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8 Bit Central - Retro Gaming Blog

Archive of Classic Video Game Blog Articles
First Quarter 2021 - January, February, and March

After nearly a year of Coronavirus restrictions, many folks think the changing year will bring back arcades and brick& mortar shopping. Just as all the other human-idealized markers didn't hinder COVID-19, neither will the turning of a new year. Stay vigilant. Stay home. Play video games.

March 2021 Retro Gaming Articles:

March 13, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Server problems (too many orders?) caused a 1-day delay in sale of Circus Convoy by ex-Activision programmers

I'm stoked to get a copy of the game from Audacity Games and hope their technical difficulties are resolved.
This new CIB game from Audacity Games has been delayed one day as they sort out server issues. Earlier they had issues with some folks trying to set up accounts. You need an account to order. It's also worth noting you need a PayPal account to order.

I wouldn't doubt their servers got a lot of users trying to snag a copy of Circus Convoy, but it also sounds like technical issues played a role. Hopefully they'll have it sorted out for tomorrow - March 14 at 2PM PST. Get your account set up so you're ready :)

Yar's Revenge Tournament

From Dan Kitchen Games site:
Unfortunately the launch of CIRCUS CONVOY on will be DELAYED. With the overwhelming response our servers are down. We apologize that this is happening and we are working with our hosting company to get this resolved as quickly as possible. Our goal is to launch at 2:00 PM (Daylight Savings time) tomorrow.
Again, we apologize for the delay and appreciate all your patience and support!
March 12, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Rob Zombie's latest CD is packaged in a retro longbox like they were in the late 80s

Rob Zombie's latest CD is packaged in a retro longbox
Rob Zombie delivers another pounding force of energy and some reminiscent packaging that brought back memories!
As a longtime fan of White Zombie and thenRob Zombie's music, his releases are always a must-buy necessity. The driving energy of his music is such a welcome change to much of today's music. And this time around, I'm even loving the packaging!

I didn't start buying CDs until the late 90's. My first purchase was Ozzy's Blizzard of Oz. I still own it and it's in pristine condition. At the time CD's were beginning to be shelved in former vinyl album racks. The smaller format CDs were packaged inside long boxes that could fit side-by-side in album racks and were the same height as albums.

Seeing Rob Zombie's latest CD release in one of these reminiscent longboxes brought back a lot of memories. I used to save all my CD longboxes, but I think one of my moves they all got dumped. I certainly regret that now since album art was always very important to me and those boxes had enlarged variants of the CD's cover art. Time marches on and things change.

It's hard to believe kids today listen to music on phones and port the signal to a single speaker via Bluetooth. That scenario just doesn't fill a room with sound the way a nice set of stereo speakers once did.
March 11, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Antstream Arcade is hosting an online Yar's Revenge Tournament

Compete online against other Yar's Revenge fans beginning on March 17th.
Yar's Revenge Tournament For ten days beginning March 17th Antstream Arcade is offering a head-to-head tournament featuring one of my favorite Atari 2600 games, Yar's Revenge. You can sign up for an account, for free, on their website.

If you sign up now, you can get some practice before the real deal begins on Wednesday. As a partner with the new Atari VCS console, you can sign up for the tournament via the Atari VCS console.

Yar's Revenge
March 9, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

No sooner was Audacity Games announced and we have the first game arriving in days

Audacity Games Circus Convoy
Circus Convoy will be on sale March 13 with another game, Casey's Gold, coming this summer!
Newly founded retro gaming developer Audacity Games announced Circus Convoy will be released March 13th. I love that they are hitting the ground running with a first release. So many brilliant companies announce themselves and then disappear for months to create their wares. Priced around $60 it will be interesting to see how many games they plan on creating each year.

It's really exciting to see what Activision's best developers from gaming's origins will come up with in the modern era of PlayStations and Xboxes. Maybe they'll develop some games for Intellivision's Amico console. There will be strong support at the start as folks line up to see what Audacity can bring to 2021. As time marches onward, I hope they can succeed in today's gaming landscape.

Here is an excerpt about the game. Be sure to check out their full Circus Convoy press release:
The brand new, never before released game CIRCUS CONVOY, designed for the Atari 2600 by David Crane and Garry Kitchen, is a multi-screen action adventure where gamers play as "Andre the Magnificent", a circus strongman tasked with finding a saboteur among the speeding convoy trucks and sideshow trailers of a traveling Big-Top circus.

The game features a variety of nostalgic mini-games, numerous circus props and dozens of adventure-style puzzles to solve. Designed with innovative state-of-the-art graphics, CIRCUS CONVOY will be available on the Audacity Games Web Portal on Saturday, March 13th and at select retro video game stores this quarter.
March 6, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Ex-Activision designers reunite to publish new “retro” video games under a new company, Audacity Games

Audacity Games logo
With an emphasis on making new games for old video game consoles, these veterans of gaming return to do what they do best!
Former Activision Co-Founder David Crane and ex-Activision Game Designers Garry & Dan Kitchen announced Audacity Games, a video game publisher focused on designing and publishing games for a variety of retro game systems, starting with the Atari 2600. This is a big announcement from former developers who helped shape gaming in it's early days.

Part of my excitement about Audacity Games is the genre and era they are focusing on. This won't be a bunch of pixel-games aimed at your PS5 or Xbox. These games will be created for play on original game consoles beginning with Atari's 2600. You'll be able to buy new boxed games to play on your vintage consoles. That's pretty cool! Even Atari's new VCS console won't play these games. Published on cartridges for the consoles they support, Audacity games will be physical game carts with color boxes and manuals.

Intellivision has been heading down a similar path, but have created a new game console to play modern versions of retro pixel games. All of this adds to the surge of interest in retro games. This couldn't come at a better time. We're all ready for something new and something great.

There's no timeline on when initial games will come to market, but the Audacity website is collecting info for a mailing list which will likely prove to be the best source of information. Check it out!
March 4, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Pringles teamed up with Microsoft for a Halo tie-in between Moa Burger flavor and wavy chips

Hard to say what a flavor from a video game should taste like, but Pringles thinks they have Halo's moa burger dialed in.
Available exclusively at Walmart, these Pringles wavy chips will probably go fast. This promotion sounds like a very limited release. The "Moa Burger" is a reference to an in-game restaurants that serve burgers from these birds.

Moa Burger flavor on Pringles wavy chips

February 2021 Retro Gaming Articles:

February 28, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Missile Commander book: Three fire buttons. One Trak-Ball. A world that needs saving - one coin at a time

Missile Commander: A Journey to the Top of an Arcade Classic
The book is one player's forty-year journey with Atari's legendary arcade title, Missile Command!
I just found our about Tony Temple's book, Missile Commander: A Journey to the Top of an Arcade Classic and placed an order. It's a hardcover book detailing his love of Atari's Missile Command video game from discovering it as a teen to winning a Guinness World Record.

Missile Commander: A Journey to the Top of an Arcade Classic My attraction to this title is that it is not a pretty coffee table book. While it does feature many images, the book is about the game from development to discovering bugs, controversy, and meeting the programmer. It would appear to tell a story with an in depth look at the game. I enjoy finding such books that delve into a single game with passion and knowledge.

Missile Command was one of my must-play games to my teenage arcade life. I loved playing it on my Atari 2600, but really loved the arcade cabinets with three fire buttons and a trackball. A local arcade put a cocktail version on the floor about two years ago, but they closed permanently last summer due to the pandemic. I'm hoping to relive some of my youthful Missile Command passion and learn more about this game itself from Tony's book.
February 19, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

GameStop received window-poster promos prior to the announced delay of the Intellivision Amico

Amico poster promos at GameStop
Apparently the promotion of the Spring release of Intellivision's new game console were already sent when the release date changed.
I've been excited about the return of Intellivision and the upcoming Amico video game console. Now in it's second delay, we won't see it until October 10th of this year. Originally slated for a 10/10/20 release date, COVID-19 has ruined everything including console releases. I'm still a fan of this project. Unlike Atari's recent VCS release, Intellivision has been very transparent and keeps fans in the loop with frequent social posts and demos of upcoming games.

I like the low price point and the way they are re-imagining retro games for a modern console. Check out what they've done with Moon Patrol and Break Out among others. I truly believe this can be a successful console and even extend beyond those who played Intellivision decades ago. I hope they can bring this to market in the Fall.

Intellivision Amico video game console Intellivision Amico will be available in several colors
With GameStop's propensity to throw video gaming history into their dumpsters, I hope some of these posters can be saved and enjoyed by fans. Get ready to dumpster-dive for these rare beauties!
February 15, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Levis brand is continuing it's gaming collaboration with a Pokemon line of clothing

I liked their recent Nintendo offerings and I'm stoked that Levis is now offering Pokemon designs!
I bought me son a levis Mario shirt last summer and am excited to see the video game trend continue. Levis has teamed up with Pokemon for their Levi's X Pokemon line of clothes. In addition to t-shirts, the line includes pants, shorts, jackets and more. It's great that they've incorporated Pokemon into many soft goods outside of the typical shirts. Well done!

Levis teams up with Pokemon
February 13, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I love discovering musical artist's merch stores, but $160 for a t-shirt seems oddly extravagant

If you're a really big fan of Miley Cyrus, maybe this is your price range.
I think Miley Cyrus has a great singing voice, a lot of style, and is bold as hell. All great assets. However, her merch site has a slew of t-shirts each selling for $160 each! That seems insanely high, but the site also says each garment is cut, sewn, distressed and finished entirely by hand in Los Angeles, making each piece one of a kind. Some styles are currently sold-out.

Her new album is great, but this merch is way out of my price range as I'm sure it is for many others. If you scroll through it, you eventually come to some $40 shirts.

Hyperkin Ranger controllers
February 9, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I love the Retron77, but missed the release of these Atari 2600-compatible controllers

Hyperkin Ranger controllers
With a more modernized shape and layout, Hyperkin's Ranger controller is a cool alternate for the Retron77 and original 2600!
The joystick controller for the Atari 2600 was my first home console experience. The controller was very similar to those found on the majority of arcade games I loved. It wasn't until the Nintendo NES that I considered there may be sensible alternatives to my beloved CX-40. Hyperkin's Ranger controller is what I wanted for my 2600 when I discovered the NES.

In addition to a nice long cable, the Ranger incorporates a paddle mode for compatible games. One of the reasons I didn't play paddle games as much was having to switch the controllers. I know that's lazy AF. Like the Lynx controls, you can also turn it around and use the controller for right and left-handed gamers.

Hyperkin Ranger controllers I'm also curious to see how it works with the 7800. To be honest, I know little about the 7800 control scheme and how it may be similar to the 2600. Decades ago, I created a homemade Atari joystick from arcade parts and used the guts of extra 7800 joysticks to make it. Being backwards compatible, this Frankenstein controller works with the 2600 as well as Atari 00 computers and Colecovision (although it lacks the number pad).
February 7, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

SuperBowl LV wasn't even worth watching for the ads, but Miley Cyrus was outstanding

With a half-full pandemic-safe stadium and another snooze of a halftime show, Billy Idol and Joan Jett killed it!
Expectations are always high for huge events like the Super Bowl. For it's fiftieth event, you'd think it would be an astounding show, just from the money they'd spend to make it bigger and better. Pandemics tend to ruin everything and for the past year, COVID-19 has done just that.

I'm not much of a football fan and I don't even remember the last time the halftime show impressed me. This year, presumable for the 50th game, they had a Tailgate Party prior to the game. It was a stand alone stage outside the stadium and Miley Cyrus hosted it with some great guests. She opened with a take on Toni Basil's Mickey and some covers as well as songs from her latest album, Plastic Hearts.

She collaborated with both Billy Idol and Joan Jett on that album and she brought them both out on stage for a mix of their own hits. For me, this was the highlight of the whole event for me and I was just watching on TV.

Miley Cyrus and Billy Idol playing at Super Bowl 50 Miley Cyrus and Billy Idol playing at Super Bowl 50.
Miley Cyrus and Joan Jett playing at Super Bowl 50 Miley Cyrus and Joan Jett playing at Super Bowl 50.

February 5, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Spineless Senate Republicans are so afraid of the orange dimwit they won't convict him

It says a lot when Republican Senators still need votes from trump's deranged followers who put Senators and the VP's life in danger!
After four years of endless lies, you'd think trump's attempt to ruin the post office, to cause mass failure of mail-in ballots, would be enough evidence of his abuse of power. However, when that failed, Biden's supporters had been told to use mail-in ballots and the votes added up. Biden won. At which point a disgusting lie about voter fraud and stolen elections was supported by the Republicans and their orange fool.

Unable to accept defeat, trump incited his demented followers to storm the nations Capitol building and stop the certification process. trump should have been removed from office and locked up that very day! The media whitewashed the event as a protest gone wrong. The media told us that trump hooligans gained access to the Capitol and ran amuck yelling and screaming. These invaders were portrayed as an atrocity, but no mention of their real intentions.

These morons had been radicalized by trump and he directed them to the Capitol to recoup the election. They had an agenda of killing senators. Killing the Vice President. trump sent them on a mission and tried to hide as they wreaked havoc. People dies that day in the Capitol building. Those deaths are on trump!

He orchestrated an insurrection in the hopes of overturning a verified and conclusive election process. He lost. trump is a loser. He said otherwise and convinced his legions of lawless idiots to "win back" his presidential status. Changing our political system will never come via elections or voting out the bad-eggs. It's power and control run too deep for a civilized election to have any effect.

Change won't happen until the majority of the US population realized government is not here to help you. Government is here to control you and shift wealth to an elite class at the expense of everyone else. If you recall, the latest group to seek the American Dream had their children stolen from them and they were locked in cages. Good luck changing this broken country without a public rising to the cause.

The GOP cowards are still afraid of trump
February 3, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Retirement takes a new turn at AARP with online Atari games

You can play several of Atari's best video games on the AARP website.
I must have AARP confused with something because their latest Instagram post commemorates the anniversary of Metallica's 1986 album, "Master of Puppets" and they have several classic Atari video games playable on their AARP website. Retirement is looking up!

If you're a member, you can unlock and play Breakout and Pong. Otherwise you're relegated to Asteroids, Missile Command, and Centipede. More fun than Thursday night Bingo.

Atari games playable on the AARP website

January 2021 Retro Gaming Articles:

January 31, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

BlackPink streamed their latest concert, “The Show” as a paid YouTube event

With COVID-19 still effecting events on the planet, BlackPink streamed a concert in support of their latest album.
I love live music, but always though the worst part was unruly fans who deserve to be booted out of the venue. Live music's latest enemy is a global pandemic that has most concert venues closed due to the proximity of visitors that can further the spread of the virus.

After releasing The Album, the logical follow up is The Show. BlackPink sold virtual tickets for a concert hosted on YouTube. I'm glad it wasn't embedded in Fortnite! One can only hope the pandemic will be resolved and live music can return to the big venues. Watching BlackPink take over Coachella brings far more emotion than a streamed event.

BlackPink The Show youTube concert
January 30, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

If you love Star Wars Rogue One, here's a cool VHS-style slipcase

If you've seen the "VHS style" releases for Stranger Things, this is a VHS-size with distressed looking packaging!
The Rogue One case instantly grabbed my attention. It has the look and feel of an 80s era movie on VHS. These are printed on card-stock like the cases you may remember from long ago. They come with an optional VHS tape, so be aware these are not cases for your existing DVD copies. This and others are available on Etsy via The Cinemarama.

Star Wars Rogue One VHS slipcase
January 28, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

GameStop is front & center in a huge news story having nothing to do with video games

GameStop stock leap
It would be nice if the silver lining to this astronomical stock price rising was a boon for GameStop, but that's unlikely.
A hedgefund taking advantage of GameStop's poor standing in the market decided to option the stock and bet against any rise in their stock value. In fact they were betting on further demise for the video game reseller's prospects - called "shorting" the stock. A savvy bunch of investors summoned the masses to show the power of the "little guy" in the stock market. A large cavalcade of low-key investors used apps and web sites to purchase GameStock Stock. Lots of it!

The result was a hugely distorted rise in the stock value. For many, this is funny. For the hedgefund, it's disastrous. Rather than pocketing a ton of cash for the diminishing GameStop company, they have to pay back it's newly distorted value which has nearly quadruped (I believe) as a result of renegade buying.

GameStop Has Been Floundering For A Long Time

Each time a GameStop employee asks me if I want their extended warranty on a game purchase, I wonder if they'll even be open for business the following week. They're not doing well, financially. We've seen them go through many stunts to reinvigorate the brand and it's retail & online business. Even a holiday season of new Sony and Microsoft game consoles didn't help them a whole lot.

The purchase of the stock was to show the mighty hedgefunds that small investors, banded together, are a force to be reckoned with. but are they gamers? Did they do this to fend off a financial assault of GameStop? Was this stock choice simply a show of force to Wall Street? I wish I had answers to this. But this is also where the story takes a dark turn.

The Dark Reality Of Big Business

As GameStop's stock price rose and rose, the panicked hedgefund had to protect itself. It had to ensure it would be able to meet the monetary demands of this option gone wrong. But who owns hedgefunds? Really owns them. Depends on them. Controls them. It's big corporate businesses. The kind of businesses that donate millions to political campaigns (as a form of bribery). These guys have power beyond anything you can imagine, but they usually use this power behind the scenes, making it seem like business as usual.

Big Business relies on you, but does NOT care about you!
This story is anything but usual. If water is leaking into your basement, you can bail it out from where it is collecting or you can stop the flow of water from above. Curbing the out-of-control rise in price was done from above.

Mysteriously these consumer apps and sites used for low-key trading suddenly stopped working. Maintenance issues and unplanned down-time messaging was foisted on traders who wanted to buy more GameStop stock, but couldn't. They couldn't buy or sell anything! Big Business stepped in and shut off the leak - so to speak.

The nefarious evil behind this move is they stepped in to save the rich. This trading went on until it was deemed time to stop the leak and they turned off the ability to buy stocks. One app that was singled out was Robin Hood. It's a mobile trading app and it's ability to buy more shares was stopped.

Think of this in a different metaphor. What if a global pandemic caused a severe food shortage? In this same scenario, food deliveries to wealthy areas would remain intact. Deliveries to rural and poor areas would cease. Big business would starve the poor to feed the rich. Have you heard the expression: Eat the rich"?

What About GameStop?

None of the new stories address the outcome of this stock war on GameStop - or other companies that are now being targeted with similar buying strategies. GameStop has been on the brink of ruin for many years and the hedgefund's actions would likely have sent it into closure. But what about now? The vastly overstated value of it's stock will fall. The value was based on a buying frenzy that had no basis in the reality of the company.

GameStop did nothing to bolster or improve their financial standing. The stock buys were to show the strength of the little guys - and it worked. But at what cost? So, once the battle is over, what becomes of GameStop? The fact that news outlets are not covering this aspect of the story makes me feel as though the game retailer will go back to survival-mode and try to remain open.

The scary thing about this story is the way in which consumer's ability to buy stock through means like RobinHood were so easily "disabled" to save the wealthy. Big Business took from the poor to save the billionaires. Never believe the US Government is here to help "the people". It's a tool for the rich. Nothing more.

One Final Thought

A global pandemic has destroyed vast majorities of our lives and livelihoods. During the year, the US Government has given citizens a total of $1,800. That's little more than cost of a single month's rent and food. In a matter of days the same Government halted the ability to buy stocks - as a measure to protect the rich billionaires. Common citizens will never be a priority to the US Government unless you interrupt the transfer of wealth to the wealthy 1%.
January 20, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Skate: The Card Game is a casual, fast-paced tabletop game where you must land five tricks before your opponents!

Skate: The Card Game
You don't find many skateboarding tabletop games, so I'm all over this one!
Skate: The Card Game Having played video games for a numer of decades, I still love the tactile feel of cards, dice and all the unique parts of a table top game. I've loved Sk8 video games, so it's cool to come across this Kickstarter for Skate: The Card Game by Christian Shelton.

I love the visuals for this game. The cards feature bright colors and instantly remind me of skating's late-80s color pallet. The art is really slick across the whole game from the decks of cards to packaging. It establishes a good vibe! Sounds like a lot of fun for a simple card game, but don't underestimate the fun. Land five tricks first and be the Skate King Of The Week!

Skate: The Card Game is a casual, fast-paced card game for skaters and non-skaters alike. The goal is to land five tricks before your opponents - without eating pavement! The gameplay seems easy to learn as a casual game.

Landing tricks comes from color matching the shoes you need to necessary stance for your trick. If you buy two copies of the game you can expand to 8 players. I'm guessing this game gets out of control fast when you add beer.

Check out their Kickstarter and follow along on social media. This game needs to blow up and meet it's goals. There are only a few weeks left- go for it!

Skate: The Card Game
January 8, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Trump is at the bottom of the hole he dug for himself and Twitter has suspended his ability to publicly whine

No Twitter for Trump
There's almost a quiet calm in the air without the hate-ridden Tweets of the Orange Failure.
After four years of discovering how truly awful Trump is, we no longer have to hear his sociopathic lies across social media. Many other platforms joined Twitter in dumping his rhetoric. It feel like a quiet calm has come over social media. It feels good.

He'll forever be remembered as the worst president in US history and I'll continue on playing video games in a more tolerant world.

January 7, 2021 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Atari began delivering the VCS to indiegogo backers in late December. My joystick arrived today!

After waiting over two years, Atari delivered my Classic Wireless Controller today!
I knew about Atari's track record with hardware. The holding company who owns the brand seems nearly incompetent. But that modern update to the CX-40 joystick was really slick. I had no interest in Atari's set-top Linux box, but I did go in on their crwowd funding for that joystick. More than two years later, it arrived!

I'm hoping it will conect to my computer and be recognized by Stella and perhaps some other Atari emulators.