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July 2005 News Archive

7/29/05

Site News
I'll be offline again for a week, so don't expect any site updates. It's been a busy summer here, which means that the reviews have been slow to show up. In a few weeks I should have plenty of time for cranking out the reviews, so stay tuned, and we thank you for your support. ;-)

Upcoming Contest News
I'm currently working on a new contest, one that will probably run from September to Christmas. Yes, a full four months of giveaways and general fun. Needless to say, it's taking a bit of time to get everything set up, but it'll be worth it, I promise!

Excellent PinMAME/MAME Hybrid Cab!
Next Generation PinballOkay, this is a truly unique gaming solution: Next Generation Pinball, a hybrid PinMAME/MAME gaming system built into a gutted Star Trek: The Next Generation pinball machine cabinet (and no, it was bought already gutted!)

"DefJam" has taken a 19" monitor and full MAME hardware and mounted it inside of a pinball cabinet. It's an unusual choice, and one that looks to be ideal for PinMAME enthusiasts. Great job, Jim!

Coin-Op.TV News
Just added to the Coin-Op.TV site:

  • NEW ARTICLE: Pac-Man Collectibles An Unauthorized Guide - Book Review & Interview with the Author - by Jonathan Imberi
    Pac-Man Collectibles An Unauthorized Guide is the latest and by far the most comprehensive book cataloging Pac-Man collectibles of the 1980s. The items cataloged are so vivid and full of detail they will make you think you’ve stepped back in time. You may just find yourself with a pocket full of quarters and heading to the arcade!
  • NEW EPISODE: Danielle Kotzias interviews MARK ALHERS - championship level arcade player and all around friendly guy. Mark holds titles on games like Dig Dug and Crazy Climber and shares some of his tips of the trade!

RetroBytes
Cheaper Than Buying Tokens
Eighty-Year-Old Doris Self Coming to London to Re-Claim Title of ''World's Oldest Video Game Champion''
London Vs. Paris Video Game Championship
Blind teen amazes with video game ability

7/28/05

Dream Arcades Licenses MAME™ !
Dream Arcades LLC announces the first ever agreement with the MAME™ development team to distribute MAME™ software with their arcades! From the press release:

"Dream Arcades LLC is proud to announce an agreement with the MAME™ development team to distribute MAME™ software with their arcades. The licensing agreement along with a previous agreement with StarROMS, Inc. will allow Dream Arcades to sell PC based arcades with classic arcade favorites such as Asteroids and Centipede."

Full Press Release

MJoy16-C1 Analog Encoder
MJoy16-C1Want an encoder that also supports up to 8 analog axes, 64 pushbuttons, 16 toggle switches, and 4 rotary switches? Check out the MJoy16-C1 Encoder. Designed for flight simulator applications, it still looks like it'd make a mighty fine MAME encoder. Price is about $40 US, with an optional diode-equipped Key Matrix board for $28 US if you plan on using a lot of buttons. Thanks to Deadly Dad for the link!

CP Sketcher 2.0
CP SketcherNick Kosa wrote in to let me know he's released a new version of his control panel design software: "CP Sketcher 2.0 is now available for download. This software allows you to design a control panel using real parts and then build it using the measurement information it creates. Or, use the program's export function to create high-resolution bitmaps of your CP."

MAME Setup Service Needed
I got this request for help, and thought I'd pass it along (pics of the cab are available on RetroBlast's still-in-progress Classifieds Page)

It’s a long shot but, I would like to find someone in TAMPA, Florida that could perform a service:

Long story short…I’m from Virginia and moved to Tampa FL, 33543 last week, new to the area. I had to leave my Mame cabs behind. I just purchased a GAUNTLET LEGENDS DARK LEGACY (ebay number 6193530250) cab; I have a PC, ARCADEVGA and a JPAC. I would like to find someone local that could professionally JAMMA-MAME this Gauntlet cab, reconfigure the control panel (add track ball, 2, two players joy with 7 push buttons) , jack the arcade speaker, add a main power switch to the cab. ETC. Please contact me at rparedes@vt.edu

7/27/05

Dream Arcade Lighted Buttons
Dream Arcade ButtonsJust got an email from Dream Arcades announcing their new lighted buttons: "Dream Arcades has just received new translucent pushbuttons, now in stock. These buttons include a colored LED and microswitch for just $2.09 each. The LED does not require a resistor and will not burn out if momentarily connected backwards. The button body is translucent and the middle is frosted so you can’t see the LED. They look great when lit."

Next Arcade News
Next Arcade ControllerLooks like those guys over at TLC have been busy: in addition to releasing the Games Launcher software for their Next Arcade games service, they've also greatly expanded their collection of arcade-style games for the service.

The games launcher is slick, including built-in links to their forums and a game browser to download new demos. (I think I've found some new favorite games!) All of the games have demo versions, usually just time-limited, which is a great way to play-test a game.

ACT-Labs Guns Now Shipping!
ACT-Labs Light GunI've gotten a few emails from people who had ordered the new ACT-Labs light guns, letting me know the guns are now shipping. I've also seen a few reports of problems with certain monitors — no rhyme or reason yet to which monitors work and which don't, but I'll keep looking into this and report back when I have more information.

RetroBytes
Arcade Madden Tourney Next Weekend
Commodore 64, Amiga, Spectrum Games to be Re-Released

7/26/05

Pachislo Controller
Pachislo ControllerNow this is something you don't see every day: a Pachislo controller for the PS2. Apparently, the Japanese passion for Pachislo slots has led to the desire to play them at home as well! Thanks to Scott Peterson for the news!

7/25/05

PinMAME-HW Matrix Lighting
The work on PinMAME-HW, a hardware version of PinMAME that can drive an actual pinball machine, continues with some very interesting developments. Here are three videos (One, Two, Three) that show the new lamp matrix support. As pinball circuit boards become harder to replace, this project could be a lifesaver for pin collectors!

7/24/05

First Detailed Pics of NASCAR Pinball
Pinball News has the first detailed pics and videos of the upcoming Stern NASCAR pinball machine. The playfield features a number of unique new features, including a supercharger-fed "track" that encircles the entire playfield. I'm not a NASCAR fan, but this looks like a fun pinball. Word is that Stern is going to be releasing it in Europe with a "Grand Prix" theme.

7/22/05

SlikStik Ships Illuminated Joystick Handles
SlikStik Lit JoysticksYes, it's been a bit of a wait, but it looks like SlikStik have done themselves proud with these new illuminated joystick handles for the Happ Super, Competition, and Perfect360 joysticks, which are now shipping.

SlikStik re-engineered the power connection system on the stainless steel shafts, and the result looks to be a truly unique product. (Is that a devilish red glow, or what?). Colors available are Red, Blue, Green, White, Purple, Orange, Yellow & Multi-Color cycling (morphs through all 7 colors).

To make things even nicer, the joystick shafts are even on sale right now: $29.95 vs. the normal $33.95. I'm definitely looking forward to reviewing them in a few weeks.

RetroBlast's First "Classified Ad"
Yes, another first for RetroBlast — Tim Waller has a new, still-in-the-box Quasicade Jr. that he's selling. You know, I think this may be the start of something cool: if you'd like to see a full "classified ads" section on RetroBlast, let me know, as I'm thinking it just might be a really nice service for retrogaming traders/sellers/buyers. Anyway, here's the ad:

QUASIMOTO QUASICADE JR. ARCADE SYSTEM –
NEW IN SEALED BOX!

The Quasicade Jr. Arcade System is an arcade quality cabinet that is designed for you to hook up an Xbox, Playstation, Game Cube, or PC and play just like you’re at the arcade!! Features a 20" High Resolution Digital Flat Screen Monitor, Integrated High Powered 2.1 Sound System, Retractable Keyboard and Mouse Tray, Backlit Marquee with Hidden Storage. Also includes QuasiCON 2P Control System. Get more information at www.Quasimoto.com. SAVE $400 OFF THE DIRECT FROM MANUFACTURER PRICE! Shipping within 48 states included! Sacrifice at $1300. (Remember, this is a new unopened box) Perfect for game room, den, or anyone interested in video games. Click Here to EMAIL Tim Waller or call (904) 220-0625 EST.

California Extreme 2005 Coming Soon!
If you're into video gaming, you have to know about the annual California Extreme show: imagine a huge exhibition hall full of arcade games, all set on free play, and you've got an inkling of the reason this show is so exciting for retrogamers. This year's show will be August 6th-7th in San Jose, California, and will feature hundreds (yes, hundreds) of video games and pinball machines, all set for free play. If this place ain't heaven, I'm not dying...

7/21/05

Coin-Op Warehouse Liquidating Inventory!
If you're looking for a real bargain on genuine arcade games, this is the opportunity you've been waiting for: the Coin-Op Warehouse has sold their huge warehouse, and is now in a race to liquidate all of their inventory! From what I've read, they're not going out of business, but rather focusing on restorations, where they were making the majority of their income. Whatever the reason, you've got until August 15th to negotiate some sweet "cash and carry" deals...

RetroBytes
MindBall: an arcade game played with brainwave power
Sega Arcade Hardware Confirmed As Power-VR Based
Oldies but Still Goodies
iPod linux project spawns Game Boy emulator

7/20/05

New GGG Versa49™ Handles
Versa49 Joystick HandlesIt looks like Groovy Game Gear has come up with some...well, groovy new joystick handles for the Happs 49-way joysticks. The Versa49™ joystick handles feature polished stainless steel shafts and unique translucent colored ball tops. Note that they will not work with the older Midway49-way joysticks, but that's probably not a major issue. They are very stylish indeed...

RetroBytes
Midway Arcade Treasures 2 Review
Steve Ritchie: The Original Pinball Wizard
"GameBoy" Arcade Cab Art at Michael Lett Gallery

7/19/05

Cartoon Network / Chuck E. Cheese Arcade Giveaway
Looks like the Cartoon Network and Chuck E. Cheese have teamed up to give away two arcade games as the grand prize in their new contest. No word on what the games are, but heck, they're arcade games, right? (Thanks to James and Tami for the news!)

New Act-Labs Light Guns Almost Ready to Ship
New light gun from Act-LabsLooks like Act-Labs is gearing up to ship their newly redesigned light guns. The design is a definite improvement in terms of style, and it even has a detachable VGA Box this time around. It looks like they're now listed as being on "back-order" instead of "pre-order", and apparently you can still order one if you're interested. (Thanks to Jim Wan for the news!)

HyperBowl for the PC
HyperBowl Arcade EditionHyperBowl, the bowling game with the super big bowling-ball trackball that I saw during my visit to Dave 'n Busters is apparently also available as a PC game.

The game is billed as the "arcade edition." No word on how it plays with a trackball, but I'm going to have find out! (Thanks to Mitch Gerson for the link!)

Three New Webisodes added to COIN-OP.TV in last 30 days!
Direct from Coin-Op.TV: "We've had the chance to go through and catch up on some of the footage that was starting to back up - here's what the latest episodes are:

  • Nafeesa DeFlorias interviews Keith Robinson, President and co-founder of Intellivision Productions Inc. and 'Blue Sky Ranger'. (added 7/10/05)
  • Angela Murrow interviews Melody Ann Pfeiffer from TECMO at E3 2005. Melody gives the scoop on Tecmo's Classic Arcade collection (which includes the popular TecmoBowl) coming out on X-Box. (added 6/26/05)
  • Danielle Kotzias interviews video game record holder Todd Rogers at the Funspot Tournament in New Hampshire. (added 6/22/05)

RetroBytes
For pinball wizards, heaven looks like Cando
Flipnic Ultimate Pinball
Atari and Activision Team Up For New Flashback System

7/18/05

I'm Back!
Trout Lake, in ColoradoYup, the family just finished a great vacation up in the mountains of Colorado (Montrose, to be exact). Give me a bit of time to unpack and get back into the swing of things, and the updates on RetroBlast will begin again. Ah, so relaxed...

7/10/05

A Visit to Dave 'n Buster's
Dave and Buster's GamesI had an opportunity this weekend to pay a visit to the local Dave 'n Buster's bar, restaurant, and arcade complex. Imagine if you will a huge restaurant, with a separate huge gaming room that features a bar in the middle of it!

The gameroom features all the latest games, and everything is in pristine working order (a rarity these days!) It was an excellent arcade, and I got to play a lot of games I had only seen photos of previously.

One of the most unusual gaming items I saw was a bowling game that featured an actual bowling ball as the trackball — definitely a new record size for a trackball controller!

The one oddity I noticed, however, was that there was not a single pinball machine to be found anywhere, the one black mark on an otherwise exquisite arcade gaming experience.

Break Time!
I'm going to be taking a brief break from updating the site for a few days. Nothing bad, just going to give myself a little R'nR time. It's summertime, after all!

RetroBytes
Magic Mushrooms #14: Retro Defined
Great Salvaged Snapshots of the Time-Out Arcade
Space Invaders Landing on PSP

7/8/05

Last Days for X-Arcade Sale
If you're looking to pick up a 2-player X-Arcade controller, now is the time: there is a special $129.95 sale going on until Sunday (the X-Arcade is normally $149.95). Want an even better deal? They're also throwing in free ground shipping!

RetroBytes
Meet a true pinball wizard
Taito posts lower profits as arcade business declines
Pac-Man Pinball Advance

7/7/05

The Phoenix 2600 Arises
I love the amazing creativity of those in the retrogaming community: behold the Phoenix 2600, a genuine Atari 2600 console transformed into a handheld gaming system! Mitch Gerson is a happy owner of a Phoenix, and has interviewed inventor Ben Heckerdorn about his latest handheld console creation.

The Ultimate Trackball Test Panel
The MAMERoom designed trackball test panelCompliments of MAMEroom.com's upcoming control panel design service comes the RetroBlast! TrackBall Test Panel (RTTP), designed using MAMEroom's CPD software and produced using their CNC milling equipment (Be sure and note the exquisite RetroBlast! logo engraved on the top!) I should have the panel in my hands soon, and then I'll have the proper "studio" for some trackball glamor photography. (Oh, and expect a review of MAMEroom's software and design service as well!)

A Visit to Chuck E Cheese
Look, a free-range 4.5Speaking of trackballs, I found my first-ever 4.5" trackball sighting "in the wild" at a local Chuck E Cheese restaurant. It's part of a "martian racing game" that requires you to roll the ball as fast as you can to move your plastic martian around the lunar racetrack. This Chuck E Cheese had a nice selection of games for retrogamers, including a Space Invaders / Qix combo, a Centipede / Millipede / Missle Command combo, and even a Simpson's Pinball Party (the first time I've been able to play one!) There was even a bubble-domed cockpit game that played MechWarrior 4 and Crimson Skies. Needless to say, I had as much fun as the kids...

7/6/05

New Wireless Lightgun Coming!
Firehawk light gunYes, it looks like our requests to e-real games have paid off: their web site has news of the upcoming RGT:Firehawk wireless light gun, which will supposedly compatible with any display source, including LCD and plasma displays. Slated for a "Christmas 2005" release, it looks like a promising replacement for the now discontinued ACT-Labs light gun.

New Pinball Simulator
Future PinballIt looks like Future Pinball, an upcoming "pinball construction set" similar to Visual Pinball, is nearing release. It looks promising: "Future Pinball uses the Newton Game Dynamic Physics Solution (link) for the real time simulation of a Pinball's Physics Environment. This allows the ball to behave correctly on the playfield and interact with other objects as it does in the real world." Thanks to John (of John's Retro Arcade) for the news!

RetroBytes
FoxTrot Comic on videogame nostalgia
Penny Arcade to give away huge Nintendo collection!
Flippin' it Old School

7/2/05

Cliffy's Pinball Protectors Update
Doctor Who ProtectorI just received a new pinball protector from Cliffy, one for the "Time Expander" mini-playfield on my Bally Doctor Who pinball machine. It's a protector that I've been hoping Cliffy would develop, as the exposed plywood on my Time Expander has taken an awful beating. I've updated my review of Cliffy's Pinball Protectors to show the awe-inspiring results.

QuasicadePRO Review
QuasicadePRO ReviewHot off the RetroBlast virtual press is a review of the QuasicadePRO gaming cabinet by Quasimoto Interactive. The "big brother" to the Quasicade2 I reviewed earlier, the QuasicadePRO adds an HDTV monitor and a high-end sound system, plus several other refinements. But how is it for gaming? Check out the review!

7/1/05

SlikStik 4th of July Sale
Looks like SlikStik is having some sales this weekend (until midnight, July 4th), including free pinball buttons, free trackball illumination kits, and 3% off any order. If you're inside cooling off sometime this weekend, check it out!

Translucent Buttons!
Translucent buttonsMy order of translucent buttons from FXButtons.com arrived yesterday, and I've got to say they make a great first impression. All of the buttons "feel" right, and I'm looking forward to lighting them up with some LEDs and watching the show. I've some of every color available, and will be getting some yellow buttons when they are ready as well. Look for a "combo review" as soon as I get the new GameCab LED driver board (I love blinky lights!)

Diodes for the TOKN16
TOKN Wiring DiagramIt looks like the TOKN16 keyboard encoder now ships with a package of diodes as standard equipment, a good move (since adding diodes can help to eliminate the ghosting that is caused by the encoder's design when almost any three buttons are pressed simultaneously). The TOKN media site has been updated with the new details on using diodes with the encoder.

Trackball Bowling
That's no moon...I just had to share this photo with everyone: that's my son with the translucent blue ball that goes into the 4.5" Happ Controls trackball unit. Impressive, no? The ball is huge, and I feel like I'm conducting some sort of "arcade seance" every time I roll it. It also has an amazing glow to it just from the ambient room lighting.

Speaking of trackballs, I'm working on the trackball roundup, and hope to have it finished in a few weeks. There will be video (and lots of photos)!

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