Latest Haul: 3DO Testing Station and more!

February 11, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Latest Haul: 3DO Testing Station and more!Alright, I admit it… I splurged.  Last year, I started dabbling in homebrew for the 3DO, and while I did make some progress, I hit a wall pretty fast.  I managed to get a couple simple demos written and created a nice development environment with the official SDK and a Mac emulator, but not much more.

The thing about the 3DO is that software has to be encrypted to run on it, and the problem is that the encryption tools are not part of the SDK — any software had to be sent off to The 3DO Company to be approved and encrypted before release.  But now The 3DO Company doesn’t exist.  D’oh.  Without a way of actually running the demos I’d written on real hardware, there wasn’t much progress to be made.  That is, unless I could get my hands on a 3DO Testing Station.

The 3DO Testing Station is a version of the hardware that was sent to developers for testing and is capable of running unencrypted software — there’s a small switch on the back to go back and forth between Encrypted and Unencrypted.  So, if I wanted to write my own programs, I’d either have to crack the encryption (yeah, right) or get myself a Testing Station.  I kept my eye on eBay for quite some time with an automatic search, and not much came up.  Finally, last week, another one appeared (along with a handful of games) and I decided to pull the trigger.  I paid a little more than I would have liked, but now I can stop searching and get started on some real projects.  Hey, it’ll be a learning experience.  It’s worth it, right?

On top of eBay, I also did a little shopping at another local game store I just discovered, Play N Trade Video Games.  It turned out to be a pretty small store, and their classic selection was nothing compared to my favorite local store (see me gush about PrePlayed here) but it was still worth making the trip — I managed to snag a complete Virtua Cop 2 for the Saturn for a nice price.  They also had Bubble Bobble for the Saturn, but it was $23.99, disc-only.  I’ve been wanting that game for years, but not disc-only.  I also got to overhear an amusing conversation between the clerk and a middle-aged man inquiring about the Atari Jaguar.  The customer mentioned something about the Jaguar being “really rare” and about $100 on eBay.  I almost felt like butting in to mention I had one, and that I got it brand new in the box for $25 several years ago, but decided that it’d be kinda… nerdy… for me to jump in with that tidbit.

And, finally, I also got issue #9 of Video Game Collector.  This is a magazine I’ve considered subscribing to in the past, but never did.  Luckily for me, the publisher was offering free issues over at the Digital Press forums several weeks ago, so I decided to take advantage of that.  Can’t go wrong with free!  Maybe I’ll pick up the back catalog…

In summary, here’s the rundown of everything I got in the last few days:

  • 3DO Testing Station and games: This is the Testing Station hardware along with a nice, revised Panasonic control-pad.  The controller is smaller, more comfortable, and has a much more responsive D-Pad.  This one gives the Logitech controller a run for its money.  Also in the package were disc-only copies of Alone in the Dark, Ballz, Battle Chess, Gex, Killing Time, Space Hulk, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Way of the Warrior, and Sampler #2 (with the much-needed memory manager).  I already had Gex, Killing Time, and Space Hulk, and Sampler #2 is a demo, so that’s five new games to add to my “to review” list.  $173 (+$25 shipping) on eBay.
  • Virtua Cop 2: I really like the original, so I’ve been casually keeping an eye out for Virtua Cop 2.  I wasn’t actively looking to get it, but when I saw it at Play N Trade for $4.99, I couldn’t say no!  The case could use some cleanup, but it’s otherwise complete.
  • Video Game Collector Issue #9: Ah, a whole magazine to indulge my video game nerdery!  This issue even had a feature on one of my favorite topics — obscure consoles.  The magazine could use some polish overall in terms of editing and layout, but it’s good fun for hobbyists.  I’m considering getting the full back catalog + subscription bundle now. Free, via the Digital Press forums.

About Tim
My name is Tim. I live in Madison, WI. I'm a retro gamer.

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