Okay, the Waiting is Over...
Betson multisync has arrived! And it's every bit as good as I
was hoping it would be. I've just posted a "first
impressions page" with some photos, and I've got to
say I've found nothing so far that would keep this monitor from
being the WG-D9200 replacement that I was looking for. Stay tuned,
as I'm going to be doing more testing over the week and will
update the first impressions page with my thoughts as testing
in the game...literally!
This is either incredibly cool or a lawsuit just waiting to happen: Behold the
Furminator, an 'immersive' first-person pinball machine. By immersive,
I mean you stick your head in it. By first-person, I mean your face is right
behind the flippers! This is no VR-simulation — it's an actual pinball
Check out the
furminator photo gallery for lots of pics, including shots
of the players faces when their heads are inside the machine!
The game is a modified Terminator 2 pinball machine,
complete with additional video monitors and adjusted lighting displays.
I don't see any "blast shield" to protect your face from
air balls, but at least they're wearing a helmet!
(Oh, and note the fire extinquisher at the base
of the unit. ;-)
The Real Ultimate
Lunar Lander Game!
James McGovern pointed out to me that I had missed a second very cool 3D lunar
lander simulator, complete with an AGC computer like the link I posted yesterday!
They've even got full re-creations of many of the actual Apollo moon landings.
Check out Eagle
Lander 3D for everything you need to visit the moon. There's
even a cool
movie showing the simulator in action.
Centurion Video Review
Okay, the video companion to the review of the Treyonics Centurion posted yesterday
is now online and available for viewing over on the RetroBlast
Video Reviews page. You know, if a picture's worth a thousand words, what's
a video worth?
The Ultimate Lunar Lander Emulator
No, not the video game — an
emulation of the actual AGC (Apollo Guidance Computer) used in both the
Apollo missions' command module and lander module! Now you, too, can simulate
trying to reprogram the AGC so you can save your own crippled Apollo 13 mission!
The RetroBlast review of the Treyonics Centurion arcade controller is now available
over on the Reviews page. I am honestly impressed
at the improvements Treyonics has made in their arcade controllers. So, what's
new? Check out the review and find out!
Raffle Funds Pushes Donation Total over
Just noticed that the total donations for the MAMEworld
ROM dumping fund have now broken the $10,000 mark after the $450 donation
from the RetroBlast raffle! Thanks to everyone who entered the raffle!
Keywiz Review Rebuttal
Here's something interesting — a
line-by-line rebuttal of my review of
Groovy Game Gear's KeyWiz Max keyboard encoder. For the record, I stand
by my review, but it is interesting to see another person's opinion of, well,
my opinion. ;-)
Other ACT-Labs Light Gun News
Thanks to Jeremy Schwab for pointing out that refurbished ACT-Labs Lights guns
are available at the ACT-Labs
web site for $29.99, and that the TV version of the light gun is still
available for sale.
Their site has been updated, and now has the
What does it mean? Got me, but we can hope that
the Home Arcade series mentioned has something to do with light
Ultimarc 9200-Based AVGA Card News
Gavin Benson wrote in with his impressions of the new Ultimarc AVGA card based
on the ATI 9200 chipset:
Thought I would let you know that the new ATI 9200
Chipset in the ArcadeVGA card gives a clearer picture (at least
on my monitor anyway) and best of all plays video with h/w acceleration
enabled. This means that not only can you play MAME but Daphne
laser games perfectly.
PC USB Light Gun Discontinued!
In a truly shocking discovery, Sam Kolbe wrote me to let me know that ACT-Labs has
discontinued their PC USB Light Gun!
Sure enough, I tried to place an order for one and got a "discontinued" notice.
Update: I've received a reply from ACT-Labs:
Q: Is there a replacement gun
in the works?
A: At this time no but we hope
that will change within 2 months.
So there's some hope, but this is not good news
for arcade shooter fans, especially since the long-awaited EOps
Motion Gun still hasn't been released.
Deluxe on a Chip?
Yup, and how about a VIC-20 on a chip as well? Lots more cool stuff over at
the FPGA Arcade, a site
dedicated to hardware reproductions of classic arcade games. Thanks to programmable
FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) chips, old arcade machines can be emulated
in hardware rather than software. Think of it as MAME in pure, unadulterated
They've got some fascinating projects, and I'm
very impressed with what they've managed to accomplish. Thanks
to Jim Krych of Treyonics for
pointing out their site!
Jim Krych of Treyonics dropped
by today to show off their latest and greatest control panel, the Centurion.
It's got some great new features, including a new custom spinner, OmniStik
Prodigy 4/8-way joystick and a Suzo-based top-fire joystick (that I liked much more
than the Happs top-fire!) — look for the full review soon!
looks like GroovyGameGear has updated their product lineup, and
their revamped online
store has got a lot of neat items for your MAME cab. One
of the more intriguing was the new "Retro" edition
Prodigy joystick, with a steel shaft and switchable balltops.
Fascinating Time Capsule
In researching the Warp Speed game that may or may not be the prototype of
the classic Star Wars arcade game, James McGovern came across the web site
of Jed Margolin,
one of the programmers of Star Wars.
Jed's got a fascinating collection of patent
documents and other ideas, but what caught my eye were the minutes
from a development meeting at Atari in February of 1983. If
you ever wanted an insight into how games get created, this is
where to look. Very cool stuff for an arcade game enthusiast!
Prototype Game Found?
It looks like the arcade prototype Warp Speed has possibly been found.
Warp Speed was an arcade game in development that was transmogrified into the
classic arcade game Star Wars before it ever saw an arcade.
Check out the full message thread on rec.games.video.arcade.collecting for
all the details and history of this unique one-of-a-kind arcade
gaming find, if it's the original game.
(Note: this may not be the Atari prototype...stay
Online Arcade Gaming
this is something interesting — TLC
Industries has just announced a new online gaming service
that will be based on real arcade controllers, including arcade
Arcade is a subscription service that will feature tournaments
and other online gaming community features. Plus, check out the
picture of a very intriguing expandable control panel!
Details are still a bit sketchy, but it looks promising: check
out the press release.
Press Start For Nostalgia
article in the Monterey Herald about the Classic Gaming Expo held this
last weekend in San Jose, California.
MAME 0.86 Released
Yes, they are cranking them out. No, I don't know what all has changed. Yes,
you can download it at www.mame.net.
ArcadeWerx Cabinet Pics
Better late than never, I've finally gotten a collection
of pictures up and online from Michael Picard, showing his new HanaHo
ArcadeWerx cabinet. This is another pre-fab cabinet, and it looks great
from the pictures. Here's Mike's message:
I just received my arcadeworx from HanaHo. Shipping
from California to Washington state took 3 days by DHL. Everything
was packed with form-fitted foam in two large, strong heavy boxes,
as you can see from the attached pics. Every part had a peel off
label with the part number on it and some type of orientation instructions.
The kit is assembled with large wood screws, but the pilot holes are just right,
and even with my manual screw driver it went together quickly without making
my wrists sore. The kit also includes the correct #3 philips bit for power
or ratcheting screw drivers.
Once assembled it is very solid and sturdy. The top half is connected to the
bottom with six good sized carriage bolts. With the exception of the inside
edge of the monitor bezel, all edges are finished or have black T-molding on
The included artwork is printed on self-adhesive vinyl, and must be trimmed
to fit. It is much larger than needed so there is ample room to correct trimming
I have yet to install my control paned as I wish to use my Hotrod on my desk
until I am ready to put the guts in the cab.
Also, despite what the pic shows, the included flouresent lamp does provide
nice, even illumination.
Pinball Plastic Protectors
A new pinball review today, specifically of the great pinball plastic protector
sets from Orbit
Pinball. These lexan protectors can help to shield your hard-to-replace
pinball plastics from the inevitable flying pinball, and they even add a cool
stylin' look to your machine. Check out the review for
Okay, I finally got a total price from Betson for the monitor, and after taking
into account fees, shipping, and everything else from the contest, I have
$450 left to donate to the MAMEworld Board Dumping Project.
Wouldn't you know it? MAMEworld just posted a
request for more donations, since they need $300 for some rare
boards — looks like a job for RetroBlast! Perfect timing.
Monitor Due Tuesday or Wednesday
The Betson montior is going out today, due for delivery sometime on Tuesday
or Wednesday. I'll be sure and post some "first look" pictures
and my first impressions.
Blogging System Working, But...
I'm still working on implementing a new RSS-compatible news system, but it's
not looking good. I've been trying B2Evolution,
but it's so slow I really don't feel it's going to be usable. I suspect the
problem's with my host system for the MySQL database, but who knows. If you've
got any suggestions on a good news/RSS system, please let me know.
Women <> Videogames, right? Well, according to news from contributing
reviewer James McGovern, it seems John St. Clair's Project Arcade book is attacting
some new female retrogamers:
John's book has attracted 2 new members to BYOAC
who are posting projects (one is on the second cabinet). Now, of
course he has attracted more than two, why are these two so special?
They are women.
No, really. Women building arcade cabinets, cats and dogs playing together,
One is actually in a dispute with her husband as she wants to have two cabs,
a driving and an upright, going at the same time and he won't let her!
Be sure and check out these threads over at the
BYOAC forums for all the details:
I've finally spoken to a sales rep at H Betty Industries (Betson),
and will most likely be ordering one of their Kortek multisync arcade monitors
by the end of the day.
(Update: I've now placed an order for
We had a very interesting conversation, and he
mentioned that the monitor I will be reviewing is the same one
used in the new "Target:
Terror" arcade game, recently released by Eugene Jarvis'
company. Raw Thrills.
Awful Arcade Games
Big Warning: May contain offensive material!
Over at Something Awful is a collection
of "proposed" video games that should never, ever be made!
of the Week Returns!
Yes, after a long absence (sorry about that!) I've got the next installment
in the joystick of the week reviews: the Happ Controls Rotary joystick, just
the thing for games such as Ikari Warriors. So, how does the Happs Rotary hold
up in normal gameplay? Check out the review.
RetroBlast News Page Update
I'm still trying to work on implementing a new "blogging-style" news
page, complete with RSS feeds. It's taking longer than I expected (mainly because
I've been so short of free time the last three weeks!), but I hope to make
In the meantime, I've expanded the Retrogaming
Newsfeeds section of the news page with some new feeds.
Atari USB Joystick
Here's something for that Atari 2600-emulator on your PC — a
USB version of the "classic" Atari 2600 joystick (I use the word
classic loosely, as it was a sometimes painful way to game! ;-)
It looks authentic, and if you're a die-hard
console retrogamer, this looks to be just the ticket to play Pitfall
in all it's glory. Thanks to James McGovern for the news!
Game Industry Embraces Retro Classics
of the Tattooed Nerds (Videogame Tattoos)
develops Linux-operated arcade board
to Publish Taito Classic Arcade Titles
ATI 9200-based ArcadeVGA?
RetroBlast reader Shawn Stephens pointed out to me that Ultimarc's ArcadeVGA
is now listed
on the web site as using the ATI 9200 chipset (not the ATI 7200 chipset
used originally). I'm checking into this, but if it's for real it should
mean an improvement in 3D acceleration for MAME cabs using the AVGA card.
Need to locate a video game?
Here's a neat new service from MoonPod
Games: an Arcade
Machine Locator, which allows you to locate a favorite game near you. It's
new, so be sure and contribute what you know — the more people who add
to the database, the greater a resource it will be!
Now this is cool. Science meets gaming in an ultra-miniature pinball game,
complete with working flippers and an extremely tiny ball. And there's
even video of the thing in action as well!
Of course, there's not much to the game, but
it still sets my geek heart all aflutter. (Thanks to James McGovern
for the news!)
Wander Boy Review
At last! News and a review on RetroBlast (sorry about that, folks!)
We start off with a review of Lucky Wander Boy, a novel by D.B. Weiss. What's
retrogaming-related? How about the fact that the novel revolves around a man's
discovery of MAME and his quest for a favorite video game, the fictional "Lucky
Wander Boy". Check out the review by RetroBlast's
contributing reviewer James McGovern.
MAME Patches Updated!
great source patches for MAME by Alan Kamrowski II have been
updated again. This time he adds a new feature, a "bluish" tint
to vector games. Direct from Alan:
My usual list of patches have been updated and now support a new patch that
will give some black and white vector games a nice bluish tint. I found that
Asteroids Deluxe had this bluish tint enabled for it, but Asteroids did not.
This new patch gives the bluish tint to a bunch of black and white vector games
that were just plain white before. A new option has NOT been implemented for
this, because you can disable it by using the -noartwork option.
My disclaimer is that I don't know if the games I added the bluish tint to
actually had a bluish plexi on the actual arcade game or not. I just really
dislike the white on black look, and I find the bluish tint more authentic
My patches still include all these options as well:
and Donkey Kong improved sound samples (credit goes to Pete Rittwage and Derrick
Renaud for these)
Review and News Update
Sorry for updates being so slow on the site lately — I've got relatives
visiting, swimming lessons for the kids, and life in general has been hectic
all of a sudden.
I am starting up again with the reviews, however,
so look for a new joystick of the week review shortly. School for
my kids begins shortly as well, which means I'll have more time
to devote to reviews (and playing games ;-)
MAME .85 Released
Lots of changes, most of them internal, but it looks to be a significant upgrade.
As always, it's available at mame.net.
Cailfornia Extreme Show
This weekend (August 7-8) is the annual Calfornia
Extreme Show in San Jose, California, an annual show where they gather
literally hundreds and hundreds of arcade games and pinball machines, set them
on free play, and let everyone go to it. Imagine the biggest arcade you've
ever seen, and now imagine it's all free. Yeah, I'm drooling too...
Cool Cocktail Cab
Sal Campana (author of the MAME RSS screensaver) also has just completed a very
nice cocktail cabinet. I love the trackball on one end and a spinner on
the other, along with the side-mounted controls for horizontal 2-player games
(or some great Robotron action ;-)
He had the metal control panels produced at ArcadeDepot.
Congrats on a great cab, Sal!
If you can't get enough fresh MAME news, here's a fix for your news-junkie
needs: a MAME RSS screensaver, compliments of Sal
Campana, that grabs the MAMEworld RSS newsfeed and delivers updated news stories
throughout the day. You can scroll through the list using the arrow keys and
press the space bar to auto-launch your browser.
Note: This screensaver
requires the .NET Framework 2.0 or higher, which can be downloaded
from Microsoft's web site. It's a 24mb download, but it's worth
it for this screensaver.
More About the P360 Joystick Problems
Derek Eskens wrote in with more information about the problem on some Happ
Controls Perfect 360 joysticks and diagonals. Direct from Julie Wallace at
This problem involved some of the Perfect 360 joysticks
sold from mid-September 2003 until about March 12. Since then,
the problem has been fixed.
There have been some "glitches" with my hosting provider today, and
I'm not sure the rough ride is over yet. If the site vanishes, just check back
a few minutes later. Apparently, we're doing yo-yo impressions here...sigh...
James Kyrch over at Treyonics just
sent me details of their upcoming Centurion controller, and it looks great.
They're using the OmniStik Prodigy 4/8 way switchable joystick as their player
one stick, and have a matching top-fire for the player 2 position. It's got
an improved spinner, mouse and pinball buttons, and more. It's a very nice
Problems with P360 Diagonals?
I just got an email from David Stall about possible diagonal problems with
some Happs Perfect 360 joysticks (thanks, David!):
I recently ordered two P360s for my stand alone
MAME controller (still looking for the perfect Robotron sticks)
and I was dismayed once I installed them as I simply could not
hit many of the diagonals despite massive amounts of force applied
to the stick. I sort of figured the problem was the stiff
springs married to a fairly light weight controller, but I recently
learned that numerous other people have been having the same problems. It
turns out that Happ had a bunch of P360s with an incorrect resistor
on the optic board which created this problem. I have seen
that Happ is replacing the faulty sticks, so people that are having
problems should contact Happ Controls.
News Page to be Revamped
Just a heads-up. I'm going to be working this week (and probably next week
as well) on implementing a "blogging" based news page, with auto-archiving,
an RSS feed, and more. It's going to take some work to get it all integrated
into the site, though. (I guess this is my way of saying news and reviews
may be slow this week! ;-)
Cool Tiered Control Panel
A while back I posted about a unique looking tiered control panel, one that
had controls on two levels so that they didn't interfere with each other. Now,
thanks to an email from Jeff Allen, I now know where this great design originated:
Jeff's excellent Supercade
cab. He's even got a guide to building one yourself, so be sure to check
I've written several news items about my search for another monitor to recommend
other than the trouble-plagued Wells-Gardner
D9200. In my quest, I've run across four monitors that I thought would
do the job, and out of those, I've now narrowed it down to one:
The Betson Imperial Multisync looks to be the
same monitor as the Kortek KT-2914, and it looks to have even better
specs than the D9200. I'm going to use some of the raffle funds
to purchase one for a review as soon as I get some price quotes
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