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Member Since 15 Feb 2010
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#2679967 Picked up a new Trinitron today...

Posted by ledzep on Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:00 PM

I have one of these Trinitron TVs and I love it. I also found this website that talks about calibrating CRTs and how to enter the TV's service mode to get to all the many many settings it has (the service mode page also has the information for ordering a service manual for your TV should you want one, I got one for mine and it's has every schematic for the guts of this thing). I did this for my TV in order to shrink down the image both horizontally and vertically so I wouldn't lose some of the edge information that I noticed was not being displayed.

I'm not sure if this website will help with your particular TV but you should be able to get an idea about the various ways you can adjust your image to get it exactly where/how you want it.

#2626145 New GUI for the Atari 8-bit

Posted by ledzep on Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:06 PM

I think my preferred behavior would just be to never allow the mouse pointer off the screen. I realize you'd have to do some more advanced checking than just that for the menu bar issue and such, but if the mouse pointer can't be dragged off the sides or bottom of the screen, neither can the windows. Of course, you've probably already thought of this, and there's just something deeper going on that I'm not realizing.

Come on, obviously the preferred behavior for an Atari 8-bit computer would have to be a wrap-around screen! I'm kidding but I think that would be a hilarious easter egg or hidden feature, having the windows wrap side-to-side or top-to-bottom, so 2600.

#2622807 Vectrex Game Brainstorming!

Posted by ledzep on Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:25 AM

This is probably too generic an answer but, for me, I welcome more games that take advantage of the Vectrex's analog joystick and that have useful overlays (Pole Position is a perfect example, Armor..Attack is another for the overlay alone). And also, games that take advantage of the vector graphic's ability to draw a straight line in any direction. It's always bugged me to play rastor versions of vector games on consoles, having only 12 or so directions in which to shoot when the arcade version let me shoot anywhere (Asteroids on the Atari 2600 being one of the worst).

Head On 2 would be great as far as the overlay goes (but vertical).
Reactor would be great, too (I've been told someone was working on a version of this with Spike as the player but enough with including Spike for everything already).
Quantum would be perfect for the analog joystick.

And not a game but I wish someone would brainstorm a trackball for the Vectrex. There must be a way to use the inputs for the joystick for that, still leaving the controller with 4 buttons. Quantum, Missile Command, Centipede, Atari Football, other games demand it!

#2565624 Is it blasphemy to use a stock Genesis/Megadrive controller with the VCS?

Posted by ledzep on Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:39 AM

Use whatever controller you like but it is blasphemy to use a Genesis/Megadrive controller with the VCS. Those games were made for joysticks and paddles and driving controllers, not gamepads. Might as well put a Chevy 350 in a BMW (some do, it's wrong). Convenience or preference is a valid excuse but it's still blasphemy. You get these games presumably to run them the way they were meant to be run. That means original hardware and controllers.

#2561949 So how many people here do not drink the Atari koolade?

Posted by ledzep on Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:00 PM

I better explain myself before I get shot!! :lol:

What I mean is how many people here have a very balanced view of ALL past machines from 8-64bit regardless of whether they sport an Atari badge or not?

Not sure I understand the question. I mean, yes, I have a very balanced view of MOST past machines (haven't played with or even laid eyes on a few of them) whether they sport an Atari badge or not but, for me, most of them suck. I own/like the Atari 2600, the Atari 5200 and the Vectrex, the rest don't interest me. My first computer was an Atari 800 (by choice, a couple friends had Apple ][s and I didn't care for them, hated TRS computers and wasn't keen on Commodores) and I love it still. Not until I saw SGI Impact 2s at my first real job did I like another computer again. And a friend of mine had an Atari 400 but I hated it (that keyboard was hell).

Having said that there are some Atari products I don't like, or don't like enough. The Atari 7800, somehow, doesn't do it for me (and how stupid am I about that with recent Scramble, Moon Cresta homebrews?@!). I own a Falcon computer but haven't used it in a while, wasn't impressed after giving it a full (expensive for the time) try. I'm fully Linux now.

My best friend had an Intellivision and a 5200 when we were kids. Loved the Atari 5200 (finally buying one years later), really didn't like the Intellivision (minus a few good games we played a lot). No desire to own one and it's one I grew up with. There is/was just something about Atari that "does it" for me. The 2600 is primitive beyond all others yet I really like it still. The 5200 rocks. It's just a look they both have (graphics, game play). Same goes for Atari arcade games, there was a run of a few years where they practically could do no wrong by me. Cinematronics was also solid there, some Midway and Sega games, but Atari ruled... until the later '80s when all new arcade games sucked for me. Wrong look, wrong game play. Forget it, I'll play Tempest. I remember seeing an Odyssey 2 in a store and trying to play it, hating everything about it (keyboard, game graphics, joysticks). Never liked the Nintendo and it's offspring.

Most fans drink the Kool-Aide for their favorites. I agree that the fanatics are intolerable, their favorites are completely perfect and superior to all others. But fans are rarely fans of everything in the genre, they pick their favorites. I love the Vectrex as much as the 2600 and the 5200 but what I would really really love to see? The Atari vector arcade games ported to the Vectrex.

#2558288 Anyone remember Solar Fox

Posted by ledzep on Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:14 PM

Man, my brother and I played that in the arcades a lot. He even bought one (though it refuses to display correctly now), it was always a fun game to play. I never liked the Tron joystick, though, it always felt like I was going to break that thing off its base because of how hard I was pushing it to try to avoid dying, haahaa.

#2557032 Questions...possibilites, opinions on development of retrogames

Posted by ledzep on Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:48 PM

I can't answer the questions because I have no real experience in the homebrew world, though I would say that the Vectrex seems to have as good as or even a more robust homebrew scene than the 2600.

As much as I hate the way it played out I'd say that the 2600 Star Castle Kickstarter example is a way to do this that you might not have considered. You can set a money goal that can, if you feel like it, include development costs. You don't reach the goal, you don't move on it but it would seem that people would expect something soon so you'd almost have to have been working on the game before getting the money. But you could set up pricing and availability that way that would for sure cover your costs. What I didn't like about the Star Castle example was that the guy got waaay more money than he was asking for but didn't allow for extra carts to be made for purchase. So someone like say, me, who didn't hear about it until a week later, was S.O.L. in terms of getting one even though the guy got plenty of money to produce a few extras and I would have put down for the boxed (most expensive) version. I wouldn't do it that way if you went that route, I'd allow for some of the extra money to either have more examples made or get folded into the next game down the line.

I would like to see a Vectrex Kickstarter with tiered pricing for cart only, cart + manual and cart + manual + box + overlay. Since boxes and overlays are the biggest pains they'd make that 3rd level the most expensive. It would be obvious how many of each were being asked for and the pricing would cover that + maybe some extra for the effort. If it exceeded the total then some extras could be made for after-the-fact sales. Maybe after 2 or 3 of those you make a name for yourself and don't need Kickstarter anymore.

Also, pricing depends on what you're making. If it's a popular "Why wasn't this game ever made for the [fill in the blank]?" port then you could probably charge more than for your own unique idea that might not resonate with potential customers. I'm thinking of a Halo or Boulder Dash for the 2600 or a Warrior for the Vectrex or a Moon Cresta for the 7800 as opposed to a game that might be really cool but nobody can wrap his head around your description, you'd have to already have them made so people could see a YouTube video of gameplay or something. Along with that, if you go the full monty with boxes and screen overlays (Vectrex) or controller overlays (5200, Intellivision) then you could charge more for that "completeness" as well.

There's also the possibility of teaming with others who already exist. Marc on this forum offers boxes for some games (which I've bought and really like), maybe he could be convinced to make them separately for your games and whoever bought your carts would be told to contact him for any box needs. And omeganu makes overlays for Vectrex games that are pretty good compared to the originals and he also makes overlays for homebrew games that never had them, you could supply him with the image and be done with it from your end. Actually I hope more homebrew programmers do that, I think it's best when you can have the option of compiling a complete homebrew game as opposed to just having a downloaded file to run on an emulator.

#2524248 Appeal of new 8-bit software.

Posted by ledzep on Thu May 17, 2012 6:40 PM

I think the OP would get a truer, unbiased answer if he were to ask the question only to 8-bit software fans who didn't grow up with 8-bit games and only got into them later in life so nostalgia and familiarity couldn't play into the answer.

Surely there are more people using this stuff/emulation who owned them (any retro 8bit/16bit machine) in the 80s than new comers?

Oh, no doubt. But those previous owners would have a nostalgia/familiarity bias like I do and I am guessing most others do. "I remember it as a kid," "It was my favorite," "My parents never bought me one but always wished I had one," "Those games got me into video games," etc. It would be hard to get a true reason for the appeal for new 8-bit software from people who were driven by nostalgia.

On the other hand, people who grew up after 8-bit computers and consoles were long gone and only knew 32 and 64-bit gaming wouldn't have that bias to contend with. If some of those people, who grew up with Sega Saturns, Playstations and Nintendo 64s, finally laid their eyes on old 8-bit software and fell in love, thought those were the best and so much better than 32 and 64-bit games, and decided they had to have them even though they grew up with much more powerful systems and games, then you would have a fan source that would be viewing 8-bit stuff from "the outside". They would see the appeal of 8-bit software as 8-bit software, not as part of their childhoods or some memory trigger of favorite times of their lives.

As I said, part of what I like about 8-bit games is that they were so primitive in looks and in processor power that they had to have great gameplay. Without that it was a disaster. But I also know that much of the appeal, for me, is due to nostalgia and growing up with those systems.

#2523328 Appeal of new 8-bit software.

Posted by ledzep on Wed May 16, 2012 3:15 PM

For me the appeal of new 8-bit games is the same it always was, 30 years ago or today. Why, just becuase technology has made games much more sophisticated on new technology (and I enjoy the latest games on new tech too), should it make new games on old, less sophisticated systems of years passed any less enjoyable?

Why, just because they are new games on old tech should they be any less fun to play than new games were years ago when the the old tech was new? I still enjoy playing chess, and it's an ancient game. Is chess only fun to play now with 3D graphics on the latest PC? People still like board games, even though they rely on no technology at all. Baseball and Football have been around for 100-200 years, but they are even more popular today than ever! Old does not equal bad or boring!!!

We have tons of interactive media, but billions of people world-wide still enjoy non-interactive movies, new or classic, or even classic books (whether in books or on a Nook or other electronic tablet). are new books only good if read on technolgoy instead in a bound book? So why should it be any different than playing new games on old systems?

Personally I think it's all in people's heads. They have been brain-washed by the industry and media into thinking it's only good if it is on the latest technology. If more people would give old tech a chance, they too would realize it's still good too.

I see this mostly the same way. If it was good then, why shouldn't it still be good now? Now, that's a bit subjective, some things (disco) were abominations and thank Odin they're gone. But other things stand the test of time so why not still like them?

Much of my liking of 8-bit software is, honestly, because I grew up with it, it's what I got used to. Atari and Vectrex games meant the world to me back then and hold a special place with me to this day. I very much doubt that if were born today and never laid eyes on 8-bit software until I became an adult 20 years from now that I would be compelled to like any of it or seek it out or try to re-invent it or even understand why anyone would give a damn about it. It's how I feel about '50s-era pop music, it is horrible and I can't believe anyone could like that stuff and I wouldn't care if I never heard any of it again. But people who grew up with that music love it. Same goes for the 8-bit games.

Part of what I like about 8-bit games (not including 8-bit word processors and art programs and such because those are miserable failures compared to what's currently available) is the fact that since the graphics were, for the most part, laughably primitive and incapable of representing reality, the programmers had to concentrate on making the action playable and fun and interesting. Simple rules, simple goals. Asteroids and Star Castle can go on forever doing the same thing. Xevious takes a while to go through the entire land but it's just super Galaxian. But I'm a big twitch/shooter game fan so I'm biased. Sure, if you made Dig Dug today you could render everything practically photoreal and it might look like real dirt with real beings being blown up by real guys in vacc suits. So what, I never cared that Pole Position didn't look like a live-action race or that Tempest didn't represent anything real, I loved the gameplay and the difficulty levels. Defender supplies more than enough blocky 8-bit shapes to convince you that you're seeing a spaceship flying over ground rescuing humans and killing aliens, nothing would be gained by adding 64-bit graphics but everything would be lost if the action changed. Vector graphics are even worse, wire-frame shapes moving around other wire-frame shapes? But the gameplay of Battlezone and Star Trek is unmatched... if you like that kind of gameplay. If you're into RPGs or first-person perspective combat shooters with realistic texture maps and interactive lighting then all the 8-bit games suck.

Another part of what I like about them is due to nostalgia. I see those games, I see just the packaging, and I feel like a kid again. It applies to original Hot Wheels (before they ruined them), LEGO sets, WB and MGM cartoons, all of that stuff. One of the cool things about new homebrew games is that it allows me to feel that "oh boy, a new game came out" rush again, like when I first owned an Atari 2600 (and, later, an Atari 800) and went to the store to buy a game for it. Now I have a Vectrex and Atari 5200 as well so that's 4 separate ways to experience that feeling again when someone makes a new homebrew game. I mean, the Crash wasn't necessary, those systems could have survived longer than 1984 and some company could have released a "real" Warrior for the Vectrex or an official Warlords for the 5200, right? So we had to wait 20+ years, big deal. It is for that reason that I very very very much prefer homebrews released as physical carts with boxes and manuals, so it's exactly like when new games came out in stores back in the day. It also explains my love of the new Camaros, Challengers and Mustangs even if they're not as cool as the original '60s/'70s versions, the nostalgia pull still works because they finally got close enough to that ideal.

I think the OP would get a truer, unbiased answer if he were to ask the question only to 8-bit software fans who didn't grow up with 8-bit games and only got into them later in life so nostalgia and familiarity couldn't play into the answer.

#2481605 FINALLY! Vectrex overlay repro's

Posted by ledzep on Sat Mar 10, 2012 3:53 PM

Well, if either of you are still looking for reasons to make even more Vectrex overlays, you might want to consider the ZVG board + hooking it to a Vectrex as a vector monitor = a market, though probably very small, for overlays to mimic the original arcade game looks. Some aren't going to be "right", the color vector games like Space Duel and Tempest would need some imaginative but otherwise incorrect color schemes and some games like the Star Trek Strategic Operations Simulator could have correct colors for the bridge info but not really for the main screen, but all the black & white games or games that don't have shifting elements could really use overlays. Battlezone would be a great one. I have one of those boards and the Vectrex wiring harness so at some point I'm going to have a Vectrex Zektor VectorMAME (say that 3 times fast) game droid. Would be cool to be able to get overlays. Can you imagine, a little Aztarac bubble overlay?

#2480962 FINALLY! Vectrex overlay repro's

Posted by ledzep on Fri Mar 9, 2012 12:03 PM

I discovered your ebay auction a week or two ago and I DID initially mistake the item as being a full set. Yes I thought the price was quite low for such a set, but it wasn't until i tried to add the auction to my "watch list" that i realized what you were selling for that price. At that point the site prompted me to select a particular overlay.

It's hard for me to discern the quality of your overlays from the pictures. I'd highly recommend providing pics of each overlay with the matching game running behind it.

That is definitely in my plans. Great suggestion.

I am awaiting the arrival of my Multi-Cart to fill in the gaps of the games I don't have. At that time, expect to see higher resolution photos and YouTube linked videos of each overlay with its corresponding game.

Fantastic. While I have most of the original games boxed with their overlays it's good to know that there are replacements available so the originals can stay in decent shape longer.

I have a couple of questions for you -

1) Have you considered talking to the various homebrewists out there who make games without overlays in order to come up with some "official" overlay designs for those newer games? I think it would be cool to have the option to buy one or more overlays from you for those games and that they would be what they "should" be in terms of design. I know a few programmers have created or made available overlay files for emulators but I'm sure most of the homebrew games don't have any.

2) Are your overlays arranged exactly like the originals or have you made adjustments for some that might not have been aligned correctly? I think I remember that Star Castle and maybe a couple others don't really line up with the game graphics correctly and could use some tweaking.

Anyway, thanks for doing this!

#2469107 Most overrated games in your opinion

Posted by ledzep on Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:23 PM

For classic I'd have to say any and all Pac-Man games. I never understood what a maze of dots being erased did for people. And this extends to collecting arcade games. I know some people who would like to get into that and don't have enough room but, boy, if they had the chance, they'd get a Pac-Man machine (or Donkey Kong, another overrated game). Seriously? They're the size of a refrigerator (I know, I own a few) and if you could manage to buy one the first one you'd go for is Pac-Man?

As for more modern games? Guitar Hero and it's more irritating cousin Rock Band. It's Simon!! Are you kidding me?!? Nobody would spend lots of money on a Simon game but, man, every person I know who owned an XBox talked up Guitar Hero and how cool it was to "play" his favorite songs. You're not playing your favorite song, you're playing Simon while your favorite song is playing through the speakers! Rock Band is even worse because there were people forming "groups" that "play" songs, they put so much effort into getting good at pressing buttons in sync with songs, it baffles me to no end. If you're that much into music and learning to play a guitar or learning that favorite song, buy a musical instrument and pay for lessons! I tried to play at some friend's Rock Band party, I couldn't get into it. I know how hard it is to learn to play guitar and this was certainly not the same thing. But people were impressed, acting like their friends were actually musicians playing songs in front of them. Wow, you're really good! Ya, at Simon.

#2335755 Best TV's for classic consoles.

Posted by ledzep on Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:00 PM

Not to pile on, but this idea that "it ain't authentic if it ain't RF" has come up several times, and in my opinion it doesn't make much sense. I addressed it in another thread recently:

All an A/V upgrade does is take the original signals from the console and amplify or reshape them into a purer form, which can be used directly by modern televisions and monitors. The RF modulator might have been a necessary intermediary in the 70s and 80s, when all we had were televisions with antenna inputs, but it isn't any longer. By installing an A/V upgrade, you're really removing a restriction to seeing and hearing the console in its best possible state, not adding something that the console didn't originally have.

However, if your console works fine through RF and you're happy using it that way, that's your choice. In some cases (like the Intellivision), I've found that the available A/V upgrades don't give you enough of an improvement to justify the trouble and expense.

Quite. I bought one of the last of the Sony Trinitrons before they all disappeared. Fantastic, it's my main and only TV. I cannot stand seeing the noise in LCD and plasma displays, improved as they have become. And I, too, have heard people complain about the massive weight (close to 300lbs) of that set. So what? Am I carrying it anywhere? No. That Sony is HD and has multiple inputs including HDMI. I wish SED had been pursued, I don't know what I'm going to do when this CRT kicks off.

As for the "it ain't authentic if it ain't RF" discussion, I agree that it doesn't make sense. Furthermore, I lived through that era. You know what else you need for a truly "authentic" experience? For all video games to be 8-bit and for arcades with classic games to be widely accessible. Because back then we didn't know that there would be 16-bit and 32-bit and 64-bit consoles and online gaming. Part of the "authentic" experience was the assumption that we were playing the "best" consoles available. And back then it was sort of true when there was nothing but Atari 2600s, then Atari 5200s and Colecovisions and Intellivisions. But now they are grossly underpowered, slow, and the games are blocky-looking compared to Playstations and Xboxes. And there aren't loads of twitch arcade games that people are expecting to be converted to home consoles. And no vector games! Crap!!

I have a modded Atari 5200 for two reasons. First, I don't care to have that goofy power block/switchbox permanently hooked to my setup. Second, it's very easy for me to take that 5200 to someone else's house and simply hook it up to his flatscreen TV with the RCA jacks. I plan to mod my Sears Telegames Video Arcade (Atari 2600) for the same reasons. And to avoid excessive color bleed.

You can't beat CRTs for the classic console gaming experience. But you won't get half of the potential out of that CRT if you feed the console through an RF switchbox hanging off the back of it, either.

#2335051 Opinion of Vectrex.

Posted by ledzep on Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:59 PM

What, what, what?!? How in the heck could I miss a release such as War of the Worlds?!?

Getting my payment out post haste. Thanks for sharing ledzep!!

No problem, glad another fan has found that guy's site! The more homebrews the better, I say. I still can't believe nobody has made a decent Tempest clone besides the now very rare Tsunami. But hopefully the more people out there keeping this amazing droid alive, the more opportunities for the "lost" vector games to be added. We're one working trackball away from Quantum, you know.

#2334276 Opinion of Vectrex.

Posted by ledzep on Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:02 PM

I can't wait for Warrior, the old arcade game that Fury Unlimited is making. I still need to break out my Vectrex to play War Of The Worlds. What's next, Red Baron?