RoundUp 084 – An Abomination

March 1st, 2015

Hardware Flashback – (00:00)
Dinosaur Pie – (25:28)
Guinness Gaming Records – (58:28)
Instant Remedy: Commando V2 – (61:26)
Nick Talesfore Interview – (66:20)
Top Ten Worst Atari 2600 Games – (148:39)
Show Sponsor – (290:20)
Gaming Trivia – (294:06)
Neshead: Ninja Gaiden 2 Chaosium Sword – (295:02)
Amiga Minute – (297:20)
Live News And Listener Views – (339:01)
URLs And EMails – (420:00)

See the shownotes page, read the Live News chat log and vote in our Top Ten Poll.

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Retro Collect Video Game Market 2 – Does bigger mean better?

February 11th, 2015

The start of something big

2014 saw the start of a new gaming event in the U.K. Based around the concept that ebay, car boot sales (swap meets to those over the water) and to a degree conventions/expos had become a much harder place for collectors and enthusiasts to hunt out new games to collect and play, especially at reasonable prices.

The folks over at the Retro Collect website decided to set up an event that was:-

  • cheap for shoppers to get in (there’s arguably no point saving £5 over ebay prices at an expo when the tickets were £20)
  • cheap for sellers (again, prices are not going to lower if the shop needs to cover the cost of it’s pitch, and private collectors are not going to be able to justify a high setup cost just to shift some of their doubles)
  • open at a reasonable time, getting up at 5am on a Sunday morning to rummage around in the dark at a car boot sale held in a muddy field is not exactly everybody’s idea of fun

The problem was though, the event was a victim of it’s own demand, arriving close to the opening time of 11am you were greeted by a huge queue snaking around the outside of Leeds town hall, and almost instantly they had filled the small room that had been allocated for it, and were left with no choice but to operate on a 1-in-1-out basis.

Inside, there was an excellent balance of full-time dealers, part-time dealers and individuals selling a much wider variety of items than would usually be found at a convention, but the shopping experience was hampered by being jammed into a tiny room, and essentially having to move around the stalls at the same speed as the rest of the sea of people. Heaven forbid you want to go back to look at an item from a couple of tables ago, as this often meant following the masses all the way back around until you arrived there again, hopefully with the items still there.

The law of sequels

So, fast forward a few months, and there were already signs afoot in the community that there will be a second videogame market, and this time with more sellers, more space, and somehow even more variety.

As all gamers know, to continue a franchise, the next instalment needs to build on the core concepts of the former, and add more of everything. More people, bigger environments, a greater variety of items and enemies, and more gruesome and intricate ways to kill, or be killed by said enemies (ok, so perhaps those last points don’t entirely apply here)

Retro Roadtrip Roundup

So, just irvgm2_001n case, the decision was made to meet up around an hour earlier than needed this year, so that we had a fighting chance of being near the front of any queues, and not have to stand out in the cold for 2 hours to get inside. As it turned out, this was a very good idea, as by the time we’d had a leisurely stroll from the Merrion Centre Car Park, there was already a pretty healthy queue forming (youtube interviews with attendees would reveal that the passionate nerds at the front of the queue had arrive around 3 hours before the doors were due to open!)

Fortunately, after some queue bants the time had flown by, and after a little bit of a false start with the queue movement, we were soon underway and making our way inside, and boy, what a sight you were greeted with.


Entering the main room, there were stalls running from the edges of the doors, all around the room, a large area in the middle with more sensibly laid out stalls, in the distance there was a seller that was taking over the majority of a tiered staging at the back of the room, already it looked formidably larger than last year, and then I noticed the doorways leading of either side of the main room promising MORE SELLERS beyond them. These signs were dotted around the rooms, and not only provided useful information on where to go, but also epitomized the theme for the event.


Straight arvgm2_012way, I was lured in by the shiny temptation of the Sore Thumbs’ vast array of Japanese titles, and no sooner had I had a good rummage around in a storage tub crammed with all manner of Neo-Geo CD, Sega Saturn and PC Engine titles did I realize that I had already become separated from UK Mike and Ben Jones. Already it was looking like I was better off adopting an every man for himself strategy, and headed off to try and get to some of the more distant stalls before the masses had made there way to them.

The next hour seemed like a blur, filled with a combination of taking photos and hunting for some interesting games, interspersed with some enthusiastic chats with like minded collectors, both there for buying and selling. Soon enough though it was starting to get a bit overwhelming, no sooner had I got myself in a good position to browse, and worked through a large selection of loose Super Famicom cartridges would I realize that there was a whole second layer underneath, and frankly I was flagging and running out of the determination required to spend another 10 minutes fighting through that layer.

rvgm2_030I managed to skim through what I hadn’t yet seen, to get a good mental map of what else was around, whilst hunting down the other two, to catchup with how they were getting on (Ben appeared to have given into his feminine side and was carrying a bag of soft furnishings). We sauntered through the outer loop, until ending up separated again, only to shortly later find each other again in the bar that was situated halfway round (what were the chances of that! ;-) ) and had a well earned refreshment break.

With the power of Lager inside us we headed back out, this time with a little more focus. I had identified some interesting collections of loose Game Boy cartridges with various sellers that I wanted to try and strike a deal with, and Mike was looking for a Spyro the Dragon for the PS1.

IMG_20150208_080132~2Fortunately for us, there seemed to be a lunchtime lull in effect, and the little bit of extra freedom to move resulted in a much less stressful ‘second half’ and I ended up feeling pretty happy with the deals that I managed to negotiate for my gameboy titles, resulting in all seven costing just £12 total.

As a bonus, I even managed to pick up two of the Beatmania Append discs that I don’t have, for just £5, Mike however did not manage to buy a Spyro, as it would appear that the market value is averaging around £15, which is frankly ridiculous, is this a fallout of the Skylanders craze I wonder?

Feeling pretty tired, and worried about spending too much money (Nintendo’s decision to release the new 3DS, Monster Hunter 4 and Majora’s Mask this friday has given my gaming budget a hammering), we decided to call it a day, and head for the now traditional Guinness and carvery lunch to wrap up the day.

Irvgm2_035 feel fairly confident that the everyone who attended will have been thoroughly happy with the day, and Retro Collect should feel pretty darn proud of what they have put together, I shall certainly be attending future markets, hopefully with a little more spare cash too.

Be sure to check out the photos that I took throughout the day at the Retrogaming Roundup Gallery page



Issue 1: What is a Power Action Chair 2 anyway?

February 5th, 2015

Hi Folks!

So recently I was pestering UK Mike to allow me to crash the Live News feed and show off a new pick up that I bought a few weeks ago. It’s current nickname is the SEGA Power Chair but after investigating I think it’s actually the Power Action Chair 2, released in Minnesota and made to be compatible with the Nintendo (NES) as well as the SEGA Master system and SEGA Megadrive/Genesis, and now it’s sitting in my gaming room.

The chair belonged to a lady who assumed that it was for the Atari. She, having no idea about the effects of water on metal over a prolonged amount of time, decided that the best place for the chair would be in a cold warehouse. I sigh in relief when I see the chair and it has no signs of rust or damage beyond a missing button, plus a lifetime supply of dust.


After agreeing to buy the chair I promptly ‘made it rain’ and left with the chair in my arms like a fat, man-child covered in tears of joy. ‘The seller had no idea how to respond to my behaviour so after a long pause of silence with only my tears to break the awkward sound of nothing’ I promptly left for the car.

I had put a little effort into investigating the chair after the very friendly and tall (@Theretrohunter) tweeted to the masses that the chair was up for sale but listed incorrectly on eBay UK. My search of “SEGA CHAIR” brought a lot of speculation on what gamers assume the chair is about but nothing more seemed to be on the web in regards to actual facts, so it won’t surprise you to know that my online investigations then turned into a search for funny videos with cats. I had failed my chair but I’m no journalist, I had planned to get home and secretly email Ian Guebert (@Greatbitblog), the man who tells me everything I need to know about gaming that Aaron Hickman (@Retroobscura) doesn’t know. However, I forget all about this by the time I’m home and wait nearly three weeks to do anything with the chair except sit in it and pretend im riding a motorbike from Super Hang-On.

So where am I going with this blog? Well, I’m getting there, but like a man with a small penis I have to make up for my lack of writing skills with a lot of tedious preparation so you don’t feel let down and never look me up again. HAHA! True story. I Digress.

segachairboard_01I am on Skype with a good friend Victor Marlan from the (@Tenpencearcade) and I ask him what he knows about electronics (secretly knowing that he is very knowledgeable in this field) but I need a Segway into my conversation about the chair that doesn’t appear rude and selfish.

See, I’m not just a pretty face! I then tell him about the chair after which he proceeds to tell me how to re-wire it to work with a missing button and to clean up the boards so it will work with my Megadrive. It was like the movie ‘The Bone Collector’ but with a Sega Chair and me having bigger moobs than Angelina Jolie in the Lara Croft movie.

At last the chair was running like it was intended to and I was super happy with it, but like I said before, I did a ‘little’ research so that’s all I know.

Now I am opening this up for debate amongst our gaming community and I hope you all invite me onto your podcasts to talk about the chair. If you feel let down by my anti-climactic finish just be grateful that you don’t have to look me in the eyes as you decide not to come back here again! True Story. Haha!

I have already been on the “Live News” segment of the RetroGaming Roundup Podcast but then Crow (one of Scott’s robots) messed up the recording and my 15 minutes of fame were lost forever. Well, except to those who made it to the Live broadcast of course….

You can also keep up to date with chair news by following me on the Tweeters here: @Vipp1990 and of course subscribe to this blog for more shit like this. Like all interesting facts in the Retro Gaming Roundup podcast, interesting facts in this blog are always interesting but not always facts.

All people mentioned should be followed as they are great friends and also entertainers.

See you in February folk’s!


RoundUp 083 – Short, Thin, Not Much Substance

January 31st, 2015

Hardware Flashback – (00:00)
Dinosaur Pie – (46:37)
Guinness Gaming Records – (68:39)
Nurmix: Intellivisionaries Theme – (71:59)
Andy Walker Interview – (73:43)
Top Ten Sega CD Games – (126:41)
Gaming Trivia – (241:16)
Marcel Donne: Rambo High Score – (243:13)
Amiga Minute – (246:04)
*NOT* Live News And Listener Views – (270:38)
URLs And EMails – (331:47)

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

Join our Facebook Group and follow us on Twitter.

Donate to the show.

Podcatch via the RSS Feed.

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


random_dave’s retro regrets – Zelda

January 29th, 2015

The-Legend-of-ZeldaI missed a number of ‘classic’ games, as I’m sure we all have, due purely to being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

During the heyday of the NES I had a Gameboy, and I’d get my exposure to the NES at friends houses, which from memory used to mainly involve Super Mario Bros. 1 & 2, Castlevania 2, Probotector and Megaman 2.

My first Zelda, beyond what I would read in magazines was Link to the Past, which really was the start of Zelda being a game where the focus was on exploration and puzzle solving, but not so much the combat, sure, it is always a core part of a Zelda, but there’s not that many times now in Zelda that you find yourself worrying too much about dying.

My first real attempt to play the original NES Zelda was when I bought my NES edition Gameboy Advance SP. With the console, you could buy any NES Classic release for just an additional £5 (a mere fraction of what they would set you back these days) On the day, the store only had Bomberman, and Zelda, so I decided that as Zelda should give me potentially the most potential playtime.

Unfortunately, however, the Gameboy Advance screen resolution is a bit smaller than the NES output, and in part of the conversion to the format, Link’s sword thrust actually ends up being proportionally shorter than it should be, making the game even harder. This meant during the early part of the game, when you are trying to find out where the early dungeons are, and have very little health, it was very easy to get frustrated and give up, as any screen with more than 2 enemies could become incredibly difficult to deal with.

zelda 01Skip forward a few generations of Nintendo hand held consoles, and due to poor initial sales for the 3DS, Nintendo gave the early adopters a handful of Virtual Console game for free as part of the “Ambassador Programme” Nes Virtual console games are an excellent fit for the 3DS, there are modern suspend and resume features that help suit play sessions into an adult lifestyle, and the screen resolution is vertically 1.5x bigger, which allows Nintendo to do some sub-pixel scaling and provide a good looking re-sampling to the 3DS screen and not lose any of the original aspect ratio. I gave the game a couple of quick bashes, but always put it on the back burner in favour of other games.

Recently though, I had finished a (non-100%) playthrough of Wario Land II, and was wondering what to tackle next, when a friend messaged me to say that he had finally started to play Zelda on his Famicom Disk System, and for the first time ever had beaten the first dungeon, and he was super chuffed. This inspired me to give it another go, but this time I was going to do it properly, give it time to see if it could sink it’s teeth into me, and prove itself to be the classic must-play game that so many people will tell you that it is.

As I hinted at earlier, to start with the overworld is brutal, but it has eased up with the master sword and a couple of extra heart containers that I have found. Interestingly though, the number of enemies, their speed, erratic movement and propensity to spawn at your feet makes travelling between dungeons often much more dangerous than the dungeons themselves.
This lends it a bit of a rogue-like feel, in that when you die and save or continue, your keys and items are saved, so you can in effect ‘grind’ a little to build up some early cash if needed.
Additionally, dying and continuing whilst in a dungeon restarts at the beginning of a dungeon, so if you have had a rough journey to get there with half a heart left over, once inside you can let yourself die, and then you will return to the entrance with 3 hearts again. Almost like learning to fit into Majora’s Mask’s time pattern (e.g. never start a dungeon on day 3, spend the time exploring and come back on day 1 again later)

The semi-non-linearity is one of the games strongest points, and definitely a saving grace, giving the player other things to go and do, rather than forcing them to persist on the same difficult section.
I ended up going straight to dungeon 2 at the start by accident, grabbed some keys and died, so only then did I go to dungeon 1.
Later, there was a room in dungeon 2 that I couldn’t clear, so I skipped it until a day later when i had more hearts and the master sword
Similarly, I am currently at a point where i keep dying on boss 3 just as I am landing the final blows, but I have been able to head off to dungeon 4, and pick up an item that has then allowed me to collect a heart container that I had seen on the overworld, and now, as I write this I have returned to the entrance to dungeon 3, ready to clear out the boss.

In sumzelda02mary, there was definitely a rough period to start with, where trying to navigate between dungeons 1 and 2, and get my bearings for the world, where I would get very frustrated with the relentless punishment that the monsters would dish out, but the dungeons provided just enough satisfaction that I was able to keep cracking on, and now the overworld odds have evened a little, my overall enjoyment levels should ensure that I foresee that I should be able to stick with it to the end (assuming that I manage to finish it before Monster Hunter 4 takes over my life)

Probably one of the biggest surprises that I have found, is that the game suits itself surprisingly well to the 15-30 minute bursts that I get with it, before work for example, even though I am not allowing myself to use the 3DS virtual savestate functions and using the original saving system

I’d always thought the love that the original Zelda got was based mainly on nostalgia, and that it perhaps wasn’t actually that good a game, but despite a little bit of an early hump in the pacing, and and overwhelmingly large environment with little hand holding and direction I am starting to find that I am drawn into playing the game quite obsessively now.