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Everything posted by Tin_Lunchbox

  1. Well, that's a bummer. It seems a way different conclusion than what the regulation says. The webpage there says "video games and digital drives" are not eligible for media rate. A "digital drive" like an traditional IDE hard-drive I could understand that, it's not what is referred to as "media," is it? As for a USB thumb-drive, I guess I would in fact consider that "media." The prohibition is only on games, so one may still media mail Basic Math and Spelling and Word Zapper etc.
  2. Thanks for the link. Yeah, it is basically impossible to rationally argue that Atari or other systems' cartridges are not computer-readable media containing prerecorded information, but when your local postal party pooper pounces, what are you going to do? Hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit? Bring the entire place to a standstill for ten minutes while you argue about your rights? I guess not. EDIT: However I should say if you were running a used games business, or AtariAge store for that matter, in which the shipping costs were really damaging your bottom line, you could make a call or email to the regional post office HQ, and get them to send you a statement saying it was okay. That you could then print out and wave threateningly at the local clerk.
  3. Okay, thanks Random Terrain. Only 50 cents each in store credit and that only for the Atari ones, but they also offer reimbursement for your shipping in store shipping credit. I see where they advise against trying to ship media mail because "the post office" is cracking down on it, but cartridges are media! I will probably try it that way because it's so cheap, and they should let you. The main thing was I didn't fancy just throwing them away.
  4. I'm not going to do any projects like that.
  5. No smart alecks, I am not looking for "use as drink coasters" or any arts & crafts suggestions. I really would just like to mail them to whomever for approximate cost of shipping or a little more so I don't just throw them in the garbage. I recently went through a box of loose cartridges and have seven that are non-working: 3 are Atari-style, 3 are Activision-style, and 1 is Turmoil. While I'm at it, for some reason long ago, I salvaged the ROMs for Maze Craze and Gopher from physically broken cartridges. If anybody wants those for some reason. Thank you!
  6. CharlieChaplin, I was one of the first customers and the cartridge and label were first-rate, but it was just a slick (I think) instruction sheet and there was no box, though of course if something comes through the mail there is a "package." I don't think mine was signed, but Tep392 numbered the cart (I think at my request) and that was really cool. Pac-Man Arcade is a great great retro development and worth way more than the $35 Tep392 charges. It's up there with Castle Crisis. It's an interesting proposition that some customers like a professional-seeming diskette as opposed to a cartridge. Tep392 could do that too if he is not too busy, and it would probably be inexpensiver. A nice shiny labeled diskette, the instruction sheet, maybe a Zip-Loc bag like APX used to do.
  7. Ah yeah, a websearch had steered me to that. Very nice! The Gemini controllers are straightforwardly built and intuitive to repair. The fire button assembly can come apart (it's just a stiff wire spring) but is not hard to figure out how to put back in. You can avoid even that I think if you operate cautiously with the unit flat on the table throughout. As I expected, the Gemini polished up very well with some Armor All. I could have made it gleam I think, but I always apply the stuff very very sparingly. It's important to not get Armor All on any paper labels too. As to the 29 carts, probably 19 of them worked. I set up my 2600 four-switcher to see if the 10 that didn't work on the Gemini would work on it. But no, with the exception of a Missile Command that I probably had failed to seat firmly on the Gemini, those carts were broken on both machines. Which means it's the carts themselves. The Gemini is inexpensively made, as in it's just a black plastic box really, but I like the design. It's all right angles, the joystick connectors are at the front of the unit, and it's totally compact. Like the controllers, I'd suspect the console itself is easy enough to open up if needed for repairs. Very straightforward and simple, good, design. Coleco did nice work.
  8. I picked up a Coleco Gemini (2600/SVA clone) complete with power supply and switchbox etc. plus 29 loose cartridges for just over $30 shipped. The seller said he got it from some non-climate-controlled storage locker, and warned it was worn and a bit banged up in appearance and that he hadn't tested it. He was on the up and up 100% but to me that statement can be a warning sign because of unscrupulous sellers who actually do test an item, determine it's broken, and then sell it claiming they never tested it. I have a nice Atari and wasn't really looking for a clone, but the price was low, the Gemini is compact and sort of intriguing, and a Pitfall 2 was among the loose carts. The Gemini turned out to be in pretty nice condition really. It looks like it's been laying around in attics and basements sure, but dust and crud wipe off with a damp paper towel and Q-tips, and I'll make the black plastic shine later with some Armor-All or something. Two of the Gemini's interesting controllers were included. They have both a paddle and a joystick on the same controller. I recalled that the fire button on an Atari paddle is not the same function as the fire button on an Atari joystick, so I wondered how Coleco would have handled that in its controller's single button. It turns out it didn't. The single button is the equivalent of joystick fire. The paddle fire button is done by pushing right on the joystick. It turned out one of the Coleco controllers was seriously broken, and after I tried to fix it it was irreparably broken. But that's okay, the other works well. The paddle part of it functions jerkily though. I think that's unavoidable with most aging paddles. It should be possible to open it up and smooth out its performance with some alcohol stuff. The Gemini has a connector splitter. You can thus plug two controllers into a single port. I though "wow, that's an interesting feature" but it's just used for paddle games, because of course the standard Atari paddles plug two into a single port. Technically you can plus two standard joysticks into the splitter but I'm sure the wiring is not going to let you play four-player joystick games. There happened to be an Atari driving controller in the lot as well. That was a nice little bonus. The cartridges were pretty aged and abused though. Testing them so far only about half seem to work. I'd suppose it's possible to clean up their connectors and get most of them working. Pitfall 2 didn't work, which is a disappointment because it's the third or fourth Pitfall 2 cartridge I've owned that doesn't work. I have never owned a working Pitfall 2 cartridge. It's like a conspiracy! What else? No manuals or anything but it included the original Donkey Kong that came with the Gemini. You can tell because Coleco put a sticker on it saying "do not accept for separate return." It include the original power supply. The switchbox is Radio Shack (Archer) but who cares, I'm just happy it had a switchbox. The picture quality of the unit over the RF connection seems just fine. The Gemini is a nice, compact unit, so I figure it plus the cartridges were a good score for the price.
  9. Looks very nice. Circus Atari for the 2600/SVA was always a pretty good game but will be more appealing with balloons instead of just squares. I read the one comment paraphrase "will you include the bonus stage with the big balloon" and he refers to the ancient arcade version. To me the most important thing that was lost porting that was the sense of scale. In the arcade version, your little acrobats would fly through the air on these great suspenseful arcs and that is lost when downsizing for the port. I felt the same way about Asteroids port. It's a question really of resolution I suppose. I edited this post wrong recently, sorry for misattributing you Omegamatrix.
  10. Outer Space. No doubt. There's a great pseudo-3D target shooter in there waiting to get out, including with improved but generally faithful soundtrack. But ignore the lunar lander variations. I'd also say Casino, but with higher-def cards, and please keep in the poker solitaire selection. A faster-pace and improved gfx Activision Boxing. It's near impossible to craft a better Atari Chess artificial intelligence, but the graphics could be made full-screen. Super Breakout with simply more angles on the paddle strike ball dynamics, see what happens.
  11. I voted for Ms. Pac-Man, and I see most others did too. It's just so darn good. But as well to me just generally and without regard to any port "Ms. Pac-Man" is a more interesting game than original "Pac-Man." It has the fruit floating around and more personality and I think the mazes are better. Pac-Man Junior with scrolling mazes and this and that on the other hand had more stuff, but overshot the Ms. Pac-Man sweetspot in my opinion. I'm not knocking the others. In fact it should be said that the 4k ones are laboring under an handicap compared to Ms. Pac-Man at 8k. I had a look at Ebivision Pac-Man on online video, and wow that is interesting. Is that made-from-scratch, or adapted from Pesco (which is made-from-scratch, right?) at any rate it looks good though a bit plodding in the movement and gunshot in the sounds.
  12. Just imagining stuff right now, and not making exotic requests on our hardworking retro-development community, but moving the percussion track (or just the snare drum) on Yoomp! to the 400/800's internal speaker would be mindblowing! Edit: oops, that is if Yoomp! runs at all on 400/800.
  13. That Congo Bongo first screen actually does it very nicely I think. Look at those smooth diagonals. Both levels (though they abandoned the isometric on the second) of that cartridge *look* really great. The control on the first level felt a little awkward to me. Desert Falcon is really the same way. With the static image you provide it's a little harder to see but when the game is playing (and isometric scrolling!) it looks acceptable to me, but again I found the control awkward. I never played Up -n- Down, yeah I can see the graphics are very blocky (but nice colors). I have read reviews that the gameplay on that is excellent. In my opinion you're really criticizing the 2600's graphics resolution. It's not so much the case that the 2600 "handles isometrics poorly" but rather that isometric games require an higher resolution to clearly convey the view. So you could extend your criticism to really any system with low resolution graphics.
  14. I hate to be the one providing "the emperor has no clothes" moment, but if the screenshot at the beginning is actually representing the game, the 2600/SVA can do a lot better than that. I mean look at those immensely blocky graphics. Also I went and watched video of the Sega CD original, and it's from the perspective of the bus driver looking out over his dashboard etc. The Atari could do a lot of that really. If you want this for the novelty of the cartridge and the box etc. fine. I get the joke (drive for nine hours through the desert and get one point) but I think the execution should be better than the screenshot implies.
  15. Well, George Plimpton said so: Maybe I should run and hide now.
  16. I agree with those who point to the amazing build quality of the Atari 800 (and to a somewhat lesser extent the Atari 400). It's my position that an hundred years from now, every XE's cheap soft plastic or some other cheapest-common-denominator aspect of its production process will have made it fail, and the XLs will be struggling, but you'll be able to plug in and use Atari 800s more or less like you could in 1979.
  17. Worst? Slot Racer and Slot Machine? On Slot Racer the graphics are just so crude, and Slot Machine? It's like some intentional brain killer: this is Vegas ( )? I disagree that Air Sea Battle aka Target Fun is other than really good. Great colors, guided missiles, some strategy in avoiding the mines, a "circus" option for variety, and immensely competitive in head-to-head play. I wouldn't include the educational games (Basic Math and Hangman) or the "programming language" BASIC in the competition for worst game. As to the best? Well, the thread title says until 1981, which would include Asteroids I think, and that was best, but as to the Atari's launch titles I would point to Combat and Air Sea Battle.
  18. I'll add my voice to the star-struck players of AR:CITY from back around the time it first came out. How great to have your comments here Mr. Price! Played it on an 800 and still have my copy, though the box was so beat up I cut it open and tucked it in one of those plastic shells with the transparent sleeve for the cover. Still have my original diskettes I think but I did write to disk some back-up copies much much later (2000s) from a rare set of ATR images that actually seemed to work. I also played AR:DUNGEON on a 65XE, and I would say it was more playable in that it was easier and perhaps less idiosyncratic, but to me it never had the charm of AR:CITY. There are a great number of TERRIFIC Atari 8bit games including quite a few from the retro-development era of the last 15 years. However for the longest time I always regarded AR:CITY and Utima IV as the absolute pinnacle of Atari 8bit gaming, and I still would say that there are no better games than those. Philip, if indeed you were going to consider a limited run of some sort of AR:CITY "director's cut" you could probably easily find an experienced retro-8bit-game publisher and developer or two to undertake the packaging and code tweaking. In other words you could just executive produce and quality control it. I personally would prefer the re-release be put on a flash cart, which I think various people have attempted over the years but no-one has managed to do yet.
  19. Fair enough. I agree with High voltage. Stellar Track is actually very good once you take the time to figure out and play and enjoy it. I am familiar with Steeplechase, but I never played it. The Submarine one I never heard of until a couple years ago.
  20. No comment on the scoring issue, but the movement seems horribly jerky and blinky. Is it just the video? Chopper Command IIRC was quite like this but its movement was terrific and smooth.
  21. Outer Space (1977 or so) preceded Lunar Lander (1979) so it would be asking much that it clone it. You did try the moon landing variations though, right? They're incredibly crude but all the same remarkable because they're an entirely different game from the "3D" target shoot selections towards the front, and all of this in 2k.
  22. That was a good read, thanks. Hmm, I found 8bit Donkey Kong an unremarkable port, but maybe I'm too picky about that one. The jumpers I favored were Canyon Climber, which has an oddly way back perspective and I thought sort of hypnotically slow play, and then the true great Miner 2049 with its awesome looks and play. One of the great Atari moments I think was grabbing the joystick in the store demo model and piloting, first person of course, the spaceship in Star Raiders for the first time. OMG. Learning to program in Atari BASIC, which is a BASIC with a unique feel and character, is a great moment. Typing in successfully a BASIC program from one of the magazines, and running it is a great moment. Even if it's a cheesy thing by David Plotkin and Maria Montes like their Munchkin Attack. Typing in successfully a machine language program (!!!) from one of the magazines is a great moment. A friend and I did Fillerup (a Qix clone) and then I think I did BBK Artist (a truly decent paint program) by myself. Unimaginable these days to ponder actually typing in all that code, but we sure did it. Some of the recent retro-development are great Atari moments too. There's several but Yoomp! and Pac-Man Arcade and the Asteroids emulator and from the screenshots His Dark Majesty all come to mind.
  23. Oh, my fault. Well, it was in a separate forum at least.
  24. Disney Corporation the executioner. "150 members of the LucasArts staff were laid off Wednesday morning and the games they were all working on, “Star Wars: First Assault” and “Star Wars 1313,” have been canceled. The company was acquired along with LucasFilm in last year’s $4 billion mega-buyout." http://www.rawstory....rts-is-no-more/
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