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About mikey.shake

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    Writer. Comedian. Freelance subversive.
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  • Location
    Boston, MA
  • Interests
    Retro gaming, Thai food, burlesque.
  • Currently Playing
    Double Dragon
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    Double Dragon

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  1. Hey, gang! So, my wife and I were recently at our local gaming store and I thought to ask if they happened to get any VA0 Dreamcasts in. I've asked a handful of times over the past couple of years, but not, like, every time I stop in. I'm not generally a system hoarder, but especially for disc-based systems, I enjoy picking up a backup console cheap, in case some belt drive konks out and I need my Rez or Border Down fix or something. Now, I wanted one because of the heartier components and I've heard that it might be easier to chip mod (though that's not really a pressing concern for me, but thinking longterm) due to the board layout. Mostly, though, I wanted one based on it's rep as "toughest, most durable revision" for longevity, not really as a hardware fetishist. Anyway, I was delighted to discover they had one in the back and I walked out with it, bare system, for about $30. Some cursory internet information over lunch (nothing official) suggested that only about the first 100,000 units were VA0, with the majority of systems being the commonly found VA1. I know there's also the VA2 that may or may not play CD-R copies, depending on what website you're reading. I crunched the numbers, and if the Dreamcast sold the generally-listed 10.1 million units, that means that less than 1% of Dreamcasts were VA0. I've also read in passing that that number may or may not include VA0 units sold in Japan. We were ASTOUNDED to read that. We tried to consider the likelihood that one of this tiny sample would end up at our local game shop and in our hands. My brain is much more wired for the "squishier" side of life, I'm not great with numbers and stats and probability. So, rather than speculate on which one is preferable (that's a different thread, I'm sure!), I'm just curious as to if anyone can cite me any sources for numbers on those revisions, sales, etc. I may not know numbers, but I like reliable sources. Most of all, we're curious as to whether that 100K estimate of VA0 models produced is roughly accurate, and if so, is there info (or can someone extrapolate the known sales numbers?) on the ratio of US vs Japan models of the VA0 revision sold? Whatever we find out, we're still amazed that one ended up in our laps. (Also, it plays CD-Rs just fine, for what that's worth.) Thanks in advance, Dreamcast experts. I have faith. If anyone knows this stuff, it's you beautiful maniacs.
  2. My local shop called me the other day to let me know they had some "rare Atari stuff" come in and wanted to know if I wanted a crack at it. Took a few days for me to get over there, but I picked up a handful that pretty much polished off my "2600 loose carts that I want to get" wishlist. H.E.R.O. and Beamrider had been eluding me, and I love buying local when I can. Tapper was one I'd kinda written off as "I don't like the game enough to pay the going rate.", but it was, like, THERE, maaaan! Overall, it was a pretty good f'in haul. Now, I'm not a completist. And I have a Harmony Cart. So I've got all the games I could ever want for my VCS. But my hunger since I picked one back up a few years ago was to sort of assemble "my perfect" 2600 collection. All the games I wanted as a kid, plus a few that I discovered as an adult but just knew I had to have, that I really wanted to have a "real" cart for. I'm not much of a shelf collector, either, so I didn't want to get just anything -- even though my collection's rife with "Well, it's a dollar..." kind of games. Like, if you said "Let's go hit the local game shops for 2600 carts!" I wouldn't even be able to think of anything REALLY specific that I'm lusting after, though I'm sure I'd pick some up. Anyway, it's nice. I didn't have anywhere else to brag, and this seems like the best place in the world to geek about 2600 loose cart collections. At least it's not kvetching about the Ataribox fiasco. Just a sense of "Oh yeeeeah, those are sweet! I can't believe I have that perfect little shelf full of them! Job well done, Mikey." Never had one growing up, so it's a "Finally!" kind of thing as a lifelong lover of old school Atari. I'm geeking out over the variety, the assortment of cart styles, label art, the very distinctive 10-year design indicators, which overlap with most of my early childhood... it's more like having a bunch of Famicom carts than NES, but distinctly "early '80s". It's just so much fun. Especially since it was, relative to the rest of retro gaming, surprisingly inexpensive. There are a few key games missing, but you know what? I wouldn't have loved some of them back then, and even if I "get" them more now, I have to draw the line somewhere. Take Adventure, for instance. I've played through it in my 30s, I'm amazed at its innovation and impressed by what it managed to not only DO, but evoke, considering the time frame. And even without the "good for its time" stamp, it's fun to play. But I don't know if it would make my "top games" list, just as I'm not much into dungeon crawls or quest-y games like that. I'll definitely pick it up if I ever see it out inexpensively, but I'm not going to eBay it. And yeah, there's a handful that are just out of my price range for the reality of things. I mean, how much do I really want to spend on a CIB Kool-Aid Man? Just because of the nature of it, I'd snap up Custer's Revenge if I ever saw it in person, but do I really need that, too? My favorite stuff is mostly the '82-'83 Activision lineup, which tend to be pricier to find in a box, but that's boxed stuff. I've got about a dozen and half of those, and unless it's a favorite, I'm not too eager to shell out for many more. Here at Shake HQ, my wife and I tend to have nights of "guilt gaming", where we dig out a chunk and clean then play the carts. Partially to makes sure they still work well, and partially so I don't feel stupid for collecting something I know I'm otherwise never going to use in favor of my Harmony Cart. The rule is a BARE minimum of 5 minutes each *cough*LostLuggage*cough*. But some stay in the cart slot for hours. I've been playing Dolphin for 3 days. Not straight, but still... It's a fun way to stay in touch with the tactile fun of the hobby. It's why I'm an "original hardware" kind of dork... in many ways, it's as much about the feel of the interface for me as it is the programming inside the ROM chip. I mean, of course I'm going to continue buying loose carts. Infrequently, and not spending much on them. I don't have the space. Just about anything else is going to feel like icing on the cake. So, haha, in light of the fact that I feel pretty content with my loose carts collection... is there anything else you fine folks INSIST I'm overlooking? And the obvious answer is "homebrews". I'm absolutely going to be ordering a few of those by the end of this summer. Draconian needs me. Space Rocks, too. And I need Pacman 8K to finally come out. Just wanted to brag a bit, thought they looked nice and tidy when I snapped a pic for a buddy of mine. Hope you're all enjoying yourselves.
  3. Is there an available list of upcoming Arcade Archives titles and release dates for the Switch eShop, beyond the Wikipedia page?
  4. I was thinking something closer to "piles up" (like something else that comes from cows), but hey, either way's good with me.
  5. I've gotten Mario Bros and Double Dragon so far -- two of my all-time childhood favorites. I really like using the Switch as a small virtual arcade, which I hadn't even really thought about when I got it. Wii was good for Virtual Console games, and I never got into the XBLA (though I guess I should have). I'd love to see a wide array of 2-player co-op games, because of (to paraphrase something I read somewhere) "the breezy co-op nature of the Switch". Double Dragon's a favorite, and fun, but Mario Bros has gotten a lot more time than I expected with my wife and I. The recent/upcoming Street Fighter releases sort of negate the need for that from Arcade Archives, but some other top-level 2-D fighters from roughly the '92-'02 era might be great. The licensing around any of the Capcom Vs series would be a mess, though, so that one's a pipe dream. Arcade Archives already has the rights to Neo-Geo stuff like King Of Fighters and Fatal Fury, right? I'm a sucker for beat 'em ups (*ahem* Double Dragon), so I'd love to grab some Final Fight and that ilk. and of course, all those glorious and probably un-possible Konami games like X-Men, TMNT, Captain America & The Avengers, The Simpsons... etc. *sigh* But I'll double the love for Kung Fu Master and raise a Shinobi. But I have noticed that while the official "Arcade Archives" has been kind of "platformy", I'd love to see just a handful of my favorite shooters. Gradius, Life Force, R-Type, Twinbee, Xevious, Darius, et al. I adore Space Harrier, but I don't see that one getting the love anytime soon. NBA Jam would be a slam dunk (sorry), but I wonder what the licensing around that one is, what with the players' names and likenesses. So, I guess on the less-licensed side, Robotron 2084 is one of my favorite golden age games, and it's underrepresented, if a little spartan in presentation from a sales perspective. But how about Smash TV and Total Carnage? I suppose I can hold out hope for weirdos like NARC and Sinistar. And Double Dragon II. Just 'cause.
  6. I told myself I was gonna be good this year. But someone gave me a prepaid gift card and I'll be damned if I didn't end up at Krikzz.com ordering a Master Everdrive (the cheapest flash cart on my wishlist). My Master System... system (?) will now be one step closer to complete. It's just those damn goggles eluding me now. How about everyone else? Any super deals to be had today? I generally loathe the horrific human behavior of Black Friday after an incident at Walmart about 8-10 years ago and try to avoid the in-person version. But for us gentle hippies here at AA, are there any finds/deals/codes to be shared with the group, beyond Krikzz's usual sale?
  7. Shinobi on the Sega Master System is one for me. I loved the arcade game as a kid, and while it doesn't look as flashy or as smooth, the SMS version has a great feel. Same for R-Type on the same system while we're at it. Definition of "downport" aside, I think both capture a lot of the essence of their source material while still serving up a lot of the same feel despite drastically downgraded hardware.
  8. I happen to love Vigilante on the TG16. It's a go-to "pick up and play for 15 minutes" game for me. But I can't deny most of the criticisms I read lobbed at it. However, taken as an entry in a very specific, early-style sub-strain of beat 'em ups, it's got some fun inside to wring out of it. Maybe I played too much Kung Fu (Master) when I was a kid. But that Master System port is still pretty iffy.
  9. Which of the two? I vote Streets Of Rage. I was SNES kid back in the early '90s, but after I got a Genesis a few years back, I dove back into 16-bit gaming. I like Final Fight enough to have picked up the first one and a SFC cart of Final Fight 2, but at no point playing either of them did they approach the atmosphere the first two Streets Of Rage games conjured up for me. They're both good, but Streets just has that mysterious x-factor that pulls me in. The music is SO good, the controls are great, the combat feels good, and just about every element of the games screams "early '90s" in a great, nostalgic way. (Though the sound effect for Haggar's "thwump" punch is almost unbeatable for visceral impact.) They're both a lot of fun. I miss the days of 2.5-D beat 'em ups. But for my money, Streets Of Rage is the more satisfying series when you compare the SNES and Genesis titles.
  10. I beat the first four games recently (the first time for most of them), playing them in order. CV3 was certainly the hardest, but it did feel the most rewarding. I picked Grant then Alucard, which after reading I realized might not have been the "optimal" way to do it, but it helped in certain places. Make sure you get your passwords, because each of those later levels feels like an achievement. I probably spent the most (read: not much) time dinking around in Simon's Quest when I was a kid, and now that's my favorite way to play it. It's so obtuse I don't feel guilty using a guide to tell me what to do, but I just love the music and flavor of it so much, it's like having some magical spirit guide lead you through this world and you can just soak up the ambience and see some stuff and still get to whip and blow up enemies like a classic Castlevania, too. Have fun on your quest -- I'd recommend any of those first four games to anyone, anytime. There's lots of fun to be had in there.
  11. The material in this thread is FANTASTIC! Thank you for sharing! I'd always been attracted to the "exotic" aspect of the Famicom library growing up, but it wasn't until I grew up that I was able to get my hands on a converter of some kind and start picking up a few. I limited myself to "Japan-only" games (with a few exceptions), and as my wife had then-recently shared her childhood love of Life Force with me, I realized I was smitten with Konami shooters. So Gradius II was up near the top of the list. (Okay, TwinBee was first.) I was so impressed by it in just about every way. The graphics were a leap above Life Force and even those are pretty damn good. The music was cool, the weapon system was impressive in context -- it just popped right off the screen. I even remember being so anxious for the couple weeks it took to ship from Japan. I loved, loved, loved it, but was inexplicably still gaming on a cheap-ass plasma screen with notable lag at the time. I made it to the boss rush, but was no match for it. I still want to go back and try again on the CRT I've since acquired, but I'm afraid of getting spanked again. Anyway, I adore this game, glad to see I'm not the only one. Thanks again for taking the time to post all this!
  12. Castlevania I & III, Mega Man 1-6, and Ninja Gaiden 1 & 2 probably top my all-time proudest list for the system. Never came close as a kid, but plowed through each of them in the past few years. I thought Double Dragon was hard, but I had no idea it was so widely considered notorious. To be fair, I've only beat it once. I recently bought Battletoads. I have no intention of ever seeing the end of that damned thing.
  13. Double Dragon on the NES and Final Fight on the SNES immediately come to mind. What? I like beat 'em ups.
  14. Double. Dragon. I mean, it's on the 2600 and 7800. It feels like the 5200 missed out.
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