of these creations went into video games, the demo scene was a completive arena where standalone programs carved out their own niche among those who appreciated the complexity of their design. I had a friend who was into the demoscene on the Amiga. Each platform had it's followers!

A book is coming to Kickstarter highlight the demo scene of the Atari ST computers. While many examples of this era exist in digital formats, this hardcover volume, The Atari ST and the Creative People will capture that art along with the story of that time.

From the author's website:
This awaited 400 pages hardcover book series tells the story of a generation of people who wanted to be creative at all cost. Follow me back to the roots of Atari ST demo creation with legendary groups like The Exceptions, Level 16, TNT, Sync, Omega, Overlanders, Delta Force and The Carebears, challenging their contenders from overseas: The Lost Boys.

From freaks to professionals: Read the balancing act of a few german computer kids, founding their game company Thalion and uniting the european demo scene, to become some of the most advanced 16-bit game designers of all times.

Go on a visual ride through the 80's and inhale the neon-air of these times again. Enjoy the pixel-art, the logos, the fonts and rediscover the tools of the makers.

Fresh comments and flashbacks of well-known programmers and artists who are looking back to their productions: Erik Simon, Holger Flöttmann, Niklas Malmqvist, Jochen Hippel, the Moss Brothers, Stefan Kimmlingen, Michael Raasch, Richard Karsmakers, Michael Schüßler, Gunnar Gaubatz and many more...

From 1986-1994. The Anthology not only tells an exciting story of digital fascination, but also represents the greatest Atari ST Megademos in an all new manner. It covers the Search for artistic expression and searches for the reasons behind it.

The Atari ST and the Creative People Sample pages from Atari ST and the Creative People Keep an eye out for the upcoming Kickstarter campaign for "The Atari ST and the Creative People" book!
April 16, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

If you couldn't decide between Pokemon Sun & Moon, just wait until the lingerie arrives

Pokemon Linderie from Yummy Mart
Yummy Mart's Pokemon collection will debut in Japan, but you can't contain style. We're confident these items will span the globe in due time.
The Pokemon collection from Yummy Mart will go on sale in Japan in a few days with a sharp focus on Pikachu. Amidst a variety of sleepwear items and a hooded towel, the prized item seemingly won't be for sale - the plush Pikachu bra and panties!

I guess a plush (lumpy) set of underwear may not be the most practical daily wear item, but somehow I'm imagining it wasn't designed for use outside the bedroom. So, anyway... I'm sure some of these designs will cross the various oceans and arrive at a wider array of retailers.

Pokemon Linderie from Yummy Mart From their website, you can find Yummy Mart's social media accounts with an array of info and pics of other merch like this nod to the 80s!
April 15, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Ace Frehley's latest album, of influential rock & roll covers, released today

Ace Frehley Origins Vol. 1
Before my love for video games, I discovered a band that would fire me up for life - KISS! Ace Frehley still marches forward with his signature sound and great rock & roll.
We are fortunate to get another Frehley album so soon after his 2014 Space Invader release. He is not known for releasing albums this quickly. Origins vol. 1 is a collection of covers (including a few Kiss tracks) that influenced his style and career. As much as I love original music, he's done a nice job selecting, arranging and putting his style on these classics.

Space Invader was timed to coincide with Kiss being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His record label had suggested a cover-album as a back up. Frehley delivered in 2014 thus enabling a quicker release of Origins. I dig the album and recommend it highly!

Ace Frehley Origins Vol. 1 I believe this Ace Frehley figure is from the Macfarlane Love Gun series... and a Hello Kitty Kiss (Ace) candy tin. I've been a Kiss fan since the late 70's when a friend of mine played their Destroyer album for me. I was hooked. Having seen them live on several occasions, Kiss without Ace just isn't the same. I was reminded of that with the crisp riffs on Cold Gin. Hearing that track on Origins Vol. 1 brought bac memories of how new and different the Kiss sound was in my childhood.

Ace played a major role in forming Kiss' signature sound. He still delivers that sound even across the diversity of songs on Origins!

On a side note, I once ran into Ace Frehley in a Caldor's department store in Mt. Kisco, NY. I was with a coworker and we saw him and had to say... something. We approached him and asked if he was Ace Frehley. He said, Yes and moved on. I was pretty star-struck and still remember that day vividly.
April 14, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

AMC Theaters was courting the idea of allowing phone use during movies

Election Fighter logo
If theater owners thought audiences were dwindling, just let patrons text, talk, and game during the latest blockbuster flick.
I was convinced I'd misread the title of an article alleging there was a theater chain trying to entice Millennials by allowing cell phone usage during movies. I don't go out to the movies as much as i used to, but I attribute that to both price and quality. Going to the movies hasn't been an inexpensive option for quite some time. Ticket prices have soared beyond what I feel is affordable for the average flick. I gladly shelled out the bucks to see Mad Max Fury Road as well as Star Wars The Force Awakens. Such films benefit from the theater's enormous screen and amazing sound system.

However, few movies arriving at theaters are of that caliber, leaving me content to watch them at home on DVD. Most theater tickets for one adult are the same price as the DVD. Therefore, I weight the benefits of seeing a film on the big screen of waiting a few months and buying the DVD. More often than not, the DVD option wins.

Anyone who respects film knows not to text during a showing!
With dwindling sales at the box office, I can see why the head of AMC wants to bring in more customers. But can you imagine trying to do that by letting patrons interrupt the entire movie experience with backlit phones aglow during a showing? If nothing else, ignoring the feature presentation because you'd rather sends texts or play games shows a big lack of respect for the efforts put into the film!

For once the Internet responded with a useful response, quelling thoughts of opening theaters to sanctioned cell phone distractions. It's interesting to me that the head of AMC Theaters has such little grasp on the movie experience, that he could even suggest such a preposterous idea. When a great movie releases, I want to see it in a theater and enjoy it later on DVD, but Hollywood recycles the same concepts over and over. Original movies are a thing of the past.

Movie Franchises Mimic Ongoing Video Game Series

Too often we see video game franchises going on and on rather than studios taking the risk on a new story, character, or concept. It's a shame that finances have brought both games and movies to needing "proven" concepts they know will bring in revenue. Every so often a revolutionary idea comes to fruition and we all rejoice in it's glory, but it doesn't happen often.

Sequels rarely exceed their predecessors glory in movies or video games, yet we still buy them. Maybe we feel as confident and secure with "the same old thing" as producers who won't take risks to deliver new wonders. I guess we have no choice but to revel in the amazing titles and try to vote with our money regarding the rest.
April 13, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Displeasure for Donald Trump comes in many forms from hashtags to video games like Election Fighters

Election Fighter logo
With a bit of 8-bit flare, you can launch an attack on The Donald via one of three fighters... including Jesus.
In life you have to choose your battles carefully. In video games you can pick fights with anyone anytime and do so risk free. With that in mind, you may want to vent some political frustrations by attacking Mr. Trump. Election Fighter lets you do that in a browser or on your Android device. It's a simple little game, but it may help you deal with the horrifying reality of "President Trump"!

In past election years, Donald Trump has rolled out his rhetoric and threatened to run for President. We all chuckled and his grandstanding subsided in a week or two. Why would that ever change... we thought.

Election Fighter logo This time out, Trump threw his hat in the ring - as we've seen before - but something was different. He began to gain traction. While previously being laughed at, the political climate is much different. With the continued erosion of the middle-class, lack of progress in Congress, and a pessimistic outlook - Trumps outlandish statements began to resound with voters.

The media didn't see it coming. Neither did the media. They were too busy laughing at Trump and focusing their coverage and attention elsewhere. Guess what? The common American was so fed up with Washington lies, that Trump's outrageous platform was welcomed as an alternative to political greed, corruption, and disdain for our country. Congress and the political machine exist to extort money from any source into each other's pockets. They share the wealth of their theft of the American dream.

The approval rate of Trump, despite his many downfalls and insane notions, is proof that the general public is fed up with the lying wretches who sit on Capitol Hill pretending they have our best interests in mind. While the media and the Republican party were sitting dormant twiddling their thumbs, Trump was garnering a following. Now these same do-nothing lax officials and media pundits are scrambling to try and change things. Alas, we are all tired of political criminals duping the public and Trump is proof. Enough people will follow him than a qualified politician.

Election Fighters Megyn takes on Donald Trump in Election Fighter.
Election Fighters Ras-Tan takes on Donald Trump in Election Fighter.

I'm confident the Republicans will stoop to new levels to discredit Trump or Hillary will defeat him, but don't neglect how he got as far as he did. Dissatisfaction is a powerful motivator. I'll step down from my soapbox and suggest you give Trump a whacking in Election Fighter!
April 10, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

You're not fully clean until you're 8-bit clean! The Cleantendo shower curtain

The Cleantendo shower curtain has a transparent window for those who want to bathe like Mario.
Add some 8-bit fun to your bathroom for only $25. A quick search of the web will give you several sources for this Cleantendo shower curtain.

NES shower curtain
April 10, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Atari's vast and beautiful imagery will be explored in a book- The Art Of Atari

The Art Of Atari book
Classic gaming art from Atari will have a retrospective hardcover from Dynamite Entertainment later this year.
Dynamite Entertainment is publishing the imagery of the early Atari days into a hardcover coffee table book being released in October. Authored and curating by Robert V. Conte & Tim Lapetino, with a forward by Ready Player One author Ernest Cline, Art of Atari presents artwork commissioned for the arcade games and Atari's home game consoles, and iconic advertisement images.

In the early days of video games, artwork from game boxes and manuals fueled a player's mind with vivid images depicting a story that may not have been so clear on-screen. While I was content to view my mighty space ship as a handful of pixels, I knew that was simply a representation of the mind-blowing craft shown on the cover of the game manual.

At the outset of the 8-bit era, on-screen graphics were far from the near-photorealistic games we see today. In addition to assisting with game play and understanding of various elements, game manuals offered visuals and story arcs letting us enjoy a more detailed experience. 8-bit gaming was certainly more enjoyable for those with grand imagination. As we gazed at blocky images, the wondrous worlds shown in the game's packaging and manual came to life as we deftly maneuvered a joystick!

The Art Of Atari book A sample page from The Art Of Atari showing artwork from Asteroids. Today, there is far less artwork taken home after a purchase. While most games have online tutorials and the packaging consists of a single sheet behind a plastic liner, today's gaming art lives primarily on the web. Entire websites are now dedicated to upcoming titles as a form of advertising and customer interaction.

Trailers now show detailed aspects of how a game plays, but for those in the Atari age, trailers only existed for Hollywood movies. We occasionally saw TV commercials for upcoming games, but today's connected digital world brings a huge shift in visuals that bombard us as marketing strategies. We no longer sit down and marvel at gaming artwork. These days we grow tired of being fed the same images online, on TV, and in our email. This aggressive strategy detracts from the artistic value of the imagery. Take a few minutes to view and appreciate the artwork for what it is, before popping in that shiny new disc.

Nearly any box art image from the early Atari days could be framed and displayed as a painting. Today's gaming art has a slicker look that fits the world of advertising banners. Atari spent a lot of money to separate their creations from other rising media forms of that era. I'm excited to relive some of Atari's iconic artwork in Conte & Lapetino's upcoming book. Art of Atari will also be some lesser known works as well as historical context to the various works.
April 9, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Pac-Man business suit from Oppo Suits may be the key to your next job interview

Pac-Man business suit from Oppo Suits
I can think of more places NOT to wear this suit, but I still want one... or two! Worn to be wild!
Specializing in crazy patterns, Oppo Suits offer business style suits in a variety of patterns so you'll have trouble buying only one. Pac-Man is certainly eye-catching, but they also have super hero patters - think Batman!

Pac-Man suit from Oppo Suits Having a handful of these suits in your closet can only make you more likely to be invited to parties. While most suits are for stuffy occasions we'd rather not attent, the wide selection of patterns makes us want to go out more. Gamers always have a stack of never-before-played-games, but suits like this make me want to put all sorts of things on hold so I can attend much better functions.

They promise these are "real" suits and not wear-once costumes. such style begs to be worn often and each suit comes with three components; jacket, pants, and tie. They look like a lot of fun, but I'm curious about the fabric. What're they made of? They don't come out and say, but allude to these suits being machine washable... but they recommend dry cleaning.

Go dress yourself up via Oppo Suits and see if that mundane trip to wade through titles at GameStop isn't a bit more fun in a Pac-Man suit. You'll probably make more friends at the mall this trip.
April 9, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

A new gaming magazine for Kids, Little Player, delivers issue #1

Little Player Magazine
With no advertising and a focus on kid-friendly games, this magazine seems like a great choice for kids just getting into video games on consoles, computers, and mobile.
We wrote about Little Player magazine last Summer as their Kickstarter ramped up. We are thrilled to see it's first issue hitting the market!

As I see my son becoming more interested in video games, I notice his interest goes beyond simply playing the games. In my day, Video games were something you played at an arcade or in front of the living room TV. The wealth of information available today didn't really exist when I bought my Atari 2600. There was no consumer internet!

Little Player Magazine These days you can still find a few dedicated gaming magazines and computer mags with some gaming info, but the internet is awash in information via articles, reviews, coming attractions, and videos. Some might say there's too much info. How do you find the "good stuff" - especially when you want to ensure your young kids are viewing appropriate content?

Little Player Magazine seems like a great way to ensure young kids can get gaming information without the trappings of traditional magazines filled with advertising. It's available in print and digital as a bi-monthly publication. They suggest an age range of 7 to 12 years old and only cover/review video games that are rated EC, E, and E10.

Maintaining a print publication can be a challenging endeavor in today's market, particularly when you are not relying on advertising revenue. We admire their resolve to jump into it because it shows a commitment to offering something better for kids. The vastness of the internet makes fining appropriate content difficult for parents. Little Player should help parents ensure their young kids have a positive environment to learn more about gaming and all it has to offer.

If you're on the fence about it, you can download their sample issue #0 from their website to get an idea of the content they plan to offer. While on their site, you can also subscribe online!
April 8, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Adding a fancy frame will do wonders for any poster, instantly adding artistic intrigue

Visit a thrift store for an atrocious painting in a gaudy looking frame and you're half-way to adding class to any poster.
At first glance you might see a nature painting, but don't be fooled by the frame and fancy furniture. Those are 8-bit ducks and we all want to smack that snickering dog hiding in the weeds!

Duck Hunt poster Get your own Duck Hunt Poster - fancy table not included, but adds to the intrigue ;)
April 8, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Emperor is wearing no clothes and I'm tired of seeing his junk- the Chameleon console saga

Coleco Chameleon
The peculiar twisted story of the Coleco Chameleon refuses to end and keeps on adding more questions than answers.
Just when you might have hoped the drama surrounding the failed Coleco Chameleon console project that grew from the failed Retro VGS project, had burned out - he's back. Mike Kennedy went to the Atariage forums to try and clear up some misconceptions. In all honesty, I'm still a bit curios to see how far this idiocy can drag out. Kennedy offers some explanations, that answer a few questions, but add more confusion than they settle.

The only positive info, that has been verified, is Albert of Atariage has the Jaguar molds and can use them in any manner of interesting ways. If nothing else they won't become another industrial device... like a dental camera.

For historical purposes, I copied his latest post from the forum and placed it below. The forums are not short on responses and the only conclusive thing I can say is there will never be a Chameleon Console in your living room and we will never really know why.

Each time he seeks to enlighten us, it feels like watching a Walking Dead episode and wondering who will be thrown under the bus next. The remains of this post is Mike Kennedy's latest reasoning and conclusions...

Mike Kennedy's Atari Age Post about the Chameleon

Hello Everyone,

I hate to light this thread up any more but at this time I have made the decision that my reputation is worth protecting and wanted to come in here and break my silence and fill in some holes and answer some questions about the hardware "team" (term used loosely) behind the Coleco Chameleon.

This long winded response will explain:

There were only (4) engineers (or people) EVER working on this project with Steve Woita and myself ( and in the beginning there were two working together) despite what Scott Schreiber has been spewing. And none were EVER working simultaneously on the project. And Scott had nothing to do with much of anything and was never considered to be "working" on this project. Has he ever produced and shown anything he was working on? Nope!

It will for the first time reveal who the hardware person was that took over after the "John Carlsen" era. And it will show that I paid him considerable amounts of money for what was essentially two fake prototypes. One that I saw (Toy Fair unit) and one that I never saw in person (clear PC card unit). I was not building that crap in my garage.

It will also reveal the shady background of said hardware person so that he can be stopped and hopefully save anyone here from dealing with this guy in the future.

And as a side note, Carl Williams IS NOT taking over RETRO Magazine nor has he ever talked with me about it. And I am not selling it or giving it to ANYONE! Carl? Explanation?

To understand how this ended, I want to direct your attention back to the early times of this venture, early to middle 2014. At this time, my first choice to design the system, Curt Vendel (who Scott Schreiber helped introduce me to thus ending his minimal involvement in the venture) decided he wouldn't have the time to devote to this venture and opted out soon and never got started. At this time I researched others that could step in and bring this product to fruition and that lead me to Clay Cowgill. Clay really took this project under his wing from Nov 2014 to January 2015 and helped us (me and Steve Woita) define the hardware and its capabilities - this is when we were considering, at Clay's recommendation, architecting something in-line with the Beaglebone Black.

It was also at this time, that another person entered into the mix, Sean "LEE" Robinson. Sean was a "acquaintance or colleague" of Clay's and it just so happened that he had moved from Washington (state) back to Southern California. He had heard that I was working with Clay on this project and offered to help. Since he and Clay were colleagues, and the fact he was local and very close to me, it seemed like a good idea to have them partner up on the project, which they did to some extent. Supposedly, Sean had a working prototype ( that I NEVER saw) playing Neo Geo games in Jan 2015. This prototype was later used again when he rejoined the project explaining how we supposedly had a prototype so fast AFTER Carlsen left. Read further.

In late January 2015, Clay alerted us that he was contracted by SONY and that he would be leaving the project. At this time, Sean also decided to leave as well. Enter in the John Carlsen/Steve Woita FPGA "era". Now I am not going to go into this part of the timeline because we know how all this worked out. Fast forward to John Carlsen leaving the failed RETRO VGS project.

At the time of John's leaving in September 2015, Sean "LEE" Robinson re-entered the picture and reached out to Steve and I. He indicated he wanted to help us get this project back on track, but his condition was that he remained "behind the curtain" (his words) due to the mess he was inheriting from Carlsen. At this time I agreed to that condition and also agreed to let him and Steve work together on this without my interference. While I thought I had a competent hardware "team" working on this, and was being told early on by Sean we had games running on our hardware/software prototype and that our costs had dropped considerably, I felt confident to go ahead and continue building this venture, bringing a "go-to-market" team together and making the decision to launch this under the Coleco brand. Things seemed to be coming together. Chris from Coleco invited us to demonstrate a prototype at Toy Fair. This did pose a challenge to Sean as it expedited the process a bit to try and make the show deadline.

This is where things started to take a big bad turn. In mid-January, I had a lunch meeting with Sean and point blank asked him what he needs from me to spend the next 30 days working on the prototype full-time to get it prepared for the Toy Fair. We agreed on $4,000, which I quickly got to him via a check that he cashed with me at my bank. It was then a day before I was traveling to the show that he came over to my house with the Toy Fair "Prototype", with his instructions to NOT SHOW the back of the unit no matter what. But without any specific information as to why I shouldn't show it, other than it used an aftermarket connector that was composite-out and that was used because he didn't have the HD stable enough to get us through the show. I believed him and went to the show with that unit. My biggest concern at the time was getting this conglomeration through the TSA and on the plane.

During the show we were accused of not having that system even plugged in so I made the decision to take a photo of the back of the unit showing it was clearly plugged in. If that was true about using the composite connector, I really felt people would understand why it was used and decided to show the pics. I didn't feel we had anything to hide. Then all hell broke loose and it was identified that SNES mini parts or the whole PCB from an SNES mini was inside the console shell. I was left in a terrible spot at this point and I had a decision to make that evening at the hotel. Do I take this thing apart and see what was in it and quit the show or continue on with the show, demoing the games that were going to be on the system, and then address this issue with Sean when we got back from New York. Right or wrong, I continued on with Toy Fair and it continued to impress people and the games were very favorably liked (Thanks Eli! For stepping in with his SNES multicart in place of Sean's glitching out SD card driven demo cartridge). When I returned back home, I met Sean again and gave him the "prototype" back and he was still swearing that despite the SNES "parts" he used, the games were still running on the SNES FPGA software that he had constructed in a few short months. Again, I believed him and we moved forward. And he told me that during the Toy Fair he was preparing the next "prototype" board so I gave him the clear shells with explicit instructions from me to show "our" PCB inside the shell. This was going to be used to show the "real" prototype.

Then in a move to extract more money from me he indicated that for $3,000 paid now (2/29/16), and $3,000 paid in 60 days he could wrap this up and have a production ready prototype completed. So, again, I wrote him out a check he promptly cashed with me at my bank. Soon after this he emailed me the images of the clear unit with the PC DVR capture card in it. But, when he first emailed me the images, he indicated this was our prototype 100%. I made a comment that it looked great (in the photos) and he responded by saying something like "this is what we can do when given the proper time." Keep in mind, these pictures were to combat the criticism of the "fake" Toy Fair prototype and were given to me by him to post on Facebook to show people the real "prototype". Sean even joked about how people online were trying to identify the board in our shell, laughing and telling me they won't find it because it's our original work. He even made these comments through my car Blue Tooth speaker with my wife in the car and she heard everything. Again, I believed him.

Let's discuss the Kickstarter for a moment. So, believing I was going to have a working prototype for Toy Fair, I told Sean and Steve I was going to move forward with the Kickstarter campaign and use Toy Fair as a launching point for the campaign. A date was set. Now to Sean's credit, he played that this was not a good idea and didn't agree with me scheduling the Kickstarter to begin during the campaign was a good idea. But, at this point, I thought I had a real prototype playing games and was assured by Sean many times that our costs were now hovering around $100, so figured, let's not wait any longer. After it was learned that we essentially had a SNES duck taped in my console shell I decided to delay the Kickstarter because it was always my intention to show off the prototype completely in the campaign video, open it up and show it running and playing games from at least two different systems. Then once I saw the clear unit was also a "fake" I made the decision to withdraw from a Kickstarter campaign altogether and reevaluate this venture.

Back to the clear shell prototype. Since this all fell apart I have been trying to get Sean to explain to me why he would point blank lie to my face about that being "our board" and passing that two-bit PC board off as our prototype and he can't give me an explanation that makes any sense, in fact I get no explanation other than that there was more going on in there than people can see. He mentioned we had chips located underneath the board even and assured me that the cartridge was also plugged into our cartridge connector. Something was just not adding up to me and I continued to lose sleep at night wondering how this all could have happened. First, he never showed me anything in person, that he was working on. I never went to his house, nor was ever given an address where he lives or works. He subscribes to my magazine so I looked at the address the magazine is sent to - a UPS store PO Box. I have paid this guy $7,000 and have nothing to show for it. Oh, I also bought two FPGA cores from a "friend" of his (whom I never met in person) whose wife was having medical issues and needed to sell some things and just so happened his friend had made an Intellivision and Amiga FPGA core. Sean told me his friend would sell them to me for $2,500 which I, again agreed to, and wrote Sean out another check which he promptly cashed at my bank and was going to give the cash to his "friend". Did I ever get any software cores? NOPE! So, in total, with a couple other smaller checks I wrote to him, paid him nearly $10K in January and February 2016. Nothing to show for it except two fake prototypes and NO FPGA CORES! And, he swindled out my Crystal Castles Commodore 64 prototype cartridge as part of a payment as well!!!!!!!

So, trying to make more sense of all this, I started Googling Sean and this is where things get super crazy. I will just post the links that are online for all to see and you can all take it from there. There is even more stuff you can uncover if you want to all look:!topic/!searchin/

In addition, I have confirmed with the Riverside County (CA) Assistant DA, Sean was charged a few years ago for 7 counts of Felony Grand-Theft and served part of a one-year sentence in jail and then got out on probation which he evidently complied with and then he made a plea to have the prior conviction AND his admittance of guilt overturned. A loophole that the DA mentioned drives prosecutors crazy.

At this point I can only hope to recover any of my money paid to him, and can no longer live by my word to keep him "behind the curtain" while his deceit led to my defamation of character and demise of the company and opportunity and also I feel I was intentionally setup to take a fall. Because why else would he give me the clear shell "prototype" photos to hang myself? Seems strange as we both knew these photos would be scrutinized like crazy based on the last "fake" SNES prototype he gave me.

I also hope that you will also wonder why I would go to all this trouble surrounding this venture with guys like Ben Herman (he was a Rockstar at Toy Fair, and had tons of legit retailer interest in this thing) and Phil Adam, Paul Wylie and eventually Steven Rosenbaum. Why would I go out and bring Coleco on board as a licensing partner? All done and then just try and pass off fake prototypes? This is just something that I would not intentionally or knowingly do. I have way more integrity and respect for this hobby to pull that shit. I did remain silent the past few weeks though while I put the pieces of this train wreck together and worked with my attorney to define my moves. And I apologize for the delay. Timed with the release of this statement here on AtariAge I have also emailed Sean a demand letter asking him to make arrangements to pay me back the money he scammed from me as well as a heads up I am going public with his participation in this deceit. But at the same time, I wonder who he might have to take advantage of to get the money to pay me back. That is the shitty part. And I am still working with my attorney and local authorities to find out what my options are.

I want to apologize to all of you for the past few months. The John Carlsen era was an honest to goodness list of I mistakes. But there was never any intention to deceive or pull the wool over any of your eyes. These past few months with these fake prototypes was inexcusable and I hope you can all understand a bit more about how this all happened and why I have remained silent the past few weeks. It is not in my nature to trick people into anything. My end game has always been to give back to this hobby that I love and respect and to make and do things that people will enjoy. I've never taken one penny from anyone that wasn't genuinely earned!

You will all be glad to hear that I am officially tabling the console venture for good. I have negotiated with Albert (AtariAge) to take over the Jaguar tooling so we can all be assured it's in good hands and won't get destroyed or lost to time. And I am sure Albert will do some very cool things with the console and cartridge shells.

I want to ask you all for some level of forgiveness and I hope you all understand that I would have never gone to Kickstarter with a blatant rip-off of a prototype. That was never my intention. And please, don't let this mess carry over to the magazine. I have a great team of people working on it. We are pouring a lot of heart and soul and sweat equity into keeping the magazine going and it's only getting better.

And, I want to thank those on AtariAge (and other public forums) for opening my eyes to the craziness of all this happening right under my eyes. The fact that Sean indicated he wrote this SNES FPGA software in such a short time was questioned here and that opened my eyes. Of course, the uncovering of the fake prototypes has opened my eyes. You guys really go above and beyond to protect the hobby and it wasn't until I have had the time to reflect back on this fiasco that I saw how you all came together and your alerts spread like wildfire across the internet. Again it was never the intention of myself or those legitimate guys on my team to deceive or potentially defraud anyone. In the end, I am the only one that has lost anything, money, potential opportunity and my reputation in this hobby.

April 8, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Galloping Ghost Arcade in IL has a rare Beavis & Butthead arcade proto on the gaming floor

Beavis & NButthead arcade game control deck
While museums have strict no-touch policies, Galloping Ghost Arcade lets you touch all you want for a modest fee. THAT is gold!
An article posted by Arcade Heros announced that the Galloping Ghost Arcade in Illinois procured a rare Beavis & Butthead arcade game! Never heard of it? Not to worry, this cabinet is a special rarity for a number of reasons. It is #9 out of twelve estimated/known cabinets and it's available for play!

I loved Beavis & Butthead on Mtv in the 90s - still do. I wish they had released the series by season rather than the 3 best of" DVD sets. From t-shits and plush toys, I snatched up as much Beavis & Butthead merch as I could find. One of my favorite finds is the Beavis & Butthead game for Nintendo's GameBoy.

Beavis & NButthead arcade game control deck

Beloved Morons Nixed by Atari's Arcade Division

The popularity of those two morons took them down all sorts of merchandising paths. I wish I had bought the SNES version of the arcade game even though the game (released across several platforms) was never revered, even by fans.

At some point, Atari created a Beavis and Butthead arcade game, that never made it to market. Apparently the game didn't do well in field tests and was cancelled. It is said that a dozen prototype cabinets were made, although you don't hear too much about their current whereabouts or owners.

All too often private collectors keep such treasures in their home arcades and don't readily share them with the gaming public. This is understandable - I wouldn't want anyone in my house simply to ogle a rare video game. Our homes are to be enjoyed without such intrusions. This shows how generous GGA is by allowing patrons to play such rarities as Primal Rage II or Beavis & Butthead.

Galloping Ghost Arcade to the Rescue

Through good fortune, the Galloping Ghost Arcade has one to the prototypes. This is grand for several reasons. They have a reputation for seeking out rare games and prototypes to share with their patrons. Not long ago, we were stoked to hear they had Primal Rage II running on their gaming floor!

As much as such a game deserves the "museum treatment" one can't help but marvel at GGA putting it on the gaming floor for patrons to play. By letting the public play such rare titles is a tribute to what they do and why they do it better than most. With that in mind, they had to do a bit of detective work to get the Beavis & Butthead game working.

Letting gamers play a rare unknown title is a grand gesture!
It's optical drive wasn't functioning and was connected by a ribbon cable they didn't recognize. After some investigation, they determined it originated from a 3DO. Back at that time the 3DO was an open standard that was licensed for their own hardware needs. Pirating a drive from a 3DO, they were able to get the cabinet working with the 2 discs included with the deal. I can only imagine the smiles when the Beavis and Butthead theme began playing!

Circling back the the museum analogy, so many artifacts are on display via museums, but they only let you look. They have to instill such no-touch policies, but what many folks don't know about museums is they have massive storage spaces. Only a small percentage of their collection is on display for the public. At any given time, most of it is sequestered away. Letting patrons play their rare games is a tribute to how Galloping Ghost Arcade approaches gaming and respect those who love to play.

Next time you won't let a friend borrow your prized rare game cart, respect how hard it is to share :)
April 7, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Add DK Remix to your Donkey Kong arcade PCB for new levels and more

DK Remix Daughter-Card
Donkey Kong Remix is a daughter board that plugs into the Z80 socket on a Donkey Kong Arcade PCB to enable play of new levels.
Analogue Nt in 24k gold finish Donkey Kong Remix is a new version of Donkey kong including 6 new stages, three bonus stages plus the original stages giving DK Remix lots of new features. It consists of a daughter board that plugs into the Z80 socket on a Donkey Kong Arcade PCB to enable play of new levels as well as save high scores.

In our modern world of cloud-storage and digital assets, tangible things we can hold in our hands are dwindling. Streaming services tell us we shouldn't own our favorite movies and music in physical formats. The prevalence of video game downloads signals the same fate in gaming.

I love the crisp sound of music on vinyl and being able to watch any movie I own without worrying that it's been removed from streaming services. No game company can shutter a service that will affect how well Galaga plays on my Atari 7800. I'm a fan of this type of independence!

Similarly, the DK remix is a hardware solution that attaches to the arcade PCB for Donkey Kong. It isn't a modded file you use with an emulator. This clever daughter-board breathes new life into the traditional Donkey Kong experience - the way it was meant to be experienced - on an original arcade game! As technology marches forward, I hope we see more solutions like this one that remind us how great past technology was and ways we can expand on that greatness without retiring it's glory.

You can find more info on the DK Remix Facebook page.
April 6, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Analogue's NES clone returns in 24k gold and limited quantity for Zelda's 30th anniversary

Analogue Nt in 24k gold finish
If $500 seemed expensive for the Nt, you can add a zero for the 24K gold edition... Yep, $5,000.
Analogue makes beautiful game consoles from beautiful materials. From their wooden Neo Geo consoles to the aluminum NES clones, they command a high price, but serve an interesting niche. The NES clone, called the Nt, is made from original hardware, but is modified for 4-players and RGB output among other things. It's spectacular in many ways as reflected in the price.

From their mailing list, I was notified of this extremely limited edition 24k Gold Analogue Nt console. Plated in gold, with a $5,000 price point, only 10 units will be sold. The bottom of the console is sealed with a clear baseplate through which you can also admire the beautiful innards of the console - when upside-down.This edition is to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Zelda and also includes a Zelda game cartridge.

It's not for everyone, but for the collector with a desire and means, this is certainly a very unique item. It's hard to say how it's value will adjust over time, but I feel it's real value is with the original owner who wants the prestige os such a piece. Being rare and playable is certainly an enticing combination. While many of us rue the day our old ColecoVision's fail, the Nt may be both enduring and prestigious.

Analogue Nt in 24k gold finish Each piece of the Analogue Nt's aluminum enclosure is plated from the inside out in pure, 24k Gold. Hand polished and plated in Seattle, WA.
April 5, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Retro arcades are emerging in various formats including this Maryland coffee shop, Coffeecade

Andy Lee Coffeecade
Changing the business model from the 80s allows those passionate about arcades, new avenues to offering Golden Age games.
Coffeecade logo We've seen a number of creative ways businesses have integrated retro arcade games into modern business plans. Gone are the days when an arcade could remain open as long as the quarters were dropping into the coin boxes.

However, there's been a terrific resurgence of interest in retro arcade games and we've seen numerous bars offer video games and pinball to patrons. There's even a laundromat in OR bringing gaming into their business model.

Armed with a passion for video games, beginning with the 1982 Tron arcade game, Andy Lee wants to merge his passion for video games with a traditional coffee shop in Maryland. Hoping to open this Summer, he seeks to create a family-friendly business and opted to open Coffeecade. While bars have had success with the barcade model, Andy wants his business open to families. His establishment will offer both classic & modern games and pinball.

I love the passion and creativity that must go into turning a hobby into a business. Having lived through the glorious insanity of the 80 arcade era, it's so uplifting to see Lee pursue his dream. From what I've read it sounds lik a family affair involving his wife and kids as well. We wish him success and we also wish we lived closer to Maryland!

Coffeecade coffee shop arcade From the Coffeecade website:
We are looking to open in the Pasadena, MD area in the next 3 to 4 months. We will provide a great place to enjoy the highest caliber coffee available anywhere in the area and provide endless hours of enjoyment with a mix of classic and today's arcade games and pinball machines.
Get ready, Pasadena, for a jolt and a volt!
April 4, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Entertainer, equestrian, and artist Amber Rayne achieved more in 31 years than most. RIP

Andy Lee Coffeecade
Amidst this loss is a reminder to never judge a book by it's cover.
A chill ran through me this morning as I fumbled through my phone to see what news the world had to deliver. Amongst the usual drivel were several posts about the passing of Amber Rayne. I was stunned - that didn't seem possible.

Amber Rayne amber rayne amber rayne She had been tweeting just days before and I never saw mention of anything that might indicate an end. At the same time, such is the way when one is simply a fan. If her name sounds familiar, Amber Rayne was an adult actress with hundreds of titles to her credit.

She wasn't one of the glitzy superstars of porn. She was one of the unsung heros who was content to be one of the best actresses in the industry, beloved by fans, and a positive influence to those around her. She was a superstar in her own right.

While Internet news outlets focused on labeling her as a pornstar, I dusted off my copy of Night Ranger's Midnight Madness album. Who could forget 'Sister Christian' from 1983! Amber Rayne was part of their recent tour staff and went on the road with them. That's a pretty cool gig, but it didn't get any mainstream mention in the wake of her passing.

Neither did her passion for horses and sharks. I couldn't say if she dreamed of ponies as a child, but she pursued dressage which is one of the toughest aspects of equestrian sport, involving a strong bond between horse and rider. My Mom owned a horse - it's no easy task.

As for athletics of another sort, The San Jose Sharks couldn't ask for a more dedicated and vibrant fan. Perhaps her upbringing in Detroit brought out a lust for hockey. She was undeniably passionate about that team and the hockey season in general.

Amber Rayne did character development for Bravely Default

Video Game Character Development

By this time you may be wondering why I'v posted all of this on our retro gaming site. Amber occasionally posted some gaming pics and enough comic con pics to earn a true geek-rating, but it was her artistic side that surprised me most.

How likely is it that one of my favorite adult starlets would retire and take her artistic talents to Square Enix to do some character development for Bravely Default. Needless to say Amber Rayne was full of talent, surprises, and no pretention.

While it must have been fun to be part of her inner circle, I was just a fan. I followed her on Twitter and enjoyed the energy and passion she gave her pursuits. The diversity of her achievements is impressive! While Ms. Rayne may be best known for her ten years in the adult industry, she chased her dreams and they came to fruition.

In the wake of her passing, news outlets have focused on her adult film career and some associated allegations, seemingly unaware of the woman behind her many pursuits. Next time you're shopping for a good book, look beyond the cover. A book's cover is the thinnest and least important part, but it can mask all the wonders contained within if you don't look beyond. Amber Rayne was a tome of treasures with a beautiful smile. RIP.
April 3, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Konami brought the Turtles into homes on the NES by forming Ultra Games

Konami released TMNT games for arcades and formed Ultra to bring more titles to home consoles in the late 80s and 90s.
TMNT II Arcade Game for NES Way back in the 80s it did not escape me that Ultra Games put out great titles. I'd never heard of them. I simply knew their games were awesome. Titles like Metal Gear and Skate Or Die came from Ultra. It wouldn't be for quite some time that I realized that Ultra was actually a subsidiary of Konami.

In the NES era, Nintendo tried to keep a tight reign on 3rd party games by enforcing a number of hurdles for releasing a game for the console. One hurdle was a limitation of 5 games per year. Konami was quite prolific in arcades and was bringing their games to home consoles as well. They created Ultra to garner an additional 5 game releases through Nintendo's process.

Ultra Games was formed in 1988 and was used to expand the ntitles they could bring to market on Nintendo's NES and GameBoy. As Nintendo progressed and replaced the NES with a Super updated console (the SNES) they relaxed their policies and Konami no longer needed Ultra to release their games. Ultra Games was shuttered in 1992.

TMNT II Arcade Game for NES The TMNT candy tin came from Toys R Us.
April 2, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Cartoon Network is delivering 2 hours of my favorite shows combined into Regular Time Adventure Show

Cartoon Network Regular Time Adventure Show
Both Regular Show and Adventure Time get a full hour of episodes and random madness every Saturday!
Upon playing one of the Seasonal DVD's of Adventure Time or Regular Show I feel like it delivers a healthy dose of comedic awesomeness. The half-hour format always leaves me wanting more. Cartoon network seems to be experimenting with hour-long formats, back-to-back on Saturday nights. Having watched for a week or two, I love this format! Finally, it feels like getting a fair share of cartoon awesomeness.

As a fan of several Cartoon Network shows, I will always want more, but the two 60-minute segments offer a lot more diversity presenting both episodes and shorts. It's a subtle difference, but it made the shows much more enjoyable. I feel as though many of their shows are formulaic in how they are segmented and presented. I hope Cartoon Network will seek more diverse programming elements like this cool mash-up!

Cartoon Network Regular Time Adventure Show Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby in 8-Bit Land Cartoon Network's website is geared toward browser games for the most part. These tend to come and go, but the popularity of Regular Show and Adventure time have yielded full releases on conventional game consoles and handhelds. Adventure Time has seen several releases while Regular Show has a platformer on Nintendo's 3DS.

I've put more time into Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby in 8-Bit Land on the 3DS (released in 2013) and highly recommend it if you're a fan of the show. It's one of those games that makes me smile.
April 1, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Today was an interesting day for music releases with new Cheap Trick and Babymetal albums

Babymetal with Rick Nielsen's guitar
One band I've loved since the 1970s and the other is a recent phenomenon from Japan. Both bands released albums today!
If someone told me Cheap Trick was releasing a new album today, I'd have chalked it up to an April Fools prank. However, I'd heard word of a new Cheap Trick album for a few months. I knew Babymetal were releasing a second album and was stoked to realize the two releases coincided today!

In Color was the first Cheap Trick album I ever bought and own it on vinyl, cassette, and CD. For me it was one of those albums that resonated with me and definitely shaped the type of music I would enjoy as I grew up. They led me down a path of musical discovery where I'd find bands that opened me to new styles, genres, and some great live performances.

When I moved from rock to heavy metal and dabbled with thrash and rap, I never would have expected to like a J-Pop trio singing over metal tracks. If you're not familiar with Babymetal, it's 3 girls who sing a variety of J-pop styles with a fairly savage metal band playing behind them. They've created something of a divide between traditional metal-heads and those willing to give them a chance. Personally, I think they rock and they're pretty brave to bring such a different style to the world at large!

Cheap Trick and BabyMetal albums with SuperChargers Burn Cycle New Albums from Cheap Trick and Babymetal with Burn Cycle from Skylanders SuperChargers Cheap Trick's Bang, Zoom, Crazy...Hello feels and sounds like they haven't missed a beat from their early days. So many bands from my childhood are still ging strong and it's inspirational to see so many of them delivering great albums. As for Babymetal... only time will tell if they'll be rocking J-pop metal decades from now. If you haven't heard them, look them up online.