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About this blog

I review games... How original...

Entries in this blog

 

Wow, that's old...

I managed to snag something rather unexpected on a recent thrifting trip: A positively ancient Shoebox Cassette Recorder. How old you ask? If I read the dates correctly then about 49 years old. But that's not all! The cassette mechanism itself appears to be based on Philips earliest portable mechanism that appeared on the EL3300 from 1964. This beauty is the GE M8440A and you can see everything it has to offer with the briefest glance. The only reason I picked it up was due to how old it looked

DoctorSpuds

DoctorSpuds

HiFi Hijinks!

HiFi Hijinks!

I’ve always liked vintage HiFi, ever since I was a kid and had absolutely no idea what it was. Recently I’ve taken up refurbishing and selling old HiFi equipment, a ‘flipper’ in fewer words. I’m scooping up untested stuff that’s been left on the side of the road, or being sold at garage sales or that have been donated to local thrift stores, and I’ve found some excellent pieces of kit. From some gorgeous Polk Audio bookshelf speakers to a late 80’s Turntable, CD Player, Twin Tape deck, abominati

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DoctorSpuds

 

New speakers!

My cheap desktop sound system has gained two new members!   I recently gave in to temptation and took a grand tour around the handful of antique malls and junk shops in and around Portland to get a general vibe on which ones I should keep an eye on in future. A few of them piqued my interest even though I didn’t wind up buying anything. One thing I did encounter more than a few times on my tour were old Realistic brand speakers, all for a bit more than I’d like to pay for them, especia
 

Audio Slumming

While I will sometimes jump to spend too much money on something I don’t really need, I’m generally a ‘cheap bastard’. I won’t usually spend a lot of money on something as long as it’s good enough. Nowhere is my cheapness more evident than in my audio setup. Let me just say this, I am not an audiophile, I think the lengths some people will go to and the amounts they pay for the smallest jump in audio quality is utterly strange, especially when they’re not in the situation to make such investment

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Story Machine (Spinnaker Software)

Ladies and gentleman… I have returned, and today I’m going to be doing something a little different. A little while back I played ‘Story Machine’ by Spinnaker Software for the C64, and it was probably the greatest thing I ever experienced as a player and peruser of retro videogames. Today I will not be reviewing the gameplay, sounds and graphics; I will be doing something else. The game has a story generator and I’ll be transcribing five stories for all of you today. I’ll include screenshots if

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Boing! (First Star Software)

Boing! (First Star Software)

Whoa shit! It’s been over a year since I last posted a 2600 review. Where does the time go?   Looking back on it I really have been distracted. I wrote two books that I have deemed unpublishable, a small library of short stories pertaining to said scrapped books, and am now neck deep in another one that I actually hope to work into a publishable form, fingers crossed.   But, I think it’s been long enough since I reviewed a game, at least one for the 2600. Something a bit spec

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DoctorSpuds

 

The worst thing I ever bought.

The worst thing I ever bought… Well that’s a pretty easy answer for me.   Before I say what it is, I first want to justify myself, because this is a pretty stupid thing to buy in the first place. I had just gotten my tax return in and I was feeling expensive and impulsive, and I really wanted an item that I could show off and perhaps have to act as a conversation starter. I knew it was going to be a reproduction cart of some sort, but it had to be even better, a repro cart and box, now

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DoctorSpuds

I found a weird thing

I found a weird thing

Alright so it's a Tournament 2000 by Unisonic, on its own that's not very interesting but stay with me here. The box is unlike any other I've seen, it's most certainly not a standard Unisonic box. The thing is completely unbranded and it looks like the thing was printed with ink rollers.  The console itself is the only thing that says Unisonic on it and the serial number is pretty high so maybe it was a budget thing to cut costs? Frankly its weird and cool and I'm happy to ha

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The RCA Studio II

The RCA Studio II

Man, I hate to do the cliché thing of calling the thing I’m reviewing ‘terrible’ right off the bat, but seriously, the RCA Studio II might just be the most woeful games console I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Just a warning, my Google-Fu is pretty weak for this console in particular, mainly because there isn’t a whole lot that exists on it, and because it was disco-ed so quickly.   I got lucky recently. At my local game store he gets all sorts of weird crap in, and by weird

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DoctorSpuds

 

Thank you AMD

Thank you AMD for automatically updating the registry of my video drivers to the version before. Completely screwing up my screen and forcing me to manually update the registry with the proper driver versions whilst my screen is strobing, which meant I had to first find the drivers, find the version of those drivers, find the registry for those drivers and manually updating them there. Even after fixing the drivers the screen is still screwed up which means I have to daisy chain adaptors so I ca

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Home Run (Atari)

Home Run (Atari)

It is generally understood that many 2600 game simply don’t hold up, especially the earlier ones.  Usually this was due to the fact that these were the first of their kind ever released on home console and the console itself was a very limiting factor. I initially wasn’t even going to review this game because I mainly try to steer clear of sports games on the 2600, usually because they’re nearly impossible to play and just aren’t that much fun, and I don’t like sports games in general. The only

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DoctorSpuds

 

Q*Bert (Parker Brothers)

This is going to be a comparison piece between the three most popular console ports of Q*Bert from the second generation of game consoles. We will be comparing the Atari 2600, Mattel Intellivision, and Colecovision ports of Q*Bert. Despite all being the same game there are a hefty amount of differences between the three. But the outcome of this review is not certain. since all the versions have their own strengths and weaknesses. Let's start with the graphics.   Which console has the b

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The Earth Dies Screaming (20th Century Fox)

The Earth Dies Screaming (20th Century Fox)

Alright ladies and gentlemen, the word of the day is satisfaction. What is the most satisfying game you’ve ever played? I think that I may have just inadvertently stumbled upon one of the most satisfying games in the 2600 library, and it’s from our good friends at Fox. Not at all based on the 1964 movie of the same name, The Earth Dies Screaming is a fun little space shooter and is an excellent example of excellent sounds and graphics overpowering subpar/standard gameplay to make something truly

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DoctorSpuds

Great Escape (Bomb)

Great Escape (Bomb)

Okay so I just played this and really feel the need to talk about it. Great Escape by Bomb Software is one of the worst things I’ve played in a long time. If you’ve never heard of Bomb I wouldn’t blame you since they’re one of the most obscure companies to release games, in the US. They had a slightly larger presence in Europe, but their American releases are almost nonexistent. They seem to have been just another ‘me too’ company, jumping on the 2600 bandwagon way too late. After looking at som

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DoctorSpuds

 

Bowling (Atari)

I'm feeling lazy today, so I'm just going to review Atari's Bowling. This has got to be one of the most basic games on the 2600, both in game-play, sound, and graphics. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing. I find that the game gets it's message across rather well, that message being bowling. Sorry If this is a short review but there isn't much TO review... onto the graphics.   Minimal doesn't even begin to cover this... This game almost has no graphics. Two lines for the lane... ten squares

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DoctorSpuds

Panda: The OG Bootleggers!

Panda: The OG Bootleggers!

Okay so I know I usually do write-ups on games, not companies, but Panda was just so batshit insane that I feel they are deserving. The guys at Panda were the OG bootleggers, for a short time in 1983 they slithered onto the scene and vomited their wares, but before they could finish they vanished quite suddenly. Now, Panda was the supreme budget brand, they made their games out of the cheapest materials they could get, and cut as many corners as possible, i'm not sure what they sold for original

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DoctorSpuds

Space Attack (M Network)

Space Attack (M Network)

So I’m gone for over a week and what do I come back with? Space Attack, a very bad idea from Mattel. Mattel’s MO was to make, slightly inferior perhaps, ports of their Intellivision games and release them on the 2600 to entice people over to the Intellivision, whether it worked or not is anyone’s guess. Most of the games Mattel ported were simple shooters that didn’t require much use of the Intellivision’s keypad controller, Space Attack, or Space Battle as the INTV port was called, is the major

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DoctorSpuds

 

Rare doesn't mean valuable

I have a rant for you, I’m very tired and it’s very rambly but I think I may have made a few good points.   Here’s something odd that many people have a hard time coming to terms with, rarity does not equal value. When the topic of old games comes up in conversation I usually have to reiterate this multiple times, and almost every time I do this the person I’m talking to gets that greedy little gleam in their eye. “Oh, I have a Nintendo/Atari/Sega in the basement, and I have a bunch of

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DoctorSpuds

Wizard of Wor 5200 (CBS Electronics)

Wizard of Wor 5200 (CBS Electronics)

Those of you who’ve been around for a bit, or have gone back to my earlier reviews will know that Wizard of Wor was the first review I ever wrote. In all the time since I wrote that review my opinions of the game have not changed, it’s still a fantastic game. But that was with the 2600 version, I’ve recently acquired the 5200 version and I wonder how it holds up to its predecessor. I also wonder how the controller will affect the gameplay, but we’ll get to that when it comes.    

DoctorSpuds

DoctorSpuds

 

Something odd...

So today I did something that I've never done before. I took a broken, non-working system, specifically an Atari 2600, and fixed it. I bought the system and box together (matching serial numbers), with no inserts, paperwork, or controllers, at a highly reduced price. The last time I snagged a matching SN console and box it was a Vader with the box only and working for 90$, this time I got lucky and got this non working four switch Woody for 50$, and considering this guy sells working 2600's at 4

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DoctorSpuds

QIX 5200 (Atari)

QIX 5200 (Atari)

Qix is a fun little arcade game than seems to defy any standard one would care to throw at it. Qix was an arcade release from Taito back in 1981 and by all accounts it was a modest success and it was all about drawing rectangles, hmmm. Qix was very slow to reach a home audience with the first home releases being for the Atari 5200 and 8-Bit computer line in 1983 with it finally reaching other consoles and computers in 1989 and into the early 1990’s, the Apple ][ version didn’t come out until 198

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DoctorSpuds

How to get out of work early (Never Again!)

How to get out of work early (Never Again!)

Yesterday I had the privilege of adding something to my “Never Again” list, a list I just created of things that I never want to do/experience again, and at work no less. It seemed like it was going to be a slow night, I had finished all of my set tasks and had just finished my break, I had noticed that about halfway through one of my coworkers had come in and raided the first aid cabinet, I figured he’d cut his finger or something and thought nothing of it. When my break ended I decided to use

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DoctorSpuds

Star Wars: The Arcade Game 5200 (Parker Brothers)

Star Wars: The Arcade Game 5200 (Parker Brothers)

Long has this game eluded me, but now I have it in my possession, sort of. I’ve really wanted to get my hands on Star Wars: The Arcade Game for a long while but the price has always been a prohibitive factor, mainly due to it being a late release Parker Brothers game coupled with a big IP driving the prices up dramatically. It seems though that I’ve been after the wrong version the whole time, because as I was focusing on the 2600 version, as I tend to do, I has completely neglected the other ve

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Robot Tank (Activision)

Robot Tank (Activision)

When I was just getting into the 2600 I was still ignorant to the complexity that some games managed to achieve. So imagine my surprise when I plopped Robot Tank into my 2600 for the first time. It is quite clear that Robot Tank was made to be Activision’s answer to Atari’s Battlezone, and it really feels like it. Also reading the back of the box, this game apparently takes place in October 2019, so it is the perfect time for me to review it. Funnily enough, the prediction of a robotized militar

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DoctorSpuds

James Bond: 007 5200 (Parker Brothers)

James Bond: 007 5200 (Parker Brothers)

Confusing licenses are the bread and butter of obscure games. Very few companies in the early days of gaming actually tried to tackle non-arcade licenses, with only 20th Century Fox, Atari, and Parker Brothers doing it in any quantity. The names these companies took just boggles the mind, box office bombs like Mega Force and Krull, movies that have been out of the public eye for years like Fantastic Voyage and Planet of the Apes, and comic book characters like Spiderman and the Incredible Hulk w

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