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Everything posted by Mezrabad

  1. Mezrabad

    DP Blogs eaten?

    Last night, I read an announcement that DP blogs were going to be lost in a transfer to the new bulletin board system. The announcement posted at 9:20 the site went down again at 11:50 (central time.). 150 minutes to find the announcement and back up a blog was given to us. Things of which I am aware: DP is free for me. Many people work hard and spend money to keep it running at no cost to me. The person doing the conversion was doing it in his free time and I am not ungrateful for his efforts. To not be aware of these facts would be ungrateful and ignorant. I am neither. The fact that DP is free for me and many others is what inspired me to also have my blog over there despite after having set it up here at AA a month prior. This blog is a bit of an attempt to "give something back" in the form of reviews of some really old games about which I can find very little on the rest of the internet. It can take about three to four hours an entry (yeah, now you know). Consider this, for most titles I write about I have to: find them for sale, win them at auction (or borrow them), find the money to pay for them, receive them, set them up, play them, cajole people into playing them with me as needed, take screenshots, quicktime movies and box scans, edit/compress said photographed/scanned material, sit down and write something about them, format the entry (with pictures) and then sell them back to the world again to afford the games coming up in the chronology. All that work is done for A. My own sick pleasure and B. To write about it in this blog. Do that 145 times. Not for every game of course, but you get the picture. If I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't do it, but that doesn't mean there's no effort. To just take all that effort offline, possibly with no hope of return, without adequate warning, seems, at best, hasty, at worst, um, really, really hasty. I'm hoping the guy was joking. If he was yanking our chains, fine. Hell, no harm done even if he wasn't yanking our chains because I had my site pretty much "backed up" over here on AA, which I backed up to my HD last night and today. Suffice to say: if my blog at DP has been put into stasis with little chance of retrieval, I am not a happy camper. The implications of this may be very complex and long-term.
  2. Table? It's not a collector convention. It's for people in the industry. I actually have some interest in making games, which is why I can justify it. Yeah, it was a joke. It's why I used the universal "heh." For me to justify the expense, my interest in making games, in the italicized sense, would have to be far less outweighed by my lack of expertise in doing so.
  3. I got two ones with the system I bought about 18 months ago and the buttons on the side didn't work so well which made every game a little painful. Solution? Go to Pep Boys and buy a rewindow defogger repair kit. The sell you a vile of a conductive paste about the consistency of nailpolish/nailpolish remover that is normally used to paint in conductor that has peeled away from a rear window defogger system. I took apart my controllers (plenty info on how to do this is out there) and very carefully painted the carbon contacts so that they were a nice shiny copper (using that conductive paste), waited for it to dry, put the sticks back together and these babies were better than any 5200 joysticks I'd every used. The exact instructions for how to do it are somewhere on the net. Google around for it. If I stumble upon it anytime soon I'll post the link here.
  4. Mezrabad

    Baseball, APF, 1978

    Thanks, I'm glad you're enjoying these things. One of the early ideas about chronogaming was to just get a system on ebay, with a bunch of games, play it for a weekend and sell it back the next week. I started by getting an original Odyssey (which I still need to auction back to ebay) In my research on the Odyssey I discovered that there were other games released for it (about 15 others) but I could find nothing that actually talks about the games. Pick any site about some of these old systems (RCA Studio II, Fairchild Channel F, Odyssey, APF MP1000) and you may find talk about the internals (chips and such), its general specs like resolution or number of colors, even how well or how poorly it sold but there's very little about the games. Very few box scans, overlay scans, instructions, etc (and when they are posted, they're emblazoned with the website address across them). It was as if the people who collected these old items were interested in sharing the fact that they had them (not that I really blame them for that) but it seems to never have occured to them that people might be interested in how these old games played. So my main point, aside from fulfilling an obsessive impulse (that claws at the inside of my mind day and night along with the voices, oh GOD the VOICES!, ahem), is to hopefully satisfy some of the curiosity that people may have about these games.
  5. I never even heard of it until you just mentioned it and then I choked on my peanut butter and jelly sandwich when I confirmed the price. $400? $350 if one is a student. That gets one into all four events. Why can't I get a ticket for $100 to just go to one? Dang, I'd like to go to that. Maybe if I purchased a table they'd let me in for free! heh.
  6. After my last entry, two very generous individuals offered to lend me their Space Destroyers cartridge!!! Fortunately, one of them lives right here in Austin, TX, not far from me! We met in a McDonalds parking lot and exchanged the warez (I gave him APF instructions as collateral. He's actually buying my whole APF Collection when I return Space Destroyers.) I brought it home and experienced the awe and wonder of a really good Space Invaders clone on the APF MP1000. Space Destroyers (APF, MP1000) This is a simple port of the arcade game, Space Invaders. I say "simple" because it doesn't try to add anything to the original, it merely emulates it and does a damn good job. The movie below is nine seconds of it in action, but beware, its almost 3 megabytes big! (Can you imagine how frickin' huge 3 megabytes must've seemed back in 1979?) (DEAD LINK to movie. I'm so ashamed. Oh goodness. Someday I hope I'll recover these. Someday I hope I just make YouTube videos about all of this stuff but honestly I do like the sound of my own typing much more than I like the sound of my own voice.) The sound effects are perfectly cromulent. The gameplay is as close to the original as one would want it. I did notice slight slow downs when there was one Invader left zipping across and a shot traveling up the screen. Other than that, I'd say, "perfect." Let me show you an odd thing about this cartridge. See how much bigger it is than the cart featuring our old friend, Hangin' Chad? Yeah, I know, but it gets weirder. The thing is: All the APF carts other than Space Destroyers are the same size and they were all packaged in a generic green box which had no game identifiers on it. (Just like the boxes for the Bally Professional Arcade carts.) Yet, all of the boxes seem designed to fit cartridges the size of the Space Destroyers cart. According to the gentleman that loaned me the Space Destroyers cart, he's got a few of the boxes for the other APF carts and Space Destroyers fits them perfectly. Oh, so another neat thing about this cart. It conveniently has a list of all the other carts that came out which work with the APF MP1000 consoles. Here's another odd thing, which I've mentioned before. My APF MP1000 console has Rocket Patrol built into it. From everything I've read, the APF M1000 didn't have Rocket Patrol built in. Yet, My APF MP1000 console is labeled "M1000." Which either means it is labeled wrong, or we don't know what the real difference between an APF M1000 and an APF MP1000 is. One last oddity is that, like a few other carts, Space Destroyers says it will only work on the MP1000. Yet, here it is working. So, go figure. Before I wrap up things for the APF, there are some errata in previous posts about some of the games, that I need to straighten out. Blackjack: I found instructions for Blackjack. Once I learned how to do something besides take a hit, the game was much more pleasant. It can deal up to FOUR decks which breaks previous deck holding records on other BJ carts! It offers you insurance when the dealer has a face up. You can win if you have five cards that don't go over 21. Boxing: I mentioned before that there are three AI driven boxing opponents with different alliterative names yet indistinguishable fighting habits. THAT was an incorrect statement. I played it again yesterday and say that each computer opponent has a boxing style primarily concerned with their offense. Horrible Harry punches every 3rd beat. (one, two, PUNCH, one, two, PUNCH). Slugging Sam swings every other beat (one, punch, one, punch) and Jabbing Joe stabs at the air every beat (jab, jab, jab, jab). Just thought I'd mention it as I wasn't kind when I spoke of the variation in opponents before. (Hey, it'd been a month or so since I'd played it. Gimme a break.) EDIT: Just added some pictures. Just got back from selling the APF. *sniff* It's the first time I've sold off a collection for a particular system in one big fell swoop! Now I have to work on selling my RCA Studio II stuff. Well, for the last time, I end the APF. I can't say the same for 1978 because if I ever get a Telstar Arcade or a Coleco Combat (or even just get to play one of them) then we'll have to warp back here again. I'm still waiting to play Atari PONG on a model C-100, too. Anyway, one last shot of the little family of carts.
  7. Mezrabad

    Fire & Ice

    Nice to know that they really went all out to support (and check for) hardware when it was available. What's going on in the bottom part of the screen? Is that a progress map? Like a mini-map of the whole level? Pretty neat.
  8. Dragonstomper was a game released for the Starpath Supercharger, an accessory for the Atari 2600. It was a role playing game that you loaded from a tape cassette into the super charger. The first stage consisted of wilderness, where you wander around killing monsters and improving your stats, artifacts and cash reserves. Stage 2 had to be loaded from the cassette and consisted of the town, essentially shopping for all the equipment you'd take with you into the dungeon. Stage 3 was also loaded from the cassette and consisted of the journey through the dragons cave until you fought the dragon itself. It's a cool game. Looking forward to playing it again myself.
  9. Nothing to add really other than voice my support and encouragement. I hope you nail the bastard.
  10. "But he just said 'Whoo!'" "No... that was air escaping from the folds of his fat!" JR Futurama Audio Clip
  11. I'll trade you a some of my Fairchild carts for the C64 set you won at OVGE and a six pack of Dr. Pepper! Actually, I really would. Refresh my memory regarding what was included in your C64 package and I'll come up with an offer involving Channel F carts, if you're interested.
  12. I picked this all up for my blog, Chronogamer. I've played them and it's time to move on. $200 for the whole lot, shipped. (I paid $210.87 shipped for everything, but one of the Brickdowns doesn't work, so I include it, but discount for it.) APF Console, tested and working with styrofoam packing case, manual, catalog and survey card. Carts all tested an working (with exception of one of the Brickdowns) Review/Screenshots 2x Blackjack Review/Screenshots 2x Baseball Review/Screenshots 2x Bowling/Micro Match Review/Screenshots 2x Brickdown/Shooting Gallery (1 does not work and has ripped end label. It's included free.) Review/Screenshots Casino I: Roulette/Keno/Slots Review/Screenshots Pinball/Dungeon Hunt/Blockout Review/Screenshots Catena (My favorite) Review/Screenshots Boxing (2nd favorite) Review/Screenshots Hangman/Tic-Tac-Toe/Doodle (Best Hangman EVER!) Review/Screenshots UFO/Sea Monsters/Break it Down/Rebuild/Shoot (with variations) Review/Screenshots Backgammon With instruction booklets for Casino I, Blackjack, Backgammon, Baseball, Boxing and Pinball/Dungeon Hunt/Blockout
  13. Technically, the APF doesn't "end" until 1979. Space Destroyers, a Space Invaders clone for the APF MP1000, comes out in 1979. While I've seen Space Destroyers on eBay a few times in the past, it's been over a year. Even on collecting forums it seems to turn up rarely in "wanted" and even less rarely in "for sale." I'm going to count this title in with Bingo for the RCA Studio II, I'd play it if I could find it. According to the rarity guides it's as scarce as APF Blackjack (R7) but I've got two Blackjacks and I've seen others on ePay. I just can't get a handle on this one. So, anyway, if anyone who reads this happens to have this cart, please let me buy, borrow or rent it from you. I'll take good care of it and send it back asap, though if you don't act soon, I may have to buy another console to replace the one I'm trying to sell. Here we have the accumulated APF collection: No boxes for anything ... ... but I do have six or seven genuine instruction booklets and the docs for the console ... (Dungeon Hunt instructions are missing from the shot, but I have those, too.) and the packing foam. I paid $84, shipped, for the console. and $50, $21 and $55.87 for three separate lots of carts, shipped. Total cost basis through eBay: $210.87 I'll sell it all, shipping included, for $200 even (that's $10 off for the broken Brickdown in the lot.) if anyone is interested. If you want a more detailed breakdown of what's included and higher resolution photos I can send them, too. Serious inquiries only, please. Next entry we'll continue where we left off in 1979 with cart #23 Galactic Space Wars for the Channel F.
  14. It does! I wish my camera did! I've got a little digital Olympus C-300 Zoom that can take about 128 seconds worth of .movies (maximum 33 seconds for a single movie) but there's no sound. It's almost time to upgrade my camera. I hope to get one that will accept video and audio input soon (then I'll go back and add those files to the previous entries. Ironically, the one system I could've done this for that didn't have any sound (the original Magnavox Odyssey) I've already sold most of the extra games for. I just didn't think of doing it at the time.
  15. I swear, when I saw the title Beach Head, I thought it was going to be a horror game about digging on a beach and finding a head. There must be something wrong with me; too many Asian horror films dancing around in my brain or something.
  16. I was walking home from school alone when I was five (1970's), and I don't think I was exactly unusual in that regard. I was doing the same when I was four, but the distance was about half a block and I only had to cross one street. (It wasn't up hill, and I don't remember it ever snowing either.) Anyway, that's one of my nightmares: letting my son walk to school and him never coming home again. I wouldn't be shocked if every parent on the board had similar fears. I don't know if that keeps them from letting their kid walk to school or not. At the moment, I can't bring myself to, though that will probably change this year.
  17. Thanks for the YouTube clip. Very nice. S'funny, I just found my sheet music for MacArthur Park (the piano part) about a month ago and was wondering if Mr. Ferguson was still alive. I guess my question's been answered. I played (passably, but not well) the tuba (marching band) and french horn (concert band) in college, but I was never, ever able to get a decent sound out of a trumpet.
  18. Okay, we've been here before. Last time we were in 1978 was back in October of 2005 or so and I'd finished doing all the APF carts I had. I ended with Brickdown/Shooting Gallery. At the time my copy didn't work. Now it does. Brickdown/Shooting Gallery (APF M1000, 1978) Brickdown is a sideways version of Breakout. If I recall correctly, it's similar to the version The Woz did for the Apple II in terms of sideways. The game play is fine, except for some anomalies. I don't know if they were intentional or not. First anomaly: When the ball is returning from the bricks it will sometimes take out multiple bricks, wiping them out as if they weren't there. (dead link of gameplay movie removed) Second anomaly: Sometimes your paddle hits the ball, even if it doesn't touch it. Third anomaly: Sometimes your paddle misses the ball, even if it has touched it. Fourth anomaly: There's no field refresh after clearing the field. You could have 6 balls left and have downed all the bricks and the only thing left to do is use up your remaining balls and end the game. No more points to score, nothing to do really. It's creepy. You can choose a field 8 bricks deep or 12 bricks deep and play either on fast or slow. That's it. Not a bad game but I'm not crazy about using a squeaky joystick to play it. I'm a firm believer in paddling. (Especially if my partner is willing, but let's leave my personal life out of this.) Atari's version of Breakout is pretty superior to all the versions we've seen, including the Bally's though that also has a nice paddle control scheme. Shooting Gallery is similar to the Shoot games from the UFO cart. Except that there is a section for each shooter. The target changes color, size and speed, like the previous Shoot game, after a successful hit. It doesn't suck in that the targets move smoothly and the graphics are clear, there just isn't a lot here to enjoy. You try to hit the target as many times with the amount of ammo you're given (three levels) and that's that. (another dead link to a movie) I'll get the pictures posted and write a summing up entry for the APF.
  19. Ack! your trackback is being spammed! Turn off trackbacks in your control panel somewhere! Ack! Good luck with that curriculum rewrite, BTW.
  20. !!! I didn't know I could do that!! (I've been disgruntled with the whole "working with video files" thing when I couldn't find a program to turn a movie 90 degrees.) I didn't actually "videotape" them, I wish I had, then there'd be sound. I used my sound-free digital camera to make a clip. I'll definitely try to get a screenshot the way you suggested, thanks! I need to get me a camera that lets me put video and into it directly like Phospher Dot Fossils has.
  21. UFO/Sea Monster/Break It Down/Rebuild/Shoot (APF MP1000, 1978) I'll say one thing about this cartridge: it has motion. Getting decent screenshots of any of the games on this cart was impossible for me, due to the constant motion of one or more of the elements on any given screen. Well, except the menu . . . UFO and Sea Monster are reverse variations of Sea Wolf style gameplay, almost. UFO-1 just has you blasting alien drones that move across the screen. The UFO that scores the most hits, wins. Yee-haw! UFO-2 is the exact same thing, except you're blasting alien passenger saucers (or what I imagine to be saucers containing sentient beings.) hit the most saucers and you win. Yee-awn! Sea Monster has you in ships a little more domestic and floaty. This time you're shooting at Sea Monsters that traverse the bottom of the Sea Screen. There's a catch to this one. Hit the Sea Monster, gain 5 points. Hit one of the cute friendly fish and you lose all your points. One strategy is to hit the Sea Monster once or twice and then don't fire at all, thus keeping you from inadvertently destroying friendly sea life. This was a little fun. I'll mention that the sounds for these games are all quite adequate. No complaints there. Below are three links to .mov files that try to capture the essence of these games in about a megabyte, each. (DEAD LINKS WERE HERE AND ARE NOW GONE) Break it Down and Rebuild are interesting. In the former, there are rotating square perimeters at the bottom of the screen. Player to clear theirs with the least amount of shots wins. Rebuild is the exact opposite of Break it Down. You have to shoot "invisible" places at which a part of the rotating square perimeter appears when hit. Hopefully, the attached .mov's display the essence of the gameplay. (dead links were also here but this time I'm proclaiming it without using all-caps) The last game is called Shoot with three variations. Shoot a Little, Shoot and Shoot a Lot. (one more removed dead link) The variations are only in the amount of ammunition with which one starts the game. You and your competitor each control a laser-cannon-like device which fires a solid beam up the screen. You're trying to hit either of the square blocks that are going back and forth across the top. When you strike them, you gain points and they change color, speed, or both. When you run out of ammo, your game is over and the person who does the most with their starting ammo wins. I'm astonished by my lack of anything even moderately amusing to say about these games. These games are neither bad enough to activate my sense of humor nor good enough to activate my sense of fun. Maybe I'm just tired from OVGE, which was awesome by the way. We've got One. More. 1978. APF. Game! I was lucky to "win" (purchase) a working copy of Brickdown/Shooting Gallery and we'll look at that one next.
  22. In response to the topic question, one of the complaints I've read about FF VIII is that it should be called "Final Sci-Fi" instead of "Final Fantasy" but I've heard the same complaint leveled at FF VII. What I like about all of the Final Fantasies up to VIII is that the overtly "Fantasy" settings have a "Sci-Fi" slant to them (buried technology, lost civilizations, rediscovered or newly innovated technology be it steam punk stuff or airships) while the two with overtly "Science Fiction Settings" (VII and VIII) have mystical themes underneath them (The whole Mako thing in VII seems very earth mystical, and the whole junctioning thing in VII reminds me of the whole guardian spirit guides/angels myth, which I think is more prevalent in eastern mysticism but what the hell do I know about that other than what I've seen in anime.) I haven't yet finished IX or X. The only thing that's bothered me about them is the seemingly endless amount of time (which I don't really have) it looks like I could spend playing them.
  23. Wow! A screen! I didn't know you could hook those things up to a monitor! Can you play Hunt the Wumpus? an' Adventure? Can ya'? Can ya'?
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