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8 Bit Central - Retro Gaming Blog

Archive of Classic Video Game Blog Articles
First Quarter 2019 - January, February, and March



Just when you think there can't possibly be more innovation in retro gaming, a new invention, concept, or development arises. For games that can be forty years old, a lot of great new things are happening. We love tracking down these gems. Join us and stick around!



2019 Blog Navigation »
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January 2019 Retro Gaming Articles:

January 21, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Promotional poster for the Buenos Aires SciFi Festival by Flavio Greco Paglia

Heavy Metal featured this image on their Instagram
Poster design for the 19th edition of Buenos Aires Rojo Sangre (BARS), an international film festival oriented to independent productions and devoted to Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy. Discover more of Flavio Greco Paglia's work.

Retro Fighter's BrawlerGen 2-in-1 controller
January 21, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Retro Fighter's BrawlerGen 2-in-1 is an upcoming controller for both Sega Genesis and Saturn consoles

Retro Fighter's BrawlerGen 2-in-1 controller
Their NES controller astounded me and I'm waiting for their N64 controller to ship - love what these guys do!
With Analogue's Mega-SG coming to market later this year - an FPGA console - I've been looking at controller options. Today I discovered Retro Fighters is coming out with a combo controller that will work with the Sega Geness and Saturn. I've been using their NES controllers for about two years and love them!

I know some folks use old Genesis controllers on their Atari 2600 & 7800 due to the matching DB-9 connections. As a side benefit, I'm hoping to be able to use these with my old Atari consoles and my Retron 77. Might even work on the Colecovision!

They are available for pre-order on their site and are slated to ship on June 10. Every time I turn around, Retro Fighters is revolutionizing game-play on my favorite old consoles.

Retro Fighter's BrawlerGen 2-in-1 controller
January 21, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

21-year-old Frances Tiafoe reached the Grand Slam quarterfinal! Why has tennis disappeared from video games?

tennis player, Frances Tiafoe
EA keeps churning out sports titles, year after year. What's happened to tennis!?!
As an unseeded player, reaching the quarter finals at the Australian Open is an amazing accomplishment. Doing so on one's birthday, makes it all the sweeter. Tiafoe's post-match interview was classic :)

"It means the world. I worked my ass off, man," he said after the match, On my birthday, I would have been mad as hell if I'd lost."

When an unseeded kid comes into a grand slam tournament and wins his way to the Quarter Finals, how can game developers resist the allure of bringing tennis back to video games? They used to be so plentiful and recurring. I never considered Pong to be tennis, but I played my first tennis game on the Atari 2600 and was delighted by Jimmy Connors Tennis on NES and even Snoopy Tennis on Gameboy Color. I prefer the realistic games like Top Spin and Virtua Tennis which took off across multiple platforms, then faded away.

Bigben Interactive's World Tour Tennis Tennis World Tour was announced for Switch, but received poor reviews. Nintendo's Mario tennis met a luke-warm reception, but I yearn for the games that had rosters of actual players from around the globe. You could even re-create famous matches pitting specific players against one another.

EA keeps churning out sports titles, year after year. What's happened to tennis!?!

I've been complaining about the disappearance of Tennis Video games for two years. I miss the additions of new players and the realism that Mario Tennis doesn't cater to. Similarly, I don't want to bounce around d the Mushroom Kingdom as Roger Federer. Aside from Bigben Interactive's World Tour Tennis, it's a forgotten sport in the world of pixels. Maybe it's cyclical and tennis will re-imerge in years to come. Time will tell. In the mean time... developers... how about a tennis game! :)
January 19, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Congressional newcomer, AOC knows how to drop a meme unlike elder statesmen baffled by simple tech

AOC All your base are belong to us
When 45% of Republicans approve of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, you know All Your Base Are Belong To Alexandria!
Congressional newcomer, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a savvy lady who seems as bright as she is fierce. In Trump's world of disinformation and confusion, it's nice to hear of someone in politics that isn't dumb and not in it just for the kick-backs.

I was stunned to see her drop the All Your Base line in a tweet today about how much of the Republican base supports her ideas on taxing the wealthy. But having used this popular video gaming meme opens up a ton of nerd questions.

Does she play video games? What's AOC's favorite console? Favorite game? Pac-Man or Call Of Duty? We need answers!! lol

AOC All your base are belong to us
January 18, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I'm excited about Ghostbusters, but lets not forget how many planets aligned to make the first flick a classic

Ghostbusters 2020
All signs point to a continuation of the popular 1984 Ghostbusters film, but can't we just hope it's a fun movie?
New Ghostbusters? Summer of 2020? Hell yeah! I feel the excitement. I've been infected with a bit of the manic craving for what made ghostbusters great in 1984. Alas, in 2019, duplication is paramount to creativity. While basing the 2020 version on the initial film's "universe" sounds promising - I liked the Melissa McCarthy variation - too many folks are getting their hopes up for a recreation of the "feel good" vibe of the '4 flick.

You have to remember the first Ghostbusters film involved four outstanding comedians coming together and ad-libbing a lot of the script. THAT is what gives us a great film. The human factor is the key and that can't be randomly duplicated despite Hollywood's desires.

Besides... Hollywood has lost it's mojo. Most films are based on proved plots - meaning retakes on existing stories. So few directors want to I hope the 2020 film is great and a cool extension of that storyline. There's no way I'll miss it, but I get irritated by those trashing the 2018 reboot and assuming the new film will cure all their woes. It's a movie. Go enjoy it. Worst case... you lose two hours.

January 17, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Arcade Challenge: How many games will you add to your game room with a strict budget?

Mix and match titles and pricing to see how many arcade cabinets you can purchase.
Here's your challenge... You have a game room set up at home and the opportunity to add a few cabinets comes up, but you're on a strict budget! Oh No! You know you want them all, but will you go for quantity or will you spend heavy to get a favorite title?

Each price group offers four titles, each of which goes for either $50, $40, $30, or $20. Mix and match, but you can't exceed one hundred dollars at check out!

How many games will you add to your game room? Let us know which games you went for!
January 16, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Billy Idol and Steve Stevens are hitting the road as a duo for an Unplugged tour

His acoustic 'Turned On, Tuned In and Unplugged' tour includes classics, covers, and spoken-word interludes.
This sounds like one of those small and intimate tours where everyone feels like they're in the front row. I'd love to see Billy Idol in this format. He and Stevens have rocked together for so long, this is a terrific pairing for a tour.

It kicks off March 3 in Vancouver and wraps April 4 in New Jersey. The idea of some spoken-word portions makes my mind reel. He must have some great stories and to hear them infused with his hits is an astounding idea!

Billy Idol and Steve Stevens are hitting the road
January 16, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Atari founder, Nolan Bushnell, is back in gaming with an Alexa-powered board game

Nolan Bushnell is back with an Alexa board game
At the Alexa Conference in Chattanooga, Bushnell gave attendees a glimpse of the voice-activated games he's releasing this year.
"Alexa... tell us about the St. Noire game."

Nolan Bushnell has a long history of success from his days with Atari and merging gaming with pizza via Chuck E. Cheeses. In fact he is something of a serial founder. He starts companies, brings then to success and finds a new challenge to undertake. His ideas have branded more things than many people know.

Appearing at the Chattanooga Alexa Conference, Nolan Bush, presented his latest foray into gaming with Amazon's Echo voice assistant. Promising several games to be released this year, the first is St. Noire - a voice-activated murder mystery game that challenges you to solve a murder by interviewing a full cast of characters by chatting with Alexa (Echo).

St. Noire is Bushnell's first Alexa board game I've played a few "choose your own story" type games where Alexa tells the tale and you direct which way to venture when offered a fork in the road. They're fun, but if you play one, the novelty wears thin on the next. It's sort of a one-trick-pony. But it's a good horse ride. Fun stuff.

St. Noire is designed to work with the visual capabilities of Echo Show, but will work similarly with an audio only model. I'm a bit surprised they went with the Show model as I doubt its install-base is terribly substantial. The game seems quite similar to the traditional Clue board game. You travel around interviewing characters as yo whittle away at the mystery.

Bushnell sees games and movies at opposite ends of the scale with an interesting immersive experience in between the two. With five games slated to release in 2019, they will range from kids and families to games for adults. St. Noire should be available in March. I'm sure you can order them all via Alexa.

January 15, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Trump invited the Clemson University football team to the White House for cold junkfood

We all know that food gets cold fast without those magic red heat lamps that crap sits under all day long!
Soggy fast food is no way to show appreciation which is what White House invitations are all about. It's to commemorate something. Wendys, McDonalds, Burger King, and pizza? Why would anyone go the White House for that?!? The common man can eat that junk any time they want.

And lets not forget that the day after, Burger King trolled Trump for not knowing how to spell hamburger. Hamberder? This is our president. Hope you're pleased with your vote.

junk food at te White House
January 15, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Iam8bit brings Donut County to PS4 as a physical release

Donut County for PS4 on a physical disc
Raccoons have taken over Donut County and you're one of them - controlling a hole - dying to get bigger.
Iam8bit is offering a limited quantity (5,000 physical copies) of Donut County on a nice shiny disc. If you have a PS4 and think you can steal more trash than the other raccoons, you may want to sharpen your hole-moving skills and snag a physical copy of Donut County! With a crazy premise and interesting mechanics, you swallow the surrounding landscape and solve puzzles that come your way.

Donut County was developed by Ben Esposito and published by Annapurna Interactive. In the game ( as a Raccoon, you control a hole in the ground and manipulate it to swallow everything in sight. This makes the hole increase in size letting you swallow up more real estate - literally.

As it garners praise, I"m wondering if we'll see a physical release for Nintendo Switch too. If you don't mind a digital download, Nintendo's e-shop can hook you up as well. But we all know physical releases are so much better! Check out Donut County, but be prepared to explain to the local residents why they're stuck down in a hole... Uh oh!
January 15, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Dynamite Comics is bringing Ms. Peterson to a new comic series, The Shape Of Elvira

Dynamite Comics - The Shape Of Elvira
The Mistress of the Dark. is getting good reviews on this four-part comics book series.
Dynamite Comics - The Shape Of Elvira Dynamite Comics is bringing Cassandra Peterson's Elvira to a new comic book series, The Shape Of Elvira.

The Mistress of the Dark lands the leading role in a touching art film about human/gill monster romance, but there's something decidedly fishy about her costar. Is there an Oscar(tm) in her future, or is director Billy Bullworth interesting in spawning something more than an Academy Award-winning movie?

Dive into the first issue of this special four-part miniseries, by writer David Avallone and artist Fran Strukan. Nothing says award season like a little gill monster romance.

January 14, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Ariana Grande's Pokemon passion runs deep... beneath her skin with Eevee

When celebrities admit gaming addictions, it makes them seem real
Ariana Grande's Pokemon passion runs deep Thought I'd end up with Sean
But he wasn't a match
Wrote some songs about Ricky
Now I listen and laugh
Even almost got married
And for Pete, I'm so thankful
Wish I could say, "Thank you" to Malcolm
'Cause he was an angel

One taught me love
One taught me patience
And one taught me pain
Now, I'm so amazing
I've loved and I've lost
But that's not what I see
So, look what I got
Look what you taught me
And for that, I say

Thank you, next (next)
Thank you, next (next)
Thank you, next
I'm so fuckin' grateful for my ex
Thank you, next (next)
Thank you, next (next)
Thank you, next (next)
I'm so fuckin'

Spend more time with my friends
I ain't worried 'bout nothin'
Plus, I met someone else
We havin' better discussions
I know they say I move on too fast
But this one gon' last
'Cause...


January 14, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

It was aliens...

Yeah, definitely aliens...
space invaders aliens
January 14, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

My parents once owned a station wagon with woodgrain side panels

The memories are coming back...
Check out the Bittboy mini handheld game console. They have a few models to choose from. I've had a blast with mine. Lots of hacked ROMs, but good fun lurks in the mix :)

Bittboy handheld game
January 13, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

If Aquaman earned One billion dollars worldwide, I need to see it again - I must have missed something

I'm down for a superhero flick. Loved Aquaman comics as a kid. Did not like this film at all!
I liked the beginning of the film and the way they took time to introduce characters and the story, but 20 minutes later fish-people were starting random fights as other story lines went on short tangents to nowhere.

It reminded me of those straight-to-DVD Power Rangers movies - chaotic with no storyline. After making $1B... I must have missed something. I'll have to catch it again when it's streaming.

Aquaman earned One billion dollars worldwide
January 13, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Betty & Veronica -VS- portable video games

How would Nintendo's Switch hold up in this test?
Betty & Veroica -VS- portable video games
January 13, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Amidst all the mini video game consoles on the market, I'd never heard of a 3-inch vinyl record format

3-inch record turntable
Crosley seeks to bolster the rare 3-inch format turntables, also known as 8-ban, on Record Store Day.
As a kid, I had a hefty stack of 45rpm records with a hit song on one side and unknown mystery tune on the B-side (sometimes a rare gem). But 8-ban turntables won't play 45's. They play a 3-inch vinyl format closer in size to CD singles on 3" CDs or those cute little GameCube games on mini DVDs, also 3 inches.

Known as 8-ban, these seemingly mini turntables play these mini records. At 3" they are limited to only four minutes of audio.Popular in Japan, it's easy to see why such a format would be niche at best. Most commercial songs exceed the 4-minute limit, making it hard to comply with. Jack White of the White Stripes has issued his songs on 3" records as many are less than four minutes... and he's a quirky kind of guy. His Third Man company sold the format.

Cruiser portable turntable Vinyl has made a big comeback in the age of faltering CD sales. From curious Millennials to those who appreciate vinyl as a beautiful analog format, many new releases are coming to the vinyl format. Crosley Radio has aided the cause with $80 (and up) portable turn tables. Many of their portable turntables are sold next to newly stocked bins of LPs.

Crosley wants to reinvigorate the 8-ban turntables on Record Store Day with the release of an affordable turntable geared toward playing 3' records. Their 8-ban turntable was shown at this year's CES. It's powered by USB or battery, with an Audio-Technica cartridge, pitch control and a dust cover. Third Man and Epitaph will be pressing music for this format to extend it's interest beyond the one-day event of Record Store Day.

I'm not sure if 8-ban is ready to shed it's obscurity, but this is certainly an interesting idea and Crosley seems intent to the point of selling the requisite hardware. I like quirky things of this sort, but will enough folks, outside the usual audiophiles, jump on this? Look for this format on April 13th - Record Store Day.
January 13, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Soldier 76 joins Tracer as an LGBTQ character in Overwatch

Character details and story lines don't factor into the gameplay as much as it adds dimensions to the characters you choose to play.
Tracer is a prominent character in the games visual display and Soldier 76 is the character used in intro training and tutorials. This makes both characters quite prominent in the game's hierarchy. Character backstories and details have little or no role within the gameplay. Personal stats, traits and stories occur in media external to the game itself.

Some have called this LGBTQ revelation purposeful rather than a chance mention at this point in the game's lifecycle. As a multi-player shooter, I question how much personal detail is needed to construct a great game. Adding backstory elements over the game's lifecycle simply allows gamers to better identify with the group of selectable characters.

Adding diversity to a game of this type creates a very human element to a fast-paced game with little time to ponder such details while in-game. It gives players more to consider when not immersed in the games frantic pace. Labeling this as strategic or coincidence seems petty. Everything needn't be met with skepticism and distrust. Enjoy the game and give props for non-requisite character development.

Soldier 76
January 12, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Cosplayer Ryuu Lavitz meticulously creates a lot of video game characters

A new way to envision Sony's PlayStation 4.
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January 12, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Britney Spears' debut album, ...Baby One More Time, was released 20 years ago, spawning Britney's Dance Beat

Not initially loved by critics and reviewers, the album eventually took off selling over 25 million copies and a few video games.
Britney Spears' debut album, ...Baby One More Time I remember when this album dropped and Britney's video began airing. Everyone loved the video and replicating her dance moves seemed to take over teenage lives. I thought it was a catchy song, but it makes me feel old to know it's twenty years old today. Feels like it came out much more recently :)

If you were really into Britney's dance moves, you could fire up Britney's Dance Beat on Nintendo and Sony game consoles and even PC. Versions of the game were released for Game Boy Advance on March 25, 2002, PlayStation 2 on May 8, 2002, and PC on June 19, 2002.)

Featuring music and video from Spears first albums, your goal is to pass auditions to become one of Britney's backup dancers. It's kind of mindless, but tie-in games were often rushed to coincide with various events. Some of them are quite good, but we don't expect too much from this genre.

Britney's Dance Beat for PS2 Britney's Dance Beat for PS2 - Box art, front.
Britney's Dance Beat for PS2 Britney's Dance Beat for PS2 - Box art, back.

Britney's Dance Beat for PS2 and debut CD
January 11, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Just downloaded Out Run to my Switch and I'm loving every second of it

Out Run with Horizon Chase Turbo is an outstanding combo of racing games for Nintendo Switch!
Just downloaded Out Run to my Switch I've loved having Out Run on my 2DS. I just downloaded it for Switch and I'm ecstatic! I adore this game! Sega Ages has done a great job bringing titles to Nintendo hardware. This version features new motion controls, a few new music tracks, and a ranking system.

Combined with Horizon Chase Turbo, my racing needs have been met! We have a local arcade that opens each summer with a 2-player Out Runners cockpit setup. It's a dream! My son and I play it each time we hit this arcade after mini golf. They also have a Donkey Kong cabinet!

Having the best retro and retro modern racers between these two games is the best. My Switch feels like a brand new experience. Sounds crazy, but the right game really unlocks my enthusiasm.

I highly recommend both games! Just downloaded Out Run to my Switch
January 11, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Nolan Bushnell checks out the Atari Pong Table at CES

It stands to reason the founder of Atari should take a peek at a new take on the classic Pong game.
The Atari Pong Table is an electro mechanical version of the classic digital "tennis" game. Using pulleys and a lot of smarts, this tabletop version of Pong is fast and looks like a lot of fun. No wonder Nolan Bushnell stopped by at the CES trade show.

Nolan Bushnell checks out the Atari Pong Table at CES
January 11, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

A physical release of Super Meat Boy is coming to Switch by way of Limited Run Games and Best Buy

Super Meat Boy for Switch
Super Meat Boy began on Xbox 360 and PC, but spread to Sony's platforms and the Wii U. Now it comes to Switch on a game cartridge!
The partnership between Limited Run Games and Best Buy is becoming more and more lucrative as time passes. I picked up Golf Story as a physical release a few days a go from Best Buy. Now LRG is releasing Super Meat Boy via Best Buy to get the game to fans earlier than their internal schedule would allow.

Super Meat Boy An attempt to release Super Meat Boy fell through last year, so Limited Run Games stepped in to get the game released. Being last minute, it didn't fit into their schedule until the Spring, but the game would be ready much sooner. They decided to let Best Buy release the game in early February. This is a pretty slick option and is a win-win for those seeking a physical release of the game.

You can pre-order Super Meat Boy on Best Buy's website and have it shipped or pick up your order from the closest Best Buy store. This partnership is already benefiting gamers and allowing LRG to release a cool platformer while staying on schedule with their other releases. Seems like a smart move all around.
January 10, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Arcade1Up is showing off more arcade titles at CES

Arcade1Up at the CES trade show
After overcoming some growing pains with the initial games, Arcade1Up seems to have four new cabinets coming soon!
I think it's cool that Arcade1Up is forging ahead and adding new titles to it's line of 3/4 size arcade cabinets. Casual arcade buffs can now add more vintage titles to their mancaves and game rooms.

I haven't seen an official game list, but from the Arcade1Up website and around the Net, one can make some fairly conclusive guesses about the upcoming titles. The feature titles of each of the new cabinets are Mortal Kombat, Final Fight, Golden Tee, Space Invaders, and Karate Champ.

While the initial lineup of games offered two to four titles. These newer ones seem more game centric with variations of the feature game. The Mortal Kombat cab seems to have severa different versions and the same seems true for the Golden Tee cabinet. Space Invaders seems to include a few SI variaitoins - not sure on that one. The Final Fight cab seems to have 3 other titles unrelated to Final Fight.

Keep an eye on the press releases coming from the CES trade show for all the latest info!

Arcade1Up at the CES trade show Arcade1Up at the CES trade show.
Arcade1Up at the CES trade show Arcade1Up at the CES trade show.

The initial units we saw in stores during the 2018 holiday season, drew a fair amount of controversy among gamers. Many longed for an "arcade experience" at home, but didn't want to spend $3,000 for a real single-game cabinet. Arcade1Up offers a casual gaming experience that should satisfy the casual gamer who wants to relive some of the childhood memories of playing in arcades. Sized to be played from a seated position on a 17" monitor, clearly they were not competing with the arcade games we played in arcades of the 80's.

Like AtGames and their game consoles with built-in games, these devices are not meant to replace the real hardware. Not even close. These companies deliver a cool jolt of nostalgia... and that's not a bad thing. I feel too many retro gamers wanted these devices to replicate their memories and experiences, but that's not what these companies deliver. At a reasonable price-point (compared to actual hardware) the casual gamer should be delighted.

Consumers - mostly retro gamers - put desire ahead of function. They so desperately wanted an arcade experience, they ignored what they were actually buying. I owned several full size game cabinets in the late nineties and they were between $300 and $800 each. Today, all the games I once owned sell for over $3,000 each! Arcade1Up delivers a slick casual experience for a descent price... as long as you realize they cater to casual gamers. The hardcore gaming folks will be disappointed. If you seek a Ferrari, don't start off at the Chevy dealership.
January 9, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I love this retro-styled analog Instax camera... Why is there a Taylor Swift edition?

retro-styled Instax camera Taylor Swift Edition
I'm not sure I need the "Taylor Swift Edition", but this instant camera is savagely huge and looks like a ton of fun!
I've use Polaroid cameras - I guess they're called instant cameras now - but never owned one. I think that's about to change. I like the cost-effectiveness of digital photography, but this looks hella fun! Maybe a few "printed" pics would be kind of cool... useful even.

The SQ6 model camera looks big and clumsy, but that's what I like most about it visually. It gives it a very retro styled appearance.

retro-styled Instax camera Taylor Swift Edition retro-styled Instax camera Taylor Swift Edition
retro-styled Instax camera Taylor Swift Edition
I'll admit to being a Taylor Swift fan and I think it's pretty cool that they branded a camera after her Reputation tour. However, I'm more of a metal and classic-rock guy with a penchant for retro games. Thus, the Blush-gold version seems more my speed.

I believe this is the first Instax camera to use square format film. This means the printed images will be more reminiscent of the old Polaroid format. It uses a fairly non-standard battery.

These days we're accustomed to everything charging via some USB scenario. No the case here. the SQ6 requires two CR2 batteries. So, you won't be giving it a quick topping-off by plugging it into your laptop. Keep extra batteries around.

I don't always think things through. I love the style of this instant camera, but I'm a digital guy. What am I going to do with a bunch of printed photos? I'm still working out that part the my infatuation. I can't believe I can't find some fun use for printed pix of classic arcade games. Maybe? This camera is really cool. I must find a good purpose. Instant photography is back :)
January 9, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Insanely cool Wii-title, Kirby's Epic Yarn, is coming to the 3DS in March

I love this game and I adore my 2DS - win win in March!
Kirby's Epic Yarn was one of the must-have games of Nintendo's Wii console. Hearing that Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn will be released for the 3DS on March 8th is great news! I sounds like it is mostly a port of the Wii game, but promises some new features and two additional modes of play.

At the moment the number of players is labeled, "To Be Determined". I'd love to see some sort of local/internet co-play options.

Kirby's Epic Yarn for 3DS
January 8, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

When April rolls around and the tracking number for your Atari VCS ROM box hasn't arrived, ask this guy

I feel confident saying I flushed $30 down the toilet by ordering the Ataribox joystick, but one can hope, right?
Ottoman Empire Indiegogo sent out a "we need your info" form a few months ago under the guise of shipping me a new Atari VCS joystick in April (I didn't buy the console). Following their standard crowd funding strategy, Atari collected a ton of money and ceased communication with backers. Oh wait, I did read the lead hardware guy is suing Atari, so there has been some news.

This time Atari made off with Three Million Dollars! Think about it. Backers will be pissed! Probably more pissed than the folks who still didn't get their Atari Gameband smart-watch.

So when April looms and you still think Atari is able to make hardware, drop a line to Atari-Fred (Frederic Chesnais) and I'm certain he'll get you that tracking number. If you can't wait and want to play all the built-in games, buy a copy of Atari Vault and you can enjoy all 100 games without an Ataribox VCS.
January 8, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Despite the myriad of clickbait headlines, Nintendo is not shifting away from game consoles

Ottoman Empire
Nintendo suddenly shunning game consoles is like saying Chevrolet is shifting away from cars... Wake up folks. Read the article!
People don't read. It's true. They don't read books. They don't read instruction manuals. They don't even read tweets. People are so adverse to reading they will ask in the comment section about the content of an article they admit to not having read. They even go so far as to have a cute acronym for it - TLDR. Too Long Didn't Read.

So when an article comes along with a headline suggesting Nintendo is leaving the game console market... aren't those reposting it, curious why Nintendo might say this? Or did they just steal the headline and move on to the next assignment? Maybe we're not inundated with Fake News, but rather Dumb Journalism. If they'd had an iota of curiosity about the facts, a quick read of the article would reveal Nintendo's stance. Almost any company might make the same statement.

Founded during the Ottoman Empire, did you think Nintendo was making game consoles for the last 100 years?
Nintendo President, Shuntaro Furukawa, was quoted as saying they might shift away from consoles from the perspective that Nintendo was founded during the Ottoman Empire, but has only been making game consoles for a little over three decades.

Nintendo is a diverse company and has focused it's efforts where it saw the highest chance of success. Nintendo has moved through several other business models before gaming became the rage. They know how to change and retain an advantage.

The misleading headline is simply reflecting that, while game consoles are the core business now, changing technology may alter that and Nintendo would follow suit and change with the technology.

No one today wonders why cars aren't sold with buggy whips. Transportation has outmoded them - there's no market for them. If video game consoles change to another technology, Nintendo, as always, would modernize their approach to stay ahead of the curve. Nintendo is a thoughtful company whose success is no accident. When you've been in business for over 100 years, you tend to be familiar with "change" and how it is achieved and how it impacts.

If you're a TLDR person, please sign up for a library card. Use your mind. Challenge yourself. Reading is taught in first grade and bares utility throughout life. Give it a try and stop passing around misinformation simply because being lazy is easy. Thanks!
January 8, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Blondie's Debbie Harry in front of CBGB - then and now

Cool time-shift photo. It must be fun to live like a rock star!
Original pic by Bob Gruen, this pic by Steve Birnbaum.

Blondie's Debra Harry in front of CBGB
January 7, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

We'd love to chill with Ariel Rebel and play video games

Keeping her banana theme, we're down for some Donkey Kong on any platform - Atari through Nintendo!
Donkey Kong with Ariel Rebel Catch more of ariel on her Rebel Mayhem site (NSFW)!
January 7, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Limited Run Games made a deal to sell through Best Buy, where today I found 6 copies of Golf Story

To be honest, I was surprised to find this many copies since we live in a fairly remote area.
Today I found six copies of Limited Run Games' release of Golf Story for the Nintendo Switch. Ordinarily LRG sells direct to consumers, but not long ago. Limited Run Games announced a curious deal with Best Buy.

Golf Story on Best Buy Shelves This deal involves selling LRG games in Best Buy stores. Naturally, this caused outrage among those who said it violated the "limited" notion and the quantities sold through a large retailer devalued the limited number available. It seemed like an odd pairing.

At the same time, it's a way for LRG to expand and expose more folks to their creations. LRG said the big retailer would not get many copies. I recall a quantity of 2 or 3 per store (which is a lot when you consider there are 1,500 locations in the US. It is also possible that expanding through Best Buy enables LRG to order larger quantities that may benefit them in the deals they have with Nintendo and Sony.

I'm Naturally Suspicious

Here's the part that makes me question the quantity I found at my Best Buy. Six isn't very many, but it is more than I expected. The unique thing about my area is we are very "off the beaten path". The closest WalMart and Target are an hour's drive away.

We have Best Buy and a dreadful Kmart. So, finding 6 copies way out here makes me wonder how many are showing up in big-city locations. More? Maybe. Who knows?

When they said a few, I expected to never see a Limited Run Games logo in my Best Buy. But I found six. That doesn't make a metric, but if they sent 6 here, one can easily surmise they sent even more to larger locations in more populous areas.

It's All Good

I could be wrong and I'm certainly not faulting LRG or their partners. As a fan of physical copies of games, I love what they do. I may be a bit bent out of shape knowing all those manic 10:00am sessions on their website to secure precious titles nets the same result as a trip to Best Buy. I know that'snot the case, but I'm a simple sort of guy!
January 6, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

FRIENDS versus FAMILY ended with "Team Friends" winning the latest Splatfest

Splatoon is an amazing franchise for Nintendo and gives them a family-friendly kill-em-all style game without bullets.
branded Radio Shack shirts
January 6, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I miss Radio Shack's stores, but dulled my pain with these cool branded shirts

branded Radio Shack shirts
I have no idea who currently owns the Radio Shack brand, but if they keep delivering soft-goods, I'll always buy them!
I relied on Radio Shack for decades and loved their quirky products and all the insane connectors they sold. Everyone says you can find everything on the internet, but it's not the same as being able to hold it in your hand and make sure you're getting the right thing. I loved Radio Shack and miss them terribly.

Like all iconic brands, when the physical form leaves, the brands tend to live on via new ownership. Bands like Circuit City, Polaroid, and Atari still exist, but they have new companies behind the brands trying to leverage them as best they can.

I began seeing t-shirt ads from radio Shack during the holidays and decided to risk a purchase with the unknown owners. I picked up these two shirts from radio shack online. They have a few other designs from the battery club to TRS-80. Check it out!

Radio Shack shirt Radio Shack shirt.
Radio Shack brand Realistic shirt Radio Shack's Realistic brand shirt.

January 5, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Neonwall with PSVR Mode comes to Limited Run Games' first-come first-served sales scenario

Friday is their standard day, but Limited Run Games go to Wednesday for VR offerings.
I love my PS4, but was put off by the PS4 Pro release for VR ans It confuses the market and gives developers - FR or otherwise - a better set of specs to design for. Sony says all standard games must play on the original PS4 console even if optimized for the PRo model... but we all know how that story ends. Devs gravitate toward the best horse-power to run their games. Why wouldn't they?

I love Limited Run Games' mision and their expansion into Switch games is great and I hope they have success with VR titles. I"m not familiar with Neonwall, but it is one of those hybrid games that includes a VR Mode. LR is labeling it as a VR game and will be for sale on Wednesday.

I believe this is their fourth VR title, so I'm curious to see how it does. Videos I've seen don't seem to do the game justice compared with the favorable reviews I've seen. I'm dying to know how many PSVR owners are down with LR and seeking physical copies of games. VR hasn't ever taken off as technologists predicted (hoped), but I'm interested to see how VR titles perform.

Golf Story's minigame, Galf, on an NES cartridge
January 5, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Golf Story's minigame, Galf, arrived on an actual NES cartridge with a box, manual, and styrofoam

Golf Story's minigame, Galf, on an NES cartridge
Limited Run Games sold this NES version of Galf, programmed by Eskimo Bob creator Tomas Guinan.
If you've played the RPG golfing game on Switch - Golf Story - you may have encountered the mini game called Galf. Limited Run Games released the mini game as a playable NES game cartridge. Only 1,500 cartridges were made of which 1,050 are grassy green and 450 are golf ball white. We miraculously managed to snag a green cart for our collection.

this NES game was coded by Tomas Guinan, from Spoony Bard Productions, who has successfully Kickstarted two cool NES homebrew games, Eskimo Bob and Alfonzo's Arctic Adventure.

Like many video games - even golfing games - you have foes. The Galf manual advises you avoid strange degenerate like the nudist crab, lady crocodile and flightless bird. Unlike the mini game within Golf Story, Galf on the NES has a 2-player version. it's a lark, but if you've played it on the Switch, playing Galf on the NES is much more fun and takes you back to simpler times.

Golf Story's minigame, Galf, - shrink wrapped box Galf is designed as a complete package complete with a shrink wrapped box.
Golf Story's minigame, Galf, on an NES cartridge Galf has all the CIB components including the styrofoam insert.

Golf Story's minigame, Galf - box The front of the Galf box.
The back of the Galf box The back of the Galf box shows a few of the nine holes.

Golf Story's minigame, Galf - cartridge sleeve The Galf cartridge comes in a traditional game sleeve.
The dark green Galf cartridge The dark green Galf cartridge.

Golf Story's minigame, Galf comes on an NES cartridge with a manual
January 5, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Before TV broadcasting offered quality stereo sound, FM simulcasts brought dynamic life to specific movies

FM simulcasts
This tweet took me back to simpler times when home theater-like sound came from an FM broadcast!
I randomly came across a tweet with an image from an old TV guide listing. Channel 9 was touting Elvira's Movie Macabre, but the tweet was referencing a showing of the original Star Wars that referenced an FM simulcast.

The tweet asked why anyone would want to listen to a movie on the radio. The answer is - no one. But the author was likely not old enough to remember when broadcast television was not in stereo and only emanated from the TV's small built-in speaker. This even predated sending an audio signal through your receiver to listen via hi-fi speakers.

Simulcasts provided better audio to accompany the movie broadcast to your TV.
With no simple bridge between your living room TV and the high quality speakers that were part of your stereo system, better quality sound needed another entry point. Your stereo's FM receiver was the solution. While you could watch and listen to Star Wars on your TV, a simulcast was synched with the TV broadcast enabling you to listen to robust audio via your stereo's FM tuner.

It sounds like a bizarre way to watch a movie at home, but if you ever suffered from the meager sound of a 3" TV speaker, filling the room with quality sound brought an amazing new experience to watching a movie at home. These days we're spoiled by connectivity that lets your phone turn on the coffee pot each morning. Back in the day, simulcast brought a new life to a broadcast movie. Home theater has come a long way, but it wasn't always that way!

Simulcasts were also used for other purposes including alternate languages before captions were available. Some sports events were simulcast in Spanish for listeners. It was part of television's growth that spurred better and better solutions. Think about that next time you're streaming audio with out having to own the album or a CD player.

FM simulcasts "The Raven" was featured on Elvira's Movie Macabre, episode #49, on September 25, 1982 - the likely date of this Star Wars showing with simulcast on KWST FM 106.
January 5, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Today is National Bird Day #NationalBirdDay

No one puts the Bird in "National Bird Day" like Kendall Jenner!
It's easy to imagine the life of a millionaire. Think of all the things you could do. Any time. Any where. It sounds pretty cool. Now imagine a dozen people following you with cameras, documenting your every move without your consent. It's hard to imagine a life without privacy, until you have none.

National Bird Day On National Bird Day, flip off everyone who thinks you exist for their benefit. Do your own thing. Don't let anyone define you. Give 'em the bird!
January 4, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The day I bought Bionic Commando For my NES, I finally understood video game addiction

Before the Internet, finding really good games was a hit-or-miss ordeal.
Without online ratings, reviews, and game play videos, it was difficult to discern a good game from a bad one. An indy electronics shop in White Plains let me try out Atari 2600 games, but in the aisles of Toys R Us, I was on my own.

If you shopped there in the NES era, you likely encountered their game aisle full of box art. I could literally stalk the NES section for hours looking at box art and trying to interpret the descriptions on the back when you flipped the tab up. These two-sided box displays were all I had to go on when it came to buying a new game. The Internet has made that ordeal much more palatable.

The price of games back then was fairly steep, so I always tried to choose carefully and make educated guesses about each purchase. There were good days and bad. I discovered a lot of great artwork adorned the boxes of dreadful games. However, the day I picked up Bionic Commando, I commended my selection skills and sat down to play a game that would delight me for decades!

As I sat mesmerized on the floor in front of the TV, this game took hold of me and I couldn't stop. Even today, it's mechanics are great and it's a ton of fun to play. So few games have this effect on me. It was a good day at TRU when I opted for this game!

Bionic Commando for NES What game did you buy back in the day without any idea if it would be good? Do you still play it?
January 4, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Limited Run Games has partnered with Pound to distribute their HDMI adapter for Nintendo SNES

Limited Rum Games has partnered with Pound
If you want to get your original SNES on the fancy wideScreen TV, this HDMI up-scaling cable may be for you.
Pound's HDMI adapter for Nintendo SNES Limited Run Games has partnered with Pound to sell their HDMI cable For SNES game consoles. This looks like the quick & dirty way to get a reasonable image on an HD TV. The cable only works on NTSC setups (PAL coming soon) and forces an up-scale to 720P at 16:0 ratio. They say you can force 4:3 via your TV's controls. At $30 you get a solution, although I'm not sure if you'll get much more than you're paying for.

It works with both the SNES and Famicom models, but not with the later released SNES Jr. That makes me think it may not work properly with older clones. On the other hand Analogue makes a very nice FPGA-based SNES clone, The SuperNt. It delivers a great image to my TV, can be flashed, and is compatible with all your favorite game carts.

While the SuperNt is the gold-standard of SNES emulation, the Pound cable is significantly less expensive and likely gets the job done. I really wish the site's description didn't try so hard to downplay it's image quality. I'm sure it's just find for a $30 upscaler with HDMI output.

This uninspiring description of video quality comes from the Limited Run Games site:
Please note that these cables upscale and convert an analog output - they do not produce crystal clear images, but they do outperform similarly priced options (and are a step-up from the standard composite output on an HD display). There are more expensive options out there in the $60 - $200 range that can produce better video quality, but they may require additional hardware to utilize.
January 3, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I grew up waiting 7 days for a TV show's next episode and binge-watching occurred long after a season ended

Stranger Things 3
The click-bait headlines about the Stranger Things 3 release date makes me wonder if people no longer want weekly series.
The headlines were relentless. Identical. Irritating. "CLICK HERE" to find out when Netflix will release Stranger Things Season 3. Are people really that desperate for this info? I recently bought the ST2 DVD set and have yet to watch it. I loved the first season and am excited to see where it went in the second season. As for the third season - coming out on July 4th 2019 for those who've yet to CLICK HERE - again it will all be released.

July 4th is not the premiere or first episode of season three. It's all of the episodes comprising the entire third season of Stranger things. This concept still takes me by surprise. Sure, I"ll binge watch a season of X-Files, Miami Vice, Burn Notice, or La Femme Nikita. It's fun to relive the episodes in a consistent stream. But the fun of that comes after watching each week in real time with all the cliffhangers and season-ending mysteries.

Binge watching robs us of the time to enjoy and ponder cliffhangers!
I still watch TV in this manner. I don't time-shift with DVR or apps. I grew up with the 7-day wait for the next installment. Folks at work and friends would discuss plot lines and share theories until the next episode aired. That was fun. It added an element to the show. In today's internet connected world, we seem to want everything right now! Why? We no longer take time to think about things - impulse is the new normal.

Watching shows when they are broadcast forces a bit of discipline. I've been watching Sneaky Pete on Amazon. i missed it when it first aired, so I"m catching up. Sure, I find myself watching a few episodes at a time, but as I do this, I notice I lose the sense of suspense and don't thing as much about all the elements of the show. Each episode ends with a cliffhanger, but there's an instant solution as the next ep plays out. That ruins it for me. I want to ingest and ponder my favorite shows.

When you change the viewers experience, you change their perceptions.
I'm all for modern tech and change, but I still get the impression that a lot of the changes we're seeing are "because we can" without any greater good being met. Certainly how one watches TV is immaterial and trivial, but when you look at how a simple change in release strategy effects the product - it's worth more thought.

Don't do things because we can. Do them because it makes sense or adds value. I like to have time to think about things - ramifications and the like - we need more of that and less impulse-driven decisions.

Waiting a week before the next installment of a show isn't "old fashioned" it makes you really think about the story, characters, and motives. Thinking is good even if inspired by a dumb TV show. Regardless how you consume entertainment, make sure books are a large pat of your entertainment menu!
January 2, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Ariana Grande is headlining Coachella, but BLACKPINK will make their US debut in the desert as well

BLACKPINK
With a desire to branch out into other markets, BLACKPINK is the first female K-pop group to play Coachella.
I love that BLACKPINK is performing at this year's Coachella festival in April. From the list of participating artists, it also looks like they are in the top tier billing, just below the main headliners. That's pretty cool for a female K-pop group looking to extend their fan-base in North America!

I've read that Coachella founder, Paul Tollett, went to South Korea last year to personally invite them to be part of the lineup. I was recently able to track down a copy of their album, Square Up. Bands like BabyMetal and BLACKPINK shake up the traditions of their genres. It's nice to see them be recognized and invited to expand in the US and other territories.

Are you going to Coachella this year?

BLACKPINK is on the Coachella artist list
January 2, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Ditch your power brick and fire up your Colecovision console via the ColUSB alternative

ColUSB power alternative
Power supplies go bad. They can be expensive. Get rid of your Colecovision's power brick with this USB-C solution!
External power bricks are bulky, heavy, and expensive to replace. If you have a working Colecovision, stow the brick and try this USB-C power alternative. The ColUSB provides all three required voltages and fits into the power port on the back of your Coleco game console - providing a USB-C port. The adapter has an up-converter as well as a voltage stabilizer.

It's been tested with Colecovision variations and moded consoles, along with other accessories. You need to supply the USB-C cable and 2A USB power adapter - the ColUSB only provides the adapter itself. I'm more of a fan of all-inclusive products, but if you already have these parts laying around, it will save you some money.

I love the ingenuity of this adapter. Coleco power supplies can be expensive and elusive. This seems like a clever alternative to powering a Colecovision. I've found tow places that seem to sell them - one may be a distributor. I'm still researching where to purchase it, but am looking forward to this device.

I've found the ColUSB available from two sources: Console5 and Dragonbox in Germany. I believe Dragonbox is the manufacturer and Console5 is a US distributor, but I'm still researching their roles and deciding who to purchase from.

Happy New Year 2019
January 2, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

ICE founder and builder of Chexx Bubble Hockey, Ralph Coppola passed away at age 70

Super Chexx Bubble Hockey
In addition to the legendary Super Chexx Bubble Hockey games, ICE also made well over 100 arcade games!
Ralph Coppola, the founder of Innovative Concepts in Entertainment, died on December 28 at the age of 70. Known as ICE, the company was founded in 1982 when it introduced Super Chexx Bubble Hockey.

ICE operates in a state-of-the-art factory in Clarence, NY, where it still builds bubble hockey games and arcade games that are placed in family entertainment centers around the globe.

Super Chexx Bubble Hockey is an electro mechanical hockey game that reminds me of the simple joy of gaming. As a fan of pinball, air hockey and video games, I'm always down for a game of bubble hockey. Three arcades in my area have Super Chexx games on their floors. It's a great game that will live on as a staple in any worthy arcade!
January 1, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Ring in the New Year with a physical copy of Celeste on Switch or PS4 via Limited Run Games

physical copy of Celeste on Switch or PS4
The heralded pixel-platformer has received great reviews for both it's game-play, difficulty, and storyline.
I'd been wanting to buy Celeste, by Canadian video game developers Matt Thorson and Noel Berry, for nearly a year, but held off upon hearing Limited Run Games would be releasing a physical version. The day has come - Celeste can be purchased for Switch and PS4 as a pre-order. There are also some limited edition versions to peruse.

Naturally, there will be a delay until the physical elements are created and ready for shipment. But I love physical releases, so I'll deal with the waiting.

If you haven't seen Celeste, check out the video below to get a good sense of the game play and it's difficulty. I like difficult games. OK - they piss me off, but they are ultimately much more fulfilling than casual games that one can breeze through. Celest seemingly takes the platforming genre to a new level. With simple controls allowing jumping and dashing, you may have to try several times to figure out how to make your next leap.

Celeste began as a game-jam entry that was later expanded into a full game. As you explore, each error is fatal, but keep at it and you'll discover a really wonderful story as Madeline navigates up Mt. Celeste.

January 1, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Happy New Year 2019! people are remembering that Blade Runner took place in 2019

When engrossed in SciFi films and books, we marvel at how far in the future these films seem to be set... until those dates arrive!
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy new year in which to find more retro gaming gems! In addition to Blade Runner, Akira and The Running Man were also set in 2019.

Happy New Year 2019
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