Merry Christmas from Japan!

So yeah, I’ve been crazy busy this holiday season, between work and vacation so updates have . well not been forth coming.

I wanted to touch on old StarWars games for the new movie, and even got to play Star Wars on a x68000!  If it were the 80’s I would super recommend one.  But in this day/age it’s plagued by poor draw distances, poor wire frame 3d, and just poor game play.  It is probably more of a fault with the arcade version that was revolutionary for it’s time, then it rotted and was ported out.  Something like Frontier puts Star Wars to shame on low grade 68000 based hardware.

But the sound, sure was awesome!

I also want to do some passable review of the retro freak!  I picked up one for about $150 USD. It is expensive, there is no doubt about that, and it is emulation.  I also picked up a NES on a chip console clone for about $13 USD.  At the same time I can score a MegaDrive for about 30-40 USD, and 25-30 for a SNES.  Which brings me to an interesting observation:

There is next to NO Mega Drive stuff.  There is far more Saturn, and very few Dreamcast, but I’s seen maybe 15 Mega Drive carts.  Meanwhile I’ve found Famicom/Super Famicom stuff almost everywhere I look.  My favorite is the local chain “Book Off” that almost always has a nice retro section, along with used PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 stuff.

Otherwise, I have horrible to non existent internet in the house I rented (it is like the yacht in Hong Kong from a few years back), so I’ve been forced to spend my time in internet cafes for 12+ hours a day.

Oh yeah, Tokyo is just like London.  After 6pm, everyone goes home, the stores close, and there is nothing open.  After 10 the trains stop and that is that.

While I’m on the subject of living in the future, and working physically wherever, the Microsoft Surface is a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE thing.  Granted I didn’t pay for this one, but it’s wifi chip is utter crap, it is prone to locking hard, and the kickstand and detachable keyboard is a JOKE.  I know Balmer wanted in on the iPad action, and then the Surface RT, eventually became just another PC, but damn a laptop this is not.  The only nice thing I can say is that it boots fast.  Which is something you’ll be doing lots of.  The fan is noisy and distracting, the display is OK, but nothing fancy in this modern age.

I currently had to go out and buy 2 USB Ethernet adapters and bridge the cafe’s internet so I could connect this POS.  I give the Microsoft Surface Pro v3 a 1/5*.  AVOID DO NOT BUY.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

In the “neato” section, I did find an eval copy of Citrix.  And a NIB quality box of Postal 2!  I didn’t know there was any updates so that was a surprise.  But now I see it is on sale over on Steam, for $7.50 Hong Kong Dollars.  I would do some give away but I also found out that my account got converted. YAY.

steam is now in HKD

Steam is now priced in Hong Kong Dollars!

Which means I cannot give anything away as apparently I now live in a poorer area and get subsidized games. I guess that is to make up for censored and restricted catalogs.

So yeah, I am alive.


Crazy to think that 2016 is literally around the corner!

SEGA exits the console market

And if that isn’t crazy enough, they rebranded themselves as SEGA Games.

No, really.

SEGA used to stand for SErvice, GAmes, so now they’ve just re-named themselves Service Games Games.  I guess it hails back to Windows 2000 being built on Windows New Technology, Technology.

But consoles are in decline, mobile phones and PC is where the market is, so it’s no surprise.  The only other question is how many more times am I going to end up paying for Altered Beast, Phantasy Star II, and various genesis games.




So while indulging my SEGA kick, I came across something super cool, a blog dedicated to reverse engineering and porting outrun to C++, Reassembler!

Now this is pretty awesome in that not only does it work (and boy does it!), his Outrun! project, CannonBall runs on OS X, Windows, Linux, and can you believe it, javascript. (you need an OutrunB ROM for this, as it loads all it’s sound, music, graphics and map resources from an Outrun rom set).   You can read about his javascript porting adventure here, the TL;DR version is that he used emscripten to  convert clang’s LLVM bytecode into javascript.  Boy does this seem to open up quite a few possibilities as javascript compilers seem to get better and better on the browser side.  I happily get 60fps on my MacBook Air with Chrome.

Even better he’s got another project, LayOut, which lets you build your own maps for CannonBall!

For fun, be sure to check out his Easter Eggs section, there is quite a bit of stuff hiding in these old ROMs.  Not to mention there is enough other gamestuff in them, that SEGA didn’t build each game for their boards in a vacuum.

All and all, I’d say it’s a good read!

Revenge of Shinobi now available on steam!

I remember paying well over $100 CDN for this back when it came out… But now its on sale for $2.99 … lol wow the times have changed!  And of course this is where the whole ‘neozeed’ thing came from, nothing to do with the matrix.

I wonder how long until they start releasing SegaCD & 32x stuff?

Looks like instead of drinking too many dos equis, I’ll be trying to remember how to do that double jump throw thing.

Are you 32x’ing?

Without a doubt the 32x was one of the biggest disappointments by SEGA.  Designed in a late night fit of rage in Las Vegas, the 32x was to be the middle step from the Genesis to the 32bit Saturn.  The Saturn got rushed, and what happened is that in America the 32x had less than a six month lifespan.  Not to mention the model 1’s had bus issues with the 32x if the user didn’t have a Sega-CD.

And of course the 32x required ANOTHER power adapter, supplied two SH2 RISC processors much like the Saturn, but included a measly 256kb of RAM, required you to pipe the Genesis video into the 32x where it did its own video genlock (that can’t be cheap right?), and did nothing to the cartridge sizes, so you were still capped at 4MB!

If that wasn’t enough there even was an infomercial.

Yes that is right, an infomercial!!!  I dare you to watch it, in all of it’s 1990’s glory. I made it 90 seconds.  Ugh the horror.  I wonder if this was done by the Windows/386 people.

MAME on Chrome (the browser is the platform)

This is… awesome! From gizmodo its a port of MAME, the multiple arcade emulator to google chrome via it’s NACL or ‘Native Client’ interface.  As we look at the year 2012 and what is around us, its pretty clear that the 80386 CPUs descendants have basically won out the world, with the ACORN ARM eating up the mobile world…

So click here with google chrome, and install this 30MB extension (thats how big it is standalone anyways) and get ready for some gaming!

From what I’ve found is that multizip files wont work… but single zip contained run great!

I’ve tested this with Altered Beast, which I actually own the system16 board for.. Although I’ve got to get around to cleaning it up (its dirty as hell) and converting it to a JAMMA and booting it up.. but thats for another retrohardware day.

More on SONIC-CD for iOS

So a little bit of googling around lead me to this great interview with Christian Whitehead, which lead to the discussion of his iPhone Retro Engine and Retro Engine Development Kit. Basically he took the PC port of Sonic-CD and was able to extract the levels, sprites, and also the scripted logic.  Then he was able to take all of that and build his own re implementation of Sonic-CD.

Which in its own is interesting as the PC version of Sonic was done via some translation as mentioned by Neil Harding here.

… I had to write a 68000 to C converter for Sonic 3D (from the Genesis to the Saturn & PC)….

I would imagine that the ‘unpacked’ work of the PC version would lead to something far easier to reverse, then say the original 68000 code, although that too has been done.

Sonic CD released for IOS (iPhone/iPad)

Sonic CD

According to early reviews, it is simply awesome!  Simply put this is *not* just a bundled SEGA-CD emulator along with the CD-ROM, but instead the video has been greatly cleaned up, the game start is logically broken down like a good iOS (when I hear IOS I always think of cisco’s IOS but I know….) application for your iPhone/iPad with nice menus that just wouldn’t be the same for the old Sega CD platform.  Clearly Christian Whitehead has done some fantastic work here!

Friend to pixels and polys alike...

So first off this uses the Apple Game Centre.  I’ll never understand why so many games do *NOT* use this.  In our little ‘app connected’ world you’d think more things would be driven for the ‘achievements’ and ‘world wide leaderboards’ but the only two games I have that use this is angry birds & Sonic CD.

Sonic CD Achievements..

Sonic CD Leaderboard

So how does it look?  Pretty much just like the real thing, except it’s been rescaled so you see more of the screen, instead of squish o vision… For example here is the real Sonic CD:

Sonic CD on my TeeVee!

And under emulation:

Sonic CD under the Fusion emulator

And here is the start with the Sonic CD IOS application:

Christian's Sonic CD

As you can see things like the lives left have been moved to the top so you can actually see them, and the display screen is wider so you can see more of the scenery.  Clearly a lot more went into this than the 68000 emulation.

Another cool thing is that you can change soundtracs from the American & Japanese versions.

Choose soundtrack

So for those of you who love ‘Sonic Boom’ can relive the 1990’s.

I should add that in addition game play is GREAT.  Now don’t get me wrong I love having a physical Genesis along with a model 1 CD drive to play the ‘real thing’ but at the same time, this is the ‘hand held’ version to get!  And at $1.99 USD it is simply a STEAL.

The Sonic CD app page.