Classic Arcade Games Online!
To celebrate the release of Midway
Arcade Treasures 2, Midway has posted several Shockwave
versions of classic WIlliams arcade games (including my fav Robotron) on
their site. Any Shockwave-enabled browser can play the games.
Mortal Kombat on Your Mobile Phone?
Yes! (and more importantly, Robotron as well!) THQ Wireless, Inc. has announced
an agreement with Midway to release seven classic video games for mobile
phones. Also included are Joust, Defender, Spy Hunter, Marble Madness, and
Tapper. Full details are available in the THQ
SlikStik 5% Discount
dropped by the SlikStik site yesterday and noticed that they
are running a 5% discount offer store-wide that will run until
November 25th, which coincidentally is the the cut-off date they
list if you want your order before Christmas (is it that time
here to visit SlikStik and use the code "ssholiday" when
ordering. (If you'd like to support RetroBlast, you can use our SlikStik
Affiliate Link instead ;-)
Fine-tuning Your J-Stik
I got an interesting email about the Ultimarc J-Stik from Steve Lilley-Hopkins
(author of MAMEWAH), in which he mentions two tricks to "fine-tune" the
way the J-Stik feels:
The restrictor plate on the J-Stik can be unscrewed
and flipped over - this reduces the throw slightly due to the angled
inside edge of the restrictor 'hole'. Another trick is to remove
the spring, stretch it and replace - this gives the stick a slightly
harder feel. I've done both of these to 1 of my sticks, and while
I wouldn't say it massively alters the feel of the stick, it is
certainly noticable (& IMO a slight improvement).
MAME in Forbes
Lots of buzz online about this
article in Forbes Magazine, which discusses the author's discovery of MAME
and the Barcade. What's got everyone talking, though, is this paragraph late
in the article:
Be warned: The Entertainment Software Association
(ESA) isn't amused by MAME. The trade organization, which counts
among its members Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive Software,
and Activision, labels MAME players as "pirates."
Fever: The Fan's Guide to the Golden Age of Video Games
Kicking off this week is a review by James McGovern
of Arcade Fever, a picture-packed look back at the birth of arcade
games, including interviews with such videogaming giants as Nolan
Bushnell and Eugene Jarvis — head on over to the RetroBlast
Review of the Week
Can you believe it — two joystick reviews in a week? Yes, it's true.
This time it's a review of the Ultimarc J-Stik, a joystick with a noticably "square" feel
So, is it "hip to be square"? Go to
the Reviews page and find out!
Visual PinMAME Quickstart!
know a lot of people are interested in running Visual PinMAME,
but are a bit confused on what programs you need and how to install
everything. Fret not — there is a new "all-in-one" setup
program available from PinballSim.com that
makes getting things up and running a cinch!
Just download their "Pinball Pack",
run the installer, and you're good to go. It combines Visual Pinball,
PinMAME, Visual Pinball Launcher, and all necessary support files.
Heck, it even includes a few Visual Pinball tables (complete with
from Mars Mini-Saucer LED Kit Review
Hot off the virtual presses is a RetroBlast review of
the "Attack from Mars Mini-Saucer LED Kit" by UFO Pinball. If you're
a big fan of blinking, flashing light shows (and own a Bally Attack from Mars
pinball machine), this is a "must-buy" addition.
D9200 Raffle Has Begun!
Okay, things were delayed a bit, but I've now finally gotten the D9200 raffle
up and running. It's going to be a short run (just two weeks, until Friday
October 8th!), so enter quickly if you're interested: head on over to the RetroBlast
front page for rules and details on how to enter.
Article on the PAPA Flood
Just spotted a short article in the Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette about the flooding of the PAPA pinball facility. Over $500,000
in losses that are not covered by their insurance!
If you want to see what things looked like before
the disaster, check out the
photo gallery in this article about the PAPA competition the
More Detailed D9200 Details
I've had a few requests for more information about the D9200 information I
posted on Monday, so click here for a larger
exerpt from the email. There's some very interesting stuff for anyone
considering a WG purchase.
MAME 0.87 Released
Head on over to MAME.net for
the latest release of MAME. Expect a rush of support file updates from all
the usual suspects shortly...
Attack From Mars Mini Saucer LED Kit
review is still in process, but I thought I'd go ahead and post
a short video of this excellent pinball mod kit from UFO
Pinball. The video is available over on the RetroBlast
Videos page. Trust me, if you've got a Bally Attack from
Mars pinball machine, this is a must-have addition.
wacky Germans are at it again — this time it's PongMechanik,
a mechanical reproduction of the granddaddy of video games,
Pong. It's a fascinating (if somewhat pointless) project. Be sure
to check out the video of the machine in action. Thanks to John
Laur for the news!
Official Price Guide
to Classic Video Games
just posted my review on the RetroBlast
Reviews page of the Official Price Guide to Video Games,
by David Ellis. More than a price guide, this book is a fascinating
look into the history of classic video gaming, from arcade games
to consoles, even handheld games.
This Week on RetroBlast
Just a few morsels about what's coming up this week on RetroBlast: First, we
have a review of David Ellis' Official Price Guide to Classic Video Games,
followed by a review of UFO
Pinball's excellent Attack From Mars mod kit, and finally, another joystick
review (Which joystick, you ask? Why spoil the surprise? ;-)
Ivan Hits PAPA, 232 Pinballs Dead...
was some really depressing news this weekend: the aftermath of
Hurricane Ivan hit Pittsburgh hard, flooding
the headquarters of PAPA (the Professional Amateur Pinball
Association) with over 5 feet of water, just five days after
this year's championship.
The casualties? 232 (that's two hundred thirty
two) classic pinball machines and some rare video games
were destroyed (including an extremely rare Tattoo Assassins
prototype and a sit-down Omega Race!) Truly heartbreaking.
New WG-D9200 Info
I received a very interesting email this weekend, from a builder of MAME cabinets
who has purchased well over 150 D9200 monitors in the past. He had a lot
of great tips, including pinpointing what, exactly, went wrong with my D9200
(see the D9200 review).
The short version? D9200 monitors seem to be
susceptible to losing their factory-set color gain and bias settings.
If you know what your settings were, you can access the hidden
operator's menu and restore them (see the RetroBlast
Files page for details on accessing the hidden menu).
My "source" mentioned a failure rate
of 10%, which is astounding. If you've got a D9200 monitor, I'd
recommend you go into the hidden setup menu and write down your
color gain and bias settings now!
A New Joystick Review!
believe it. Hot off the virtual press is the RetroBlast review
of the Happ Controls Top Fire joystick. An unimpressive joystick
with a unique talent that makes it handy, the Top Fire will never
win a "Joystick of the Year" award. Still, it may yet
earn a place on your control panel. Why? Head on over to the Reviews
Page and find out!
(Oh, and I'm not done yet with joysticks this
Stuhr has updated his excellent keyboard/controller
testing program to version 1.10, adding a keypress history
(which is extremely handy for tracking down "ghosting"!)
like there may be a new arcade controller vendor on the market: Mas
Systems. "Nirv" brought them to my attention, and
I'll be checking in to see if I can make arrangements for a review
of their controllers. The controller designs certainly look intriguing,
and their compatability with console systems as well as PC systems
is a plus.
Steel Saviour Review
off the virtual press is James McGovern's review of the visually
stunning Steel Saviour, by SR-71. A gorgeous update
on the side-scrolling shooter genre, this game brings eye-candy
to a whole new level. But is the game play as sweet as the graphics? Check
out the review!
Betson Video Review
things back up to speed here on RetroBlast, I present the video
review of the Betson Imperial 27" Multisync Arcade Monitor
(whew...what a mouthful!).
Feast your eyes on 27" of pure arcade gaming
glory, and bask in the pure, unadulterated photon glow...ah...
Well, I'm back — definitely not 100% yet (nowhere near), but I'm on the
recovery side of things. Sorry for the downtime.
There were a couple of reviews that were almost ready to go last week that
got delayed because of my illness: the Betson 27" Multisync Video
Review, and a review of Steel Saviour by James McGovern. Both
will be out shortly. Other reviews as soon as I'm feeling up to it.
Following up on the success of the BYOAC arcade tokens, David Santoro now has
a poll to see if some MAME tokens should be made. If you like the idea of
MAME-specific custom token designs, head over to the new
poll over at the BYOAC forums and vote!
Sorry, I've been on my back with the flu the last couple of days. It's all
part of the "germ exchange program" that happens when school starts,
I suppose. Don't worry if I haven't responded to emails - I will as soon
as I'm up and about.
Atari Anthology and Flashback
Retrogaming continues to grow: Atari is releasing the
Atari Anthology, a collection of 18 of their arcade classics and 67 2600-console
games together on a CD for the PlayStation 2 and X-Box consoles.
They're also releasing a "mini-7800" console
Atari Flashback, which will include 20 built-in games. Looks
like they've caught on to the fact that their classic games may
be a source of income for the company. Thanks to David Ahern for
Light Guns and the Betson Multisync?
million thanks to Ron Hallett, who sent me an email last night
asking if I had tested the Betson
multisync monitor with the ACT-Labs
light gun — it totally slipped my mind! I had completely
forgotten about my ACT-Labs light gun, since it had never worked
properly with my WG-D9200 arcade
monitor when run with the Ultimarc
ArcadeVGA card, and I was not about to give up the amazing
video the ArcadeVGA was capable of in MAME just for a light gun.
Well, good news! The ACT-Labs light gun worked
flawlessly with the Betson monitor and the Ultimarc AVGA card!
I now, at last, have a working light gun for my cab. (I've updated
the review with this little gem of information.)
MAMEWAH 1.5 Released
Yes, my favorite front end has been updated, and this time it looks like Steve
has been very busy — there are an awful lot of changes. For example,
the limit on different emulators has been bumped from 50 up to 32,767! (That
ought to hold you emulator fanatics a while!) Lots more cool stuff as well,
including support for trackballs, multiple inputs, and an entirely new menu
system. This is big, folks.
a list of all the changes, and you can grab your own copy
over at the official
ArcadeVGA M.A.M.E. Resolution Tool v1.02
Like I said, Steve's been busy — the new version of the AVGA
MAME Resolution Tool adds support for the newer versions of MAME (that
don't have the listinfo command). (This update has been out a while — I
can't believe I missed it!)
Must See TV (for Arcade Nuts!)
This looks very, very interesting: PBS is going to be showing "The
Video Game Revolution," a television program documenting the history
of video games. It will be airing this Wednesday, 9/9/04, at 9pm. Be sure and
check out their "Best
and Worst Video Games of All Time" section!
Article on Happ Controls
Here's an interesting
article in the Daily Herald about Happ Controls (where I buy
a lot of my arcade parts! ;-)
Multisync Monitor Review
Just posted to the RetroBlast Reviews page is
my review of the Betson 27" Multisync Arcade Monitor, a possible successor
to the versatile-but-troubled Wells Gardner
D9200 which has so far been the MAME cab builder's monitor of choice.
So, how does the new monitor stack up? Can it
take the title of "Best MAME Cab Monitor"? Check out
Or an auction? How should I "dispose" of the Wells-Gardner D9200
monitor that until last week lived in my MAMEframe cab? Vote in the new poll
on the RetroBlast front page and let me know what
Price Guide to Classic Video Games
I've just received a copy, thanks to author David Ellis. Don't be fooled — this
is much more than just a price guide, and covers everything from arcade video
games to consoles (even such obscure classic platforms as the Vectrex!).
From the history of video games to how to care
for one, this is a comprehensive look at the world of video gaming.
I'll be reviewing it as soon as I can wade through all 463 pages!
I'm back (mostly)
Well, after couple of days of pain med-induced lethargy, I'm feeling a bit
better. I'm going to try working on the Betson/Kortek monitor review this
weekend, and I've got a couple of other surprises for this next week, if
everything works out.
Bar Stools Review?
Yup, Greg Thorpe just posted a "mini-review" of
the Happs bar stools over in the SlikStik forums. Having just added some
very similar stools to my setup, I've got to say they really are great to have
around, especially for those marathon gaming sessions!
is Illegal for anyone under 18 in Nashville, TN!
2004: Sega Golf Club Trailer
Taito TypeX arcade hardware, lineup announced
2004: Quest of D Playtest
I need a lighter hobby...
Sorry for the lack of news yesterday — I re-injured my back unboxing
the new Betson monitor. Nothing that will require surgery again, but the pain
meds make it a bit difficult to focus on the monitor review (monitor focus!
ha, I kill myself...ow...) Next time I'll follow my doctor's orders (and yes,
lifting a 75 lb. monitor when you've got a 35lb. lifting limit isn't even close...)
I'll see what I can get done this weekend, but
if you don't see an update, have a relaxing holiday weekend (since
that's what I'll be doing as well! ;-)
Game Art Contest
Here's something you don't see everyday: an
art contest with the theme of "electronic games." Called Game
Art, the contest runs through September and the top prize is 2,000 Euros!
playing video games isn't tough enough? Want to really suffer
for your high scores? Check out the
PainStation, a masochistic device that combines old-fashioned
gaming with even older fashioned whipping. Be sure and check
out the damage this thing has inflicted on players' hands!
MAMERoom Cabs on Sale
Thanks to Matt Apuzzo for pointing out that MAMERoom.com is
having a sale on their cabinet kits: until September 6th the cabinets are $50
off the regular price.
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