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Baron Von Jerkface

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About Baron Von Jerkface

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  1. No, there isn't such thing as "Cartridge of the Week Club" but there almost should be. When I bought my light-sixer a couple months ago, I decided that I would just collect the cartridges that I really wanted: Pac-Man, Breakout, Missile Command, Berzerk, Asteroids, and Adventure. That was it. But then, eBay lots came into play. I bought my first lot just because it was cheaper to get Adventure with a few throw-ins than it was to buy Adventure by itself. But now that I have a few other games that I didn't want, I may as well just get a few more that I liked when I was a kid that are part of another eBay lot. So, again, I went into my new hobby of collecting VCS games just wanting a few and ended up with 67... several of which are duplicates. Now, I love Pac-man enough to have him and friends tattooed on my arm, but I now have three working Pac-man carts. I also don't have much space to store anymore. That hasn't stopped me from venturing on eBay, filtering for games under $9.99 with free shipping and finding a few games that are on my expanded "must-have" list. They have literally been showing up every week now, much like a "Cartridge of the Week Club."
  2. I've tried to live a spare life. A life whereby, if I have mp3s, I don't need physical media. If I have emulation and a collection of roms, I don't need a console. Those things took up too much space in my small abode. And yet, I started collecting records, but told myself that they would only be those that were significant in some way - either first pressings or colored vinyl. I've pretty much been able to keep to this rule and have only filled up two "cubes" of one of those Ikea Kallax shelving units. I discovered emulation about 12 years ago. At the time, I lived in a shared house where my mother-in-law and her mother lived on the first floor, and my sister-in-law, her husband, and their four kids lived in the upstairs, of a large prohibition-era house. My wife and I lived in an inlaw apartment attached to the garage. My brother-in-law, who is two years younger than I am and who has no memory of the Golden Age of Arcade Games, built a MAME cabinet in our garage. I really have no idea why, because he has never shown any interest in retro arcade games, but my, oh my, did that cabinet become my most favorite toy. So many evenings, after getting our young son to sleep, I'd steal away to the garage to explore the arcade versions of games I only played on the Atari VCS. For the first time ever, I played arcade versions of Zaxxon, Asteroids, Berserk, Q-Berk, Pengo, Burger Time... but could not play Tempest, Tron, or Discs of Tron due to lack of a spinner control. Shortly thereafter, my brother-in-law's family moved into their own house, taking his cabinet with him. I began to learn how to work MAME and finally got it installed on our computer along with some of my favorite roms. After building out my own shoddy control panel which included a hacked mouse spinner, and HAPP trackball, I explored emulating some of my other games. At this point, Stella entered my life. It wasn't good enough to play Atari games on a keyboard, so I bought a knock-off joystick and a cable that converted Atari to usb so that Stella became a much more authentic experience. I really wanted to play paddle games and mouse input wasn't good enough, so I discovered Stelladaptor and paired that with a $5 pair of paddles ordered from the internet. In the meantime, I got a Vision-Daptor and eventually bought two Intellivision II controllers off ebay so that I could play Intellivision games through the Nostalgia emulator. These two console emulators kept me going for some time until I decided that I really needed to play Star Raiders again. I ordered a second Stelladaptor that had support for the touch pad and got a good deal on an untested touchpad that works just fine and that gave me about minutes of actual enjoyment. Star Raiders on the VCS really isn't that great. I prefer Starmaster, tbh.... Eventually, I purchased usb controllers that look and feel like the controllers for Sega Genesis, NES, SNES, N64, and Playstation. That led me to collecting emulators for each of these systems and playing these games with differing levels of nostalgia, considering that I never owned Nintendo consoles until the Wii. I think I'm greedy, as I decided I wanted to properly emulate the 5200 and 7800, so I bought some rebuilt joysticks from Best Electronics along with the 5200-daptor. The 7800 Proline controller works with the Stella-daptor II, so I just needed to unplug my Touch Pad. My current emulation station rig is an old Dell computer I took from my parents when they claimed viruses killed it. I have Maximus Arcade as a frontend running Mame32 (which I love because of the support for the highscore.dat), Visual Pinball, emulators for Gameboy/Advance/Color, Lynx, GameGear/Sega Master System/Genesis/32X, Vectrex, 7800, 5200, SNES/NES/N64, Playstation, and of course, Stella and Nostalgia. I use an external 1TB harddrive that stays plugged in to hold all roms, emulators, and screenshots. Also plugged in, I have a XArcade Tankstick, TurboTwist Spinner, steering wheel, and usb footpedal to play MAME games that require those elements. I've got a usb flightstick that I bought from Goodwill for .99 that I use to play Tron and Mach III. I just got a Aimtrak usb lightgun to use to play the uber fun Exidy shooters (Clay Pigeon, Crackshot, Cheyenne, Crossbow) and other gun games... it also works in conjunction with the NES and one of my SMS emulators so I can use it for Duck Hunt and Safari Hunt. My computer only recognizes two "daptors" at a time, so I have a switchable USB hub into which is plugged my Atari joystick usb cable, paddles, 5200 controller, 7800 controller, and Intellivision controllers. I can switch these out without having to unplug them, which was the whole point of getting this particular hub. And yet, I still felt empty, especially while playing my favorite VCS games on this rig. Now that some company is about to release a super-powered "VCS" I thought about going that way. Instead, I bought a raspberry pi and a VCS shaped case and a usb replica CX40 joystick. The feel on the joystick sucks and I can't use my paddles, so I went the full monty and decided to breakdown and buy a VCS.
  3. I was born less than a year into the VCS' life. The first video game I was exposed to was one of the home Pong units. I wasn't allowed to play it, because I was "too young". I recall it hooked up to the television in our home in Milwaukee... a home we left when I was 3, so I probably was too young. I had a half-brother eight years my senior who used to visit during the summers from California. He definitely got to play the Pong unit with my dad. In 1981, we moved down to Georgia and I don't remember the circumstances, but we got an Atari at some point and later, an Intellivision II. Atari was certainly first, and the first video game I ever played was either Pac-Man or Asteroids on the VCS. My brother, however, would play the more complicated games, like Adventure, or Starmaster, but I could only do the games with few rules and that just required survival. My dad was laid off by the company that moved us to Georgia shortly thereafter, but we still amassed a huge library of games. Suddenly, we had an Intellivision II and amassed a bunch of games for that console as well. Where did the money come from if my dad was out of work? I'd rather not think about it. Then in a pattern that I wish I hadn't learned, my dad bought the Intellivision system changer and got rid of our VCS. Why have an entire console if you can just play the games on a small box that plugs into a console? My dad continued buying games for the Atari and Intellivision all the way up until the late 80s when he bought us a Sega Master System, which begat the Genesis, which begat the Playstation and then I moved away from home in 1999. The theme during these video game years was that my dad was extremely selfish. He was constantly afraid we would ruin these expensive investments. I only got to play these systems when he wasn't home (which was rare, because he would get a job, move us out of state, then get laid off shortly thereafter). I remember living in Marietta, Ga., and my dad would hide the Intellivison/Atari combo when he would leave for work. My mom would set it up for me and I'd get to play until just before he would get home. One day, I was busted playing it because he got laid off that day and came home early. We moved to Columbus, Ohio in 1985 and then back to Wisconsin for good in 1986. I got caught up in all of the newer game consoles as I hit adolescence... all my friends had Nintendo, but I had Sega... and the Atari/Intellivision got put into a basement box and there it would sit along with several boxes of games for each system. In 1999, I moved into a house in Saint Paul, Minnesota to play in a punk band. My landlord/roommate/bandmate, Jon, said he had bought an Atari Jr. when they were closed out for $30, so when I moved I took the boxes of Atari games with my dad's blessing. Well, Jon never actually brought his console over to the house we lived at, so these games just sat in the basement next to my room in boxes. After I met my wife and we decided to move to California, I decided that I needed to pare down my possessions, I made the unfortunate decision to part with my Atari games (and my beloved Commodore 64 and its accouterments, but that's a different but similar story). I emulated my dad and bought the Atari collections for Playstation thinking, "hey, now I have the games I like and these discs take up so much less room, so I don't need these three boxes of COMPLETE IN BOX 2600 games..." I sold the entire lot to Jon for $50 cash. Let me repeat, all of these games were in their original boxes with the manuals. I'm talking about common games like Pac-man to less common masterpieces like Laser Gates... the Parker Brothers games in the indestructible boxes, like Empire Strikes Back and Reactor, to the weird Imagic games like Fathom. I had Star Raiders with the touchpad in the boxes they came with... the comics... all of that. $50. And it was for more than 60 games. God, I was stupid. If I could go back in time, after I killed baby Hitler, I'd tell myself "DON'T SELL THE GAMES OR THE COMMODORE 64!!!!" So, here we are 19 years later. I still don't have very much room for stuff in my current home, but I made an impulse decision to buy a light-sixer console and have had trouble NOT buying games for it. This blog will be my story of getting back into collecting for the 2600 and my attempts to control my obsession.
  4. Friends, I'm a long-time lurker and haven't had to post anything, because these forums are filled with good information that helped me troubleshoot just about everything for my light-sixer VCS. I have run into a problem that I cannot seem to solve on my own, nor can I find any similar problems on the interwebs. I recently bought a copy of this version of Bowling. When I first plugged it in, I got screeching sound and scrambled visuals. I cleaned the contacts real well, let the alcohol dry, plugged it back in and it was fine. A couple days later, I wanted to play it again and the screen was black and white dots. The bowler, alley, score, and pins are all visible, but the picture was awful. It improves 100% when I enable black and white mode, but c'mon, I want color! The other day, I opened the cartridge up completely and tried to really scrub the copper contacts, but I got the same result. Every other VCS cartridge I own displays full color on this console, I know that it's just this one cartridge. I'm out of troubleshooting ideas. Any of you fine folks have any ideas of what I should try next? Thanks! Bryan
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