Miscellaneous

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A catch-all for anything not covered elsewhere...
Mark Vergeer's picture

VIC-20 Repair / Transplant Surgery - December 8th 2013


A little while ago I got a second VIC-20 which was in a cosmetically almost mint condition. Sadly the motherboard has a fault where it fails to read the joystick and the keyboard correctly resulting in the controls in games not functioning. The VIC-20 I had works great but cosmetically has seen better days. The label has come off and there has been extensive yellowing of its case. One has a serial number only in the ten thousands while the other machine has a serial number well into the hundred thousand. The cosmetically good looking machine being the oldest of the two and the yellowed machine being the younger system. So the younger system works great but looks sh*t and the oldest system looks great but runs sh*t.

Mark Vergeer's picture

New consoles and Micro transactions in (Full Price) Games

Mark Smile Micro transactions in full priced games with the gameplay being so much of a grind that people are motivated to buy the advancements in the game rather than going to the process of actually playing the games is what kills modern gaming for me. Games that have that mechanic will far less likely get played by me.

Whether or not I buy a new console depends on the publishers getting their act together on the new systems. Full price games like Forza 5 and Gran Turismo 6 (on the PS3) still have microtransactions in them. If the majority of full price games will contain this mechanic, what does that mean for gaming as a whole?

Micro transactions are meant to squeeze even more money out of customers' pockets, they have nothing to do with better gameplay or enhancing the game mechanics. They largely ruin the game experience. And I believe micro transactions are something you don't want to expose kids to as they don't teach you the value of things at all. Kids need to learn to be able to deal with money responsibly and such transactions won't help them - it will most likely confuse quite a few of them. Or does it?

Ad ridden free to play games are fine for some perhaps. The model does provide people with a full game and that's fine for some and also very enjoyable. It's comparable to watching a movie that is hacked to pieces with 15 minutes of commercials thrown in every so often. I'd much rather watch without interruptions and commercials and I think I get a better experience. I choose to do the same for my gaming.

I am of the opinion that if you opt to play those free to play / Micro transaction-containing games you basically support that marketing model and the masses of people choosing to do the same will make the game developers think they have something good there.

I choose not to expose myself to that kind of marketing mechanic or as little as possible as I am human and have a right to be irrational at times. Just give me a full game for a good price that I am able to play when I want - even a couple of years down the line - which with activations and online passes and closed systems needing day 1 updates and games that are basically broken when released today can only be dreamt of.

What are your opinions on the matter?

Mark Vergeer's picture

SV-328 Microcomputer - pickup / lot


I got myself a new system (SV-328) in a pretty complete lot. Mind you I was pretty tired when I filmed this so bare with me. Check out what I got.

Spectravideo, or SVI, founded in 1981 as "SpectraVision" by Harry Fox was a US based firm. SVI originally made video games for the VIC-20 and Atari 2600 consoles. They also made Atari compatible joysticks and many C64s actually were completed with a set of Spectravideo joysticks. Some of the later computers were MSX-compliant and some even IBM PC compatible. SVI folded in 1988.

The SV-328 is an 8-bit home computer introduced by Spectravideo in June 1983. It was the business-targeted model, sporting a full-travel keyboard with numeric keypad. Making it look like a professional machine that could compete with the big professional systems out there. It has 80 kB RAM (64 kB available for software & 16 kB video memory). Other than the keyboard and RAM, this machine was identical to its predecessor, the SV-318.
The SV-328 is the design on which the later MSX standard was based. Spectravideo's MSX-compliant successor to the 328, the SV-728, looks almost identical, the only immediately noticeable differences being a larger cartridge slot in the central position (to fit MSX standard cartridges), lighter shaded keyboard and the MSX labels.

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark Plays... Fez (PC)


FEZ - a puzzle game developed by Polytron Corp. Designed by Phil Fish. Released on Xbox Live Arcade intially and later on on the PC. The development of FEZ is partially captured in 'Indie Game: The Movie'.

You Play Gomez, a critter living in a 2D world that goes on a bit of a 3D adventure because of the Hexahedron scattering cubes around that Gomez has to collect in order to avoid complete and utter destruction of all that is known.

The cool thing about this game is that it uses 2D in a 3D world where the perspective makes moves and jumps possible that would otherwise not have been. This is done so by eliminating 'depth' or the Z-axis competely.

Graphics 10/10
Gameplay 9/10

This is NOT a real review but just me trying out the game. I recommend getting this on the PC as the XBoxLive version doesn't seem to get any updates to bugs (or it did corrupt a save file in the past) whereas the PC version does get frequent updates!
http://store.steampowered.com/app/224760/

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark Plays... Outrun2006 Coast to Coast / Outrun2SP (PC)(Post Replay 2013)


Outrun2006SP a wonderful arcade game that found its way onto the PS2 and the Xbox as well as the XBox360 - not sure about the PS3 but I am sure it's on there too. Well at Replay 2013 I finally got the chance to sit down (barely as I am a tad too tall for the machine to really fit) and play me some Outrun2006SP. I also played the full sized two seater arcade game at the Namco Arcade at the Trafford Center but that also has a hard time accommodating my long legs (I am 6'8"). So my performance was hindered by me not being too good with the pedals resulting in some rather poor gameplay :P
After getting home today I figured up Steam on the PC and downloaded the PC version of the game I bought many eons ago and it worked great. I grabbed it at 60fps which YouTube sadly degraded to 30fps so the footage is not as smooth as the original. I just had to redeem myself a little - recover my crushed ego :P

Well here's a little of me playing the game on Easy and Hard. Enjoy!

Mark Vergeer's picture

Play Expo 2013 / Replay 2013 (Manchester UK)


Custardo aka Erwin, the wife (aka magically floating camera aka cameragirl) and myself went to Manchester (UK) for a couple of days to enjoy the Replay / Play Expo gaming event held at Event City near the Trafford centre. This clip shows our adventures there.

During the event we met some people we knew from Facebook and YouTube and we even got attacked by a Zombie that managed to infect me. RetroGamerVX's video on Replay 2013 - the bit where we get attacked by a Zombie:
http://youtu.be/IsjXklVdDPk?t=20m42s


Custardo has created his own footage & here's a link to his channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/custardoo

Enjoy.

Mark Vergeer's picture

My Experiences With The OUYA, What Are Yours?

OUYA Game ConsoleOUYA Game ConsoleA couple of months in I really really want to like it but I don't. I really don't. The concept is very cool, the Indie games for it are really cool and there's some great emulators out there for it BUT... there are too many negatives to make this right.

The controller just isn't up to standards, the thumb-pad touches the sides of the mold so it feels cheap and not well designed. What this also creates is a feeling of unresponsiveness on the thumb-pad button itself as it seems to get stuck in a depressed position quite often. The analog joysticks are actually the best bit of the controllers as they are of a good quality, but they do grind on the top of the controller's surface-plates creating a lot of plastic powder that will no doubt foul up button functionality in the future. The action buttons suffer a similar fate as the thumb-pad button - the holes on the surface of the controller are too narrow with too little margins for the buttons to move freely so they end up actually getting caught underneath the top of the controller. The touch interface area / mousepad is on the controller is actually quite nifty.

But there's more, read below to find out what it is...

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark Plays... Alpha Roid (MSX1, 64K)


Lloyd Alpha (? ROID) is a great little game produced by Pony Canyon in 1986. In it you have to destroy the evil forces of the Barugosu and repair the main computer. Well that is as elaborate as the background story of this shooter is going to get.

My European copy of the game comes with a nice cassette inlay but apart from a few lines of backstory there isn't any instructions on the gameplay included. The version I play here is the bare NTSC cart I also own. The Japanese version supposedly comes with more detailed instructions on how to play the game.

In my little gameplay (I didn't really know how to play this game) I didn't go into the holes (craters) that appear on the surface. And you are supposed to do so. Fly into those and the game turns into a little fighting game where you have to hit, kick, jump around to battle against those meanies. So there's more to this game than meets the eye. Check it out for yourself.

Here's a little clip of a guy who actually knows how to play this game and it shows the subterranean battling of the robots
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQL_fWcT0Pc

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark Plays... Delver (PC)


Delver is an Indie game that was recommended to me by a friend and this is the first time I take a look at it. It is basically one of these old text based Rogue like games that has turned into a nice 3D game featuring nice pixellated graphics reminiscent of those found in Minecraft. It is a tough game and I only seem to be able to last a couple of minutes. It works quite intuitively and I am liking this a lot even in its current Alpha state (Friday the 13th, 2013).
If you want to go check it out you can get it for PC or Android over here: http://www.delvergame.com/
You can also get the game on Steam.

Here's a link to the developer blog: http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=24764.0

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark Plays... EA Classics (Colecovision) - new homebrew games


In this video I demo the 3 games on Tony's new Colecovision homebrew prototype cart. Munch Mania, Meteor Swarm and Birds of Orion. The retail Colecovision cartridge can actually be bought over here: http://bit.ly/1aWFyaF
I'd recommend this cart to anyone who owns a Colecovision as the games are very playable and tough. They pose a nice challenge. They are what an ElectricAdventure game is all about: tough as nails!

If you haven't checked out ElectricAdventure's channel please do so here:
http://www.youtube.com/electricadventures

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