Welcome to the end of an era. After 6 plus years, Retrogaming Times is coming to an end. But it is going out in style! What you will see in this final issue is the biggest collection of classic game articles ever done on this site. Most of the past writers have returned to do a final article. Plus, I put no limits on how many articles they could submit or how long. I also decided to do versions of all the past favorites from MAME Reviews to Dr. N. Sane to a visit from Billy the Block. So as the title says, grab a sandwich as this is going to be a big read (and if you are using dial-up, it may also take a bit to load).
What is the greatest monthly Retro Gaming
magazine? Well Retrogaming Times of course! What are you, stupid? Let me
rephrase that first question then. What is the greatest Retro Gaming magazine
that you have to go into an old fashioned news agency
and purchase with your hard earned money? The answer to that question would have
to be, “Retro Gamer”.
I first want to thank Tom for all these years of Retrogaming Times! And, to also thank him for having allowed Treyonics a place to do business before we were able to fly out on our own website. Thanks for all the memories Tom!
Okay, first things first. Active duty had gone well. Most of us are also here for a second year of active duty. While mostly law enforcement duty, we also do Army training as well. Being on this side of law enforcement has given me a tremendous amount of respect for that “thin Blue Line”.
Treyonics grew big, real big! Who could have guessed just how much, back at the beginning of this activation! We got a marketing partner, Chris Uzal, to help out and our own website; www.treyonics.com.
The biggest changes for us came with the introduction of the Devastator II, rev. C. models. This marked the first use of CNC-based manufacturing for us! This has been a goal of ours ever since the very first Devastator production run. Secondly, we out-sourced the creation of the ground and wiring harnesses. It’s no secret that we use the Minipac from Ultimarc. This all-in-one interface board uses a 2 x 20 pin header, as compared to the standard terminal blocks found in the I-Pac and Opti-Pac Plus boards. While it took a while, and we had a few hiccups (in the midst of a very large run of Devastator II orders), this process relieves us of a very time consuming task.
Finally, the rev. C. models brought the introduction of the Fultra-Trey+ spinner and the re-designed chassis that used bolts, vice screws, to connect to the top panel.
Our proudest moment came when we received a “Kick Ass” review from Maximum PC-nearly two years from the last review! Here is the URL to their site for the review: http://www.maximumpc.com/reviews/game_controllers/review_2004-01-02.html
Just how busy did we get? This is what my room typically looked like! The two-letters represent different customers! This picture is titled “A Full Room”
(Hey, it keeps me busy and out of trouble!)
With our new digital camera, we were able to also provide “Progress Pictures” to customers, showing the various stages of assembly. In just one week alone, we outsold our entire first year of operation!
The year also saw the introduction of the “Configurator” on our website, and an online button tester-all but the “shift keys” can be tested. Thanks again Jason! Emu-Loader later included the Devastator II setup as a controller option!
I also received a lot of help, from buddies here at the base and friends/family. Thanks again to Kyle, Tim, Jeff, Fred, and Chuck! Even my platoon Sergeant commented that I was having my “worker elves” help out.
On the family front, Treyton keeps on getting bigger, and taller, and talks up a storm! At only 4½ years-old, he stands at 46” and 60+ pounds! He always surprises us with things he has learned at pre-school! Boy, these years have gone by fast!
Lori and I are busy with house projects. That is, on the days I am home! We all know here how lucky we are, performing Homeland Security while still being able to see our loved ones. It could be a lot worse for us, and each visit is a gift from God. Speaking of which, the Philly Classic was on the same weekend of a Treyton visit and that was much more important to me. Perhaps next years Philly Classic will be on a non-Treyton visitation weekend.
The laptop, a Dell Inspiron 8200 with 1 GB of RAM, has been such a help! From playing MAME32 .70, to testing Devastator II’s, to taking Skillsoft courses, and writing the Gyruss Story, it has been invaluable!
The TI world saw the introduction of two emulators in the MESS universe! The Geneve 9640 and the TI 99/8!!! TI even gave their blessings for the 99/8 emulation! Now how about that???!!! After all those years of denying requests for information on it! Wow!
The TI crowd, especially the Geneve users, hounded the MESS driver writer quite a bit to ensure a very good emulation. They also found out the hard way the indelible rule of emulation! That is, when a new version is released, that which once worked well is now broken! Some very good work by members of the TI community resulted in patches, or fixes included in later versions of MESS32.
Now, everyone can own a very nice Geneve system, even with hard drive images! Thanks Beery, and the MESS driver writer! Or, play with a 99/8!
They, the TI’ers, have also come up with a TI Hall of Fame website; www.ti99hof.org.
One thing neat for me was to see old friend and fellow AEMS Project member, Art Green! Now, if they’d only have Tony Lewis on it! He’s the only one I have never seen. Joe Delekto and I met way back in 1992.
Wow, 80 issues! And, as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. It has been some very interesting years, and articles. I am glad Tom can play MAME again, with the right controller of course!
There is talk of another CCAG. Lord willing, it may just happen.
The Gyruss story, http://www.gooddealgames.com/Fan_Fiction.htm, has been going slowly. More than I’d care to admit but it is being written. David and I are almost finished with the Saturn Chapter. And, we have the possibility of more artist work!
What a wild, wild year it has been. Tom, thanks for everything, including many issues of Retrogaming Times!
Hi, my name is Jim Krych. I am a proud father, beloved Treyton, and husband, dearest Lori. I am currently on active duty working alongside Air Force Security Forces and DOD Police. Looking forward to the next visit home, visit with Treyton, and finally being off of active duty. My company, named after Treyton, is Treyonics; www.treyonics.com. As a civilian I am an electronics technician, with Keithley Instruments. I enjoy MAME32, electronics projects, writing, working out, and a nice long run. My National Guard unit is B Co. 112th Engineers, Lorain Ohio.
After years of having only an annual price guide, the video game industry will see not one but two new and published more frequently price guides. Both appear to be high quality and offer alot more than just prices. While some gamers will find this discouraging as many copies will end up in the hands of flea market vendors, used game store owners and thrift shop employees, many others will like having something that they can carry with them on their quest for their holy grails. As great as the Digital Press guide is, it is not very portable. But with a magazine, you can roll it up and stick it in your back pocket. Do that with the Digital Press Guide and you will rip your pants, which can be very embarrassing (especially if you are wearing your Pac-man boxer shorts).
The first one is called Manci Games and it is out now! It features a price guide with input from the Digital Press crew as well as Retro-Reviews, interviews and more! It will be carried online and at select stores. It shows alot of promise! It will be published monthly. Here is a link to the website and information on how to order it or where to find it.
The second price guide, Video Game Collector, is still in the works, but you can check out the advertisement that appeared in the Diamond Previews (this the the order catalog that comic, toy and game stores use to order new product). It was even a featured product, which is no easy feat. This one has also brought together a formidable lineup of people to work on it, including Leonard Herman of Phoenix fame, Albert from the Atari Age website and yours truly. Also with the first issue, you have a chance of winning a Nintendo system with 100 games! It will be published quarterly and the first one comes out in June. Here is the link:
Well, the final issue of
Retrogaming Times. Hard to believe it's coming to an end but I feel Tom has done
an excellent job with this newsletter, and he deserves to go out with a bang.
Well here are my last Vic 20 reviews. Before I
go into them, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tom so much for
providing the classic gaming community with this brilliant on-line magazine. I
first discovered Retrogaming Times a long time ago. It was only six issues old
at the time. I thought it was just brilliant then, but had no idea of how good
it was to become. It has been exciting to see the magazine develop and evolve
over time. I don’t think there was ever a bad issue. There has always been
interesting articles that has increased my knowledge of classic gaming. There
has been a lot of fun and laughs as well. For each and everyone of us who are
fans of classic gaming, we are indebted to Tom for his hard work, diligence and
considerable amount of time he has sacrificed. Every month I looked forward to
down loading the latest issue. There are many gaming sites out there – but I
honestly think that Retrogaming Times is the best of the best.
The last two issues were mostly devoted to talking about Visual Pinball and Pinmame. I did some troubleshooting for you and talked about the programs. This issue will be devoted to reviews. I will do a handful of reviews of some pinball games you may find enjoyable and then I will end with some more links for you! I really do recommend this program to anyone who is a pinball fan as it will give you more enjoyment than most programs. And with more new tables every week, you will not be at a loss of games to play!
The first thing that you will notice about this pinball game is the odd flipper configuration. Yes, that is four flippers. You will also notice that it takes you a few tries to get used to them as each set moves in different directions (one flipper goes to the left and one to the right, yet they are controlled by the same button). But you will also soon realize that these two sets of flippers are one of the Achilles' heels of the game. While it is different and a nice gimmick, it makes the game a bit too easy. The only way to lose your ball (outside of tilting it) is for the ball to go down the middle. This is not too often and the game can get to be too easy.
The second problem that I encountered is the sound. Not sure if I am doing something wrong or not, but the sound is awful. The effects are for the most part pretty good, but some border on annoying and can ruin the fun of the game. I found that turning off the samples improved the game, but it still had some problems. Hopefully this will get improved in a future version of VPinmame or someone can point out what I am doing wrong.
On a positive note, the pinball game does retain some of the elements of the arcade game. By hitting and running over certain targets, you can fill the pyramid, just like the arcade game. It even has the same sound and the lights on the pyramid flash just like the arcade. A very nice touch. It also shows most of the characters from the game including Coiley, Ugg and Wrongway. Not sure why Sam and Slick got left off, but my guess is they did not have as good an agent.
The pinball game is a neat little game and I do find myself playing it from time to time. But with the game being a bit easy, it is not one of my favorites. I was glad to see that Q*Bert received a pinball game and maybe someone will come up with a new version for Visual Pinball.
What I think is the best about this one is that the video game part is more enjoyable than the other two. Baby Pacman is good, but a bit too hard for me. I guess it could be my nearing middle age reflexes, but I remember not doing too well at it in the arcade either. But Caveman, I can do quite well at. I have been able to beat all three levels of dinosaurs. And this is the main difference.
One thing I can say about all the video game/pinball hybrids is that the pinball part is nothing to write home about. There is some targets and a few bumpers, but nothing amazing. It is the video game part that is the draw. I found this true with all three of the hybrids. I am not saying the pinball is bad, just average.
Granted, the video game part is not a big deal either as it is just a maze game. You move around with your caveman and clobber the dinosaurs. Hit five of the brontosaurus and you get the next dinosaur. Problem is once you kill a dino, a T-Rex replaces it and is hot on your trail. This is where you must be careful. Unlike Baby Pacman, if you get eaten in the game, you lose a ball. But you have four tunnels that you can go into to get back into the pinball game. I suggest that you stay close to one of them as those T-Rexes are fast and will devour you in no time flat.
While neither the pinball or the arcade game would stand well on their own, the combination of both makes for a very enjoyable experience. Just be careful for those T-Rexes as they will end your game very early if you are not careful.
The biggest challenge in this game and it can be quite a challenge is moving from scene to scene. While the table does not change, if you meet the goals you get to see the scene number change on the left side. It may seem like a minor thing, but it is enough to keep me trying to get higher and higher. The goals needed are to get 8 cherries and four monsters. The cherries are easy enough as you can see them lined up as the red targets on the left side. But the monsters are tougher. You need to hit all the targets up at the top to get one monster. Do this four times and you can move to the next level. Much easier to say than to do.
A nice feature is that the game incorporates many of the sounds from the arcade game. This will bring a smile to your face as you discover another sound and there are quite a few of them. It is nice to see a game add non pinball sounds and have them work very effectively. Some games put in a bunch of sounds, but they are not always well used. But this one does a great job of it.
Much like the arcade game, this pinball table will have you come back again and again. While the high score is always a goal, you will also want to see how many scenes you can finish. Right now, I have been able to finish three scenes and that was a task. Cannot wait until I can complete four!
There are a ton of little touches that makes this game special. From the Atari logos on the bumpers to the dragon at the bottom, there many small features from the Atari 2600 game. And it offers my favorite part of pinball, knocking down all the targets and spelling something. In this game, you have to spell both Atari and Adventure. At first I was bummed that all the targets you knocked down went back up with each ball, but as I played it more and more I found that it actually made it more enjoyable. If you kept the letters you received from knocking down targets with each ball, it would be too easy to spell Atari and Adventure. But only having one ball to do it, makes it all the more challenging and when you finally do it, you get a sense of accomplishment.
The graphics on the table are gorgeous. I especially like the drawbridges that lead into the castles. A nice touch and really captures the spirit of the game. The music is also very nice. It is not too loud to drown out the pinball sounds, but loud enough to add to the game. It has a upbeat that goes well with the game. All in all, it is just a great pinball game and one of many great games from Eals Dubh. To download this and his other great tables (Wacky Races and Darius are probably my other two favorites), go to this link. I hope the author keeps this link up for awhile as he has done an excellent job with his tables and they should reach as large an audience as possible.
The last time I wrote an article for Retro-Times was in 2000. Back then I was single, had just moved into a new apartment, drove a sporty 2-door coupe, and had a bedroom overflowing with classic video games. That was then. Now, I am married with a kid, own a small house, drive a family car, and have a bedroom overflowing with dirty diapers and lace. This is now, and I love it!
A year or so ago I embarked upon a mission that, back in 2000, I could never conceive of doing: Selling off my collection. I never thought I would willingly say goodbye to things like my CIB Romscanner, my Intellivision ECS module, my 7800 Tank Command, or my Donkey Kong Jr. tabletop. But those precious pieces of plastic now belong to someone else. Do I miss them? Not really. Rather, I’m glad that someone else can enjoy them. I still have quite a bit of my collection, but not nearly as much as I used to have. And it’s slowly, but surely, shrinking.
Over the years in this hobby I’ve met a lot of great people. Some of them could be classified more as “gamers” while others could be classified more as “collectors”. Some could even be both, but I think everyone of us favors one side of the scale more than the other. While I have always been a gamer, honestly, what really had me going in this hobby was the collecting…that unquenchable desire to amass as many classic video games as I could possibly find…for cheap. Back in my collecting days I would spend hours almost every weekend hitting different flea markets and yard sales in search of those $1 rarities. I would even hit the local thrift stores on my lunch breaks. And the impetus that kept me coming back was the expectation of actually finding something. Back then I would find all sorts of goodies so I could feed the flame with more fuel. These days it doesn’t seem to matter how many flea markets and yard sales I hit, the goodies just aren’t there anymore. Has the classic gaming supply really deteriorated that much? Or perhaps have more collectors appeared in the area cleaning out all of the bins full of Atari rarities before I get to them? Maybe both. But what really matters to me is that I just don’t have the time or the desire that I used to have. The time I used to devote to the reckless pursuit of classic video games I now devote to my family.
What hasn’t changed is the desire to play classic games that are fun. So although I wouldn’t consider myself a collector anymore, the gamer inside of me is still going strong. I sure hope that desire doesn’t go away. As I continue to part with my collection, perhaps I’ll decide to just keep the games that I enjoy playing. Heck, I’ve even picked up some new games for play recently like the 2600 Adventure Plus hack and Marble Craze also for the 2600. Those are both keepers. But will I ever play games like Mines of Minos and Wall Ball? Doubt it. Definitely not keepers.
I remember one day several years ago Tom and I were hanging out and we were talking about collecting. I think he was actually in the process of downscaling his collection, and I couldn’t understand why he was doing it. I even had the nerve to say that I would never sell off my Atari 5200 collection. He responded by saying something like, “Just wait, things will change.” Well, guess what? I understand now. Things have changed. I don’t know if his reasons were the same as mine, but that once beloved 5200 collection of mine isn’t what it used to be!
Thank you Tom, for pumping out these issues of Retro-Times every month. Even though many things have changed in my life reforming my interest in classic gaming, I will most certainly miss reading Retro-Times every month. And that is one thing that I do NOT expect to change!
As I write one last article for Retrogaming Times, I want to take share some random thoughts about games and the future.
In the history of mankind, rarely has a technology like computers made such a huge leap in power in such a short period of time. And video games, being basically a computer of sorts, have tagged along for the ride.
I looked back on some of the first articles I write for RT. It seems I started back on issue #10 and only missed an issue or two up until issue #69. That’s a lot of words from someone who isn’t a writer by nature.
So I’m going to go out with something short and sweet. I won’t bore you to tears. Plus I’m officially getting near the end of my allotted quota of clichés.
Where are video games going ?
I believe that within the next 2 versions of video game hardware, the game as we know it will cease to exist. As carts gave way to CDs and CDs to DVDs so shall DVDs give it up to downloaded games. The writing is on the wall. In Issue #65, I made note that as more towns get wired for high speed access, game companies will control their content by never letting you put your grubby little hands on it. Maybe in 5 years, maybe in 10, but it will happen.
I believe that the online community of gamers will grow, but only if they can expand out from the fantasy worlds that currently dominate the field.
I believe that there are great games ahead of us and great games still unplayed behind us. Collectors and players like us will continue to find them and find places to tell each other about them. (Bombastic! for the PS2. Buy. It. Now.)
And I believe that playing games alone will never take the place of playing with friends and family. Whether that playing is video games or board games or card games or whatever, play is an integral part of life and if you stop playing, you stop living.
As Retrogaming Times comes to an end, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who took the time to read what I had to say. I hope that you found what I wrote helpful, funny or in some way worth the time you took to read it. I appreciated the comments and emails I received over the years and thank you who took the time to write.
Fred has been playing games for over 30 years and actively collecting them for almost 15. The nearly 3000 (he thinks) 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 8 year-old, Metroid-loving son, Max and his 4 year-old, “Which Way do I go Daddy?” 4th player, Lynzie. Thanks for all the memories, Tom! He can be contacted at email@example.com
Here are the results of your votes for the
best video games having their original version released in 1980. As usual, I
got some help from the RT staff to narrow the list down to 25 titles. Wait . .
. 25? We usually have 40 titles, but the number of games that were
recognizable, milestones, arcade favorites or just plain memorable gets much
smaller as we go back too far in time – back to 1980. With no time to ask you
for votes, I still posted to the newsgroups, RGVC, and then emailed everyone who
had voted in these surveys in the past. We ended up with 90 voters - many
thanks for all of your votes.