The Stuff of DreamsThe Stuff of Dreams

Posted on Dec 6th 2016 at 04:36:40 AM by (ReddMcKnight)
Posted under Holidays, CDi, NES, Genesis, Hack, VCD

What is the Holiday Season for you? For me, it's the idea of "free time" (and spending time with friends and family, above all else). I am always getting into something, but during free time, I like to experiment with many technical things, ROM Hacking being one such example. I also do other "technical" things that involve long, drawn out processes due to modern hardware being a pain to work with in regards to retro stuff. That said, let's begin...

Experiment 1!
The Video CD, according to Philips



This is going to sound strange to everyone, I am sure, but I really like what one would describe as "dead formats", but "dead" is far from the truth! While the Video CD is not making a comeback, Laserdiscs and (as far as I know) Betamax Tapes have big collector markets these days. In fact, one store here in my Hometown sells Laserdiscs and makes a lot of money doing it. Anyway, to get to the point, ever since I learned of Video CDs' existence, I've been fascinated with them. So I decided to try my hand at making some. It was hard. See, when the Philips CD-i released (note that my CD-i is the only method I have of playing these Video CDs), Philips added 4 certain files to their Video CDs that prevented them from playing on standard Video CD Players. This odd setup also prevents standard Video CDs from playing on the CD-i. Anyway, the 4 files can be found easily enough by searching the internet, but they can't be added to a CD easily. I learned how to do it thanks to the very helpful folks at the forums here: http://www.videohelp.com/ What's more, your video files need to be of a specific file type and at the same time, encoded a very specific way to work. So why is all this hard? You can't do it on a modern Operating System. You need to use a VM (Virtual Machine), which is an Operating System that works like a program within your current Operating System. Was all this difficult? Yes. Did it take me around 3 days to get it right? Also yes. Was it worth it? To me, very much so. I like older technology, and I'm sure we can all relate in one way or another, considering what this website is.

Experiment 2!
ROM Hacking, because I can



ROM Hacking is hacking an older game's data to modify/add stuff to the game. One thing I love about RPGs is that you can name (or rename) Characters to whatever you want. The example above is from an NES Game called Faxanadu. In the Famicom Version, you could name the Main Character, but for reasons unknown to me, they took this feature out of the NES Version. I found out about this about a year ago, and at the time, I couldn't do anything about it. As time passed, I learned how to hack ROMs, so I did what you see above to remedy it. I did something similar with The Goonies 2, also an NES Game (though you couldn't name characters in that one in any version). At some point after this, I thought "What if I could do this with a 16-Bit Game?", so I tried my hand at ROM Hacking Shadowrun for the Genesis. This was surprisingly easy, and while I don't have a Screenshot on hand to show it, it was also just a simple Name Change. Was this whole thing stupid? To a few people, yes, but I can say that at least two friends thought it was cool.

I get a lot of free time in October, November, and December, and those are just a couple of things I did this year in said free time. The Holiday Season is great: Time with family and friends, time off from work/free time in general, giving and receiving items, and much more. What do YOU like to do during your free time this time of year?


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