My favorite cartridge label for this game, since it best sums up the chaos within.
Game: Bobby Is Going Home
Publisher: CCE/Taiwan Cooper
Developer: Bit Corporation
Rarity (according to AtariAge): Undetermined
Number of Players: 1 player
Average Cost: approx. $5 - $15+ (depending on label variation)
Also Available On: Only for the Atari 2600 or similar VCS consoles
Tagline/Description: "Bobby feels that the world is so beautiful. He feels his life [is] perfect. But this day as he [is] going home, he meets many strange troubles."
Just over two years ago, I wrote an article about how my Atari 2600 collecting had branched out of North America and into Brazil. To summarize, there are several Brazilian 2600 titles that were not released in North America, but are playable on NTSC based systems. Of the handful of games that I have acquired, one of my favorites is a little 2-D platformer called Bobby Is Going Home. Let's take a look!
Continue reading Banana's Rotten Reviews: Bobby Is Going Home
In this blog series I will be focusing on the Atari 5200. I will be covering the console itself first and then move on to the games. This series will be one half information such as history and background info on the console and the games. The other half will be a review of the system and the games from my point of view after playing them. I will make it through each game for the Atari 5200, as long as I have it. This is going to be a long series of blog posts, and have quite a few games to get through. I have about 25 games left to grab for the console, but I will review those as I get them. I appreciate comments and hope you have as much fun reading this as I will writing this. Please pardon for any typos and incorrect writing conventions.
So without further ado, I give you my first blog post and an inside look into.....
The Underestimated Atari 5200
The first post in this series will cover the console itself. The background information such as the history, technical information, and library information will be brief. I would rather focus more on the review and my thoughts about the console itself.
The Atari 5200 also called the "Supersystem" was released in 1982 exclusively in North America. What we got was a console capable of giving the public great ports of great arcade games. Despite the great games the console suffered due to controllers that were notorious for not working, competition from the Colecovision, and in 1984 the video game crash finally finished the Atari 5200 off.
The Atari 5200 was based off of the Atari 8 Bit computers (Atari 400/800). The Atari 5200 uses a 1.79 MHz Processor, and has 16kb of RAM. Although, the Atari 8 Bit computers had a more powerful 10k operating system compared to the 1k "monitor system". The Atari 5200 has a max resolution of 320x190 Pixels. The console used ANTIC and GTIA chips for graphics, and a POKEY chip for sound. Two versions were released. The first version included four controller ports, and the second release had two controller ports. The four-port version had a strange way to hook it up to your tv, with a power adapter connecting into the RF box. The two-port had a more traditional setup.
Controllers & Peripherals:
The 5200 controllers were 15-Pin controllers that were a combination of a joystick with four fire buttons, a start, pause, and reset button. The controller also included a numeric keypad. The joystick was a 360 degree non-centering joystick. The Pro-Line Trak-Ball controller was also released for the console. Other controllers were in development by Atari but never released. A few third party options were released. WICO released the Command Control a 9-Pin controller that came with a Y-Cable to make it compatible with the Atari 5200. The Command Control also came with a keypad. Masterplay released another adapter that allowed the use of any 9-Pin controller with the console.
Nowadays, you can find repair kits and upgrade kits to fix the classic Atari 5200 controllers. The gold-plated parts are the best ones to pickup. They are more expensive but definitely increase the controllers life by a mile.
The Atari 5200 has a library of 69 games. Homebrews, Repros, Multi-carts, and Hacks are available for the system as well. About half of the games released were from Atari, and the other half are from several third party publishers. The rarest game for the console is said to be Bounty Bob Strikes Back the sequel to Miner 2049er. Some popular games include Pac-Man, Mario Bros, & Frogger. I will cover more about the games, when I review them in later posts.
My review of the console:
I am not doing a review where I give a rating, its more of my thoughts and ideas on the console. Let me first say I wouldn't be doing a multi-post review if I didn't like the console. So do expect some bias there. I will do my best to give it an honest review.
My first exposure to the console was through watching the AVGN review of the Atari 5200. I had never played it, or was interested in it before watching his review. He mostly covered the console and did not show any of the games in his review. I was still enamored by it. I wanted to try it out for myself.
A few years ago I was able to pick one up off ebay. The auction included the console, two controllers, and a handful of boxed games. This was the start of my goal which was to pickup every Atari 5200 game in box. A very ambitious endeavor, I found out later. Its not out of the realm of possibility but a few games are quite difficult to find even loose. But I digress.
When I got my Atari 5200 in the mail, I plugged it in, and started playing. My first reaction was that the games look amazing. Pac-Man looked almost arcade worthy. The other games I got with it, looked great as well. The controllers I received did only work partially, but they worked enough to play the games. They did later break all together. I repaired them several times before they eventually couldn't be fixed anymore, without picking up upgrade replacement parts. I am now in the process of waiting on my Y-cable to come in the mail for my Wico Command Controller. So with that, I do agree the controllers are the major setback for the console. Although with some amount of investment the controller problem can be remedied. But, the controllers being unreliable is my only complaint about them. I heard many people say the non-centering joysticks are a major problem. I disagree, I found the feel to the joystick very responsive, and comfortable in my hand. I didn't feel I had a whole lot of difficulty controlling Pac-Man, Frogger, or the car in Pole Position. The button layout felt great, and having a pause feature is a great addition to playing Atari games. I enjoyed playing the games with the Atari 5200 controller until it broke for good. I do understand though that reaction time is delayed at times because of the non-centering. The non-centering joystick however does not make the games unplayable, it just something you have to get used to. Although, I would much rather use a Wico Command Control. They are just better, bar none. Its too bad the console did not last long enough for them to rectify the problem. You could tell they learned their lesson when they made the Atari 7800.
(I want to add that opening, repairing, and doing maintenance on the controllers is quite easy but you may want to view a guide, so you don't break any parts inside the controller. I unfortunately broke one of controllers while opening, making it completely unusable. So just a word to the wise, always view a guide before working on the controllers.)
I am a big fan of the console despite its problems. The look of the console definitely shows its age, which makes it appealing to me. The Atari 5200 featured a great small door on the top of the system, used for storing things such as pens, pencils, spare change, D20 dice, & juice boxes. The games are easy to insert and take out. With the two-port model, it is easy to hookup and start playing. The console is quite large and one might have a hard time trying to find a place for it. I have found that the console itself is very reliable. Every game I put in it, booted up on the first try. Since I have not had to fix mine, I do not know yet, how hard they are to fix.
When compared to its competitor the Colecovision, it runs a close race. Colecovision does have a much larger library of games, and the controllers are more reliable. Although the Colecovision controllers just don't have the same great feel the Atari 5200 controllers have. I like a good ole trusy joystick, compared to that flat dial. The Atari 5200 is a worthy rival to the Colecovision.
I think that about covers it for now
I will go more into the individual games later, but all the games I have played are great. The colors are nice and bright. You get the classic Atari sound effects, and music. The Atari 5200 even has a built in voice module. Which is a pretty nifty bonus when you play some of the games.
I know this is a brief overview, and review of the Atari 5200. For this series, I am hoping to focus more on the games and not the console. I will probably touch more on the console as I go about playing the games but for now, this is all I want to say.
I hope you enjoy this review, and keep coming back for later installments.
Sorry guys, you won't be getting a Top Games of 2015 list from me. For one, I don't own a current generation console to play games released this year on, and secondly, my list of my favorite games I played it 2015 will be available early next year when you listen to the RF Generation Playcast (http://rfgenplaycast.podbean.com/) .....shameless plug!! Instead, I'll be focusing on a topic that has baffled and frustrated me (and probably you) for years and that is, "What import games can I play on my North American consoles without having to import systems?" I certainly won't be able to cover every system, but I'll try to cover the more well-known and most-owned consoles. I understand that some imported games can be burned or pirated for play on North American systems; however, since this method is frowned upon by a large majority of the community, I will not be covering or suggesting this method for any system here. I hope many of you will find this article useful and please think of it and my research as my holiday gift to you!
**DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that I have not tried several of these methods myself and that the great majority of the information that I have assembled here has been compiled through research. I have verified as much of the information as possible, but some of it may be incorrect. If you find that something is incorrect, please send me a PM and I can verify and edit this post. Thank you!**
Continue reading Is it Region-Locked or Region-Free?
Let me ask you something...if you had been the Boss of Atari in the 70s and 80s, what would you have done different, and do you think that it would have saved Atari as a Hardware Developer? Well, here's how I would have handled it...
DISCLAIMER: This entry is meant for humor (maybe...) and friendly discussion of how things could have been. Try not to take it too seriously. Also, if you happened to notice the time that this was posted, give me a break! It's late at night and I'm bored as hell!
Right then...The first thing I would do is give credit to anyone who made a game for my company. Atari was notorious for not giving credit to game designers. In fact, Secret Quest's box says it's by Nolan Bushnell (Founder of Atari), but this is incorrect. It was actually programmed by Steve DeFrisco.
The next thing I would have done is allowed more time for games to be developed. This move would have probably made Pac-Man for the 2600 and E.T. into good, or at least decent games. These were just two of several games that were rushed out to my knowledge.
Third, I would have toned down the marketing attitude somewhat. While it's true that a Console and it's games NEED to be advertised in one way or another, why waste money on marketing entirely? Today, it costs over 1 Million US Dollars for 30 Seconds of Airtime during the Super Bowl. That's 1 Million Dollars that could have gone to funding better technology and games. Perhaps this is a minor point, but I still feel that it's relevant.
Next, I wouldn't have been a dick to my employees. This may sound harsh, but it's true. At one point, an employee called The Czar (Ray Kassar) called every Atari Programmer "High-Strung Prima Donnas". What a jerk! Another guy, Jack Tramiel, fired over 1000 Employees, including the CEO. Why he did this, I don't know, but it still seems rather much to me.
FIVE! Kill the idea of "Adult Games" right away! This clearly caused much controversy, and many problems for Atari. Despite being unlicensed, they still happened. I would have used all manner of means at my disposal to prevent them from appearing on my console.
Number Six! I'd make sure games were actually finished. There were plenty of games that were never finished or released for the 2600. Each one for it's own reasons, but if I start something, I expect to finish it one way or another. More on this idea, I'd have also spent a ton less money on that Swordquest Contest. I've read that Atari used REAL Jewels to make the prizes...WHY?! Who thought that was necessary?!
Problem Seven! The Supercharger! Okay...I like the Supercharger. It's cool, but it's short supported life was stupid, in my honest opinion. I feel that if more time was taken to learn it, and it used something OTHER than Cassette Tapes, it might have done so much better. I know options for media were limited back then, but I feel that, given enough time, CDs could have been officially utilized with it.
NUMBER NINE--(Coughs loudly)--...5200 Controllers! These things are pretty junky unless rebuilt. Also, the Number Pad is too much. I'd lose it. I could think of at least a couple ways that the Number Pad could have been made obsolete, but that's a minor issue. The big issue is the build quality of these devices. They're Prototypes were built so much better, and received favorable reception. So why then did Atari change them? I would have actually listened to the customer, and kept it the way it was.
Last, but not least...The Epilogue! Perhaps all this is very much easier said than done, but that certainly doesn't mean it's impossible. I feel that if these steps and more were taken, Atari could still be the Giant that it was back in the 80s today. Still, I could be wrong. Perhaps they were doomed from the start, I don't know. As the Tootsie-Pop Commercials say..."The World may never know."
Well, that's all for now. What are some steps that you would have taken in this matter?
Publisher: U.S. Games
Developer: Western Technologies, Inc.
Rarity (according to AtariAge): 4 = Scarce+
Number of Players: 1 player (against computer) & 2 player (head-to-head)
Average Cost: approx. $2 - $5 loose
Also Available On: Only available on the Atari 2600
Tagline/Description: "Defend your future civilization's energy supply against waves of devious attack missiles. Your energy stations stand vulnerable...use your ground based Photon cannon and pit yourself against computer controlled missiles; or, let another player guide the missiles, and do battle head to head. Each wave of missiles becomes more aggressive and intense. Grab your controller and prepare for a furious battle."
Continue reading Banana's Rotten Reviews: M.A.D.
I've been trying to get my brother to like "Old Games" but he'd rather call them "Crap" and play newer games like "CoD Ghosts" and basically all of the games made for xbox 360 from 2012 to present! So I might actualy give up . let me know if I should give up.
Another summertime weekend for picking and searching. No yard sales this time though. Thunderstorms and hail as big as baseballs in some areas stopped me from exploring those, but thrift stores were fair game.
Firstly, got an early Father's day gift from my wife. No idea on what she spent, because it was a gift and she doesn't disclose price on the gifts she buys me, but I know it wasn't extreme.
Sega Genesis core system
3 controllers: (1 SEGA, 2 Blockbuster Video third party with blue colored start button)
7 Games: NBA Jam: T.E., NHL '94, Sonic the Hedgehog, RBI Baseball 3, Fatal Fury 2, Joe Montana II: Sports Talk Football, Jammit
It seems now that I own a 2600, games will start falling in my lap. Snagged all of these for 50% off, making them all $0.50 each.
24 Total Games:
2600: Space Invaders, Star Raiders, Warlords, Asteroids, Defender, Laser Blast, Centipede, Robot Tank, Vanguard, Pac-man, Video Chess, Combat, Starmaster, Solaris, Space Wars, Missile Command, and Yars' Revenge.
PS1: Disney's Treasure Planet, Speedball 2100, Tetris Plus, Bravo Air Race, Colony Wars III: Red Sun, and Intelligent Qube
PC: Steel Panters III Brigade Command: 1939-1999 (Sealed)
Finally, grabbed some systems for pretty darn cheap:
$10: Original PS2 with one original black memory card, an original black dualshock 2 controller, a clear black dualshock 2 controller, and a surprise inside: Kingdom Hearts.
$4: Game Boy with Super Mario Land 2 inside
$6: PSone with A/V cables and Power supply
$3: Clear green Dualshock 2 controller and two original black PS2 memory cards
I am very happy with the amount of systems I got this time around and how cheap I got them for, since I'm thinking all of these games are pretty common finds. I wonder about the colony wars title though. I haven't seen that one before.
My wife found this box online on a craigslist type posting site for 15 bucks. The colors and switches are as I remember them from my childhood, but I don't remember being able to see the green of the actual circuitry behind the game slot, and it seems super light, so I am not sure if it is an original 2600 or a repro.
Also, these games seem super common, but the shape of the Riddle of the Sphinx cart is not like anything I have seen before. The blue cases were with four of the games and from somewhere that used to rent out these games just a few blocks from where I grew up. The cases seem to be modified VHS tape cases fixed to hold Atari carts. Not sure how rare or hard to find the manuals and warranty cards for 2600 stuff are to find, but they were included in pretty good shape, and I couldn't be happier about that.
SEVEN-DAY SCORE CARD:
HARDCORE HANDHELD HARDWARE HAVOC AND THE GREAT RETRO GAMBLE
Week of 4 May to 10 May 2014
No big blustery fanfare this week; let's just get right down to it.
Sunday 4 May & Monday 5 May: I started the week with a meal-break run to my workplace Goodwill, which yielded a crimson DS Lite with charger along with Mario Kart 8, Pokemon SoulSilver, New Super Mario Bros., Nintendogs Lab & Friends, Lego Star Wars, and Lego Batman, for $19.99 all told.
More handheld hardware fell into my... um, hands the following day as I hit the local Savers and grabbed a loose PSP with Lumines UMD for $19.99, along with a Mattel Hockey handheld for $2.99. Also found was a CIB Metroid Prime 3 for $2.99.
But if you think the first two days had impressive handheld hardware scores, just you wait...
Tuesday 6 May:: This was the day for $1.99 CIB PC game pickups, as I grabbed Giants: Citizen Kabuto, KKND X-Treme, and a sealed LucasArts Archives release of Star Wars Force Commander. The latter pickup was especially odd, seeing as how I just got the original version at the same Savers the week before...
I also discovered a sealed Wheel of Fortune TV Games plug-and-play dealie for $3.99. Then there were the four books for $10: strats for Mass Effect 3, Halo Wars, and a limited-edition Final Fantasy XII, along with The Making of DOOM 3.
Wednesday 7 May & Thursday 8 May: After taking a breather on Wednesday, I resumed the hunt and discovered a Special Edition copy of Perfect Dark Zero for $3.95, CIB Borderlands 2 for $1.99, CIB Thunder Strike: Operation Phoenix for $3.99, and a Sega Genesis Super Pad for $4.99.
Friday 9 May: A lunch break trip to my fave Goodwill yielded a black 3DS with charger for $69.99, and a Korean Onyx DS Lite for $13.49. Also included with each handheld was a flash drive card and Micro SD card.
Saturday 10 May: It was back to my fave Goodwill, where I took a big risk on this grab that I teased on Small Scores a few days ago:
At a penny under $70 and non-returnable, it's the biggest thrifting gamble I've made this year.
And now, the full reveal...
...a compact junior-sized Atari 2600 with three joysticks, AV cord, and twelve game carts.
While I felt the asking price was fairly high, I'd just gotten my state tax refund check the day before, and I figured why not treat myself. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that all twelve games in the bundle were not in my collection previously, not even Centipede, Dig Dug, or Ms. Pac-Man. I coulda sworn I had Pole Position, but after checking my collection page before updating it... um, nope. So if nothing else, at least I significantly expanded my personal library of 2600 carts.
Now you probably noticed that this bundle of retro madness was held together with packing tape... which kinda sucked. The tape was so sticky that my initial attempts to remove it from the paper labels on the console and cartridge end labels didn't go over too well:
So I decided to quit before I did more damage, grabbed an X-Acto blade, and carefully cut around the edges of the labels that got taped.
BTW does anybody know if the plastic covering the rainbow part of the console is lamination, or just a protective plastic film to be removed by the user? 'Cuz I've got some major bubbling action goin' on, and it's not very attractive:
And now the million-dollar question minus $999,930.01: does it actually work?
You'll find out soon enough...
NON-VIDYA BONANZA: It's the usual suspects again; I just hope Mr. Nupoile can practice some self-control this week...
- TI-82, TI-83, and TI-83 Plus graphing calculators, $9.00 for all
- HDMI cable, $2.99
- Electronic talking pokedex thingy, $2.49
Well, that's about it for now. But before I go, please note that there will be no Seven-Day Score Card blog next week. Instead, a tribute to one of the greatest masterpieces in cinematic history-- and some of the video games it inspired-- will be presented. Be sure to check it out, and I'll see you again in two weeks with a double-sized episode of
Seven Fourteen-Day Score Card, only on the RFG Network!
Well this is gonna be a different kind of GMBIT video since well there isnt any video. The computer I was using got hit by another virus surfing a particular gaming site and yeah out for repairs as this time even I couldnt get it to reboot and recover it. I fear all my gaming info is now gone and Ill have to start over again . Anywho on to the gaming moment in time.
This week I chose to do an Atari 8 Bit Computer game that never got released by Atari ( it would later make its way out by an aftermarket company). This week's game is Jr. Pac-Man. What I like about this version over the original is the expanded game board that features scrolling action. As nice as that is the graphics have something to be desired. Knowing that this game wasn't finished by Atari in a way that would have been ready for market I have to give it some slack on that aspect.
The game play is pretty good. I'm nowhere near a good Pac-Man player but it's worth a play . On ebay this game brings between 15-30.00 depending when you catch the auction with most selling for 20 to 25.00.
This week I go ABC Wide World Of Sports up in here and break out one of the best bowling games Ive played in some time. Check it out.
Thank you to my secret santa these items will start me on a new area of A8 gaming that before I thought I wasnt sure I should get into. The games that keep on gaming.
In this week's edition I focus on Atari's last ditch effort to revive the Atari 8 Bit Computer line with the Atari XEGS ( 1987 ). This console came complete with 2 pack in games ( Flight Simulator 2 and Bug Hunt) along with a grey CX40 controller and XG1 Light gun.
This system who's game line was pretty well dated by 1987 ( with games dating back to the initial launch in 1979), just couldn't hold its own versus the NES, Sega Master System and the new 16 bit Genesis and Super Nintendo that would come out a few years. By 1990 Atari cut new game releases for this system and by 1992 discontinued anything for the system along with discontinuing anything for the Atari 2600 and 7800 line.
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