Monday, April 15, 2019

Three High-Quality 1080p Game Boy "Consolizing" Solutions Compared

For some reasons, probably strange, many people like to play Game Boy or Game Boy Color games outside their portable confines.  One reason is that the games are good but the original screens for these devices are terrible to look at by modern standards.  Nintendo has on certain occasions tried to satisfy the need to play portable games as though they were home console games, but those solutions are old.  Pure software emulation can easily take the GB to 1080p and beyond, but software is wholly divorced from original hardware.  There are software emulators with dumping cartridge slots like the RetroN 5 and Retro Freak, but they are only 720p solutions.  A promising new mod called the GBA Consolizer is an FPGA-based upscaling solution for the Game Boy Advance but is limited to 720p output.  There was a mod called the HDMYBoy a few years ago but it never got beyond a few prototype units.  For this blog article, I will focus on hardware-based solutions which I have some ability to experience personally and can deliver a 1080p experience.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Mega EverDrive X7 - Almost Everything You'd Want in a Flash Cart

Mega EverDrive X7, courtesy of
 A long time ago, over six years in fact, I purchased my first Krikzz product.  This was the Mega EverDrive (v1), then by far the most capable flash cartridge ever released.  I wrote about it here.  Recently I have had the opportunity to acquire its successor, the Mega EverDrive X7.  Let's revisit the use of flash carts on the Genesis/Mega Drive with the X7.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Sega CD - The Other CD Expansion

The Sega CD is treated like the unwanted step-child of the CD expansions.  Early CD systems and expansions before the PlayStation were not the breakthrough product their manufacturers hoped they would be.  They did not deliver the substantially superior gaming experiences they promised and were generally considered too expensive for what they did deliver.  And what they delivered was often unimpressive, ports of cartridge games with enhanced audio and superfluous cutscenes, FMV games which relied on route memorization, PC game ports that had no business being run on hardware that did not have a hard drive, a keyboard or a desk with which to use a mouse and interactive entertainment software which was barely interactive and not entertaining.  Today we are going to take a look at the Sega CD, its hardware, its quirks and ultimately the games that make it worth considering as a device on which to play games rather than to put on a collector's shelf.

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.  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.