Thursday, 3 September 2015

TICKING OFF SOME CHILDHOOD GAMES FROM THE LIST

Howdy,

When I was a young lad doing my paper round I would get Mean Machines, C&VG and Games Master magazines and would spend hours pouring over all the pages dreaming of playing all the awesome looking, now retro, games in there. Being a boy with a paper round I wouldn't make enough money to buy any of the new systems let alone get new games as they were so expensive. So in the back of my mind I've got a nostalgia games list that's constantly niggling away.

Well a little trip to one of Derby's retro game shops last month managed to satiate one of the little itches back there. I managed to spot a copy of Super Mario Land 2 : 6 Golden Coins with a damaged label for £3. I thought that was a really good price to finally get to play a portable mario game from back in the day. I would have loved it to be the first game but for that price I paid without a second thought :-P

A little trip to my sisters house on the way home to borrow her Game Boy Advance and I've been happily trying to get anywhere significant in this hard as rocks game!

I've been on and off playing The legend of Zelda : A link to the Past GBA on my DS Lite for a while now. Getting stuck, leaving it then coming back to it etc and with my Game Boy stint going I decided to look up some of the older Zelda games to add to the list to play once I beat it. If I ever beat it haha.


Well I heard that Link's Awakening on the Game Boy is a brilliant game in the brilliant line-up of Zelda games, so I looked up a copy cheap on ebay. I managed to snag this cart with a damaged label on the cheap which im really happy about. Now I know they aren't the nicest looking cartridges in the world but for the price I've paid im getting so much game and that's what Im after. The playing of the game, especially seen's my shelf space is getting woefully small at the moment.

And yes I know the DS Lite is an awful pink colour!! :-P It is the cheapest price DS Lite you can generally get and I don't go playing it in public haha. It does the job and works an absolute treat :-P

And the last game, I've heard so many good things about the Metroid games and how brilliant they are so I looked up some on the Game Boy and managed to get Metroid 2 : The Return of Samus nice and cheap too from ebay, cart only. This one has a nice intact label though ;-) Again I hear that the Metroid games are hard as nails and I've never ever played any of them, oh other than Metroid Prime! I loved that on the Game Cube but that is a world away from the original side scrollers.


So yeah, I wanted to update the blog, sorry its not a WWF Superstars update. Im still working through DIY jobs at home (Slabbing and building steps) at the moment but when I get the next bit of Retro DIY time Im going to get back onto the sound issue.

But for now I'll be living the Game Boy dream and heading back to the 90's :-)

Porl''

Monday, 24 August 2015

WWF SUPERSTARS JAMMA ARCADE GAME REPAIR - PART ONE

Hi everyone,

Okay, its really really been a long time since my last post! Man lots have been happening over the past half a year and I've not really had the time to do any retro based projects as we've been doing a lot of re-arranging at home and painting and building etc. I have still been playing my retro consoles and getting some games every now and again but no where near the level I had been.

Well I had an afternoon free yesterday and decided to get my WWF Superstars board out of my little rack of games and decided to start trying to figure out the sound issue I showed in my last video.

I video'd yesterdays progress and made a quick video. This is the first part as I haven't fixed it yet but Im hoping to get back really soon. And it wont be an 8 month wait haha



Hopefully post again soon

Porl''

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

NEW YEAR AND SOME NEW PROJECTS

Hi All,

A bit of a late Happy New Year! but there you go. :-)

I've been quiet again on the old blog front, the time keeps flying by which is a little worrying when you think about it. Over christmas I don't get much time to do many geeky projects as we're out busking with the kids Brass band that me and my wife volunteer for. Always good fun getting out there and playing the classic christmas tunes!

Well its a new year and I want to get cracking with a couple of Sega based projects and 1 arcade game project.

Currently the 2 Sega projects are on the go which I will no doubt make a post about when they are all done and finished. I'm just waiting on an ebay purchase to finish the larger of the two projects wiring then I will be onto the final touches for it. I'm really pleased with it so far, mysterious huh? :-P

I also have an arcade game project which I made a quick video intro for which is at the bottom of this post.

While I was working on one of the Sega projects I was watching some of the arcade and retro console repair videos that I subscribe to on YouTube and I started getting the urge to have another go at repairing an arcade game.

So off I trotted to one of the arcade forums I go on and snagged myself a board with some issues. Mainly this games problems are in the sound department. The game is WF SuperStars :-D I used to play this loads at Mr Man's video shop on Rosliston Road when I was a teen so its got a great nostalgic feeling for me.

Its going to be fun to tackle issues in the sound area of a Jamma board as I've not poked around those areas yet.



BUT, I need to get some of these other projects finished first before tackling WF. :-P

So catch you guys on the next post which will hopefully be a nice completed projects post.

Porl''

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

NINTENDO NES NOSTALGIA ??

Howdy Pardnurs!

This week has been a week where I've been playing some games in between doing some graphics work as a little treat for getting stuff finished and sent off. But somehow I still end up managing to fix / work around a problem with one of my consoles.

The start of last week I traded in a few old un-played xbox 360 games at CEX and picked up Dead Space 3 for the 360. I really really loved the first game and the second game was great too but it took me ages playing it in sections as I tend to play now. The xbox 360 is in the living room and seen's its the shared room I can't really hog it by playing games when my wife wants to watch a tv show or something. Its a bit anti-social especially as she hates scary stuff and Dead Space's are horror games haha. So I've started that anyway as I want to finish the series. I've heard its not as good as the other two games and the Co-op element put me off when it originally came out but for £6 I think its worth a punt to round the games series off as I really liked the story.

Also at the end of the week I got back into listening to the Retro Beats podcast on youtube by Derek Alexander, also known as The Happy Video Game Nerd. I really like his web shows and I've always loved the NES game episodes.

The Nintendo NES has always been a console I only ever played in snatches when I went to Comet in my home town. Comet was a national home appliance chain store and the one in my area, back when I was a little kid they had NES's and when they came out SNES's that you could play on until the store workers came around and moved you on. It was a try before you buy type of thing except I could never buy as I was too young haha. So I played the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles game on there as well as Mario and I think Castlevania. But in tiny tiny goes so I never ever got very far. I always loved it though.

When I was growing up I basically went through the Sega consoles so I missed the Nintendo side of things until my mate gave me his childhood NES as he was moving away at the start of this year. I couldn't believe it!! :D

Unfortunetly a few years of inactivity had some how bought upon the dreaded flashing red LED of Doom! So back then I bought a new 72 pin edge connector and replaced the old one and it worked. While I was at it I disabled the lock-out chip to hopefully stop the non-loading problem in the future.

Well that was a while ago now and listening to the Retro Beats podcast re-ignited my want to play some of the games I never got to as a kid. So onto ebay I went and managed to get Duck Tales, cartridge only, for £5 + postage which is a steal I think! :D

Here it is on top of my tiny NES collection which was all given to me by my mate.


It arrived a day early and I excitedly plugged it into my NES and turned it on....and Grey Screen!!! I blew on the cart and in the NES (Old skool fix haha) and re-seated the cart a few times but no joy. Darn it! It was knackered again.

So last night I set about taking the console apart again to clean the connectors, again, and re-seat everything.

While I was at it I decided to give everything a good clean so with my contact cleaning spray. So the motherboard is all nice and clean now and not sticky anymore from flux residue etc. I put it all back together and excitedly tried the console again but still grey screen! :,-(

Out of curiosity I un-pressed / clicked the cartridge from its locked in position and tried the power again and low and behold the game loaded up!! I turned the console off and clicked the game in place again and it Grey Screened! Weird! I tried it with my Mario 3 cartridge and again it worked in the pre-load position but Grey screened in the clicked position. I must have a dodgy new ebay connector. Doesn't matter though as it works in the pre-load position and I've managed to play through 2 levels on Duck Tales so far and its awesome!! And incredibly hard (compared to new games) but it's a really nice challenge. And Im into that kind of difficulty at the mo with trying to beat R-Type on the PC Engine, which is still elluding me haha.


So yeah, Im into this NES malarky at the minute and really loving it! I can't wait to see the other bosses on the levels I've not beaten yet on Duck Tales. And man is that music good!!!! The moon level is amazing but really all the music I've heard so far kicks ass!!


So there you go. If your NES is Grey Screening and not loading any games give the pre-load position as I call it a go. It might be the thing that works as we are always programmed to click the game down in the NES to then play. It certainly works for me :D

Have fun!!

Duck Tales Do Do Do!

Porl'' 

Monday, 10 November 2014

SEGA MEGADRIVE SONIC THE HEDGEHOG USB DRIVE

Howdy Y’all,

I’ve not had much time this past 2 weeks to play with making my Neptune hook-up wires unfortunately and I’ve been getting myself down with doing ebay searches for Sega 32x’s on there and seeing how expensive they are now. The prices of them have really shot through the roof and they seem to be becoming more and more unattainable which sucks. I’m still searching though as I need to get a working one to finish the Neptune off.

Anyway, that’s not what this post is about. Its about a little mid-week recycling project that I’ve been thinking about. I like most megadrive owners / collectors have a couple of spare Sonic the Hedgehog 1’s knocking about that no-one wants and I’ve been feeling that its such a shame that such a great game is just gathering dust getting absolutely no love as there are so many of them about.

Well I had the idea that the cartridges are around the same kind of size as some usb portable HDD’s so I thought I could use the casing to house a HDD and make a geeky drive to carry around. Getting one of my spares out and looking over it I saw that they are a bit too small so I did some research on the internet to see if people have made retro game USB drives and saw that some people sacrifice some awesome looking Nintendo games to use the cases to house the drives. And when I saw this I actually thought its such a shame that the actual game, the physical chips and board are just getting binned so that the cases are empty enough to make room for the HDD’s to fit in. So I opened up my Sonic cartridge to see if there was anyway I could keep the game in there and hopefully make it playable still while also being a USB drive.


Once opened you can see that the actual game board doesn’t take up all the room inside the cartridge and the space available is just a bit bigger than a USB pen drive with some room to spare around the sides. This is a pretty good result as I have a spare USB pen drive knocking about that I don’t use as I always end up losing them seen’s they are so small. And it was also free as I got it in a promo goody bag gift.


I found some sticky back velco strips as I thought that I might get a larger capacity pen drive in the future and if I glue gun the pen drive in place it will be stuck there forever. A rare bit of forward thinking from me haha. I also quickly ordered up a usb extension wire from the interwebs to give me a wire that can connect the cart / usb to my computer. I don’t really like the look of just the USB connector sticking out of the sides so wanted to go the dangly wire way.


Here you can see how the insides of the cartridge will look with the USB pen drive in place and the extension cable hanging out the side. Looking pretty neat.


And here you see how it looks with the little security screws put back into place and the cartridge all closed up.


When I was brainstorming how to have the USB extension cable and have the game playable I thought that if I have the cable coming out of the top of the back alignment groove the cartridge should still fit into the Megadrive 1 and 2 and not crimp or squash the cable. And it was a bit of a relief when I tried it after screwing it back together and it still fit into the cart slot and switched it on! :D


WOOP! Now I have a retro styled backup USB drive which has given a dusty unused cartridge some new life AND the game is still in there and working. So if there is an emergency situation where I see a Megadrive and heaven forbid there isn’t a game available to play then POW! USB Retro pen drive saves the day!

Hopefully this little post will inspire some other people to give their spare cartridges a new lease of life without sacrificing the actual game itself as that seems a big shame to me too.

I’m going to be making some time to make the hook-up wires for the Neptune next so hopefully there will be a post on those soon.

Catch you later

Porl’’