Had An Awesome Time Hangin’ With My Retro Collector Friends From Colexions.com

7 04 2014

My buddy and fellow Retro Gaming fanatic Corey Buckner has put together a great community of fellow minded collectors over at colexions.com. Well, not only has he put together a great site to show off your own collection and geek out over fellow collectors treasures, he also hosts a monthly “Show And Tell” on Google Hangouts. What it is is a group of us collectors having a great time, showing off our stuff and talking about retro gaming and what ever else might come to mind. This was the third monthly get together and boy did we get to see some amazing stuff. We represented five different countries and three different continents but the distances just made the conversation better. It’s really cool to be able to meet like this. We had Corey Buckner (of course) from just outside Chicago and indie game developer Gary Brafford in West Virginia and lifespiller79 from…um sorry man, Texas (I think), all three in the U.S. of A,  We had Gabo representing Argentina, Mark in the U.K, Paul in Australia and little ol’ me up here in Canada. Everyone pulled out all the stops and showed some real stunners from our collections. Checkout last Saturday’s get together below:

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Bally Road Runner Electro Mechanical Racer

4 09 2013

Well, you don’t see one of these babies very day… In fact, the one and only time I saw one of these was in a train station in Ottawa, Ontario thirty-seven years ago. And then again on August 27, 2013 when we visited the awesome Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas. This is a neat take on racing and Interestingly, the car that you control is projected on a piece of glass in a kind of ghostly manner, and when you crash, which I did continuously, that ghost car is seen tumbling. Unfortunately that did not show up in this video.





Bally Astrocade – I Finally Have One!!!

19 04 2013

CameraZOOM-20130418024243585There are few classic consoles that I lust after. One of those systems has always been the Bally Astrocade, and now I have one.

The Astrocade was released in 1978 and was very poorly marketed. At first only available through mail order and then later marketed poorly in small computer stores (though I saw it at a super drug mart called London Drugs in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada). It didn’t help that it was marketed more as a home computer than a gaming console, which it really is.

A contemporary of the original Atari 2600/VCS CameraZOOM-20130418024537977and Intellivision, it surpassed both in graphic and sound capabilities. The Astrocade got very few arcade ports, though it had a few great clones of classic games such as Galactic Invasion, a Galaxian clone, and The Incredible Wizard, a spot on clone of Wizard of Wor and Astro. The only true arcade port that I’ve seen is Space Fortress and is almost spot on. The Astrocade’s controllers were unique in that they resembled a revolver pistols handle with a small orange nub at the top that works as the joystick that can also be twisted to be used as a paddle controller. They are both unique and comfortable to use. The cartridges look surprisingly like audio cassettes, though they are solid state cartridges like other systems. There is a compartment at the top end of the system where you store the cartridges. And, being a console of the late 1970’s, it sports a great fake wood finish!

CameraZOOM-20130418024420711I acquired my Astrocade through a trade done on reddit.coms retrogameswap page. The guy I traded with, Chuck traded his Astrocade with a crap load of games for my NEC TurboDuo. I know the TurboDuo is worth more if I were to sell, but the Astrocade is worth more to me as a collectible. The system was clean and in perfect working condition. All the game, except one work perfectly, and the one that isn’t working is a math game so I am not upset. The one game I really want, The Incredible Wizard was not part of the haul, but I have purchased a copy via Ebay, and am eagerly awaiting it’s arrival and this evening I also added Pinball to my Ebay purchases. I’d also love to get a copy of Muncher, an amazing Pacman clone that was released for the system, but the only times I’ve seen it on Ebay, the seller wanted a lot more than I’ve been willing to pay. There are also a few home brew games out there, including absolutely amazing versions of the arcade classics, Crazy Climber and War, a Warlords clone.

I am so happy with this trade.

Here is a video of me demonstrating the games that came with it:





Sega Master System SegaScope 3-D System

15 04 2013

MastersystemIn 1986, Sega entered the console market in North America with the Sega Master System. Competing against the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES for short), Sega brought to the living room a technically superior system, but still managed to lose that generation’s console war due to a lack of good 3rd party games. That said the system still had some great games including some awesome Sega arcade ports.

Back in ‘86 my roommate had the Master System and the really cool 3-SegaSope Glasses. This was a funky 3D system that utilized a pair of active shutter glasses that synched on and off with alternating images on the TV creating a surprisingly effective 3D effect in the few games that supported it. People looking at the TV without the glasses would see a flickery mess of an image while the wearer of the 3D glasses would see a (semi) realistic 3D image.

Well, a lot of time has passed since then and while I had been able to acquire a few Master Systems over the years, a working, complete set of the 3D glasses and required adapter always seemed to elude me. That is until recently:

2013-03-29 12.43.03One night while randomly searching Ebay for retro gaming related items I decided to search for the Master System 3D glasses and was surprised by my results. I found a new pair of LCD glasses that the seller claimed was compatible with the Sega Master System. They were selling for $20, but I would till need the adapter, assuming that the glasses really were compatible. A quick Google search for post from anyone who may have actually used these style of glasses with a Master System confirmed that while the 2013-03-29 12.42.20glasses weren’t manufactured by Sega, they were indeed compatible. I hit buy now on those and the looked and quickly found someone selling the 3-D adaptor part of the SegaScope system for about $5. This is the piece that plugs into the Master System’s card slot and the glasses plug into it. So, I was able to recreate the SegaScope system for under $30. The real question was would it be as good as I seemed to remember it being? I was really hoping this wasn’t one of those Rose Coloured Glasses kind of situations

LightPhaserPlugging in the glasses and Zaxxon 3-D into the system, I fired it up and was very happy to see that my age fogged memory was accurate in this case: the 3-D still held up, considering the time. Though clucky to coordinate the 3D glasses and my own glasses, one I found a comfortable solution, the actual 3-D effect was quite impressive. I played a few rounds of Zaxxon and then plunked in Missile Defense 3-D.  This is a fast pace 3-D shooter where you use a light gun to target ICBMs – nuclear missiles that are heading your way. This is a game that is particularly good at taking advantage of the 3-D with both over head and first person views. Not only was I impressed with what I saw on TV, I was also very content with the old Light Phaser light gun’s accuracy. This old system was and is working great, and it’s the revolutionary 3-D system still worked well. There was a reason I backed this eventually losing horse back in it’s early days. The Master System can still be had for reasonably cheap if you look for it, and the 3-D glasses combo that I created can be easily done with a simple Ebay search. As for the games, I’ve found them at pawn shops for a few dollars and they’re pretty easy to find on Ebay. There’s even a flash cart available called the Master EverDrive that allows you to load up all the games on an SD card and play from a menu on the Master System. I just ordered one from Stoneagegamer.com and I’ll let you know what I think of it after I get it and try it out for a bit.





The History Of Hockey Video Games

15 04 2013

I found this on a fellow classic gamer’s Youtube Channel, Atarileaf. It’s a history of Hockey video games by a Canadian gamer. Funny stuff and you should watch it!





My Q*Bert Tabletop Game!

31 03 2013

Hey folks, hope all is well.

About 6 months ago I picked up a Parker Brothers Q*Bert Tabletop game. I have a number of these mini arcade machines, most being released by Coleco. This one is a Parker Brothers game and is surprisingly good when you take into account the limitations of these machines.

Check out the short demo video I made, below!





I have finaly bought a Vectrex!!!

28 01 2008

Those who know me, know that I collect video game systems – especially vintage video game systems. Well, this weekend I found the systemVectrex-angle-slot-small that for me is the Holy Grail of video game systems: The Vectrex.

“What the heck is a Vectrex?” is the kind of response that I get from most people when I mention this system. For a more detailed look at the Vectrex, go to the Vectrex Wikipedia entry. I’ll give you a brief description. Vectrex was a home video game system released late 1982 by General Consumer Electric (GCE), in time for the Christmas buying season. The Vectrex stood apart from other game systems in many ways, none the least of which was the fact that it sported it’s own monitor!

Looking a little like an original (or classic) Apple Macintosh if it had been specifically designed for Darth Vader, this amazing machine had a black and white vector monitor housed in a monolith-like black vertical case. The Vectrex used a vector monitor, because it displayed vector graphics: line based graphics. If you ever seen the classic arcade games Asteroids, Battlezone, Star Wars or Tempest then you know what I mean. At the time, this was the best way to get sharp, detailed graphics on a screen. Vector graphics cannot properly be displayed on a standard television screen. Another benefit of the built in screen is not needing to hog the television: back in 1982, a lot more housVectrex-straight-oneholds only had one television! It also had a more sophisticated sound processor allowing it to reproduce better sound effects and music. Heck, the game Spike even had voice! This is something that was so very rare at the time (1982 was a long time ago), that most systems simply couldn’t do it. The Mattel Intellivision needed a separate expansion device to reproduce sound – Vectrex did it from the start.

So, to make a long story just a little less long, I got the Vectrex and three games for about $150 Canadian (at the moment about $149.80 U.S.). I probably could have paid less online somewhere, but shipping would have been stupidly high… So I am very happy!

Below is a little video of my Vectrex!