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October 2005 News Archive

10/31/05

Halloween Arcade Links
James McGovern just sent me these Halloween arcade links:

Penny Arcade: A Gamer's Worst Nightmare
Videogame Halloween Costumes
A Tron Sector Halloween
Halloween Arcade Games

So, you want to be scared?
Nooooooo!!!!!It's Halloween, and everyone's trying to scare someone. Ghosts, goblins, vampires? Child's play. Want a real chill down your spine? Then check out Andy's Gallery of the Grotesque, a horrifying collection of the evil that men do to arcade games.

See fields full of rotting games, video games in flames, and even nasty operator conversions that turn a classic into a videogaming "Frankenstein." Scary stuff.

Juno Nemesis Remix Reviewed
Juno Nemesis ReviewLooking for a cool modern "remix" of Tempest, Atari's classic tunnel shooter? Check out Ron Brown Jr.'s review of Juno Nemesis Remix, a modern 3D-accellerated version of Tempest that throws in powerup, unlockable cheats, and more. Oh, and did I mention the "boss" battles? All is revealed over on the Reviews page.

Alawar Pick 3 Winner!
Today's the last day of the "end of month" rush of contest winner announcements, and today I get to announce that Kostas "Gus" Georgakoulias has just won his choice of three games from the Alawar.com games catalog! Congrats, Gus!

10/30/05

Rollie Joysticks Winner!
Today's contest pick are a pair of Translucent Joysticks from Rollie Electronics. And the winner is...Edward Bartholomew! Congrats, Ed, you''ve got your choice of colors for a pair of these cool-looking sticks!

Frappr Madness
Take a dash of community spirit, a healthy dollop of Google Maps, and mix in a bunch of friends and what do you get? Frappr, the new "friend mapping" service that lets you set up a page and have your friends add their pic and location (along with whatever witty saying they wish to include!)

Be sure and heck out the current Frappr pages for the Arcade Controls Forums and rec.games.pinball!

RetroBytes
Wizards Sure Play a Mean Pinball
Old school arcade games available on new consoles
Retro ga-ga(mes)

10/29/05

GameRoom Magazine Winner!
The end-of-the-month drawings continue, and today it's time to pick the next winner of the second GameRoom Magazine "6 & 6" subscription (six back issues and six new issues) is Douglass Beauchamp! Congrats!

Twilight Zone Mods Article Updated
New mods!I just knew that I wasn't going to be able to stop modding my TZ pinball after I finished the TZ Mods article, and sure enough, I've already updated the article with news of my LED swap-out on the Rottendog Amusement clock board, and the addition of a custom mini-playfield lamp from David Kvasnicka.

Custom Anime Fighter Control Panels
Byrdo's Arcade JoysticksWant a truly unique fighting controller? How about a custom-built fighter panel with anime artwork? Check out Byrdo's Arcade Joysticks, a collection of one-of-a-kind controllers that are hand-built. He even provides instructions if you wish to build your own! Thanks to Chris Vergari for the link!

X-Arcade Cabinet Now Shipping
It looks like the new, improved X-Arcade cabinet is now shipping and available for order from the X-Arcade web site. Retailing for $2995 with an X-Arcade 2-player controller, it ships fully assembled and features a 27" Wells-Gardner arcade monitor, coin door, bezel, and more (including 190 games). One of the design touches I liked was the swing-open bottom panel and hidden storage area inside the marquee, both very handy design touches. Full specs here.

10/28/05

X-Arcade Trackball Review
Every industry has one: a product that seems to take forever to come to market. The XGaming X-Arcade Trackball, announced two years ago, has taken the long road to market, but it's finally here. Was it worth the wait? Check out the review on the RetroBlast Product Reviews page and find out!

XGaming Midway Game CD Wiiners
The calendar says it's Friday, which means it's time to announce another five winners of the XGaming Midway Games CD. Congrats to this week's winners:

Joe White
Scott Bart
James Mount
Frank Cohoon
David Axmann

10/27/05

SlikStik Lighted Joysticks Winner
This month's winner of the SlikStik Lighted Joysticks is Steven Glavach — Congrats, Steven, you get your choice of color and handle style for a pair of these very cool balltop joysticks!

Retro Gaming Hacks Book
Direct from the press release: "Where is the charm, the wide appeal, the elegant simplicity of the games of yesteryear?" asks author Chris Kohler. "In the never-ending quest to make games more complex, controllers have been packed full of buttons and screens filled with reams of indecipherable information." The cool retro games are out there, Kohler assures readers--and his new "Retro Gaming Hacks" (O'Reilly, US $29.95) explains how and where to find them."

Pac-Man Hot Rod
Great lines, nice curves, bright colors....and the car's not half bad either. Thanks to Mr. Bubblehead on the BYOAC forums for pointing out this unique and exquisitely strange set of wheels!

Last Week Was International Pinball Week
Did you play any pinball?

10/26/05

MAME Marquee Winner!
It's the last week of the month, and that means all those great monthly contests are due for another winner — today it's MAME Marquees, with another great (you guessed it) marquee to give away, this time to Todd Holcomb! Todd gets his choice of artwork from the great designs over at MAMEMarquees.com.

Since this is the end of the month, there will be RetroBlast contest winners announced every day from now until the 31st , so check back often! (Tomorrow is the next SlikStik lighted joysticks winner!)

RetroBytes
Pinball "doctor" brings machines back to life
MSNBC Looks at Videogame Movies
Video Games Live Cancels Tour

10/25/05

Pinball Playfield Renovation Diary
Before...Edward Cheung has been documenting his restoration of a William's Space Shuttle pinball playfield with the same attention to detail that he's putting into the restoration effort, and I've got to say I'm impressed. It's an incredible amount of work, but he's brought it back from the dead and it's looking fantastic (the picture to the left is a "before" picture, just in case you were wondering!)

Win a Free GENERATION NEX!
No, it's not another RetroBlast contest this time: COIN-OP.TV and Messiah Entertainment are giving away a free Generation Nex system! Visit www.coin-op.tv and sign up with the code 'NEX' to enter and win! Contest runs til 11/30/05 - visit www.playmessiah.com for more info on all their exciting products.

I Want a P.O.D.!
No, really, I do! Check out Banpresto's Panoramic Optical Display (P.O.D.), a "surround" screen capsule that gives new meaning to the phrase "immersive entertainment."

Namco's POD

Click here for a translated/mangled version of the page. It sure looks nice. Now I just need to win the lotto! (Thanks to Dave K. on the BYOAC forums for pointing this beauty out!)

10/24/05

Pop-Up Contest #6 Winner!
Jakks TV GamesOkay, the sixth pop-up contest is now closed, and the winner of the "threebie" 3-pack of Jakks TV Games (consisting of Atari Paddle Games, Ms. Pac-Man, and Classic Pinball) is Adam Kasper!

Congrats, Adam, your package of pint-sized powered prizes will go out in the mail tomorrow!

X-Arcade Trackball Video Review
XGaming X-Arcade Trackball Video ReviewHot off the, well, editor is the RetroBlast video review of XGaming's new X-Arcade Trackball Controller, available over on the RetroBlast Video Reviews page. A long time in coming, XGaming has finally released their Trackball. Stylish looking, can it provide the gaming experience you want, or is it all just looks? Full review coming soon.

USB-ify Every Gamepad You've Ever Owned
Virtual Boy ControllerCheck out RetroZone, a web site with a USB adapter for almost every gamepad and controller ever made, from the Atari 2600 joystick all the way to the NeoGeo, including such rarities as the Virtual Boy gamepad. If you want to use the original controller with your classic console emulator, this is the ticket. Thanks to James Hills for the link!

Future Pinball Released
Yes, the new Future Pinball simulator has been released and is now available for download. This looks to be an impressive pinball sim and construction set, and I'm looking foward to seeing what the community can create with it! Thanks to Michael Picard for the news!

Drive an LCD and LEDs with MAME
Check out MALA (MAME and More Launcher), a hardware and software system for adding a two-line LCD display and LEDs to your MAME control panel. I've been thinking about adding a two-line LCD to my cab for quite a while, so I'm definitely going to be checking this out.

New 27" Multisync Arcade Monitor?
It sure looks like this new monitor from Billabs is another possible contender for the "MAME display of choice", as the specs are impressive: Quad-mode CGA/EGA/VGA and SVGA modes, with a 15-48kHz frequency range. This is a wider range of frequencies than either the Betson or the Wells Gardner monitors can handle, and with a quoted price of $425 this is looking like a monitor to check out. Thanks to "Patent Doc" for the heads-up on this one!

10/22/05

New QuasiCON Contest!
Click to enter the Quasimoto QuasiCON giveaways!Yes, they're a little late to the party, but boy, did they make up for it: Quasimoto Interactive is giving away three of their QuasiCON control panels! If you've been dying for arcade-style controls for your console, this is the controller to get! I love my Quasicade 2 (see review), and I'm very happy to have Quasimoto join the RetroBlast giveaways. First drawing will be on November 15th, so hurry up and enter!

2005 BYOAC Tokens Update
Just got a note from David Santoro concerning the delays with the 2005 edition BYOAC tokens: "The mint just told me that I will have the token proofs in hand on Monday. Assuming everything looks OK, I will have the brass tokens one week later and the nickel tokens one week after the brass. As soon as we have the tokens on hand required to fill your order, we will begin shipping in order of receipt date, first-in-first-out. It will probably be a little less than a week after receipt to get all orders out."

Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga Reunion Sticks $14.95
Just got word from John Pipp of Rollie Electronics (aka PonyBoy on the BYOAC Forums) that he's got the new Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga Reunion balltop joysticks in stock for $14.95, a great price for this joystick.

CCAG Show Rescheduled!
The Classic Computer And Gaming Show (CCAG), which had been postponed from October, has a new date: December 4th at the National Guard Armory in Lorain, Ohio. It looks to be an exciting show, and I'm planning on attending.

Pinball Expo Coming Soon!
This year's annual pinball extravaganza, Pinball Expo, will take place November 17th-20th at the Wyndham O'Hare hotel in Rosemont, Illinois. This is the 21st annual Pinball Expo, and they've got a great lineup of activities, contests, and even a tour of the Stern Pinball Factory.

10/21/05

More details of Big Electronic Games' Cabs
Big Electronic Game's Midway CabCab with door openI'm happy to report that I've gotten some more details on the upcoming $500 Midway Games cabs from Big Electronic Games. The upright cab will be sold in Target stores nationwide after November 15th, and the tabletop version will be sold in etoys, Fortunoff and Dicks' Sporting Goods starting in November. While there are some obvious cost-related compromises in the design (the sticks and buttons, and the small screen for example), these cabs still look to be an extraordinary gaming value.

XGaming Midway CD Wiiners
Friday already? Yup, and that means it's time to announce another five winners of the XGaming Midways Games CD. Congrats!

Jeff Watson
Jon Berry
Adam DeSantis
Richard Pierce
Leon Zilker

10/20/05

More Cool T-Shirts
News sometimes comes in waves, and this wave seems to be loaded with retrogaming T-shirts: behold the evolution of mankind, as seen from a retrogamer's perspective. There are more gaming shirts over in the Penny Arcade section of ThinkGeek (such as this "fighter arcade layout" T-shirt), all sure to make my wife roll her eyes at my profound geekiness...

10/19/05

First Impressions
X-Arcade Trackball MouseI've been busy playing...ahem...make that "evaluating" the new X-Arcade Trackball Mouse controller, and I've got to say I'm really impressed. From the dual-sided sets of buttons (perfect for both righties and us lefties) to the pinball buttons and the unique "horizontal restrictor" button, this is a trackball designed with the player in mind. I'll have the full review done soon (if I can ever stop playing Millipede, that is!)

Evil Twarted, Film at 11...
Yes, the "pseudo" Defender cab on eBay (the one that had "upgrade" parts that actually consisted of a PC running MAME) has been pulled, along with all the other "MAME-ified" arcade machines that "arcade_games_r_us" was trying to pass off as restored games, complete with those "freshly cleaned ROM chip sets". I don't know if it was the MAME team that got him shut down or not, but my hat is off to whoever pulled the plug on this guy's illegal and underhanded auctions!

Video Games Re-enacted
Ghosts N GoblinsLet's take another trip into the minds of the video-game obsessed, this time visiting MEGA64.com, where you can find a number of "live" re-enactments of your favorite video games.

Part prank, part performance art, these guys act out video games in public places, in front of an unsuspecting audience. Weird and wild, these videos are sure to bring out your inner gaming geek. Thanks to James McGovern for the link!

Zaxxon, Zaxxoff...
Check out that Six Pac!Looking for a video-gamed t-shirt that has a bit of attitude? Checkout PowerUpTees.com, a small company that seems to be working hard to provide, as their logo says, "T-shirts. About video games. That are funny."

Sporting slogans such as "¡Viva La Dance Dance Revolución!", "My other console is an Atari 2600", and "Luigi is my homeboy", these are one of the less-geeky ways to proclaim your videogame geekiness. Really.

New episode on COIN-OP.TV
Robert Welkner interviews Mark Davidson (one of the premiere arcade collectors on the east coast — check out the Basement Arcade site). Mark shares some insights on his collection and the burdens of such a large collection! As always webisodes can be found in the 'episodes' section of the COIN-OP.TV site.

10/18/05

All Things Tron
Yes, that's Stich as Tron...You know, I just love the Internet — where else can you find groups of people that share your exact interests, no matter how specialized? Check out Tron Sector, a site dedicated to all things Tron.

Not only can you find Tron products, news, and whatnot, you can also find games such as "Space Paranoids", the game Flynn plays in the beginning of the movie.

Check out the site news for details on a Tron music video and a new Tron world record as well! Thanks to James McGovern for the news!

Tron Recognizer Game

Continuing with the Tron news (can you tell James really likes Tron?), there is a new Tron Recognizer game, where you can do battle in the world of Tron. It's a TC (total conversion) of a game called Star Wars: Battle for Yavin, and it looks like a pretty nifty space-battle styled game.

Pepsi Pinball
Looking to kill a little time at work today? Check out the Pepsi Pinball game. Thanks to Rick Mallen for the link!

Nintendo Choir
Ever wanted to hear the Mario theme a cappella? Never really thought about it? Well, check out this video of a choir singing the Mario theme, and I promise you you'll never get the theme out of your head...

Microsoft Announces XBox360 Live Arcade Lineup
Ron Brown wrote in with news that the arcade game lineup for the XBox360 Live Arcade launch has been announced. The launch is on November 22nd, the same day as the XBox360 console, and will feature games from such classic gaming companies as Atari and Midway Home Entertainment. Personally, I'm excited about Mutant Storm Reloaded!

10/17/05

A New Low for MAME
This eBay auction just burns me up — this sleazeball is selling an "original" arcade game that is actually just an original cab with MAME running inside it! He seems to be trying to make it look legal by including "freshly cleaned ROM chip sets", and even tries to pass off screen grabs from MAME as actual shots of the monitor in the cab! A real shame, and I can only hope someone shuts him down soon...

Alawar "Pick 3" Winner!
It's time to pick another Alwar Pick 3 Games Winner, and today the winner is Tim Cottrill! Congrats, Tim, you will get your choice of three games from the great collection of games over at Alawar.com!

10/14/05

Guess What Showed Up Today?
DHL was kind enough to drop off my X-Arcade trackball controller today, just in time for the weekend. Looks like it's time for some playtesting!

XGaming Midway CD Wiiners
It's Friday again, and that means it's time to announce another week's winners of the XGaming Midways Games CD. Congrats!

Curt Donoho
Brian Edwards
Dave Stott
Jake Galuga
Robert Blackmon

10/13/05

The Mod Zone: Enhancing Your Twilight Zone Pinball
This is a new RetroBlast record: 14 products reviewed in a single article! The Mod Zone looks at "pinball mods," specifically mods for the 1993 Bally Twilight Zone pinball machine, a favorite of modders. This is a huge article, so go to the bathroom now and get another cup of coffee before you start! It's available over on the Retrogaming Articles page.

Top 10 Classic Arcade Songs
Bleah. There, I said it. I hate "top 10" lists, as they are usually more a window into someone's own childhood more than an accurate representation of what was, in fact, the top 10. Still, check out this list of the "Top 10 Classic Arcade Songs" and see if you agree with the writer's list. (While you're there, check out the other gaming stuff on the RetroCrush site, such as this "Test your classic arcade plant IQ" test. Thanks to James McGovern for the link!

Game Until Your Pants Drop!
Another link from James (get back to work!) McGovern, this time a Flickr photo collection from the "The Underwear Arcade Video Game Gathering", a video game competition held in Williamsburg this last June. Keep your eyes on the games, huh?

10/12/05

Pop-Up Contest #5 Winner!
The winner of the GameCab LED Driver board in the fifth RetroBlast "Pop-Up" giveaway is "Brandon BWB"!

Congrats, Brandon, I'll get your LED driver board out in the mail tomorrow, and I hope you've "seen the light" ;-)

Marios. 64.
What do Nintendo-loving geeks do when they get bored? Play a high-tech version of dress-up with their favorite character, Mario.

Check out all 64 differently-attired (and one nude) versions of Mario, everything from Abraham Lincoln to the Beatles in their "Sgt. Pepper" outfits. (I love the "Devo" version, personally!)

RetroBytes
Joystick Junkies Spring-Summer 2006 Fashion Show
Namco 50th Anniversary Collection
Arcade Action at Your Fingertips

10/11/05

Tomorrow is October 12th, 2005...
and if that means nothing to you, then you're obviously not a pinball hobbyist. Tomorrow is the day that Wayne Gilliard and The Pinball Factory are supposed to unveil what they plan to do with the IP rights they bought from Williams: they've already announced that new pinball machines will be built with the Bally name, but what about spare parts? Artwork? Playfield plastics? All of this and more will hopefully be revealed tomorrow.

Down Time
The site was down today for a few hours. No word on why from my hosting provider yet, but if you're reading this you can rest assured that the site is back up and running. ;-)

An Arcade System for $500?
That's what Hong Kong-based Big Electronic Games, Ltd. is claiming in their press release: they are introducting two new arcade gaming systems, starting at $500. There will be a full-size stand-up cabinet and a tabletop cab. Both play 12 Midway classic games, and will be available from retailers in November. Details are a bit sketchy, but I'll report if I find out more info.

10/10/05

Pop-Up Contest Winner #4!
The winner of the fourth pop-up contest is Jason Chapman, who wins a copy of the 2005 edition of the Mr. Pinball Pinball List & Price Guide. Congrats, Jason! Jason apparently already has a need for the guide: he wrote in his entry, "I hope I win this, I just got a 1956 Gottlieb Harbor Lites, and I've been wanting to look it up in a guide :)"

Surreal Pole Position Commercial
Vroom, Vroom...Talk about a blast from the past: just posted on the Video Game Ads section of the Gamepressure site is a weird and wonderful 90-second commercial for Atari's home version of Pole Position. Featuring Yuppies, Video Games, and plenty of bad hair, this is a true product of the 80's. (thanks to Sinner on alt.games.mame for pointing it out! :-)

10/9/05

Vote For the "Walk of Game"!
Walk of GameI've mentioned the Walk of Game before, the video gaming "hall of fame" — well, this is the month to vote on the 2006 inductees! From October 1st through the 31st, you can vote to pick this year's winners. Inductees include everything from John Carmack (of Doom fame) to Donkey Kong. Thanks to Mitch Gerson for the news!

Dream Arcades Upright Cabinet
Dream Arcades Upright CabinetI somehow completely missed this news when it happened: Dream Arcades is selling their new upright arcade cabinets, both as a "kit" and as a complete arcade system (with refurbished or new computer), all in prices ranging from $999 for the kit to $1599 for the full system (which includes a nice bundle of games!)

It looks to be a nice, svelte cab design. I'll write up more once I've had a chance to dig a bit deeper.

Coin-Op.TV Checks out Atari Flashback 2.0
Angela Murrow interviews Curtis Vendel (Atari / Legacy Engineering) and finds out what fans can expect from the release of Atari's Flashback 2.0!

10/8/05

Busy Modding the Zone...
Gumballs and light modsSorry once again for the slow news updates, I've been up to my elbows in my new Twilight Zone pin, and have been adding a boatload of aftermarket mods (11 so far), everything from gumball machine lights to a custom lighting mod I created. All of this, of course, is great review and article fodder, so expect an article summing up my experience with these mods soon.

10/7/05

XGaming Midway CD Wiiners
It's Friiiiday! And that means it's time to announce this week's 5 winners of the XGaming Midways Games CD. Congrats to everyone!

  • Todd Holcomb
  • Anthony Sanchez
  • Neal Josephson
  • Patrick Ferre
  • David Stanfield

10/6/05

"The Essential Site for Retrogaming"?
That's what the new Taito Legends web site is billing itself as. Mainly a promotional site for the new Taito Legends compliation, it also includes a rudimentary forum and a few other goodies, such as Space Invaders screensavers. Worth a look, but "the essential site for retrogaming?" Harumph. ;-)

The Unspeakable has Happened...
and RetroBlast is going to be reviewing UltraCade products. Yes, I've got a reviewer working on reviews of two UltraCade boards, their USBlinx input board and the uVC video adapter. I don't blame you if you start thinking the sky is falling. No timetable on when the reviews will be ready, but I'll post here when they are.

10/5/05

Betson / Kortek KT-2914 Service Manual
I've had a lot of requests recently for information on the Betson Multisync monitor (see review), since the monitor ships with no guide whatsoever. I've had the service manual available for a while, but as it was only a link in the review, many people missed it. The PDF version of the Kortek service manual is now available from the RetroBlast File Downloads page.

Slow Site News? Blame the Twilight Zone...
MyYes, I've been a bit tardy the last couple of days in posting the news. The reason? My latest acquisition for the Steele Family Arcade: a 1993 Bally Twilight Zone pinball! It finally arrived, after three weeks of incredible stupidity on the part of the North American Van Lines movers (NAVL) who were supposed to pick it up and kept refusing to. No matter, it finally made it here and I've been busy replacing light bulbs, soldering loose wires, and in general tweaking it into "like new" condition. Oh, and I've played a few games as well. ;-)

James Hills Joins Dream Arcades
From the Press Release: "Oct. 3, 2005 – James Hills has joined the Dream Arcades as their new VP of Business Development. Hills, former Marketing Director for coin-op game manufacturer TLC Industries will lead the holiday marketing blitz with the unveiling of a new line of consumer arcade cabinets and tables later this month."

I don't know about you, but I'm especially excited about the "new line" of cabinets and tables coming out. I'll post more details as I learn them...

10/4/05

Pop-Up Contest #3 Winners!
Okay, I've picked the winners of the two Coin-Op.TV T-shirts — congrats to Bolivar Geraldo and Jeff Watson (who wins one of the shirts as a thank you for reminding me of my contest duties yesterday!) The shirts will be in the mail today.

10/3/05

Alawar Game Winner #2!
Wow, I must had some sort of brain freeze, because I completely forgot to pick the next winner of the Alawar "Pick 3" Game Giveaway! Being in such a fog today, I had to laugh when I randomly selected the winner — the winner's name is Timothy Fog! Congrats, Tim, and an extra special thanks to Jeff Watson (aka FSogol) for reminding me to pick a winner today! (Jeff's getting a special "thank you" prize!)

10/2/05

CCAG 2005 Show Postponed!
The Classic Computing and Gaming Show (CCAG), originally scheduled for October 22nd, is being postponed. The reason is a unique one: the show is held at the National Guard Armory in Lorain, Ohio for free, since one of the show's organizers is in the National Guard. Unfortunately, due to Hurricane's Kartrina and Rita, his unit was activated and since the venue is only available if he is in attendance, the show has to be delayed until he returns.

RetroBytes
Scientific Study Analyzes Gaming Effects on Pain
Understanding the Revolution Controller
No quarters or tokens necessary (You'll need to pick a paper from the top list then re-click the link to view the article. Look for quote from yours truly ;-)

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