Super cheap Turbo Duo/PC Engine extension cables

May 26, 2008 by · 9 Comments 

Turbo Duo/PC Engine extension cableThose of you who have played the Turbo line of consoles (TurboGrafx-16, Turbo Duo) or the Japanese equivalent (the PC Engine consoles) are well aware that that the systems are fantastic, except for one little thing… The cords on the controllers are ridiculously short!  They’re something like three feet long.  That gets irritating, fast.  The problem, though, is that official extension cords are somewhat hard to find and a little pricier than they should be.  $15 or $20 for a piece of wire?  Really?

But after another grueling Turbo Duo session where I was forced to sit on the floor and crane my neck way back to see the TV, I decided enough was enough and there must be an easier way to get an extension cable.  After all, the connectors look like pretty basic old PC-style connectors, right?  Well, after a little asking around, I found out the Duo and PC Engine controller connectors are actually standard 8-pin mini-DIN adapters — commonly used with old Macs.  I hit up trusty old Monoprice (never buy cables anywhere else) and sure enough, these cords are dirt cheap.

Get some 6ft extension cables for your Turbo Duo or PC Engine for $1.53!  Or even cheaper if you buy multiples… Never feel tethered to your system again.  If you know of a good cheap extension cable for the TurboGrafx, let me know and I’ll add it to this post.

(P.S.: I’m in no way affiliated with Monoprice or anything, I just wanted to point out a good deal.)

The Catch-Up Post: SMS Badass Edition

May 24, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

SMS BadassWell, it’s been a couple of months since I posted, and I mentioned that I’d be instating a moratorium on classic game purchases after the Midwest Gaming Classic.  Did I stick to it?  In fact, I did!  I went the month of April without making any classic gaming purchases.  My wallet thanks me!  (Though I did have to pick up Mario Kart on the Wii because, I mean, c’mon… It’s Mario Kart.  It’s not a classic game, anyway, so I win on a technicality.)

But since I only had a one-month moratorium and I haven’t posted in two months, that means I have about a month’s worth of catching up to do.  Let’s start off with the Midwest Gaming Classic.  For those that didn’t attend (probably most of you), I really highly recommend this show!  I had a ton of fun.  I got to see all kinds of cool games and had a chance to play around in the museum with some interesting systems I’d never experienced before (like the FM Towns Marty and Nuon).  On top of that, there was a nice lineup of speakers.  I had a chance to hear a bunch of cool talks from people like Walter Day of Twin Galaxies/The King of Kong fame, Sushi-X and Trickman Terry of EGM fame, and Ben Heckendorn of “can turn any system into a portable” fame.  And, best of all was the vendor area, where I amassed the following:

  • Dracula X: Rondo of Blood (PC Engine CD): Probably the crown jewel of the show for me.  I picked up the best “traditional” Castlevania game ever, and at a pretty good price.  I’d never played it before, but it totally lived up to the hype.
  • Rotary Controller (Jaguar): A fantastic hand-made rotary controller for the Jaguar.  It breathed all new life into Tempest 2000.  I will never use the D-pad again!
  • Sega Master System (Hardware) and games: I was always curious about the Master System, so I bit the bullet and finally picked one up.  Hooray, new hardware!  It’s always exciting to have a new library of games to explore.  I started off with Alex Kidd in Miracle World and Alex Kidd: High-Tech World.
  • Rad Racer II (NES): Man, I loved Rad Racer on the NES.  I had vague memories of playing Rad Racer II once, but always wanted to pick it up and give it a real playthrough.  Honestly, it’s kinda disappointing.  It didn’t quite live up to the original, but oh well.  At least it was cheap.
  • The Need for Speed (3DO): There was a small showing of 3DO games at MGC, and this mint copy of The Need for Speed is my first true complete 3DO game.  It even has the advertising inserts!  I gotta say, those longboxes are total overkill.  They’re oddly appealing, though.
  • Instruction Manuals (NES): I’ve had a barebones copy of the original Mario Bros. (the arcade game, not SMB) for the NES since I was something like 10 and finally got a manual to go along with it.  I also picked one up for R.C. Pro-Am, since I got a cart-only copy of that not too long ago.

Okay, so that covers it for MGC.  I will definitely be returning next year.  There was so much cool stuff that I wanted…  But enough of that, I also made a few other purchases, the biggest of which was:

  • Sega Master System Lot (hardware and games): After getting a Master System at MGC, I went home and hit up eBay to expand my collection.  I found a nice deal on a big lot of stuff, which included another system, a couple extra controllers, a light gun, a bunch of games, and (most importantly) a pair of the SMS 3D glasses.  Games in the lot were After Burner, Black Belt, Choplifter, Enduro Racer, Ghost House, Hang On/Safari Hunt, Maze Hunter 3-D, Sports Pad Football, and Zaxxon 3-D.  My favorites of the bunch were probably Maze Hunter 3-D and Ghost House with honorable mentions for Enduro Racer and Zaxxon 3-D.  The rest are pretty mediocre, quite frankly.  I think the SMS is going to take some digging to get to the truly good stuff.

And, finally, I hit up old reliable, Pre-Played, for a few random additions to the collection:

  • Missile Defense 3-D (SMS): This is a neat lightgun game that makes use of the 3D glasses.  It’s a pretty cool effect, shooting at 3D missiles that are popping out of the screen at me.  Not to mention I look like a badass with both the glasses and phazer in tow! (See the picture above).
  • Blaster Master (NES): This game really deserves more praise but never really gained the public awareness to become a favored classic.  It’s something of an underdog, which is probably part of why I like it so much!  For those not aware, it’s a fantastic shooter where you split your time between side-scrolling and overhead sections.  Commandeer a tank in the side-scrolling sections, or hop out at any time to head out on foot.  Enter caves to switch to an overhead view.  The game has a nice, quirky, light-hearted feel to it, too.  I mean, the story involves chasing after your pet frog after it’s grown to humongous size after being exposed to radioactive waste…
  • Golgo-13: Top Secret Episode (NES): This is a unique game that mixes all kinds of different play mechanics like side-scrolling action, horizontal shoot-em-up, FPS, and “sniper modes” and wraps them all up in a spy/espionage plot.  Very interesting overall, but the controls in the side-scrolling sections suck.  Not bad for 99 cents, though!

And, most recently, I grabbed a new NES 72-pin adapter off eBay to resolve the damn blinking problem that every NES ever has.  I should have done this years ago, it works beautifully!

Whew, okay, that about does it for now.  But as you can see, I’ve added a ton of games to my collection without actually writing any new reviews.  I’ve become resigned to the fact that I’ll probably never review all of them at my current pace.  So, don’t be surprised to see a slight format change soon that will allow me to get reviews up much faster and more frequently.

Latest Haul and Impressions: Buster Bros. & Battletech

March 7, 2008 by · 2 Comments 

Latest Haul: Buster Bros. & BattletechBelieve it or not, I’ve been pretty busy with retro gaming lately.  I may not be posting much, but I’ve been playing a lot of my Turbo, lurking messageboards, and watching eBay like a hawk.  My latest acquisitions are Battletech (Genesis) and Buster Bros. (TurboGrafx-CD).  Battletech was a nice find, because someone at work posted to the internal classifieds that they were giving it away for free.  Being the collector I am, I immediately put dibs on it!  I was bummed to see that he took the poster that was included with the game and hung it up in his office, but hey, free is free.  Buster Bros., on the other hand, was an eBay purchase.  It’s a fun little game that turned out to be a pretty good deal — it’s in pristine condition.  Anyway, here are my thoughts after playing them each a bit:

  • Battletech (Genesis): It’s a top-down/isometric shooter reminiscent of the Strike series, but you pilot a mech in the Battletech universe.  It’s a well-made game with nice graphics and controls, but wow!  It is brutally hard!  I still haven’t passed the first level!  This one is going to take some serious playtime to dig into. (Free, from a coworker)
  • Buster Bros. (TurboGrafx-CD): This is a fun little old-school arcade game.  There are a bunch of bouncing spheres invading the Earth, wreaking havoc, and it’s your job to destroy them all.  When you shoot a sphere, it splits into two smaller ones until, finally, the smallest ones can be destroyed.  You get more points for shooting multiple spheres of the same size in a row, so you’re rewarded for filling the screen with tiny, hard to avoid, bouncing balls — it gets pretty hectic!  The soundtrack makes use of the CD format, the graphics are simple but charming, and the gameplay is straightforward but challenging and addictive.  ($5.17, eBay)

Anyway, I’m on a real TurboGrafx kick these days.  I think I might flesh out my collection a bit… Of course, I should probably get around to writing some reviews before I do.  But we’ll see about that! (My source for good screenshots is gone, so I’ve kinda been using that as an excuse not to write any lately ;))

RetroTube: Rock Out with Lords of Thunder

June 26, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Back when I knew almost nothing about the TurboGrafx-16 and Turbo Duo, I did know one thing… That there was a game called Lords of Thunder and it had the best damn soundtrack of any game, ever.  I knew this because I had a single, two-minute, low-quality .aiff audio clip that contained just a portion of one of the game’s songs.  And that two-minutes absolutely rocked.  In fact, I used to put that one clip on loop and listen to it for a half hour at a time!  Unfortunately, I lost the file in a hard drive crash and never found it again.  But never fear, the story has a happy ending.  I just recently bought the actual game and now I can enjoy the music any time I want! (Along with a great game, to boot.)

But not all of you have a TurboGrafx-CD or Turbo Duo, so you can’t do the same.  That’s a shame, but at least there’s another way.  Now, thanks to YouTube user vertexguy, I can share with you the very same song that entranced me when I first heard it… Enjoy!

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