July 2003 News Archive
Back from Vacation
MAMEframe Has Been Sold!
Another Smartstrip Coming!
Ball-top Steel Joysticks
Lost In UPS
ArcadeVGA En Route
UPS: Unknown Parcel Status
Bug Battle II
Version of MAMEWAH!
The new version has a lot of bug fixes and some cool new features as well — one of the nicest improvements (aside from the child lock feature! ;-) is the customizable layout editor (I'll have to wait for the new README file before I can list all the improvements, but trust me, I'm sure it's great.) Thanks, Steve!
New SmartStrip Review Coming
Tempest Repro Spinner Announced!
D9200 Review Delayed
SlikStik DIY Cabinet
Monitor Testing Continues
The Play Testing Begin!
I'll be adding an ArcadeVGA card by Ultimarc for the actual MAMEframe II, but for now I'm just running it off the old Geforce2MX card that's in the computer I "borrowed" from my 5-year old son's room. (Reader Rabbit Kindergarten looks just great on this monitor, btw! ;-)
Update: I've started some preliminary tests, and I'm already running into some "issues" with the monitor. Nothing earth-shattering, at least yet, but I've got some convergence and color purity issues with the D9200 that I'm trying to figure out how to work around. I suspect part of the blame may be the video card I'm using, so I'm going to swap out the GF2MX video card for the only other card I have "sitting around", a GF3 Ti200. Since they're both nVidia cards, I don't expect a huge image quality difference, but it's worth a shot.
Update 2: Success! I've fixed the blemish (literally) on this otherwise fine monitor. Full details over on the MAMEframe II Construction Diary.
MARTIN>The New Phone Books are Here!
I'll be giving it the once-over soon, and doing some inital tests. (I'm going to have to "borrow" my son's computer, since I'm still waiting for the new SlikStik cab to mount this monster in!)
SlikStik DIY — Looking Good
Sad News for MAME Fans
Good News for MAME Fans
Selling Your Soul (To Buy a New One)
Just got an email confirmation on my Wells-Gardner D9200 order — it looks like it should be here tomorrow or Thursday at the latest. Give me the weekend to give it a thorough testing, and I'll have the video review up first thing next week.
I got my Oscar Controls Tempest Reproduction Knob in the mail yesterday afternoon, and I've got to say I really like it. I've only had it a day and already it's my favorite spinner knob. I have to laugh, unfortunately, since Christian Stango of SlikStik just recently told me that "whatever knob you get, that immediately becomes your favorite!" I guess he's right!
The knob I got is the "limited edition" natural aluminum finish version. The production versions will be anodized black to match the original Tempest arcade knob. Aside from some slightly sharp-feeling edges on the knob's knurling, this is a fantastic knob. Now we'll see if my Tempest scores improve...
Oops — sorry for not updating the news today until this afternoon, but I spent the morning writing my review of the SlikStik Stainless Steel Joystick Handles, which is now up and ready.
Another goodie that is now up on the site is the final scene from the Seinfeld episode "The Frogger," which, as you can guess from the title, revolves around a Frogger machine. If you're a fan of arcade games you may want to shield your eyes at the very end, however...
Update: Finally! After two days of futile attempts to upload a single 5-meg file, I have successfully uploaded the video review of the SlikStik Stainless Steel Joystick Handles. Of course the fact that I had to sign up for a pay-per-use dial-up ISP doesn't make me feel warm-and-fuzzy about my current broadband provider, but at least the video is finally up. (You never really realize how addicted you are to broadband until it's taken away from you!) I only got 2.3 Kbps uploading, but at least it didn't disconnect every five minutes!
The written review of the SlikStik stainless steel joystick handles is proceeding, and I should have it up by tomorrow. I hate dialup — I hope that my ISP repairs whatever is choking the upstream pipline (I'm getting 2,656 Kbps downstream, which is fantastic, but only 3 Kbps upstream, and even that is so erratic that I cannot successfully upload a file larger than 10K !)
It figures this had to happen the week I start up Retroblast.com! Grrr...
Good news, bad news time: First, the good news — I've finished the video review for the new SlikStik stainless steel joystick handles.
Now, the bad news — I'm having problems with my ISP (Adelphia), and am currently unable to upload the video (I'm getting 2.3 Mbps downstream, and 13 Kbps upstream. Go figure...)
Anyway, I'll probably have it up by tomorrow morning if the Internet Gods smile on me, with the written review finished by tomorrow. First impressions? Shiny. Heavy. Metal. Cool. (Literally.)
I've got to say these things could easily be lethal weapons - they weigh almost a pound each (13 oz., 369g), and most of that mass is in the top handle. Hopefully I'll at least be able to upload the web review by tomorrow, even if the video review keeps choking. Sigh...
A surprise in my email this morning: an updated "universal vertical bezel" from Marcus Tiller!
This bezel “fills in” the black bands on the sides of the screen with the MAME logo when you are playing a vertically-oriented game in MAME. You can even edit the bezel to put in your own artwork.
The bezel files have been updated for MAME .71 — check it out in the Files section, and thanks, Marcus!
Well, less than a day into the new site and I've already done a minor redesign — the MAMEframe pages have been consolidated into a new “RetroGaming Articles” section, and I've also added a Video Reviews page just to make it easier to find the videos (once they start showing up, that is! ;-)
Another delivery surprise today — the SlikStik Stainless Steel Joystick Handles (say that 5 times fast) have arrived! I'll be installing and videotaping them in action this afternoon, most likely. Give me a day or two to write the review and edit the video — I'll post a notice once they're finished.
Big Item #1: The Retroblast Domain is now up and running! www.retroblast.com is now officially open for business.
Big Item #2: I just ordered the Wells-Gardner D9200 27" Arcade Monitor for the MAMEframe II. I have no idea how long shipping usually takes for such a monster, but hopefully I'll have it within a week. Expect a full review of it shortly thereafter.
RetroBlast Goes Live! The domain name won't be active until tomorrow evening at the earliest, but if you're reading this on the 9th, welcome to the special sneak preview!
I should be getting my review samples of the SlikStik stainless steel joystick handles tomorrow, and with any luck I should have the review up and ready within a few hours (they're just joystick handles, right, how hard can it be? ;-)