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DeathAdderSF

Ringing in the new year with the game.com

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This is an "adventure" that I initially posted about here in the Christmas poll thread, then continued the story on assemblergames because absolutely no one here was interested. *shrugs* Now that the "journey" is over, I figure I'll share the entire story here, if only to give people MORE reasons not to play the game.com, and maybe have a few laughs too. So without further ado...

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December 31, 2018:

 

I ambushed my buddy during our traditional New Year's Eve hike, by surprising him with two game.com Pocket Pro systems (with backlit screens, of course!), a compete.com link cable, and two copies each of Fighters Megamix, Mortal Kombat Trilogy and Williams Arcade Classics, and daring him to face off against me in each game. No, he did not leap off the edge of the mountain when he saw the game.com (though he may have, if he'd known anything about them going in). He agreed to my ridiculous challenge, aaaaand...

What a crock.

Mortal Kombat Trilogy and Fighters Megamix both refused to let us get past the fighter select screens in two player link cable modes, blaming a supposed connection error. I took this to mean "poorly written software" error. And I'm fairly certain my interpretation is correct, because Williams Arcade Classics actually allowed us to play Joust in two-player link cable mode. Even then, the experience was still pretty pathetic: The machines could barely keep up with everything going on, we could rarely tell which of the sprites we were supposed to be controlling, and et cetera. Despite all this we actually were able to enjoy the experience, if only for the pure absurdity of it all. But it was a relief to have it over with. Thankfully the rest of the night's festivities were far more enjoyable.

In retrospect, the 5 minutes we played Joust was definitely the most fun I've ever spent playing a game.com. It was also a learning experience because it showed me just how awful and flawed the software is. We were using NEW systems, NEW link cable, NEW games. Did the programmers of the two fighting games even test the link play modes on real, finalized hardware before the games shipped? And why does a video game from 1982 play like such a hobbled mess on a system from 1997? :-o clear.png

Edited by DeathAdderSF
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January 7, 2019:

 

So I gave it a go the other day on my own, as my buddy was (conveniently) unavailable. Only this time, I linked two original (full-bodied) game.com systems together, thinking I'd have better luck than we did with the pocket pros. What happened?

Fighters Megamix... actually worked! What a shame, I had to play it! Only did one match, but it all worked fine. Couldn't bear to go back for more.

Mortal Kombat Trilogy... also worked. Poorly. It had lag. Nothing like performing an uppercut and having to wait for it to "load." Worse, the game still crashed. Yep. Four matches attempted, two were ruined by a "connection lost" message. Disgraceful.

Williams Arcade Classics = confusing, but functional Joust, just like the last time. Double flawless.

So what did we learn?

1). Joust always works. Kudos to the programmers.
2). It's a 50-50 shot with Fighters Megamix.
3). Mortal Kombat Trilogy is worthless.
4). It seems clear there's a difference in the hardware somewhere between original and pocket pro game.com systems, that fiddles with the link play for some reason. Nice job with the cost-cutting measures, Tiger!

But it's not over yet!! Stay tuned for part III of the game.com link play fiasco when we'll be presenting Jeopardy! and Scrabble. Ooooh boy, am I ever excited.

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January 16, 2019:

 

So we get to the top of the mountain tonite and I ask my buddy, "How about we play some more game.com?" He winces and deadpans, "Can we have a drink first?" This is how every conversation about the game.com should start, by the way: with a drink. Anyway we have the drink, and then I announce the two games we'll be playing: Jeopardy! and Scrabble. He sighs, a natural reaction to the circumstances.

First up on the link play festivities? Jeopardy! And it works. For a while, that is. My buddy and I get totally "owned," as the saying goes, by the CPU player all through the first round - in part, because the game expects some of the answers to be entered very specifically, meaning a few of our CORRECT guesses were invalidated by the game because of some triviality. By the time Double Jeopardy! hits, we're bored out of our gourd. Thankfully we didn't have to suffer long because... oh, you know what's coming... the game crashed. YEP! My game.com turned off on its own, and his reported a connection lost message. Phew. On to the next one.

Scrabble!!! ...couldn't even detect the link cable. What a piece of crap.

And that's it for him! My buddy never has to suffer with the game.com again in his life. If only I were so lucky.

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January 17, 2019:

 

Back home now, and decided to do some follow-up link play testing with two original model game.com systems, to see if they fared any differently than the pocket pros. (Why do I do this to myself?) I linked the systems together, popped Jeopardy! and Scrabble into their dual cart slots, and prepared to be disappointed. And disappointed I was! (Natch.)

Jeopardy! ...refused to get past the title screen. No amount of button pushing nor screen tapping could get it to respond on either machine. Remembering that Frogger and Centipede both have problems when a second cart is inserted, I popped out Scrabble from both machines and started again. Okay, now Jeopardy! responds. I guess it too likes to fly solo.

I figured I would give Jeopardy! the ideal environment to NOT crash in: after getting the game started and allowing the CPU player to score -- thus giving it control of the board -- I decided to carefully set both systems down on the bed, and walk away. (Which is exactly what I should have done to begin with.) With the systems lying untouched, there would be no movement to potentially interfere with the cable connection. If the link mode failed, it would purely be because of the software.

So how did it work out? I walked away, and I kid you not: 15 SECONDS LATER, one game.com turned itself off and the second one reported a link error. THE GAME.COM COULDN'T FACE PLAYING ITS OWN SOFTWARE ALONE. Just... embarrassingly sad.

And what about Scrabble? Well this time, Scrabble actually detected the link cable and I was able to start a game. But, not wanting to play Scrabble alone, I just fiddled about for a minute or so before saying, "GOOD ENOUGH," and finally putting all this game.com link play nonsense to bed.

Remember, folks: I did all this so you don't have to.

Oh. Yeah. And the link cable got stuck in one of the systems at the end of it all. Tried my best to gently ease it out, but it wasn't playing ball. Had to end up wrenching the hell out of it, and a tiny piece of the plastic broke off. Good.

Edited by DeathAdderSF
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If playing Game.Com requires a drink, that it's literally the first reason I've ever had to try it.

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Thanks for taking one for the team. That was a fun read. Ironically, I kinda want to get my game.con out and play it. I'm pretty sure it's been at least 12 years since I last touched it.

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Don't get me wrong, I'm all about liking the underdog systems/games in spite of hokeyness... but the GC never made my personal list.

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I had a Lame.com system BITD. The games are literally not worth the effort of prying them out of their blister packs. You need a tool (knife or scissors) to get at the damned things and you feel like a tool playing them. It's a lose-lose scenario to be sure. :lol:

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Ha-ha. Fun read, and a nice follow-up to your Supervision work.

 

If you really want to torture yourself and explore the true glory of Tiger's prowess, make the R-Zone your next project. I've always said that anybody who thinks the game.com is the worst handheld of all time has never played an R-Zone. Happy headaches!

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Thanks for the replies, guys. Glad to know someone's actually reading all this. :P

 

I fell victim to the game.com's "edgy" marketing (and teaser of Duke Nukem 3d) back when it launched, but I was a teenager w/no monie$ so I couldn't actually buy one. And a damned good thing too, because that would've been one HELL of a waste of money. (So now, as an adult, I'm wasting far MORE money collecting everything for research purposes.)

 

I had never read any reports of link play experiences online, which is why I was so curious to do testing for myself. I knew the games wouldn't be fun, but I figured they'd at least work. Even I wasn't prepared for the shock of just how awfully the games were programmed. Link play was a heavily marketed feature by Tiger... but in over 75% of my tests IT DOESN'T EVEN WORK! And as stated above, this was with ALL NEW equipment, folks. Dreadful.

 

 

Ha-ha. Fun read, and a nice follow-up to your Supervision work.

 

 

Believe it or not I'm going to be putting up a game.com website of a similar scale to that Supervision affair. Why, I don't know. But it will happen, and I'll announce the link here when it does.

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Excellent adventures :) that made me smile.

 

It is amazing how terrible game.com hardware is. I was playing Duke on my pocket pro for about 20 minutes, probably longer than anyone at Tiger played it. The screen overheated and made the bottom half of the screen go white until I turned it off to cool. I dont believe anyone tested any iteration of this hardware.

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Is the game.com supported by the jailbroken Analogue Nt Mini? I'm too lazy to check...

Checked just for the heck of it, and it's not supported. At least not yet.

 

Reading everything in this thread, the hardware appears so bad that an FPGA core of the game.com could be worth the detour, just to try the games while avoiding the bad experience of the real hardware. :P

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Excellent adventures :) that made me smile.

 

It is amazing how terrible game.com hardware is. I was playing Duke on my pocket pro for about 20 minutes, probably longer than anyone at Tiger played it. The screen overheated and made the bottom half of the screen go white until I turned it off to cool. I dont believe anyone tested any iteration of this hardware.

 

Glad you enjoyed it.

 

I agree, I think QC testing was non-existent at Tiger. You notice how part of Duke's hand disappears when he reloads his gun? They couldn't even finish the graphics. And how, on a system touted as being able to hold two game cartridges at once, that THREE out of TWENTY games insist on being alone in the system? Nobody cared. It's actually worse than the Supervision. Worse than the Supervision.

 

I really find it fascinating (and embarrassing, and downright insulting) that an American company actually got away with dumping such a piece of malfunctioning garbage on the market in the '90s. The whole thing was a scam, and they knew it.

Edited by DeathAdderSF
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I agree, it is a sick fascination :) I think Tiger assumed itd be as easy as an LCD handheld and proceeded to fumble the heck out of a good opportunity and idea. Would be interesting to play one with a sharp modern LCD installed though, not gonna lie :)

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I picked up my first (and last, hopefully) Game.com a year ago. Mostly because at $20, I figured the box would make a nice conversation piece in my collection. I can't remember which game I got with it, but I remember playing it and thinking it wasn't all that bad. I also have Resident Evil 2, and at some point I'll get Duke Nukem 3D. I'll probably play each for a few minutes and never fire up my Game.com again.

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Ha-ha. Fun read, and a nice follow-up to your Supervision work.

 

If you really want to torture yourself and explore the true glory of Tiger's prowess, make the R-Zone your next project. I've always said that anybody who thinks the game.com is the worst handheld of all time has never played an R-Zone. Happy headaches!

My brother had an R-Zone (the handheld version and not the eyepiece one). I used to have it somewhere but I think it got thrown away (no loss there lol).

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Yes, we need a game.com website, long overdue.

 

Ha! Yes, thank you. But I'm not going to optimize it for the game.com internet cartridge. ;)

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Glad you enjoyed it.

 

I agree, I think QC testing was non-existent at Tiger. You notice how part of Duke's hand disappears when he reloads his gun? They couldn't even finish the graphics. And how, on a system touted as being able to hold two game cartridges at once, that THREE out of TWENTY games insist on being alone in the system? Nobody cared. It's actually worse than the Supervision. Worse than the Supervision.

 

I really find it fascinating (and embarrassing, and downright insulting) that an American company actually got away with dumping such a piece of malfunctioning garbage on the market in the '90s. The whole thing was a scam, and they knew it.

 

Now see, it would have been better if it had been a scam. Here's exhibit A.

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I still play duke nukem, the system is terrible, but I love this game. I won't play on the hardest setting though.

 

Blam, damn, blam, dablam bitch, blam, blam, bitchin, blam, damn, damn. Sure is funny to hear peoples reaction to it though LOL.

 

Got several systems, but no dupe games, don't think I even got a link cable. Never had issues with more than one game at a time, but all of my crap was bought new bitd, maybe their fragile?

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