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Everything posted by newtmonkey

  1. Fun topic! Quest for Glory III: Wages of War The inn in Tarna. It's got it all, columns, open air, babes, even a clown over there. I love the added detail of the distant town you can see through the doors. Fantastic use of 256 colors here. Ultima VII: The Black Gate Trinsic, where the game starts. I remember being blown away by the detail of the graphics back in the day, and I still love the approach they used to draw trees in this game. I used to use Trinsic as my base of operations early in the game, exploring in all directions and returning here to store my loot. Even though the town is the site of a horrific murder, it always felt like "home" in the game. Might & Magic Book One The inns are the only place where you can save the game, so dying out in the wilderness or in some dungeon means losing all your progress since the last save. I can't count the number of times I've limped back to town with half or more of my party members dead and diseased, and felt a wave of relief wash over me when I step into the inn!
  2. @Austin I had the same exact thing happen with my Japanese slim PS2. Infuriating!
  3. I spent an enjoyable hour or so last evening getting Ultima II and Ultima III working on my DOS gaming PC with the fanmade patches. The games ran fine copied over as is from GOG, but the patches were causing issues... and I really wanted these patches installed! The Ultima II patch Can disable the awful autosave function Adds EGA graphics support Adds a frame limiter Fixes the missing maps issue found on all releases of the game since the Ultima Collection CDROM release. The Ultima III patch is even better, as it Adds support for multiple tilesets (EGA, composite CGA, VGA) Adds support for music (sounds wonderful on a Sound Canvas) Includes optional gameplay fixes to bring the DOS version closer to the Apple II and C64 versions. For Ultima II, I found that the latest patch breaks compatibility with original hardware, so the solution is to roll back to patch version 1.1 (which was the last version specifically made with playing on actual hardware in mind). For Ultima III, all I had to do was disable the PC speaker SFX fix—this is meant specifically to play SFX at the correct speed on fast computers (i.e. DOSBOX), so disabling it is not a problem. Runs great now!
  4. @mksmith Thank you so much for this!!!! I've been teaching myself to code over the last year and a half, starting with Python then moving to C# and Unity/C#. I've just been going through textbooks, following the lessons and learning a lot, but hesistant to take the first step into actually coding my own application. That all changed today (just now in fact), thanks to your Dev Studio (and the 7800 basic Guide)! I can't express how awesome it felt to get my own game with my own graphics (well, "graphic") running on my actual 7800 played through the Dragonfly cart. Really a dream come true for a guy who grew up playing 7800 games! It's not much, but I've got a non-animated sprite moving around the screen according to joystick input. Really more of a HELLO WORLD thing than anything, but the skeleton is there for me to start adding background tiles, etc. I had a very bad day Friday, one of the worst since the world went to pieces over the last year or so, but thanks to you and Atari Dev Studio, I have a big smile on my face and can't wait to start adding more and more to my game. Thank you so much!!!!!!!
  5. That's interesting! But for me there's really no reason to downgrade from actual hardware to Dosbox. If my current machine dies, I would just go with PCem likely.
  6. Some versions of Dosbox have "pixel perfect scaling" but then you still run into slight aspect ratio issues, even with aspect ratio correction on. It's not 1:1 like how it would look on a CRT monitor, but I guess it's also not a huge deal for anyone who's not a DOS game fanatic (like me ). I agree that Autoexec.bat and config.sys configuration is also not a big deal anymore. Philscomputerlab even has preconfigured files you can just copy to your HDD (or PCem installation) that gives you a menu to easily select from a half dozen configurations to run pretty much any game with free memory maxed out (yes, even Ultima VII). The biggest issue with Dosbox for me, other than proper scaling (again, can be remedied by using an actual CRT or a 1600x1200 flat screen) is adjusting cycles to get games running at ideal speed. It's inexact, and games can break even if cycles are set where the game "appears" to run correctly; you'd never know it if you didn't play the game on real hardware. Some examples that come to mind are Wing Commander, Ultima VII, Worlds of Aden: Thunderscape, and Elder Scrolls Arena; simply setting cycles to the point where these games appear to run "smooth" can actually can break them.
  7. Speaking of DOS gaming machines, I spent some quality time with my machine today! Played some Day of the Tentacle, then some Crystal Caves and then Jill of the Jungle (cleared the shareware episode of that one). The machine is a Pentium 133, but you can disable the caches to bring it down to roughly a 386SX40 or 486DX33. Between those three speeds, you can cover the vast majority of the MS-DOS game library without having to resort to moslo, etc., though there are exceptions here and there. I do enjoy playing games on this machine, but like I said before, emulation is VERY good for DOS games. DOSBOX with a CRT monitor (or 1600x1200 flat panel for a perfect 5x/6x integer scale) would get you very close to the actual machine experience, honestly. PCem is even closer, since you can configure specific machine speeds for problematic games like Wing Commander 1, Ultima VII, Thunderscape, etc. Both DOSBOX and PCem allow you to use external synths over MIDI, so you can even get the real hardware experience of an MT-32 or SC-55. Although I'm a big proponent of playing on original hardware, if this machine dies I would likely switch over to PCem and be perfectly happy with it.
  8. I think if one is going to dismiss MS-DOS as "not really worth it" because of the limitations of EGA, then you'd basically have to dismiss everything up until the Atari ST/Amiga and 16-bit consoles! I'm a huge fan of the C64 and Apple II, but I'd DEFINITELY rather play Pool of Radiance, Wizardry, and Might & Magic II on MS-DOS. A lot of EGA games also supported the Adlib music card, and a good portion even supported the amazing Roland MT-32, so it seems unfair to dismiss the entire platform for poor music/sound effects. There's a lot of great MS-DOS games even from the mid-late 80s, especially if you like RPGs, strategy/war games, and adventures.
  9. I personally don't really think of MS-DOS as a single "system" in the same way you would think of the Amstrad CPC or any of the other microcomputers. I like to think of it more as a "platform" akin to Steam today. I remember my first couple of MS-DOS machines, though details are hazy—but I sure do remember all the games I've enjoyed on them over the years. Computer builds varied so much back in the day, that there was no real single shared experience similar to what, for example, each C64 user had. I think it's for this reason that I am fine(*) with emulating MS-DOS and its games on modern systems, while I always prefer real hardware for the microcomputers and video game consoles. (*) Having said that, there are still reasons to prefer actual hardware for MS-DOS gaming, and as I mentioned above, I do my MS-DOS gaming on an actual machine.
  10. ao486 is very intriguing indeed. If my DOS machine ever dies, I will likely pick up a MiSTer specifically for that. I've heard that you can even connect external synths to MiSTer now for MT-32, SC-55, etc. Sounds cool.
  11. Thanks for starting this topic, MS-DOS gaming is near and dear to my heart. My first MS-DOS computer was a woefully underpowered IBM PS/2 with a 386/16. I don't remember the exact year, but I do know that Ultima VII was already out at this point. In fact, Ultima VII was one of the first games I bought for the computer, though of course it was so slow that it was nearly unplayable (that didn't stop me of course). I also bought The Legend of Kyrandia and Quest for Glory III, both of which ran completely fine of course. The computer had no sound board, so we eventually got a severely overpriced Sound Blaster clone that used whatever proprietary connector the PS/2 used (microchannel?)... but it was worth it. Playing Ultima VII for the first time and hearing the fully-voiced intro and then the dynamic Adlib soundtrack that played through the game was simply amazing. I had a ton of fun with that computer. We eventually got a modem and after getting a printout of local BBS numbers from a friend, I was addicted. I never did much but download shareware games and read message boards, but one of my fondest memories is dialing up BBS numbers all day whenever school was cancelled due to snow. I was a big fan of RPGs (still am), and playing these games on my MS-DOS machine was a true pleasure after so many years of swapping disks constantly waiting for data to load when playing Pool of Radiance or Ultima VI on my Commodore 64. Ultima VII blew my mind—such a massive, detailed, seamless world with no need to swap disks and no loading screens (after the initial one, anyway). I eventually upgraded to a 486/50 and then a Pentium 133. One of the best things about gaming on MS-DOS was backwards compatibility. Sometimes you needed to use utilities to slow CPU-dependent games down, but I could go down to the software store and pick up an old EGA game on 5.25 disk released in the 80s and be 99.999999% sure that it would run on whatever computer I had at the time. I remember heading down to the mall and picking up old games cheap off the budget/discount shelves; it was always exiting loading the game up for the first time and seeing if you stumbled upon some hidden gold. At a couple bucks per game, you didn't mind so much if you ended up with trash instead! --- One of my projects over the last year was to build an MS-DOS gaming machine. DOSBOX is great, but there are a lot of worthwhile games that are meant to be played at certain CPU speeds and adjusting CPU cycles up/down is inexact. PCem is a great alternative as it is used to emulate a certain system rather than being a one-stop solution for all DOS games (for example, you can configure it to emulate a 486DX/66, etc.). I decided, however, to ultimately go with real hardware in the corner of my office, and over several months gathered parts to build a Pentium 133 that can be dialed down to 386/40 and 486/33 performance levels by disabling caches in BIOS. It's a real Frankenstein's Monster of a system, but I've got a CRT monitor, period correct sound card, and even Roland synths (MT-32 and SC-55) for those games that support them. I started out with a hard drive, but ended up replacing it with a Compact Flash adapter; VERY convenient! Starting up Ultima VII for the first time on this machine, with the MT-32 playing the music, was a thing of beauty.
  12. I, too, was pleasantly surprised with the stock Lynx screen when I finally got mine a year or so ago. The Internet had led me to believe it was an unplayable, blurry mess (damn you Internet!)... but it's perfectly viewable/playable, and many if not most Lynx games were designed with the limitations of the screen in mind. Having said that, I installed the BennVenn screen primarily to get a boost in battery life and ended up loving the look of it, too. It's even got a "vertical" scanline filter (requires soldering) that really does give it the "Lynx" look imo.
  13. @Curious Sofa WD was loved back in the day for being one of the few companies out there willing to localize niche Japanese games, specifically 2D RPGs of course, when the entire industry was doing its best to push 3D games only. People were just happy to have access to these games, and of course no one realized at the time that the translations were not always 100% loyal to the source text (for example, they began adding goofy pop culture references more extensively as time went on) and that the company sometimes (not every time) adjusted the difficulty upward to sometimes disastrous effect. The issue comes down to translation versus localization. Some people will accept nothing but a 100% faithful translation of Japanese video games and anime/manga, even if the original text itself is dull or awkward and a literal translation would be similarly dull or awkward. In contrast, in most other fields and on a professional level (even with professional video game translations), localization is generally preferred. Whether I am subtitling a movie or translating a research paper my clients expect me to retain the meaning but localize it in a way that does not require the audience to know Japanese culture and elements of style to understand the final product. They also often expect me to deliver a natural-sounding translation, even if the original text is awkward, redundant, or otherwise poorly written. This, in effect, means that I am rewriting rather than translating, as I am either adding or removing information. You could definitely argue that WD went too far in some or even many cases. In the worst cases, they completely ignored the text and just wrote their own thing, though they generally limited this to text from random townspeople. I guess your stance on the matter depends largely on whether you believe there is inherent value in translating throwaway dialog as closely as possible, or if adding some levity in a way that doesn't impact anything "important" makes for a more entertaining read.
  14. @cubanismo If you are planning to swap in a modern screen, you might want to consider the pros/cons of the BennVenn screen vs. the McWill screen. Basically, McWill offers VGA out but is a harder install, while BennVenn has no VGA out and is an easier install (and is reported to have a significantly better battery life than McWill).
  15. Heretic is the best total conversion of Doom ever made. Hexen for me is really what's special. They took the Doom engine and stretched and mangled it nearly to the point of being unrecognizable (slight exaggeration). As much as I love Doom and Doom II, and as amazing as the level design is in those games, they all tend to blur together somewhat due to how abstract the levels are. Hexen really feels like exploring actual locations and a lot of the areas are still fresh in mind for me even 25+ (!!) years later after playing it.
  16. The PSONE is definitely built to last. I bought mine used (in very decent condition) years ago, used it extensively for a few years, then threw it in the closet once I hacked my PSP to run PSX eboots. I pulled it out of the closet just a month or so ago, and it still runs great.
  17. Regardless of its short draw distance, I think that Cybermorph has actually aged quite well in both looks and playability. I thought it was a great pack-in game when the console was first released, and it's still pretty fun to play today.
  18. @Synthpopalooza Thanks for posting that, would love to hear your attempt if you do get around to it.
  19. The retrobit cables are well-known to not have stereo audio wired correctly.
  20. I like it quite a bit, but I'd definitely rank it below Doom. I like that the levels in Heretic are typically quite large and open, as it makes it seem like you are actually exploring a space compared with the tight corridors of Doom or the puzzle maps of Doom 2. I also like how it looks and sounds. It's got some really well drawn enemies with some really elaborate death animations. The soundtrack is also fantastic, especially when played on a Roland Sound Canvas. I don't like that the enemies are damage sponges and how random weapon damage seems to be. The crossbow (aka shotgun) is especially annoying; sometimes you'll shoot an enemy point blank and kill it in one shot, other times it takes two or even three shots to take it down. You never really get a "go-to" weapon you can use to easily take down weaker enemies, with even those tiny flying imps taking multiple shots from anything weaker than the crossbow. Having said that, I do like it enough to have played through it multiple times, and I typically give it a replay every few years.
  21. It's really a crap shoot sadly if you just want composite A/V cables. Most, if not all, after-market cables are wired incorrectly and provide only mono audio (left channel wired to the mono pin and right channel to the left channel pin). It's not a difficult thing to fix on your end if you have the right parts and tools. If you aren't comfortable with doing the work yourself, you could probably ask someone here to either mod a cheap composite cable or build you a decent one.
  22. @roots.genoa Don't let it get to you man, enjoy the games however you want.
  23. @GoldLeader I agree with @Tanooki, seriously consider putting aside some time to play Soul Blazer. It's a short game for an action RPG and it's got a great soundtrack, and the story is really strangely touching in a lot of ways regardless of the competent but dry translation—I found it to have aged much better than the melodrama of most of the RPGs of the time. If you haven't played it much and aren't aware, you basically are tasked with rebuilding the world one settlement at a time, with you rescuing individual inhabitants from dungeons as you explore. You slowly rebuild the settlements this way, and it's really an interesting way to slowly reveal the story of the game. The real treat is to play Illusion of Gaia which sadly removes the "rebuilding the world a town at a time" aspect of Soul Blazer but is overall a better game imo with great controls, excellent dungeons to explore (who hasn't wanted to go around the world solving mysteries in Incan ruins, the Great Wall of China, the lost continent of Mu, etc.), and an even more touching story (again, without being melodramatic or corny). Great series all around.
  24. Hokuto no Ken: Seizetsu 10-ban Shobu (GB) This was released as Fist of the North Star in the US. The Japanese subtitle is hilarious and I guess I'd translate it as "10 VIOLENT BOUTS." I remember seeing this in ads in video game magazines, before I even knew what Japanese animation was, and being intrigued at the bizarre warriors depicted therein. The artwork was heavily shaded and detailed with bold colors... totally unlike any cartoon I'd ever seen: --- Thankfully, I was never duped into actually buying this game back in the day, because it is probably one of the worst games ever made. Let's get the minor stuff out of the way. The source material (comic books and cartoons) features outrageously over-the-top muscle men punching each other in front of ridiculously detailed post-apocalyptic backgrounds, until their heads literally explode. The interesting choice was made in developing this game to depict these bloody macho men as skinny stick figures in front of mostly empty backgrounds you'd expect to see in a Tiger LCD game—this is not me being stupid like a clueless Youtube guy and describing any game that does not look photo-realistic as LOLZ IT LOOKS LIKE AN ATARI GAME!!!!!!!! The game literally looks one step above a Tiger LCD game (perhaps the slightly impressive-looking Mortal Kombat LCD game): The controls are floaty and hit detection requires you to be so exact that playing the game normally is nearly impossible. When punching or kicking, your fist/foot has to land EXACTLY within the hitbox of the opponent (which appears to take up only a slight bit of the actual sprite) during the "animation" (basically a single frame for each attack). Every enemy behaves the same. In between battles you earn experience points to level up your character, but I seemed to be doing LESS damage with each consecutive opponent. The key to victory is to completely ignore the floaty controls and overly exact hit detection, and just throw fireballs. Every character can throw projectiles by holding the "punch" button down until a meter builds up, then releasing the button. In addition to being much easier to land than normal punches and kicks, this attack also does more damage and (crucially) keeps you away from the enemy. The enemy AI will constantly just walk into it, maybe jumping over it once out of a dozen times. This was not because I set the game to "easy"—there is no difficulty setting, this is just how the game "plays." Ten minutes later, I was staring at the credits, which revealed that the game was designed, programmed, drawn, and scored by basically two guys. That perhaps explains it, but it doesn't excuse it. This was clearly a licensed cash grab, and the Game Boy library would increasingly suffer from this kind of mercenary product as the years went on.
  25. The Quintet "trilogy" of Soul Blader/Blazer, Gaia Gensoki (Illusion of Gaia), and Tenchi Sozo (Terranigma) is awesome, full of fun combat, great dungeons, and surprisingly touching stories. Actraiser 1 is a classic that's aged well to this day. It's a shame they took out the sim portion for the sequel, but Actraiser 2 is actually one of the finest side-scrollers of the 16-bit generation—it just takes some time to get used to all the moves and increased mobility compared with your standard platformer from the era. Great graphics and music, too. I guess my response to "talk about Enix on the SNES" is "yeah, Quintet sure was awesome" haha
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