had a nice surprise waiting for me in my pile of vacation mail:
my order of MAME tokens from David Santoro. Very cool looking,
and I'm really pleased with the nickel-plated ones. They're available
at arcadetokens.com if
you're interested in your own set.
Give me a while to dig out of all the dirty laundry, and I'll post some news.
Had fun in Disney World, and even got to play some pinball. Life is good.
I'm going to be "offline" for a while, so don't expect any updates
or new reviews. I'll be back before New Year's, however, and RetroBlast will
ring in the new year with new reviews, news, and maybe even a contest or two...see
ya after the holidays!
Sean Project Update
I'm very impressed with all the support that has come to help with the project
of designing a custom controller for a PS-2 gamer who happens to also be
a quadriplegic. We've gathered over $470 in donations, and Game
Cabinets Inc. has even offered to supply all the arcade parts necessary!
this thread for information, and visit the "Donate
to Sean" page to help out a fellow gamer in need!
Pinball Posters from Treasure Cove!
Cove is expanding their ever-growing product line again, this
time adding pinball
flyer posters in sizes up to 16" x 20" in either
paper or canvas. They'll even do custom printing if you have
a specific pinball flyer or other artwork in mind. I've got one
of their Circus Voltaire 16" x 20" canvas prints, and
it's top-notch quality. Now all I have to do is get it framed!
Christmas Tree Pinball Review
would the holidays at RetroBlast be without a holiday-themed review?
Here it is: Christmas
Tree Pinball, by WildSnake. A unique design that merges features
from several pinball eras is only the first of many nice touches
on this fun pinball sim. Santa himself would love to find this
game in his stocking, I suspect.
TB_Screensaver 2.0 Released
Version 2.0 of this unique MAME-oriented screensaver for Windows has just been
released. The TB_Screensaver displays
screenshots and marquees in one of nine formats, along with many customizable
features. New this time is support for background images and colors, plus
a lot of new fixes and features.
The Weirdest Games of 2004
Like the title says — check out this
list over on PC World.
PinBotz Pinball Decals Review
just finished up my review of PinBotz' pinball decals and instruction
cards, and it's now available from the RetroBlast
Reviews page. This is something of a personally embarrasing
review to post, due to a stupid mistake I made during testing.
What did I screw up? Check out the review to find out!
MAME Tokens Now Shipping!
Santoro just let me know that the new MAME tokens have finally
come in and he's started shipping out the preorders. They look
great, and are available in both brass and nickel-plated brass.
Check out this BYOAC
thread for details, or hop on over to ArcadeTokens.com to
order your own set. I know I'm looking forward to my set!
Help a Fellow Gamer!
written before about Sean, an avid gamer who happens to also be
a quadriplegic, and his ongoing search for the perfect PS/2 controller
for his needs.
Well, no one (including myself) has been able to
find an off-the-shelf controller that meets his needs, so the fine
crew over at BYOAC have taken it upon themselves to build him
the perfect controller!
James McGovern (ace contributor to RetroBlast,
a.k.a. "1hookedspacecadet") is doing a great job spearheading
the design process. If you'd like to help out (with your mad building
skillz or just a donation to help pay for parts), please visit
this thread for information, and visit the "Donate
to Sean" page to help out a fellow gamer in need!
New Coin-Op.TV Episodes
from Pennyman: "Happy Holidays to everyone!! Two
new episodes just added: As a bonus I added two episodes to
the website last night. Hope they hold everyone over until I can
get more posted in early 2005. Check out these two fine episodes
hosted by fan favorite Taryn Southern with arcade champs Brian
Kuh and Mark Alpiger!"
The Visible Woman Pinball?
a very unique (ahem) one of a kind pinball machine: The
Visible Woman: Orgasmic Pinball.
Described as a fully-functioning pinball machine
with the theme of a woman's sexual "pleasure system," this
is one very weird pinball, billed as an "educational tool." It's
actually a converted "Lethal Weapon 3" machine, and the
scoring system's been removed, so I assume you "score" in
another way. ;-)
Want to play it? You'll probably have to go the
Man festival, the only time it's been shown to the public.
Dream Arcades "Head-to-Head" Cab
it's been my day for updates. I've just finished updating
my review of the Dream Arcades "Head-to-Head" cab
to reflect the changes that Dream Arcades has made to the kit
since I reviewed it last July. They've tweaked a lot of my
original concerns away, something that always makes me feel
all warm and tingly inside (shaddup, you...)
SlikStik Joystick Handles Review Updated
just updated my review of the new SlikStik interchangeable balltop
handles to include the new peartop handles as well. If you're looking
for a great way to add some sparkle to your control panel (and
some great gameplay as well), be sure to check out the new
and improved review!
Dream Arcades Side-by-Side Cabinet Review
I've managed to complete the written portion of my review of the
Dream Arcades Side-by-Side Arcade Table (complete with an included
PC and monitor). It's an easy-to-assemble "turnkey" system
for MAME arcade goodness, but does it have what it takes to keep
a MAME junkie satisfied? Check out the
Update: I just discovered
that I had made a pretty big boo-boo regarding pricing on this cab — it's
$899 for the entire system (limited time), not $1399 (which is the
price for the more powerful Athlon 2000+ system). This makes a big
difference in my final conclusions, and the review has been updated
Betson Mutlisync Discoveries, Part II
this situation has turned into a nasty can of worms: thanks to
investigation of "The Spade," we now know that not
only is the rotate function non-functional in the Betson Multisync
monitor, but it would require an almost complete retro-fit to get
it to work! Apparently, team Kortek just never got around to implementing
The lack of an adjustable tilt can be a showstopper
if you're one of the unfortunate few whose monitor has a bad tilt,
and I've updated my review to
reflect these findings, including removing my "RetroBlast Recommended" award.
It's still a better monitor overall than the D9200, but I guess I
have to keep on dreaming for that "perfect" arcade monitor
A Perfect Retrogaming Gift
currently working on a review of WildSnake's pinball
and arcade games, and while I'm not finished yet, I did want to
point out a great holiday-themed pinball simulation from them,
entitled appropriately enough, "Christmas
Tree Pinball." It's a great original table design, harkening
back to the earlier days of pinball. Best part? Wildsnake's got
a 20% off sale going on this month! Just the thing for that last-minute
gift for yourself...
FrontX Port System
Ginter pointed out the FrontX
expandable port system to me, and while I had known of it before,
it had never occurred to me that the FrontX system might make a
great way to add USB ports and a headphones jack to the front of
a cab! (duh.) Thanks, Michael!
Jakks Article in Fresno Bee
interesting article about the Jakks TV games lineup of retrogaming toys.
Looks like they interviewed some very interesting people (wink, wink ;-)
Play Ms. Pac-Man on your Mobile Phone for
You know, sometimes the title just says it all...check out the full
Wireless Arcade Joystick
it's just for the PS/2 and X-Box, but, wow, what a cool looking
controller! The Pelican
Universal Wireless Arcade Stick (why does everything these
days have to have a paragraph-long name?) is a 2.4ghz device that
claims up to 200 hours on one set of AAA batteries.
Does advertisting go down easier when it's in the form of a pinball game? Oh,
yeah! Check out this online
pinball game over at the Gigabyte site, designed to promote the features
on their motherboards. A new direction for advertising? We can only hope.
Thanks to Jim Wan for the link!
SlikStik Peartop Handles
beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, with all the recent package
deliveries full of retrogaming goodies. Today's goodies are the
Peartop Interchangeable handles. They look cool, and I'm hopefully
going to be able to give them a good "torture testing" on
my control panel this weekend!
Oh, and I just noticed that SlikStik is now selling
additional ball and pear tops separately, so now you can change the
color of your joysticks whenever the mood strikes. Way to go, SlikStik!
Retro Remakes 2004 Competition Winners
Remakes site has just posted their list
of winners from their 2004 competition. 73 entries, all modern
remakes of classic games. The contest entries have been reviewed,
judged, and ranked for your reading (and playing) pleasure, so
be sure and check it out!
Joystick Roundup News
it or not, the RetroBlast Joystick Roundup is almost finished.
Thanks to a generous donation by RetroBlast reader Christopher
Hart, I've got a new joystick to review: the Happ Controls Top
Fire Button Compact Joystick.
The Centsible Leaf-Switch joystick that I had been
planning on reviewing next has been pulled from the review lineup
because it is no longer available, so this new top-fire joystick
is now the last one on my "review to-do" list. Of course,
I'll keep adding new joysticks to the roundup when I can, but I want
to be able to say "it's done" at least once. ;-)
Oldest Homebrew Gaming Cabinet?
some discussion currently going on about this
unique cab by Wil Turnbow on the
BYOAC forums: is it the oldest known homemade "arcade" cab
system out there?
The cab is basically a Nintendo Entertainment System
(NES) console combined with a great-looking arcade cabinet shell.
It's been nominated for the BYOAC "Cabinet
Hall of Fame," and the cab even got a writeup in Nintendo
Power magazine. The coolest part? Wil made the cabinet way back in
1989, when he was just 13!
a new pinball simulator in the works, one that looks like it will
bring photo-realistic pinball action to an entirely new level. Future
Pinball is an OpenGL project that looks like it will raise
the bar for pinball simulations. I'm drooling already — hopefully
they'll be able to meld with PinMAME for some truly awesome pinball
Gaming Hacks Review
review of Simon Carless' new book Gaming Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength
Tips and Tools has just been posted to the RetroBlast
Reviews Page. An amazingly broad collection of gaming hacks,
tips, and strategies, does the book gell into a cohesive work?
Be sure and check out the review!
PAPA Relaunches for 2005
Straight from the Press
Release from PAPA (The Professional Amateur Pinball Association):
"It's official - PAPA is rebuilding in anticipation
of holding the PAPA 8 World Pinball Championships in 2005. Cleanup
work was completed in October 2004, building repairs will be complete
in February 2005, and we expect the tournament to be held in August
or September 2005."
This is amazing news, considering the
flood which trashed their headquarters and destroyed over 200
classic pinball machines just a few months ago.
Daphne and MAMEWAH
Longtime RetroBlast "spy" Matt Apuzzo wrote in to let everyone know
he's created some finely-tuned MAMEWAH and Daphne configuration files that
not only work well, they work well together. Daphne,
for those who don't know, is an excellent emulator for laserdisc games (such
as Dragon's Lair). If you're interested in Matt's high performance/low fat
setup files, just drop
him an email.
MAMEworld and Retrogames.com Down
Don't know what's up, but both sites seem to be down this morning. This was
causing some delays for RetroBlast's News page as well, since my "newsbot" was
trying to retrieve the CSS feed from MAMEworld. I've disabled my MAMEworld
RSS feed until they're back up. Hopefully everything will be up and running
Update: MAMEworld is back up, so the newsfeed's
Happs Ultimate Joystick Roundup Review
another in the increasingly infrequent series of joystick roundup
reviews, this time of the Happ Controls Ultimate joystick. Did
I like it? Check out the roundup review over on the RetroBlast
Reviews page — it shouldn't be too hard to figure out
my feelings on this one!
UltraStyle 2.3 Released
got word that a new
update of UltraStyle has been released. If you aren't familiar
with it, UltraStyle is a fairly new Windows front end for MAME,
with some nice visual "eye candy" for selecting games.
I've been playing around with it and am impressed. The new release
has a few new features and some important bug fixes.
Lemon Amiga Site Opens
The Lemon Amiga site has
now officially opened. For Amiga gaming fans, it even includes an on-line game
New SlikStik Peartop Handles
is just cranking out the new products: they just announced their
peartop handles on the BYOAC forums. Once again, the tops are
swappable, with both stainless steel and anodized aluminum. If
these are anywhere as nice as their new balltops, they're going
to make a great Christmas present for a retrogamer!
Coin Door Stickers
received some very nicely done coin door stickers this week from
Jeff Hanson. They are great looking high-quality stickers, and
just happen to fit very nicely on a standard Happ coin door. If
you're interested, Jeff's selling them: check out this
thread on BYOAC for full details on how to get a set.
Supercade and High Score! Double-Header
our first "roundup" book review! RetroBlast's ace contributing
writer James McGovern has just finished his reviews of both Supercade:
A Visual History of the Videogame Age 1971-1984, and High
Score! The Illustrated History of Electronic Games. Both are
books any retrogamer would love, so find
out what they're all about, already!
SlikStik Interchangeable Balltop Joystick
new interchangeable balltop joystick handles replace their
original "single-piece" stainless steel balltops
with a new design that includes swappable balltops, adding
optional anodized colored aluminum balls as well as the original
steel balltop. But is it better? Check out the full
Update: I forgot to add
the video snippet. Fixed now.
Dream Arcades Side-by-Side Cocktail Cabinet
a new video review! I've just finished the video review portion
of my review of Dream Arcade's Side-by-Side Cocktail Gaming System,
which includes a complete computer system and a unique cocktail
controller layout. The video's now available over on the RetroBlast Video
SlikStik Joystick Handles
Fresh from the DHL delivery truck comes a set of SlikStik's new balltop
joystick handles, complete with colored anodized aluminum balls (and a
very heavy stainless steel ball as well!). I'm already very impressed with
the balance of these sticks with the aluminum tops in place, and I can't wait
to install them and try them out. Full review soon, I promise.
Betson Multisync Oddities
been working with some other fellow Betson Multisync (review)
owners this week to unravel the mystery of the non-functioning
Tilt (Rotate) and v.Focus options in the Betson's onscreen menu
out the BYOAC thread). Well, thanks to a visit to Betson by
Dave K. we now know the answer: they were never implemented in
the first place!
This is truly strange news, and I'm going to see
if I can find out more about it. I never had a problem with either
focus or tilt on my Betson, so I never discovered the fact that those
menu options were, in fact, broken. I'll post more (and update the
review) once I find out more.
Acclaim Up for Auction
Want a cheap conference table? How about a copier? No? How about 43,000
game cartridges and discs? Interested now? Acclaim, which went bankrupt
now on the block. Everything from their corporate building to odd nicknacks
are now up for bidding.
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