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8 Bit Central - Retro Gaming Blog

Archive of Classic Video Game Blog Articles
Fourth Quarter 2021 - October, November, December



Summer seemed great. COVID was on the mend, people were emerging ready to get back to a little bit of normalcy... Arcades and movie theaters opened with guidelines to remain safe. Mini golf and go karts became staples of our days after hitting the local arcades. But it's the moronic few that ruin it for everyone.

As the US education standard has plummeted over the last few decades, the stupid people we produce have became Trump-following conspiracy theorists and decided Joe Rogan knows more science than... scientists. Before we knew it, the Delta variant of COVID was upon us and sent the USA to the bottom of the list in properly dealing with the pandemic. How soon before schools go back to remote-learning and retail tanks again with closures? At least video game sales will rise.



December 2021 Retro Gaming Articles:

December 25, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Merry Christmas!

Marty & Doc may have input the wrong date this time...
Merry Christmas!
December 24, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Who took advantage of this sale and found a silicone playmate under their tree?

Realdoll's holiday sale is coaxing shoppers to go silicone for the holidays. Go for it!
They have an X-Mode product line with motion, voice and AI. These guys are definitely not part of the blow-up-doll coalition. They make a serious product that keeps improving. Add the RealDollx App to control your playmate.

Perhaps they aren't quite ready to partner with Boston Dynamics, but they're a fascinating company all in their own.

Realdoll holiday sale
December 22, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Between vacation time and Omicron, I didn't get the opportunity to wear my ugly Christmas sweater to work

I picked up this snazzy Dinosaur Xmas sweater this year, but COVID closings kept it in my closet.
I took off some time to spend with my son, then there was a COVID outbreak at work that close the office until mid January. I had two new ugly Xmas sweaters this year, but no outlet for my bad fashion.

The workplace is the best target area for awful Xmas sweaters. I'll just have to survive the pandemic until next year... or maybe the year after depending on the anti-vaxers insistance on creating more variants before dying.

Dinosaur Xmas sweater
December 14, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I briefly felt that Analogue wanted to sell the Pocket to everyone who wanted one. But no.

Anologue Pocket sales through China
Buying limited items from Analogue is often difficult. This time they invented their own roadblocks to purchase.
I'm sure many people got in on the latest round of pre-ordering for Analogue's Pocket, a super charged Game Boy that caters to several platforms. It's a beautiful looking device and offers compatibility with other consoles like Atari's Lynx (va adapters). I'd love to have one, but decided their online ordering isn't worth the effort.

I bought a SuperNT and Mega SG when they were on open order with no time or quantity restrictions. Both are great consoles and I adore them. However, Analogue just doesn't seem to be set up to handle the large rushes when they offer limited quantities in a first-come free-for-all. From the Nt to the Pocket, the initial pre-orders sell out in ess than a minute and from there, the analogue site goes up and down based on frustrated users trying in vain to make a purchase. I've come to understand that my computer set-up will never be as fast as those who get in and complete their orders.

I was delighted to hear about today's Pocket pre-order and that Analogue wanted to make it open to anyone who wanted one. There were seemingly no restrictions and I could purchase at my leisure. I was particularly pleased with this as it looked like an amazing system that they've maximized in every way possible. What could go wrong... right?

I logged in, made my selections and was brought to my cart with one Pocket. I was ecstatic. Entering all my info went smoothly and I clicked the purchase button. Uh oh. My credit card came back denied. I must have mis-entered something and tried again. Same result. Odd. The process was so easy and going so smoothly, I couldn't let it end here. I knew my card was fine, so I tried another one. Denied! WTF? Forget it. Not worth the frustration.

The next day my same credit card was denied for a $20 purchase, so I called to find out more info. The woman I spoke with asked about an attempted $250 purchase. Oh yeah. That cool product from Analogue... Why didn't that go through?

It turns out that Analogue was having the orders processed in Hong Kong. That means the credit card company saw a sudden purchase being made thousands of miles from my last purchase. Their fraud alert kicked in and shut down the card. After Analogue was so seemingly genuine about selling Pockets to anyone who wanted one... Why have the payment processing set up to trigger fraud on most of us trying to purchase it? Did they not think this would cause issues? Did they think this was a normal business procedure? If my local supermarket routed their processing through China, it would also stop my purchases.

I don't even know what to make of this and I don't really care. Buying from them is frustrating and simply not worth my time despite the great quality of products they offer.
December 5, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

“Don't Look Up” is an ironic comedy/drama capturing our stupidity in a likely scenario of our planet's demise

Don't Look Up
As today's world views our failing political system, this movie sums up the rampant stupidity that lives in our country's highest offices.
Released today and available to stream on Netflix on Christmas Eve, Don't Look Up is a brilliant blend of comedy and drama amidst a harrowing tale of Earth's destruction and our addiction to stupidity as a nation. In the face of science and knowledge, we cower to greed and capitalism to the point of imminent elimination of our planet.

It's a wonderful scifi film that showcases just how demented we are as a society and how futile it is to believe that the educated world would ever be able to get out from under capitalism's greed. When the obvious action is countered by lies and misinformation, it mirrors the frustration of today's educated people who must look on in utter disbelief of how low we've sunk.

Don't Look Up If you haven't seen Don't Look Up, go see it! It's a great film in so many ways from calling out shortcomings, to putting anti-science in perspective. While scary in practice, you can't help but laugh at us. In fact that's what the world is doing now as they see our way of life roasting in a dumpster fire.

Riddled with inside-jokes and innuendo, during a PSA for peace of mind, a phone number is put on screen that is not one of Hollywood's usual "555" numbers leading nowhere. Instead this number went to a "singles near you" type of service. Just another great joke poking fun at our futility in times of need.
December 3, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I feel a bit left out of the Spotify Wrapped craze, but I own a subwoofer and CDs which seem better to me

Spotify Wrapped for Blackpink
As fans and artists alike are sharing their musical consumption and stats, I wonder why no one questions streaming as a standard.
Spotify's yearly Wrapped event is in full swing as music fans gloat about their streaming habbits from duration to genre and beyond. Creators also get the opportunity to gloat about their own stats for songs and albums released this past year. I miss out on this event by choice. I rarely stream music. I tend to consume music via physical media, in album format via Compact Discs. I enjoy the occasional single and even burn my own mixtape CDs now and again, but streaming is foreign to me.

I listen to albums from start to finish - the way the artist intended. That pretentious sounding statement had more meaning years ago when artist released full albums. Now we get random singles that are added to equally random playlists and no longer can artists tell a story across an entire album. We either like or dislike the single and add it to a playlist or ignore it. Such an empty way to enjoy music.

A phone and bluetooth speaker should be a last resort. Discover real steroe!
As with video formats, i've endured several format shifts in music as well. I bought my first CD in the latter part of the 80s. It was Ozzy's Blizzard of Oz and I still own it in pristine condition. My excitement spiked when the Kiss catalog began appearing on CDs around the same time. It was a durable, digital medium that took music beyond analog mediums. Having grown up with vinyl and copying my albums to cassettes, those shiny CDs seemed like a grand leap forward in technology and sound quality.

I went to Best Buy to purchase a new stereo and the saleman aske me what kind of phone I had and walked me towared a shelf of bluetooth speakers. I promptly left the store. I grew up with stereo sound )two speakers) and thunderous bass from a subwoofer. I loved listening to music as much as feeling it - via subwoofer. My son is part of the first generation to grow up with digital options for media. From video games and movies, to music and entertainment. It's all on his phone.

Each generation is different, but this is the first one that I feel is a step backwards in terms of entertainment media. Gone are the once powerful stereos with pre-amps and sub woofers. Everyone wants portable options. Songs are digital MP3 files with wireless connections to ear buds or single speakers... some of which will float in your pool. I loved the durability and exactness of CDs. Many felt they lack the analog beauty of vinyl, but as much as I agree with that, I loved this bold new format.

Streaming!?! What is that? How is that the standard? Artists want to release nothing but strings of singles that mingle on playlists with every other form of music. I don't get that. I don't like that. I know I'm old and stubborn, but show me how a single speaker that fits in your hand, yet easily distorts is a move forward. We've been sold a lifestyle in which we own nothing physical and interact with these figital things on-the-go. Some may prefer this, but it's been nearly forced onthe rest of us.

I'll end my rant by saying the younger generation should experience music apart from phones and bluetooth speakers. Let the roar and feel of a true stereo system treat your senses to the way music should be heard!

November 2021 Retro Gaming Articles:

November 20, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

PBS has a one-time showing of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on Sunday since AppleTV hides it behind their pay-wall

Apple has exclusive rights to this timeless classic that had been on network TV since the mid 1960s.
PBS will be broadcasting A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on Sunday November 21. It will be free just like it was, on network television, for decades. IF you don't have Chuck on DVD, don't miss out on this yearly showing!

I've long been a fan of Apple computers, but the company itself isn't the wonderful entity many believe it is. Like any other large company, they do a lot of shitty things to turn big profits. Putting Charlie Brown specials behind their AppleTV pay-wall is one of the minor shitty things they've done. However, it's one that effects an age-old tradition in many families who may not have access to AppleTV.

Many of Apples practices surrounding their phones and computers help to create artificial expenses when it comes to expansion and repair. They play all the same games when it comes to low wages and avoiding taxes, so it shouldn't surprise us that they want to turn the Peanuts gang into a profit as well. They bought the rights to "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown," "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," and "A Charlie Brown Christmas" in 2018.

Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on PBS
November 16, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Atari is launching 3 games on cartridges for the original Atari 2600

Atari XP
Nice to see Atari going back to a core competency and include Yars Return. You also get digital copies for your new VCS.
Out of nowhere I got an email from Atari talking about XP games on cartridges as if I'm supposed to know what that's all about. They definitely caught my attention. Never heard of 'em. What's XP and since when does their new VCS console have a cartridge slot. Well, that's what you get for naming your new console the same as your 50-year-old console. These new carts are for the old one (cool!) and come with digital versions for your new VCS. You can find out more at atarixp.com.

Atari XP Yars Return It's been about a year since the release of the new VCS, so they've released three rare games on cartridges for the old VCS. I'm down with that, but the whole thing seems a bit odd. No warning. "Hey, here are some cool carts for your old game console!"

Fortunately, I still have the 2600 VCS that my parents bought me when I was 12... along with the others I've picked up along the way. So, three new (old, actually) games on cartridges. Awesome!

They are offering:
Yar's Return - The sequel to the popular 1982 title Yars' Revenge, the best selling original game for the Atari 2600, released on cartridge for the first time ever.
Saboteur - a creative, multi-level shooter developed by Howard Scott Warshaw in 1983 but never released. Buy the official version now, available for the first time from Atari.
Aquaventure - Made in a period dominated by space games, this colorful and challenging undersea game was a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately the game was never released on cartridge, until now!

Atari's email referred to these three games as "the first series of collectible Atari 2600 cartridges." This seems to indicate there may be more in the future. Is Atari testing the waters or just flinging another idea at the wall. I'm guessing GameStop won't be stocking this new series.

Since these are rare games, this whole venture seems to target collectors who grew up with the original 2600. They may also be the major demographic of the new VCS sales. I don't know much about these games, but I believe Yars' Return is a sequel created by Curt Vendel when he was working on the Flashback 2. If this is "that" game, then I have no doubt it's awesome. I'm excited to buy it and see what this whole Atari XP thing is about!
November 14, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

UpSwitch's Orion screen attaches to your Nintendo Switch for 188% more screen

Large screen option via UpSwitch's Orion add-on
When I want a bigger gaming space, I connect my Switch to it's dock and play on my TV.
At first glance, this looks like a large screen to which you connect your Joy Cons and begin playing. Nope. It is a larger screen, but it attaches to your Switch console. It's like putting a flat-screen TV in front of your boxy CRT for a wide screen experience. Yep, that's one way to do it.

The Orion from UpSwitch is an add-on screen that attaches to your Nintendo Switch console, providing 188% more space on an 11.6" screen. I love the Switch's versatility of going from a high-end portable game console to filing my large TV with grace and simplicity. When I'm in mobile mode, how large a screen do I really need?

The Joy Cons attach to the Orion screen and it provides HDMI & USB-C ports along with dual stereo speakers. If you're wondering about battery life, it seems to come with it's own "portable battery." All this is being crowd-funded on Indiegogo for about $250. Their campaign is ending soon, so it you need a bigger screen on-the-go, this may be a solution for you.

Large screen option via UpSwitch's Orion add-on
November 11, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Everything electronic is delayed these days including the upcoming Playdate handheld console

Atari XP
On the bright side, they discovered a battery defect and are able to correct it for the upcoming shipments.
It's quirky.It's weird. And like all electronics these days... it's delayed. The Playdate is a unique handheld game console with a hand crank controller. It operates on a subscription download service and I simply had to have one. Alas, the delays.

It seems the chip shortage we read about has varying degrees of seriousness. Some of the things I've ordered have been delayed a month or two, the Playdate's main chip was off the market for two YEARS! Thankfully they were able to modify their boards to work with another more available chip. However the early 2022 delivery date is off the table. Hard to say how much later it will be, but I'm guessing around next Fall (I hope).

I know COVID had disrupted a lot of things, but living in the US, I have to wonder if this isn't part of some domestic government effort to stifle any sort of prosperity. The old white men who run things here, like to send out subtle reminders that we need to work harder to make them rich... at our expense of course.

October 2021 Retro Gaming Articles:

October 25, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Mario Party Superstars is almost here

Pulling content from past games, it may serve as a history lesson (a FUN history lesson) as much as a game.
Mario Party Superstars is the 12th in the series and the second one to release for Nintendo Switch. It features mini games from the prior releases and whole slew of options for playing. This makes playing very old school - which many fans have been asking for. It has simple controls, with no motion controls and there are no character specific advantages.

There are five arenas, each sourced from the earliest Mario Party games. The mini games are pulled from nearly all the previous games. Some might say this is the first release to sport more good mini games than vexingly annoying ones. I'm easily frustrated when I don't know what I'm supposed to do (and everyone else does!).

Fortunately, for those like me, this is a "greatest hits" of mini games. I'm looking forward to casting off my frustrations and enjoying a Mario Party game again. The last one I really liked was on Gamecube!

Mario Party Superstars
October 11, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

If you're yearning for your Amico console, dig into these game boxes you can have right away

Boxes for 8 Intellivision Amico games
Everyone is bummed about the hardware delays on Intellivision's Amico, but they've released 8 game boxes in a slick collector's package!
While the Amico's games will all be downloaded onto the system (the console has no cartridge/media interface) this cool release from Intellivision gets pretty close to the physical media experience. With the hardware delay, Intellivision is keeping things interesting by releasing boxes for eight of the Amico's upcoming games. Each box is similar to old-school Atari or NES packaging with great artwork throughout the package. You get a 3D lenticular card, an RFID card that unlocks/downloads the game when it becomes available, and a game-specific collector's coin.

Boxes for 4 Intellivision Amico games As someone who loves physical media and displaying games on a shelf, this seems like a pretty cool deal! The RFID game card alone make it a worthwhile purchase for me! The lenticular card and coin just sweeten the deal.

I think it's pretty clever of Intellivision to come up with this to stave off some complaints about hardware delays. This also puts them back in the news cycle since this is a pretty cool concept for a digital-only retro console.

The game boxes come in three ways. You can buy all eight together or choose one of the two 4-game sets. A price for everyone.

As Intellivision CEO Tommy Tallarico puts it, "Our goal was to take the best parts of traditional physical media, and the best parts of digital, and combine them into something very different and unique."

The 8 games are:
  1. Evel Knievel
  2. Dynablaster
  3. Missile Command
  4. Rigid Force Redux Enhanced
  5. Moon Patrol
  6. Finnigan Fox
  7. Biplanes
  8. Brain Duel
The two 4-game sets are split up as:
1) Evel Knievel, Dynablaster, Missile Command, Rigid Force Redux Enhanced
2) Moon Patrol, Finnigan Fox, Biplanes, Brain Duel

October 1, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

If you enjoyed the sequel to Axiom Verge, Limited Run Gamed has a physical release of the two-game compilation

I loved the first Axiom Verge game and LRG as incorporated both the original and sequel on a single disc/cartridge or as of a standalone Axiom Verge 2.
Limited Run Games has just opened the pre-order for Axiom Verge 2 as a physical release for Switch and PS4. If you missed te first game on physical media, you can purchase a compilation set that has both games on one disc or cartridge depending on the platform you choose.

Axiom Verge 2 Axiom Verge 2 for Nintendo Switch.
Axiom Verge 1 & 2 Both Axiom Verge 1 & 2 for Nintendo Switch.

From the LRG website:
You may have played Axiom Verge, or heard it referenced as a benchmark for indie action-exploration games. This long awaited sequel expands on the universe with completely new characters, abilities, and gameplay.

Indra, the billionaire behind the worldwide Globe 3 conglomerate, heads to Antarctica to investigate the disappearance of her daughter, but ultimately finds herself in entirely different reality, infected by parasitic machines that both aid and confound her. Where is she? Who is the mysterious person goading her from the other end of the computer terminal?

Explore an alternate Earth-like world, replete with the ruins of an ancient, high-tech civilization. Hack machines. Battle monsters. Use your remote drone to enter the Breach, a parallel but connected reality that is filled with its own dangers. You'll want to search every inch for the hidden items and upgrades you need to survive.
Axiom Verge 2 - screenshot



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