Archive for December, 2006

The Return of Cottonwood BBS: The Last Dial-Up Commodore BBS Online?

Friday, December 8th, 2006

Cottonwood BBS SetupAndrew Wiskow emailed me today with news that his long-planned Commodore dial-up BBS’s return to glory is now complete. The Cottonwood BBS, perhaps the last dial-up only BBS running on authentic Commodore hardware (feel free to correct me on this!), is now up and accepting callers at 1-951-242-3593. Andrew also posted a comment about his BBS on another VC&G post, which I have reproduced below:

Well, after a bit of a delay, Cottonwood BBS is now back up and operational! As it turns out, the 1200 baud modem wasn’t the problem, but instead it was the VoIP line I was trying to run the BBS on. I had to switch back to a regular phone line in order to get good results. The 2400 baud modem I tried to used wasn’t working well, so I’m back to where I started on the 1200 baud modem.

Anyway… You can call Cottonwood BBS at (951) 242-3593. Open 24 hours a day, running at 300/1200 baud. For more information on the BBS, or to get some tips on connecting, check out the following website:

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Be sure to check out his website to pick up a copy of C64Term for the best Commodore BBS experience for PC users. I haven’t made a call yet, but I plan on it when I get the chance. If you give it a call, please let us know how you liked it.

Name Those Pixels: Challenge #3

Friday, December 8th, 2006

Pixel Challenge #3 - 1Welcome back to Name Those Pixels. As with every Friday, it’s time for the next challenge. This time, I’ve selected three different samples from three different systems for you to guess. These ones will be a littler easier, but also a little different. See how many you can name. The first one is on the right, and the other two are down below. As always, post your guesses in the comments section of this entry, and don’t be bashful. Good luck!

Hint: At least one of them is a U.S. NES title.

Pixel Challenge #3 - 2

Pixel Challenge #3 - 3

Last Week’s Answer

Time’s up for last week’s Name Those Pixels (Challenge #2). This one was really hard, so no one got the answer. But I have a feeling that most of you have played this game for one system or another, and you’ll probably be kicking yourself once you see what it is. Here is the full screen shot:

Pixel Challenge #2 AnswerStreet Fighter II Special Champion Edition (Genesis)

VC&G Review: Console Classix, The GameTap Alternative

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

Console ClassixImagine if I told you that there was a legal alternative to GameTap that nearly nobody knows about, costs half as much as GameTap (yet is partly free), and beat GameTap to market by at least three years. Well, I guess that was a dumb way to start this, because you don’t have to imagine — I’m actually telling you: such a service exists, and it’s called Console Classix.

Console Classix Client SoftwareConsole Classix could best be described as “the world’s first online video game rental service.” Its creators have found an ingenious way to circumvent all the usual legal hassles associated with providing classic games for legal play over the Internet and on your home computer. How did they manage this incredible feat, you ask? Well, they take advantage of a loophole in copyright law that all movie and video game rental stores use: it’s legal to lend a legally obtained (i.e. bought) copy of a movie or game to someone else, as long as you don’t transmit or distribute new copies of said movie/game to others. By extension, Console Classix dumps the ROM data from unique copies of games it physically owns on a one-to-one basis and lends out the cartridges in digital form to users of the service. When a user plays a game through the Console Classix service, that copy of the game is “checked out” and no one else can play it while the first customer is using it. However, if Console Classix owns more copies of the game, other customers may play the same game until all the copies are occupied. It’s just like a video game rental store, but in digital form.

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VC&G Interview: Aaron Ethridge, President of Console Classix

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

Aaron EthridgeFor those of you who don’t know, Console Classix (CC) is an online video game “rental service” of sorts that focuses on classic games. It beat GameTap to the punch by a number of years, and yet still remains relatively obscure. To go along with my VC&G review of that service, I recently conducted an interview with Console Classix’s President and co-founder, Aaron Ethridge, via email. He was generous in answering the many questions I posed to him, and I find his responses honest and fascinating. The following interview is long, but if you’re interested at all in CC, it’s well worth the read. His answers were edited for spelling, structure, and minor typos only; everything else is as he wrote it.

[ Continue reading VC&G Interview: Aaron Ethridge, President of Console Classix » ]

Retro Scan of the Week: “52 Super Video Games in One Cartridge!”

Monday, December 4th, 2006
Action 52 Advertisement

Ah, the venerable Action 52 cartridge, long the butt of video game jokes everywhere. This cartridge was probably some greedy bastard’s idea of a get-rich-quick scheme in the video game world: throw together 52 crappy, buggy, quickly developed “games” into one cartridge and sell it for $79-99 (originally $200!) a pop. Needless to say, Active Enterprises didn’t last long. These days, the NES version of the Action 52, while containing some of the worst video games of all time, is also one of the most sought-after carts by collectors due to its rarity. And the Genesis version isn’t any better, by the way.

My question to you is: did anybody actually have an Action 52 cart (NES or Genesis) back in the day? If so, what are your memories of it? Did you like The Cheetahmen?

If you use this image on your site, please support “Retro Scan of the Week” by giving us obvious credit for the original scan and entry. Thanks.

Name Those Pixels: Challenge #2

Friday, December 1st, 2006

Pixel Challenge #2Time’s up for the first Name Those Pixels challenge! Sorry I’m so late with my second entry, but between Thanksgiving and my new Wii, I was a bit distracted last week. Speaking of which, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and enjoyed your new PS3/Wii or your console of choice last weekend.

This week, I’m going to mix it up a little bit. We move from the 8-bit era of Roger Rabbit and Magic Johnson into the 16-bit era. The zoomed in view doesn’t really look very helpful when it’s 16-bit, but I gave it to you anyway. And here’s your hint: it is a U.S. Sega Genesis release. You can see Challenge #2 in the image above. As always, post your guesses in the comments section of this entry. Good luck!

Here’s the answer to last week’s challenge. Those of you who noticed that it was the Tradewest logo are very astute. Actually, when I was cropping the picture, it didn’t really occur to me that it was their logo. Hopefully the color scheme was unique enough to differentiate from other Tradewest games. Here is the full screen of the game:

Magic Johnson's Fast BreakMagic Johnson’s Fast Break (NES)

Congratulations to Lone_Wolph (who got it first) and extrarice, you got the correct answer of Magic Johnson’s Fast Break.

VC&G Review: Super Pac-Man TV Games Unit

Friday, December 1st, 2006

Super Pac-Man TV GamesThe popularity of “TV Games” units seems to have waned a bit recently as overexposure and, to some measure, public apathy, have set in. After at least three years on the market, the newly reborn dedicated home video game concept (pioneered by Jakks Pacific) is a product line whose novelty has finally begun to wear off. TV Games and their countless imitators are everywhere you go; you’ll see them as impulse gifts in stores like Best Buy, Toys “R” Us, or even in less likely retail outlets like Kohls or Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Literally dozens of different units of varying levels of quality line the shelves of my local Target, for instance. But their absolute retail ubiquity doesn’t mean that a few good new ones aren’t leaking through. Jakks Pacific’s line of classic game units, developed by HotGen of London, have typically retained a high standard of quality over the years. And it’s their latest Super Pac-Man TV Games unit that I’ll be discussing in this review.

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