Man Gives Away Video Arcade
No, it's not a hoax: a businessman in Claremont, N.H, is looking to give away The
Jester's Court, a video arcade he started. Check out this
article for the full story.
Pure Pinball 2.0 Redux
been a long time since there was a pinball game released for the
PC. Well, thanks to Fusion Labs, the drought is over, thanks to
their release of Pure
Pinball 2.0 Redux. While it looks like it's basically a port
of their previously released X-Box Pure Pinball game, I'm still
grateful to see any new pinball games for the PC.
New Video Pinball
Here's an article about Incredible
Technologies' new prototype video pinball game, called "Orange County
Choppers." While I personally don't think video can every really completely
replicate the "true" pinball experience, I'm still a fan of video
pinball, especially when the real thing isn't handy.
An Accessible Vectrex Controller
Now here is something you don't see every day: instructions on how to mod
a Vectrex game system for disabled access. The Vectrex, in case you don't
know, was a vector-based home game system from the 1980's, and is still highly
sought after by vector game fans.
Stinger Review Now Ready
RetroBlast review of Game Cabinet Inc.'s Stinger Control Panel
is now online and available over on the Product
Reviews page. This panel's got the best wiring job I've ever
seen, so how does the rest of the control panel measure up? Check
out the review!
And the SlikStik Solitaire Winner is...
Bob Barton! Congrats, Bob! I'll be shipping out your SlikStik Solitaire this
This Week's Giveaway
The last weekly RetroBlast giveaway (at least for now!) is for the Stinger
control panel that I just reviewed (a $449 value!). Full details on how
to enter the giveaway are on the RetroBlast Front Page.
MAME 0.91 Released
Full details and downloads are available over at MAME.net — enjoy!
Last Day for the Solitaire Giveaway!
a reminder that today is the last day to enter the free giveaway
for the SlikStik Solitaire control panel. I'll be picking a winnner
tomorrow morning, whenever I manage to wake up. If you haven't
already, be sure to read the RetroBlast
review of this excellent controller, and visit the front
page to enter if you want a chance to win!
The raffles are looking to have pretty good odds right now: there have been
about 475 entries in the D9200 raffle, and about 350 for the Dream Arcades
cabinet. Just a reminder: the D9200 goes for about $470 (plus approx. $60
in shipping costs) and the Dream Arcades cabinet goes for $899 (once again
about $60 to ship). These are big prizes, and your odds of winning are still
very good. The raffles go until 2/16/05, so you've still go some time to
enter (the RetroBlast front page has full details).
Birth of a New Control Panel
picture is of a preliminary mock-up of a special controller being
designed for Sean, a quadriplegic gamer. The volunteers in the BYOAC
forums, led by James McGovern (ace contributing RetroBlast
reviewer), are doing some really great work, and there are donations
of cash and parts coming in from gaming equipment makers and ordinary
gaming enthusiasts who can't bear the thought of someone not being
able to play videogames. Check
out the full thread, and help out if you can!
New Coin-Op.TV Interview
Straight from Pennyman: "Season One of Coin-op.TV continues
in 2005 with Taryn Southern interviewing Michael Hally at the California Extreme
show 2004. Michael's career as a game designer with ATARI spans over 28 years.
Designer of the classic arcade hits like Gravitar, Star Wars and Area 51."
I Bought an XBox
I've finally been pulled, kicking and screaming, into 21st century
gaming. So why did I buy an XBox? To help with an upcoming review
of an exciting new retrogaming product that (natch) works with
an XBox. It also works with a PC, so this is going to be a "must
see" review. I'll post more details once things are finalized,
but I'm excited about this one.
All Emulation is Illegal
There is a fascinating
look at copyright law over on Curmudgeon Gamer, specifically with how copyrights
apply to ROMs and emulation. It's a must read, and really highlights the murky
legal waters that surround emulation.
Pro Pinball Reborn (and other ATEI News)
news about the ATEI
amusement technology expo over on the Pinball
Their coverage includes a lot of pictures of Stern's
upcoming Sopranos pinball, based on the popular HBO series.
What caught my eye, however, were the pictures
of the upcoming Pro Pinball arcade cabs further down the page (see
pic on right)! Yes, someone's adapted the classic Pro
Pinball simulations for arcade use, and they look terrific. The
design of the Pro Pinball cabinet looks ideal for a home PinMAME
cabinet, by the way...
Classic Arcade Games Make a Comeback
Well, the Jakks versions do, anyway, according to this
article. Nostalgia + Gameplay = Timeless Classics.
MAMEWAH 1.6 Released
I missed this last week, but MAMEWAH has been updated to version 1.6, and the MAMEWAH
site has been redone as well. The newer versions are a bit harder to setup,
but it's still a good frontend.
The Bastard Son of the Real MAMEframe
looks like someone finally put up a site at MAMEframe.com (the
site was previously held by Quantum3D,
who still owns a copyright on the phrase "MAMEframe"!).
No text on the site, but it sure looks like someone's planning
on introducing another style of MAME cabinet!
A Pinball Collecting Wizard
Here's an interesting
article about a diehard pinball collector. How diehard? Try 400 machines,
Arcade Games by the Hour
Here's a unique
twist for an arcade: pay by the hour for unlimited free plays, and you
can even BYOB!
A New Video Review!
last!" shouts the crowd, as Kevin stumbles from the wilderness
with a new RetroBlast video review in hand. "This time I bring
a review of the Stinger
Control Panel from Game Cabinets Inc.," he cries, "a
full-sized all-in-one panel with some unique design features." All
is revealed over on the RetroBlast Video
Reviews page...(written review coming as soon as my meds wear
Cleveland Coin Machine Exchange Bought
Perhaps not international news, but amusement machine distributor Cleveland
Coin Machine Exchange has been bought
out by competitor Shaffer
Distributing. The industry shrinks again...
Play "Every Video Game" Online
Online emulators are not new, but the "Every
Videogame" site has a fairly large collection of them. From the Nintendo
Entertainment System to the Gameboy to Arcade Games, they're all here and waiting
for you to play. A great way to kill some time during your lunch hour!
Great Ms. Pac-Man Restoration
If you'd like to see how dedicated some people are to preserving arcade history,
look no further than "Gunbu's
Beauty Parlor", where he meticulously restores a Ms. Pac-Man cabinet,
bringing it back from near-death. Amazing work.
BYOAC Board Failure Makes CNN News!
not really (Click on the graphic for the full fake news page — thanks
James!). The forums over at arcadecontrols.com are
down, though, causing undue anxiety in thousands of hard core arcade
Update: the board
is up and running again. Balance has been restored in the universe...
And the X-Arcade Winner is...
Robert Helvie! Congrats, Robert!
This Week's Giveaway Contest
This week, I'm giving away a SlikStik Solitaire controller!
To enter, visit the RetroBlast front page and click on the link. I'll announce
the winner next Sunday.
Last Day for X-Arcade Giveaway!
a reminder: I'm going to be picking the winner of the X-Arcade
control panel tomorrow morning (whenever I get up ;-), so you've
got one more day to enter if you want a chance to win — visit
the RetroBlast front page to enter.
Ultimate Arcade Cabs
Think you've got
the coolest cab around? Think again. Here are a trio of fantastic
arcade cabs, some of which you may actually find in an arcade (okay,
maybe not the flight simulator). The one from FAO Swartz can be
had for a measly $300,000, but I suspect the other ones are cheaper.
Here are the links:
Multi-Game Motion System
Swartz Morphis ESP Motion Simulator
Possible Site Outage Tomorrow (or Today!)
RetroBlast's hosting company, LunarPages, has just announced that they are
moving their datacenter server operations to a new building tomorrow. As
a result, each of their servers will be down for approximately twenty minutes
sometime on the 22nd. At least, that's the plan. I've already seen the site
go down today, so I'm not optimistic. We'll see how smoothly this goes, but
if RetroBlast disappears for a while, now you know why...
MAME Content Manager 2.0
Good has released version 2.0 of his excellent MAME Content Manager
(MCM). With over 4,000 games, wielding a full set of MAME games
can be, well, unwieldy. MAME
Content Manager makes removing games from your set a cinch.
Whether you're removing adult ROMs because of the kids, or you
just don't like Majhong games, MCM makes trimming the ROM fat a
New MCM.ini Filters File
Want even more power in filtering and thinning your MAME ROM set? Max Hutchison
has developed MCM.ini, a greatly expanded filter file for MAME Content Manager.
This file, which can be used by MCM in place of the standard catver.ini file,
gives you a lot more power in selecting the games you wish to remove from
your full MAME ROM set. The file is being hosted here on RetroBlast, so visit
the File Downloads page if you'd like a copy!
Mutant Storm on XBox
this is cool news, if you're an XBox owner: Mutant Storm, one of
my favorite modern arcade-style shooters, has
been released for the XBox, as part of the XBox Arcade Classics
online delivery system. If you're a fan of Robotron-style shoot-em-up
action, this is a definite must-have game. Almost makes me want
Video Tour of Stern's Pinball Factory
in how Stern, the last surviving pinball company, actually makes
the machines? Check out this video
tour of the Stern Pinball Factory, where they show you how
they build and test their new pinball machines.
Watch as a Simpson's Pinball Party machine is assembled
and prepped for shipping. The video tour is hosted by the company
president, Gary Stern, and produced by his daughter.
The Ultimate Visual Pinball Interface
Now this is
a pinball controller! The
Phillips Virtual Pinball controller includes a plunger, pinball
buttons, and even three tilt sensors. It's also the same width
as a standard pinball machine. It's too bad that they don't actually
make them anymore...sigh...
Pinball Parts List Generator
Here's an extremely handy online database: A
Pinball Parts List Generator. Simply select the pinball machine(s) you
want and get a list of all the parts used, or put in a part number and get
a list of all the machines that used that part. Very handy when you're repairing
a machine or looking for that hard-to-find replacement part.
MAME Bittorrent Database
Want to get the latest ROMs for your MAME collection quickly? Try out Petr1fied's
MAME Bittorrent Tracker, a great online community of people sharing ROMs
(and snaps, flyers, etc.) via Bit Torrent. They've also got Visual Pinball
tables and ROMs, as well as files for other emulators, so it's a great resource
for all emulation fans.
just started working on my review of Game
Cabinets Inc. "Stinger" control panel. It's got some
nice construction touches, including a plateless trackball mount,
and I'm really looking forward to giving this control panel a thorough
playtesting for the review (yeah, that's it..."playtesting" ;-).
SlikStik XBox Adapter Coming Soon
Just spotted this blurb over on the SlikStik
site: "SlikStik Controllers Now Xbox Compatible! We are proud to announce
that official Xbox support for SlikStik controllers has been tested and implemented.
More information will be available once the adaptors become available in our
online store within the next 2 weeks."
Akron Pinball and Gameroom Expo
first annual Akron
Pinball and Gameroom Expo will be held this year on March 4th
and 5th at the Thomastown Party Center in Akron, Ohio. They're
promising at least 100 pinball machines set on free play, plus
lots of vendors of gameroom stuff as well as pinball auctions.
Should be a lot of fun, and I'm planning on attending, so let me
know if you're going to be there!
Modifying a Tornado Spinner
Krick has posted a web
page documenting his mod to add Oscar Controls optic boards
to a SlikStik tornado, in order to connect the Tornado to an Ultimarc
Opti-PAC interface. It's got some great shots of his Dremel work,
so be sure to check it out!
"MAME Cab Friendly" PC Games
don't know if I've ever mentioned this page, but even if I have
it deserves another news post: TimO
Productions has a great page listing modern PC arcade-style
games that are "MAME Cab Friendly," i.e., they can run
at lower resolutions and have remappable controls.
The contest email address was inactive this afternoon, so any entries bounced.
The account is now active again, so if you're interested in the weekly giveaway,
please enter again.
Also note, I've added a requirement for name/address/phone#
in the body of the entry email. Just too many chances to cheat with
email entries, and I want this to be as fair as possible.
The Contests Have Begun!
new year, a new RetroBlast contest: this time, it's all big ticket
items, with two very big raffles and three nearly-as-big giveaways.
How big is "very big"? The raffles are
for a Wells-Gardner D9200 arcade monitor and a Dream Arcades Side-by-Side
Cocktail Gaming System, complete with PC and monitor.
How big is "nearly-as-big"? How about
three control panels: an X-Gaming X-Arcade 2-player unit, a SlikStik
Solitaire, and an absolutely loaded Game Cabinets Inc. Stinger!
Visit the RetroBlast Front
Page for full details, and good luck!
This is so wrong...
I can understand an operator converting an arcade game when it
stops earning. Happens all the time. Still, this one hurts: a
Pac-Man conversion of the classic Computer Space machine, an
extremely rare game that kicked off the videogame revolution. Saddest
part, is that it's probably not possible to undo the damage, due
to the extreme rarity of parts for Computer Space. Be sure and
check out the entire Computer
Space site for more details on this classic game.
Check out this
Foxtrot cartoon. And cry.
Pinball Hall of Fame for PS2
If you're a fan of pinball sims and have a PS2 or Xbox, be sure and check out
Hall of Fame: Gottlieb Collection (Even includes a personal fave of mine,
Black Hole — kind of makes me wish I had a console...) Thanks to Brian
Williams for the news!
Converting Your Cab to Token Operation
it (finally) is, my first RetroBlast article of 2005: how to convert
your cab over to token or coin operation. I document the conversion
of all of my machines, including wiring up my MAME cabinet for
tokens. Want that last extra bit of "arcade authenticity" for
your games? Go to the Retrogaming Articles
page to see how I did it.
World's Smallest Trackball?
to a post on alt.games.mame by Ernest Kemp, I've now seen what
could be the smallest
commercial trackball ever built. How small? How about 8mm (.315
inches for metric-challenged Americans)? Designed for use in products
like mobile phones, this is one tiny trackball. It even has LED
PinMAME 1.51 Released
Quite a few changes for a .01 update (list
of changes). For those that don't know, PinMAME emulates
the pinball hardware needed to handle the display, scoring, and sound (the "computer" portion
of the pinball machine). When combined with Visual Pinball, you've got the
means to recreate nearly every pinball machine ever made (Here's a great
guide to Visual PinMAME).
The Philosophy of Pinball
it's more like pinball as a metaphor for life. This well-done
video about God, entitled "The Pinball Machine," uses
a pinball game as a visual centerpiece to present a Christian perspective
on fate and destiny. It's thought-provoking without being preachy,
and it's got pinball! 'Nuff said...
Great Pinball "How-To" DVD's
just bought a couple of the "This
Old Pinball" restoration and repair DVDs, specifically
TOP #3 "Lost in the Zone", and #4, "Pinball
Ain't Dead, It Just Smells Funny." They're great instructional
videos with a very informal, quirky style. It's obvious that "Norm" and "Shaggy" had
a lot of fun making the videos, and there's a lot of good repair
information, served up with a smile. I'll be writing a full review
of the DVDs soon.
Arcade Game FAQs
Looking for a good guide for winning at Robotron, or just want to know some
tips and tricks for Defender? You can find a lot of great game information
over at the
GameFAQs site, which has a section specifically for arcade games.
Coin-Op.TV's New BBS
Direct from Coin-Op.TV: "The
Coin-Op.TV BBS has undergone a major revision and we would like to welcome
everyone to stop by and check it out! The Boards will now be moderated and
new sections have been added. One of the biggest changes is the addition of
a "Show Ideas" section. We are hoping to get feedback on what viewers
would like to see next."
another cool arcade-style game, and freeware no less! Neverball is
billed as "part puzzle game, part action game, and entirely
a test of skill." It's an OpenGL 3D-accelerated game in the
spirit of Marble Madness, but with a twist or two. It's a blast
to play, and there are versions for Windows, OSX, and Linux!
Contests Coming Soon!
Yes, I can't seem to stop having contests...the latest one will be revealed
in a couple of days, but be sure and check out the RetroBlast
front page for a sneak peak!
How to Use Alan's MAME Patches
To use Alan's
MAME patches (which patch the MAME source code) you'll need to compile
a version of MAME using the instructions
on compiling MAME over at MAME.net. Direct from Alan:
Yes, I always extract the mame source to c:\mingw\mame.
You then copy the patches into c:\mingw\mame as well. SRC should
be a subfolder of c:\mingw\mame. Then run patch.bat and it should
say each one is ok and prompt you to apply.
Once everything's patched the way you want, all
you need to do is complie a new MAME executable according to the
directions on MAME.net, and presto! Lots of cool new features. If
you've never compiled a version of MAME before, don't let it intimidate
you — follow the instructions to the letter, and it's actually
The Broken Token
really loved this: "The
Pathetic Story of the Broken Token," a true tale of woe
from an arcade-addicted kid with an urge to beat the system but
a definite lack of skills. It's a hilarious tale of token butchery,
and something I might have done in my youth.
An Excellent Set of MAME Improvements,
All In Convenient Patch Form (NEW LINK)
(I've had a couple of requests for Alan's MAME
patches, since the URL mentioned in my March news post was no longer
correct. I've found the file and updated the URL. Here's the News
Item with a correct link.)
Have you ever wished you could make a game in MAME
louder? Get rid of the game warnings screens (such as video emulation
not 100% accurate)? How about smoothing out the frame rate so it
exactly matches your screen refresh? Or skipping a game's initialization
All this and more is available in this excellent set of patches from Alan Kamrowski II (SA Dev). Just
run the included batch file, choose the features you want patched,
and once you compile the modified source code the new features will
then be available in MAME as startup flags (such as "-skip_startup_frames").
These are some great features, and can be used to
really improve the "MAME Experience," especially on cabs — for
example, you can startup Galaga in 2 seconds instead of 16 (and skip
the initalization displays) by adding "-ssf 870" to the game initialization
(which skips the first 870 frames).
Over 20,000 Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga Arcade Machines
Looks like retrogaming is alive and well: Namco's repackaged Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga
combo arcade games have now sold
over 20,000 units. Pretty impressive numbers for video games that are now
over 20 years old...
I Love eBay...
you find some of the coolest things on eBay — like this Pinball-playin'
Santa ornament, for example, that I acquired right before Christmas.
It plugs into your light string, and plays pinball sounds and lights
the LED pop bumpers when you pull the plunger to launch the tiny
pinball inside. It's dated 1996 from Hallmark, but in my opinion
Upgrades, Updates, and New Installs
Sorry for the lack of news, I'm in the middle of a bunch of software upgrades
and "switchovers", including replacing my firewall and anti-virus
software. In other words, I'm still fine-tuning everything so that I can
actually get on the Internet without setting off alerts. ;-)
MAME 0.90 Released
Looks like there are a lot of fixes and change, plus a handful of new games
and clones. Get it at MAME.net.
confession time: I honestly don't think this is a MAME or Retrogaming
product, but for high-end PC shooters, this looks like a cool chair
to have. The
Battlechair merges a set of 5.25" 3-way speakers and an
8" subwoofer into an office chair for quick 'n easy 5.1 surround
sound gaming (in combination with your desktop speakers). Just
thought it was too cool not to mention...
RetroBlast Flying Saucer Sequence
is a very cool video contributed
by Alex Schütz: an animated RetroBlast logo sequence, complete
with flying saucer. It's an impressive bit of rendering and animation
using Maxon´s Cinema4D R9 and Adobe's AfterEffects Pro 6.5
(you should see the full-resolution original!), but I really do
wonder about that freaky looking alien...
One "Dell" of a Deal
Thanks to Jim Robbins for pointing out these
ultra-cheap PCs at Dell. For just $225 you can get a fairly powerful PC,
more than adequate for MAME use. (Oh, and the title's his pun, not mine ;-)
NY Times Article on Arcade Gamerooms
Just ran across this NY
Times article about the growning trend towards "arcade gamerooms".
Game Music, Remixed
If you're a fan of video game music, here's your nirvana: OC
Remix, a site "dedicated to reviving the video and computer game music
of yesterday, and reinterpreting that of today, with new technology & capabilities." Cool
stuff here, folks...
Game Music, Redefined
your GameBoy is good for just games? How about using it to make
music? That's just what the "GameBoyzz
Orchestra" has done: a group of artists in Poland are
using their Game Boys to create a new, distinctive sound, one the
BBC dubs "Tetris Meets Kraftwerk."
If you got one of the hard-to-find Nintendo Gameboy DS systems for Christmas,
here's a great retrogaming addition: Atari
Retro Classics, a collection of classic video games that have been re-tooled
to take advantage of the unique features of the DS, such as the dual screens,
touch-screen, and wireless features.
Happy New Year!
I'm still in "vacation recovery" mode, now with a dash of "New
Year's recovery" added in, but I wanted to wish everyone a happy new year.
News and reviews will return soon.
to News Archives