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Everything posted by DragonFire

  1. Excellent seller. He provided lots of pictures and was very polite and helpful during our conversations. My stuff arrived yesterday and was packaged with extreme care and tons of padding material. It could have survived a hurricane! I'd definitely buy from him again.
  2. I bought a scuffed and grungy "for parts" Genesis recently (I actually did buy it for parts) but when I opened it up I realized the board didn't look that bad... other than having decades of dust and a bunch of broken crayons laying inside it. I've seen crayon marks on the outside of consoles (and this had several) but I've never pulled a half-melted crayon out of a cart slot before! Obviously it didn't work (It booted but couldn't read any games) but I decided to clean it up and break it down so I could see what parts were worth saving. I spent the afternoon disassembling it, washing and scrubbing the shell to remove crust and paint and crayon chunks, cleaning the board and contacts, and generally putting way too much time into a busted console because cleaning electronics is zen. Anyway it works perfectly now. It was just really, really dirty. Turns out cart slots and controller ports work a lot better when they're not coated in wax. Sometimes the simple fixes are the most satisfying.
  3. Bug fixes seem to come in large batches and without any warning or communication, so it may be worth reporting just in case another occurs.
  4. They're not really compensating, it's more like they have to decide how to display colors that don't exist. Remember that the NES isn't outputting a specific color, just a specific voltage, and even those voltages are out-of-spec. Different displays (and different standards) would interpret these signals as different colors. Palettes, on the other hand, are based on fixed sRGB color values. They should look the same on any (calibrated) display. Should palettes use the colors you'd get if you used a hypothetical perfect monitor that followed all the relevant specifications? If so, should we aim for Japanese or American specifications? Or should palettes choose the colors you'd get if you used a normal consumer tv? If so, which TV? Because different sets broke the rules in different ways. And how do we handle a color (like the sky in SMB1) that's so intense that it literally doesn't exist in the sRGB color space? You have to clip it in some way, by lowering the brightness or saturation or both. sRGB can't display as many colors as NTSC, but even CRTs had to do this, because that specific voltage is outside of the NTSC color space too! You have to make choices... unless you just plug the NES into a capture device and measure the output (like FBX did with Composite Direct) in which case you're letting the device make the choices for you. But it isn't making the same choices most CRTs would. Anyway, I'll try to write shorter posts so I don't hog the thread. Smooth was designed specifically for CRTs, so that's probably the one you'll want. FBX tested it by using a switch to swap between a real NES and an NT Mini with his custom palette on it, hooked the switch to his PVM, and tweaked the colors (for a crazy long time) until both of them looked as close as possible. If you want more vivid colors, use Wavebeam. It was also designed for CRTs, and based on CRTs, but it was based on the general look of a bunch of different sets instead of mimicking the look of a pro-level CRT monitor. The PVM palette (PVM Style D93) is based on a PVM calibrated to D93, which is the standard used by Japanese NTSC TVs. I also like the Castlevania/Contra collection palettes but I'm not sure if they're floating around online yet.
  5. Most of the popular palettes are really good and it just comes down to preference. I'll use a few popular ones as examples. The two most popular are probably Smooth and Wavebeam. Both were designed by connecting a real NES to a CRT and repeatedly adjusting the palette's colors until it looked really similar to the original console. Unlike the hundreds of other palettes based on eyeballing a CRT, they're the product of years of tweaking and updates, which has definitely helped their popularity. They're each based on different CRTs and had slightly different priorities / methodologies so they don't look identical, but both are a very good representation of what an NES looks like on certain CRTs. Smooth is more muted/desaturated and is based on a high-end professional CRT, while Wavebeam is more vibrant and is based on a few different CRTs. Another very popular one is Sony CXA. It's named after the NTSC decoder chip used in some Sony CRTs and is designed to look similar to the colors you'd see when playing an NES on those TV sets. It's vibrant and a few colors look very different compared to other popular palettes, but that's because Sony TVs (like most TVs) fiddled with the colors to make things look "better" instead of trying to adhere perfectly to existing standards. It looks great and definitely seems to capture the quirks of certain consumer-grade Sony CRTs. Smooth and the PVM palette try to replicate the colors of professional Sony CRTs, which look very different. The Composite Direct palette is exactly what it sounds like. It's the result of plugging an NES into a capture card and measuring every color. This is basically what an NES would look like if you plugged it into most modern displays. It looks very good and you could argue that it's closer to the "original" colors since it's based on direct measurements... but because of all the analog weirdness that makes NES colors hard to pin down, it might not look as much like a real NES on a CRT as the previous ones. The NES Classic palette is a direct rip of the NES Classic's palette. It looks like Composite Direct but less colorful and darker, and it seems to have been created using similar methods. It's technically "official" and it's a good choice if you're used to the colors of NES games on the Switch or NES Classic, but I think any of the previous choices will look closer to original hardware. The PC-10 palette is the only RGB palette designed by Nintendo during the NES's lifetime. These are the colors produced by the PlayChoice-10, which was an arcade machine designed around NES hardware and games. In that sense, its the only RGB palette that's 100% accurate to original Nintendo hardware from the era. On the other hand, the colors are pretty unique and look dramatically different from what you'd get from any other kind of NES hardware (or from any other palette, or from any of the screenshots or commercials or box art of the era) which means that it doesn't match the colors that most NES players or NES game designers would have seen. For that reason it's usually considered more of a cool novelty. It's also possible to design a pallete using math instead of measurements or visual observations by taking our understanding of how the NES generates video signals, combining it with our understanding of how those signals were supposed to be decoded, and then mapping those results in the modern sRGB color space. I don't think MiSTer currently includes any of these by default, but you can add your own custom palettes if you want. The only downside is that these represent an idealized scenario that ignores much of the out-of-spec weirdness of the NES and the displays of the era, and they still require us to make some choices like how to handle out-of-spec colors or what white point to use, so there's still an element of personal preference among all the (extremely cool) math. If you wanna see how this works, here's a cool online tool that lets you generate you own palettes using these techniques. Hopefully that helps explain how there can be multiple valid and accurate choices. Most of the built-in palettes will look very close to a real NES because most of them are based on a real NES, and a real NES would look different on different TVs. (Short answer: use Smooth, Wavebeam, PVM, or Sony CXA to simulate NES colors on different kinds of CRTs, use Composite Direct if you want a raw capture of NES composite using a modern tool, use PC-10 if you want to see what the arcade version of the NES looks like, and use NES Classic if you want to pretend you're playing on that hardware instead)
  6. I love projects like this. It's wonderful to see people breathing new life into old hardware. @low_budget What's the best way to keep up with your hardware projects? Do you have a website/social media?
  7. Yep. I'm not an expert, but here's my understanding of (some of) the problems with defining the "correct" colors for the NES: The NES doesn't have an internal color palette that it references and then modulates into a composite/rf signal. It produces a modulated signal from the start. The NES can output twelve chroma signals at four different levels of brightness/intensity. It's up to the monitor/TV to decode these signals and place them within the NTSC color space so that they can be displayed. Different displays handled this process in different ways, which means you'd get different colors on different TVs. To make matters worse, the NES doesn't follow the standards perfectly... which means some of those signals are out-of-spec... which leads to even more variation in how different TVs would handle the signals. Even if we ignore the issue with out-of-spec signals, there are still some colors that the NES (and old TVs) could produce that fall outside of the range of colors that modern displays are designed to produce. So, until we're all using super-wide-color-gamut monitors, we have to lower the intensity/brightness of some colors or clip them in some way so that a modern display can even reproduce them. And also (as turboxray mentioned) Japanese and American TVs had slightly different standards so different players (and developers) would be seeing slightly different in different regions... And I'm sure there are lots of things I'm missing. There are a lot of people with very strong opinions about how we should respond to these problems, but they all involve some degree of personal choice and compromise. So it's probably best to just go with one you like.
  8. The PC10 palette is pretty unique. It doesn't look much like the colors a normal NES produces via RF or composite, and a lot of people have never seen a Playchoice 10 in person so they don't have nostalgia for those colors. I think that's (part of) why its less popular. I like that we have it as an option, for PC10 games and historical purposes if nothing else.
  9. It's an official US release. The developer/publisher, Codemasters, is a British company that mainly focused on the European market at the time (which explains the reviews) but they published plenty of games in the US too. They're best known in the US for their Micro-Machines games and creating the Game Genie. Codemasters (and a few other companies like EA and Accolade) made their own carts in unique shapes instead of buying the standard carts from Sega.
  10. My earlier post makes me sound a lot more paranoid than I am. I'd never throw away a functional game or console no matter how much cosmetic damage it has, but I do have a few controllers I don't use very often because their connectors are corroded. I'm pretty good at removing rust and corrosion, but what are your tips on preventing it from coming back on areas like cart pins that can't be sealed over? I was thinking about the OP's question and I remembered the only game I've ever (indirectly) had to throw away. I bought a SNES game from the local used game store and was surprised when it didn't work. The previous owner had somehow spilled soda in it without ruining the label and several bugs had crawled inside and died. I tried it cleaning it but the PCB was full of small pits and it was totally non-functional. It looked fine on the outside so the store had taken it in without testing it. I returned it and showed them pictures of the inside and they immediately tossed it. I've never seen anything else like it.
  11. I've been playing the Sega 3D Classics Collection a lot lately. Have you guys read about how much work they put into these games? As far as I know it's unprecedented and it shows an enormous amount of love for their history. They basically designed a whole new Sega console that was backwards-compatible with the Genesis and then emulated it for these games. They also documented the process of creating these 3D ports/remasters with extensive blog posts. I linked to one of them already, but they can all be found here.There are four huge pages of them (I linked to the first page) and (if you have the time) they're really interesting to read.
  12. I got two VMUs that he offered in the free games thread. I offered to pay for shipping but he took care of it himself. He also packaged the items very carefully and shipped them quickly, which he didn't have to do for freebies. I'm extremely impressed and would gladly buy from him in the future.
  13. Has everyone seen Atari: Game Over? It's a fun, short documentary about the excavation of the Alamogordo dump site, the origins of the myth that E.T. caused the video game crash, and Atari in general. It features a lot of footage of Howard Scott Warshaw talking about his experiences at Atari and the creation of E.T. It's available on Netflix, Hulu, Xbox One (as a free app), and YouTube if you don't mind Spanish subtitles. I never thought E.T. was a bad game but watching the documentary gave me a new-found admiration for Warshaw and E.T. It won't tell you much that you don't know, but it's fun to hear the perspectives of the people involved and watch footage of the Atari dump site excavation.
  14. Anyone who wants a code for Gunman Clive on the 3DS, shoot me a PM. Taken!
  15. Tried to send a PM but your box is full. There are several good games in there, so I'm not surprised.
  16. Will this be the first mass-produced FPGA clone of a retro console? I hope there are more to come. I think this is the future of clone consoles and a critical development in retro hardware preservation. I know about the system Kevtris is working on and I couldn't be more excited.
  17. im pretty paranoid about rust and corrosion. If I notice rust on irreplaceable parts that are likely to touch other parts (like cart pins) I tend to replace the item. No matter how well I clean something, I'm always concerned that I've missed some microscopic amount that will come back or spread like a germ. Beyond that, I tend to work pretty hard (maybe too hard) at repairing an item before I begin to consider replacement.
  18. Did any Atari-compatible joysticks use microswitches?
  19. Classic Game Room doesn't focus mainly on Atari, but he has a lot of Atari reviews and they're very well done. One reason I love CGR is that he's a very positive guy. He tries to see the good in every game, even mediocre ones. He'll still tell you if a game is bad, but he'll usually do it in a lighthearted or funny way.
  20. I normally use a Sega Genesis pad since they're tough and I have a lot of them. It's a different experience than using a joystick though. One big difference is that you use your left hand to move and your right hand to shoot when you use a gamepad, but most people use their right hand to move and their left hand to shoot with a joystick. It makes a bigger difference than you'd think. Everyone has their own preference.
  21. Another tip: eBay isn't the only place to sell old games. Fan forums (like AtariAge!) usually have active marketplaces, Craigslist is good if you have collectors in the area, and PriceCharting has an Amazon-like system for selling games. The nice thing about these options is that they're free, unlike eBay. That's worth considering when you're already dealing with inexpensive items.
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