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8 Bit Central - Retro Gaming Blog

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First Quarter 2018 - January, February, and March



The first time I sat on the floor in front of a TV and played Space Invaders on an Atari 2600, I was hooked on video games. As technology expanded and improved, I still loved those early games. Today we love finding parallels between pixelated 8-bit games and the enormous industry wrought by modern video games. Check out our retro gaming perspective.



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March 2018 Retro Gaming Articles:

March 31, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Even during their Liquidation sale, Toys R Us still has ridiculously high prices

I stopped into my local TRU for the liquidation sale and still wanted to price-match with Amazon!
We've all been to "Going Out Of Business" sales and taken advantage of the customary 50 - 90% savings one finds. With that in mind, I stopped by my local Toys R Us and was astounded to see their "up to 30% off" signs were devastatingly accurate. As a premium toy store, TRU was never the inexpensive option and I'm OK with that. But during my visit the other day I didn't find any items marked down 30%.

Amazon easily beats Toys R Us liquidation pricing. LEGO sets offered NO discount. Video games and consoles were at a paltry 5% discount. I couldn't find anything with a 30% discount! This is the strangest "Going Out Of Business Sale" I've ever seen.

TRU always had premium pricing, but that doesn't fit with liquidation.
We've read the stories about Mattel and Hasbro claiming Toys R Us owes them millions from merchandise shipped to TRU stores. Part of liquidation within bankruptcy confines is to payback such vendors.

Is Nostalgia Driving TRU Liquidation Pricing?

I wonder if nostalgia is fueling enough brick & mortar commerce without the traditionally large discounts one typically expects. I've never seen so many cars in the lot at my local store. Could they actually be emptying out their stores without slashing prices? That would be hilarious.

I haven't bought anything at TRU since Christmas. I'm angry about the bad loans leading to closure followed by the millions paid out to executives who seemed eager to ditch the company and take the money and run. I don't think TRU was given a fair chance at recovery under bankruptcy protection. Did anyone expect the chain to reinvent and recover in four or five months? They accelerated the failure to cash in and move on.

Many stores seem to think they'll close forever in the next week or two. That being the case, can they really sell off their inventory with their traditionally awful pricing? Strangest closing ever...

Toys R Us liquidation sale prices are absurdly high
March 24, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

With Easter week upon us, Player-2 is coming for a visit

We're taking the week off to play video games!
Aside from all the 2-player games I get to enjoy when my son visits, he's a great kid with a passion for retro video games and 80's new wave music. We have a blast together and I never mind taking time away from the real world to descent into all the games we love to play and the places they take us!

If you know a kid who loves his Xbox a little too much, try sharing some retro games with them and see if they don't have just as much fun with old pixelated games as the do with today's modern masterpieces. Retro is making a comeback of epic proportion. Share your favorite part of your childhood with someone still shaping theirs!
March 23, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Billionaire CEO behind Bratz dolls and Little Tike wants to save Toys R Us via Go Fund Me

Save Toys R Us via Go Fund Me
I have a scant grasp on economics and how various forces mesh and clash, but I would not choose Go Fund Me to raise $1 billion.
Of the craziness out there in toy retail in the wake of Toys R Us going into liquidation, trying to raise one bilion dollars via Go Fund Me seems futile at best. Sure, it creates a wonderful awareness campaign, but this doesn't strike me as a viable way to raise real capital. At the same time, I didn't expect some random investment group to buy the KB Toys brand and try to bring it to market. What's going on our there? So much crazy!

Isaac Larian and two other investors are pledging $200 million to try to save 400 of the remaining US Toys R Us stores destined for closure. Larian, the founder and CEO of MGA Entertainment, seeks bankruptcy court approval to buy 400 stores and the Toys "R" Us brand. Of the many oddities of using Go Fund Me for such an endeavor, I wonder if the awareness it may generate will have any effect.

I really have no idea how to wrap my head around a Go Fund Me campaign to save a commercial retailer from closure. Usually we see such funding efforts to pay for an adorable puppy's veterinary care. This seems like having a bake-sale to raise capital for a Manhattan real estate venture.

As I mentioned, finance is not my forte. Strange things are possible when you least expect it. As summer passes and another holiday season looms, it will be interesting to see what sort of retail options will arise for the toy-buying crowd.
March 22, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Toys R Us founder Charles Lazarus passed away today at 94

This is so sad in the wake of Toys R Us' financial problems resulting in liquidation.
The ironic timing of his passing makes his death and the closure of Toys R Us so much more traumatic. He founded the popular toy store 70 years ago in 1948 where it evolved from a children's furniture store. Toys R Us has enchanted generations of kids from my childhood to bringing my son there to stock up on action figures and video games.

It was a unique store catering to so many different kinds of toys. My son and I would browse the aisles and always find something fun. From Trash Packs to Sea Monkeys and Thomas the Tank Engine, we always had a great time at Toys R Us.

AToys R Us founder Charles Lazarus
March 22, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

In a suite across the street from GDC, Atari attempted to showcase a non-functional Atari VCS game console

Atari showcased their Atari VCS
With little knowledge of marketing or product development, Atari stumbles along for anyone who's still interested.
While ground breaking innovations in gaming technology were showcased at this year's Game Developer's Conference, Atari was in a suite across the street with an Atari VCS reveal. Those venturing over to see Atari's offering,. came face-to-face with mock-ups of the game console (non functional), a modern controller, and a modern take on the 2600 controller from the 70s.

Atari showcased their Atari VCS Clearly, the current brand-owners of the Atari name have no clue about video game promotion. They cancelled a crowd funding campaign last December on the day it was to go live. The claim was "one small thing wasn't ready". Four months of silence ensued until they announced they would be showing the Ataribox (now called the Atari VCS) at GDC... neglecting to mention they were showing it in a suite at the Marriott across the street. This is why they didn't appear on the GDC exhibitor list.

Reports of the mock designs ripped across social media for those who still had any interest in Atari's alleged game console. The on-site rep apparently didn't know which AMD chipset would be used. They might swap to a faster one. Oh... OK. Obviously, this device will not be released any time soon. The modern controller was nothing more than a solid lump of plastic - total mock-up - with no moving buttons or sticks.

Even more unforgivable was the retro controller. Visually, I love it and would gladly buy one if it were to function with a Mac or PC. But there's the issue. One journalist who examined Atari's goods at the Marriott was told the stick was functional. The Atari VCS was a hollow prototype, but he was told the retro stick was functional - it's various indicator lights illuminated. So, he plugged the USB connector into his laptop. Many 3rd party USB controllers for retro consoles also work on PCs with emulators software. Of course, upon being plugged into a laptop... and, nothing. Proprietary? Broken? Who knows.

Atari VCS prototype controllers I was initially excited at Atari's announcement during last year's E3 (They didn't attend that conference either), but they have too many vapor-ware products to account for. What ever happened with their crowd funded GameBand smartwatch? Is anyone still playing Asteroids Outpost?

I see no evidence they know how to bring a product to market - even in small quantities via Indiegogo. The idea they can compete with Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft is laughable. They brought a lump of plastic to GDC while minds were being blown at the actual conference. Delivering disappointment seems to be the commonality to most of Atari's recent endeavors.

Atari is not taking this product seriously and they look foolish for the poor job they've done from day one. If nothing else, they're consistent. There's no excuse for showing up at a professional game dev conference with a hollow prototype. If the device isn't ready to show from boot-up to game-play, it has no business being at such a conference. GDC isn't a comic con run amok with wide-eyed kids. Professionals are staking their careers on their latest creations. Showing a rigid solid controller mock-up is a joke. Wake up Atari. There is no "A" for effort - you failed!

Rear ports on the Atari VCS The fact that fans will still drool over the possibility of this new Atari VCS console reinforces something I've said all along. Give up the tech. Turn Atari into a lifestyle brand. Do what Gene Simmons did for Kiss - put that name and logo on EVERYTHING! Atari could make a killing off a few t-shirt and hat designs and it expands exponentially from there. I'd gladly buy some slick Atari swag.
March 22, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Toys R Us halts liquidation sale. Hope rises like a phoenix. Nope, they're doing it tomorrow.

Toys R Us halts liquidation sale
Was Toys R Us saved at the last minute? Did they find their white knight? Nope. They can't even get liquidating right.
Eager shoppers seeking great saving s and deals galore began lining up at Toys R Us locations across the country. Word had gotten out that the sales would beging Thursday and people came out in force. Unfortunately, they were confronted by signs saying it was postponed.

When I hear that, I assumed some investor had come along at the midnight hour to rescue the beloved toy chain. A world without Geoffrey just isn't the same. Alas, we'll have to deal with that reality.

For a brief moment, I thought there was a reprieve... alas, there is not.
News began circulating about angry vendors trying to halt liquidation in hopes of retrieving their products that TRU has yet to pay for.Seeing all those $35 Barbie dolls fly out the door for $2 is a tough pill to swallow after TRU executives took their millions of dollars in bonus money and left the company to falter. Giants like Mattel and Hasbro want to be paid more than pennies on the dollar for all the inventory sitting in TRU stores.

The liquidation will happen. Many say it Friday will be the day. Time will tell, but all signs point to it happening soon and the chain closing forever.

Coincidentally, news of KB Toys making a comeback are now circulating. It's an odd world out there...
March 21, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

As Toys R Us goes into Liquidation, an LLC with rights to KB Toys promises to save the toy industry

KB Tpus logo
Strategic Brands acquired rights to KB Toys about a year ago and the world feels upside down at the moment.
I grew up playing with G.I. Joe and Toys R Us was my go-to store for all the after-school action adventure a kid could ask for. Epic battles were won. Strategic missions were completed. Geoffrey Giraffe hooked me up with the things that drove my childhood. Nolan Bushnell made some dramatic inroads on my playtime as well.

So, a massive $5 billion debt finally sank any hope of maintaining Toys R Us. As this shocking news sank in, a company called Strategic Brands announces a plan to save the toy industry after obtaining rights to KB Toys. Coincidentally, Toys R Us acquired the leftovers of KB Toys when it went out of business in 2009. However TRU let the registration lapse and it was snatched up. Could this really be a realistic comeback for KB Toys? Time will tell.

Crazy times out there in toy retail. My one hope is that generations of kids do not grow up thinking WalMart is a toy store!

KB Toys storefront
March 21, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

When it comes to "Do Not Congratulate", Putin isn't the only one we may want to hold back

Trump couldn't follow this simple directive and social media media can't understand today's circumstances versus those in 2012
Trump's odd love-affair with Russian leader, Putin is an odd passion, but par for the course with our president. He wanted to contact Putin and upon doing so, he was directed by advisors, not to congratulate Putin on his recent election victory. This is primarily due to Russian meddling in our elections.

Ignoring a bold-faced, capitalized directive - DO NOT CONGRATULATE - Trump immediately congratulated Putin during his phone call. Or course he did. This info was leaked and has garnered numerous headlines from national newspapers to social media. Trump supporters are quick to point out that Obama congratulated Putin in 2012, but they seem to forget that circumstances are different today.

in 2012, russia was not meddling with our elections as they did in 2016. Additionally, Obama's congrats were five days after the election, which was a bit of a slight to Putin. So, dial it back trumpers and learn to look outside the box now and then.

Donkey Kong champ Billy Mitchell has been in the news lately over contesting some of his world records. Debates have opened up challenging his claims to numerous records. I've never been a fan. He seems kind of smarmy and full of himself. Glad the hot sauce is working out, but move on from trying to be some sort of retro gaming hero.

Billy Mitchell
March 20, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Limited Run Games brings it's first PlayStation VR game, Pixel Gear, to market as a physical version for PS4

At only 1,800 copies, this will be a very rare PS4 game.
Limited Run Games' PlayStation VR game, Pixel Gear I love what Limited Run Games does. For those of us who prefer physical games as opposed to downloaded versions, they bring digital copies to discs. I've purchased several and they're terrific. Branching out with Nintendo Switch games in the near future, they've now introduced their first PSVR title, Pixel Gear.

They often introduce titles with about 5,000 units available. Pixel Gear will only have 1,800 available units. Collectors might want to buy a copy or two and add this rare title to the collection.
March 20, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

After a visit to Iowa to promote Trump's infrastructure initiative, Ivanka sciences her way into a meme

This family is steeped in nonsense.
With all the delays from Atari, perhaps the Presiden't daughter can science a solution for their lagging timeline. It's nearly been a year since Atari announced the Ataribox (now called the Atari VCS) and they've still not shown proof-of-concept. They haven't even shown any game footage. What is this thing?

Retro Fighters Brawler64 gamepad
March 20, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Retro Fighters are back with another amazing retro gaming controller - the Brawler64 gamepad

Retro Fighters Brawler64 gamepad
I love their modernized NES controller and am excited about this release for the Nintendo 64!
You're going to love the Brawler64 gamepad currently being crowd funded on Kickstarter. The manufacturer has a great track record and are doing great things for the retro community.

When it comes to modern controllers for aging retro game consoles, we love what Retro Fighters are doing. Taking the modern standard of dual analog sticks and shoulder & trigger buttons, they apply it wonderfully to retro gaming consoles while retaining the intent and functionality of the original. And It's more than just the feeling of a modern controller. Their NES controller completely revolutionizes the play options for NES games! Seriously, it's that good!

in 2016, Retro Fighters released that amazing modern controller for the Nintendo NES. It offers a myriad of options to apply to various conditions in games. This past January they released a Nintendo Switch controller in a delicious neon blue

Now they are crowd funding translucent N64 controllers via Kickstarter - the Brawler64 gamepad. Based on the performance of their NES controller, I'm all over this campaign! Check it out for all the specs and see if this might not improve your N64 sessions.
March 19, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Atari tries to generate Ataribox buzz during GDC by renaming it “Atari VCS”

Atari renames the Ataribox to Atari VCS
Yes, Atari has decided to rename it's upcoming game console rather than releasing specifications that might prompt sales.
Atari began stirring the pot shortly before last year's E3 conference with news of an upcoming game console. With limited info, they attempted to crowd-fund it on Indiegogo, but pulled the campaign on launch day. Atari has said it will be Intel-based and run Linux with the ability to play both modern video games and Atari classics. It sounds like an AtGames Flashback with an internet connection.

Today, in an Ataribox article on Venturbeat, they confirmed Atari's desire to show the atari box at this week's Game Developer's Conference (GDC) and that their mystery console has been renamed "Atari VCS". Yes, the same name as their 1977 flagship product that put the Atari brand on the map. Alas, the current holders of the Atari license are not the shining innovators who brought astounding games to arcades and then into living rooms. Today's Atari dabbles in online casino games and ambiguous products like the Gameband smartwatch.

I'm leery of this whole project. With next to no technical info released to the public, Atari expected us to crowd fund this device last Fall? At the outset of this project I wanted to believe in it, but it has been so mishandled and oddly secretive, I'm done with it. From prior "Atari" project track records, I'm done playing this game. I've loved Atari since childhood, but this nonsense is insulting to gamers and the industry. BTW - If Atari is touting this console at GDC... why are they not on the GDC Exhibitor List?

The media circus is revving up as more and more stories hit the web touting a new Atari VCS. One article mentioned March 21 as the day Atari has chosen to display this console and prototype controllers. Deep down I hope Atari can pull this off, but the odds are stacked high against them and I'm sure the pre-order date will involve crowd funding of some sort. I love ya, Atari, but no thanks.

Ataribox prototype with modern and classic controllers I'm pissed and I'm rambling. I love Atari, but this has been a frustrating lead-in to a new game console. I tookk a very long lunch break from work in '93 to buy a Jaguar on launch day. I have no desire to jump on this new product. The current holding company has tainted the brand. I love what Atari did decades ago, but recent actions have been difficult to watch.
March 18, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Pixelboy releases Colecovision games on cartridges and I'm stoked to buy Wizard Of Wor

Ataribox prototype at GDC
Pixelboy has released a lot of Colecovision homebrew games as well as arcade ports, some taking advantage of the Super Game Module!
When I saw a Youtube video of Wizard Of Wor on a Colecovision, my senses perked up. I've played it on the Atari 2600, 5200 & 800, but Coleco? I hadn't heard of that port. Enter Team Pixelboy and their terrific dedication to releasing cartridge-based gams for the Colecovision.

Ataribox prototype at GDC I grew up with an Atari 2600 and a friend who had an Intellivision. We'd bicker back and forth over which console was best. It turned out we were both wrong. When the Colecovision came out, it surpassed the abilities of both our systems and even had a module that let you play 2600 games.

I wasn't a fan of the Coleco controllers with those curly-cords than nearly dragged you across the carpet toward the console... and that thumb-stick. But the games were glorious. I didn't own one until a decade after it's arrival, but playing 8-bit games on a Colecovision is a retro gaming requirement - it's that good!

Take a look at the Pixel Boy website and see all the titles they offer. Naturally, this collection has evolved over time so you can't expect overnight delivery on anything you want, but when I see Zaxxon and Joust among the offerings... it's worth waiting for! They also offer games that take advantage of the Super Game Module, an add-on module that enhances the Colecovision's capabilities.

March 17, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Our next shot at Ataribox info may be next week's Game Developers Conference

Ataribox prototype at GDC
An Ataribox prototype is rumored to be at GDC as well as Tempest 4000 and a third Flashback compilation for PS4.
You don't have to wait for E3 to get a jump on upcoming video games. GDC 2018 is next week and hosts a slew of game devs eager to show off their wares. Atari announced the "Ataribox during last year's E3 conference, but did not attend nor show the hardware. I've found a few websites claiming Atari will be at GDC this year - with an Ataribox prototype.

As much as I want to believe this, Atari is not listed on the GDC website's Exhibitor list. That doesn't mean they can't be part of the mix in an external fashion, but I'd like to hear from Atari themselves rather than relying on third-party info. Shouldn't Atari be excited (and talkative) about showcasing upcoming games and hardware? Such a strange way to introduce products.

If I were to take a wild guess, I'd say the Ataribox is a fantastic idea that will never appear on a retail shelf. This contradicts what I've seen online regarding their GDC participation. time will tell.

In addition to their Ataribox, they are apparently going to to show Tempest 4000 for PS4 and the latest compilation disc in the Flashback series with another 50 arcade and console classics, again for the PS4. RollerCoaster Tycoon for Nintendo's Switch - a first for Atari - was also mentioned.

Every time the Atari name comes up, I can't help but get excited. I know it's a different company, but this time around... I'd be stoked to find out more about T4K - Minter creates amazing games!
March 16, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

After reading Cline's, Armada, I needed the “Raid The Arcade” mix-tape detailed in his novel

Raid The Arcade mixtape from Armada
I was stoked to realize I already owned almost all of the songs from the mix, so I created it on CD for myself!
Ater reading Ready Player One - coming to theaters in a few weeks - I was hungry for more and delved into Ernest Cline's next novel, Armada. I wish I could say I was a prolific reader, but I often don't find time to sit down and eat, let alone read. However, recent weather conditions changed that via several mulit-day power outages. After 3 savage storms, the first of which put a tree on my roof, I powered through 4 novels as daylight faded and my desire for more continued via candle light.

Armada Cline's first novel was full of great pop-culture references from the 80s. In Armada, Zack Lightman has always wished the world could be a bit more like the movies and video games he loves. His father was a product of the 80s and passed that passion on to Zach. Part of it involved a mix-tape titled, “Raid The Arcade” comprised of obscure songs from his father's youth.

Coincidentally, I recently began a project of re-organizing my CD collection and have been creating a listing of my music. As I looked through the songs on the Raid The Arcade mix-tape, I smiled knowing I owned most of these songs already! Music has always been an important part of my life. There are so many songs that instantly remind me of specific events, after hearing only a few bars. Music is powerful and impacts us more than we may realize.

I like mixes - especially recreating ones not necessarily connected directly to me - like the Raid The Arcade mix! In my youth, we often had Van Halen blasting out the windows of a Camaro as we cruised to the local arcade each weekend. Those were great days! So, the idea of listening to someone else's mix intrigues me. I liked the mix-tape element of the Guardians Of The Galaxy soundtracks. Cool idea to take that age old concept forward in this day and age.

Music can be very powerful. The right mix tape can change your world!
Of course the Raid the Arcade mix is a good match for a 90 minute cassette, but doesn't fit as neatly on a single CD. In fact it requires two CDs to complete. As a fan of physical media, listening to this mix on Spotify - which doesn't offer one of the tracks - doesn't cut it. I needed it on a CD. I still have a tape player, but the notion of "taping" all the songs from my CD collection is one of those things that doesn't fit into my inexplicably scarce free time.

As I introduce my son to bands I grew up with, I make him a "greatest hits" mix CD of the highlights. I like the idea that the Mix-Tape still has a place and purpose in today's world. While most people have let go of their stereo systems and load digital music on their smartphones, some of us like the tactile feeling of a tape of disc and the decision of which albums should we play in the car today? :)
March 15, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Toys R Us has ended, unable to escape it's debt combined with current retail conditions

Nokia 8110 phone
Children will now grow up thinking WalMart is a toy store. That is tragic!
As the top executives began siphoning millions of dollars "to retain key players" in the Toys R Us restructuring... they all knew. Filing for bankruptcy protection last September, we all hoped they could save the store so many children grew up with. But green prevails in all situations. Amidst heartfelt sorrows, their CEO will likely depart a much wealthier man.

Bankruptcy bought time. Closure was inevitable.
Turning TRU around wasn't going to happen in a few months. Such endeavors can take more than a year to even show a slight upturn. So three months after paying out exorbitant retention bonuses, the upper echelon realized their white knight wasn't going to arrive and buy them out of the mess they made. So, they shut it down and will undoubtedly find another institution to destroy. It's what we do as humans.

Aside from children growing up thinking WalMart is a toy store, the other cultural loss is simply the end of toy stores. Many strip malls will find it hard to find a tenant who needs the vast spaces that Geoffrey once roamed. This is the tragic end of an era and nothing outsmarted TRU and came swooping in to fill the void. Toy stores, like small books stores will dwindle until everyone has a WalMart rewards card in their possession.

How & Why

Greed reared it's ugly head. Golden parachutes for copper executives.
Across the comment sections of every duplicated story about Toys R Us' demise you'll find angry penny-pinchers complaining about the pricing structure at TRU and how they deserve what they get for charging so much. These people are victims of our failing education system. Idiots. Saddled with five billion dollarsof debt, whether you sell barbie dolls for $35 or $12... you aren't going to reduce your debt through sales volume alone. You require an additional miracle.

Like the housing and mortgage debacle a few years back - you had winners and losers. Everyone involved had sought a $250,000 home, but gladly signed up for a $600,000 mortgage knowing the outcome was uncertain at best. Being homeless was the other end of that scale. Toys R Us, in this example, is now homeless. Some of those home buyers lucked out and their homes appreciated in value and they restructured their mortgages or sold their homes. It was a matter of timing. Those who were lucky got out. The others were buried. TRU found themselves in a similar quandary.

It must have been e-commerce, right? All those online shoppers who never leave their houses for anything - they ruined Toys R Us. Again, not true. The numbers don't add up. Sure, Amazon and other online outlets have taken customers from TRU, but those numbers alone don't add up to it's demise. In fact, without the debt, TRU was quite profitable. Brick and mortar retailers need to bolster their online capability and turn their retail stores into destinations that enhance and educate consumers about key products. It's not brick & mortar versus e-commerce. The two need to work together.

I'm sure TRU executives thought they could merge or sell or do something to combat the enormous debt they took on through a leveraged buyout. Like some of those homeowners who were in the right spot at the right time, TRU may well have been able to "find a resolution" and continue onward.

"Greed works"
-Gordon Gekko
Alas, when you spend all your time and money seeking options, you tend to ignore what is right in front of you. In their case it was an aging infrastructure, decades behind it's rivals. When you struggle for ten years to pay your "minimum due", you don't have the luxury of keeping up with the times and renovating your operation.

Most of their stores look the same as they did in the 80s. My local TRU store hasn't changed it's layout in over a decade. It's safe to say this story was finalized years ago and the senior management team either knew it or was too stupid to be in management.

Cultural Loss

I will dearly miss Toys R Us and the amazing variety of products they sold. It was my go-to place when shopping for my son... and often for myself. No one will ever have the breadth of products found at Toys R Us. It's a shame is was ruined by financial decisions motivated by greed. A lot of circumstances when into it's demise, but greed was the ultimate ruination.

I know of a few indie toy stores in my area, but they cater to a different set of toys. TRU may have been seen as a "box-store" lacking the local vibe of an indie store, but they were a toy store at heart. They offered toys that few others did. As box-stores go, I have a fondness for TRU that I will never have for Walmart or Target.

Maybe it's my childhood memories of their G.I. Joe aisle and all the adventures those toys brought me. Perhaps it was the transfer of this passion to my son when he and I went looking for Terminator action figures or Trash Pack toys. We loved discovering fun toys at Toys R Us. There simply won't be a replacement. The toy world is forever changed by a void never to be filled.
March 12, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Nokia 8110 - the Matrix phone - is making a nostalgic comeback and you can still play Snake

Nokia 8110 phone
Neo made that Nokia look pretty slick back in 1999!
When The Matrix debuted, I found myself at a midnight showing, which was counter to my movie enjoyment. I'm a matinee movie-goer. I like being the only one in the theater at 11am taking in a cool flick. That night (morning?) at the Matrix was pretty crazy.

The late 909s were a unique era and a blockbuster like The Matrix was having a big impact on the growing cyber generation who were charging around the web as though they'd been doing so for decades. The Matrix made everyone feel like a cyber warrior. So Neo gets the delivery at the office. Rips open the cardboard envelope and out slides a phone. It rings. It springs open and the theater went crazy.

8-bit Neo from the Matrix I don't know what was in the air in that theater, but every kid in the place began screaming at the spring-loaded marvel of cellular wonder. The Nokia 8110. Suddenly all the scifi was flushed as lustful teens made audible pledges that this was their next phone. At $1K... I doubt it.

The Matrix Phone Arrives In May

So, Nokia is bringing back the Matrix-phone in May. You can now own this 4G delight complete with the infamous Snake game. Much like last year's reissue of the 3310, The Matrix phone is a dumb phone. It has none of the features your curent phone has, but it has Neo's stamp of approval.

As an entry level phone, you'll get 512K RAM and 4GB of flash storage with an SD card option to expand upon that. The 2.4" display with a 240×320 resolution is as lame as the 2MP camera, but that's bolstered by the Neo effect. This is Neo's phone. The Matrix Phone! For the right price I'd get one... and a black trenchcoat.
March 11, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Lizard for Nintendo NES: Choose your lizard carefully if you want to get to the volcano

Lizard for NES
Lizard is an original game for the NES. You can download the ROM to play on several platforms via emulator or buy the NES cartridge!
Choose your lizard carefully to maximize your dealings from physical challenges to gaining info from creatures you encounter in this NES homebrew game, Lizard. You can find six different costumes scattered across the land, each with its own special ability. Put on your lizard costume and acquire the abilities of that costume.

Lizard for NES You'll find six different costumes throughout this exploratory platformer. From the videos I've seen, there's a lot to explore and find with lots of diverse terrain to navigate. Looks really fun and offers save states via passwords, so you can keep at it for session after session!

You'll need the special abilities as you make your difficult journey through many dangerous places. Carefully hop your way to the top of an active volcano. Surf down a surging river. Swim an underwater lake. Ascend a snowy mountaintop. What kind of strange creatures will you meet? Can you unravel the mysteries of Lizard? Check out the Lizard website for ordering info!
March 11, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I always get excited about awards shows and then I remember how awful they are

iHeart Music Awards seem to nominate the same five artists in every single category!
The iHeart Music Awards are on TBS tonight. Were it not for a Metallica inclusion for Rock Artist of the Year, the entire scene is dominated by pop groups, many ow whom don't play instruments. If they insist on calling this show "music" awards, they need to diversify their definition of music.

As much as I like Taylor Swift, buying Judas Priest's new album, Firepower, at a local shop was invigorating. They've been rocking the world for 40 years! Salute that, iHeart!

Hawaiian Punch
March 11, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I used to drink Hawaiian Punch by the barrel as a kid and I just found this at the store

Has Hawaiian Punch made a comeback or do I need to pay more attention to my grocer's shelves?
Hey! How 'bout a nice Hawaiian Punch?

I loved Hawaiian Punch when I was a did. It came in a large metal can that looked like an over-sized soup can. I chugged that stuff throughout my childhood and then it drifted from my consciousness. The other day I saw a 2-liter bottle of it and snapped it up. Apparently, I've not ben diligent in the beverage aisle.

Hawaiian Punch I swear I haven't seen this brand for forty years! I need to get out more... or have a talk with the purchasing agents in my local area!
March 11, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The re-emergence of Xbox's Duke controller isn't delayed. The first run sold out and the next batch are coming late April

Love it or hate it, the Duke controller, for Xbox One, is making a comeback via Hyperkin
GameStop began taking pre-orders not long ago and now it appears that the release date has been pushed back. But wait...

Rumor has it the new date of late-April is for a second run of the controller. Apparently, the first batch sold out very fast! Who'd have thought it :)

Xbox's Duke controller
March 10, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

March 10th is MAR10 Day and Google Maps has put a Mario touch on their mobile app

Add some Mario fun to your next journey!
With March 10 being recognized as Mario Day, Google Maps has made navigating on iOS and Android a bit more fun. For the next week, you can tap the question mark icon and give your current location indicator a Mario Kart update!

Google Maps puts a Mario touch on their mobile app
March 9, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Judas Priest's Firepower album dropped today and it rocks

Judas Priest
I flet anticipation all day until I could jet over to Newbury Comics at the mall for the new Priest album!
Firepower has a nice throwback to the classic priest sound while delivering a very unique album. After 40 years, it's amazing they are still creating music and haven't backed off from delivering the best metal out there.

I still remember the day I saw British Steel in a record store in White Plains, NY. Looking at that cover, I knew it must be awesome, so I bought it on a lark. That started my passion for priest that's lasted a lifetime!

Judas Priest Firepower TMNT
March 9, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

A Bloomberg report prompted cascading reports of aggressive closings of all Toys R Us stores

vintage Toys R Us store
No one expected Toys R Us to bounce back from billions in debt, but CNN reported they may close all stores within one week
It looks like the end is near for Toys R Us. Having entered bankruptcy protection last September, the outlook seemed bleak. They brokered a loan to get them through the Christmas season, but very little seemed to change at the store level. It seems as though they were biding time in hopes of a white knight swooping in to buy them out or otherwise save the day. Time is up.

A Bloomberg article swept through the web stating that Toys R Us was soon to be liquidating their entire operation and shuttering all of their stores - sooner than one might think. CNN came out with the notion that the beloved toy giant might be gone in a matter of days: Bankrupt retailer Toys "R" Us may shut all its US stores as soon as next week, according to several reports. Time will tell - keep an eye on your local store.

Sinking Ship.. of toys

About a decade ago, Toys R Us went through a leveraged buyout that left the company laden with billions in debt. Until now, they had been able to restructure and finagle around paying off that debt. This left them in a precarious position and as time passed - lots of time - they were focused on managing their debt rather than being able to modernize their retail and online operations. Consequently, many of their stores are too large and very out-dated. The shopping experience hasn't changed much at all over the decades. New toys - old methods.

They've always been known for high prices. I rarely buy anything there without price-matching. I'm the kind of shopper who finds something cool and wants it NOW. Being able to bring down the cost via price-matching made shopping there feasible. As a consumer, I saw no changes in their stores since entering bankruptcy.

Geoffrey Needs A Hug

I'm angry and sad about their imminent closing because it was avoidable and leaves a huge void in the toy market. Liquidating only six months after entering bankruptcy seems like an easy way out for those at the "top" who can walk away with millions of dollars in their pockets. The board approved millions in bonuses to retain personnel key to the Toys R Us turn-around and recovery. Then they liquidate a few months later!?! WTF? That doesn't sound like anything but cheating investors who stand to lose everything as the toy store evaporates.

Liquidating Toys R Us leaves a huge void that will never be filled.
The other factor is the uniqueness of Toys R Us. Many have blamed Amazon and WalMart's aggressive pricing as a key downfall. This is the same excuse used in discussions about failing malls full of vacant stores. The numbers don't add up for the mall story nor Toys R Us!

In the case of TRU, the majority of the blame is on Toys R Us themselves. Regardless of how it happened, liquidation of Toys R Us leaves a huge void in the toy market. If you buy toys at WalMart and think it's the same as TRU - YOU'RE OUT OF YOUR MIND (and a bit dumb).

Toys R Us Will Never Be Replaced

The vast selection and breadth of products at TRU is unparalleled. WalMart has two or three aisles of toys. Toys R Us has enormous stores full of toys. Sure, Amazon seems infinite in their supply of... well, everything. However, discovering products on Amazon is problematic. Strolling the aisles of Toys R Us (or a book store) reveals much more product exposure than a myriad of Amazon website searches. I find cool stuff at TRU all the time. I can't really "shop" on Amazon unless I know specifically what I want.

TRU had high prices, but they stocked a lot of variety on their shelves. You won't find that variety anywhere else. There are still some independent toy stores, but, like WalMart, they don't have much inventory. Where else can you buy Terminator action figures, Splatoon 2, a nerf gun, a Ouija board, Nintendo plush, and a bicycle? Tell me. Anywhere? Consumers are losing a lot with TRU vacating. There is nothing to step in to fill the gap.

Circuit City and Nobody Beats The Wiz went under and Best Buy absorbed that void. Toys R Us is the last lage chain store dedicated to toys. Remember Kay-Bee Toys? There's nothing of this sort in existence. I loved Toys R Us as a kid and an adult. I browsed their stores weekly for as long as I can remember and I always take my son to see what treasures we can find. I'll be sad when Geoffrey is all packed up and off to other adventures. It was a wonderful ride.
March 8, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Southpark and Crash Bandicoot are coming to Nintendo's Switch

Today's Nintendo Direct announced two things I never thought would be allowed in Nintendo's universe.
Nintendo Directs always seem to appear live when I can't drop in and ingest the news. Via a later email, I discovered Southpark and Crash Bandicoot are coming to Switch! I'm psyched!

I can't wait for SouthPark: The Fractured But Whole to hit the Switch on April 10th! As Summer arrives, so will Crash Bandicoot. I snapped up the N Sane Trilogy for PS4 on lunch day, but it will be a welcome addition to the Switch July 10. I hope hey are both boing to be physical releases on carts!

Southpark and Crash Bandicoot are coming to Switch
March 8, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

An inverted McDonald's sign for International Women's Day mimics Beavis And Butthead's Burger World sign

McDonalds mimics Burger World for International Women's Day
International Women's Day coincides with the 25th Anniversary of Beavis & Butthead and Burger World jokes abound.
As the #InternationalWomensDay hashtag began trending across social media, the internet was quick to call out a story emanating from a California McDonalds. The location made a large adjustment to the iconic golden arches branding by flipping it upside down on their large outdoor roadside sign - all in commemoration of International Women's Day. That's a large commitment and a cool thing to do... as long as corporate doesn't revoke their franchise license.

Burger World hat McDonald's seemed down with the program and flipped their logo on social media as well as creating special packaging and uniforms for 100 of it's restaurants. This is the first time in their history that they have allowed their branding to be altered. It's a special occasion!

Enter Beavis and Butthead

However, March 8th was a momentous occasion in animation in 1993. Beavis and Butthead debuted on Mtv and found an instant audience. The show ran until November 1997 garnering fans with it's obnoxiousness and delightfully crude humor. However, anniversaries and chronology didn't cross our delinquent duo with today's Women's festivities. It's all about Burger World.

One of the few responsible acts Beavis and Butthead endeavored was part-time employment at Burger World. The establishment's branding and logo were direct rip-off of McDonalds - including a large "W" atop the yellow and red Burger World sign.

So, there were many comparison's between the Women's Day and Mtv's awesome delinquents. I miss those two. The 2011 resurgence didn't really go anywhere, but I loved just seeing them on TV again - on Mtv no less. I know licensing the music videos was problematic when releasing the series on DVD.

Rather than releasing the episodes by season, three sets of "Best Of" stuff was released. I'd also purchased a lot of single disc titles from Time Life who were peddling various compilations of Beavis and Butthead. Even if the music videos had to be excluded, I'd still love to see a re-release of all the episodes by season. Maybe one day...

McDonalds mimics Burger World for International Women's Day Yeah, that's a total tribute to Burger World. Nice work, Ronald!
March 5, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Tower Records' founder, Russ Solomon passes away at 92

Tower Records
Tower Records changed the way I shopped for music and made discovering new music as easy as it was exciting!
When I was a kid I lived outside New York City and was able to take advantage of all the things a major city has to offer. My parents took me to broadway shows and museums. My dad took me to lavish events offered through his job. But when I hit NYC with my friends we went to the Tower Records in the Village!

All Things Must Pass DVD We'd see that long yellow banner and the red lettering as we approached. Never going with purpose, we entered Tower Records in search of a new experience. I first discovered the Surf Punks at Tower as well as Suicidal Tendencies. Every visit, I looked for those bands while the excitement of a new discovery loomed.

After graduation, I was living in Connecticut and discovered there was a Tower Records just one mile from my house. I remember driving across town, during lunch hour from my job, and seeing that familiar sign across the top of the building.

It was two stories of music and I loved browsing the bins of CDs and finding something new every visit. I could go every day and find something new. The breadth of their selection was astounding. They even had a robust selection of CD-singles - lol.

Two years after my son was born, Tower Records was closing down. It was the end of an era. It was the end of "the record store". There had been plenty of places to buy music, but they slowly disappeared. Tower remained. I love Tower Records.

I was in the Connecticut area when my former local store was closing down. I was with my son who was all of two years old. I had an employee take our photo in the store under a Tower Records logo. I wanted to be able to tell him about this amazing store one day and how it brought out my passion for music. I wanted to show him that picture and tell him about the day I insisted we stop in for one last purchase... and a picture. I wanted him to know I'd taken him to Tower Records.

I'm anxious to check out All Things Must Pass on DVD and find out more about Tower Records' history and re-live the glory of this amazing store that was so much more!. It's a documentary on Tower's history produced by actor and former Sacramentan Colin Hanks. The movie debuted in March 2015

Thank you Mr. Solomon, for creating a retail experience like no other - a place that excited and fostered my craving for music.
March 4, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Is the Culk really a retro gamer, chilling at his pad with some Toejam & Earl on Oscars night?

Insert "Home Alone" joke here...
Unfortunately, my power was out during the Oscars. I'd have been glad to be able to fire up some Toejam & Earl on the Genesis! It has a great sense of humor, awesome soundtrack, and a co-op mode. What more could you ask of a SEGA Genesis game from the early 90s?

How about some co-op gaming with Kevin McCallister?

Macaulay Culkin playing Toejam and Earl
March 2, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The video games loomed, but books were a key element to my surviving the 3-day power outage

I expected to play some of my various battery-powered handhelds, but books won over my time during this outage.
As the wind picked up and the rain began to come down, my Friday ended at a company function involving a very cool bowling bistro. So, I left a nice spread of food to brave the downpour. My commute home should have taken an hour, but it took me three hours to get home... and I had to walk the last quater mile through hurricane force winds. It was a crazy night to say the least.

Lanes Bowl & Bistro It was a shame to leave all this food and have to fight weather and traffic to get home, but the storm was brewing so out I went. Trees were down everywhere and I had to keep altering my route to get to my house. In the end I had to park down the street and climb over a tree that had fallen across my street, in order to get home. Once home and dry, I realized a tree had snapped and was laying on my roof. It was a sleepless night to say the least.

When I woke up the next day - still with no power - I quickly reacquainted myself with the enormous number of things I enjoy duing that require electricity. I had a fair charge in my Nintendo Switch and 2DS as well as a number of handhelds I could always put batteries into. However, I wanted to use my daylight hours to catch up on a few comic series.

I went for Scooby Apocalypse, which I've enjoyed but fell far behind on. After a bit of catch-up, I had a yearning to read Edgar Cantero's Meddling Kids - a book I'd seen (and bought instantly) at Barnes & Noble not long ago. It takes the Mystery Gang, shuffles their character traits, and sends them off on an adventure to solve a mystery.

I fell into the plot hard and the pages kept going. I spent much of Saturday reading and continued into the night via candle-light until I'd finished the whole novel. It's a really fun book that pays homage to the Mystery Gang we grew up with, while delivering an adult story.

Meddling Kids novel Sure, I played a few games here and there, but Cantero's novel really kept me engaged. I dug through my AtGames SEGA Handheld to see what goodies exist within. I didn't have a Genesis when it was first released. So, it was fun to delve into some of the built-in titles. But Meddling Kids roped me in!
March 1, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

John Mambo is a retro-style 2D video game coming to a CPU near you & maybe a few consoles

Having just started on Indiegogo, Iction Games' John Mambo is trying another round of crowd funding.
I love the look and feel of Iction Games' John Mambo as well as the concept. John Mambo looks like a ton of fun! I heard about this last Fall. Strangely, this game fell very short of it's $25K Kickstarter goal last October. Now, on Indiegogo I hope it will fare better. Check out the John Mambo Indiegogo campaign

It's worth mentioning that Iction is using the "flexible" funding option that guarantees them all the funds even if the goal is not met. Personally, that's a deal-breaker for me, having been burned on other crowd funded games (no relation to Iction Games). But I will emphatically re-state, this game looks awesomely fun!

John Mambo will initially be a computer game for Windows, Mac and Linux, with PS4 and Xbox One versions as stretch goals. Last year's Kickstarter campaign mentioned Nintendo Switch as a potential stretch goal, but I see no mention of it this round. This looks like a great game for Switch with it's co-op play option. One can hope... :)

John Mambo video game A Retro Arcade Game with an Isometric top down view! You play a one-man army, a gung-ho fighter crazy enough to embark on a dangerous mission in the heart of a jungle all by himself... (or with his co-op partner). Explore various landscapes, infiltrate enemy bases and cities occupied by the enemy. Nothing will stand in his way!

February 2018 Retro Gaming Articles:

February 28, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The end seems near for my favorite element of the 3DS as StreetPass relays will be shutdown in Japan

StreetPass logo
StreetPass relay servers are shutting down at the end of March in Japan... Soon in North America?
I love StreetPass and the games that make up the Mii Plaza. My son and I were infatuated with the original lineup of games in the Mii Plaza. Even full-scale games like Tomodachi Life made creative use of StreetPass. The more I think about it all, the more I know how much I'll miss StreetPass.

Nintendo announced that it will be shutting down the StreetPass relay servers in Japan on March 28. Those of you in large cities may not have used such a device, but folks like me - in more rural areas - rely on them for StreetPasses. Organic streetPasses occur when your handheld comes in proximity of another and they exchange data resulting in the animations and an additional Mii to use in the Mii Plaza games like Flower Town or Battleground Z.

The lage population of a busy city increases the likelihood of encountering other 3DS fanatics in real time. However, in lesser populated areas, StreetPass relay stations collect StreetPasses over time and dole then out to those passing the relay. This enables more "data exchanges" without the need to do so in real time with other 3DS units.

The upcoming shutdown of such servers may mean other territories wil be shuttered as well. For me, that would mean I would only get StreetPasses in real time. That would be an awful end to a feature I really enjoy. Some folks discovered a way to set up their own access points and create StreetPasses in their own homes, but that would rely on the network that is being shut down. I guess all good things come to an end.

StreetPass Today and the mall, I lurked by all three of the relay points I've used in the pass and got a SpotPass, but only one StreetPass! Yikes! Where is everybody?!? That doesn't bode well. I really love the social nature of StreetPass. Why didn't this transfer over to the Switch??
February 27, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Today is Pokemon Day! So, uh... when is Galaga Day?

This day commemorates the launch of the first Pokémon game in Japan, in 1996!
Aside from Nintendo hoping you'll fiendishly buy every available Pokemon game, I guess this is a day to chill and play your favorite Pokemon games. I'm down for a few battles in Pokemon Ruby on my 2DS.

Pokemon Day Galaga arcade marquee I'm all for faux holidays, so can we have a Galaga Day too?
February 26, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Final Space premiere- I'm pretty stoked to check out a new animated show, NOT on Cartoon Network or Adult Swim

Final Space
I love a good animated space adventure - hope it's good!
I like that Final Space is on TBS. The last few entries on CN and AS didn't really do it for me. I"m sure it has nothing to do with the network, but premiering on TBS feels different to me. That's nonsensical, but I hope this results in a fun show that can develop and grow over time.

I want a cool "Space" show! lol
February 26, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

McDonald's brought back the Szechuan sauce made famous on Rick and Morty... and I Don't care

McDonald's Szechuan sauce
I was stoked the first time out, but this time it feels like a bad joke taken too far.
That episode of Rick and Morty focused on McDonald's Szechuan sauce and it exploded across social media. Everyone wanted to relive the Szechuan-glory at the golden arches. Ronald McDonald listened and promised the masses the Szechuan sauce would return. And indeed it did... in extremely limited quantities. The dismal quantities ruined a perfect moment for McDonald's to shine and go viral in spectacular form. They screwed it up - big time!

They promised to bring it back in proper quantities. They tried. Today, McDonald's was wallowing in Szechuan sauce for their customers. Many turned out to snag a batch - probably to list on eBay - and experience that taste. The whole thing didn't feel right. You can't always go back. It was cool that they made good on the promis, but it felt late. Months have passed and I simply didn't care anymore.

Sure it was cool to see the sauce back for a day, but after the weak attempt and the months that have lapsed, McDonald's should have gone big - way bigger. They could have turned this into a much larger experience - like the first attempt, but old sauce wasn't motivating to me this time. Sometimes you have to do it right the first time. Very often the first time is the only chance you get. Better luck next time, Ronald.

Liz Katz with McDonald's Szechuan sauce n the other hand, Liz had a good time grabbing up some Szechuan sauce! Check out more of Liz Katz on Instagram.
February 26, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Tara Reid is on-set filming Sharknado 5 and we're ready for the Summer heat and a new installment!

It just isn't Summer without a new installment of the awful shark movie we love to watch!
If you couple this with the original Jaws, you can experience the best and worst of aquatic beasts attacking from the sea. Binge Sharknado, pop in Jaws and finish the night with Sharknado V!

Tara Ried has been filming this year's installment in Romania and posting pictures to her Instagram.

Tara Reid filming Sharknado 5
February 26, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

You have to admire Bananarama getting back together after 30 years and hitting the road

Bananarama had 4 stops in the US, ending at the PlayStation Theater in New York.
I was (and still am) a heavy metal headbanger back when Bananarama was rising up the charts in the 80s. Despite a passion for AC/DC and Judas priest, I liked a lot of pop and new wave music from that era. Bananarama created some of the best pop of the 80s with hits like Cruel Summer, Venus, Love In The First Degree and I Heard A Rumor.

It's really cool to see them regroup and hit the road this year!

Bananarama Bananaramas US tour dates:
  1. February 20, 2018 Los Angeles, CA The Novo
  2. February 21, 2018 San Francisco, CA Warfield Theater
  3. February 23, 2018 Toronto, Ontario Danforth Music Hall
  4. February 24, 2018 New York, NY Playstation Theater
February 25, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Amazon's Audible wants you to think listening to audio books is reading. It is not.

This Amazon Audible ad makes me mad as it tries to hijack reading for the purpose of selling audio books!
I've tried audio books on long road trips and they can be fun, but I generally prefer music in such situations. The problem I have with this ad is how it tries to hijack reading for the purpose of selling audio books - which are clearly NOT reading. That's listening and listening is not the new reading. That doesn't even make sense!

Tomb Raider Barbie doll Some folks blame Amazon's aggressive pricing with the downfall of bookstores. They've certainly contributed greatly to the downfall of bookstores, but that isn't the reason why so few people read. Reducing the number of bookstores simple removed reading one more step from mainstream. Kids should read. Adults should too. Everyone should read! Audio books can be fun - I like those read by the book's author - but reading is an entirely different thing.

Reading stimulates the mind in a way unparalleled by most activities. Listening to an audio book is a completely different experience from "reading" the book. You may garner the same storyline from each, but the act of reading can take your mind to great places and expands your vocabulary and your writing skills.

And before Amazon tries to sell you a radio claiming it's the new "playing an instrument," it is not!
February 25, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Lara Croft is returning to theaters as our rugged hero and to retail shelves as a Barbie product

Barbie has made several evolutions over her reign at Mattel from glamor princess to STEM avenger and now Lara Croft.
Tomb Raider Barbie doll Growing up with G.I. Joe leaves me wondering what my afternoon adventures might have been like if Tomb Raider Barbie existed in the 70's.

I encountered a few armed services style Babies in the 90s, but they still wore fashion-forward glittery cammo outfits. There was nothing on retail shelves like the adventurous Ms. Croft.

If you look down the aisles at most toy stores, you'll see the girl's toy aisles are predominantly pink and those with boy-centric toys reflect a lot of green and blue. I think it's important to stop trying to label toys as exclusively for boys or girls. Kids are smart - let them decide.

This mentality helps parents who want convenient shopping, but it leaves a mark on kids who see the accentuated differences.

Tomb Raider Barbie doll As a fan of G.I. Joe for much of my childhood, I was fanatical about the adventures I had with my Joes. Before I discovered G.I. Joe vehicles scaled for my 12" heroes, the daughters of a family friend had a Barbie Camper and I became obsessed with it! All I could think of was having four Joes and tons of guns and gear in one mobile vehicle... with a Barbie logo.

Not really knowing about the gender-divide in the toy aisles, I asked my parents to buy me a Barbie Camper as a vehicle for my growing army. They complied and I was the only boy I knew who had a pink and orange Barbie camper full of weapons, gear, and G.I. Joes. It was awesome and that boxy camper transported my Joes in and out of perilous dangers every day after school.

I would have loved a rugged woman to team up with my Joes. Lara Croft would have been a great addition to the team's daily adventures. I suppose times are changing, but attitudes need to change faster. Lara could lead my team of Joes any day of the week!
February 24, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Jersey Jack Pinball's “Dialed In” table has features accessible on your smartphone via Bluetooth

Jersey Jack Pinball's “Dialed In” table
This pinball machine features Bluetooth, a camera, and you can unlock additional capabilities through a smartphone.
I remember when pinball machines were electro-mechanical and seemed so simple. As a kid, I had no idea how many wires ran beneath the colorful tables full of lights and sounds.

Jersey Jack Pinball's Dialed In app Pinball has come a long way from my childhood and Jersey Jack is stepping up the standards. When a table's specs include a 27" HD LCD screen that integrates with game features, you have to take a second look.

Too often screens on pinball tables were more about attract-mode than game play. This seems not to be the case with Pat Lawlor's Dialed In. And how does my smartphone fit into all this? Bluetooth?

If your modern life involves being riveted to your smartphone, download the Dialed In app and you can connect to the pinball machine via bluetooth. I'm not sure how intuitive this will be, but in a world dominated my burying one's face in a small screen, this may prove to be a winner. Here are 5 unexpected things Dialed In can do...

5 Things Not Found On Most Pinball Machines (Except Dialed In)

  1. Control the flippers by tapping "buttons" on your smartphone
  2. A selfie-camera will photograph you playing and I'll wager it will transfer them to your phone
  3. Wave at virtual lottery tickets on the LCD to scratch-off your winnings
  4. Quantum Reality Theater is a small display screen reacting to game actions. shoot the ball at it for bonuses
  5. A cellphone on the play-field announces in-game events and challenges
The play-field is full of pop culture items with some video game aspects. There's a lot going on and this seems like a very engaging table from several highlighted elements to it's large LCD screen and operating the flippers via your phone. And even a few drones! Cool stuff! With so many arcades and game rooms opting for redemption games and prizes, it's nice to see this sort of innovation going into pinball!
February 23, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Switching food distributors caused a chicken Shortage at KFC... for which they issued an "FCK" apology

KFC's FCK apology
You have to like a brand that has a sense of humor and is smart enough to turn a problem into a marketing opportunity.
Changes in business practices always carry the risk of unforeseen challenges. Recouping from such a challenge can take many forms from secrecy and denial to more positive resolutions.

KFC had to temporarily close some UK locations due to a delivery issue that resulted in NO CHICKEN! They took out an ad to apologize for any inconveniences and turned a disaster into a viral marketing opportunity. Too many companies/brands would be reactionary and freak out. I like the way KFC handled things and the way they present themselves via social media.

Their unique solution to this scenario makes me want to hop in the car and go snag some KFC with a side of Potato Wedges!
February 23, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

We set up an account on Vero, a new social media app to escape the ads and algorithms that ruin the experience

While social media is anything but "social", it's algorithms are used to restrict content and prompt pay-to-play solutions. Screw that!
I tried Ello not long ago, since it was billed as a Facebook-killer. It's like most social platforms/apps, but doesn't seem to have a larger user base. It's hard to enter this market but I try to remain optimistic about new entries into this space. So, I'm giving Vero a shot.

They claim to not have any ads or algorithms, thus they have no need for data-mining and selling every shred of personal info they can uncover. I believe they plan on turning this into a pay service. The first one million sign-ups get a lifetime pass, the rest have to pay for the ad-less environment without irritating algorithms - at the conclusion of the beta phase. I could be wrong about this, but check it out.

If nothing else, it's fun to see what other Zuck-like geniuses come up with to combat a world full of boring Facebook experiences. Look us up on Vero!

Vero is a new social media app without ads and algorithms
February 22, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

While blaming crime on "Video Games", Trump is unaware of either the ESRB or MPAA ratings systems

Trump suggests a ratings system for entertainment as though he didn't know such things have existed for decades.
In his usual manner of stringing together short snippets of thoughts, Trump seems to think movies and video games are unregulated in terms of a ratings system. He suggests ratings as though he came up with the idea. This guy is delusional and spiraling through his own little world.

Trump is unaware of either the ESRB or MPAA ratings systems
February 18, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

“Love” beat out “Money” in the latest North American Splatfest. Doesn't that seem un-American?

It's all about the money in the USA... love can be bought!
The teams chose between Love and Money for the latest Splatfest in Nintendo's Spatoon 2, but... in America... love won over money? I'm not buying that! LOL

Splatfest
February 17, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Player 2 is coming up for a long weekend of gaming

Take some time to show a kid some retro games and prove that Microsoft did not invent Video Games. Play some Atari today!
I'm taking a few days off to play games and run wild. Disconnecting from the web to connect with my son. We have a stack of games and tons of old favorites to play through. See you in a few days!
February 17, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Atari creates their own cryptocurrency to boost it's gambling business... still ignoring the Ataribox

Atari crypto currency
Investors like cryptocurrency. Atari likes other people's money. The Atari Token looms on the horizon, unkile the Ataribox.
Atari like to toss out ideas and see "what sticks". They don't seem to devote time or money to any one project. They just keep trying things as though one of them might actually perform. Cryptocurrency is their latest "look at us" moment. OK... we're watching.

Many companies who've gone down this road have seen tremendous rise in stock shares. Atari has seen this rise too since announcing their Atari Token cryptocurrency. However, they now have to do something with it. The rise in shares is momentary and will crash if they don't put something behind it.

The mad dash to develop unique cryptocurrencies is a recent trend with struggling companies trying to appear relevant, cutting edge and sexy. They want to entice investors and customers and generally stir up interest in their brand, company, or product. Atari might be able to bolster their standing for a brief time, but their overall track record cites very few "wins". They need a win. They can't have a fireworks display to attract attention every six months. Atari need to do something with their iconic brands.

Atari Lifestyle Brand?

I've said this a few times - Atari should create a lifestyle brand and showcase that amazing logo and iconic set of brands on merchandise. Their CEO has said several times that Atari doesn't want to just put their logo on t-shirts. Really? They'd sell a lot of them! They could sell Atari-branded items from keychains and t-shirts to high end good displaying the their brands.

For all the odd ventures they've tried, I'm dumbfounded they haven't tried a lifestyle brand. I think it would be a huge hit and it would be the kind of venture that further drives the brand as more products sell. I love seeing someone wearing an Atari shirt. I don't see it often, so it always makes me smile to see someone sporting the Atari logo!

At this point, we're writing off the Ataribox. Atari cranks up the hype machine every six months, but that's no way to increase interest in a game console having a $300 price tag and no specs or technical information. If a prototype is ever developed, it will hold more value as a doorstop.
February 16, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Kentucky needs a Governor who partakes in solutions rather than blaming the world's woes on video games

It's disappointing to see politicians taking the easy way out and trying to blame social problems on video games.
It's hard to imagine in our modern times we still elect people who live in their own bubble, free of all outside information and common sense. Republican Governor Matt Bevin laid out a selection of entertainment venues that should be blamed for school shootings and any other atrocity.

We begin to believe we're making progress in getting the media to challenge this sort of nonsense, but when push comes to shove, they don't get it. Too often they revert to the blame-game and Video games are atop their list!

From Rolling Stone magazine:
While Bevin, who is endorsed by the NRA and spoken at the NRA-IRA Leadership Forum, didn't call for an outright ban on video games when pressed, he said he thinks people need to question what value such things have in our society. "Why do we need a video game, for example, that encourages people to kill people?" he said.

"Whether it's lyrics, whether it's TV shows, whether it's movies, I'm asking the producers of these products, these video games and these movies, ask yourselves what redemptive value, other than shock value, other than the hope you'll make a couple of bucks off it. At what price? At what price?"

Republican Governor Matt Bevin Politicians like this need to be voted out of office. There's no room for this closed-minded attitude in today's society.
February 14, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

On Valentine's Day let it be know “You Are The Shark To My Tornado” #SharknadoLust

I found this pic online and couldn't resist posting it, even though I'm not a fan of fake holidays ;)
Happy Valentines Day!

Space Invaders 40th Anniversary Coin
February 13, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

This Space Invaders commemorative 40th Anniversary Silver Coin is pretty nifty and Taito licensed

Space Invaders 40th Anniversary Coin
This coin is a nice throwback to the arcade era of Space Invaders and it's impact on the future of video games.
The New Zealand Mint is issuing a 1 oz silver coin to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Taito's Space Invaders arcade game. This coincides with the game's June 1978 release.

Space Invaders 40th Anniversary Coin The Space Invaders name is engraved and lenticular printing allows the aliens to move as the coin is tilted. The two-dollar coin is 40mm with a milled edge and bares a 2018 year of issue.

My favorite part is the box! The coin is nestled in a black felt stand that acts as the base for a specially designed box that fits over it. This packaging makes it look like the original arcade cabinet!

It comes with a numbered Certificate of Authenticity on the base. Limited to 3,000 pieces worldwide, you may want to pounce sooner rather than later. I really like the arcade-packaging, but I know very little about collectible coins. It seems pretty cool, but it's priced at $85, and I'd be curious to know if such collectibles rise in value beyond the 1 oz of silver in the coin itself.

As I said, I love this packaging and would be far more interested in the box than the coin. I was always one of those kids that played more with the box than the toy. However, I think Id be justified with this one!

Space Invaders 40th Anniversary Coin From the New Zealand Mint description:
Space Invaders was produced by Japanese electronic game manufacturer Taito Corporation, and launched in June 1978. Created by Tomohiro Nishikado, it is one of the earliest video games released and viewed as a pioneer of modern gaming. The objective of Space Invaders is for the player to earn as many points as possible by using a laser cannon to shoot aliens and prevent them from "invading". It has been remade on numerous platforms and spawned many sequels, and is considered one of the most successful games of all time.
February 12, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Glenn Tipton's continued inclusion in Judas Priest after Parkinson's diagnosis shows class and love

Glenn's new role is a testament to Judas Priest compared with how quickly Brian Johnson was left behind by AC/DC
I don't know the back-story on Brian Johnson's retirement from AC/DC, but it seemed awfully quick and very final. Quite strange after his tenure in the band. His hearing loss was suddenly deemed "the end" for him while their tour continued onward with Axl Rose filling in.

The sad news about Glenn Tipton's Parkinson's diagnosis and the effect it now has on him showed a much different scenario than what befell Brian Johnson. I've loved both bands since 1980 and can't figure out how they came to such different standings. I have a lot of respect for Judas Priest changing Tipton's role and having Andy Sneap fill in on tour while retaining Glenn in the band. Glenn rocks hard at 70 years of age!

Glenn Tipton From the Loudwire website:
In the statement, Tipton notes that he is still a member of the band, and that he may join them at some point during the tour. "I want everyone to know that its vital that the Judas Priest tour go ahead and that I am not leaving the band - its simply that my role has changed. I dont rule out the chance to go on stage as and when I feel able to blast out some Priest!"
February 11, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

It's "Money" versus "Love" in North America's Splatfest this weekend

I love the battles, but this should be an interesting division as players choose teams.
This should create some interesting notions in the Splatoon 2 lobby. This Splatfest begins Feb 16th! Good luck everyone!

Money vs Love Splatfest
February 11, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

This Atari 2600 picture sums up my childhood in a way words could not

This is what my parent's living room floor looked like... most of the time!
For everyone who lounges out of the couch withe a controller in-hand, do you remember how amazing video games were when we sat on the floor in front of the television? Try it! Sit on the floor. See if those memories don't come rushing back :)

Sitting on the floor to play video games
February 11, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I just read that E.T. never uttered the words, "Phone home"

After sifting through a few video clips, it seems ET did not say it. The two kids did!
The phrase, "E.T. phone home" is one of those famous lines that nearly everyone will swear was said by the odd little creature in Spielberg's 1982 film, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. However, the ET character didn't say it. He said the reverse and the kids interpreted it as the iconic line we all know.

Once Gertie and Elliot realize ET can talk, they begin interpreting his words. ET said the words as nouns, but it was the kids who reversed them and used "phone" as a verb. Over time, we all remember ET saying, "Phone Home" when he actually said, "home. phone."

Sitting on the floor to play video games
February 11, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Pearl and Marina from Splatoon 2 were announced as upcoming amiibo

While amiibo benefits in Splatoon have been a bit underwhelming, I dig the "Off the Hook" gals!
Nintendo announced the Splatoon 2 hosts, Pearl and Marina, will be made available as amiibo. I haven't seen any mention of release dates or what capabilities they will inlock. I'm sure that will all be forthcoming now that images are being posted.

It looks like Splatoon 2 will get a few enhancements too from a new weapon to a new stage - Aji Furai Stadium.

Pearl and Marina amiibo
February 10, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I'd never heard of “single title mega collections” - collecting a single video game title

mega video game collection
I kind of like the idea of an obsessive mega collection of a favorite video game - but which one to collect?
A post on NintendoAge caught my eye regarding Mega Collections -s something I'd not heard of. One of their members has a Dragon Warrior collection and has set up a commemorative web site to mark his 500th copy of Dragon Warrior for the Nintendo NES. Five hundred copies or Dragon Warrior! Think about that. Many of us would be stoked to own an NES collection of 500 games, but what about them all being the same game? His goal is to obtain 1,000 Dragon Warrior carts!

Dragon Warrior game cartridge Check out the Unorthodox Dragon Warrior Collection website for the back story and further growth of this interesting collection. I rarely boy large batches of games, so my duplicates are quite limited. If I were to start a Mega collection of a single title, it would be from scratch. That's both daunting and exciting.

Where would I start? What title would I choose? The concept is so foreign to me. would it be my favorite game or one I know is plentiful in the open market?

I think such a collection needs to be motivated by passion, so it would have to be for a favorite game, but what platform? So many questions. I could never do it. I adored Space Invaders on the 2600, but also love Bionic Commando on the NES. I'm not sure I would be able to narrow down my selection to one title. This is almost like the proverbial question of what single video game would you want to have if stranded on a deserted island.

I'd probably start collecting a game and then switch platforms and begin with another. I can see myself doing this so many times,I'd simply be laden with duplicates rather than an impressive amalgamation of a single title. I lack the discipline for this, but the more I think about it, the more I like the concept.

Dragon Warrior mega collection That's a lot of Dragon Warrior cartridges!
February 10, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Van Halen's first album, released in 1978, turns 40 today

I discovered Van Halen in 1981, but still find it hard to believe their amazing debut album was released in the '70s!
In the early 80s, Van Halen was a constant part of our lives. We cranked it up at home and in the car. I remember so many trips to Nathan's Arcade and the Electric Playhouse where we had Van Halen blasting. It was how life was meant to be lived!

Van Halen's first album We tend to label each decade as delivering a certain style of music. There are many great bands that come to mind when I think of "bands from the 1970s". It was a defining era, but Van Halen's music I associate with the 80s scene. I'm sure this has much to do with me personally and how I define musical eras. Still I find it amazing that Van Halen debuted in '78!

This debut album - Van Halen -redefined rock'n roll for my friends and I. The sheer power and prowess behind tracks like Atomic Punk and their You Really Got Me cover was like nothing we'd ever heard.

Eddie's guitar skills shocked us. He didn't compare to any of the guitar heroes we'd heard of. Eruption would become an obsession for those of us who played guitar.

I still remember the day I went to a friend's house after school and Diver Down was the monthly selection from Columbia House's Record Club - and there it was! We tore into the cardboard box and plunked the vinyl disc onto his turntable and sat back reveling in new Van Halen music!

I was somewhat of a purist and ended my passion with 1984 and the concert we saw. I admired Sammy Hagar, but he wasn't "van halen" to me. Later on, I went back to that era and am glad to have revisited those albums and ones more recently released. As I grew up, I looked at musical evolution as part of a story - a story I hand't realized as a teen. Each element of that story was a part of what made the band continue and thrive.

As I look back at all the CDs I've collected over the decades, I see "holes" in that collection from bands I loved, still love, but can't figure out why I began missing later album releases. The internet is the primary reason I'm more musically aware. I wonder if I missed a lot of great album releases simply by not going to record sores at the right times. These days I'm delighted to see new released from bands I've loved since childhood!
February 9, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Disney is planning a live-action Kim Possible movie

I always thought of Kim Possible as Disney's version of Lara Croft :)
With that in mind, who should play the lead? I'm thinking Bella Thorne would be a kickass Kim Possible! But there are a lot of actors that could pull it off. I hope the Disney executives want to go hardcore with the role. It was a cute cartoon with an edge, but once you drop animation for live-action, it's easy to take Kim's demeanor to another level.

Kim Possible
February 8, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The next Splatfest has players in a pickle. Despite having the Internet, people can't define “gherkin”

Splatfest: Gherk-in or Gherk-out
In the US, we call them pickles, but in other parts of the world... it's a gherkin. Enjoy Nintendo's pun.
In the information age, It's shocking to see the large number of people perplexed by the word "gherkin". I was 90% certain they were what I've always called a pickle, but I looked it up. Yes, I used the power of the internet to figure out exactly what a gherkin is. It's a pickle. Technically, it's a cucumber that's been pickled in a brine, vinegar, or other solution and left to ferment.

The real tragedy is many of us found out about the Splatfest online... via a net connected device that would also supply the definition of gherkin. Predictably, folks are randomly asking across social media rather than just doing a minute's worth of googley research. No wonder fake news is so prevalent. People who can't be bothered to look up a word are the kind of people you can easily fill full of random lies.

Splatfest: Gherk-in or Gherk-out

We're On Team Gherk-In - Here's Why

I'm hearing a lot of chatter leaning toward Team Gherk-Out which is a shame. Pickles are delicious, but when it comes to putting them on a nice juicy hamburger, too many of us are accustomed to the crap served at fast food restaurants. "Those pickles" are crap! Real pickles are great, but cost-cutting measures don't allow for any real meat, so we can't be surrised by cut-rate pickles (or gherkins).

Go buy yourself a jar of real pickles... I'll bet you love 'em.
February 8, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

After numerous denials, the Spice Girls are reuniting for a US & UK tour... how about another video game?

Tell me whatcha want...Whatcha really really want! A sequel to the Spice World video game on PS4?
It seems the Spice Girls are looking to relive some of their former glory and take the retro route of going on tour through the US and UK. Sounds like a cool show that would certainly get a lot of attention. As far as I know, they only released three studio albums Spice (1996), Spiceworld (1997), and Forever (2000). Maybe they'll add in some cool covers.

Bananarama did a similar Reunion Tour this past year. It's always interesting to see these renown groups et back together and see what sort of magic happens. While some reunions are simply reminders of why they broke up, others result in new music. Either way, such retro tours are a great way for artists and fans to relive the glory days!

The Spice Girls are reuniting The Spice Girls formed in 1994 and were active as a group until 2000 (Horner left the group in 1998). They reunited for a 2007-2008 tour and performed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Their fame even garnered a music video game for Sony's PlayStation called SpiceWorld (July 1998). Maybe this reunion will invoke a PS4 game :)

The Spice Girls video game, Spice World
February 7, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Hyperkin's RetroN77 is alive and potentially launching in late Q2

One of the RetroN77 devs chimed in on Atariage with status and estimated release date.
While news of Hyperkin's 2600 clone has been scarce, there was a brief update on Atariage today stating they're working on UI adjustments and anticipate a late Q2 release date. Yay! Summer of Atari :)

Hyperkin'sretroN77
February 7, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The original Xbox controller, The Duke, has been resurrected for the Xbox One - pre-order at GameStop

GameStop has a listing for Hyperkin's Duke controller for Xbox One.
I'm not a Microsoft fan and have never played an Xbox of any kind, but I can certainly appreciate the awesomeness of The Duke controller. GameStop has The Duke listed on their site for pre-order. Go snag one if you're down for some retro on your new Xbox One.

Hyperkin's Duke controler for Xbox One
February 7, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

While testing a rocket, might as well launch a car into space while you're at it

Elon Musk tests his rocket and launches a car into orbit
Aren't we concerned about the amount of "space garbage" already orbiting our planet... before tossing a car into the mix, for fun?
I've been loosely following this story about Elon Musk's rocket test for the largest rocket created by SpaceX. To be honest, the whole thing sounds like something The Onion would concoct. It's preposterous! I've long been a fan of our Space Program and all the achievements made over the decades. The focus of this test seems to replace science and engineering with shits & giggles. "Hey, lets launch a car while we're at it". WTF?

Aside from bragging rights, launching a Tesla Roadster into space serves no purpose. Did we not understand the irony of that scene in Disney's Wall-E about space garbage. Why not deliver a useful payload? A satellite? Dumping a car into space, complete with a mannequin in a space suit, seems wasteful and moronic.

Let's not forget that the orbiting car was a concept seen in 1981's Heavy Metal film!

Orbiting car from the Heavy Metal film

N Sane Tesla with Crash Bandicoot Crash Bandicoot to the rescue!
February 7, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Best Buy takes a low-tech approach to announcing their Nintendo LABO pre-orders

Nothing like running a MS Word doc through the copier a few times to get the message out.
This bleak printout doesn't really inspire me to lay down any cash just yet. I think LABO is brilliant, but lets put a bit more effort behind this pre-order rollout. I'm imagining one Best Buy employee "laying it out" in Word while another one went looking for the Scotch Tape dispenser. Teamwork!

Nintendo LABO pre-orders
February 5, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Toad is not wearing a hat - that's his head

Had it turned out that Toad's look was simply a hat, I'm sure I would have been pissed.
I'm glad this has been cleared up.

Toad
February 5, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Best Buy hasn't been a serious destination for physical media for over a decade

Best Buy to stop CD sales
Best Buy will cease the sale of music CDs in it's stores this year and Target is making similar grumblings. Physical media is in danger!
It's no secret Best Buy has wanted to remove physical media from it's retail locations for years. They've finally come out an admitted it and even laid out a date. This summer as the weather warms and July rolls around, Best Buy will be psyched to sell you a refrigerator or USB hub. But no music CDs.

For over a decade, inventory has been bleak, shelves are in disarray, and stock has been relegated to the back of the store. I remember when Best Buy had aisles full of CDs with a pretty good selection, but that was well over a decade ago - maybe even in the late 1990s. All of their physical media (including movies and video games) are in the same disarray. They have very little inventory, paltry selections, and the shelves are a mess.

Best Buy gave up on CDs over a decade ago. No wonder sales fell.
Sure, you can buy a gigantic 4K TV and matching Ultra HD 4K DVD player, but the selection of 40 movies doesn't quite cut it. I don't understand this model. I guess I'm supposed to go to Amazon for the media but once I do that, I realize how much I can save there on hardware too.

Even back in the heyday of CDs, Best Buy used "paid placement". When you walk into a store, the "New Releases" rack is full of CDs you didn't want two years ago. Nothing new was ever on that rack. Music labels and distributors paid a fee to have specific titles prominently displayed. This is a tactic used by retailers who don't put their customers first.

Best Buy Claims Poor CD Sales - Are They Even Trying?

I'm no fan of Best Buy, but despite their paltry effort to market music in their stores, they can wield power over the course of physical media by refusing to sell it. I find the perceived leverage of their announcement ironic considering how poorly they've treated physical media. Why not stop selling it five years ago? Why let the entire inventory languish for years and years in disarray and then claim how poorly CDs are selling?

If they cared at all, they'd be marketing CDs, DVDs, and video games - not pouring them into bargain bins and trying to climb to higher ground selling microwaves and blue tooth speakers. Poor sales of CDs was inevitable - despite increased digital sales - when their sale was ignored. I'll always prefer physical media for music, movies and games. It's the only way to ensure reliable play. If you prefer streaming, your favorite movie will eventually disappear from streaming services.

It's also worth noting that special features on DVD movies are a huge bonus for movie fans. The artwork accompanying CDs is a unique window into the artist. Manuals, maps and other items packaged with physical video games give a tactile joy to those who love having a controller in their hand. Hard drives and clouds are so impersonal and soul-ducking compared to really experiencing your favorite form of entertainment. Interaction with the things you love is a large part of what makes them special.

rratic organization of CDS at Best Buy
February 4, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Rumors suggest Sony's renown mascot, Crash Bandicoot, might be coming to Nintendo's Switch

I loved 'N Sane Trilogy on PS4 and would welcome a new adventure on Switch.
Ordinarily, I'd be wild about this rumor (and I am to a degree) but I don't need "N Sane Trilogy on Switch. If Crash Bandicoot comes to the Switch, I'd prefer a new adventure. It could be in his familiar old-school style, but a port doesn't really excite me too much. However, if such a port was a stepping stone to getting a new Crash Bandicoot title on the Switch... OK, I'll buy it!

Crash Bandicoot might be coming to Switch
February 4, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I keep watching the Super Bowl hoping to catch a commercial for the upcoming Ataribox game console

Surely, Atari didn't pass up the opportunity to put their amazing console in front of millions of football fans on Super Bowl Sunday!
The extensive time lapse and dearth of information make me believe the Ataribox game console isn't likely to ever come to market. They might be able to pull off a limited run for crowd-funders, but I doubt it will be on the shelf at Best Buy or GameStop.

Ataribox - nobody cares
February 4, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Releasing Monopoly “Cheaters Edition” indicates no one ever reads the rules

Monopoly Cheaters Edition
It's not a difficult game to play, but if it takes hours to complete, read the rules... you're doing it wrong.
Monopoly is the game everyone loves... to hate. We all play it. But when you ask about it's biggest downfall, most players will tell you it takes way too long to play. The game's duration will drop dramatically if you simply read the rules!

As a child we played most often during the long summer nights while on vacation. With nothing better to do, we'd sit around and laugh up the night as we went round and round the board. I'm not sure how many of these games we ever finished!Many years later, I began playing Monopoly with my son and we'd play a game over several days if not an entire week. But he was young and engaged by it all, so that was no big deal - we both had fun.

Monopoly Cheaters Edition As he grew up and began reading, he was interested in reading everything, including the rules for all the board games we played. After tackling the Monopoly rules, he announced we were playing it wrong. Wait, what? Yep, we were not following the rules! Suddenly we were finishing Monopoly in one sitting!

Cheaters Edition?

The long game durations apparently led to a lot of cheating. FYI- Those who cheat at board games shouldn't play them. Hasbro went so far as to "out" cheaters via a Facebook Cheat-bot that would allow players to report cheaters in real time.

I'll admit that's a clever usage of social media, but it also harvested some interesting info. Nearly one in two players cheated in some manner. Wow! So, the cheater's edition was born and includes a special set of cheat cards with specific cheats to pull off.

So, we get another variation of Monopoly - the Cheaters Edition. We have the original, a local town edition, the Kiss edition, and one with a Rick and Morty theme. Cheaters Edition is the most radical departure for the game. As fun as it sonds, READ THE RULES (RTFM) and see if your games take on a lesser duration and a bit more fun!

If you read the rules and discover how much fun Monopoly really is, you may want to drop by a bookstore. There are a lot of great books you may be interested in... now that you're reading :)
February 4, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The RepliCade mini Tempest arcade cabinet plays like the original and looks great on your shelf

Atari VR
Using the original arcade Rom, New Wave Toys is producing 1/6th scale RepliCade arcade machines with stunning realism and full playability!
You may have seen New Wave Toys' former creation - their Atari licensed mini Centipede arcade game. It got rave reviews and has been followed up by Atari's Tempest! One of my favorite games. Again using crowd funding this RepliCade game is made from wood and metal with authentic artwork and details. RepliCade games are about 12-inches tall making them very unique.

I used to own five full-size arcade cabinets and loved them dearly. But they are large and very heavy. RepliCade games look nice on a shelf or display. While playing arcade games on a laptop can be fun, there's something about these mini cabinets that offer enough "arcade feel" to make the experience much better. Your laptop doesn't have a back-lit marquee :)

The Tempest RepliCade features a 3.5" LCD full-color screen and a quality speaker driven by a 3 watt amp for a great gaming experience. Check out the RepliCade Tempest Kickstarter campaign and see if this wonderful creation wouldn't enhance your game room or office.

RepiCade arcade machines My GI Joes went on rugged adventures full of action and excitement. Battle-trodden and weary, they'd return from their heroics to clean their weapons and ret up for the ext campaign. Had they had an arcade full of golden-age games, who knows what heights they may have reached...
RepiCade arcade machines If you have the Centipede RepliCade, you know the tempest game will look great next to it. Start building up your own mini arcade!

My Obsession With Tempest

One fateful Summer, a friend and I discovered the local pizza shop had a cocktail Tempest game. With a slice & a Coke on the edge, we played that game constantly. The owners were delighted to see us... as long as we kept eating. I have no recollection of how much pizza we consumed during our marathon sessions at that table. Strangely, I know live in that town we once vacationed in and while the pizza shop is still there (30 years later), my beloved Tempest is not.

Back in '93 I was at Nobody Beats The Wiz on launch day for the Atari Jaguar. I loved the pack-in game, Cybermorph, and Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy, but Tempest 2000 really made that console shine! My buddy and I played T2K as though we were 10 again - sitting on the floor five feet in front of the television. Those were the days!

Just a few years later, the PlayStation ushered in a slew of compilation games containing a multitude of arcade classics. For all the times I played Defender, Joust, or Dig Dug... Tempest never seemed to make the cut. Was there a cut? Why was Tempest excluded from these compilation discs? Maybe I was just blind to it's release - who knows.

The PlayStation evolved and I followed along until the PS4. I held off and waited. With plenty of PS3 games to play and a general disgust for the eradication of backward compatibility, I delved into Nintendo's Wii. But the company that made the Atari Flashback each year did a curious thing in 2016. AtGames released Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 for the PS4. The first volume contained the arcade version of Tempest!

I told my son about the pizza shop, Minter's T2K, and surprised him at Christmas when we went to WalMart to price-match a PS4 for a ridiculously small sum. His mind was a blur with all the titles we could now play. I let him pick out a few, but when we got home, you know I went straight for that disc containing Tempest!

Check out the RepliCade mini Tempest Kickstarter - we always get excited about a new way to play this amazing Atari game!
February 4, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I'll watch the Super Bowl ads, but 40 years of video games won't play themselves

So I'll do the Dew and listen to Van Halen while playing Wii U Mario Tennis during this Super Bowl Sunday!
Outside of watching the multi-million dollar ads that run during the game, Super Bowl LII doesn't offer much for a guy like me. I'm not much of a football fan. Pepsi is a dreadful beverage, although I like their Mt. Dew product as well as Cindy Crawford. Justin Timberlake, while talented, is not my kind of music.

Having forty years of video games idly laying about makes me think this is a good time to catch up on some of my 8-bit (and later) video games!

My Super Bowl Sunday game play
February 3, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

They really turned the Tonya Harding story into a terrific film via "I, Tonya"

Unsure what to expect and relying completely on reviews, I went to see "I, Tonya" and thought it was outstanding!
I remember the news headlines and controversy around the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan rivalry,but this film did an amazing job at both storytelling and character development. Neither of these terms sound like the formula to a great movie, but it was fun, tragic and shocking from start to finish!

I, Tonya Movie
February 3, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

After seeing the intermittent surges in VR interest over the decades, this is what it takes to interest me

Atari VR
Virtual Reality is nifty, but repeatedly forcing it to fit into the video game model still isn't working for mainstream adoption.
Interest in Virtual Reality comes and goes. The last few years have Predictably shown the greatest strides in bringing it to market, but in the end it didn't take hold. We see consumer interest fading yet again. Sure, there's some great hardware and software out there, but until GameStop and WalMart are selling it at a quick pace, I'm not seeing "success".

Silicon Mirage book For me, I can't see VR ever becoming part of the video game culture. It's a much different thing. For one, playing games seems like a small sliver of what this technology can deliver. Gaming and entertainment doesn't strike me as it's primary value.

Gaming is centered around sitting - alone or with friends. Standing seems to be the best stance for playing VR games. We've all seen the videos of people immersed in virtual worlds and the way they move and flail as they interact with the software. This requires space - room to move around. You need a safe space where you won't knock over a lamp every time a zombie charges from stage-left.

Immersion is the other detriment to traditional gaming. Personally, I don't want to have a headset constraining my view to "the game". I'm not claustrophobic, but I don't like having my view limited like that - especially if I'm hanging out with friends.

Couch-based gaming with friends is full of quickly exchanged looks and gestures that occur outside the confine of the game. I couldn't play Mario Kart with friends without leering at them, yelling and making gestures as I overtake their lead. There's a human, physical side to gaming that is cut-off when your primary senses are relegated to the game.

Atari VR ad Of course the expense is still too high for mainstream adoption. Costs have come way down, but it needs to be at an attainable level for the majority of consumers. Widespread adoption will also begin a serious set of standards. Right now, each company has it's own way of delivering VR. This makes most games exclusive to the platform they were developed for be it PlayStation Pro, Oculus, or Vive. That doesn't create a large enough audience to offset development costs through game sales.

I'm sure VR is here to stay, but I think we'll see more benefits in medical and commercial levels before it becomes a viable gaming platform. Hats off to those who dove into PSVR. If you love it, then it's a good thing. And it will only get better as time passes and the technology advances.
February 2, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

1983's Joysticks is an awful film, but it's full of arcade games and I highly recommend it

Joysticks 1983 film
I enjoyed this flick much more than I should have. Classic arcade games and a style of moviemaking destined for VHS preservation!
I've downloaded a few MP3s, but I buy all my music on CDs. Similarly, my DVD collection is ever growing, but I decided to give this streaming thing a try. Yes, I retired my betamax quite a while ago. So, I bought a Fire Stick from Amazon to see what all the cool kids are watching.

Unsure what to expect, I pushed the menu button and poked around. They wanted to charge a fee for the recent films I checked out. Then I remembered seeing a movie poster online for Joysticks, a film from 1983. Speaking the title into the remote, I waited a few seconds and suddenly this arcade-oriented gem began to play! I kicked back for an awful movie and a great time! It was a pleasant reminder of the dimple comedies that littered the 80s. So dumb... they're fun!

I love finding actors in such films that later went on to bigger better things. John Diehl plays the son of an arrogant businessman trying to shut down the local arcade. Later we'd see him as Larry Zito in TV's Miami Vice as well as the 1994 film, The Client.

The quirky nonsense of Joysticks makes it fun despite the idiocy. I remember so many flicks like this on late-night cable channels in the 80's.

Corinne Bohrer in Joysticks
Plot summary for Joysticks:
When a top local businessman and his two bumbling nephews try to shut down the town's only video arcade, arcade employees and patrons fight back. Jefferson Bailey (Scott McGinnis) runs the most popular video arcade in town, much to the chagrin of local businessman Joseph Rutter (Joe Don Baker). With his two bumbling nephews, Rutter aims to frame Bailey and have his business shut down.

Bailey, however, is wise to Rutter's plan and teams with best buds Eugene (Leif Green) and McDorfus (Jim Greenleaf) to stop this scheme, which also involves a video game duel with punker King Vidiot (Jon Gries).

Along with a slew of delightfully awful movies, I've discovered Mr. Robot and some other awesome shows through the Fire Stick. I come out from under my rock now and then, but I will always love physical media. It's more reliable and feels good in your hands!
February 1, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I loved "skateboard" games during the NES era and bounced beween Skate Or Die and 720°

The graphics and sound of Nintendo's NES brought me back to sports games - especially skateboard games!
I played 720° in the arcades and loved the ability to play at home on my NES. Another fav was California Games, but there was something about Skate Or Die that kept me coming back for more. Even after playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater, I still came back to my NES sk8 faves!

Which game did you prefer.... Skate Or Die or 720°?

SKATE OR DIE or 720
February 1, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Superstore is such an underrated show and wonderfully clever

NBC has a hit with Superstore as long as it doesn't become known for being smart. Intelligence is the downfall of most good TV shows.
Airing since 2015, Superstore is a delightfully awkward look at the reality of a group of employees who are like family and enemies all in the span of an episode. So much reality is stuffed into this show, masked by comedy. Ordinarily I have a book in my lap when I watch TV. I never open a book while Superstore is on. it must be a good show...

An oddball family of employees at super-sized megastore Cloud 9 tackles the day-to-day grind of rabid bargain hunters, riot-causing sales and nap-worthy training sessions. Stalwart employee Amy is just trying to hold it all together despite the best efforts of her daftly clueless manager Glen and his iron-fisted assistant Dina.

Rounding out the crew is new hire Jonah, a dreamy dreamer, sardonic Garrett, ambitious Mateo and sweet young mother-to-be Cheyenne. From bright-eyed newbies to seen-it-all veterans, bumbling seasonal hires and in-it-for-life managers, they're all going to get through another day -- together.

Superstore on NBC

January 2018 Retro Gaming Articles:

January 31, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Jagr is the last player from the NHL '94 video game to leave the NHL in real life

Jagr is both the last active player from NHL 94's roster and the NHL's third highest scorer of all time.
Jagr's departure from the Calgary Flames, leaves NHL '94 without a single player from the roster of one of the greatest sports video games. EA Sports' NHL 94 was released on SEGA CD, Genesis, and SNES.

I began playing sports games with Activision's Ice Hockey on the Atari 2600. For a 2on-2 sports game, it was pretty cool! You could control your shots based on what part of the stick the puck rested against. I still get a kick out of it - great game! From there I went to Blades of Steel on the NES. The hockey games I played let me select a team, but the newer games featured the actual players.

My passion for sports games soon became relegated to Tennis games which began to take on amazing reality. I don't really follow sports, but I do love tennis and was psyched to see my favorite players look more and more realistic with every release. For sports fans, the ability to play as your favorite team member was a cool shift from the faceless pixels of old Atari games.

I stll play those early hockey games and was always jealous of the sports games on my friend's Intellivision. Sports games have taken on a crazy amount of realism these days, but it's still fun to fire up those early games!

NHL 94
January 31, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Atari founder's exclusion from GDC award reveals a very binary approach in the "Me Too" movement

Nolan Bushnell
I support the Me Too movement, but labeling all offenses in a binary manner - all deemed equally vile - is unrealistic and weakens the the movement's value and success.
Atari founder, Nolan Bushnell was to receive the Pioneer award at this year's Game Developer's Conference. The award was rescinded after internet outrage about his business practices in the 1970s. Several examples of sexual behavior were laid out as reason to deny him the award.

I feel the Me Too movement is in it's infancy and no one knows how to properly move past the accusations. Each accusation culminates in the "perpetrator" being stripped of their job/status/award. Me Too did wonders for public awareness, but the point at which random public outcry becomes the judge, jury, and executioner... well, that's a big problem.

I do not condones sexual harassment, but in my opinion, lumping every instance into one category is wrong and weakens the Me Too mission.

Shoplifting and murder are both crimes. Most of us recognize they are vey different crimes. While neither are "good", we recognize the circumstances and outcomes of each and logically weigh them differently. The punishment for murder is logically more severe, as it should be. But this distinction is not being readily made or recognized by the Me Too movement.

Nolan Bushnell Harassment within the Me Too climate seems to be a binary offense - either it happened or it did not - all instances treated identically. The punishments seem equally binary. Social Justice Warriors are eager to call out anyone for any offense without regard for individual circumstances.

While harassment should never be tolerated or allowed, the Me Too movement makes no distinction between a lewd remark, an unwanted kiss, or a violent rape.

All such atrocities fall under the purpose of the Me Too movement, but seemingly lack the shoplifting vs. murder type of distinction. Any and all acts are intolerable, but let's make sure we aren't doling our murder sentences to those who swiped a candybar!

Nolan Bushnell made significant contributions to the creation of today's video game industry. His achievements at Atari and Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre are award worthy. As the Me Too movement ramps up, I hope the benefits of awareness aren't overshadowed by a desire to influence punishment. We have laws and courts for that.

Nolan Bushnell's polite response on Twitter...
Nolan Bushnell response on twitter
January 30, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Jaguar USB Tap lets you use an Atari Jag controller when playing Jaguar games on your computer

Jaguar USB Tap
Give those ROMs a better feel by using your Jaguar controller when you fire up your computer and favorite emulator!
As retro gaming goes boldly into the future, we see consoles connecting our favorite game carts to modern TVs and a variety of USB controller options. This is necessary as old hardware is lost to age or disposal. Here is a kickstarter for a conversion board that bridges your Atari Jaguar controller to USB for use with computer emulators. It adds a nice touch of "retro" to playing ROMs.

Jaguar USB Tap The Jaguar USB Tap Kickstarter campaign has a short video outlining it's use. The campaign is fairly sparse and is only seeking $150 from two tiers. $30 will get you a Jaguar USB Tap that will map your Atari Jaguar controller plug to USB.

The creator points out that the mapping of the Jaguar controller (with it's cumbersome 12-button keypad) to USB is available via an open source product, but combining the orders through Kickstarter brings down the cost. It also helps out those who dig the concept, but don't have the tech savvy to do it themselves (that's me).

The adapter has been verified "plug-and-play" with the VirtualJaguar emulator on Ubuntu Linux, Windows 7, and MacOS X. Check out the Kickstarter and see if this makes you want to fire up some Tempest 2000, Wolfenstein 3D, or Raiden.

We love our Jaguar, but some of it's library is easier to acquire digitally. I've always loved the Jaguar controller (not always a popular opinion) and would love to use it with an emulator!
January 30, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Trump's State Of The Union address came from a teleprompter, not his heart

All he wanted was publicity for his game show and instead the US elected him President.
Someone wrote a standard State Of The Union speech and that little man read it. I'm certain his supporters think he's wonderful. Enjoy it while you can, if you're certain he's doing something good for anyone but himself.

Trump never wanted to be President
January 29, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Thoroughly enjoying AMC's Rambo marathon

There's nothing like a good 80s action flick to light up a quiet evening at home!
All I need is some good old VHS-stutter and I'd swear I'd traveled back in time!

Rambo marathon
January 29, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Miley Cyrus was unstoppable at the 2018 Grammys

Miley always finds a way to make an impressive statement!
Miley joined Sir Elton John on stage at New York's Madison Square Garden in NYC at the Grammy Awards. Together, they performed his classic hit "Tiny Dancer."

Miley Cyrus erforming with Elton John This contrast is why I think she is such an impressive person. From center stage as MSG with Elton John to an ironic photo opportunity somewhere backstage. She's wonderfully unstoppable!

Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus

January 29, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Country legend Reba McEntire becomes KFC's mystical pitchman, Colonel Sanders - the first woman to do so

Reba McIntire as Colonel Sanders
There seems to be public outrage at a woman portraying KFc's fast-food pitchman. Next Colonel Corps comic book storyline?
From all the various folks who've portrayed KFc's Colonel Sanders, how can anyone be surprised that a woman has landed the role. Is this a male dominated title. Can a woman not be a Colonel or is this a "chicken" issue? I'm not sure, but outrage makes it a bit funnier.

I think she's a great twist on the long line of previous TV pitchmen for Kentucky Fried Chicken! Perhaps this will spur the next adventure of Colonel Corps, the comic book released at SD Comic Cons in years past. I sense a good storyline in all this outrage. Let the Colonel reign!

Reba McIntire as Colonel Sanders
January 28, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I'm pleased to see outrage with Apple’s ad trying to deprecate the notion of a “computer”

While lines are blurring between computers and other devices, Apple's notion of removing "Computer" from our lexicon is absurd!
If you haven't seen it, Apple had a TV commercial in which a young girl is shown using her iPad throughout the day. We see her looking up info, paying for lunch, climbing a tree - she's everywhere and her iPad seems inseparable from her.

I really like the ad until the very end. The way they show her integrating her tablet into so many varied things from work to fun is very well done. But that's not enough for Apple. They want us to think that computers are outdated - a relic from days gone by. In Apple's world, they can cease devising proprietary laptop connections and just crank out iPhones and iPads.

The ad concludes with the girl laying in her backyard typing away on her iPad, when a neighbor sees her and asks what she's doing on her computer. The girl looks at her and asks, "What's a computer?" The ad clearly shows this girl as a savvy kid. One who knows exactly what a computer is...

At this point I hate the girl and want to punch her (even though she's just an actor). I hate Apple. And I wonder how many people at Apple saw the final ad before it was released. It's absurd and makes Apple look like morons.

Apple's What's A Computer ad
January 28, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

In 2006 Walt Disney Records assembled a teen cover band dedicated to playing Devo songs

DEV2O is a Devo cover band
As you realize how crazy a teen Devo cover band is.... Mark Mothersbaugh was involved and Devo re-recorded tracks for the CD.
I've loved Devo since discovering "Freedom of Choice" in 1980. When I heard Disney had assembled a group of teens to cover their top hits, I had to track down a copy! DEV2.O (sometimes referred to as Devo 2.0) was released in March 2006 as a CD and CD & DVD combo. I believe there was a version sold by Target featuring a bonus track!

DEV2.O cover Predictably, DEV2.O was a one-trick pony and the album flopped. It seems the kids in the band were not musicians and simply appeared to be playing in the videos they created. To keep it Disney-friendly, some of the lyrics were changed from the originals. The most glaring change was changing "Girl U Want" to Boy U Want. As a fan of Tank Girl... that was a tragic lyrical change.

Apparently DEV2.O performed a few times, but the album went nowhere and two of the members quit in the first year. While the music isn't particularly notable, it's a nifty find for any Devo fan. The combo CD & DVD features videos for the songs on the CD along with an embedded app to access more online. It's quite an entertaining package. It's a shame this wasn't assembled as a project rather than a band.

The success of KIDZ BOP seems to indicate one could apply the DEV2.O model to any band. Get some kids together to cover other bands. Slayer, Aerosmith, Judas Pries? it's a pretty easy model as long as you can get the licensing. A few members of Devo were onboard to assist with the transformation of their songs to Disney videos.

Both Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale werre approached for this project by Disney. Casale is credited with dierction and mixing of the music. Casale was interviewed about DEV2.O, giving some insights about Disney's misunderstanding of some lyrics. Alas all good things must end. I think this is a wonderfully unique take on some to Devo's biggest hits. I was able to find a copy at a local library of all places :)

DEV2.O was comprised of five kids:
Nicole Stoehr
  • Nicole Stoehr - lead vocals
  • Jacqueline Emerson - keyboards
  • Nathan Norman - lead guitar, vocals
  • Michael Gossard - bass
  • Kane Ritchotte - drums
Track list for the CD:
  1. That's Good
  2. Peek A Boo
  3. Whip It
  4. Boy U Want
  5. Uncontrollable Urge
  6. Cyclops
  7. The Winner
  8. Big Mess
  9. Jerkin' Back 'N Forth
  10. Through Being Cool
  11. Freedom Of Choice
  12. Beautiful World
The same year DEV2.O came out, you may have seen lead singer Nicole Stoehr in the film Little Miss Sunshine as a pageant contestant. More recently she was in 2015's Killing Me Slowly. Keyboardist Jacqueline Emerson had a role in The Hunger Games.

DEV2O lead singer Nicole Stoehr EV2.O album back
January 27, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Atari's release strategy for RollerCoaster Tycoon, on Switch, hints at scarcity of Ataribox info

Ataribox
Another bizarre funding effort makes us wonder how Atari managed to finance new unproven hardware - the Ataribox.
I've never played RollerCoaster Tycoon, although I've heard good things about past iterations of it on various consoles. I knew it's an Atari IP and a recent GameSpot article about a possible release on Nintendo's Switch caught my eye. Everyone wants to get their software onto Nintendo's successful foray into combining home and handheld gaming.

RollerCoaster Tycoon Last year Atari came out of nowhere with an announcement of re-entering the video game hardware market with a new game console called the Ataribox. People were excited. I was excited. But the Atari we all loved is long gone, but the idea of a new Atari console was too much for me to ignore... and I got excited about it.

I should have known better. Very little info was released, crowd funding was canceled, and we began to wonder if Atari ever had a solid plan for coming to market with hardware. At best, they are terrible communicators. On top of that, they've had questionable results from several of their recent projects from game-centric wrist watches to gambling efforts.

Atari Uses Equity Crowd Funding For Software Release

Atari Game Partners In order to bring RollerCoaster Tycoon to the Switch, Atari has bypassed the traditional Kickstarter model and gone with Start Engine, an equity crowd funding platform where you don't "back" a project - you invest in it. Sounds like a simple shift in terminology, but your minimum investment is $250 - and that won't even get you a copy of RollerCoaster Tycoon if it ever comes to Switch! This is an investment vehicle offering profit sharing.

I'm a gamer, not an investor. When I look at Atari's Equity Crowd funding page, I have to wonder if Atari expects results from this. Obviously this strategy is for investment purposes, not obtaining a copy of their game, but the loopholes I see from a casual read, make me wonder who would consider this a good idea. I've never heard of a game developer soliciting funding in such a public forum. Usually deals are struck with investors through more private channels - not on a website.

Back To The Ataribox

This equity funding scenario looks pretty risky from what I've read. It makes me think Atari wants to minimize their risks of bring products to market by using other people's money. They claim to be using this investment option to gauge it's value to other IPs they want to bring to market, but it makes me wonder how they have financed the Ataribox!

Hardware is far more costly to develop and Ataribox is an complete unknown. Remember that "Atari" is only a holding company with the brand name. It's not the same company that brought several game consoles to market in the 80s. At least RollerCoaster Tycoon has a history as a known entity, but Ataribox? Who knows?

Want an Ataribox? Wait until Best Buy is selling it.
Atari has produced no evidence that the Ataribox is anything but an idea. No working prototype has been demonstrated. The pictures are all renders of what it could look like. If they are soliciting online investment for RollerCoaster Tycoon, how will they ever finance the massive expense of a brand new game console? I hope Atari can pull it off and successfully bring the Ataribox to gamers - but they need to provide specs and timelines!

Atari has been very frustrating and my advice to anyone who wants to buy an Ataribox... don't invest until you see a working prototype. Then if you're still impressed and want to buy one. Wait until GameStop or Best Buy has it on their shelves.
January 25, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Coleco announces tabletop Mini Arcades are coming soon...

Coleco Mini Arcades
Coleco has been promising “new products” for two years. Are the Coleco Mini Arcade machines really coming soon?
Back in the day, I preferred my Atari VCS to the Intellivision, but I wished I could upgrade to a Colecovision. After the Coleco Chameleon debacle was settled and Coleco divested any partnership with that scam in 2015, they suddenly had a lot of momentum. People were talking about the brand!

Coleco Mini Arcades Folks began to ask when new products might arrive. AtGames released the Coleco Flashback all-in-one console in October 2014. But we wanted "Coleco" products!

In March of 2016, Coleco reminded us they were intendo on releasing new Coleco products. Then a year passed with little mention of any products. Today I received an email saying Coleco's Mini Arcades are coming soon. Neither the email or the Coleco website give a date of release beyond "this year". It's only January... which month? :)

This formal email sent to their mailing list hints a release may really be "soon," but I wish they had given a timeframe. A few companies have come along recently with tabletop arcade cabinets of varying sizes.

We all remember the Coleco mini arcades from the past, so it would be cool to have a modern update to this classic. The specs mentioned a Lithium battery and USB charging port, so lets hope this modernized arcade series will come to retail soon.

The email contained some specs for their upcoming Robotech Mini Arcade:
  • Durable plastic - built to last
  • Classic Coleco cabinet design
  • Updated hardware- High Resolution LCD display
  • Enhanced controllers
  • Built in Lithium ion battery - Micro USB powered (cable included)
  • Premium vinyl side art
  • Integrated speaker with aux jack
January 24, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Nintendo's first mobile game, Miitomo, is shutting down in May

Miitomo is shutting down
While lacking the excitement of Nintendo console games, Miitomo was Nintendo's initial commitment to mobile success.
For years and years, Nintendo fans have been wondering why Super Mario Bros or Donkey Kong weren't being unleashed on the mobile market by their owner, Nintendo. Often misunderstood, but always savvy, Nintendo knows the kind of games best for each of their platforms from home game consoles to handhelds like the 3DS. I think they have a good handle on how to best play their games!

Miitomo seemed quite similar to Tomodachi Life with it's turn-based interaction and desire to make players more social with one another. If wasn't the tank battle game you'd been playing against your buddies. Miitomo sought to bolster friendships and generate social scenarios so players might learn more about each other. I like that concept, but I was never able to discern one character from another. The socializing didn't build on anything other than some interesting chats.

Miitomo's End Is Near

Despite it being Nintendo's first mobile foray, it is coming to an end on May 9. The servers are being shut down. As of January 24, you can no longer buy in-game currency. I grew to like the game, but it didn't retain me. I'd periodically go back to it and have a good time, but it didn't draw me in like other mobile games.

However, when I think back on it, I'll miss some of the costumes and accessories I bought/won. And I'll miss the Babymetal poster I had on one of my walls. It's sad to see Miitomo go, but Nintendo's commitment to mobile gaming seems strong and we'll have to see how Super Mario Run and Animal Crossing Pocket Camp fare over time.
January 24, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

For a fee, RealDoll will let you live the Trump life and chill with Stormy Daniels any time you want

In the midst of journalist prying into Trumps escapades with an adult actress, this will be a lot more fun with AI.
You can have your own realistically wonderful Stormy Daniels doll from the folks at RealDoll. Be like trump and galavant around with her - it's the presidential life! If you've never seen the RealDoll site (its NSFW) take a look at their insane product catalog.

Mario's Moon Adventure NES cart
January 23, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

New Century's “Gameboy” case plays games on the back of your iPhone, not on it's main screen

New Century Essentials Gameboy case
This iPhone case plays games on the back of your phone... but not actual Gameboy games.
You've probably seen Hyperkin's Smartboy that turns your USB-C compatible smartphone into a Gameboy. If you take a second look at this bizarre "game-playing iPhone case you'll see it covers the back of your iPhone - like most phone cases. Oddly, the games play on this back-facing surface, so it's not using your iPhone's screen. It seems to have a built-in LCD screen.

The info on the New Century Essentials page indicates this case has over 99 Gameboy games. At $29.99 I'm guessing these are hacked ROMS rather than actual licensed games. They are likely to be unknown random games. If nothing else, it's kind of interesting/disturbing, but I'm more apt to get the SuperBoy from Hyperkin since it plays Nintendo cartridges.

New Century Essentials Gameboy case
January 22, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

If you're dumb enough to eat laundry detergent, you're part of Darwin's theory of human evolution

Eating Tide Pods as a funny stunt is the kind of stupid that rallies against the ingenuity of Nintendo's LABO project.
Eating detergent as a YouTube stunt seems like something that would only occur to a kid who grew up in font of screens full of social media garbage and tablet-based mini games. Disconnect. Log off. Go Outside. View the world. If "likes" and "follows" rule your world, you're not really living.

When I see all the snide comments and moronic assertions about Nintendo LABO, I imagine these are the folks who inspire eating laundry detergent as a funny idea. They can't see the value or genius of Nintendo turning their Switch video game console into a creative STEM-like device.

Through something as simple as cardboard, the Switch can capture the imagination the way Mario does, but in the real world. There's a lot to be learned from LABO. Expand your horizons and give credit to Nintendo for re-inventing their console in less than a year, without stuffing a massive processor into it. Making a fast thing faster is to ignore it's other attributes. Explore beyond a single dimension.

Only morons eat Tide pods
January 22, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Here's a 7-in-1 NES cart full of interesting Super Mario hacked ROMs

I don't really follow ROM hacks, so this may be old news, but I got a kick out of some of these SMB variations.
Mario's Moon Adventure NES cart I found this on the RetroNesGames Etsy page and thought a few of the options were pretty interesting. At the time of this writing, it's listed as "Sold Out". I liked the "Atari" version as well as Mario's Moon Adventure, seeing Mario dart around the lunar surface. Fun stuff and it was on an NES cartridge!

  • Super Atari Bros
  • After World 8
  • Mario's Moon Adventure
  • Mario's Time is Ticking
  • Mushroom Nightmare
  • New Strange Mario Bros
  • Mario Evolution

Mario's Moon Adventure - ROM hack Mario's Moon Adventure - ROM hack.
Mario's Moon Adventure - ROM hack Mario's Moon Adventure - ROM hack.

January 20, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Razer's CES proto lets you play mobile games on a laptop by docking your Razer phone

Razer Project Linda
Do smartphones really possess enough power to use their portable convenience as the guts of a laptop?
Renown for displaying interesting prototypes at CES, Razer did not disappoint with Project Linda - a docking station for Razer smartphones. There's not much inside the "docking station" since the phone is the processor. The aluminum case offers a 13.3" screen and keyboard. The base contains a battery - and this is the part I love... The internal battery in the laptop is used to charge the Razer phone, up to four times!

My experience with a variety of smartphones is their quality. They're not particularly good as either a phone or a computer. I wonder if a smartphone is suitable to be the powerhouse of a laptop. It seems like putting a larger chasis on a Ford Fiesta and saying it's an off-road vehicle.

Razer Project Linda It's possible to buy an actual laptop for less than the exorbitant cost of a smartphone. That being the case, why use a mobile device as the guts of a laptop by spending more to achieve the "laptop" scenario. I'll admit I'm not a fan of smartphones.

I"m a gamer and smartphones have delivered some great games, but the platform is moderately awful - not the basis of a larger device. Nintendo handhelds deliver a great gaming experience. I've never has issues with any of my Nintendo handhelds, which I bring with me just like my phone. But that phone...

Every phone I've owned has had large disappointments along the way. I feel many smartphones are cheaply made with a high instance of planned obsolescence to force us to buy new ones every year or two. Sure that sounds paranoid, but think about other devices in your life that SO NOT fail often. Hmmm... what's the difference?

Razer's idea is interesting, but I see it only benefitting Razer devotees and won't likely come to other brands as there's no standard. You can't shove a Samsung S8 into Razer's dock. Technology is an interesting beast in the ways it grows and advances.

I think marketing is forcing up the cost of smartphones. We depend on them (like an addiction) so the price rises to meet our craving. Most products come down in price over time. Not so with smartphones. Sure they get better batteries and faster processors, but when Apple announces their $1,000 iPhone, I had to laugh. The price far outweighs it's utility.

If only my smartphone was as reliable and trouble-free as my Nintendo 2DS. As interesting as tech advances are, I'm not sure I need to pay more to put a screen on a device whose price rises due to it's portability. This seems like an odd circle in which we pay to return to where we started. I adore my 2DS for games (and a few games on my phone) but the Nintendo Switch seems like a wonderful new path to portability with the addition of a large screen.

So, I dislike smartphones, love Nintendo, and power to Razer's creativity. It all spawns advancement!
January 19, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Some people rescue animals while others leap to action when a Van Halen CD cries out from the bargain bin

No CD of this caliber should be relegated to the bargain bin. Diver Down needed my help!
I couldn't ignore this copy of Van Halen's Diver Down in Best Buy's bargain bin. It brought back memories of the day this album was delivered to my best friend's house from Columbia House. We put the album on his turntable and sat back to see what Eddie had to offer this go round. We were not disappointed.

When I think of all the times we cranked up Van Halen mix tapes on our way to the arcade in high school. Blasting Unchained as thoughts of Galaga, Missile Command and Moon Patrol raged through my mind.

Memories are triggered by all sorts of events. Van Halen was such a major influence on me from good times to learning to play guitar (poorly, but it's still fun). I introduced my son to Van Halen a few years ago and he dove right into their sound. So, I snagged Diver Down from the bargain bin and will pass it along to him. Van Halen rules!

Van Halen's Diver Down CD
January 17, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

We all know mixing donuts with kid's cereal will end poorly, but it makes a good gaming snack

Joanie Brosas inflatable pool-toy donut
No cereal named Donut Shop - even with two flavors - will be a palatable breakfast option, but it certainly works as snack food.
When I plop down on the couch with a controller in-hand, I'm down for a good long gaming session. I do my best to free myself of the many modern distractions from phones to computers, but hunger is the one that always gets me. When I game - I snack. My son and I put together epic snacks and are prepped for video games ‘o plenty. Gotta have snacks!

I can't eat sugary kid's cereal for breakfast, but it's a great nighttime gaming snack!
Most traditional snack food takes a toll on controllers. I'm not sure what's worse: Dorito dust in an analog stick's pot or a mysterious stickiness on all the buttons. Neither is good. Neither is easy to remedy, especially when you just wanna play!

Clearly, it's important to have the right snack. You need something dry, but not crumbly. To be honest, sugary cereal isn't half bad for such purposes! From Captain Crunch to Fruity Pebbles, snacks are abundant in the cereal aisle of your local grocery store.

Sometimes you have to think outside the box... even in the cereal aisle. Cereal aimed at kids is almost always awful sugary filler. It's no way to start the day. Truth be told... it shouldn't be any part of your day, but come on - Donut Shop Cereal!

You can't pass it up entirely! The more disturbing the cereal, the better it seems to fashion itself as a viable snack that won't ruin your controllers while filling you up. This finding is devoid of any reason or science. It just seems true. You can run your own tests with Mario Cereal.

Donut Shop cereal When we have pizza for dinner, there's often some left over. I'm not the sort of guy who can eat cold pizza, especially in the morning. Breakfast is my one sacred meal. That is to say, I have to eat breakfast food for breakfast. No pizza, subs, random dinner leftovers. I need cereal, oatmeal, eggs... that sort of stuff in the morning. Oddly, I usually eat Cheerios for breakfast, but can't eat sugary kid's cereal in the morning. That crap is just for game snacks :)

BTW: You shold really follow cosplayer, Joanie Brosas on Instagram!
January 17, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

After lots of research, my first VCR was a Betamax, positioning me for my first format war

Sony Betamax video recorder
The quality of the Betamax was far superior to VHS, but the rental market was swayed toward that big clunky format.
You didn't need a sid-by-side comparison to see how much clearer the picture was on a Betamax. I was sold and felt like I was on the cutting edge of technology... in the early 80s. It was great for recording, but then the gap began to grow.

At the video store (long before Blockbuster took over) the Mom & Pop shops often carried both Beta and VHS. But Beta began to fade - fast. The rental scene had been won over by manufacturers and Hollywood. This was the first format war I experienced.

Owner of hundreds of Beta tapes, I wasn't swayed to VHS. I dug in. Beta ruled my world. Finding a fun movie to rent on the weekend became much more difficult, but I loved recording movies off HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax. So, I wasn't too bothered by it until I realized the rise of VHS was inevitable and I had tons of Beta tapes. As I watched Beta lose the format war to VHS, I learned nothing, converted to VHS and promptly began buying all my favorite movies on Laserdisc. Later I discovered Sony didn't cease making beta tapes until March of 2016!

I loved vinyl records from the analog sound to the amazing artwork throughout the packaging. I smartly skipped 8-track tapes and only went the "tape" route when Cassettes were popular. To this day I still own the first CD I purchased - Ozzy's Blizzard Of Oz. Next, I owned a Dennon DVD player two weeks before the first DVD movies were available at retail. When 4K DVDs arrived, I laughed since I hadn't bought a Blue Ray player until Christmas 2017.

I used to be an adventurous early-adopter of technology, but these days I'm content to have random chats with my Echo Dot and reminisce about that amazing Betamax that started it all. Wow, I'm glad I avoided Circuit City's DIVX !
January 17, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Stop throwing away old pizza boxes- Nintendo LABO has a building project for you this Spring

Nintendo Labo
Nintendo announced a clever cardboard building project fully integrated with the Switch game console's technology.
Nintendo Labo logo With a nifty STEM-like scenario, Nintendo announced an alternate use for your Switch game console. Do you like making things? Building things? Tinkering? Nintendo LABO might be right up your alley.

Coming this Spring is an unusual product for your Nintendo Switch. Employing it's electronics, vibrations, and quirkiness, there are two projects you can order - also called Toy-Cons. The variety kit offers several projects from an interactive fishing rod to a piano... and an RC car! This toy-con is $70. At a slightly higher price is also a robot building kit.

I think this is a very cool revelation from Nintendo. Others think so too. Of course there are some doubters, but who else - but Nintendo - could pull this off? Both Sony and Microsoft have offered confusing upgrade paths for their video game consoles, making them powerful beasts of raw processing power. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, but Nintendo constantly proves, processing power is not the only path.

Nintendo released a revolutionary console that is outselling it's rivals. Rather than develop a moe powerful SWitch, they completely re-invented a new way to play! Nintendo is focused on fun! In the end, those who only care about processor speeds aren't likely to understand Nintendo LABO, much less Nintendo's ability to think outside the box - way outside.

I think LABO will appeal to many adult gamers (especially those with kids) and kids themselves. I doubt it will expand Switch sales due to the hardwar's price point, but the publicity alone won't hurt. Nintendo's offerings in this cardboard construction genre are quite interesting, but imagine when third parties get involved!

Coming in April 2018, Nintendo LABO seems poised to boost the Nintendo brand and bring the Switch in a new direction - an unexpected direction. Start saving your old pizza boxes. I'm sure Nintendo's designs will spawn your inner-child to want to build more cool stuff!

Nintendo Labo If you're not a fan, you have to admire Nintendo's ability to evolve. A year ago many wondered if the Wii U had forever ruined Nintendo. Less than a year after launch, they are as strong a contender as ever and continuing to evolve in ways no one expected. Nintendo power!
January 16, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Hyperkin's SupaRetroN HD Console brings SNES & SFC game carts to modern TVs

SupaRetroN HD Gaming Console
We love original equipment, but the world is modernizing and Hyperkin allows old games to be played in the modern world.
We adore our SNES console, but it doesn't play nice with our new HDMI HD television. It works just like it did when we bought it new on the old Sony Trinitron, but such CRT TVs are finite and will only become harder to find. If retro gaming it to continue, old games need to become compatible with modern TVs and the SupaRetroN HD is aiding that battle.

When I hear folks claiming there are "lots" of CRT TVs available, I laugh. That may be true... in certain areas... for the time being. No one is making CRT TVs anymore - thus a problem exists going forward. One of my TVs has both composite and HDMI, but the newer one lacks any composite support. Composite components like old DVD players look awful on newer TVs... as do old game consoles. Face it, the world has modernized beyond our beloved retro games.

You can go the ROM and emulator route, but I still love the tactile feel of old game cartridges. Lets get back to the SupaRetroN HD.

Hyperkin's SupaRetroN HD Console operates off an FPGA chip, as opposed to an emulator, and it supports HD 720p output to HDMI while also retaining composite out for use on an old CRT TV. Slick! It also has an aspect ration switch to effortlessly go from 4:3 to 16:9! As if that weren't enough, check out Hyperkin-engineered Pin Perfect!

Yeah... we didn't get it either, but there's a video on their Facebook page that shows a cartridge loosely inserted, wiggling around without any interruption in game play. could this be the end of the death-like grip some clones have on game carts? I have a few clones that nearly tear the metal off he PCB when you go to pull the cart out. I'm hoping this Pin Perfect tech makes for a more gentle interaction between the console and game cart.

I'm excited to begin delving into the clone market and explore these consoles and their functionality with old games and new TVs. As long as our CRTs still work, we'll continue to play most of our retro games in the basement, but the Nintendo Classic Edition consoles have shown us the fun we can have with old games on big TVs. The world is an evolving place and gaming is changing as well. I can't wait to get a SupaRetroN HD and figure out what Pin Perfect is all about!
January 15, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The first Splatfest of 2018 pitted ACTION flicks VS COMEDY Films

This time the Splatfest was global!
We love a good round of Splatoon - Nintendo's answer to Call Of Duty - and nothing beats a weekend Splatfest. We were on team ACTION! As much as we love a good laugh, we love to get behind a classic shoot-em-up with big guns, bigger explosions, and barely plausible plot lines!

Splatfest: ACTION VS COMEDY
January 14, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

If you've ever thought of making your own NES games, NES Maker promises to make it easier

Mystic Searches made with NES Maker
Coding NEW games may become much easier with an innovative set of tools from 8-Bit Heroes, available now via Kickstarter!
NES Maker logo I'd heard of Joe Granato and his New 8-Bit Heroes project. I loved the concept! In short, he had always wanted to create his own NES game as a kid and decided, as an adult, to give it a try. He'd imagined an RPG game called Mystic Searches and learned how to code it and bring it to life in a very cool way.

The process involved a documentary film about NES development and resulted in a prequel game Mystic Origins. Hearing about this prequel, I ordered a copy and was very stoked when it arrived.

I'm looking forward to the larger Mystic Searches, but in the mean time Granato has taken the software development tools he created for Mystic Searches and is offering them as a suite of tools, called NES Maker.

You can own this front-end interface that will facilitate the creation of code for NES games without having to deal with coding assembly language - NES Maker does it for you. I'm sure it's not as simple as it seems, but this is a huge jump forward in bringing NES development to a lot more people. There are several stretch goals featuring moules for specific genres like RPG, fighters, and shooters.

Check out the NES Maker Kickstarter and watch both videos. The intro video sets the stage for the concept, but the second one (further down the page) answers a lot of questions. The kickstarter campaign is diverse and offers the software as well as some of the hardware needed to copy your game to an actual pcb and install it into a blank NES cartridge. Pop it in your NES and play your creation!

This campaign seems like a dream come true for those who've dreamed of creating their own NES game! I'd love to do that, but my lack of development skills always put it on the back burner. NES Maker brings the reality to the forefront of my thoughts. I'm no developer, but i'd love to make a video game! NES Maker might be just the tool to bring me closer to jumping in!
January 13, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

A dual-link Arctic Thunder video game arrived at my local movie theater's arcade

Midway's Arctic Thunder arcade game
There's something magical about a new video game appearing at a familiar arcade, even if it's seventeen years old!
I was excited to see Molly's Game (great film), but that began to pale as I realized there was a new game in the movie theater's arcade! I always try to get to the theater early to rally thorough a few games before taking in a movie. When my son is visiting, the 2-player games often culminate in Air Hockey - a family favorite.

Today, the back wall of the arcade looked similar - but a little different. The familiar seats of Midway's Hydro Thunder had been replaced with sit-on "sleds"! One of the former Hydro Thunder units had been "out of order" for a while. It seems the fix was the introduction of another Midway title - Arctic Thunder, released in 2000.

Having played several sit-on motorcycle games, this one was similar, but had a nice feel to it. Most motorcycle games seat you fairly high up, forcing the player to hunch over. Arctic Thunder's snowmobile game lets you sit lower and almost look upward to the screen. I found this a nice change in this type of game. I'm stoked to have my son visit so we can make use of the dual-machine link.

Having grown up in the lavish arcades of the 80's, I'm accustomed to rows and rows of amazing games - too many to play through in one night. In those days we used to scoff at a "theater arcade" with four or five video games. Today, those feelings are reversed! In fact, I'm stoked that modern theaters often have more than two games. It's another place to enjoy the kind of entertainment that meant everything to me as a kid.

Two local arcades have Space Invaders Frenzy and another has the original Space Invaders video game similar to the one I played at the bowling alley in my childhood home town. DEcades later it's a joy to see video game arcades still in operation. While not the same as they were in the 80s, I'm glad the advances in home video game consoles hasn't completely ruined the option of going out... just to play video games and maybe take in a movie.

Midway's Arctic Thunder arcade game Poke around your local movie theater next time you arrive early for a blockbuster showing. You may find a bit of arcade awesomeness lurking in the wings ;)
January 13, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Why is Nintendo's Gameboy patent update not effecting all clone manufacturers equally?

#Superman64 was trending on Twitter
I read the Retro-Bit clone is on hold in response to a Nintendo patent update, while Hyperkin is lauded for their upcoming Gameboy clone.
Hyperkin's Ultra Game Boy seems to be flourishing at the 2018 CES show, while I read Retro-Bit is putting production of their Super Retro Boy on hold to avoid conflict with Nintendo's recent patent update on Gameboy. I don't get it. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding or lacking some info, but I'd love some clarification on the Retro-bit clone. I would think any legal concerns, prompted by Nintendo's actions, would effect both company's product releases.

Both of these Gameboy clones have tremendous, yet different appeal. Articles seem to be split on whether Retro-bit's Super Retro Boy in on hold or not. Most recently, there has been a lot of reporting about their R-Type Returns project and upcoming line of SEGA-related products. I hope they can find a way to bring their Gameboy clone to market.

Hyperkin Ultra Game Boy Showing off at CES, Hyperkin's Ultra Game Boy features an aluminum case and a backlit monochrome display. As I understand it, the unit plays Gameboy cartridges, but it also caters to musicians in a most unique manner. I've read it will have an SD card slot - NOT for ROMS - to export chiptune music!

The Gameboy in renown among the consoles-are-instruments musicians. Hyperkin is even working with the devs behind Little Sound DJ to include composing software... built in! The device also boasts stereo sound output and a price around $100. Hyperkin says it also supports Gameboy Color games, but not the GBC color pallet... interesting.
Retro-Bit Super Retro Boy Retro-Bit Super Retro Boy expands the gaming options with support for Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and Gameboy Advance while still retaining the Gameboy look and feel. I hope they can find a way to release this version - I love GBA games and it was to be priced around $80!

I'm excited for both of these Gameboy options - including some form of Gameboy Classic Edition mini console from Nintendo themselves. However, the idea of multiple platforms combined on the Super Retro Boy and the chiptune capability with Hyperkin's version, makes me want them both. Still I wonder about the disparity between these two companies and one holding off while the other displays at CES.
January 12, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I'm excited to see the Teen Titans movie with a full length plot on the big screen

#Superman64 was trending on Twitter
Too often series like this announce a "movie" that's simply a few episodes strung together. This is actually destined for the big screen!
#Superman64 was trending on Twitter I'll admit the re-runs of Teen Titans get fairly annoying on Cartoon Network, but I loved this series when it premiered in the Summer of 2003. My son and I couldn't get enough of this show when it came out on DVD and we even enjoyed the THQ video game for Gamecube (also on PS2). It was an average beat-em-up style game, but the unique Titan characters kind of won us over!

It took a while for me to adjust (and accept) the Teen Titans Go version of the show. As I saw it, the characters were re-imagined in a much more child-like manner - more of a Toddler Titans sort of approach. Cartoon Network did the same thing with Scooby Doo. I'm not a fan of this style, but the new Teen Titans finally won us over.

I'm hoping the longer format of Teen Titans Go To The Movies will create a more engaging story, running for the duration of the movie. It can be harder to create the same cohesion when each episode is less than 15 minutes. I'm hoping the movie format benefits the storytelling aspect... and it's kickass-ness :)
January 12, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Denied a PS4 copy of Night trap this past Summer, I snatched one during Limited Run's blowout sale

Night Trap for PS4
Over the summer, Night Trap was hyped intensely across social media and they sold out instantly!
As soon as I heard that Night Trap was coming to PS4 via Limited Run Games, I wondered if it would be sold under their usual first-come first-served sale beginning at 10am. I suspected it might and I grew worried. Having purchased several games from them, I've never had any sold-out issues, but Night Trap is different.

They bring physical copies of games to modern platforms. I love physical games, as opposed to soulless downloads, and love what Limited Run brings to gaming! But the popularity of Night Trap from it's roots as one of the first games to employ full-motion video to the establishment of the ESRB ratings board as a result of the game's controversy - this game would sell out fast!

When Limited Run Games announced their New Year's Day blow-out sale, I saw Night Trap listed - both the standard and special edition versions. I thought I might have a better chance this second time. In the end I was able to get a copy of the standard edition. I circled back to see if I could snag, the limited edition release too, but in those precious seconds... it sold out.

Night Trap characters The standard edition of Night Trap shipped and arrived a few days ago and I'm beyond stoked to have this game. It feels like a part of video game history! I remember all the controversy and Dana Plato's career at the time of it's original release. I also picked up the documentary film about Night Trap.
January 11, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Trump proudly announces delivery of Call Of Duty F-55 planes ahead of Schedule

Having confused quantities with model numbers, our bumbling President also knows little about video games :)
In his usual style of misunderstanding combined with ignorance, President Trump announced delivery of F-52 jets... a plane no one makes. OK, that's not entirely true. Activision features an F-52 plane in it's 2014 installment of the popular FPS Call Of Duty.

"In November, we started delivering the first F-52s and F-35 fighter jets. We have a total of 52 and they've delivered a number of them already a little ahead of schedule," Trump said.

trump's F52 made by Activision
January 11, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

#Superman64 was trending on Twitter and it turned out to be an #N64 reference

Apparently someone on Twitch broke the world speed-run record for Superman on the N64.
It's not often you see a nominal N64 game title trending on social media. I saw this one on Twitter and wondered how Superman 64 could be suddenly so popular. Just another world speed run record being broken... Cool!

#Superman64 was trending on Twitter
January 11, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Fire Tiger has a new 80s inspired album out called Suddenly Heavenly

Fire Tiger's 2018 album, Suddenly Heavenly, releases today on iTunes and Google Play or go retro and order the CD!
Many of my favorite video games date back to the 80s when arcades where dark dens of amazing games and packed full of folks who couldn't change a dollar fast enough to keep the action going. In addition to a slice of pizza and a soda, the best compliment to the experience was the music echoing above the flashing lights and game sounds.

Bands from that era are amazing. Some of them are still making music, but wouldn't it be great to discover a modern band with an 80's edge? Fire Tiger is that band! Even better, they have a new album out, Suddenly Heavenly!

I loved their first album, Energy, after discovering them on social media. They have a classic 80's sound and remind me of clubbing back in the day, You can listen to some samples on the Fire Tinger website, and buy their Suddenly Heavenly CD. They soldier on with the same dedication to that awesome 80's sound I love. We highly recommend Fire Tiger's albums.

Fire Tiger's album Suddenly Heavenly I dig this band and you might too if you like finding a new band with a vibe from the best decade ever - the 80s!
January 10, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Retro Fighters Combo Controller for Nintendo's Switch is available for pre-order

Retro Fighters Combo Controller
Having extensively played with Retro Fighter's NES controller, I'm very excited for their Switch controller!
We are very excited about Retro Fighters Combo Controller for Nintendo's Switch... and not just because of the cool neon blue color. These guys make a quality product! Having used their NES controller, I'm confident the Switch Combo Controller will be a solid, high quality controller.

Like their former NES controller (they made a slick N64 controller too) the Switch Combo Controller is a wired device, also compatible with Mac and PC - bonus! Like the Joy Cons, Retro Fighters controller has a built-in gyro.

My favorite aspect of this controller is the inclusion of shoulder/trigger buttons. This is similar to the NES model that provided many options for controlling your games. As a player, you simply need to experiment a bit to see which buttons work best for your style of play. I'm assuming the same is true of the Combo controller. I see it as a device that will expand on the options contained in Nintendo's Joy Cons.

The pre-order is open and these neon blue gems can be ordered through Amazon or Castlemania Games.

Retro Fighters Combo Controller
Retro Fighters Combo Controller
January 9, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

As a fan, I made assumptions about Bella Thorne without knowing how bave she is. I'm glad she spoke out.

Social media trains us to be critical, defensive, and reactive, when we should be interested, engaged, and compassionate.
Bella Thorne From actors to musicians we tend to become fans based on their public works, creations, and contributions. Through this fandom we begin to feel as though we "know" these people and align with various aspects of their lives. Social media gives fans unprecedented access to celebrities, which furthers the notion we "know" these people. We don't. You don't. I don't. None of us know them and that's how it should be. Admire your favorite celebrity and get to know the people in your daily life.

Everyone has their private lives and celebrities do too. I have a whole new appreciation for Bella Thorne after she spoke out about her abuse. Such a brave thing to do. If you're a fan of anyone, don't assume things about them. The amazing lives they lead may not be as perfect as things seem. Send positive energy. You may be having a better day than they are.

Be cool. Be positive. Take long breaks from social media. Read a book :)

Bella Thorne
Bella Thorne
January 9, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

If you like top-down shooters like Smash TV, check out the Xeno Crisis Kickstarter for Genesis and Dreamcast

I love what I'm seeing with Xeno Crisis as a top-down 16-bit shooter!
Xeno Crisis for Genesis and Dreamcast I came across Xeno Crisis Kickstarter, created by Bitmap Bureau, and was instantly drawn to it's similarity to games like Smash TV. The top-down game-play and frantic shooting brings back a lot of 90s video game memories. It has a great look and feel for games of the Genesis era.

The game is available as a Genesis Cartridge (with a CIB option), downloadable ROM, and a Dreamcast CD. Being a modern homebrew game, it contains procedural map generation and randomisation of gameplay elements. One of the stretch goals is a Nintendo Switch port - which has been met. I'd love to have this on the Switch, but I'd also like that Genesis cart in my hand!

Check out the video and see if you want to back this awesome looking game. The Xeno Crisis Kickstarter is quickly nearing it's end, so check it out soon!

Xeno Crisis for Genesis and Dreamcast
January 8, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Whether Lindsay Lohan should be in the next Batgirl movie isn't the issue

I'm sure Lindsay could pull off "Batgirl" as well as the next actress. But is asking for it all it takes?
Lindsay Lohan wants to be in Whedon's Batgirl film Has Hollywood casting been reduced to a tweet? Is Trump's insistance to relegating the presidency to a series of misplaced Tweets the new way to conduct business? A popularity contest, via re-tweets, will cast Batgirl?

If that's all it takes... tell Joss Whedon I want to be in his Batgirl film!!

Lindsay Lohan tweeted she wants to be in Whedon's Batgirl film
January 8, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I'll always take a bookshelf full of games, CDs and DVDs over an SD card or wifi stream

Just as we're told digital games will be the downfall of brick and mortar game stores, GameStop wants in on the DL action.
GameStop wants in on the DL action When GameStop emails me to encourage me to buy digital games from them, I see the hastening of disappearing physical media. I can easily buy games digitally without going through GameStop. Additional PowerUp points aren't very motivating to me.

I don't need a middleman when most digital sales come from my game console's online shop. Then there's the physical trade-in line. Sorry GS, I'm not trading in hardware and games to earn credit for digital games.

I wouldn't convert my CDs to MP3 and sell off the physical discs. Like music, video games are equal parts art as they are entertainment. From the in-game style to the packaging, it's what makes the physical product more valuable to someone like myself.

Physical games can be traded in at places like GameStop or auctioned for far better deals. The same can't be said for digital games. They can't be sold in the same manner, if at all. As we descend into the abyss where nothing is owned... we pay for access to things.

That's not worth as much to me and accordingly digital games were lower in price due to the lack of packaging and distribution to store shelves. But lately, digital games have been creeping up in price. They're beginning to come way too close to the physical release.

I'm certain that price will rise and become the norm and we'll forget the value of a game cartridge or disc and cheerfully wallow in a more rigid gaming environment because that's all we're given.

The youth of today are content to stream music, movies and games because that's all they know. I'll take a shelf full of games, CDs and DVDs over an SD card any day.
January 7, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Blake's 7 is a new point & click adventure video game for Oric computers

Blake's 7 point & click adventure game for the Oric
This past Fall, a new game, Blake's 7, was released for 48k Oric computers with a microdisc unit and for emulators.
Blake's 7 logo It warms my heart to see how much love the homebrew community has for classic consoles and computers. I've enjoyed many games for the Atari 2600 and Nintendo's NES that were designed in the last few years for consoles that were decades old.

Nintendo's release of NES and SNES mini consoles has proven the appeal of retro gaming, but we already knew that. In fact, it isn't just the popular selling consoles that boast active homebrew developers.

Blake's 7 characters I'm much more console-focused, but the developer reached out to me about Blake's 7 and I love the visual style and the fact that the Oric is somewhat obscure. Retro Gamer Magazine gave Blake's 7 a 93% review score! If you enjoy this style of point & click gaming, you should definitely give José "Chema" Enguita's game a try!

If this title sounds familiar you may remember Blake's 7 was a British scifi show produced by the BBC and televised in 1978. It was a low budget series. but became quite popular and stood up due to it's dystopian story line, good characters, ambiguous morality, and dark tone.

Blake's 7 point & click adventure game for the Oric For me this is a wake-up call in terms of where I look for retro video games. The proliferation of emulators lets most of us experience games (new and old) for nearly any console or computer. The best games don't exclusively exist on the most popular platforms. Look around You may be surprised at the gems you find!

The Defense Force website, hosting the Blake's 7 info, also features a Space 1999 game for Oric. I loved that show and I'm excited to check out this game as well!

Oric computer Tangerine Computer Systems developed the Oric line of home computers in the early 1980s. The line had a short life, but enjoyed some success on the heels of the Spectrum computers.
January 6, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Reliving the awesomeness of Breaking Bad with AMC's 10-year Anniversary Marathon!

Such an amazing show in so many ways and the "Better Call Saul" spin-ff was crazy cool too!
I totally missed Breaking Bad when it first aired. A few years ago, AMC ran a continuous 24-7 marathon of Walter White's escapades - might have been the 5-year mark. I was quickly addicted. Such a great show!

During that marathon, AMC ran it day and night for a week or so. I'd turn it on when I got home from work and doze off around 2AM. The next day at work, we watched it on a large screen via a projector. Good fun, but I missed a lot of episodes when I slept. This time around it's only a few hours each weekend - a much saner schedule. Now I get to see a lot more of it! Still packs a punch with every episode!

Breaking Bad's 10-year Anniversary Marathon
January 6, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

So, yeah, I'm just going to load up Windows 95 on my Gameboy

There's something sinister about this image, but I like it a lot!
I'd be terrified if I fired up my Gameboy and saw a Windows load screen, but I've loved emulators for the oddity of running a different OS on a device.

Windows 95 on my Gameboy
January 6, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

She's an insanely creative cosplayer and beat my high score on Space Invaders Frenzy

MRyuu Lavitz on the Space Invaders Frenzy high score board Ryuu Lavitz Arcade
Regardless of your talents and pursuits, everyone should develop their Space Invaders Frenzy skills :)
Very often I forget how diverse people are. Too often I make assumptions based on very little information.

I've always been impressed with cosplayers and the amazing costumes they come up with. Some incorporate technology along with a keen sense of sewing. but everything they create comes from a passion for the character they portray. One of my favorites is Ryuu Lavitz. Check out her work on her Facebook page!

Its good to remeind ourselves that we are all very different, but not all that different. Many of us like Space Invaders in it's many forms :)

Ryuu Lavitz cosplay Ryuu Lavitz cosplay.

January 6, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

#stableGenius or #unstableMoron?

Wolff's book, Fire And Fury, has Trump's shortcomings on every newscast. In response Trump described himself as a stable genius.
Michael Wolff's anti-Trump book, Fire And Fury I'm sure this book is equal parts BS along with the ugly truth, but even 50% accuracy should be enough to wake people up to Trump's inability to conduct himself or accomplish anything.

Face it, he's a dope. Every time he speaks in public, he demonstrates his lack of understanding. This guy is straight-up dumb!

The notion that he only ran for Office to boost his brand seems like a strange truth that few have really considered. He probably wanted to win the election as much as anyone else wanted him to. He's a game show host who wanted to give his side business a boost. In the end, the US got screwed. I hope this book ends him.

Trump drinks a dozen Diet Cokes each day
January 5, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I'm dying to snag a copy of Edgar Contero's Meddling Kids book

Laden with references to the Mystery Gang, this novel adds a bit more reality to crime solving.
I'll be so sad if this book isn't awesome. The reviews seem good and I dig the concept. Here's hoping!

Edgar Contero's Meddling Kids book
January 5, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

A fake excerpt from the anti-Trump book, Fire And Fury, gave false hope for The Gorilla Channel

The world needs a Gorilla Channel and an impeachment.
The Gorilla Channel on a Predicta TV Michael Wolff's new book focused on the Trump Whitehouse, Fire and Fury has dominated the news for much of the week as excerpts made eyes widen and journalists scramble for corroborating sources.

The reality of Trump has most people thinking he's completely unfit to run a small business, and unable to comprehend The Presidency. A book purporting to contain stories confirming his stupidity has many folks speculating about it's content prior to it's release today.

As people wondered why The Gorilla Channel was trending on Twitter, A parado account on Twitter Pixelboat released the following fake book excerpt. And then Netflix got in on the joke.

Pixelatedboat's fake excerpt from the anti-Trump book, Fire And Fury

The internet began to believe that Trump watches The Gorilla Channel all day long. Sounds like something he'd do. As it turns out, many wanted to watch this channel and Netflix jumped into the fray.

Pixelatedboat's fake excerpt from the anti-Trump book, Fire And Fury
January 5, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Disney Channel has a new musical movie coming in February, Z-O-M-B-I-E-S and it's Zoms vs Poms

Disney original movie - Zombies
While I doubt it will charm in the same vein as Lollipop chainsaw, I dig Meg Donnelly from American Housewife.
This sounds risky - a musical Zombie film? But I'll give it a chance since I'm a fan of ABC's American Housewife where Meg Donnelly plays a snarky Westport teen. Besides, how can you resist singing & dancing zombies vying for equal treatment in the public school system?

Look for ZOMBIES on Disney Channel on February 16!

From Deadline's website:
Disney Channel's original movie stars Milo Manheim as the life-challenged Zed and Meg Donnelly as rah-rah girl Addison at Seabrook High. The school is the pride of their suburban town, which is preoccupied with uniformity, traditions, football, pep rallies and cheerleading championships.

That is until students from Zombietown integrate into the school and chaos erupts as human and zombie students struggle to coexist. It now will take courage and a budding friendship between Addison and Zed to help unite their high school and community. And remember: Zed's dead, baby.
January 5, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Who flips the bird best on #NationalBirdDay?

Today is National Bird Day whether you prefer them on your feeder or making a bold statement.
It's not possible for me to pick just one from this group - no way. I was infatuated with the Flappy Bird mobile game, but my allegiance will always be with the Ostriches of William's Joust. As for Rap-Rock, you can't get much better than Die Antwoord, and Yolandi Visser is beyond wickedly unique.

Almost-Kardashian, Kendall Jenner always flips the bird for the paparazzi who trail after her. She puts up her message whether modeling around the globe or cruising the LA Freeways in one of her classic cars. She has amazing taste in old cars!

Last, but not least, I miss the old Miley Cyrus - not the Hanna Montana gal, but the ruthless "Bangers" chick who feared nothing and does things HER way. I admire that very much. Newer "Malibu" Miley has a softer edge, but we know the Wrecking Ball gal who refuses to conform is still driving her to do cool things!

Today is National Bird Day
January 4, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

While watching CNN's The Lead I couldn't help noticing the Minecraft mug on Jake Tapper's desk

Minecraft mug on Jake Tapper's desk
While home during today's #BoomCyclone storm, I got a kick out of seeing a Creeper mug on a CNN set!
Minecraft mug on Jake Tapper's desk I've been a fan of Jake Tapper's show, The Lead on CNN, but I'm rarely home to catch it in the afternoons. Today's blizzard ended my workday early, so I went home to see about catching some of the news shows I rarely get to see.

The Lead with Jake Tapper is one of the shows I like watching and the power stayed on long enough to see the whole show. I was working from home and occasionally glancing over at the TV.

One such glance, I could swear I saw a Minecraft Creeper mug on Jake Tapper's desk. Further inspection revealed there was indeed a Creeper mug on set.

Next, I was determined to see him take a swig from it. No such luck. Always the consumate journalist, he never touched it. I must be late to the game on this one - I wish I could watch The Lead more often - he mentioned a few months ago that the Creeper mug was a gift from his son. Very cool! :)
January 3, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Mulder and Scully are back on the tube tonight for the next season of The X-Files

The X-Files
I'm excited for another foray into the unknown, but must it air at the same time as Riverdale? Let's not discuss DVR!
Before anyone suggests I DVR one of the shows, let me say I never did that when recording shows on video cassettes in the 80s. I usually sat there watching the show while it recorded. I know... I'm old school to the point of detriment.

But I don't intend on changing. I dig my retro ways! I don't want to stream TV and watch whatever I want whenever I want. That's no fun. I loved waiting another week to see what would happen to Steve Austin on The Six Million Dollar Man or to discover how Quincy would save the day from the ME's lab. And lets not forget that Fridays were for Miami Vice! Its just the way TV works.

OK, I do stream some TV and I adore my PS4, but I like structuring my life around things. If I can do anything anytime I want, I'd get lost in the big world and wouldn't know what to do. Re-runs will solve my X-Files / Riverdale dilema. See? Problem solved.

You'll have to excuse me while I go fire up my Atari 2600 for a few rounds of Asteroids and Space Invaders... maybe even some Missile Command. Old school is a pretty good deal. Put down your tablet and give it a try :)
January 3, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

After assuming I'd never find Super Mario Cereal, there was a stash at my local grocery store

Super Mario Cereal at Stop & Shop
I'm pretty stoked to have found a few boxes complete with power-up marshmallows and a built-in amiibo.
Nintendo cereal isn't a new concept. They have released several varieties over the years. What separates 2017's Super Mario Cereal is the built-in amiibo function found in every box! Just as you'd place an amiibo figure on your Gamepad or Switch, you can do the same thing with this cereal box.

Regardless of this being a typical kiddie-cereal laden with sugar, we think this packaging is pretty darn cool! It's food. It's an amiibo. I'm loving this! Thanks, Nintendo and Kellogg's!

The amiibo is advertised as being compatible with Super Mario Odyssey, but some have reported results in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Adding to your gaming infatuation, Super Mario Cereal features a maze and trivia questions on the back of the box. Keep an eye out... if I can find it at my local supermarket, it must be in fairly wide distribution.

Best of all - each box was $2.50!

Super Mario Cereal
January 2, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The World Health Organization draft positions “Video Games” as a scapegoat for delinquency

World Health Organization acknowledges gaming disorder
The initial drafts are not final, but the WHO seems to be targeting “Video Games” as a cause rather than understanding any behavior can become addictive.
Those who've been around a while know that "video games" have been targeted by the media as the scapegoat for any and all atrocities from school shootings to lesser delinquency. It's easier to point a finger at electronic entertainment rather than update antiquated gun laws. Just say the perpetrator played violent video games and there's no longer any need to treat mental illness - just let it stew.

Video Games are a form of electronic entertainment, not a disorder!
Too often the easy solution - right or wrong - is the way our society tends to lean. So, when news starts breaking that the World Health Organization (WHO) is adding Gaming disorder to it's International Compendium of Diseases. While this may be an insignificant addition, the generic approach is worrisome to me.

If you look at the language they use, they call out video games as an activity that could become addictive. From this, they loosely assume video games are a cause. As I see it - anything can become addictive. Addiction is the issue, not video games!

Having seen several cycles of video games" being vilified as a cause of bad behavior, this WHO draft including gaming disorder seems like a strange focus. Clearly addiction and mental health issues need to be addressed, but specifically calling attention to video games seems suspicious. Anything you do to extremes or to the detriment of your health & well-being is a problem, but how do video games fit in?

The problem is addition - regardless of the addiction itself. Every time we begin to see progress in teaching society that gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry, they seem to forget and align it as a gateway to deviant actions. Everyone plays video games - citizens, teachers, criminals, circus clowns... everyone!

Mental illness is a disorder, Pac-Man is not!
No one should attach gaming to bad behavior. Bad behavior stems from issues, but Pac-Man and Call Of Duty aren't the culprits. Wise up folks - the WHO, along with mainstream media, need to be reminded that mental illness wasn't invented by Atari and gaming is a pastime that could become addictive, but video games are not the problem.

People are doing crazy stuff - insane crimes. Lets not blame video games and close the file. I worry that this sort of scapegoating occurs in place of any desire to solve our societal problems and mental health issues. Pointing fingers at video games is not a solution!
January 1, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Having tried Mt. Dew's Holiday Brew, a DIY initiative replicated more in our kitchen

Mt. Dew's Holiday Brew combo-beverage
Our kitchen sink became ground zero for concocting Holiday Brew mix with Mt. Dew and Code Red.
I've largely cut soda out of my diet, due to it's high sugar content. A YouTube video showing how well carbonated soda acts as a toilet cleaner also had an impact. Still, I get the urge for a Mt. Dew now and then.

During the holiday, my son and I discovered Mt. Dew's Holiday Brew at a local convenience store and decided to try it. To be truthful, we snuck two bottles into the movies to add a bit more pizzaz to Jumanji. While not a stellar release, this film was greatly enhanced by Holiday Brew.

Make Mt. Dew Holiday Brew At Home

Unable to find two-liter bottles of Holiday brew, we decided to make our own. The bottle's packaging confessed it's little more than a mix of Mt. Dew and Code Red, so why not mix up a batch at home? We snagged a two-liter bottle of each and headed home to make a mess.

Unsure of the exact mixture we went with a 50-50% of each. I poured half of the Mt. Dew bottle into a measuring cup with a spout, then poured half the Code Red into the Mt. Dew bottle. The final step was pouring the Mt. Dew from the measuring cup (the spout was very helpful) into the Code Red bottle. This left us with two 2-litter bottles of Holiday Brew!

I'm sure there are better mix percentages to tweak the flavor, but 50-50 seems to create the least mess, letting you use the original containers and only have to clean up one container. This concoction lent well to quenching thirst during our retro gaming sessions. Go mix up a batch!

Jumanji movie stand-up promo
January 1, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Retro-Bit announces upcoming R-Type Compilation for SNES, R- Type Returns

Retro-Bit announces R-Type Returns
R-Type Returns will be a limited edition SNES cartridge produced in conjunction with developers at Irem.
If Nintendo's release of the SNES Classic Edition didn't prompt you to fire up your original Super Nintendo console, perhaps this release from Retro-Bit will do the trick. This cartridge (limited to one thousand units) will contain both Super R-Type and R-Type III: The Third Lightning.

This limited edition includes a collectible retail box, full-color manual, limited edition lithographs, certificate of authenticity, an original sticker collection and an exclusive Limited Edition Pin.

Neither price or release date have been set, although it is slated to appear in 2018. The game will be available via CastleMania Games, so check in to see when this title's information becomes available.

Super R-Type by Irem for SNES Super R-Type by Irem for SNES was released in September 1991. It was released on the Wii Virtual Console in 2008. One of the two included titles on Retro-Bit's R-Type Returns!
R-Type III by Irem & Jaleco for SNES Released in December 1993 for Famicom/SNES, R-Type III by Irem & Jaleco also appeared on Gameboy Advance and Wii Virtual Console. One of the two included titles on Retro-Bit's R-Type Returns!

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