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February 2005 News Archive


New 49-way Joystick Interface
The GP-Wiz 49 has just announced their new "GP-Wiz 49" 49-way joystick interface. A lot of neat features on this baby: it shows up as a USB gamepad, with full analog input, and also includes a "mode switch" system which allows you to restrict the joystick to 8-way, 4-way, and even 2-way (U/D or L/R). It even includes an additional 23 inputs for other buttons or joysticks.

Retro Revival Issue 3
A new issue of Retro Revival is available for download. Highlights:

  • The first published review ANYWHERE of Retrovision 5, along with an interview with Mark Rayson, the organiser.
  • Our 8 page look into the Dreamcast homebrew scene and how to play retro games on Sega's classic console.
  • The start of several new columns including:
    Mame & Cabinet Building
    Retro Game Remaking
    The Commodore C16 / Plus 4
    'How To' where we look at connecting a SNES pad to your PC and also guide you in cleaning your retro gaming equipment.
  • And much more.

Cool Pinball Mod from Kelsey!
Kelsey's CFTBL ModI just love when video gurus come out as closet pinheads (and I mean that in a good way ;-) Kelsey of Oscar Controls has posted details of his very excellent EL lighting mod for the Creature from the Black Lagoon pinball machine, making this game even cooler to play in the dark. Blinky lights...I just love blinky lights...

Update: fixed the broken link. Sorry!

New MAME Tweaks for MAME 0.93!
SA Dev has released a new, updated set of MAME source code patches. These patches add a world of new features to MAME, and the latest release even adds a new tweak: highpri.scr, which "makes the high_priority flag work as I think everyone expects it to."

Retro Game Programming Unleashed!
Want to learn how to program games on your Apple II, Commodore 64, Atari 400/800 or TRS-80 Color Computer 2? It's a good thing you've waited until now, since "Retro Game Programming: Unleashed for the Masses" has just been released.

The Ultimate Pinball Sound System?
Check out this ebay auction for the ultimate pinball sound system. I wonder if it comes with a safety harness to keep from getting blown away...

Get in Shape with Maya
Want to get a good workout but can't put down that gamepad? Well, here's a solution (check out the kilowatt for another videogame exercise idea). Maya is a "virtual personal trainer," willing to work with you for endless hours for only $39.95. Thanks to Jonathan Imberi for the news!

Another Public Statement by Ultracade
This is getting old, but I thought I'd point out another attempt by David Foley of Ultracade to put a positive spin on his attempted theft of the MAME logo and phrase.


MAME 0.93 Released
The 0.93 has just been released on I've been following Aaron Giles' massive update to the sound subsystem (see the whatsnew.txt file for details), so I'm excited to see he's gotten out the door.


SlikStik's Got Balls...
SlikStik lighted joystick handlesAnd they glow! Those are lighted ball-top joystick handles in the photo, lit with low-power ultrabright LEDs. One of them is even a color-cycling LED.

This takes control panel "bling" to a whole new level, and I've got to commend SlikStik for coming up with another unique product!

The MAME trademark fiasco has taken a few interesting twists in the last day. For one thing, David Foley of Ultracade has posted this message to the MAME community. In addition to announcing that the MAME development team will get their trademark back, one of the more unexpected tibits in the message is the mention of an upcoming "iROMs" service from his company.

This is a good idea, and I only wish it was coming from a different company. If retrogaming is to grow as a hobby, it needs a legal source of ROMs. I look forward to seeing how the service is operated, and also await an apology from David Foley for his actions against the MAME community and legitimate MAME businesses.


Rescue Tron!
Poor Tron...RetroBlast reviewer James McGovern has started a blog detailing his planned restoration of a Tron game he recovered from a local warehouse. Judging from what he's having to start with it may turn out to be a Quixiotic quest, but the attempt should make for a good read, no matter how it turns out.


Special Delivery
Look what the UPS driver dropped off today: a cool single-player control panel from Next Arcade (part of TLC Industries). I'll be giving it some thorough playtesting...for the review, of course. You don't think I do this for fun, do you?


Quasicade 2 Review
The Quasicade 2The keyboard is still smoldering, but I've iced down my fingertips and uploaded my review of the Quasicade 2 cabinet by Quasimoto Interactive. Built for console gaming systems, it tries to marry modern gaming with a classic gaming form factor. Does it succeed, and more importantly, how is it for MAME gaming?

Visit the RetroBlast Product Reviews page and find out!

New Oscar Controls Spinner!
Kelsey of Oscar Controls has just announced the V2 Spinner and Push Kit, a "small footprint" version of his excellent Vortex spinner. In addition, there's also an add-on kit to add push capabilities to the spinner ("pull" functionality will be added later). It's certainly a cool looking spinner, and I hope to be able to review it sometime in the near future. Just look at the size of that flywheel!


Yes, the Ultracade fiasco has driven me to putting up a trademark notice for the RetroBlast! name. Better safe than sorry, I suppose...

The 50 Most Important Games
1UP has posted a list of the "Top 50 Most Important Games." While some are good choices, some are really off the wall: #22 is "The Macintosh"? And besides, where's Robotron: 2084?

Spincade in actionNow this is one truly cool looking MAME cabinet: The Spincade web site has just been launched. I've lusted after "1UP"'s spinning control panel cabinet ever since he first showed pictures of it on the BYOAC forums. Now you can buy a complete cab or a kit with the same amazing rotating control panel. Me want...

A Life in Bells and Whistles
Want to live the exciting life of a pinball repair tech? Check out this article about what is, unfortunately, becoming a dying breed.

Article on TLC Industries
There's a very interesting profile piece in the Chicago Daily Herald about TLC Industries (maker of the Nextarcade).


Ultracade Tries to Trademark MAME!
David Foley of Ultracade has filed for trademark protection for both the terms "MAME" and "Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator", including the MAME logo! He is using his trademark claim to shut down any eBay auction that mentions MAME (including cabinets), and has also hinted that MAME itself is illegal.

Since the news broke last night, Mr. Foley has backpedaled a bit (see his site for two statements on the situation) but until this trademark situation is resolved, MAME is under a very real threat. I'll post updates as I find out about them.

Update: Apparently Mr. Foley has been busy — I've now been shown several emails where he is demanding agreements and royalties from companies such as EMDkay Marquees regarding their use of his "trademarked" MAME logo. He's hitting the whole community, it seems, with what amount to "cease and desist" letters.

Update 2: Lots of good discussion going on about this situation:

Mr. Foley has noticeably softened his stance (see the Ultracade front page) after all the attention, but he has yet to withdraw his trademark application.

RetroBlast is Back Up!
A site snafu last night locked out everyone from RetroBlast, but I'm happy to report the site is back up and running (obviously ;-)


Quasicade 2 Video Review
The Quasicade 2 Video ReviewYes, I've finally managed to tear myself away from the cabinet to actually complete my video review of Quasimoto Interactive's wonderful Quasicade 2 gaming system. Everything you need (just add console or PC) for a truly amazing gaming experience! The written review will be ready in a couple of days.

Eugene Jarvis Wins Lifetime Achievement Award
My favorite game designer, Eugene Jarvis, has won this year's International Game Developers Association's Game Developers Choice Award for Lifetime Achievement. The designer of such classics as Defender and Robotron: 2084, Eugene Jarvis is a god, I tell you...a god!

Mario Kart...Arcade?
In a unique bit of reverse migration, an arcade version of Mario Kart has been announced. Mario Kart Arcade Grand Prix will use the Triforce arcade system to bring Nintendo gaming fun to Japanese arcades.


Sopranos Pinball Review
Pinball News has posted a very extensive review of the new Stern Sopranos Pinball. Bada Bing!

Now that is a gameroom!
Peter Hirschberg's GameroomAll I can say is: wow! Check out this photo gallery of Peter Hirschberg's incredible gameroom. He's got an impressive collection of games, from a wide variety of time periods. Look closely and you'll even see a "Tail Gunner 2" cockpit cab — I didn't even know there was a Tail Gunner 2 game! Thanks to Greg Thorpe for the link!


Quasicade Review Sneak Preview
Quasicade 2I'm still working on the review of the Quasicade2 cabinet by Quasimoto Interactive, but I thought I'd go ahead and put up a "sneak preview" page with some photos to hold everyone over until I can finish the full review.

(You know, it's really hard to make progress when you keep stopping to play another game or two!)

BreakQuest Review
BreakQuest by NuriumLooking for the ultimate breakout game? Check out my review of Nurium's BreakQuest, an exciting new twist on a tried-and-true classic genre. So, what does BreakQuest add to the mix that makes it so unique? Head on over to the RetroBlast reviews page and check out the review!

Wireless Ms. Pac-Man
Yup, Jakks TV games (the integrated all-in-one units that plug into your TV: see my review) have now gone wireless. Thanks to Jonathan Imberi for the news!

Midway Arcade Treasures 3
Wow, they just keep on coming: Midway has announced the third volume of their "Arcade Treasures" series, this time focusing on driving games. Some good stuff in this one!


The Ultimate History of Video Games
I've got a special treat today, a review submitted by Jonathan Imberi of the book The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon, the Story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World. Chock full 'o info about the people and games that shaped an industry, this is a fascinating look into the video games industry. Thanks, Jonathan!

We have Winners!
The raffle winners have been picked. Congrats to Gary Bowden for winning the Wells Gardner D9200, and to Michael Durham, who won the Dream Arcades Cocktail Gaming System!

This concludes this round of giveaways on RetroBlast, but don't worry, I'm certain there will be other contests in the upcoming months!


SlikStik Free Upgrades
I just got an email from SlikStik announcing a couple of very nice free upgrades:

"For the next two weeks we are giving away some free upgrades:

1. Free double pinball buttons and free trackball light on all panel orders. Use coupon code FDPTBL on checkout.

2. Two free SS colored aluminum joystick handles on a purchase of a Cabinet/panel combo kit. Use coupon code 2SSAluminum on checkout.

Offer expires 03/01/05. Retail purchases from our website only, no substitutions."

Just a reminder that today is the last day to enter either the Wells-Gardner D9200 arcade monitor raffle or the Dream Arcades Side-by-Side Cocktail Arcade System raffle. I'll be picking the winners at random tomorrow morning, and will be announcing the winners on the front page of RetroBlast.

Get in Shape — Play Video Games
The Kilowatt Pro from PowerFitnessI suppose it had to happen: someone's found a way to build an excercise machine around a game console. Direct from the Power Fitness web site:

"Plug Kilowatt into any current game system such as PS2, Xbox, Gamecube or PC, load up your favorite video game and feel the full body workout as you push, pull and lean the Kilowatt resistance rod to control the on-screen action. The Kilowatt resistance rod measures force, not distance, so it never actually moves. The resistance rod is reading the amount of force you’re exerting against it and translates this force into the video game. For example, if you’re playing a popular racing game on your PS2 with Kilowatt, the harder you push the resistance rod, the faster you go in the game!"

Thanks to Mitch Gerson for the link!

Missing Graphics on RetroBlast?
I've now gotten two emails from visitors who found that none of the graphics on RetroBlast were loading. In both cases, the problem was traced to a "browser privacy" setting in their firewall (Norton Security and Kerio Personal Firewall). I have no idea why RetroBlast is being affected by this (the only cookies the site uses are for the front page poll), but I'm looking into it.


Please Welcome!
MAME Hardware, ROMs, and more!I'd like to take a moment to welcome a new RetroBlast sponsor, They've got everything you need for your MAME arcade projects, from arcade hardware (joysticks, buttons, coin doors) to ROMs and emulation software. Check it out!

Death of a Galaxian
Left alone in the rain...This is a tragedy that is played out all too often: a classic machine, found sitting out on the side of the road, usually left in the rain. James McGovern found just such a sad sight recently. The worst part? The machine just had a blown fuse, but the cab is now so water damaged now that he had to part it out. At least the boards were salvaged (and are currently up on eBay, if you're interested!)

Oh, and James adds "For anyone either rebuilding one of these or building from scratch, I took detailed pics during the disassembly in the event you need to know where some bracket or instruction card goes. Just email me for high res pics at"

Looking for a good one-page collection of all the retrogaming news out on the Internet? Kevin Savetz has created one: RetroRoundup, an RSS-feed powered summary of all the retro-news out there (well, except for RetroBlast, which reminds me, I need to finish the site's RSS feed!)

Blast from the Past
Antic MagazineKevin Savetz is also the proprietor of the Classic Computer Magazine Archive, a great online resource of all those old computer magazines such as Antic, Creative Computing, and STart.

Oh, btw, I've got a few articles and reviews published in Antic, back from my days as a 1200XL-owning Atari fanatic!

MAME .92 Released
Boy, these come out every week now, huh? Anyway, you can get the latest at greatest at Happy retrogaming!

New Coin-Op TV!
Taryn Southern interviews Pinball repairman and collector DAVID O'NEIL at the CA Extreme show. David talks about his collection and what makes the trip to this event so special for him.


Dungeons and Dreamers
Contributing Reviewier James McGovern has just finished a great review of the book Dungeons and Dreamers: The Rise of Computer Game Culture from Geek to Chic. Want to know why you're suddenly considered "chic"? Okay, want to at least pretend that you are? Check out the review!

And the Winner is:
William Miller, aka "Will Yum," is the winner of this week's giveaway of the SlikStik joystick handles! Congrats, Will!


SlikStik Handles Giveaway: 1 Day Left!
Just a reminder that if you'd like a chance to win a free pair of SlikStik joystick handles (your choice of mounting shaft and balltop color), today is the last day (details on the RetroBlast front page) I'll be picking the winner tomorrow morning, just as soon as I've had a big cup of coffee...ah, coffee...

Raffles: Just 4 Days Left!
Another friendly reminder that the RetroBlast raffles will be drawn this Wednesday, February 16th, so you've got just four days to enter if you'd like a chance to win the Wells-Gardner D9200 arcade monitor or the Dream Arcades Side-by-Side Cocktail Gaming System. Full details are available on the RetroBlast front page.


Yes, it's here...
The Quasicade 2The Quasicade2 finally made it here yesterday, safe and sound, and I spent the rest of the day assembling and testing it. First impressions? It's a fantastic cab, and the controller has some truly marvelous and unique features. The quality level is amazing.

I'm working on the review, shooting video and in general checking out every square inch of this system.

It's going to be a big review, so it may take a few days, but trust me, this is one RetroBlast review you don't want to miss!

PAPA 8 Announced!
The unbeliveable has happened: Kevin Martin has announced the PAPA 8 Pinball championships. This, despite the flood last summer that destroyed 232 of their pinball machines and trashed their center. The championships will have prizes in excess of $33,000 ($10,000 for the first place winner!), and will be held August 11-14th. Full details can be on the PAPA web site.

Pure Pinball Demo
Pure Pinball 2.0Thanks to Jeff Atwood, who wrote in with a link to a playable demo of Pure Pinball for the PC. The demos has some great graphics, including 12 different camera views, true 3D playfield, and even glare from the playfield glass (which can be turned off). The demo has one time-limited table, but it's still a good taste of the full package.

5 Days Left!
Just five days until I announce the raffle winners of the Wells-Gardner D9200 arcade monitor and the Dream Arcades Side-by-Side Cocktail Gaming System! If you haven't already entered, time is running out. Full details on the raffles are available on the RetroBlast front page. Good luck!

Red-Hot Pinball on Ebay
Literally. Trust me, check out this auction for some hot pinball action.


And the Mystery Review Item is...
The Quasicade 2A Quasicade 2 arcade unit from Quasimoto Interactive! Yes, I'm going to be reviewing this amazing-looking arcade system, which supports XBox, PS2, Gamecube, and PC gaming.

It's due to be delivered this morning, if I haven't jinxed the delivery again by posting about it. I'll post more news once I've got it safely in my clutches.

World's Smallest Pac-Man?
Take a look at the picture on the right — that an actual size screen snapshot of this new flash-based Pac-Man game. It's actually playable, too! And here's a special surprise: when the game's over, use the arrow keys and you can pick a "mini-me" version of Asteroids as well!

Pinball! Pinball! Pinball!
No, I'm not just repeating myself: that's the name of a special Pinball exhibit at the Ford Art Museum in Michigan. I'm always pleased to see pinball recognized as an art form. ;-)

Photos of the Winston-Salem Auction
If you're curious about what an arcade game auction looks like, the Broken Token has posted photos of last weekend's Winston-Salem auction. I don't know about you, but I feel certain, um...urges...when I see row after row of classic arcade games...

Racing Simulators
The Hyper Stimulator CockpitContributing reviewer James McGovern sent me this link of some very cool racing cockpits from Hyper, everything from DIY kits for $300 all the way up to an ultra-mega-supreme version for about $4000. They even fold up for storage!


And so, I wait...
Yes, the shipping company's screwed up, and while they're "working as fast as they can" to straighten things out, my special delivery is now tentatively scheduled for tomorrow (or Thursday, they weren't sure). More news as the situation develops...

Streets of Tron
You've got to love the innovative things people are dreaming up for GPS navigation systems. Here's another retrogame that was just begging for a GPS-based reality: GPS::Tron is a "GPS Based Multiplayer Game for Mobile Phones."

To quote from the site: "The players move in real space, they are tracked by GPS and their position influences their position in the game. Each player is represented by a line that gets longer and longer. However, the player's own line is not allowed to cross itself or the opponent's line. If it does, the player causing the crash loses."

Next Arcade News
Next Control PanelTLC Industries has been working overtime on their new Next Arcade system, including this new control panel and new versions of their cool-looking cabs. They've also signed distribution deals with several big-name companies such as Take Two Interactive, so look for a lot of cool games for their system. Watch for a RetroBlast review of their control panel in the near future!

Dream Arcades Cab Mod
Jeff's Cab ModsRetroBlast reader Jeff Atwood recently bought a Dream Arcades 3-Way cocktail cab, and in true MAME spirit immediately set about modding it. Check out the changes: a coin door, control panel lighting, external speakers, and more. The end result is really great looking, and makes an already cool cabinet even better!

Arcades Outmoded by Consoles
Check out this article in the Daily Bruin and see if you agree or disagree with their conclusions.


It's Coming...Today?
Yes, I just found out that the "mystery product" I've been hinting about is due to be delivered sometime today. This product is the reason I bought an XBox, and it's something every gamer (Console, PC, or Retro) is going to want to find out more about. I'll spill the beans once it's delivered, so keep an eye on the news page.

Update: I jinxed the delivery by posting about it. Maybe tomorrow...


We Have a Winner!
The winner of the Stinger control panel from Game Cabinets Inc. is Tom Lamb! Congrats, Tom, keep an eye out for a huge box sometime this week!

A New Weekly Giveaway!
SlikStik Joystick handlesI had planned on ending the giveaways this week, but SlikStik has offered a nice prize addition: a pair of SlikStik Joystick Handles! Not only that, but you'll get to pick the shaft style (so they fit your joysticks), and the handle style (balltop or pear) and color (anything but stainless steel). Visit the RetroBlast front page to enter.


MAME Marquees Review
MAME MarqueesThe "review du jour" today is of MAME Marquees delicious looking product line. We've got fresh sideart, followed by a hearty control panel overlay, and a tasty marquee to top everything off. Seating for this review is now available over in the RetroBlast Product Reviews section. Bon appetit!

Last Day for Stinger Giveaway!
The StingerIf you want to enter the RetroBlast Stinger Giveaway, today is your last chance. As with the other drawings, I'll be picking a winner tomorrow morning (just as soon as I've woken up and had a cup or two of coffee!) For details on how to enter the giveaway, visit the RetroBlast front page.

The Art of the Arcade Boot
Boot ScreenHere's some retrogaming news that's a bit...abstract. Gizmodo reports on some unique arcade boot displays over at's AX|BX page. Is it art? If you're an arcade enthusiast, you're probably already buying frames...

Open Auditions for Video Game Characters
Your face in a game!Have you always dreamed of being in a video game? Now's your chance: the BBC is reporting that video game BioWare is holding open auditions: if you're picked, they'll scan your head in 3D and your face will used in their videogames. A strange way to achieve immortality, but I'm still interested...


Interview with Will Wright and Howard Scott Warsaw
"Who?" you may be asking. Check out this fascinating interview with these two video game pioneers and find out what contributions they've made to the industry, both the good and the bad. (Thanks to Ron Brown for the link!)

ZAP! The GameNow this got my attention (thanks again to Ron Brown!): "Zap! is a 2D vector graphics multiplayer team action strategy game that plays like a cross between Robotron and Tribes with the graphical blend of Asteroids and Pac-Man. As a 2D game Zap can be played with keyboard&mouse or (recommended) a dual-analog gamepad. Zap has several game types, including CTF, Zone Control, Retrieve, Soccer, Hunters and Rabbit, and it supports familiar features like hierarchal V-menu chat and recorded voice."

The Ultimate MAME Light Gun?
The G1 Light GunThanks to the tireless crew over on the BYOAC forums, I've just found out about the new G1 Wireless Light Gun from eReal Games. Using a special sensor module mounted above the display and two infrared LEDs on the gun, the G1 gun works with any display device (up to 100" diagonal size!).

What it doesn't work with, at least not yet, is a PC (it's for XBox and PS2 only). eReal Games has mentioned they will only develop the PC version of their game if there is enough demand. MAME gamers, if you want a light gun, this may be our last hope: email eReal Games and let them know you want a PC version of this light gun!


Fox Trot's Outdoor MAME
Looks like the comic strip Fox Trot is doing a tribute to classic video games. Check them out and you'll see what I mean by "outdoor MAME" ;-)

MAMEworld's New Face
It looks like MAME World has finished their site update/refresh, and it looks great. In addition, they've made some changes "under the hood" that will make the site easier to maintain (read: more news!)


Space Invader Synth
Looking for that authentic retro sound? has announced the resurrection of the 1980's video game Space Invaders in a little modular synth box called the Space*Synth. This device uses the original synth chip from the 1980's video arcade game Space Invaders. Bleep boop boop!

Air Strike 2.0
Thanks to RetroBlast reader Greg Thorpe for pointing out the release of Air Strike 2.0, a sequel to the popular 3D arcade shooter from Divo Games. Fly an attack chopper and...well, blast anything that moves. You know the drill...


My Website Personality

You are You like to prove people wrong. Your friends rely on you for the truth, but you're not perfect. You once made a rocket car.
Which Website are You?

Cash Offered for High Scores
Yes, it's true: Twin Galaxies' Board of Referees is offering cash "bounties" to encourage new world records on specific game titles, ranging from arcade titles and Atari 2600 games, all the way up to modern console games such as the X-Box's Halo. If you've got the skillz, might as well try to cash in...

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