Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New stuff on the Youtube channel

Keep meaning to update this blog a bit more, been absolutely flying the last few weeks ,and thrown a few new videos up
This month I has been mostly playing

Rally Speedway

Night Driver and Battlezone

Cosmic Ark and Solar Fox

And lastly Montezuma's Revenge

That last one is in the new format that I'm using
I've a slightly better intro , and I'm using a new video editor to assemble the whole lot.Downside is that the rendering takes longer and the uploads are bigger , which on my rubbish ADSL is bad.Generally vids take 2 evenings to do .One to play and record and edit , then the other to render and upload.
Also the way the sound was recorded was a bit different.
What I usually do is play the game and either a/ record my audio later (based on notes I took)b/ record a rough version of the audio (using audacity) and rerecord it (with all the ahhs and ums taken out)c/ record it live and redo the bad bits later.(using audacity)
What I did for Montezuma's was take the video input from my capture card , but the audio from mic when recording the gameplay .I was able to keep it together and actually make sense with fairly few mistakes while playing , so hopefully I can do it this way in future.
Have a few more vids planned over christmas , I have a special project which is either going to work well or die horribly , I want to look at some older PC games , and in the new year theres some Amiga stuff I want to try.

Monday, November 14, 2011

More Vids!

Oh hey ..good stuff , a nice chap called stevebenway gave my youtube channel a shoutout last week , which meant lots of nice new subscribers! Which was nice. :)

lots of new vids from me

oh and I finally decided to step in front of the camera!

Mod me too!

SO...actually went back and finished the megadrive mod . I did the longer version of the mod , and lo and behold it worked ! I think that the pin numbering on the "shorter" guide was off , or maybe it was the cabling I was using , but it's all working correctly now!I nabbed a replacement RGB cable and it all looks great.I went back and hotglued (as the switch holes I made were a bit too big) the switches , and replaced the red LED with a yellow one ..just ..well , just cause I could!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mod me do!

I've had an odd few weeks or two and no mistake.
Due to a snafu with ebay (involving a parcel making an unexpected and frankly reasonless trip to Lima) I've found myself with two megadrives.Where as previsouly I was lacking in the megadrive 1 department , I am now overflowing. Rather than doing the anything sensible like , you know , selling one and making my wife happy, or trading it, I instead decided to modify one, kepping the other one as a spare.I wanted to have an uber setup that would run any cartridge I threw at it.
Well... Sega cartridge obviously.
The first part , which involved widening the cart slot wasnt too bad .Much hacking , and scraping and cutting , and after I'd bandaged my hands and wiped up the blood, I had a machine that still looked decent enough and would take the slightly wider Japanese cartridges.
The second part , the part that would show me as the uber modder that I am involved fitting two switches to the side of the machine , one to change it from 50/60hz , the other to force it between japanese and english language .Both are essential to playing import games properly.
Making the holes for the first piart wasnt too bad, although the jerry rigged drill setup I used didnt go 100 percent correctly (I'm pretty sure the skin on my thumb will grow back , although it makes typing this a lot harder .Thank God for spellchecks , thats all I can say),and eventually I got a bit gung ho and just used the side of the soldering iron to melt the slots for the switches into the side of the unit.This worked out quite well , although the computer room still smells like of burnt plastic a week later.I'd picked up two switches in maplin , and an old keyboard cable which had the right amount of cored cables inside.After breaking the trace on two jumpers on the motherboard I was ready to go.
I 'd used a guide from mmonkey's guides , which involved a few less cables , a neater design and a bit less soldering.
It was perfect , or at least it would have if it had actually worked.
Sadly some thing had gone wrong somewhere and the machine refused to start.
Eventually I got some small cables , made mini jumpers out of them and soldered them where the cut traces had been .Success , the machine was starting now! Except its now running in 60hz mode!
It shouldnt!
It needs an RGB cable to work in colour though..doh!
I've decided to go back to the drawing board and restart this from scratch , with a less complicated switch design.Hopefully itll work
Oh and in other news I picked up 2 fake sega 6 button pads (they work fine but appear to be made out of the same plastic used for dog -chew-toys), and somehow got a Master system converter (the big one that sits ontop of the megadrive 1 ) for a fiver off ebay.Normally there 20-40 quid so I lucked out there .Its a good thing I have the spare meg to use them on!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

ahh way too long between updates.Had a ton of stuff going on , and not much spare time.
Load of new updates over on the youtube channel. Finally finshed the outrun reviews , covering the msx/dos ps2 versions and having a crack at the arcade version.Did mini reviews of robocop2 chase hq on the c64 , granada on the meg and treasure island dizzy.
The current one up at the mo is Kings field , the rock hard precursor to dark souls

I covered the first part of a batman gaming retrospective over at too
I've the second part finished , I just have to get a chance to get it uploaded properly!
I'd a few background problems too . I'd gotten a new video capture device, and while it works fine , conicidentally I'd noticed that all the narration I recorded since was very lispy.I couldnt work out what was wrong, I dont talk with a lisp in real life , I changed the headset/rerecored in audacity , but it was still there.EVENTUALLY I worked out what had happened .I've a little usb cam on my desk .It has a mike built in (I hadnt realised this).When I first started recording youtube vids and doing recordings , I'd been using a headset , but windows had defaulted the microphone to the usb web cam one.Ironically it seems to be much better at recording my voice than the headset! Its a happy accident as if I'd heard the lispyness on the first few vids I would have given up making them!
Anything else? oh yeah I'm now the proud owner of 2 megadrive 1's .I'd bought one from a nice guy on ebay .I'd managed to get it "as is " and "possibly working" for 99p plus a tenner postage.The chap split it up into 3 parcels when sending , 1 for pads , 1 for psu and 1 for the meg.?Two of them arrived (with the meg) didnt .Time passed , and in fairness to the guy he offered a full refund.JUST as I was going to drop him a mail and look for 2-3 quid back for the meg , it arrived.With a delivery docket showing it had ended up at LIMA airport .Thats in Peru. LIMA.PERU. My irish address was correct and readable.LIMA! No idea how the hell it got diverted to there.
Of course in the meantime I'd gone out and picked up a second MD 1 (I traded one of my many c64s for it).
So now I've two .One is probably going to be modded to run every region of MD cart , the other left pristine(and yeah probably traded for another console a few months from now).

Monday, September 5, 2011


Picked up a lovely A600 , monitor!! and a non working a500+ via a nice chap(cheers aidan)
so going to film me fitting a hard disk ,(hopefully) in the next day or two

Muchas update!

hello, bit of an absence in posting.I' ve been a busy bee .
I've switched to doing a few single game reviews/play's
first up I 'd a look at Xybots on the Lynx

partly as I'd wanted to have a look at it , and partly as I picked up a sealed copy in the post that day!!Very nice it was too , I included a quick look at the arcade version (I've a copy of it in the ps2 via Midway Arcade hits 2)
I dug up a copy of Starace (via a ZZapp64 cover tape)next

It was not much cop (although the Music was good)even sped up!

After that , because I wanted to try a good game I looked at an old (obscure ish) favourite

I managed to mess up a bit and used an odd copy of the Atari version , which was missing backgrounds (which is what happens when you start using dodgy disk images.)
messed up a bit with the volume levels (I'm still using Windows Movie maker, and forgot to change the sound levels when kicking off the narration!).
I rerecorded a copy of the atari port running from tape which had all the missing bits

I 've a video capture card ordered so hopefully I get it in the next month.Once I do I can use "live" games consoles , andit'll mean ps2/n64 etc reviews (As I dont really like emulating these)
Going to be posting some content for a good website , so hopefully will have more details on that when its done!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

outrun , last stage : Amiga , ST (GBA)

Finally got the last few conversions that I'm covering for now up on youtube
Amiga , Meg and as a surprise last entry GBA (via a sega compilation).

The Amiga was a sub par conversion of the ST, but my GOD! the intro is unbelievably bad .Someone doing a bad impression of "80's voiceover guy" , with a crappy "art of noise" sample tune playing over it...terrible!!
the Meg was fantastic, but being a sega 16 bit conversion of a sega arcade game , it looks great and plays very smoothly.Its a pity it doesn't have the extra modes the gamegear had, and a bit easy but well worth getting.
The GBA version is a bit blocky on a big screen , but pound for pound is probably closer to the arcade than the meg! Considering its a more "modern" console , its a cheat , which is why I think the meg is probably the best 16 bit version.(its my favorite handheld version though).

In the background mysteriously kega fusion suddenly started making AVI files that I didnt need to convert! Winuae was a bit fiddly to get going but seemed ok .Visual boy was grand except when I was playing the sound kept going ..but oddly enough the recorded AVI was fine! I also have CCS64 working now ( as getting winvice to record avi is a nightmare) so I'll be putting up a quick review of the c64 emulated , to match the spectrum one.
I reckon I need to slow down the output of videos , and spend a bit more time on them , which should hopefully mean I'm ah..and uming less I guess.
Probably look at one or two standalone reviews next.I'm itching to do a few Atari ones.And then start on GAuntlet...All of em!!

I'm probably going to look at

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

SMS and GG

Why do you fight me computer..why?!?

Master system and its cousin , the game gear reviews done and put to bed, link to follow as soon as I upload it to the youtubes.

Nightmare though , as the emulated outputted video files didn't want to work at all with my pc
much coercing , fiddling and towards the end swearing and praying finally got them working.
Then my Pc ate the commentray I'd recorded.Twice.So the third time I recorded it I was knackered , and my "er" "ah" and "um" quota was quite high!
Both versions are excellent by the way , I'd give em a 85% (sms ) and a slightly higher 86% (GG).
I'll be looking at the Amiga and Megadrive versions next before taking a break for a bit on the conversions and trying maybe a few Atari 8 bit games.

Monday, August 15, 2011


So good news , this guy arrived in the post , so a video will follow .Going to be fairly busy over the next few days so hopefully I'll find time to do a proper review.

Atari ST

ST review here

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Amstrad and Atari

So , the Amstrad version?
Not good , no music , terrible sound, no car animation on crashes , and so blocky it looks like its running on an Atari VCS.Just ....horrible.
I preferred the Atari 8 bit version to it , and that's an unplayable , unfinished demo!

So to get the taste out of my mouth I've reviewed the Atari ST version , as I speak I'm compiling the video so I'll upload it to youtube in the next day or so .It's an improvement on the Amstrad one , but not as good as I would have thought , or liked.
I'm probably going to take a break of a few days on Outrun , I'm reviewing these in the evening , and between , filming , capturing , editing and uploading to YT , I'm getting to bed at around fun.
Plus I'm starting to get a bit burnt out on Outrun , I like the game , even if I'm a bit rubbish at it , but theres a lot more games out there I like to play, I'm not THAT obsessed with it.
I'm going to try and look at some obscure atari 8 bit games possibly over the next few days.
I have found though that a mix of "live" and captured emulation works pretty well for these though , and also that my "" count is going down , slightly as I progress , so hopefully these videos are actually getting a bit more entertaining to watch as they start to add up.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Amstrad version
, proper review and such when I get a chance but until then

Friday, August 12, 2011

Time capsule

The internets a funny place , I'm having a few problems with Atari ST disks , and I know a while back I worked out a way to transfer st disk image files from PC to a floppy that the ST itself could read, but for the life of me couldn't remember how.
So I start searching , and eventually find a forum post on how to do it.
Half way through reading I glance up at the user details and realise that I'd actually posted it myself a few years back when I was using the ST a lot.
This is the post here
Anyhoo thanks to the past version of me's help I was able to format and recopy files to the ST Outrun disk, so hopefully I'll be reviewing that next.


So I wanted to have mess about with outrun on the spectrum one last time before I moved on.
One copy of Spectaculator later and a lot of faffing about and I did exactly that .Its a pity that we couldn't really get games running at that kind of speed in the 80's.
video below

I still prefer playing games on the original machines for the reviews but they do look a hell of a lot better when emulated and captured to video , so might mix the reviews up a bit with some of that in future..

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

128k of Fun

Tonight I play the spectrum version.
Its a big thing for me as I've always had a grudge against the rubber keyed beast,possibly as I didn't know anyone with one, and when I encountered the retro gaming scene in the UK , to a lot of of people it was the be all and end all of gaming.
How??? with its color clash , monochrome graphics , lack of a good sound chip , and odd controls it was clearly inferior to the c64.Crazy Jet set Willy lovin' loonies , what do they know!
The two spectrum's I had as part of my collection went pretty much unused.
Reviewing the Spectrum version left me pleasantly surprised.
it was slow , but otherwise enjoyable , graphically (once you get used to the monochrome graphics)its excellent , quite detailed and full of cars and scenery.
The branching system works pretty well (if you dont mind messing with tapes)
So bit of a cop out but I'd rate it the same as the c64 , for slightly different reasons!
Video review here.

a bit more about outrun

Couple of things
Firstly thanks to the outrun FAQ at mikes arcade ,
I know that despite what I'd been told the Disk version of Outrun on the c64 DOES'NT have branching paths either, just a menu to load which route to take.

So I got that one wrong

On a slightly happier note it explains exactly how loading works on the Spectrum version, confirming why messing around with tape images on an emulator would load it , but on my real spectrum I got stuck on a loading screen.
So hopefully that'll help when I review the Spectrum version.
This blog's not just about Outrun by the way , I hopefully will be reviewing a few plat formers as well , but I do like comparing conversions.
Back when these games were being sold , very few people had more than one system ,and you basically played with what you were dealt (to mix a metaphor) so having lots of different versions to try is a lot of fun for me.
Oh by the way since I didnt mention it , the Blog name is taken from a Grant Lee Buffalo song called 'It's the life':

" If the life you have created
Has buried you with luxuries out-dated"

I'm not exactly buried , and unlike the protagonist of the song I've a load of life left in me , but I always liked the song , and its a poetic description of the stuff I collect , so it seemed appropriate.

Found "Route b"

So... OutRun
I was a big fan of this in the arcades , dont get me wrong , I was terrible at it , I didnt even know about the branching paths until years later when I actually managed to work out how to use the gears correctly and actually started making it to the further stages.\
I've managed to pick up a few different versions of it over the years , so I figured that that review wise it'd be a good place to start.
The Commodore 64 version while being a bit blocky runs nice and fast , other than the 'tch tch tch' noise you get while breaking there's not much sound , but the rendition of the arcade games soundtrack makes up for it.Oh and its hard
Really hard.

In the video below it actually took me about 10 attempts and two controllers to get past the first stage!

I've also did a bit of checking up on the atari 8 bit version , sadly it looks like its stalled , but I've included a "shakeycam" footage of it at the end of the video review.
Hopefully I should have the video review uploaded tomorrow at some point.
Oh and video reviews , a lot harder than I thought they'd be to do .Unscripted, I have an awful habit of saying "" a lot while trying to think what to say .And also I've discovered that the last thing people want to see is a quarter of the screen filled with the back of a reviewers head .I wish I'd discovered this before I filmed 15 minutes of it though.So I had to reload the game , retape it and pretend that it was the first time! Hopefully you wont notice the join.(and hopefully you dont notice where I get the loading screen twice !)

Ok all reviews need a score , I'd say ...oooh how about 80 ..its a good attempt at recreating the arcade , and its playable which is the main thing 80 it is then.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Load "intro",8,1

What this blog is about is games.
Mainly old games to be precise.
Ideally REALLY old games

Right , at this point most people have backspaced off the page and are off looking for details on "dead island" , for the few of you that are left you've obviously got taste!

What I'm going to try and do over the next while is go through my games collection and review some of the good ones .better still I'm also going to review the really really BAD ones as well.
Hopefully I'm going to use the original computer/console to play them on , and if I can manage it I'll knock up a link to a gameplay vid as well.This is basically to prove that while I may know a bit about games , I am , 30 odd years after I started playing them , still rubbish!
First up I'm going to be looking at Outrun , both on the c64 and spectrum.