Archive for the 'Hacks & Projects' Category

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Fixing My ColecoVision Expansion Module #1 on the Bedroom Floor, 1995

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Benj Edwards bedroom floor in 1995 Colecovision Atari 5200 Polaroid Scan - 1995The carpet pretty much looked like that even when it was clean.

Here's a retro-flavored Polaroid instant photo I took of my bedroom floor some point in 1995. I was 13 or 14 at the time, and I had just received a stack of Beatles CDs (upper center-left) the previous Christmas — along with my first CD player, integrated in boombox form, which can be seen seen in the upper right portion of the photo.

But I'm not posting this photo because of Beatles CDs. On the floor sit a number of retrogaming consoles and accessories: to the left is an Atari 5200 console, and in the lower right you can see a ColecoVision and the corner of an Intellivision. There are also a few Atari joysticks, a copy of Yars' Revenge for the 2600, and three copies of Intellivision Donkey Kong.

[ Continue reading [ Retro Scan of the Week ] Fixing My ColecoVision Expansion Module #1 on the Bedroom Floor, 1995 » ]

GAME BOY CAMERAS SPAM TRY-POD MOUNTER DEVICES

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

GAMEBOY CAMERA SPAM TRY-POD MOUNTER DEVICES (Game Boy Camera Tripod)

UPON ONE OF THOSE TIMES, ULAF CREATE TRY-POD MOUNT FOR THE GAME BOY COLORFUL UNIT, THE CAMERAS, WHICH THE MINDS OF NINTENDOGS CREATES SOMETIMES NEAR 1998 (WHAT A MINDS). WITH GREATEST OF THE SKILL, ULAF CARVE FOAM BETWEEN CANS OF THE SPAM (THE FAVORITE AMERICAN FOODS) HOLLOW, INTO HOLE FOR THE HOLDING OF THE GAME BOY CONSUL OF MY MIND.

WORKED WONDER FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHAGRAPHERS OF MY MIND:

GAMEBOY CAMERAS PHOTOGRAPHAGRAPHERS

ULAF PRINT ALL THOSE PHOTOGRAPHAGRAPHERS AND HUNG THEM UPON THE REFRIDGERATE OF ULAF.

BY THE WAYS, DID NOT THE GAME BOY GROWS INTO THE GAME MEN? WHERE DID THAT LITTLE BOY OF GAMING TIME GO? MATURATION AND PUBESCENCE, THAT IS WHERE. AND ABOVE ALL OF THE NOISES IT BECOME DEATH, DESTROYER OF WORLDS AND ATE MY MIND. AHHHHHH.

PERHAP ULAF EATS THE WRONG MUSHROOM.

JUST A QUICK NOTE FROM MY MIND. GO BACK TO LIFE NOW. UNTIL NEXT TIME THIS IS ULAF SAYING BE THE MASTER.

Ulaf Silchov is an expert in video games and computers. He also writes for "Svadlost Weekly" and "The Overachieving Underling Circular."

Super Mario Bros. Crossover

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Super Mario Bros. Crossover Title Screen

Super Mario Bros. Crossover is, in my opinion, the only Flash game worth playing. The Internet-keen amongst you may have run across this already on other blogs, but I thought it was worth repeating here.

In SMBC, author Jay Pavlina masterfully recreates Super Mario Bros. in Flash with a surprising bonus: five additional playable characters pulled straight from iconic NES games. There's Link from The Legend of Zelda, Samus from Metroid, Mega Man from his self-titled game, Simon Belmont from Castlevania, and Bill R. from Contra.

Each character retains certain abilities from his respective game, and the SMB power-ups provide each with character-appropriate upgrades. It's an exhilarating feeling to destroy every brick you can find with Bill R's spread shot, or to blow up goombas by laying bombs with Samus. If you've ever wanted to gun down Bowser, here's your chance.

I don't want to spoil all the surprises. Play the game and find out more.

SNES PowerPak Materializes

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

RetroZone SNES PowerPak

Remember the PowerPak — that wondrous device from RetroZone that allowed you to cram every NES game ever made into one cartridge? Well, two years later, RetroZone has released its follow-up, the SNES PowerPak for the Super NES.

Well, they've kinda released it. Sales appear to temporarily be on hold in order to "investigate system compatibility," according to the RetroZone website.

RetroZone Temporarily UnavailableFor those unfamiliar with the original PowerPak concept, the SNES PowerPak allows one to copy SNES ROM files onto a compact flash card, place the card into the SNES PowerPak cartridge, and then play those games on a real Super NES unit. It supports multiple games through on-screen menu selection.

More Info to Come

When I stumbled across the new SNES PowerPak today, I initially felt like jealously hoarding the knowledge so I'll have less competitors when I try to get my hands on one of these magical devices.

But then I realized that I have a responsibility to let you guys know about this, since so few sites out there cover the world of Nintendo hacking and modding — and especially since the proprietor of RetroZone doesn't make much effort to get the word out.

Whenever I get one, I'll write a review for VC&G. Until then, you can drool over it like me at the RetroZone site.

Inside the Nintendo Famicom

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Inside the Nintendo Famicom - Benj Edwards

25 years ago, Nintendo entered the home video game system arena with the release of the Family Computer (Famicom) in Japan. You may know the console as the Nintendo Entertainment System, which sold 61.9 million units worldwide in its various forms.

In honor of its anniversary, I took apart an original Famicom and its accessories (including an original Famicom Disk System) while documenting the process on my trusty workbench. You can see the result as a slideshow on PC World.

I had this piece ready to go before July 15th (the actual anniversary date), but it got pre-empted by E3 coverage. I hope you enjoy it, even if it is a tad late.

(If you liked this slideshow, you might also like my previous PC World teardowns of the IBM Model M Keyboard, Apple IIc, and the TRS-80 Model 100.)

Fashion Model Seeks Freelance ROM Hacker

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

Cory Holtz - Legendary Wings

Before we go any further, I must clarify that I am not making this up.

I recently received an interesting message on Myspace from one Cory Holtz, a male actor and model. His question dealt with Legendary Wings. Specifically, he's looking for someone to hack the game for him:

Hello Vintage,

I am so happy to see that hacking is at it's best with you guy. I am looking to hire someone for a freelance gig to hack and edit one of my favorite childhood NES games "Legendary Wings". It's a vertical shooting game and should be fairly easy to program. I'm just a pro at the game and would love a more difficult version, more guns, and extra levels. Please let me know if you would be interested with this freelance gig.

Can't wait to hear from you!
Best,
Cory Holtz

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Benj's Epic GDC 2008 Adventure Slideshow

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Benj's GDC 2008 AdventureAnd I mean epic. Last week, I crossed the country to attend Game Developers Conference 2008 in San Francisco, California. Below, you'll find a detailed report on my travels, replete with in-depth photos, each accompanied by both honest and sometimes facetious commentary. But be warned: it's going to be a long trip. If there be any lilly-livered scallywags amongst ye who fear the voyage, turn back now, or forever will ye be scarred by me words.

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[ VC&G Review ] PowerPak NES Flash Cartridge

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

NES PowerPak Flash CartridgeIt's 1987. Your ravenous love for Nintendo's new console leads you to rent every new game released for the system, craving the joy of each new experience. One day, a stranger walks up to you on the street and offers you a device that lets you play nearly all the NES games ever released (or ever will be released) around the world on a single magic cartridge. What do you say?

Twenty years ago, such a contraption would have seemed laughably impossible. But that same mind-blowing scenario (minus the mysterious stranger) has become a reality in 2007 with RetroZone's PowerPak NES flash cartridge. Brian Parker, the man behind RetroZone and the PowerPak, put forth a monumental effort to bring this technically challenging dream product to market.

Nintendo Entertainment SystemThe PowerPak retains the familiar form factor of classic licensed NES cartridges, albeit rendered in a translucent orange plastic. Cut from top edge of each PowerPak is a notch through which a standard compact flash (CF) card may be conveniently inserted or removed. Turn on a NES with the PowerPak cart inside, and you'll see an on-screen menu that lists all the games on the CF card. Pick one from the list, you'll be playing the game as if you had the game's original cartridge in the console.

With a flash "multicart" like the PowerPak, NES users no longer need to switch cartridges between games, except for the few games that the PowerPak doesn't support (see below). Legal vagaries be damned: as an owner of over 250 NES cartridges, I find the convenience of this feature worth the price of the PowerPak alone.

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The PowerPak NES Flash Cartridge

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

NES PowerPak Flash CartridgeFor a Nintendo Entertainment System fan, it's a once-impossible dream finally come true: a thousand games at your fingertips in a real NES console. RetroZone has done it first with the PowerPak, a new NES flash cartridge. With the PowerPak, you can fit every NES game ever made, around the world, onto one cartridge. Dumped ROM images of the games are copied to a compact flash card, which slides into the PowerPak unit itself. Turn on the NES with the PowerPak cart inserted, and you'll see an on-screen menu that lists all the games on the cart. Pick one from the list, you'll be playing the game as if you had the game's original cartridge in the console. With a flash multicart like the PowerPak, NES users no longer need to switch cartridges between games. As an owner of over 250 NES games, I personally have been looking for a product like this for a long time.

Perhaps even more exciting is the PowerPak's potential to jumpstart homebrew development in the NES community. Unlike the Atari 2600, Nintendo's most famous console is woefully lacking amateur home-programmed software. RetroZone is out to change that with their new PowerPak products, which significantly lower the barriers to entry in developing games for play on a real NES unit.

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[ VC&G Interview ] Brian Parker on RetroZone and the PowerPak NES Flash Cart

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Brian Parker of RetroZone Riding a BicycleBrian Parker, a resident of Redwood City, CA, has run RetroZone full time for three years. His company is well known in the retrogaming community for its sales of original console controllers — like NES, SNES, and Genesis control pads — modified to work with the USB ports found on modern computers. In 2005, I reviewed one of his USB NES controller products and found it to be excellent (I still use it regularly, in fact). But it was with the new PowerPak NES flash cartridge in mind that I interviewed Brian via email last month.

Also an avid cyclist, Brian gave me a picture of him competitively riding a racing bicycle, the only known picture of him in existence. Ok, I'm kidding — but it is him.

Thanks for the interview, Brian.

[ Update (11/02/2007): Click Here to read our review of the RetroZone PowerPak flash cart. ]

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