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…

The Snatcher Mission

June 21, 2007 by · 4 Comments 

Snatcher CoverWhile the main purpose of this site is to give me a forum to review the games I’ve already collected and played over the years, I can’t quite stop myself there. I can’t avoid the fact that I’m going to buy more games. That’s just the way it is for me! But sometimes a game deserves a little more attention than “Oh hey, I picked this game up cheap, it’s pretty cool, give it a look.” If that’s the case, then I want to properly document my experience with it. So every once in a while, I will embark on a mission… The first one begins now.

The Snatcher Mission:

I know, virtually for a fact, that I will like Snatcher. First of all, it’s an adventure game. Second of all, it has a gorgeous 2D graphical style. Third of all, it’s not only for a retro system, but a failed retro system. What can I say? I have a serious soft spot for failed retro systems. Oh yeah, and it has cyber-punk themes. And it’s created by Hideo Kojima! (I think I need a longer list…)

So if I know I’d love the game, why haven’t I played it? It’s been a matter of access, really. Sure, I could download the game and play it on an emulator, but that wouldn’t be doing it justice. I want to play the real thing. And therein lies the problem.

You see, back in the 16-bit days, I was an SNES fan. All my friends had the Genesis, but I decided to buck the trend and go the Nintendo route. That means I got to play fantastic games like a plethora of wonderful Mario games (World, Kart, RPG), Chrono Trigger, Zelda, StarFox, Tetris Attack, and plenty more. But it also means I picked up on the Genesis extremely late in the game. So the only Genesis I have is a Genesis 3. Which is incompatible with the Sega CD. And Snatcher is a Sega CD game. And on top of that, it’s best played with the Justifier light gun. Beginning to understand where I’m coming from?

So my mission is clear. I want to play Snatcher, but in order to do so, I must first obtain the necessary setup. These are the objectives:

  1. Purchase a model 1 or model 2 Sega Genesis
  2. Purchase a model 1 or model 2 Sega CD
  3. Purchase a Justifier light gun
  4. Purchase a copy of Snatcher
  5. Play and review the above

Objectives #1 and #2 may be combined in the form of a JVC X’Eye or CDX. I’m tempted to go with a Japanese X’Eye (a Wondermega) because it has S-video and stereo output, but then I would have to region mod it. Then again, I could get S-video and stereo mods on a domestic X’Eye and be in similar shape. Obviously, I have some research to do and decisions to make.

Maybe I’m a geek, but I’m already finding the process of researching these parts fun and interesting. Hopefully, by documenting and sharing what I learn, you will, too. Stick around!

JVC WondermegaJVC X’EyeJustifier Gun