Retrogaming Times
Issue #74 - October 2003


 

Table of Contents
  01. Intellivision 25-in-1 The Review
  02. Devastator Finds a New Home
  03. Letters to the Editor
  04. The Many Faces of...Crystal Castles by Alan Hewston
  05. Retrogaming Commercial Vault by Adam King
  06. Salvation for the Atari 5200 Owner
  07. Go Forth and Leave Me Alone!
  08. Conclusion

 

Intellivision 25-in-1 The Review

We all dream of portable versions of our favorite classic game systems.  How many times have you been on a trip and really wanted to play some classic games at the hotel and your only choice is either the teeny screen of the Gameboy or paying $10.00 an hour to play Nintendo 64.  So when I heard of the Intellivision 25-in-1, I was all over that!  Twenty five classic games for twenty bucks sounds like a deal and a half.  But is it really that good?  Should you rush out and buy one?  Read on and see what I think of it.

The first thing you will notice is the nice packaging.  Very colorful with photos of all the games.  As you open the box, you find a joystick and a very nice manual which tells you how to play all the games, which is a necessity to people who are unfamiliar with the games.  The joystick itself looks fairly sturdy.  It looks like it can withstand some abuse.  I doubt it will last for years, but it is better than that disk that you had to play the original games on.  As soon as you plug it it, you realize something.  The joystick needs batteries to work and none are packed with it.  So you need to go hunting for four AA batteries to power it up (luckily there were some in our junk drawer).  Time to power it up.

One of the best features with the joystick is the ease of use.  Plug it into the AV on your television (that is the red, white and yellow holes on your television, that is your new television, so put that TV switchbox down and head to your real television).  Once it is plugged in, turn it on and go hunting for the right channel.  Mine worked on Auxiliary 3 or whatever it is called.  From there you get a nice menu with pictures of all the games if you scroll right or left.  If you are like me, you quickly notice a problem, a small one, but still a problem.  The games are in no order.  Not by genre, not alphabetically, just here and there.  When you start it up, the first game on the menu is Astrosmash.  So you think it is alphabetical.  Go one to the right and you go to Star Strike.  Allright, it is by genre.  Go one more and you end up at Skiing.  I then turned the joystick over and saw it was made in China and that pretty much explained it all.  At least there are only 25 games, so you can find what you want pretty quickly.

Here is where things getting interesting.  I must first say there is a very nice mix of games on the joystick.  You have a nice selection of sports, space and just about every other type of game you want.  There really is something for everyone.  Another nice thing is that there are many very rare and I do mean very rare games from the Intellivision lineup included.  Games that make Intellivision collectors drool.  We are talking games like Tower of Doom, Thin Ice, Chip Shot Golf and Hoverforce.  This is not just a collection of dirt common Intellivision games, no siree.  But all is not roses.  While you get a nice selection of games, not all work well.  Some are unplayable and some work quite good.  There are as many hits as there are misses.  Here is a breakdown of some of the games and how they play.

I started off with Thin Ice, one of my favorites for the Intellivision (and a big reason I bought this joystick).  The first thing I noticed was no music.  That bites.  The gameplay was allright, seemed a bit fast and the controller was not as precise as I would have liked.  But it was still decent.  I would give it a C grade for the game.

Next up was Tower of Doom, the other selling point for me.  Once again, no music.  Game plays fine and looks nice.  I give this one a B.  There were a few times the controller seemed to hinder me, but the vast majority of the time it worked like a charm.

Let us keep with the INTV releases and go to Thunder Castle.  Once again, someone unplugged the jukebox as this game is missing the very cool music.  Oh well.  The game plays well and I did quite good.  I give it a B- as the music really helped this game.

Down the dial to Shark!  Shark! which worked fine.  Eat them fishies.  I give it a B.

Time for some problems.  World Championship Baseball was an exercise in frustration.  Without the keypad to choose the fielders, good luck getting outs.  the other team scored at will and I was going nuts.  I give it an F.

Chip Shot Golf on the other hand worked well.  My score was less than respectable, but it was my fault and not the game.  I give it a B.

Snafu may have been me, but it just seemed tough to win.  The quick moves needed to cut off your opponent did not seem to work on this one.  I was pretty bad.  I give it a C.

Astrosmash works fine, but without the sounds to warn you of the coming piece, it is tough.  Plus there were a few shooting issues.  But it was still decent.  C+

Pinball has one major flaw, the placement of buttons.  The two buttons are so close together that you will either cramp up or have very quick games, like I did.  I give it a D.

As you can see, there are some good games and some weak ones.  But considering the price and especially the ease of setting it up and how portable it can be, I think it is a good purchase for the classic gamer who wants a quick fix on a trip.  If you think that there are at least seven games on the compilation that would cost you more if you bought the real thing (I am estimating the cost for a complete game).  It would cost $20.00 to get Hoverforce, Thin Ice, Tower of Doom, Thunder Castle, Slam Dunk Basketball, Chip Shot Golf, Super Slam Wrestling or Volleyball.  Any one of these games would set you back more and here you have them all in one compilation with some other not so cheap games (Shark! Shark!, Buzz Bombers and the INTV hockey game are all worth a few bucks).  So I think it is a good purchase, but you must keep in mind that it is not perfect emulation (it can be pretty far from it on some occasions) and there are some minor issues.  And since it is only one joystick, sports games are one player and with the Intellivision, that can be a big deal.  

One last thing to remember about this joystick and pretty much most of the re-releases, they are not so much made for the classic game crowd as they are for the average person who remembers playing an Intellivision twenty years ago and figures for $20.00, they can have some fun again.  They will not know or care if there is perfect emulation.  They just want to have some fun.  And since classic gamers are less than 1% of the population out there, you cannot blame a company if they do not cater to the classic game market.  They are just making a cheap, impulse item to sell to people who want to relive their childhood and do it as easily and cheaply as possible.  And if you keep that in mind, it works well and is a good bargain.

Devastator Finds a New Home

Anyone who has been reading this newsletter for the past few years knows that I have been helping Jim Krych get his Devastator joystick off the ground.  For the past three years, I have hosted the Devastator joystick and promoted it in this newsletter and on the site.  Well, it has been a big success for Jim as sales have skyrocketed this year.  With word of mouth spreading about how this joystick gives you the most realistic arcade experience with the largest number of games, demand has continued to rise.  So with this, Jim decided it was time to give the Devastator its own website, one that gives him all the room and freedom he wants.  So I would like to unveil the new Devastator website, where you can find all the information about in my opinion, the best MAME arcade controller out there.

http://treyonics.com

We will keep a portal here on the Tomorrow's Heroes website for customers to be able to find the Devastator (it will take awhile for the site to get the exposure that it gets here).  But for all the tech support and information on the joystick, you will need to go to the new site.

Letters to the Editor

Before we get to the letters, let us answer a few of the questions from last month.  So here are a few emails that I received.  The first is from Jeremy on the racing question:

"The racing game that is described as: 

2. (This one is less important...)  I remember playing an arcade car racing game where I was able to select my car, even including whether I wanted a manual or automatic transmission.  Choosing the former even introduced the need to use a clutch and shift gears, and I think (not completely sure) that this game was one that also gave feedback through the steering wheel (i.e. shaking on rough ground, resistance in turns, etc).  Does that ring a bell? 

is either Hard Drivin’ or Race Drivin’.

http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?letter=H&game_id=8072

Great games. MAME versions are finally available, although they lose something without the manual, clutch, and some of the strongest force feedback I’ve ever encountered in a game.

And from Alan Hewston, comes the answer to the following HERO question:

i was wondering if you knew how many levels the game H.E.R.O has. I recently started paying it again on my trusty c64 where i reach level 19 ok. I loved playing this when i was young and i still do now :)

"I did not address this properly in my Many Faces of H.E.R.O. in issues #38. I knew this, but after re-reading my review, I did not make this clear.  Oh well.

The manual clarifies that there are only 17 levels - then they repeat.

After level counts to 20, the word PRO appears.  But levels 18, 19, 20 and any that say PRO are randomly chosen from a set of like 8 to 12 different levels - the hardest ones. VG master, and Twin Galaxies Refereee, Robert Mruckzek has suggested that levels 18-27? are random order of 10 different levels (each of levels 8-17 is selected once.  My not so skillfuk playing suggests that this is correct, as I've not seen them repeat in that first 8,10, 12 or so after level 17.

So, there are only 17 unique levels.

You continue until you die, or get 1,000,000 points, at which point you are congratulated.  Famous 2600 & Classic VG player Todd Rogers, aka Mr. Ativision was the first to do this & done it on a couple systems.  2600 & C64 for sure."

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

I hope this helps out! Give us enough time and we will answer most of your questions.  Now onto the new ones.  The first one comes from PC Gamer UK:

I wonder if you can help me. My name's Tim Edwards, and I'm a writer for PC Gamer UK. I'm interested in writing a feature for the mag about retro PC games, and investigating /if/ a retro collectables scene exists for the PC. We hear plenty about old consoles, arcades and dead platforms, but the PC's still active and thriving - our magazine's been running for just over ten years, so there must be some older games that command premium prices, or are sought after.

I know there are many collectors who read this newsletter, especially ones who also collect computer games.  So I ask you if you know of any collectible PC games?  While I personally do not know of any (I am unsure if the old Ultima series was originally released on the PC with the cloth maps and such), I know that the readers of this newsletter would know. 

When are you going to talk about the Nintendo and some "newer" classic systems?  The Atari is allright, but alot of people would like to hear about something else.

To be honest, I have been getting more and more requests to up the number of systems we cover in this newsletter and personally I am all for it.  While I used to cover them in Bit Age Times, that newsletter has been put in hiatus and not sure if another issue will be done.  So if you want to see some Nintendo and Sega coverage in this newsletter, email me and let me know.  If you would rather see it remain just pre-crash systems, then email me too.  Here are the emails for you to vote.

Yes!  I want some coverage of Nintendo and Sega!

No!  Keep it Pre-Crash Systems Only!

I will tally the votes and see what the public wants.  Who knows, it may get more contributors (and make Alan's job on Many Faces even harder).

If you could have any classic game made into a movie, what would you like to see and who would you want to star in it?

I know that my vote would not be to see The Rock star in Spy Hunter.  Oh wait, that is a real movie.  Groan.  If I had to pick a single game to make into a movie, it would be Crazy Climber.  Not sure how good a movie it would be, but I love the game and it would be funny to see some guy climb up a building and have to face all that stuff.  As far as the actor, what the heck, put in Bruce Willis.  He could make some good cracks at the people who are throwing stuff at him.  Would pretty much bomb at the box office, but I think it would be fun! 

The only other movie that I can think of offhand would be do a Robotron movie that would be just like the game, nothing but pure action.  World is overrun with robots and the star would have to go and kill wave after wave of robots as he tried to save other people.  There would be so much action that people would leave exhausted (and the budget would rival the national debt).  As far as an action star for the movie, I would go with Bruce Campbell (of Evil Dead fame).  With all the special effects, you would need to save some money and he would give you the best bang for your buck. 

So let us make this an issue for the readers to respond.  Send in your ideas and we will post them in the next issue.  Who knows, maybe a Hollywood director will see one and make a movie out of it.  You could help inspire the next box office smash "Pong, A Love Story!" 

If I could have any video game made into a movie

by Alan Hewston

With Halloween so close, I figured that the characters from “Crystal Castles” would be appropriate -  witches & their cauldrons, killer trees, ghosts and skeletons.  Also as one of your top 10 favorites from the RT 1983 survey, you knew that I’d review this game during its 20th anniversary year.  As many “Crystal Castles” fans know, Atari began designing this arcade game as an attempt to create a 3-D version of “Asteroids”, or at least a “space shooter”.  While Atari made significant progress in the 3-D graphic layering, the game mechanics were not working out.  At some point they switched gears and salvaged what they learned to bring us a three-quarters view 3-D maze “collect ‘em up”. One could say its 3-D “Pac-Man”, but upon further review (NFL lingo) there’s a whole lot more. 

With such a cute, Disney-like character in Bentley Bear, awesome 3-D graphics and very attractive cabinet artwork, this game easily found fans from every corner of the arcade market.  When you add in the most unique high score system of all time – using the 3 initials of the high score as part of the graphic play field on a castle maze – you now have a smashing success.  To draw more attention to itself, you use a red, back-lit track ball to move around the maze, and fire buttons to jump.  It is eye-catching, fun, unique and not too difficult to play, but still challenging enough to keep expert gamers interested as well.  There’s 36 rooms in Berthilda’s Castle, 4 rooms per level X 9 levels, and an ending to the game. Most of each round’s action is on just one level of the maze, but ramps and mini-elevators lead you both up and down to reach various heights or depths.   There are even some locations that are completely hidden and others that are partially obscured from your view.  This game combines many different VG elements into one.  There’s a defensive measure added in - jumping (fire button) over the enemies, which will temporarily stun some of them.  There are multiple enemies with different attack methods or weaknesses.  You could earn bonus points by collecting an item (pot of honey) but this adds more risk as it is some times protected (swarm of bees).  There is one invincibility item per screen, Bethilda’s hat, which may only available for a limited time, but with it, you can vanquish Berthilda, and temporarily be invulnerable to any other hazards.  Typical of most “collect’em ups”, if you lose a life, you need not start over each screen but only collect the remaining gems.  Similarly, the vanquished enemies remained eliminated (for that screen).  This was probably the first game to include enemies who eat/collect what you are trying to collect, taking away from your points. But then to keep you aggressive, a bonus is awarded if you grab the last gem and not the enemy.  Finally, you could go on the offensive a bit, by running over the gem eaters while they are swallowing gems eliminates them & give you bonus points.  Now there’s some satisfaction - in this very well rounded and non-repetitious game.  But wait, there’s more . . . eventually players discovered the existence of secret warps to reach higher levels faster.  This surely extended the arcade life of this game, returning expert gamers and novices alike in search of the warps.  

 

Arcade: by Atari, Franz X. Lanzinger & Scott Fuller

Home versions, except as noted, all in 1984 by Atari/Atarisoft.

Atari 8 bit, AP II, Atari 2600 (Peter Niday & Michael Kosaka), Spectrum (’86 US Gold / Adromeda)

C64 2 versions – (Atari/US Gold) & Thundervision

Rumor Mill: Atari 5200 version was announced & in the works (Bill J.)

Classic Sequels:  None 

The home versions were likely designed to assume play via a joystick, as there is no track ball mode option.  Using a track ball at home plays the same as a joystick, but to me, makes it even harder to control.  A more important topic on control, which could easily be made into a research project, or at least a full article on its own, is that of how 4 and 8+ directional motion/control is handled in video games.  It is hard to play this game from one version to the next as they are not programmed consistently.  I need to take a loser look, especially since I only have 1 instruction manual.  Understanding the rules or the game’s programming usually leads to higher scores. 

The following is an oversimplification, and does not cover all programming cases.  A player can move a typical joystick in different ways:  4 dir L/R/U/D; or 4 diagonals as combos of 2 of L/R/U/D; or rotate 45 deg L/R/U/D; or all 8 dir; or rotate 45 deg & use all 8 dir etc. Then depending upon what direction a player is allowed to move (ie in open space, not through walls) on the screen, there is a similar set of decisions the program can make.  Typically, most games are designed to give you what you ask - What You Do is What You Get (WYDIWYG).  This is not the case for all home versions of “Crystal Castles”.

The direction you move may in fact not result in the same direction on the screen.  Why does this happen?  When 45 deg and/or all 8 dir are used, the programmer has to decide if you are allowed to move the way you selected, or if you are only allowed to move in one of the 2 possible directions you pushed on the joystick.  Let me stop at this point and not try to confuse you any more, but the controls are not all the same.  OK, now on to the review. 

Home Version Similarities:  No version has a demo.  Except those in <>, all versions have: a common set <2600, Atari 8 bit> of mazes (not verified vs arcade); with an ending after screen 36 <unknown for all versions - I am not good enough, nor have the time to try>; gems sprinkled liberally along the floors; a pause <2600, C64T>; last gem collected bonus; extra lives can be earned; hidden or obscured locations (2600); elevators; secret warps <Atari 2600, 8 bit>; stunned enemies shrink in size <AP2>;  

Disqualified:  Sinclair Spectrum (N/A)
Once again another Spectrum title that I do not have but would love to see and play.  If you have this one, please tell me what you think.  Better still, we’d love to have you write about games for the Spectrum in the Retrogaming Times. 

Disqualified:  C64 by Atari/US Gold (39)
My First reaction is that with two C64 versions, one gets disqualified - so here it is.  We’re pretty sure that although both versions were completed in ‘84, this one was delayed or canceled, until 1986 when prototypes, and maybe a limited number of officially released carts showed up.  Likewise no one has found this title officially released on diskette.  This may excuse the quality of this version – as it seems a bit rusty and unfinished.  Gameplay is pretty good (7), with all arcade enemies and most elements in place. The jumping distance is a bit shorter than all other versions.  Despite the 1st round displaying within the maze the word “ATARI and a later round where the initials  DDS? & BBH? – I could not do well enough, or there is no high score feature.  It is likely that the initials are the programmers and not from a hacker (see the AP2).  Addictiveness is enjoyable (8), with a pause <space bar – but be warned any movement restarts the action> and a choice of 4 skill levels (easy, medium, hard & hardest).  These do

not appear add anything more than the obvious, but (for keeping score) do seem to at least to compensate for an occasional glitch where one screen came up all colors reversed (makes it really hard to see and I died).  Graphics are superb (9) but could be a little better.  Sound is effective (7) and does not detract much.  As is the case for all home versions, there are not too many sound effects, but the use of musical scores at each round’s start & end, and your death keep things from being boring.  Controls are tricky and only score an (8), mostly since jumping in a given direction, from a stop, or change of directions is hard to do.  Perhaps one needs a split second of motion that direction before the jump can be horizontal.  I found myself trying to go horizontally, but jumping vertical way too much – and losing that life.  This happens on other versions as well, but is very annoying here. A worse problem is that of direction control - ie not using WYDIWYG.  Despite using all 8 directions for input, and 8 directions for moving on screen, the input and output is not consistent.  You’ll move one way only to move a direction 45 degrees from it.  My research was rushed to complete this review, but needless to say it is hard to consistently control the action in this version.  Once again, this version may be incomplete, so we should assume that a better version may be out there. 

Many thanks to UK collector, Mat Allen, who not only helped with C64 background information here, but also encouraged me to try my X1541 cable again.  I had success, and therefor was able to review this game directly on my own C64.  With this success, I am hoping to bring an occasional sister article soon, where I catch up on Many Faces that I missed like the very good, C64 “Demon Attack”. 

Have Nots:  Atari 2600 (36)
My first reaction was did this come out in ’84 as the title says, or ’88 as in the manual?  Perhaps both, ie the main release was later so many of us never tried this version back in the day.  Gameplay is interestingly good (6) enough, but deviates from the norm.  The map of each screen is completely unique to make best use of the limited 2600 graphical capabilities (smaller map and less 3-D and details).   For the 2600, it is a remarkable effort including more variety and use of multiple elevators on almost every screen.  Bad news is that the 2600 limits the action one elevator operating one at a time, which is really slow at that.  Most elements seem to be in place but the action is much slower and you must forget how unlike the arcade the floor plans are.  Not to mention getting used to to starting each life/round in the middle of the screen. Addictiveness is fun to play (7) with a choice of starting levels 1 to 8, plus choice of A or B (left) difficulty settings.  One negative aspect is that there are no warps or hidden areas.  Graphics are decent (6) but lacking in detail, color, and not clear enough what spot any object is really at.  Sound is very good (7) for the 2600 with great music, but not much in effects.  Controls are perfect (10), probably the easiest of all to use - benefiting mostly from the slowest paced game.  The simpler play field (few narrow diagonal lanes), not needing to rotate the joystick 45 deg, but WYDIWYG for all 8 directions is cool.  Grabbing gems by working up and down and not diagonal may be a more effective strategy.  Definitely try this version, even though it is graphically distorted. Well duh, I cannot forgot to say that this is the only version (easily) found on cart. WooHoo! Get the gold medal for cart-only versions. 

Bronze Medal:  Apple II (38)
My first reaction was the AP2 graphics can be much better but it’s still fun.  Gameplay is cool (7), with a nice, slower pace to the action and nearly all the elements are in place.  The trees (enemies) do not shorten when you stun them, and the stun lasts waaaay (yawn) too long. The elevator speed is also too slow.  There is 1 screen of hints and instructions – complete with graphics.  Like the C64 Atarisoft version, the initial DDS? & BBH? are present, but I could not enter my own.  The Addictiveness is very fun (8) with a pause <Esc>.  The Graphics are effective (7), but lack color, detail and sprite clarity.  Sound is worth while (7) with very nice (albeit internal) music but limited audio effects.  Controls are outstanding (9) but it appears that the combination of the diagonal motion and analog joystick lead to much frustration & practice.  There’s and added keyboard option, which can be used simultaneously with the joystick, thus you can switch or combine controls to allow for pinpoint steps when you want them.   Available only on disk. 

Silver Medal:  Atari 8 bit (40)
My first reaction was Atari loses again since the C64 cheated again with 2 versions ;-)  Gameplay is pretty good (7) with most elements in place – most notably missing the exact map of the other versions, but some paths behind the maze and hidden spots have not been included.  So it is not clear whether any warps will be found.  The Addictiveness is enjoyable (8) with a pause <space>.  The Graphics are impressive (8) but could be better with more detail and more colorful sprites.   Sound is the best, pleasant (8) to the ear and just a little more effort put into the effects than all others.  Controls are outstanding (9), but despite the 8 direction WYDIWYG for the 2600, the computer version gives diagonals priority and you’ll not always move where you want.  To me, this was not as poorly done as the C64 Atari controls, but you also have some problems with jumping horizontally.  Available on disk.  Just a bit too rare to seek out on cart. 

Gold Medal:  Commodore 64 by Thundervision (43)
My first reaction was this is the version you should acquire, and on disk, its probably the easiest to find on anyhow.  Gameplay is super (9) with everything in place from the arcade, including the high score feature  - thus you’ll make 1 screen with your initials. The high score initials JON are probably from the programmer.  Addictiveness is very good (7), too bad there’s no pause.  The Graphics are magnificent (10) with incredible detail, color and sharpness.  The Sound is effective (7) with few effects, but decent musical jingles.  Controls are essentially perfect (10).  After rotating 45 deg, you then only move in 4 dir, L/R/U/D.  To move non-diagonally, say to the right, you must move U,R,U,R,U,R . . . etc and weave across the screen.  This seems limiting, but really cuts down on any possible mistakes.   It’ll take a little time to master, (mostly because this version is lightning fast) but worth the practice.  Highly recommend this one but only if you can get it via emulation, or diskette - no official cart.

A little less content this month, but I’m busy at home and working other related VG tasks towards future articles here.  Come back next month for probably just one 20th Anniversary tribute to 1983, (and finally a sports title) to coincide with the tip off [OK a month late] of basketball season – in the Many Faces of “One on One – Erving vs Bird” on the Apple II, Atari 8 bit, 7800, C64, CV, CoCo & Sinclair Spectrum.  Alan Hewston, can be contacted at:  Hewston95@NOSPAMstratos.net or visit his site at http://my.stratos.net/~hewston95/VG/Hewston_vg.html

Greetings, gamers! This is a special edition of the 'Vault because it marks the second anniversary of this fine column. I planned to do something to commemorate it, but I decided to just write it like I always do.

Before I do, I need to make a correction. During my review I mistakenly said the voiceover sounded like Groucho Marx. However Tim Snider said that the voiceover was actually comic legend Henry Youngman, the same that that supposedly coined the "Take my wife! Please!" one liner. Anyway thanks for the info, Tim.

Anyway, this month I'd decided to feature two ads for three games, all for the Colecovision. First is an ad for Time Pilot and Mr. Do, and second is the Smurfs. (Don't look at me that way!)

Time Pilot/Mr. Do
The first ad is for Time Pilot and Mr. Do. It simply features a gameplayer trying out both hits while offering his own comments.

"Now playing on Colecovision: Mr. Do and Time Pilot, two of the best new games for the best system made. This is Time Pilot, a battle with aircraft form the past and the future."
"Homing missiles. Got em! Uh oh, blue bombers!"
"And this is Mr. Do. Mow a path to his fruit and start picking but don't get picked off."
"Powerball!"
"Nice shot! Mr. Do and Time Pilot, now playing on Colecovision. THE BEST SYSTEM IN TOWN KEEPS GETTING BETTER."


Game player at work.


"Watch out, evil aircraft!"


What makes you guys so sure?

Smurfs
I know what you're thinking, why would I do the Smurfs? Because it's a Coleco game as a well as a children's cartoon, so quiet! In this ad we find a group of kids enjoying the Smurfs game when the father comes along and sees what's going on. We're then treated to some gameplay screens, as the kids cheer the Smurf on, replacing several words with 'Smurf', just like the Smurfs do. By then end of the ad the father makes a fool out of himself. One of the kids simply says, "Dad, maybe Smurfs is too exciting for you."


"Hey Dad. Check out this Smurfin' game."


The player Smurfs his way to the end.


"Look at me! I'm excited about a children's game."


The father just made a complete Smurf out of himself.

I guess I should address the future of the Commercial Vault. As we may have guessed, Retrogaming Times may not have much of a future left. I've often questioned continuing this feature, but I decided to keep going for right now. Plus the CD-Rom featuring my ads is coming along slowly but surely and should be out by the beginning of next year, if then. That's all for now, so tune in next month for more TV goodness.

Salvation for the Atari 5200 Owner

Ask any Atari 5200 owner and you will hear two statement from them about their beloved system.  First you will hear how the Atari 5200, while having a small library, has one of the best libraries of games ever made, with very few duds.  But then they usually tell you how bad the controllers are and how hard it is to find working controllers. 

In the past, you had few choices when it came to getting working controllers for your beloved Atari 5200.  You could order kits from Best Electronics to fix them or you could send your controller to them to fix.  The last choice was to get a Masterplay Interface or one of the third party controllers.  These would set you back quite a bit as they are highly desired and made in very small numbers.

But now 5200 owners can rejoice!  Their prayers have been answered!  You can order a new device called the Redemption 5200 from Atari Age and choose if you want to use Atari 2600/Sega Master System controllers, Atari 7800 controllers or PC joysticks with your Atari 5200.  For anyone who wants to experience the joy of playing some of the best arcade translations on the original console, this is a must have!  And for $49.99, it is well worth every penny!  Here is a link to the site:

http://atariage.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=255

Now you have no excuse for not playing your Atari 5200 (except finding a controller that works enough to be able and choose the game levels).  But that is not all the news for Atari 5200 fans.  Best Electronics has improved their replacement kits for the Atari 5200 controllers.  With all gold metal connectors, the quality and durability of the replacement kits has been greatly improved.  Here is a link to this breaking news!

http://www.best-electronics-ca.com/5200.htm

And if this wasn't enough, you can see on the same site a new version of Haunted House made specifically for the Atari 5200.  And if that wasn't enough, there is also a new version of Adventure called Adventure II in the works for the Atari 5200!  This should be enough to make any 5200 owner giddy.

Go Forth and Leave Me Alone!

One of the worst parts about doing a newsletter for classic games is I get a hundred emails a month asking where they can find this game or that game.  Listen up and listen up good as I am going to say this once.  I do not have nor will I send you any games.  I will not direct you to the games.  There are search engines out there that do that for you.  Use them!  But I will be kind and start you on your road to emulation.  I will show you where you can get MAME and MESS, the two emulators that can give you access to almost every classic arcade machine and classic console and computer.  With these two programs, you can play just about any game you ever wanted to.  But pay attention....YOU MUST FIND THE ROMS ON YOUR OWN.  I DO NOT HAVE ANY ROMS TO SEND YOU AND I WILL NOT SEND YOU TO SITES WITH THEM.  Sorry, but I am not going to be sued from Activision or some other company because you want to play River Raid or Pengo or Miner 2049er.  You have do some work on your own to find them.  But I will supply the sites for the emulators:

http://www.mess.org/ (This emulator will allow you play just about any console or computer from the 1970's to the early 1990's)

http://www.mame.net/ (This emulator will allow you to play just about any arcade game from the 1970's to the mid 1990's).

NOW LEAVE ME ALONE! 

Conclusion

This issue is now done and I made it out before October ended and not just because there are 31 days in the month!  Look for another issue next month and despite the naysayer, there will be an issue the month after that.  While Retrogaming Times may go to bi-monthly in the future, it will keep coming out for the foreseeable future.  Now that I am almost done selling merchandise on the website, I will have more time to work on it.  It is just now that I have a full-time job and was running a website, I found less and less time to work on the newsletter.  And with the decline in submissions, I did question if there was much of a demand for Retrogaming Times.  But recently there has been a rise in readership, which is unexpected as most of the sites that advertised the release of a new issue are either gone or do not accept submissions anymore.  The only two sites that do post are Atari Age and ClassicGaming and I thank both of them. 

Lastly, I decided to join the masses and put up a CafePress site for t-shirts and stuff with the Retrogaming Times logo.  If you want to show your support and let the world know how much you love Retrogaming Times (or burn a shirt in anger for being late each month), here is your chance!

http://www.cafeshops.com/tomheroes.5124898

See you next month and enjoy your Halloween!  I plan on playing some Dracula and watching the movie I watch every Halloween, Island of Lost Souls, a great movie that I recommend to anyone who loves classic horror movies! 

-Tom Zjaba

(This issue was done while listening to Chad and Jeremy, Gale Garnett and the Grateful Dead.)