Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Proper Analog Retro Video Capture with the Datapath E1/E1s

Capturing analog video can be a difficult task.  Analog video follows rather imprecise standards and is increasingly being discarded in today's world where 100% digital video solutions like HDMI and DisplayPort rule.  Capturing a digital signal is often simply a matter of buying a capture card/box and plugging everything in.  But capturing audio signals, at least those signals that do not conform to the "broadcast standards of 525/625i", is not quite so easy.  But while there exist inexpensive devices that can handle low quality composite and medium quality s-video sources, what about high-end analog sources like component video, 15KHz RGB and 31KHz VGA signals?  Moreover, are any of them compatible with 240p signals put out by retro consoles and home computers?  While there are affordable devices that can sort of handle these signals like the Startech USB3HDCAP, the results are often second rate.  But what if there was a device that you can acquire for similar cost and provide truly first-rate capture?  Interested?  Well if you are, read on to discover the power and the caveats of the Datapath VisionRGB E1 and E1s.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Obscure Ultima, Ultima: Escape from Mt. Drash


Back in Ye Olden Days, I knew nothing of blogs and was content to post materials on forums and newsgroups and the like.  I contributed a few writings to GameFAQs back before the days when it was purchased by GameSpot.  The only actual FAQ for a video game I ever contributed that described how to beat a game was for the VIC-20 game Ultima: Escape from Mt. Drash.  When GameFAQs took over, I removed all my content from that site.  Now, having finally been able to play the game on original hardware, I think it is time to revive the old FAQ.  Moreover, no longer limited to plain, monochrome text, I can do more now that I have my own blog and the ability to add images, color text and link video.  Let's take a trip into a rarely visited part of the Ultima Universe.

Monday, January 7, 2019

IBM PCjr. Upgrades Part 2

When I first received my IBM PCjr. back in 2013, I was able to discuss most of the readily-available upgrades for the system that existed at that time.  https://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com/2014/03/ibm-pcjr-upgrades.html  Now, almost six years later, we have some new upgrades available.  Let's see what modern conveniences can do for a 35-year old computer system


Sunday, January 6, 2019

Meet Commodore's VIC(-20), the Friendly Computer




When Commodore made the PET-2001, they made a computer that found some success in the market, especially in Europe.  The PET turned into a series, but it was an all-in-one PC that came with a monochrome monitor and was rather an expensive product.  Commodore wanted to expand to more of a mass-market, and they designed the Commodore VIC-20, the first personal computer to sell for less than $300.  The VIC was very successful when it was released in 1981, becoming the first computer to sell over one million systems.  Its low price and feature set (color graphics, 4-channel sound) helped it to outsell its competitors.  But it days in the limelight were short-lived due to the arrival of its successor, the Commodore 64.  Having acquired a VIC-20, let's take a look at some of the practical issues with using it.


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Nonsense and Other Observations about Dracula/Horror of Dracula

As much as I love Dracula (1958)/Horror of Dracula, I find it has a lot of plot holes, ideas that don't make a lot of sense and other weirdness.  I started to write down certain observations as I was watching the film and eventually they became so long that I thought them worth putting them up in a blog post.  These observations as I have put them to type have been as timestamped to the times (roughly) in the film to which they most apply.  I am using the 2012 Hammer Restoration found on the 2013 Region B/2 Blu-ray/DVD from Lionsgate with altered color timing by a fan (which eliminates the overly-blue tint found on that disc).  Any DVD or Blu-ray release should be able to follow along without too much difficulty.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Blog at 400 Posts

400 blog posts?   Have I really written so many?  Blogger says I have, so I'll have to accept that.  I suppose its time for one of those meta-blog entries where I talk about stuff that doesn't fit into a traditional blog post.  So let's start with a revisit of one of the only useful parts of the previous "Blog at xxx Posts" posts, the Youtube channel recommendations list.  I subscribe to many more channels these days than I used to, so let me tell you why you may want to take a look at them as well.  The channels I recommended (LGR, Pixelmusement and PushingUpRoses) in my early blog post remain recommended of course, but let's add some fresh blood to the list.  I will be using categories to help organize recommended channels, but just because a channel falls into one category does not mean it holds no value outside that pigeonhole. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The CollectorVision Phoenix Part 2 - The FPGA System Built by Thieves and Sold on Disinformation

Three blog posts ago, I was rather critical of the CollectorVision Phoenix, an FPGA console which implements the ColecoVision : https://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-collectorvision-phoenix-fpga.html  I said all that I believed needed to be said, but since then I have determined that the console was deserving of further criticism.

Before we go into the specifics of my claims, let's review the basic hardware specifications of the ColecoVision and similar systems which are based off the TMS9928A Video Display Processor (VDP).


Sunday, November 4, 2018

Newly-Made High Quality Controllers for Vintage Consoles

When you see new controllers being sold for your retro video game systems in your local retro video game store and in many online stores, they are typically of the atgames, Tomee, Cirka, Retro-bit, Gamerz-Tek or Hyperkin quality, which is essentially no-quality.  When you buy these controllers, expect cheap plastic, stiff or rattling buttons, thin and short wires, useless turbo options and terrible D-pads.  Occasionally one can find quality products that go above and beyond and try to compete or exceed the quality of original, first-party controllers.  Let's take a look at some of the respectable options for your classic consoles.