Retrogaming Times
Issue #57 - May 20th, 2002

 

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Table of Contents
  01. Phillyclassic - The Modern Show for Classic Games!
  02. Retrogaming Times Gets More Coverage!
  03. CCAG Show News
  04. Classic Star Wars Video Games by David Mrozek
  05. Stardate 7800 by Adam King
  06. Commercial Vault by Adam King
  07. New Atari System!
  08. MAGFest, A New Classic Game Show
  09. Midwest Classic Game Show News
  10. The Many Faces of . . . Pole Position
  11. Letters to the Editor
  12. World Championship Arcade Tournament
  13. The TI 99 - Stop Being So Stubborn by Jim Krych
  14. Sites of the Month
  15. Potent Portables by Fred Wagaman
  16. Bizarre Blendings
  17. Conclusion

 

Phillyclassic – The Modern Show for Classic Games

Back in 1997, there was a small convention in Philadelphia called the Electronicon.  It was one of the earliest classic game shows and featured guest, Howard Scott Warshaw of ET, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Yar's Revenge fame.  The show was spread over a few hotel rooms and had 35 or so attendees.   

Jump forward to 2002, to the 3rd annual Phillyclassic (an entirely different show, with only the city of origin being the same).  This time it was in a huge convention hall and had over 1,000 attendees!  It also featured a guest of honor, Bob Polaro, who made Defender, Road Runner, Sprintmaster and other games for the Atari 2600.  What a difference 5 years make. 

The above comparison was to show you just how far the classic game market has gone.  From someone who has attended both the Electronicon as well as the Phillyclassic (also, the CGE, CCAG and Cincicon), I have seen the interest as well as the attendance jump rapidly.  The Phillyclassic alone has gone from 60+ attendees in 2000, to 250+ people in 2001, to over 1,000 this year!  That is an amazing growth and is hard to ignore.  But what is it about this show that draws so many people to it?  Let us examine what has made the Phillyclassic so popular as well as classic gaming. 

The one thing that can be said about the Phillyclassic is that there is plenty to offer a game fan.  From the 100 or so tables of games, systems and controllers for sale, trade or display to the 70 games in the arcade to dozen or so tournaments to the auction and door prizes, Phillyclassic offered allot to do and to enjoy.  If you were a fan of video games, in the slightest, you were in hog heaven!  If you were not a fan of the games, you could not help but be taken in by the excitement and the energy that was generated at the show.  There was a sense of excitement that can only be matched by opening a brand new game system and playing that first game you waited so long to play. 

The first thing you will notice when you entered the Phillyclassic was the sheer size of the room.  With over 15,000 square feet, there was more than enough room to accommodate the large crowd.  This was a good thing after the 2001 show that was a much bigger hit than expected and ended up with a room that was overflowing with fans.  David and the gang must be commended on doing everything possible to insure that this show ran smoothly and that space was not a problem. 

Once you got past the cavernous size of the room, you will quickly see the many vendors, collectors and others who fill up the tables.  As you look around, you will see that there are games from every era for sale or display.  From Pong to Playstation 2, from the Microvision to the Microsoft X-Box, there are games for anyone.  From the obscure like the nearly impossible to find, Supergraphx, to the extremely popular Nintendo 8-Bit to the first big system, the Atari 2600, you have a ton of games for your purchase or to play on the many systems set up around the show.  At least from my experience, the most popular systems at the show were the Atari 2600 and the Nintendo 8-Bit.   

While game buying was a popular pastime at the show, the arcade had to rank a very close second.  Boasting nearly 70 arcade machines, with many classics like Asteroids, Dragon's Lair, Pacman to name a few as well as some games that are rarely seen like the video game/pinball hybrid Baby Pacman and the follow-up to Dragon's Lair, Space Ace, the arcade had a great mix of games and they were all set to free play!  You could get your admission price back in the arcade alone! 

Another big hit at the show was the dozen or so tournaments that were held.  Some of these included Dance Dance Revolution, Warlords, Bust-A-Move and Burgertime.  All the tournaments were free to join and prizes were given to the best gamers.  There was also an arcade tournament and Walter Day of Twin Galaxies was there to immortalize anyone who set a world record. 

While all of this was going on, there were also door prizes.  With a wide selection of different items available, including a Pacman memorbilia book, a poster signed by Nolan Bushnell and lots of other goodies, there was plenty of reason to pay attention to your number.  But when it came time to give away a Microsoft X-Box (with one given away each day), everyone stopped to see if his or her number was the lucky one. 

The second day featured an auction that saw both new and old items up for the highest bidder.  Extremely rare Atari carts like Crazy Climber, Rubik's Cube and Swordquest: Waterworld, were auctioned off alongside an X-Box, Turbo express and custom made classic game cabinets.  While not all items met the reserved bid, many deals were available for the attendees that still had some disposable cash on hand. 

A nice moment at the show was the award ceremony for the family of the late Scott Safran, who was the Asteroids world champion and only recently found.  It was a touching moment at the show and the dignity and class that was shown by Walter Day and the rest of the people involved should be applauded.  It was good to see Scott get the recognition he so justly deserved. 

All in all, the show was an astounding success!  Every aspect of the show was much greater than the year before, from the size of the show, to the number of attendees, to the size of the arcade and the number of things to do.  The only thing that didn't go up too much was the prize.  It went from a mere $7.00 in 2001 u0p to $10.00 in 2002, for people who preregistered (or $15.00 at the door).  Considering how much was available to you, that price was the biggest bargain at the show! 

(For more information about the show as well as pictures of the show, check out the official show site at http://www.phillyclassic.com)


(Here is a picture of many of the Retrogaming Times contributors at the Phillyclassic.  From left to right, Top Row - Tom Zjaba, Alan "Pitfall Harry" Hewston and Fred Wagaman.  Bottom Row - Sarah Szefer and Jim Krych.)

Retrogaming Times Gets More Coverage!

One major benefit to attending Phillyclassic, was the coverage that Retrogaming Times received.  I personally did three interviews, which will hopefully go a long way towards spreading the word about Retrogaming Times, the longest running online classic game newsletter.  

The interview that I am most proud of was the one with Back in Time web radio show.  It turned out very well and I must thank Mike Stulir for the honor.  If you go to their main webpage, you can listen to it.  The web address is http://www.backntime.netWhile the whole radio show is worth listening to (I have listened to it twice, great stuff), for the impatient who just want to hear my interview, my  part starts at about 31 minutes and 25 seconds.  But do take the time to listen to all of it, as well as the other great shows.  Mike had interviewed Nolan Bushnell and Sid Meier to name two people.  

The other two interviews that I did were for CNN Radio (it was more for classic games in general, but I plugged Retrogaming Times) and for Toyshop magazine.  Will have to wait and see if anything comes of these, or will I end up on the cutting room floor.

CCAG Show News

With the show less than a week away, we have more news!  The show now features three door prizes!  The big prize is a Klax arcade machine!  That's right, a real live arcade machine!  We also just recently had a NEXT Computer added to the list of door prizes.  Look for a few more possible items added!  Everyone who pays the admission price of $2.00 will get a chance and additional chances for the price of $2.00 each will be available!

There will also be two special released games at the CCAG.  Both are previously released games from Tim Snider.  Venture 2 and Mystery Science Theatre will both be released with special CCAG labels!  For anyone who missed Venture 2, it is a great game and currently sells for $200-$300 on ebay.  But now you have a chance to get and play the game and not break the bank (granted this one will not come with the nifty treasure chest as the previous one did, but it is still the same great game).

More vendors are signed up for the show.  C's and her huge selection of games will return as will 16/32 Systems from England.  Also, new this year is Brag Productions.  We are nearing 40 tables sold, out of 50, so it looks to be another near sellout.  For more information about the upcoming show, check out the website at http://www.ccagshow.com.

Classic Star Wars Video Games
By The Video Game Critic (www.videogamecritic.net )

I've been a huge Star Wars fan all of my life. I was nine when the first movie came out, and I saw the Phantom Menace eight times. Naturally I find it interesting to see how Star Wars has been portrayed in video games over the years. Keep in mind that the ratings are relative to other games on the same system.

Atari 2600

Star Wars: The Arcade Game (Parker Bros 1984) A-
The fact that Parker Bros was able to squeeze this multi-stage, vector graphic game into an Atari 2600 cartridge is quite an accomplishment! In this first-person shooter, you are Luke Skywalker flying his X-Wing. While the graphics have been scaled down quite a bit from the arcade, all the stages are present and the control is very good. The first thing I noticed was the classic Star Wars theme that plays in the beginning. It really gets you pumped up (did I just hear Obi-Wan's voice?). In the initial stage, you shoot down tie fighters flying across your view. You aim by moving a crosshair with your joystick. The tie fighters shoot back, but you can neutralize their missiles pretty easily. The ties look okay, but their missiles look like big fuzzballs. When this stage is clear, the ominous Death Star comes into view. The subsequent stage is one I don't remember from the movie. You're flying over the surface of the Death Star, attempting to shoot the tops of pillars while avoiding them. Moving the crosshairs not only sets your aim, but it also affects the movement of your ship, which is kind of tricky. The scaling of the pillars is done to good effect. The final stage puts you in the Death Star trench, where you have to avoid barriers and incoming missiles long enough to shoot the exhaust port. It's exceptionally well done. The view of the trench changes as you alter your position. The 3D graphics provide a modest illusion of depth and speed. If you shoot the vent, you're treated to a rather unspectacular climax, in which the death star cracks into about four pieces and disappears. Then you start over on a tougher level. Be sure to play this game with the difficulty setting on A, because B is entirely too easy. Star Wars nuts (like me) should appreciate this game.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (Parker Bros 1982) A-
This was the most popular of all the Atari 2600 Star Wars games. It's based on the best action sequence in the first Star Wars trilogy: the battle of Hoth. In this side-scrolling game you control a snowspeeder attempting to methodically destroy a parade of five huge AT-AT snow walkers. Your scanner shows their position, and if they make it to the edge of the screen, it's game over. The graphics are minimal, but the control is decent and the action is fast. The gameplay is simple - destroy as many AT-ATs as you can. That's not easy as it sounds though, because each can withstand up to 48(!) shots. Fortunately weak spots appear on them periodically, which allows one well-placed shot to take them down. The damage level of both the walkers and your snowspeeder is indicated by their color. When your ship gets badly damaged (turns red), you can land for repairs up to two times. The AT-ATs fire continuously, and sometime deploy a smart missile that can chase you around. If you can manage to stay alive for two minutes (not an easy task), the Star Wars theme will kick in and you'll get 20 seconds of invincibility (feel the force!). Empire has 32 variations, but I recommend games 13-16 for a real challenge.

Star Wars: Jedi Arena (Parker Bros 1983) D+
This game is VERY loosely based on Star Wars. Think back to the first Star Wars movie. Remember that little floating droid that Luke used to practice his lightsaber skills on inside the Millenium Falcon? Well that's basically what this game is all about. Two Jedi knights are situated at the top and bottom of the screen, and this droid called the "seeker" floats between them. These so-called Jedis look like boxes with circles in them, and each has a four-layer shield. Using your paddle controller, you move your light saber from side to side. Too bad it doesn't stick out far enough to touch anything! Aim your paddle and press the fire button to shoot a charge from the seeker towards your opponent. You only use your lightsaber to block, believe it or not. This hopelessly confusing control scheme uses the paddle for both offense and defense. It's counterintuitive and I could never get a good feel for it. The object of Jedi Arena is to break through your opponent's shield three times. This really doesn't look or feel like a Star Wars game. You'd think they could have come up with something better.

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Death Star Battle (Parker Bros 1983) D
In this instantly forgettable shooter, you control a tiny Millenium Falcon. Your mission is to penetrate the Death Star's shield and shoot it until it explodes. There are two stages, but in both cases your ship is confined to the bottom half of the screen. In the first stage you shoot at imperial starcraft while avoiding their fire. Control is not particularly good. The Death Star is on the top of the screen, separated from you by a large, rainbow-colored shield (which never appeared in ANY Star Wars movie, by the way). Every now and then a "hole" appears in the shield. You simply fly through the hole to reach the second stage. Now the Death Star is a big, gray, blocky thing with a red dot in the center. While avoiding enemy fire, you wear down the outside of the Death Star and eventually expose the core. When you shoot the core, the resulting explosion rains fireballs that you must dodge. Then it's back to the beginning. Unexciting gameplay and poor control make this one to forget.

Intellivision

Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back (Parker Bros 1983) D
Yikes! This Atari 2600 hit didn't make a very good transition to the Intellivision. First, the good points. Your ship and the walkers are slightly more detailed than the 2600 version. Excellent sound effects accompany the stomps of the huge walkers. Everything else is bad. The gameplay is slow and choppy. The graphics are only slightly better than the Atari 2600, and the background graphics (mountains) actually look worse. It's difficult to control your ship. Only the fact that it's Star Wars saves this game keeps this one respectable.

Atari 5200

Star Wars The Arcade Game (Parker Bros 1984) F
I can sum this review up in two words: terrible control. Despite the fact that the graphics and sound are faithful to the arcade version, this game is practically unplayable! The disappointment sets in on the very first screen, where you need to aim crosshairs at tie Fighters flying around in front of you. The crosshair slides all over the place, totally beyond your control. Things don't get any better in the second stage, where you need to shoot the tops of towers AND steer at the same time! The collision detection is pretty bad too. When you actually DO hit something, there's a good chance that your shot might not even register. The only really playable stage is the trench scene, which requires little in the way of precision to dodge oncoming missiles. After shooting the vent, brace yourself for the sight of the Death Star getting blown into... hold onto your hat... SIX PIECES!! Boy does that look pathetic! Yoda must be rolling in his grave. I could have sworn the Deathstar was supposed to blow into at least six MILLION pieces. Then again, it's hard to tell on my grainy VHS copy of the film. I'm sure the DVD version will be more definitive. One thing is for sure: this game stinks!

Star Wars Return of the Jedi Death Star Battle (Parker Bros 1984) F
When you think of all the cool video games that could have been inspired by the Star Wars movies, you have to wonder why Parker Bros went with such a boring, unimaginative concept. Attack on the Death Star is terrible by 2600 standards and absolutely heinous by 5200 standards! You control a tiny Millennium Falcon, and can only navigate around a small area on the bottom of the screen. You spend the first stage shooting at passing imperial vessels. A small Death Star is visible of top of the screen, separated from you by a rainbow-colored shield. When a hole appears in the shield, you fly through it to the second stage. Now the Death Star is this huge, blocky monstrosity at the top of the screen. You fire away at it from below, knocking out “bricks” until you reach the core. It’s “Star Wars meets Breakout”, and it’s not a pretty sight. The only real difference between this and the 2600 version is an unspectacular “hyperspace” effect that occurs when you fly through the shield. Lacking both fun and imagination, Attack on the Death Star can only be described as a worthless piece of dung.

Colecovision

Star Wars The Arcade Game (Parker Bros 1984) C
Because it's Star Wars, this game automatically gets a higher score than it really deserves. It looks just like the arcade version, with the tie fighter screen, the towers, and the exciting trench finale. The four guns of your X-Wing are visible in the corners of the screen. Even the level select screen looks like the arcade. So far so good. Unfortunately, the crosshair control is "squirrelly", meaning it's difficult to control with any kind of precision. And those crosshairs are not only used to aim, but also guide your ship! The first screen features tie fighters flying around in front of you. It's not much fun because you need to concentrate on shooting incoming fireballs and don't really have time to aim at the tie fighters. But the tie fighters do look great when hit. Normal ties explode into several pieces, and Vader's spins off the screen. The second screen featuring towers on the Death Star, isn't much better because the towers don't scale well. As soon as they come within shooting range, they're on top of you. The trench stage is plain-looking, and really no better looking than the Atari 2600 version of this game. At least you can hear the Star Wars theme and Artoo's beeps in the background. But overall, this is a disappointment.

For reviews of Star Wars games from the NES all the way to the Gamecube, go to The Video Game Critic's Site

Stardate 7800
by Adam King

Hi everybody. Lately, as Alan Hewston said a few issues ago, readers have been asking for coverage on other systems. I figured I could do something about it. One system I figured should be covered is the Atari 7800 Prosystem. In my opinion it is an underrated system that was hampered by Atari's own mistakes. It hardly gets mentioned except for the occasional appearance in the Many Faces Of section. So I figured I'd start a monthly column, sort of like a follow-up to the article I wrote in RT Issue 53. It's essentially going to be like MAME Reviews, except for the Prosystem. After all, the 7800 has some good games, I'm just going to help bring them out.

For the record, even though the 7800 can play 2600 games, I'm JUST going to do 7800 games. There are plenty of reviews of 2600 games in other sections. We start with two arcade smashes.

Joust (Atari, 1987)
One fact on all Atari systems is that most of their library is made up of arcade conversions, and many of them range from good to great (with a few dips). The 7800 is no exception. One of its good games is the arcade favorite Joust, which has appeared on almost every Atari System(2600, 5200, 7800, and Lynx). For those of you who aren't in the know, here's how it works. You ride a flying ostrich (I could never understand that part) and take part in a survival joust against other riders. There are three types of riders, the Bounders, the Hunters, and the vicious Shadow Lords. To win each level you have to dismount the other riders by hitting them above their lance. If you do that the dismounted foe turns into an egg that you can run over to finish it off. However, if they are above your lance you'll lose a life. Plus if you wait too long to grab an egg it hatches into a tougher rider. There are other dangers as well. On level 3 on a lava pit open up, and within live the Lava Trolls who reach up and try to grab whoever flies above the lava pit whether it be you or the enemy riders. If you take too long to complete a level the Pterodactyl flies to attack you (don't believe what they say, the Pterodactyl CAN be killed by hitting it square in the mouth).

The 7800 version is THE best conversion of Joust on any Atari system, better than the 5200, and tons better than the laughable 2600 title. The graphics match the arcade version very well, despite having that Atari look to them. (This is the only time I'll use that phrase, since all 7800 games have that Atari look to them.) As for the sound effects, it's a mixed bag. While some effects do sound like the arcade, others less so. The controls do the job, though it seems the 7800 controller can't hold up to the constant button mashing needed to stay in the air. Otherwise this is a great version of Joust you'll definitely enjoy.

Score: 9/10

Galaga (Atari, 1986)
Another good arcade conversion of an arcade favorite is Galaga, the sequel to Galaxian. Plus this game isn't available on any other Atari system. Just like Galaxian, you try to shoot up a fleet of invading alien ships before they waste you. This time they fly in formations before they settle in their group to attack. The infamous tractor beam that captures your ship is intact as well, giving you a chance to free your ship and double your firepower, plus you still have the Challenging Stages, and the game still totals your accuracy when you lose your last life.

While Galaga is a good conversion, the audio and visuals do suffer on the 7800. The graphics look blocky and colors seem off, plus the sound effects just seem wrong, though they do resemble the arcade. The gameplay is just like the arcade but things get weird after Level 10. The game is then plagued with jittering and slow down that somewhat ruins the experience. If you can live with all these problems you'll find that this is indeed the Galaga game that everyone knows and loves, with all the action you can get from the arcade.

Score: 7/10

I'll have more 7800 game reviews next month. Until then..

COMMERCIAL VAULT
by Adam King

This month on the Commercial Vault, since I'm working on a new Atari 7800 Column, I have two Atari commercials from the late 1980s.

Atari 7800
Of course my first commercial is for the Atari 7800. Here we find a reported going into an Atari test lab, where kids are playing with the new 7800. He's trying to get some words from the kids, while telling of the features of the system, but they're too busy playing the games to pay attention to him. Eventually the reporter gets drawn in as well.

"Atari just reinvented the videogame with this, the Atari 7800. Incredible, huh? (no response)
So powerful it plays like the best arcade games with real joysitcks, right? (still no response)
So advanced it plays super games, computer games no other video game system ever played. Just look at these. It even plays all Atari 2600 games. Great, huh?
(once the reporter sees the games) Ooh, the Atari 7800. We reinvented the videogame."

PICTURES:


"Let's step inside this lab and see the new game system."


"Say, can I get a word with you?"


"Get that microphone out of my face!"


"Won't anybody talk to me."


"Hey, I wanna check this out. Out of my way, kid."


Just keep telling yourself that, Atari

Atari hoped that ads like this would hook players on their system, and it worked to a degree. Nintendo still ruled supreme, Sega was right behind it, and Atari fell to the wayside. Fortunately the system will get its due, starting with this issue, with my new column.

Atari 2600jr
My next commercial is for the redesigned Atari 2600, also known as the 2600jr, released around the same time as the 7800. The system had a new, more compact look, but still played the same great(and not so great) games. The ad features a father and two boys playing some new releases on the 2600jr including Solaris, Pole Position and Midnight Magic, plus old favorite Space Invaders, and they can't believe the system only costs $50. The ad gets the message across in the form of a rap tune.

"The fun is back, O yes-sir-ee,
IT's the 2600 from Atari.
It's the video system with classics galore,
From Space Invaders to cars that roar.
A real hip joystick controls the screen,
Solaris is hot and Midnight Magic is mean.
And one more thing, it's got a special low price,
Under fifty bucks!"
"Fifty Bucks?!"
"Now isn't that nice?
The fun is back, O yes-sir-ee,
It's the 2600 from Atari."

PICTURES:


Guess what? THE FUN IS BACK!


Two kids enjoying their games


The classics galore dancing around


The really hip (antiquated) joystick


"Is it really under 50 bucks?!"


Again, the fun is back.

I'm probably going to catch heat for this, but oh well. Let's be honest with each other: there was no way the 2600jr could compete with the NES or Sega Master System, even though some of the best 2600 games were released at the time. Atari could have just concentrated on the 7800 and still released the 2600 games, like the Game Boy Advance of today. (The Game Boy Color has no place in this world anymore, but that's a topic for another magazine).

There was a also a third Atari system in the late 80s, believe it or not. It was the Atari XEGS, an XE computer modified to just play games. Never heard of it? I'm not surprised.

Don't forget, if there's a commercial you want to see from the vault, drop me a line and I'll see what I can do.

New Atari System

JAKKS Pacific to Launch Atari TV Games

MALIBU, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 14, 2002--JAKKS Pacific, Inc.  (Nasdaq:JAKK) announced today that the Company's subsidiary Toymax International has entered into a worldwide licensing agreement with Infogrames Interactive, Inc. to develop and market the Atari(R) 10-In-1 TV Games (TM), a plug and play 8-bit gaming system utilizing your television set. This second introduction to its TV Games category is expected to hit retail shelves third quarter 2002.

"We are very pleased to have Atari(R) as the next extension to the TV Games category. The retro graphics and sounds that Atari first introduced decades ago are a perfect match for the platform," remarked Stephen Berman, President and COO, JAKKS Pacific. "The combination of 10 vintage video games and all of the hardware built right into the joystick controller make this a portable, affordable and perfect take-anywhere gadget."

Atari (R) 10-In-1 TV Games features 10 classic games from Atari, one of the original creators of video games! It has a lightweight, compact, all-inclusive controller, which allows gamers to play video games anywhere there is a TV with ATV input jacks (standard on almost all sets manufactured within the past decade). Atari 10-In-1 TV Games includes "Centipede(R)," "Asteroids(R)," "Missile Command(R)," "Battlezone(R)," "Adventure(TM)," "Combat(TM)" and more, and is available in five colors: blue, red, green, yellow and black. Atari 10-In-1 TV Games is anticipated to retail for
approximately $20.

New York-based Infogrames, Inc. (Nasdaq:IFGM) is one of the largest third-party publishers of interactive entertainment software in the U.S. The Company develops video games for all consoles (Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft), PCs, and Macintosh systems. Infogrames' catalogue of more than 1,000 titles includes award-winning franchises such as "Civilization(R)," "Backyard Sports(TM)," "Deer Hunter(R)," "Driver(TM)," "RollerCoaster Tycoon(R)," "Test Drive(R)," and "Unreal(R)," and key licenses including Warner Bros. "Looney Tunes(TM)," Nickelodeon's "Blue's Clues(R)," "Dragon Ball Z(R)," "Mission Impossible(R)," "Terminator(R)," "Harley-Davidson(R)," "Major League Baseball(R)," and the "National Football League(R)," among many others. The Company's Humongous Entertainment and MacSoft labels are leaders in children's and Macintosh entertainment software, respectively.

Infogrames, Inc. is a majority-owned subsidiary of France-based Infogrames Entertainment SA (IESA) (Euronext 5257), a global publisher and distributor of video games for all platforms. In 2001, IESA acquired Infogrames Interactive, Inc. (formerly Hasbro Interactive), including its line of software based on well-known licenses such as "MONOPOLY," "Jeopardy(R)," "TONKA," and "Atari(R)," which are published and distributed in the U.S. by Infogrames, Inc. For more information, visit the Company's Web site at www.infogrames.com.

JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (Nasdaq:JAKK) is a multi-brand company that designs and markets a broad range of toys and leisure products. The product categories include: Vehicles, Action Figures, Infant/Pre-School, Plush, Dolls, Water Toys, Sports Activity Toys, Arts & Crafts Activity Kits, Stationery, Writing Instruments and Performance Kites. The products are sold under various brand names including Flying Colors(R), Road Champs(R), Remco(R), Child Guidance(R), Pentech(R), Toymax(R), Funnoodle(R), Laser Challenge(TM) and GoFly a Kite(R). The Company also participates in a joint venture with THQ Inc. that has exclusive worldwide rights to publish and market World Wrestling Federation(R) video games. For further information, visit www.jakkspacific.com.

(c)2002 Infogrames Interactive, Inc. All rights reserved. All marks are the property of their respective owners.

MAGFest, A New Classic Game Show!

What looks to be a major undertaking, the MAGFest (Mid Atlantic Gaming Festival, for people who don't like abbreviations) looks to offer a ton of entertainment.  From 20+ televisions set up for gameplay (including 3 big screen TVs) to a bunch of arcade games, tournaments, movies (including a large selection of anime) and more.  They will even have a live concert with the Mini-Bosses!  For more information on this show, which will be the weekend of September 27th-29th, go to the following website:  http://www.magfest.org/

Midwest Classic Show Offers Two Special Edition 2600 Games!

May 3, 2002 - Midwest Classic to Offer Two Special Edition 2600 Games

The Midwest Classic, a new classic computing, gaming and pinball show being held in Milwaukee, WI for the first time on June 8, 2002 has announced two more reasons why the Midwest Classic is going to be a can't-miss event -- two new versions of great Atari 2600 games!

Warring Worms
The first game that will be at the event is Baroque Gaming's Warring Worms. Warring Worms was originally released in 2002, and is one of the best home brew games to be released for the Atari 2600 ever! In the game, players control their super-charged, biologically engineered worm in a duel to the death in a style that resembles the popular game Nibbler that may be found on many cellular phones today. Warring Worms features hundreds of different game play options, including player vs. computer and player vs. player options.

"Warring Worms is a phenomenal game," stated Dan Loosen of the GOAT Store, LLC. "The addictive and competitive game play resembles Combat. It is incredible!"

The Midwest Classic version of Warring Worms will feature a special title screen that the original version does not contain. The game will be able to be purchased for $35.00 with the special packaging, and $25.00 without.

Berzerk: Special Edition
The second game that will be exclusive to the event is a new version of Berzerk. While the original version of Berzerk was released in 1980, this version is going to feature a musical addition by Paul Slocum. Paul Slocum has already created a musical addition for Combat entitled Combat Rocks
which featured the music of the Clash, as well as creating the Synthcart, a way to turn your Atari 2600 into a synthesizer! What song will Berzerk feature?

"Berzerk was a great game before," Gary Heil of the GOAT Store, LLC said, "and this will just makes it better!"

The Midwest Classic version of Berzerk will feature a special title screen that the original version does not contain, and it will play a special version of a popular song while you blast away at the robots! The game will be able to be purchased for $25.00.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Both Warring Worms and Berzerk will be limited edition runs that will only be available for purchase at the Midwest Classic. The games will be hand numbered by the creators! Both of the special edition games will be featured in tournaments throughout the day, with the winner of the
tournament getting the first numbered copy of the game that they won the tournament for!

If you are coming to the Midwest Classic and want to make sure that a copy of either game will be there waiting for you, you may reserve either game by visiting the GOAT Store's Web site at http://www.goatstore.com/ and then visit the Midwest Classic page. Reservations cost $5.00 and must be paid for by midnight on May 22. For more details about how the reservation system works, please read the information contained in the descriptions.

For more information about the Midwest Classic, please visit the Official Midwest Classic Web site at the GOAT Store (http://www.goatstore.com/). Dan Loosen can be reached at loosen@goatstore.com and Gary Heil can be reached at heil@goatstore.com for more information.

The Many Faces of...Pole Position
by Alan Hewston

 With the new Star Wars movie out, it would be cool to do a review like “SW: Empire Strikes Back” but instead “PREPARE TO QUALIFY” for another Memorial Day weekend pastime – Racing.  Continuing our 20th anniversary celebration, “Pole Position” was one of the best arcade games from 1982.  Next May, come back to race again on Pit Stop I & Pit Stop II.  Pole Position, the arcade game was certainly fun, easy to learn, but challenging and it didn’t take forever to make it to the finish line.  This certainly helped to suck in bucket-loads of quarters from wanna-be race car drivers.  I’m certain that you know this game very well, so let’s get to the details of the home versions. 

Arcade:  Namco (Atari) 1982

Home Versions:  Atari 2600 (’83 Atari), Atari 8 bit & 5200  (‘83 Atari ), Commodore 64 (’83 Atarisoft/Thunder Mountain and Datasoft ), Vic 20 (‘83 Atarisoft), Intellivison (Marc Urbaniec, ’87 INTV), TI-99 (Garth Pollahite & Paul Urbanus, ‘84  Atarisoft) Vectrex (’83 GCE ), and Apple II ( Atarisoft).  Sinclair Spectrum (unconfirmed – probably not official)

Categories:  Gameplay, Addictiveness, Graphics, Sound & Controls

Sequels:  Pole Position II (Atari) 1983, also on the C64, Atari 7800 and maybe the Sinclair Spectrum.

 
(Three of these many Pole Position faces do not belong.  Can you tell which?)

Home Controllers:  How can one play Pole Position without a steering wheel?  A trackball, disc controller or joystick were the only choices since the CV,  the only system with a wheel, was also the only one without Pole Position.  Coleco did have plans in the works for PP, but until a prototype is found . . .  There are two basic formats for controlling the home versions, both use Left & Right for steering L & R.  Format 1) Atari 2600, 5200, and 8 bit, you point the stick up for high gear and down for low gear, and then a fire button to brake.  When doing nothing, you continue to accelerate until the max speed for that gear.  Format 2) Commodore 64, Vic 20, Vectrex, TI and Intellivision use a fire button to toggle between high & low gears and back on the stick to brake (when there is a brake).  Unfortunately, you must constantly push forward to accelerate.  ugh!  Not sure why Atarisoft changed this, but  both versions are effective, you may prefer one over the other.. 

Home similarities:  Except where mentioned, all versions have: 3 tracks (in increasing difficulty Malibu Grand Prix, Namco Speedway, and Atari Grand Prix); a 90 second qualifying lap; 8 qualifying positions for the race, with 75 seconds to begin and approx. 60 seconds added per each lap completed; countdown lights to start the race; a choice of 1 to 8 laps; 10K points (accumulated as you drive) per lap; a pause; choice of low & high gears; 50 points per car passed; infield grass that you can use to go around cars except where there are roadside signs - which you cannot go around; and 200 points per second left on clock at the end of the race.  The opposing cars increase both in number and the amount of randomness of maneuvering (aka driving skill against you) for higher difficulty tracks and as the number of the lap increases.  Finally, there is no limit to number of cars or crashes, just keep driving until time is up, or you complete all laps. 

Disqualified: Apple II (N/A)
Hopefully this is the final time I’ll be skipping this disk-only system that I’ve never had.  A fellow collector plans to set me up with a working system and several disks containing “Many Faces of” type Apple II games at the CCAG2002.  Wish me luck. 

Disqualified: Atari 7800 (N/A)
OK, this is the sequel, Pole Position II, so it does not count here, but would have medalled.  Being the 7800 pack-in game, it’s the easiest to find, unlike the rare disk versions for the C64 & possibly Spectrum - if it does exist. 

Have Nots: Intellivision (35)
As one of the best Inty games ever, it’s too bad that this version is so rare.  After a dozen or so ebay auctions, I finally won one cheaply enough to complete my classic PP library.  The Gameplay is pretty good (7) but so different from the others.  Worst of all is that there is no set number of laps.  I personally prefer to know how long a race I am driving, and even better to select the # of laps.  Instead, if you complete a lap in 85 (81, 77, 75, 71, 69, 67, 65) seconds, then the bonus time added is 20 (25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 60) seconds respectfully.  This pretty much means one mistake and the race is over by the next lap.  Actually, it’s so challenging that you may find like me that it takes forever just to get into the race and then one lap and that’s it. In my first ever 30 minutes of play, I earned the Pole on every other version. Instead of 3 tracks, there are 4, varying in difficulty from easiest: Fuji Speedway (Classic Pole Position track), Madison 500, Grand National, and Monaco Grand Prix.  Each track varies slightly in length, but all are about 5K (instead of 10K) points long.  Due to sprite limitations? - only the top 5 will qualify for the race.  I am fairly certain that the Fuji Speedway does match the layout of the classic PP track (as the manual says) but I struggled too much to keep going and controlling to get a feel for the road.  The standard INTY controller was effective (7) for Controls, but there are NO brakes!! Then, by assigning two buttons for gears instead of toggling one, adds to the frustration or challenge, especially considering how often one must shift gears to slow down and then speed back up again.  Otherwise the speed change is always too slow or impossible around curves (since you maintain speed when turning), and speeding up takes forever in high gear.  The 16-direction controller makes precise left and right turns even more challenging than the other systems, especially passing between cars on a turn, but then perhaps all of this adds to the realism.  The Addictiveness is (7) cool, and knowing that you can get better at driving this white-knuckle challenge could keep you coming back over and over. The Graphics are OK (6), with smooth scrolling, but also crappy looking cars and no edge of the road.  It just doesn’t look like Pole Position, save for the cool looking road signs (with directions on them).  The Sound is the best feature, it’s outstanding (8). 

Have Nots: Vic 20 (36)
As usual, a very plain conversion, but still loads of fun. The Gameplay is (6) decent, but all options are missing save to play one of 3 difficulty levels.  Same track, same 4 laps, every time.  The track was shortened, lacks sharp curves, has no road signs and no visible finish line. This all hurts the Addictiveness, but it’s still pretty good (7).  The Graphics are (6) decent, as the typical Vic 20 blocky-ness is somewhat hidden.  The Sound is cool (7), but the effects are both loud and obnoxious.  The Controls are perfect (10).  Clearly among the best Vic 20 games you’ll ever play. 

Have Nots: Vectrex (37)
This version is so rare that if it were not for the games being public domain, thus easily found on a multi-cart – it would have been disqualified.  Once you get used to B&W, you’ll see that the Graphics are sharp (8) - it’s best feature as all the detail is there.  The Gameplay is (7) effective, but a let down – with NO options - same race, every time.  At least the track length and layout are correct & complete with all road signs (directions on them).  The steering comes all too easy, with no over-steering / squealing tires and none of the turns (although very sharp) even slow you down - which may explain why NO brakes were included.   There are far too many cars on the track, surely making up for the poor programming - ie everything else being easy.  They did add oil slicks, but were those from the sequel?  There is a countdown timer, but no lights, no text displayed when extending play & no finish flags.  The Addictiveness is decent (6), but again a disappointment with no options, no pause, and no reset - it takes forever to start over.  Once you’re good, you don’t want to wait 45 sec to restart.  The Sound is OK (6), but the worst of the lot.  There’s no squealing tires, non-PP music, and unbelievably - no sound when passing – despite constantly planning your next car to pass.  The Controls were surprisingly perfect (10), despite the short stick.  Buttons “1” and “2” select low or high gear respectfully and  “3” & “4” both accelerate.  Having a multi-cart myself, I wisely took this month’s photo just prior to the Philly Classics 3 where I promptly traded away my $50 Pole Position cart to my favorite multi-cart maker, getting two UR CV arcade games to be featured later this year.  Wohoo! Thanks Sean. 

Have Nots:  TI 99 (38)
The Gameplay is very good (7), but only a step up from the Vic 20, having the same (lack of) options, but adding the choice of 1-8 laps.  The (one) track appears shortened, lacks sharp curves, but does have most of the road signs  - missing the third sign on the right of the big left hairpin.  There is no edge to the track, just go right onto grass – so they cheated here with graphics & sound effects too.  Your car is almost unresponsive to the curvature or high speeds – and glides along all too easily.  No white-knuckle driving required here. The Graphics are very good (7), but the other cars are monochrome, the scrolling motion is so jumpy that you’d think someone switched tracks on you at every turn. Maybe the graphics are split into far & near, and when the cars, signs or curves hit that transition, the screen hiccups.  The Addictiveness is pretty good (7), but a better choice for a pause would be the space bar, not the “P” key.  The Sound & music are (7) effective, but a noise for passing is missing and other effects sound odd.  The Controls are (10) excellent, but be careful as that toggle button seemed sensitive (for gear shifting).  An additional, full left and right-handed set of keyboard controls are also unique to this system. 

Have Nots: Atari 2600 (38)
An excellent 2600 cart, but finishing middle of the pack in this well-contested race.  The Gamplay is (6) good enough to enjoy, but it has no options - just race those same 4 laps.  The Track was shortened, has no signs, but does have sharp curves & all the feel of the arcade.  The digital speed is replaced by an analog bar.  The Addictiveness is (7) cool, very playable but no pause or options to keep bringing you back.  Graphics are good (7), a bit blocky, but otherwise smoothly flowing.  The Sound & music are crisp (8), among the best for audio effects.  The Controls are perfect (10) & if you played no other classic home version, you’d be marginally satisfied with this one. 

Bronze Medal:  Atari 5200 (43)
This nice version is pretty much the exact copy (same scores) of it’s 8 bit cousin, save for the more complex controls.  The Controls are super (9), but slightly different.  The bottom fire button must be held to accelerate, whereas the upper buttons work the brakes.  This will probably take most players the longest to get used to, plus I hate holding a fire button, or pushing up (other versions) for nearly an entire race.  Steering is a bit sloppier with those 5200 sticks and the combined controls effects dropped the Addictiveness score down to (8) enjoyable. Perhaps more PT could earn back this lost point, tying it for a Silver.  The 5200 and 8 bit have nice demos of the game.
 

Silver Medal:  Commodore 64 (44)
The Gameplay is outstanding (9), the best of the lot, having all road signs in place and the oil slicks too.  The Addictiveness is enjoyable (8) but why did Atarisoft change the controller format.  The Graphics are (9) wonderful, a little sharper than the Atari version, but overall about the same considering the colors are slightly off, the starting lights don’t work right, the signs are crap and there’s no victory flag.  The Sound & music are impressive (8) but most effects sound odd, or may have been hurried out the door.   Also at times when multiple effects are on simultaneously, one of them can drop out.  The Controls are perfect (10).  This version is found on cartridge by Atarisoft, also licensed to Thunder Mountain on disk and is identical.  Finally there is a Datasoft version on disk that I have not found, even on emulation, but the only reported difference is in how points are tallied.  

Gold Medal: Atari 8 bit (45)
We don’t need a photo finish, but almost  - considering +/- 1 point would do it.  The Graphics seemed slightly more blocky than the C64, but with no defects it is outstanding (9) and smooth.  The Addictiveness is wonderful (9), the best choice to play over and over - until you fall asleep at the wheel.  The Gameplay is nice (8), but is hindered by a couple graphical problems.  The third sign on the sharp left hairpin is missing, probably some others (making this version slightly easier than it should be), and there is a terrible sprite overlap problem with the edge of the track.  You can be clearly ON the track yet getting slowed down, and you hear it, as if on the edge.  The Sound is the best (9) wonderful to listen to, and the Controls are perfect (10).  This version is available on both cart and disk, making it all the easier to find.  I could not confirm if Datasoft or Atari made/released the (identical to the cart) disk version. 

(Come back next month for the Many Faces of “Jungle Hunt” on the Atari 2600, 5200, 8-bit, Commodore 64, TI 99/4a, Colecovision (snagged at PC3), Vic 20 and the Apple II.  Alan Hewston, can be reached at: Hewston95@stratos.net and if you’d like to help the Many Faces of cause - he still needs these big 1982 hits on cart/disk before their twentieth anniversary year is gone:  Dragonfire & Threshold [CV]; Robotron 2084, Joust & Dig Dug [TI-99]; Moon Patrol, Mountain King, & Dig Dug [Vic 20]; Buck Rogers, Tutankham & Miner 2049er [TI-99 & Vic 20]. For Trades see http://members.core.com/~hewston/Hewston_vg.html)  

Letters to the Editor

As we dig deep into the mailbag, we come across a few more letters.  Once again we will do our best to answer the questions of the masses.

How many different Pacman arcade games were there?  signed Fan of the Pac

There were actually quite a few different games, more than most people realize.  I will not try to name them all: 

Pacman
Ms. Pacman
Jr. Pacman
Pac n Pal
Pacman Plus
Pacmania
Pacland
Pacman VR (think of a first person shooter, but you are Pacman)
Super Pacman
Baby Pacman (arcade game/pinball hybrid)
Mr. & Mrs. Pacman (pinball game)

There were also alot of clones, compilations and bootleg additions, but as far as I know, these are all the official arcade releases of Pacman.

I really like the old arcade game called Tutankham, but I did not know which systems it was for.  Can you help?  signed Need my Tut

Sure, here is a list:

Atari 2600
Atari 8-Bit Computers
Bandai handheld
Colecovision
Commodore Vic 20
Intellivision
Sinclair Spectrum

By the way, if you ever want to know if an arcade game was made for a certain system, check out the Arcade Conversions page on this web site.

What is your favorite Atari 2600 game? signed Just Wondering

Funny you should ask, I was asked this same question at the Phillyclassic by CNN Radio and I shocked him with the answer.  Like most people who are not serious video game fans, he had never heard of the game.  By the way, the game is Turmoil by 20th Century Fox.  It is just a fun and very action packed game that will set you back about $7.00 and worth every penny.

World Championship Arcade Tournament

Do you have game?  Want to prove you are the best at an arcade machine?  Then head over to Funspot Family Fun Center in Weirs Beach, New Hampshire and enter the 2nd Annual Twin Galaxies Classic Video Game World Championship!  This is your chance to really shine!  You get a chance to play alongside arcade legends like Rick Fothergill, Adner Ashman and Billy Mitchell!  For more information about this great event, check out the Twin Galaxies site.  Here is the direct link to this story:

http://www.twingalaxies.com/cgi-perl/classic_video_game_world_championship_2002.pl

The TI 99/4A
Stop Being So Stubborn
by Jim Krych

Philly Classic 3 was a blast! I had a great time meeting all of these people I had only heard about, shaking hands with the movers and shakers of the Retrogaming and Retrocomputing world. We also sold a Devastator too-the one with the push button stick! I also played the real Gyruss arcade game, and I did make it to Earth once I got the hang of the settings! Yes! It’s great knowing you can achieve a goal like that on the real machine, especially one with a beat up stick too! 

The trip back was interesting, especially when we were in the Pittsburgh area. I have never seen green skies, and boy let me tell you, were they ever! And the clouds were very nasty looking! 

Now, on to the upcoming CCAG 2002! 

I must admit, that the past several months have left me feeling a little burned out from organizing shows. We were very lucky to have even gotten a place for the CCAG, in light of all of the difficulties after 9-11 made for renting the Armory. We literally came within a few weeks of canceling the show. 

But now, with the new location, and plenty of space to grow, we will have more time for next year to rev up again. It’s almost as if we started the CCAG all over again. But I am looking forward to showing off the Devastator, and a few for sale, including the review unit that has been passed around. This one will have a retrofit done with a push-button stick, and some other things. It will be on sale “AT COST”, at the CCAG. 

Okay, I was thinking about something while at the Philly Classic. I saw quite a few computers there too, you just weren’t limited to the classic video games, and there were also a lot of modern game systems and their accessories as well. 

The attendance was over 1,000 people! That is an amazing figure! Well-done guys! 

I would have to look back in the early MicroPendium magazines to see when the last time the TI community had such a large show. 

The TI community and the Amiga community seem to be strange bedfellows in this matter. Though a recent Amiga show did invite other systems and retrogamers too, but the table costs were simply incredible. That being said, of having their own shows, and almost never showing up at other events, joining with other computer users. 

This is in no disrespect to the TI-Chips user group who will be at the CCAG (and also to that particular gentleman from Lima who always shows up at the last minute-no names mentioned!!!!), but I find it very weird that a show that happens in the same time frame as the old MUG Conferences, with the larger facilities, and many more people who show up, with quite a bit of variety, has been almost shunned by the TI crowd. 

Given the fact that the CCAG does have TI owners show up, looking for bargains and such, and that we are never limited to one system, you would think that this would be an ideal avenue to show off your TI collection, and extras for sale. 

I think also it would be a great way to have a contest, like they do over the “pond”. Have standard, expanded, and “hacked” systems showing off programs written for programming sake. You would compare them to other computers with the same criteria. 

There is safety in numbers in this hobby, and who knows, the TI groups/people/vendors who show up may just meet people from their own towns looking for the very same. Besides, I have noticed that new users are appearing within the TI community, especially those owning other computers too. Heck, if Astrocade users can show up at the CCAG, why can’t TI’ers? 

Could anyone, either through email, the Yahoo group, or the comp.sys.ti group, answer this question to me? 

The question in regards to which computer is the best has been answered. And the answer is, all of them! They are all still being used decade after their initial introduction. They have been improved, hacked, expanded, tweaked, cloned, and emulated. Programs are still being written for them, hardware still being planned, questions from new users are still coming up. 

So, what will it be, to quote from the old HG Wells movie? 

See you all at the CCAG!!! 

I was listening to a bunch of MP3’s I got off of Kazaa. Especially, “Who’s gonna feed them hogs?” By Tom T. Hall! That would make a great commercial for the………. 

Musings from the Yahoo Group:

SAMS disks seemingly cursed with bit-rot!

Someone learning the SAMS Linker system! Yes!!!!!!

Geneve and the HFDC questions

New Hardware from the boys in Germany!

Jim Peterson Awards Winners-congrats Glenn!

(“Hi, my name is Jim W. Krych. I am a 32 year-old electronics technician. My products that I currently work on are the SMU models 236,237, and 238. I am also a 13+ year veteran of both the USCG, active, and the Ohio Army National Guard, reserve with B Co. 112th engineers. I can be reached at: jwkrych@adelphia.net or jwkrych@n2net.net I have a two-year-old son, Treyton, and he is the CEO of Treyonics! I have founded my own business and, of course, I named the company after my son Treyton! Our product is the Treyonics Home Controller System Model 9908. Better known as the…

Devastator

“Serious Gaming”)

Sites of the Month

Time to honor the sites of the internet that make our surfing a pleasurable experience.  So here are two more sites to add you the list of places to check out.

Llamasoft
If there is one game programmer who can truly be called a one of a kind, it is Jeff Minter.  This man has always done things his own way and made some very memorable and unique games along the way.  From his early Commodore 64 and Vic 20 days to Tempest 3000 on the ill-fated Nuon, the many has always featured great gameplay, easy to play games and usually humor and hoofed animals.  What his fascination with hoofed animals is, is anyone's guess.  But with great games like Llamatron, who cares.  Well, Jeff is still going strong and now he is back to doing what he does best, making fun little games that you can play on your PC or Pocket PC.  While his games may not be classic in the truest sense of the word, they are definitely classic in their gameplay and especially in the belief that the gameplay is the most important part of the game.  So check out and buy a few of Jeff's games, you will be glad you did!  (By the way, check out his links page as he has found some of the dumbest, yet funniest websites out there.)

http://www.llamasoft.co.uk/

Mr. Do
When I was growing up, a phrase like "Do the Do!" would have meant playing Mr. Do, one of my favorite arcade games!    Gotta love a game where you are a clown, fighting strange creatures, while running through fields of cherries.  It is like an acid dream turned into a video game.  I am sure Freud would have fun trying to analyze the hidden meanings in Mr. Do.  Anyway, here is a cool website about the little bugger.  Check it out as Mr. Do is cool and so is the website!

http://www.mrdo.com/mrdo/

Potent Portables
By Fred Wagaman

Before we get into today’s topic, I wanted to take a minute and give a big thumbs up to the crew that put together the Philly Classic 3 Game Show last month. Great job guys. Over 1000 attendees and well organized. Looking forward to next year.

That being said, let’s get on with today’s discussion. 

Portables. 

Now before you think this is an article about the history of the Gameboy I wish to inform you that it is not. Though that might make for some interesting reading. (Hmmm. Note to self:Start researching) 

No, this is an article about portable machines that were not initially meant to be portable. 

I saw a couple of these machines at the Philly Classic show last month. The first was a portable Super NES unit. It used a 2.5 inch Casio screen in a custom housing. I didn’t see it long because it ended up involved in a deal for some big bucks early in the weekend. The second was a home-made Atari 2600 portable. It consisted of a 2600 Junior running on a 9-volt battery that had a small Casio screen velcroed to the middle of it. Mounted on the left was a directional pad and on the right was a single big red button. It was this person’s first attempt at building one and, while pleased with the result, knew he could do a better job on the next one. 

Check out this site http://www.classicgaming.com/vcsp/ for more information about portable projects. 

Now, what can the average person do if they want portable classics ? If you’re like me, you can’t do some of the complicated electronics work necessary to make one of these units. What can you do ? 

Simple. Do what I just did. Buy a Playstation One. 

But not just a Playstation One. I bought the one that comes bundled with a 5 inch screen. Sony just lowered the price last week. There are 2 or 3 different screens you can buy instead of the official Sony one. The Sony one just looks better in my opinion. 

To make the unit truly portable, I also bought a battery pack that mounts onto the bottom of the PS One. The batteries last for about 2 hours. I also picked up a car adapter for on-the-go gaming. 

Now I can play my Midway Classics or Namco Collection whenever or where ever I want. 

I can’t wait to see the look on the person setting next to me next time I fly out of town on business when I break out the portable PS-One. 

(Fred has been playing games for over 25 years and actively collecting them for over 10. The 2500 + games that he has takes up most of his home office and living room. He lives in Denver, PA with his understanding wife Jennie, his 6 year-old, button-loving son, Max and his 2 year-old, 4th player, Lynzie. He can be contacted at fcw3@mail.ptd.net .)

Bizarre Blendings

Did you ever think of taking one of the strange ideas in video games and blending it with another strange game and come up with something even stranger?  For this first installment, we will look at Joust and Burgertime.  Before you ask for a drug test, listen to my strange little mix and see if it sounds like a weiner...I meant winner.

You would start off with the same Joust birds, the ostrich and the stork.  But you would have the burger chef from Burgertime on the back.  Now the bad guys, the pickles, eggs and hot dogs would be riding on different parts of the hamburger.  Some would be on buns and others would be riding on flying cheese or meat patties.  It is up to you to go around and joust them and knock them off their food vehicles.  If you beat them, their hamburger parts would fall to the bottom and make hamburgers.  Build three burgers and you move to the next stage.  If you build the burgers in the right order, you get a special bonus.  If not, you have some very ugly looking burgers, with lettuce on top and cheese on the bottom.

Still with me?  Put the phone down and quit calling for the men in white coats.  The game is not done.  First off, you would still have the salt that you can throw at the bad guys and stun them for a few seconds, giving you time to whack them.  Also, if you hit say a egg on a bun and the bun falls and hits a hotdog on a a piece of cheese, the bun will take out the hotdog and the bun and cheese will both fall, so you can multiple hits!  Rack up the bonus points!    The Pterodactyl and the lava trolls are still there as well as the bonus items from Burgertime.  Only the bonus items are down near the lava trolls and you risk getting caught if you go after them.  

That is my first Bizarre Blending game.  If anyone with any artistic skill would like to make a either a marquee for my game, BurgerJoust or do a mock screen, feel free to send it and we will give you credit and put it into the next issue.  So until next month, when we unveil Centi-Kong!

Conclusion

The end has come to yet another issue.  With one show down and one to go, I look forward to the days when things back back to normal.  I have many games that are begging for my attention (and boy can games beg) and I have DVDs that are collecting dust.  But I still find time to write.  If you enjoy my writings, here are a few sites to check out.  The first is an unofficial Six Flags Worlds of Adventure site that I have written two articles for.  Look in the "Eye on SFWOA" section to see my articles.  The website address is http://sfohio.tripod.com/.  

Another site has one of my stories up for sale.  The site is called No Spine and the story is called "Deadline".  If you have a few bucks to spend, you can download and read it.  It is a strange story about vampires, werewolves and demons.  Regular children's story, just kidding.  The address to the site is http://www.nospine.com.

Time for one more plug.  In a few days, we will be having the CCAG (Classic Computer and Game) show in Cleveland, Ohio.  If you are in the area and want to buy, sell, trade and play some classic games, check out the show!  It will be alot of fun!  Admission is $2.00, tables are $5.00 and all the information can be found at http://www.ccagshow.com.  Hope to see you there!

-Tom Zjaba

(This newsletter was made while listening to Paula Cole, Wilson Philips and Ray Stevens.)