RoundUp 103 – General Mario Kart Skills


May 26th, 2016

TOPICS COVERED IN THE SHOW
Hardware Flashback – (00:00)
Dinosaur Pie – (28:32)
Guinness Gaming Records – (1:11:13)
Electric Dragon: Night Kings – (1:12:57)
Ocean Software Room 101 – (1:17:56)
Top Ten Tracks In Racing Games – (2:50:37)
Gaming Trivia – (5:31:09)
Marcel Donne: Rambo High Score – (5:33:01)
All Aboard The Ali Express – (5:35:48)
Live News And Listener Views – (5:53:23)
URLs And EMails – (8:22:19)

See the shownotes page and read the Live News chat log.

Vote in our Top Ten Poll and suggest a future Top Ten topic here.

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The Rising cost of Retro


May 19th, 2016

As many collectors have noticed, it is getting harder and harder to purchase nostalgic games we enjoyed on our classic game consoles.  I fortunately knocked out most of my favorites 6 or 7 years back, because now, the hobby would be inaccessible to me unless I did everything via emulation.  Let’s just look at the bare minimum cost for someone wanting to re-live the glory days of the 8-bit NES, shall we?

First, the core system.  You have three options.  The first is an aftermarket clone.  While you could get a cheaply made one for 25 to 30 dollars (such as a Retron2), this isn’t a good option to play on.  The best option is either the new $185 RetroUSB AVS, a well made product with HDMI output, original controller support, and solid construction, or the Hyperkin Retron5, not a perfect solution, but cheaper at $129 and gets you access to many different systems.  Most purists however prefer an original system.  You could go with the standard system, which is a classic, but has issues with the pin connectors.  These are available for between 80 to 120 dollars.  The more reliable NES 2 Top Loader, a short ran product for the US, has many minor fixes including better pin connectors, a removed NES10 chip (this means no blinky screens and foreign carts run in it).  The top loader is likely the best option for an NES gamer, but unfortunately has a cost of 150 to 200 used.

We haven’t even gotten to games yet.  Most sports games can be had for a few bucks, but quite franky, most of us didn’t play the sports games as much as the classic NES titles.  So lets price some real quick.  Super Mario Bros. 3 can be had for around 20 dollars.  Castlevania 3 another 30 dollars.  Metroid is 20.  Final Fantasy is another 20.  A more obscure classic like Shatterhand is 50 dollars.  Battletoads is an average of 25.  Contra is a staggering 40, which is shocking considering how many copies of this game was floating around when we were all kids.  Depending on which Mega Man game you want (there were 6) could be anywhere from 20 to 80.

We aren’t done yet!  We need a way to play these games, and honestly, your 60 inch HDTV won’t do.  The games simply won’t look right because they weren’t made to be displayed in high resolution on such a large screen.  While they will be playable, your best option is to find an older 90’s era CRT television.  And if you want to play light gun games, you need to make sure your CRT is not a flat screen, but a curved screen, or your light gun won’t work.  These can range from free to 30 bucks at your local thrift store, but you gotta keep checking and make sure you get one in decent condition.

What has caused this rise in the cost of retro gaming?  In the late 90’s you could get a system for ten bucks, and games for 5 apiece.  Or you could get a complete set up at a yard sale for around 20 bucks.  A few things have contributed to this steep rise.  First of all, more and more people are getting back in touch with their childhood, and all these games and systems are in finite supply.  They aren’t manufactured anymore, and more and more go to homes that will not resell them later, or even worse, some end up broken or trashed as time goes by.  On top of that, other people who weren’t gamers in that era are either finding the games desirable to collect and play, or just want to collect them without even playing them.  This limits the supply even more.  Years ago, I would have told someone to get original hardware if they wanted to get into these games, but in this era, with the price to entry being so expensive, I would push emulation to start with, than slowly build your physical collection as time goes by.

Strangely, arcade machines are not following this rising trend.  Perhaps due to their unyeildy size, arcade machine prices are fairly standard still.  In my area, arcade machines are seldom sold, but even a quick glance shows a Capcom Bowling for 300 dollars, a Space Invaders for 250, and a Frogger cocktail for 400.  If you decide to get into arcade machines, my first recommendation would be to get a JAMMA compatible machine, than pick up a few arcade boards that are compatibile with your machine (most are either horizontal or vertical).  You could even get a multiboard for your particular machine for hundreds of games.  This is a great budget way not only to get into retro gaming, but to have a unique piece in your living room to enjoy while having friends over.

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The dangers of video game crowdfunding


May 7th, 2016

In the past 3 years, crowdfunding has become a tool used by many to launch their ideas and projects, everything from computing hardware, household tools, and even video games are being funded through crowdfunding.  For those who don’t know, crowdfunding is a method of asking the public to pay up front for your product, and as a “reward” you get a level of the product depending on what you pay.  If you pay extra, you get extra perks.  This of course assumes the product launches.  An example is the iControlpad 2.  The original iControlpad was a bluetooth controller for your phone before Moga controllers were around.  The iControlpad 2 was going to be a full mini keyboard and game controller, all connecting to your phone via bluetooth, modeled after the Open Pandora mini keyboard and controls.  Unfortunately, the product never launched, with partial refunds given 2 years after the fact.  Those that paid 80 dollars USD for a controller were refunded a paltry 24 dollars or given an original iControlpad instead.  Often people fund products on the hope that it is actually made, and sometimes the product falls through.  (http://kickscammed.com/project/icontrolpad-2-by-product-3-llc/#.Vy18Pb5IVBQ)

Might Number 9 is a crowdfunded game, made by Mega Man creator Kenji Inafune.  The project raked in over 3 million dollars, significantly higher than it’s original goal of 900 thousand dollars.  Unfortunately, the game has been plagued by long delays.  Originally going to release in 2015 (a two year development cycle), the game is now slated for a June 2016 release after multiple delays, the most recent delay being problems with the netplay engine.  Even Inafunes biggest fans are demanding refunds, thinking the game will just be delayed again days before it’s launch date, as it has been the past two times.  (http://venturebeat.com/2016/05/02/mighty-no-9-gets-release-date-and-promises-of-no-more-delays/)

However, there’s sometimes a success story, at least in the early going.  While the Ouya was largely panned at launch, it succeeded in not only getting funded, but launching in a decent time window and giving backers what they advertised:  a Tegra 3 based gaming machine based on Android.  While the Ouya market was a flop, the device was quickly jailbroken and is still used by many as a budget emulation console.  Although the Ouya has since been shut down due to not having a good spot in the market, it gave backers what they originally paid for and delivered on its promise.  (http://www.playstationlifestyle.net/2015/07/29/daily-reaction-ouya-sold-to-razer-home-console-market/#/slide/1)

The most important thing to remember if you are going to fund a project is that there is no promise you will get what you are paying for.  You are supporting a project, backing an idea in the hope of it becoming a reality.  If you are willing to take that risk, than by all means back a project that interests you, and hopefully the developer will make that dream come true.

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RoundUp 102 – A Mechanical Catastrophe


April 29th, 2016

TOPICS COVERED IN THE SHOW
Hardware Flashback – (00:00)
Dinosaur Pie – (27:19)
Guinness Gaming Records – (1:19:04)
Kickstarter Corner – (1:20:18)
Electric Dragon: Paranormalizer – (1:32:14)
CGE 2014 Vectrex Panel – (1:39:31)
Top Ten Worst Pinball IPs – (2:38:21)
Gaming Trivia – (4:27:46)
Chris Huelsbeck: Apidya – Challenge – (4:28:11)
Ali Express – (4:32:23)
Live News And Listener Views – (4:53:42)
URLs And EMails – (7:28:14)

See the shownotes page and read the Live News chat log.

Vote in our Top Ten Poll and suggest a future Top Ten topic here.

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Donate to the show.

Podcatch via the RSS Feeds.

Stream the show 24/7 or listen to RGR Radio.

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Retro Youtube: Who remembers Captain S, the video game defender?


April 29th, 2016

captainS
You may be reading the title of this blog thinking that I am mistaken. Captain N was a saturday morning cartoon featuring numerous Nintendo properties (and many, MANY continuity errors like a green Mega Man and an egotistical Simon Belmont.) However, I am indeed talking about Captain S.

Captain S was a live-action YouTube show that lasted one season in 2007. Taking influence from Captain N as well as Full House, it was a very entertaining series created by PBC Productions, who also produced the Little Miss Gamer show (another very well made series). During an era on YouTube where any retro game review had the typical “angry video game reviewer” style, captain S dared to be different. Its in depth story arc, joined with a fresh (albeit intentionally cheesy) family friendly style, was a breath of fresh air in the caustic YouTube world. It was not only well filmed, but well acted as well, with the actors putting forth a great effort in their roles.

The plot follows Chad Belmont as he purchases a Mega Drive cartridge which contains “The Head”, who dons him Captain S, the Video Game Defender. Chad defends videoland in multiple game worlds inside his Mega Drive (Genesis) while balancing his real world life at the same time, finding that soon the villains in video game land have enlisted someone in the real world to invade and take over both worlds. It’s a fun story, with the story arc culminating in an epic showdown, wrapping things up well while leaving a few ideas open for a second season. Season two was planned, but unfortunately never happened due to financial and time constraints. The series was released on DVD, but is now out of stock. I am very happy to have gotten my DVD back in 2010, which was well packaged and included a few extras like a page from a Little Miss Gamer script and some stickers.

I have combined all ten episodes of Captain S and the Captain S/AVGN Christmas Crossover (yes, this was a thing and yes, it was epic indeed) into one movie length video you can watch below. Join in with me and lets raise a virtual shot glass to the PBC Productions guys that did this series.

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