Issue #64 - December 22nd, 2002
All good things
must come to an end and so has part of the Tomorrow's Heroes website.
In the past, I had done price guides for different items. It started
with a Marquee price guide as I collected marquees and could not find
prices for them. So I started to compile prices to get a better idea of
what an average price was for different marquees. I told a few people
about my list and they thought it would be cool to put on my website.
So I did and it was fairly popular. I eventually added a
Handheld/Tabletop price guide as well as a Memorbilia price guide and
eventually one for Nintendo 8-Bit games.
Then two things
happened that brought a halt to the further development of the price
guides. First, I added a day job, which restricted the amount of time I
had available to do these price guides. The second thing was eBay
changed their site to a point where it was not so easy to retrieve the
information. From their fragmentation of categories to other changes,
it went from a fairly easy task to keep them up to date, to being a
major burden. So I eventually just left them alone.
While I did not
update them anymore, what I did continue to get was emails and phone
calls from people who wanted to buy items on the price guides. Despite
very large disclaimers (which noone bothered to read) to ebay banners
proclaiming that if you want an item, to look there, people kept asking
for Tron marquees or I Took a Licking From a Chicken handheld game (I
get at least 5 people a month asking for this game). So I finally
decided to give myself some rest and just delete the price guides. As
much as I liked having them and as much as people enjoyed them, they had
outlived their usefulness and are nothing but a burden. So if you come
to the website and look for one of these price guides, you will now know
what happened to them.
Just in time for Star Trek: Nemesis,
we continue our 20th anniversary
salute to the arcade hit, Star Trek: S.O.S. This game was
released in conjunction with many Trekkers
consider as their favorite Trek movie, Star
Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The arcade game was based upon a
simulation of battling Klingons and Nomad, but
all the action is in 2 dimensions.
Coincidentally, ignoring 3-D attacks (above/below) was Khan’s fatal
tactical error in the movie. 2-D (or pseudo 3-D) is sufficient
for this excellent simulation game.
Fascinating - ST:II is the only Trek movie that
does not have an actual Klingon or Klingon ship in it. The other 9 all
do. Instead, the beginning of the movie shows
us Lt. Saavik taking the famous Kobayashi Maru
test / simulation. This is the "no win situation" that only
Kirk had defeated. [But he cheated by reprogramming the
simulation.] So, just like most video
games, "Star Trek: S.O.S" puts you in that no win
situation – eventually you WILL lose this game. It is a logical
The manual says that you run the Enterprise (hereafter shortened to E!)
play the role of Captain Kirk, but it’s more like playing Sulu,
Chekov & Scotty combined as you have complete
control of the helm and weapons. Use the
sensors and view screen to take immediate action based upon what you
see and hear. You have both impulse and warp drive and phasers
torpedoes. It may sound a bit simple, but there is a lot going on,
making it one of the most complex arcade game
to that date - definitely one worth learning.
Too bad the original arcade monitors were prone to catching
fire, making them really rare today. See RT #7 where Tom does
one of the first Many Faces of reviews.
<Defend your Star Bases and find and destroy Nomad>
Arcade: by Rob Zdybel, Sega 1982 & Home Versions: unless noted, all by
1983: Vic 20 (Eric J. Popejoy), C64 (Joe Sengir), 2600, 5200, Atari 8
TI-99 (Sega & later by Texas Instruments). Finally, in 1984 the
Rumor Mill: Intellivision version was in the
works by Sega.
Other Trek games, close but not the same: ST: Phasor Strike, ’79
Microvision, and for the Vectrex, 1982, ST:The Motion Picture, an
game where you battle Klingons in true 3-D action.
Home Version Similarities: All versions have: Star Trek theme music at
the beginning; only one E! (ship) per game with an unlimited
supply of phaser fire; SBs must be defended
and when docked with add 1 unit to your
otherwise limited supply of photon torpedoes, warps and shields; more
points are scored for not using the SBs; enemies & their weapons
will damage E!, once they are close, not just
on contact; all other damage from ramming,
collision with debris, or Klingon plasma bursts shows up as a
reduction first in shield units, then torpedoes, then warp units,
the next hit ends your simulation; there are
10 sectors (levels) of increasing difficulty
on all home versions that I have manuals for, compared with 40
missions at the arcade. None of the home versions offer any
gameplay options, but the CV does have a
choice of 4 difficulty levels. Every
version does at least a decent job with sound effects, such as phaser
and photon fire, enemy weapons, impulse and
warp drive, docking, nomad moving about, and
the drones draining away anti-matter. Your score remains
on-screen until the next game begins.
Additional home version elements, except for those Missing In Action
(MIA) <listed here>: six <C64> rounds to each
sector, first two rounds facing Klingons, the
third round <TI, C64, Vic, CV> is a time-limited bonus
re-supply round where up to 4 SB can be found, alternating every
between an asteroid field & meteor shower; two more rounds versus
Klingons, and the final round versus Nomad,
his weapons fire <CV> & mines; after nomad has
escaped or is destroyed, the next sector begins; the scanners
display the Klingons in distinct colors which determines their
purpose - to attack A) the E!, B) SBs or C)
when SB are destroyed all Klingons will ram
the E! <Vic & TI - all Klingon ships look alike>; a solitary, unique
colored Klingon ship is a secret anti-matter saucer/drone that
attaches to E! to drain warp units; a signal
alerts you when you have phaser lock on a
Klingon <TI, CV, Vic>; an on-screen indicator with up to 6 colors
alert’s you to the E!’s remaining shield units
<CV & TI>; a red alert sounds when your
shields are gone <Vic & TI>; an overlay for the controllers came with
many of the versions; up to three <2600> SB must be defended
which are green (and/or filled) then turn blue
(and/or empty) when docked with, then
flash red <TI, 2600, Vic> once their shields are half way gone; your
photon torpedoes show up on the scanner and
explode into a ring of effective area (2600,
5200, 8 Bit); music plays when you destroy Nomad (TI & Vic); a pause
is provided for a few versions except the (2600, C64, Vic).
Have Nots: Vic 20 (31)
My first reaction was that SOS is too complicated a game for
the Vic, but we saw how good the Vic "Robotron
2084" could be. The Gameplay is good enough
(6) to be playable. The biggest problem is the action is
s-l-o-w-e-d when facing the full compliment of Klingons. The
game elements also hurt the Vic version a lot. This is the only version
with a high score stored. The Addictiveness is decent (6) enough
to keep you going. The Graphics are mediocre
(5) and detract significantly - but every
element is displayed - albeit poorly. The Sound is a bit harsh
sounding, but overall is respectable (6) and save for missing music
after destroying Nomad, I think that every
sound effect is included. The Controls are
responsive (8), but the E! seems to move too be controlled too
slowly compared to the other versions. When all action is slowed
harder to turn, as compared to moving forward. Also note that all
systems without a controller that can be held
so that 2 fire buttons (phaser plus photons)
are easy to use without any error or accidents - were penalized 1
point. ie all but one home version of SOS.
Have Nots: Atari 2600 (39)
My first reaction was this is too good a game for the 2600.
It is scaled down but very worth while. If
you like simple games, rate this one higher.
The Gameplay is impressive (8) and is pretty much all there. The limit
of 1 SB instead of 3 and thus fewer attacking
Klingons keeps it from being
among the best. Fewer Klingons also cuts into the randomness of the
Klingon threat. Addictiveness is enjoyable (8) - a pause would
surelyhelp. Graphics are limited and blocky, but good enough (6) to
catch most of the gameplay elements. There
are no visible E! photon torpedo fire.It’s still there in the gameplay,
just too bad it was not added visibly. Sound
is a bit limited in variety and quality, but still sharp (8) and
nothing is missing. The Controls are super (9), but hurt by the
complexity of the game and only 1 fire button.
Have Nots: Atari 5200 (39)
My first reaction was that the 2 "Wico controller" fire
buttons really work well. The Gameplay is
fantastic (9) the best out there, having only one
trivial MIA. The Addictiveness is enjoyable (8) with great
replay value, but I did not add in the usual
bonus for the pause button <pause>.
Fortunately the manual warns you that after 2.5 minutes the game resets.
Ah ‘cmon, what good is 2.5 minutes. The Graphics are smooth and
effective (7), but not in the neighborhood of
the medal winners and completely ignoring
photons on screen is a shame. The Sound is all there and pleasant
(8), but just not quite as good as the medal winners. The
Controls are pretty good (7), but the steering
is a disappointment considering two excellent
fire buttons on a Wico controller. Perhaps its just poor
programming as too many accidents happen steering and warping the
Quick, pinpoint firing and maneuvering control is also lost, and forget
about the standard controllers.
Have Notsl: Atari 8 Bit (41)
My first reaction was why can’t I see my photons fire. All
comments about the 5200 apply here as they did
not change the game, other than the obvious
controller differences. The pause button is the <select> button -
making me wonder if I ever missed that
before. This seems like a poor choice, but is
used in other 8 bit games. It’s only one keystroke away is the only
other button used in the game, <reset>. Likewise, the
non-ambitious programming continued as the 2.5
minute pause is still in vogue here. Dooh! The
Controls are outstanding (9), but again, only one fire button.
This game can be found on cart and disk.
Bronze Medal: Colecovision (42)
My first reaction, typical of many CV arcade games, this
version is too darn hard on level 1, not to
mention difficulties 2 through 4. The
Gameplay is impressive (8) save for the MIAs. Although a shield color
indicator is lacking, a unique enhancement is a circular display
of shields around the E!, just like the movie
displays. Also, despite lacking the bonus
round, there are unique bonuses given at 20K and (I think) upon
completion of each level. Another unique element is that Nomads
mines when destroyed may lead to a chain
reaction. The Addictiveness is enjoyable (8),
with the best use of the pause <*>, but that is erased by the
difficulty of the game. It’s so difficult - what’s that point of
the harder difficulty levels. The Graphics
are sharp (8) and detailed, but not as
colorful and smooth as the C64. Sound is wonderful (9) with the best
Trek music of them all and all the effects done well. Controls
are a mixed bag (I tried both controller
choices 1 & 2 for 6 different controllers).
The best I got was a (9) well done, by using the Super
Action controllers. These should have yielded a 10, but they
honestly do not work right. Hoe did this make
it out of play testing? You need to select
the Standard Controller option and then get partial use of the SA
Controller. At least you’ve been warned. This is the only
version with any rarity and could set you
back about $20.
Gold Medal: Commodore 64 & TI-99/4A (43)
Another tie this month. Despite their significant
differences, I’m certain that you’ll agree
they both deserve a medal.
<C64 version really looks nice, but is not without its flaws.>
My first reaction was that the Klingons do not move enough.
But upon closer inspection the difficulty
builds up more gradually here. And it appears
the Klingons are programmed to stay put and fight cautiously (not
much honor and glory in that). They prefer to stay safely out of
phaser range and pound you with torpedoes. But, once you run from them,
they will pursue. The Gameplay is very nice (8) but the MIAs
drop it a notch below the Atari computer. The
sector/round is not displayed unless you
destroy Nomad. The Addictiveness is pleasant (8) and ‘tis very much a
version that you’ll want to play over & over. The gradual increase in
difficulty is great, but there is no pause, as both the disk and
cart versiosn, the <F7> does not function as a
pause as it says in the manual. I tried ll
other buttons as well. The Graphics are wonderful (9), easily
the best with no baggage. Sound is great (9) where the music and
all effects are on par with the CV. The
Controls are fantastic (9), but again, there’s
only one fire button. If I scored 100 points total, this one would
barely eclipse the TI. Available on cart and disk.
My first reaction was that the talking was too limited. It
sounds really cool, but there’s only a few
phrases, "Entering Sector X.Y", "Damage
Repaired Captain", "Avoid Mines", and "Excellent Maneuvering Captain".
I may have been too generous scoring the
Gameplay as pretty good (7). It’s not much
better than the Vic and too many elements are MIA. You may be
tempted to boldly take you to playing another version. The
Antimatter drone is very effective and
stubborn in this version. The Addictiveness is
outstanding (9) and gets the top billing with a fun version that
. This button stinks for some games,
but there’s no problem finding a good break in
the action to locate it. Graphics are sharp
(8) and the Nomad round really fills up with action as Nomad’s
weapons and mines stick around for quite a while. The shields are
uniquely displayed on the viewer as a mesh
that is lit up when you are hit. The Sound is
awesome (10) of you have the Speech Synthesizer peripheral. The
music and effects are probably not as good as the CV, but pretty
much all there. The Controls are well done
(9), but only when using an Atari controller.
Come back next month, for the RT second best video game from 1982 (as
voted on by you), "Joust" and its 8 faces on
classic home systems for the Atari 2600, 5200,
7800, 8 bit, TI-99, C64, CV & AP2. I need your help with the
TI-99 review as I do not have that cart. Alan Hewston can be
With Alan reviewing all those Star Trek games, I'd thought I'd tackle
another famous space game. Plus I'm covering the runner-up in the Top 20
Both these ads can be found at the Atari Historical society (www.atarimuseum.com).
Like I said my first commercial
is for the Atari smash Star Raiders. The entire ad consists of gameplay
footage, but what's interesting is the computer voice that's
"You're flying in the Atari galaxy. We play rough out here. Sure, you
have an attack computer, and photon torpedoes. Ooh, nice shot, flyboy.
But there's 40 of us, one of you. Checkin' the map, Star Raider? We know
where you are. Bye-bye, Star Raider."
"Star Raiders, the home videogame that's only from Atari, and only for
systems made by Atari."
Be careful, they play rough out here.
Don't take too long; they know where you are.
A victim of a technicolor explosion.
Be careful, they play rough out here.
Great, now everyone's going to be too intimidated to play this game now.
Way to scare off your customers, Atari.
This ad, which was no. 2 on the
Top 20 list, was originally shown in movie theaters. I'm not sure if it
was shown on television or not. Anyway in this two minute piece we see
an Atari programmer in action. He looks at a fly and it gives him an
idea for Yar's Revenge. Thing is the game comes to life before him. But
he doesn't stop there. He also creates Asteroids and Star Raiders.
"A fly. I'll have a mutant fly. Hello, Yar. You'll need some protection.
Ion zone. Uh uh, chick chroma. Intensify. Okay, now you'll need some
weapons. You'll need a formadable enemy. The Qotile. Watch it Yar he has
a lethal drone. There's some other tricks up his sleave. Spiral. Go.
Ooh, good move, Yar. Now, I have a surprise for you: a Zorlon cannon.
Use it Yar. Fire again. Got him! Heh heh heh, that's revenge; Yar's
revenge. This could be fun, this could be a lot of fun like Asteroids.
Yeah, that's it. Get em' get 'em. Beautiful. Watch it. Disintegrate. Now
let's go into deeper space. Galactic map. Okay, sector 11, hyperspace.
Sights in. Zylon warships. Attack. Photons. Star Raiders. That's it,
Star Raiders. That'll keep them on their toes. Let's see what we can
come up with next. We're Atari. We have the vision. And we invented the
technology to bring it home, to you."
A small fly can lead to big games.
"From nothingness, I have created Yar."
Watch out for the spiral.
More technicolor explosions
Careful, you could get hurt by the rocks.
"Just checking my giant galactic map here."
Star Raiders, without the ship.
Heavy "wow" factor here.
All I can say is "Ah-mazing!" Certainly one of the best ads I've ever
seen. You definitely have to check this out.
For the 3 of you that care or keep
track of this stuff, it's been easily more than a year since I last did
anything for RT; and there's a reason for
that. It got to a point in my life that all I really cared about was how
large my collection was, what's new in the Game Collecting scene
Sure, I'd pay lip service to trying to get into college, do something
else with my life, ect. but I never did anything about it. Why should I,
when I could be out thrifting or "making a
contribution" by writing up the
rec.games.video.classic FAQ? So anyway, I'm here to lay out all the crap
that has happened to me because of this hobby/former obsession.
1:My compulsion has contributed to the loss of two jobs. When I lost the
first one, what ran through my mind was "Oh $@&*!
I just got CV Mr. Do's Castle! Now I'm gonna
have to sell it!" Not something more appropriate like
Oh $@&*! I gotta get another job!" What
ran through my mind when I lost the other job
can't really be printed, other than there would have been two very
happy Donkeys and one incredibly pained Former Supervisor, if I'd had my
way. But I digress....
2: I believe that I've probably lost 5 years of my life because of
Classic Gaming. The obsession was that strong. Go back to the top and
reread my quote up there. That's time I could
have been using for more art, socializing with
new people, or improving my standing in life.
So what made me snap? when I realized that for those 5 years, I had been
so close to getting into a 4-year college that all I had to do was go
there, and that my 'hobby' had been holding me
back. So I made the right decision: I didn't
go to CGE 2002. (this is why RT didn't have any CGE coverage; blame
me) Instead, I got my stuff in gear, and came to California State
University, Los Angeles. I turned off the hobby for a while; and it felt
But the temptations still exist, and old habits can still come back up,
whether it be a N64 Worms Armageddon, or Import Goodies (living in San
Gabriel is crack-house central for this stuff) creeping into my
shopping bag. Yes, N64 W:A is a big rare, but
do you really need it? No.
I'm not saying anything shocking when I say that we have some obsessive
compulsives here in the Classic Gaming scene; just look at some posts on
RGVC and other web-based message boards. Yes the Entertainment
Weakly gaming article has some errors, but
does it really matter? I don't think so. The
answers are close enough to count for most of the general public, and
they're gonna forget 2/3 of what they read in the thing anyway, so why
Yes, I've made some real, true friends as a
result of my doing the collecting thing, and I value their
friendship. If you're in a similar
situation, you should too. Hell, go spend time with them, just
make it a trip to the beach or a museum or
Recent events in the 2600 homebrewing scene
have brought all this home to me again. guys, (and the gal or two that
do collect too) ITS JUST GAMES. TAKE SOME TIME
OFF. Breathe a bit, spend time with your children/wife/ other
family, and let that $10 2600 Crazy Climber slide by on Ebay. You
won't crumble into dust if you miss it.
(Geoff Voigt is currently out enjoying some sunshine. No personal
attacks on any person or website were intended in this article.
email@example.com is his obviously munged E-mail address.
Make appropriate adjustments to contact him)
Whenever I put a
strange letter in this section, it usually means that I will get a stack
of even more insane letters. It is like a contest to see who is the
most bizarre reader of RT. So with that in mind (guess I am just a
glutton for punishment), here are some even stranger letters. As I said
in the past, I do not make these up, I actually get them and I have
forwarded a few to Fred and other regulars of the newsletter, so I have
people who can back me up. Honest, I am not this insane.
If you are a reliable supplier of the below equipment I am going to need
1. A mind warper generation 4 Dimensional Warp Generator # 52 4350a
series wrist watch with memory adapter.
2. The special 23200 series time transducing capacitor with built in
While these time pieces normally go between $5,000-$7,000 a piece, I am
having a hard time finding a reliable supplier.
Teleport to me within the next 48 earth hours and I will pay $40,000
2002 US cash.
Please only reply if you are reliable. Send a (SEPARATE) email to me at:
Looks like another
person who wants to go back in time and buy up all the Atari prototypes
and ultra rare games at much cheaper prices. Could this be BuyAtari in
disguise? We all know he has the money to afford a time machine.
I am from
ARGENTINA and would like to know if you could
send me only a picture of LINDSAY WAGNER she is the
love of my life, please help
me to get it.
I can feel your
pain as I have also dreamed of having Wonder Woman tie me up with her
lasso and make me tell the truth. But I cannot help you with any photos
(sorry, but I am keeping all them for myself....errr...I mean I do not
have any). Good luck in your search as she is worth the effort.
What do you mean it
was Lynda Carter that was Wonder Woman and not Lindsay Wagner. You mean
I just told the world about my Wonder Woman fantasies for nothing.
<Blush>. Anyway, I cannot help you with Lindsay Wagner either. Unlike
Lynda Carter, I do not have any fantasies about the Bionic Woman.
Just recently read
your newsletter, it's pretty cool. Just out
of curiosity, how far can you get in Crazy
Climber? I haven't played it all that much and made
it to the third building once, but that was when it
was set to 6 lives. Plus, what hand do you prefer to
That last one is pretty stupid but maybe not stupid
enough to get in the newsletter as some of those
really strange ones ones I've seen. They're pretty
One time, I went up
five buildings. Usually I can get through two with no problem and
sometimes through the third building. As far as what hand do I lead
with....let me think about it....is it the right hand.....no wait, it is
the other right hand......that is right, I lead with my left hand. Not
sure why, but I use the left hand to lead. Now if you ask me which hand
I use to lead when dancing, I would really be confused.
Just wanted you to
know that I, and I'm sure many, offer monthly thanks when we see your
latest posting. Hope you have a great turkey day!
I also think I might have an answer re: downloading games from your
Many of the sub-titles within articles ("The Many Faces of..." being a
are both bolded and underlined. Now, I'm sure that for many people
familiar with the
web, if not experienced, underlining is shortcut for linking. I'll bet
many people just
assume that you have links to all of the roms hidden somewhere in that
title and they
are just getting frustrated by not being able to access them.
Oh well, whaddyagonnado?
That explains that. Guess the overuse of
blue underlined words
is enough to drive a person
So I better limit its use, so as not to
make people think
that you can
DOWNLOAD ROMS HERE!!!
Sorry about that.
It seems like only
yesterday when I first started cruising the internet. Dial-up speeds of
14.4 bps (quickly bumped to 28.8) and late nights in my office. Ah yes,
those were the days.
Now we have
gigahertz processors and DSL/Cable modems. Things move along at
lightening speed and more and more words, pictures and sounds come
flooding through our PCs.
But the reasons we
use the internet really haven’t changed.
We use it to
entertain, to inform and to be informed, to buy and sell, and to link up
with like-minded people from around the world.
One of the first
things I stumbled across when I got online was a mailing list of
Turbografx-16/PC-Engine fans. This list was my first real introduction
to other game people on the net. It wasn’t long until you could tell who
the experts were, who the wannabee experts were and who were just jerks.
Since it was a moderated list, the jerks didn’t stay around long. I made
contacts (and some friends) through this list from as far away from me
as France, England and Japan. I had access to games I would have never
thought possible for me to get. I was able to get a NEC Supergrafx
system and games from this list. (The Supergrafx was to be NEC’s answer
to Nintendo’s Super Famicom/Super NES as a replacement for their
PC-Engine/Turbografx. Only 5 games were ever made that ran on this
system though it was backwards compatible.) I bought the machine from a
person in Canada (getting ready to move back home to Hong Kong), I
bought 2 games from a person in California, 2 from a contact in Japan
and traded for the last one with a person in France. In addition, there
were frequent “list-only” sales and auctions. This list grew large
enough to spawn separate lists for Sega and Playstation fans. The list
has cooled somewhat, but is still alive. Almost all of the sales and
auctions have moved to Ebay, but occasional questions and comments still
pop up. The list’s headquarters can be found at
As a side note, the
owner of the list has created the first home-brew game for the
Turbografx. The game is called “Implode” and has been described as a
After being on the
mailing lists for a while, I jumped into the Newsgroups. There were
places for what seemed like everything under the sun. Literally hundreds
of messages a day would go through rec.games.video and others. Keeping
up with the different groups took hours. The signal-to-noise ratio was
very high. Between spammers and flamers, a lot of what went on in each
group was junk. There were no moderators. It was free speech at its best
and worst. There was plenty of people selling and buying things, but it
became almost too much to follow. Plus if I was looking to buy
something, I’d go to Ebay.
Ah, Ebay. The word
will one day be used both as a blessing and a curse. A single site that
brings the world together in a frenzy of buying and selling. You can go
there and find just about anything. And so can everyone else. Instead of
getting bargains from the mailing list, or negotiating trades with
friendly people on newsgroups, you could “be sniped” at the last second
by some other buyer. But that was OK, because whatever you were looking
for would probably show up again soon anyhow.
But where to video
game fans get together and discuss things ? I missed the days of an on
going debate of what the Japanese PC-Engine of Castlevania was really
called (Castlevania: Circle of Blood or
Castlevania: Rondo of Blood or something else
?) or how to pronounce Graidus (well maybe not that one).
Being involved with
some other types of gaming communities over the years, I’ve been
introduced to moderated forums. Some web sites that have message boards
about particular topics and have them broken down by subsets. I’ve been
involved in forums for Collectable Card Games and Collectable Miniature
Games for a couple of years now. They offered the freedom of a newsgroup
with the moderated control of the mailing list. Some of the groups even
have swear filters to keep the nastier members under control.
Now it has probably
been around for a while, but I recently found the Digital Press forum at
http://www.digitpress.com/forum/ . Joe Santulli and the rest of the
crazies from Digital Press have a pretty decent forum going. There are
sections for “News” and “Buying and Selling” along with categories for
fans of Fighting games and Shoot em ups (SHUMPS). It’s moderated, so
(hopefully) most of the spammers and riff-raff are kept out. Having seen
some good forums and some bad over the years, this one seems pretty
good. Check it out.
Fred has been
playing games for over 25 years and actively collecting them for almost
15. The 2500 + (he thinks) games that he has takes up most of his home
office and living room. He lives in Denver, PA with his understanding
wife Jennie, his 7 year-old, Smash Brothers Melee-playing son, Max and
his 3 year-old, 4th player, Lynzie.
He admires the people that come up with clever screen names. He fears he
will always be “fcw3”. He can be contacted at
It has been rather
hectic around here.
As I type this,
tomorrow, and in just a few short hours, I will be married! Everything
has been moved up here, so now the Krych Kickback has four computers in
it, plus the Devastator II workbench! Two PC’s, a Falcon030, and a
We have been very
happy with the response to the Devastator II! We hope to have a review
in Retrogaming Times next month! One thing is for certain they are much
easier to build than the original Devastator!!!!!
I have had some time
to reflect upon the last year. The CCAG, PhillyClassic, the Devastator
and the Devastator II, the magazine reviews. Getting the Geneve for such
a great price was a great gift! Now, if I only had the time I want to
play with it! But oh well, a little here and a little there!
Treyton has taken to
playing with the Devastator II boxes when he visits, pushing all the
buttons to see what they do. I am so glad the new design allows it to be
unplugged while the PC is running. You see, we also have a new kitten
here and he just loves to climb on keyboards and the Devastator, and
since those buttons can activate things on the desktop that can mean
The subject of disk
drives has come up again on the TI server. I suppose that many of the
computers from that era are also having discussions about this subject,
every now and then.
You know, I would
love to see a Dream Team of the TI hardware experts get together and
design a new clone-based on an FPGA replication of the TMS9995. We do
have some experts left in programming, so it is just a matter of getting
the other side of the equation.
is something that has become much more possible due to the increasing
capabilities of the FPGA’s, and the downward price for them. But,
hardware is always more expensive than software emulation. But it is one
thing to run the emulation, and quite another to run something you can
actually touch and hold.
I think that it may
be time to really look at Don’s motherboard replacement project again.
Except this time, use FPGA’s to accomplish what we need. Let’s say,
maybe a 48MHz 9995 clone, V9938 emulation, 1MB SRAM, perhaps a certain
amount of flash ROM, GRAM simulation. Don, Michael, Thierry, and others,
what do you think?
And before I forget,
the Good Deal Games website has the first chapter of the Gyruss story,
please check it out and tell us what you think!
To all of you out
there, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Enjoy time with you
families, and all the neat gadgets you may get this year! Thanks Nick,
Fred, Tom, Thomas, Jeff, Martin, Joe, Andrew, Andy, our Devastator
customers, and of course my lovely wife, Lori! See ya soon, little
“Twas the night before Christmas,
And all through the house,
Not a button was clicking,
Not even the mouse.
The Devastators were hung,
In the stockings with care,
The material was Spandex,
So they would stretch, but not tear!!!
The Geneve was quiet,
Just waiting it’s said,
While visions of Tomy Tutor games,
Played in its head.
And the trusty and fun,
Was watching it all,
Knowing the next “TwoInOne”
And “Lost Blub”
Would be everyone having a ball!”
“Hi, my name is Jim
W. Krych. I am a 33 year-old electronics technician. I am also a 14-
year veteran of both the USCG, active, and the Ohio Army National Guard,
reserve with B Co. 112th engineers. I can be reached at:
firstname.lastname@example.org I have a three year-old son, Treyton, and he is
the CEO of Treyonics! I have also been blessed with a beautiful wife her
name is Lori!!! I have founded my own business and, of course, I named
the company after my son Treyton!
And now, Treyonics
is proud to present the Treyonics Home Controller System, model
Better known as...
by The Video Game Critic,
Enduro (Activision 1983) A-
This racing game is awesome! Enduro is simply brilliant in
both design and execution. At first, the graphics don't look all that
special. Two curved lines converge into the horizon to give the game a
3D look. Simple mountains move across the background. The cars are only
single colored, but they are high resolution and scale into the
foreground very smoothly. I like how my car's wheels spin. At first you
may mistake Enduro as a Pole Position knock off, but it has some
innovative features that put it in a league of its own. First of all,
the game is divided into "days", and you need to pass a certain number
of cars each day, indicated by a counter on your dashboard. The cars
whiz by in groups, and it's fun to see how many you can speed by without
a collision. But the excitement really builds as night turn turns
to dawn, and you need to pass those last few cars before sunrise. Adding
variety is the constantly changing weather conditions, which include
rain, snow, darkness, and fog. These are not only visually represented
well, but can even affect the handling of your car. Enduro never gets
dull, but it can take some time to play, and there is no way to bypass
the early stages.
Street Racer (Atari 1977) D
Street Racer may be the most cringe worthy game ever to be
inflicted upon the 2600. You only need to glance at it to see just how
bad it is. The fat, ugly vertical bars that separate the split screen
action are accompanied by the worst looking, blockiest car designs ever
witnessed in a video game. Let's face it, games like this give the 2600
a bad name. Only the sheer number of variations keep this game afloat.
The 27 variations let you dodge cars, slalom gates, shoot jets, or catch
numbers using paddle controllers. While the two-player action is
reasonable, the one-player modes feature a "computer opponent" who does
nothing but sit there the whole time (AI circa 1978!). You can play four
players at once, but good luck finding three other people who can
stomach these horrendous graphics. I remember buying Street Racer as a
kid because it was so cheap ($19.95!), but I was never crazy about it.
The number cruncher variations were always the favorite around my house,
probably because the games ended quickly, unlike the others that seemed
to go on way too long.
1 to 4 players
Indy 500 (Atari 1977) A-
This classic racing game is a lot of fun and easy to play.
The required special controllers are simply paddles which can be rotated
continuously in any direction. All you do is steer your little race car
around the screen-sized track. Game variations not only provide a
variety of tracks but completely different types of games. In addition
to the basic racing games, there are variations where you need to crash
into a randomly placed square, play tag with your opponent, or race on
ice. All tracks have a time trial mode so you can even play solo.
Nothing beats the two player action though. The only fault I could find
with this game is the excessive number of laps required to win the two
player games. Especially on the tougher tracks, making one lap can take
awhile, but requiring 25 laps to win is a bit much.
1 or 2 players
Sprint Master (Atari 1988) B+
This is an excellent version of the mildly-popular arcade
racer that looks like an updated Indy 500. You control a small car that
moves around a track that fits on a single screen. Nine tracks and
several modes of play are available. You can adjust the number of laps
and even set the track surface to be black, dirt, or ice. Each track has
a completely different design, and some even feature ramps, overpasses,
or gates. The tracks and cars look terrific, and randomly-placed icons
allow you to improve your traction or speed during the race. The
computer is a fair challenge, but going against another person is always
more fun. So what's the problem? Well I wasn't crazy about the joystick
control. It's too bad this game doesn't support the Indy 500 driving
controllers! But overall Sprint Master is still one of the best racing
games for the 2600.
1 or 2 players
Night Driver (Atari 1980) B
This first-person driving game does a surprisingly good job
of conveying the illusion of speed. Unlike the original black and white
arcade game, which just had posts along each side of the road, this game
even has oncoming cars and an occasional tree or house on the side of
the road. There are three 90-second courses of increasing difficulty,
and also a random track. It's fun to try to top your high score on the
harder tracks, because you tend to do a little better each time you
play. The main sources of difficulty are the hairpin turns that you see
on the advanced tracks. These require good anticipation, and if another
car is coming, you're toast. So what's the secret? Just go easy on the
accelerator when you anticipate a tight turn is coming. Going slow is
much better than crashing. My main beef about Night Driver is the lousy
graphics. Whoever programmed this was no artist, that's for sure. I'm
convinced that he never intended to keep that stupid looking "car" on
the bottom of the screen, but never got around to fixing it. The
oncoming cars are round and look like monsters. Night Driver also
contains some "no time limit" variations, which I recommend to
drug-addicted players who want to zone out on this game all night long.
Pole Position (Atari 1983) B+
Pole Position is the grandfather of all racers, and while
this arcade hit was certainly scaled down for the Atari 2600, it's still
a remarkably challenging and addicting game. The illusion of speed is
conveyed well, despite a complete lack of scaling scenery. The
background is pretty sparse, consisting of mountains and clouds, but you
won't notice them anyway. Your car is multicolored, but the oncoming
cars look horrendous. They come into view as yellow blocks, and appear
to morph into yellow castles. At least the animation is smooth, so if
you run into one, you can't blame the game. The gameplay surpasses the
graphics, thank goodness. You begin each game with a qualifying lap, and
since it's really easy, it gets to be a pain after a while. But once the
real race gets underway, you'll realize this game is no joke. Your car
accelerates automatically, and the fire button is used for the brake. It
works well. Pushing up and down on the joystick allows you to shift
gears between high and low. The game really keeps you on your toes.
Although they only appear one at a time, oncoming cars change lanes
unpredictably, so keep your thumb near the brake as you approach. No
roadside scenery means you can always pull off the road, although it
will slow you down. You begin the race with a 59 second time limit, but
your time is extended as you complete laps. Good sound effects include
passing engines and squealing tires. I like how the game keeps a running
score at the top of the screen. This Pole Position is tougher than it
looks. Try to score 50,000 and you'll see what I'm talking about.
For over 1700 more reviews, check out The Video Game Critic at
Tune in and drop out for a little while as we
check out a few more classic game sites that will interest you.
The Super Console Wars
Awhile back, I spotlighted this site and its great flash
movie, The Gamempire Strikes Back! It was a blend of video games and
Star Wars and was incredible! Now a new chapter is up and it is once
again just as good as the first. A ton of classic game references are
in there! So hop over and check out both great chapters of this story!
This cool site has a huge list of classic and not so classic
arcade machines that are replicated in 3D, so you can look at them and
use it as a guide for machines you may find that need some work. There
is also info on pinball machines and other cool stuff. Check it out and
Now it's time to show you what you said were
the top 20 commercials of all time. Thanks to everyone who participated.
Here we go..
19) Star Trek SOS
18) Congo Bongo
17) Mcdonalds & Atari
16) Atarisoft: "Your computer fits the arcade hits".
15) Wizard of Odyssey
14) RealSports Baseball with Billy Matin.
11) Chopper Command
10) 7-Up commercial featuring Pac-Man
8) Demon Attack
7) E.T. under the Christmas tree
6) Pole Position
5) Atari Prism commercial
3) M Network
2) The Fly commercial
And the top commercial of all time is..
That's right, Megamania has been chosen as the best classicgaming
commercial of all time. Since I already reviewed the Megamania ad, I
chose the Fly commercial to be covered this month in the Vault.
Here are the results. STOP! OK, now that you're back after
peeking at the list below, I know that many of you were eagerly asking
who won. For the most part there are no major
surprises, although I didn't expect to see
Burgertime in the top 10. I collected responses from you here directly,
emailed and got replies from most of my VG friends and also
posted on RGVC. I'll post a link to these
results on RGVC. Overall, I had 58 voters
(497 votes) and think that most of them understood what I wanted, but
we'll do a better job the next time for 1983 & 1984. Voters can pick
up to 10 games that were first released (at
arcades or home systems and any subsequent
ports), which are their favorites today. I also need to do a
better job checking my list as I forgot to include "Turmoil"
was a 1983 game), one of my top 20 favorite games of all-time, which is
also well loved by our editor, Tom. This poll may also guide me in
selections you are most likely going to want to see (like Joust!)
in the Many Faces of reviews. Here they are
(with number of votes):
Robotron 2084 (35)
Dig Dug (25)
Moon Patrol (23)
Donkey Kong Jr. (22)
Thanks to all those who voted. Especially a few voters who were pretty
close to matching the overall results. Dane G., Steve "Flash" Juon and
Chris Ivie voted for 9 of the top 12 vote getters. Good votes indeed!
For complete results contact Alan Hewston at email@example.com. OK
here's a few more that just missed it . . . Mr. Do! (19), Pole Position
(19), River Raid (17), Jungle Hunt (15), Time Pilot (15).
In the classic game market, most carts fall
under one of two categories. They are either really fun to play games
that are not worth much or horribly made games that are worth alot of
money. As with most things in life, there are exceptions. That is
where this list comes into play. It is what I call Classic Game Coal.
It is those games that have the rare distinction of being both a bad
playing game as well as being pretty much worthless. These are the kind
of game that if you got as a kid, it wasn't much different than getting
a lump of coal in your stocking. Due to time restraints (as you can see
by the very late publication of the newsletter), I am going to limit it
to Atari 2600 games. Feel free to send in more suggestions for this
system or any other.
I would have loved to write more, but time ran
out and I have been busy as a bee. There were actually a third article
from both Alan Hewston and Adam King, but the size of the newsletter was
getting up there and I was running out of time, so I will put them off
until next month. But we did get a few old faces back and it was a very
full issue. Hope you have a happy holidays and stay safe!
(This issue was done while listening to my two favorite groups, Pink
Floyd and Tears for Fears.)