Videogames Hardware Handbook

January 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Videogames Hardware HandbookI’m a big fan of Retro Gamer magazine, despite how expensive it is to get here in the US (it’s a UK import).  It’s a fantastic classic gaming mag, jam packed with lots of great content in every issue (the typical issue is 114 pages, with virtually no ads).

One of my favorite parts of the magazine is their recurring “Retroinspection” feature.  With this feature, they give an overview of a particular gaming platform. They go into its history, its strenghts and weaknesses, relevance in the marketplace at the time, and oftentimes even interview key players involved with the platform in some way.  These articles are a great introduction to the different platforms that are out there, and the “Perfect Ten” portions where they recommend 10 games everyone should play are a great way to figure out where to start when exploring a new system.

So, when Retro Gamer released a compliation of past Retroinspections over the holidays, I knew I had to have it — especially considering how interested I am in collecting hardware.  Videogames Hardware Handbook: The Game Machine Collector’s Manual covers a 22 year timespan from 1977 to 1999 and covers everything from consoles to handhelds to odd British 8-bit computers that we never saw over here (but are crazy popular over there).  You get info on all the platforms you’d expect, like the Atari 2600, NES, Genesis (or the Mega Drive, as they call it), plus some of the more obscure, like the 3DO, Jaguar, NEC PC-FX, and 8-bits like the ZX Spectrum and Dragon 32.  Basically, it’s 256 pages of pure content covering 35 different platforms.

Unfortunately, though, it’s not comprehensive.  Since this is a compliation of past articles instead of fresh content, anything that wasn’t already covered in a Retroinspection isn’t included.  So, no Colecovision, no 32X, no Neo-Geo, and no PlayStation.  Nevertheless, if you’re into retro game collecting, I’m finding it a fascinating compliation and a great value.

Note that I’m in no way affiliated with Imagine Publishing and this isn’t a paid ad or anything.  I just really like Retro Gamer magazine and this special edition.  I want everyone to know about it!  And I want it to sell well enough that they make a second volume covering all the platforms that weren’t included in this edition…

RetroTube: Commodore 64 and Famicom montages

June 18, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

A couple of cool retro-gaming-themed YouTube videos have been making the rounds this week, so I thought they’d make a good introduction to another regular mini-feature I had in mind.  YouTube is a veritable treasure trove of obscure video game minutiae, and I love almost every minute of it!  So, I plan to share some of my favorites in the future.  In the meantime, let’s get started with these two:

100 Commodore 64 games in 10 minutes

I found this video especially interesting, having never played a Commodore 64 before.  (I know, I know, some retro gamer I am, right?) In fact, I’m pretty tempted to get one now!  I recommend watching the video and then checking this link, where the fine folks at the DigitPress forums have managed to identify the majority of the games.

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Every Famicom title screen, ever!

After you’ve exhausted yourself watching 100 Commodore 64 games, you can move on to every Famicom title screen.  Ever.  The coolest part is that I think they’re even in chronological order!  I think it’s interesting to see how the title screens generally started out with similar templates, but became more complex and more interesting to look at as time went on.  Oh, and notice the duplicates?  I’m thinking that’s because of games that got released on both cartridge and the disk system.  Ooh, and notice the “Namcot” logos?  Too cool… Man, I love this stuff.

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Pac-Man Excel port… What the!?

June 14, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

PacelleI don’t know how old this is, but I just discovered it.  Therefore, it’s new to me, and so it’s still cool.  I stumbled upon this link today and discovered probably the most advanced Excel application I’ve ever seen.  That’s right, you read the headline correctly… This is a port of Pac-Man.  To Excel!  It’s actually quite cool, with sound effects and everything.  The only problem is that the controls aren’t the most responsive, but I’m not sure I should be expecting much more out of a spreadsheet program!

Update: It looks like they’ve actually ported several classic games to Excel, including Tetris, Space Invaders, and Columns.  Check it out!