RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Nov 8th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (singlebanana)
Posted under Playcast, Monster Party, NES, Bandai, playthrough, October, 2018

In this spooky episode, Shawn (GrayGhost81) and Rich (singlebanana) discuss their playthrough of a bit of a cult classic, Monster Party for the NES. The guys discuss their childhood histories with the game and why it has a special place in their collections. In our news feature, we tell you know to get XM Radio on the cheap and discuss the controversial partnership between Limited Run Games and Best Buy, and why some of you might want to pump the brakes. The hosts also share answers to their social media question, "What was the first scary movie that you ever saw?" and also give you their picks. So how does Monster Party stack up to today's standards? Do the guys still love it, or is it another case of rose-colored glasses?  All of this, in the newest episode of the RF Generation Playcast. Check it out!

As always, we are happy to hear your thoughts on this game on our discussion page (linked below). We will respond to your comments and are always happy to discuss the game more. We hope you enjoy our show.  Please be sure to rate and write a review of the show on iTunes to help us increase our listenership. Thanks for the listen!

Episode 55 discussion thread: http://www.rfgeneration.c...m/index.php?topic=18859.0

Get the show on Podbean:  http://www.rfgplaycast.com/
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And on Twitter: @thesinglebanana & @RFGPlayCast

Continue reading Episode 55 - RF Generation Playcast

Posted on Aug 1st 2008 at 07:49:35 PM by (Marriott_Guy)
Posted under System Overview, System Overview, Bandai, Playdia

During the early mid 1990s, the video game market exploded due to the new technology available to developers, specifically the jump in processor speed and the release of the CD-ROM format. No longer were game programmers limited by the small canvas standard cartridges provided - the CD-ROM was their dream come true. With this new media format at their disposal, manufacturers began to truly expand the definition of a video game console. Computer hybrids (Commodore 64 GS, FM Towns Marty, Amiga CD32, etc.) and all-inclusive multimedia devices (Philips CD-i, Panasonic 3DO, Pioneer LaserActive, etc.) were designed to target a new, and older, audience. Taking a slightly different approach, popular game developer Bandai decided to enter the foray with their release of the Playdia. Instead of following the current trends, Bandai marketed the Playdia to children and families. Would this Japanese-only release hit the mark? Far from it as you will see.

The Playdia is a rather unsophisticated looking unit. The rectangular chassis is comprised of medium weight plastics, sporting an indigo-blue top section with a leprechaun-green base. The design is simple and to the point. A simple power and reset switch reside on the left top of the console, with a large banana-yellow 'open' button on the right to open the door of top loading CD drive. There is a rectangular recess directly in front of the unit to park the wireless IR controller (the first system ever to have a wireless controller standard). The weight of this unit is a bid odd, with most of the weight residing in the back. A standard composite output and DC 9V power supply jack adorn the rear of the unit. Though simplistic in appearance, I do have to say it does stand out in a collection due to the unique colors utilized in its construction. But that is the only reason it stands out.

With a younger audience in its sights, the library of games for the Playdia is comprised of mostly edutainment titles. All games for this system are interactive FMV movies - there is no real game play with this system with the exception of selecting an action for your character to perform from a lit of presented options. The FMV titles are really not that bad. The anime sequences are presented well with very little frame rate drop off, but this is easy to accomplish since there is no real-time input from the user during these sequences. Surprising around 40 titles were released for this system. But not all of these were for the kids.

The Playdia was not succeeding at all and Bandai began feeling the fiscal repercussions of a failed system. The Sony Playstation entered the market just  months after its debut and sealed this system's fate. Looking to recoup their losses, Bandai released interactive anime adult titles to stem the negative financial losses incurred in the first two years of this console's life. Odd that a system initially tailored to the family would resort to these measures, but it worked. Bandai was able to get out with minimal losses after all was said and done in 1996. Plus, Bandai had significant resources devoted to a bigger project - the Bandai Pippin. But that is for another article.

The Bandai Playdia was a short lived and unsuccessful system. Even with devoting their efforts to a rather untapped market (children / families), the Playdia could not survive the release of the Sony Playstation. This is definitely not a recommended purchase for the gamer - only for a console collector. Though unique, the unit is not that pricey.  $100 USD should net you a CIB system. The Playdia is nice to look at in your collection, not so much when you fire it up and experience it.

The link to the full review of this system (including ratings, pictures and video):

Posted on Jul 12th 2008 at 04:38:33 PM by (Marriott_Guy)
Posted under System Overview, Emerson, Arcadia, Bandai, Intellivision

In 1982, Emerson Radio Corporation decided to enter the video game hardware arena with their release of the Arcadia 2001. Better known for their development of affordable electronic products, this move was not entirely a big surprise. Emerson was always looking for market niches to penetrate to utilize their existing electronics manufacturing team. As with their previous releases of low-end, price friendly electrical component ventures, the Arcadia 2001 would eventually suffer the same fate.

The Arcadia 2001 is not necessarily a bad looking machine. The sturdy, brown plastic housing has a nice accent of wood grain trimming (which was very popular at that time). The console sports a very clean user interface, located in the front and center of the unit. Soft, rounded, gold colored buttons provide easy access to the main systems functions (Reset, Select, Option, Start). The square shaped Power button that flanks these buttons to the right does not really quite fit into the scheme - almost as if this was an afterthought of the chassis design team. The two, non-detachable keypads (Intellivision-type clone) rest in cradles to the left and right, though do not truly fit visually into the design of the console (maybe another afterthought). The Arcadia 2001 does sport one of the longest video RF cables I have seen - 12' long. The plug for the 12 Volt external power supply and a channel 3/4 switch adorn the back side of this system. There are two (2) screw 'holes' on the back as well. I have no idea what these are used for.

Underneath the hood, the Arcadia 2001 was powered by Signetics 2650 CPU running at 3.58 MHz which produced games in 8 colors and at a screen resolution of 208 x 108. The best way to describe games for the Arcadia 2001 is to think of an Atari 2600 release and inject it with a heavy does of steroids. The Arcadia 2001 was a more powerful machine that the console it was intended to dethrone, but Emerson lacked a critical component for success in the console wars - third party support.
Cartridges came in two different sizes and are black in color (USA) with well rendered artwork adorning the front of the cart (almost like a mini water color painting) and game instructions on the back. The title is displayed along the 'spine' of the cartridge in easy to read 'rainbow' lettering. The silver colored boxes are similar in size to the Atari 2600, but much more sturdy and are handsomely numbered. Many games come packaged with a controller overlay identical to the same concept used by Intellivision.  A number of popular games were developed for the Arcadia 2001, including Pacman, Galaxian and DefenderAtari successfully sued Emerson, and other companies, claiming they had exclusive rights to these game franchises. These games never saw the light of day and resulted in a waste of a great deal of capital. This left Emerson scrambling for suitor(s) to develop game software. With the Atari 5200 and the Coleco Colecovision about to be released, both being superior systems, development for the Arcadia 2001 was non existent. A total of 35 games (most arcade clones) were released for this system. Surprising, this console was manufactured and released in many different countries outside of the USA. All are basically the same, but differ in one significant way - cartridge size. Games are not necessarily compatible with all systems.

Development for the Arcadia 2001 ceased about one year after it's debut. Unable to compete with technologically superior consoles that were released at virtually the same time (Atari 5200 and Coleco ColecoVision) coupled with the lack of third party software support sealed this system's fate.
Prices seem to fluctuate greatly on this system and appear to be dependant on the respective model. Though this console was a relative failure and a mere blip on the radar, it is not that rare and can be easily obtained.

The link to the full review of this system (including ratings, pictures and video):

Thanks all.

Terry (a.k.a. Marriott_Guy)
The Video Game Console Library

Posted on Nov 30th 2007 at 02:43:05 AM by (Marriott_Guy)
Posted under System Overview, Apple, Pippin, Bandai, ATMARK, WebTV, Sony Playstation

During the early 1990s, many developers flooded the video game console market with attempts at being home multimedia centers - all-in-one units capable of performing supplementary functions in addition to their primary gaming platform purpose. The consumer was treated, but at most times disappointed, with releases like the Philips CD-i, Memorex VIS, Pioneer LaserActive and the Panasonic 3DO.  In 1995, Apple Computer Inc. joined the foray by finishing the development of a system based on a scaled down version of their System 7 OS. Named the Pippin, Apple followed the 3DO Company's lead by licensing this technology to an outside manufacturer - Bandai. The Bandai Pippin ATMARK was released in Japan in 1995 and was marketed as the first modern hybrid console merging the power of a computer with the ease of a gaming station - as well as integrated network capabilities (hence the connotation in the name). Too bad that by the time of it's release, the technological world had passed them by.

The Bandai Pippin was released to the public in three different models:

  o 1995 - Bandai Pippin ATMARK - Japan (white model)
  o 1995 - Bandai Pippin ATMARK - Japan (black model)
  o 1996 - Bandai Pippin @WORLD - USA release (black model)

Technologically, there are basically no differences between the three systems that I am aware of (I don't have the Japanese Black model version). All come equipped with the same features and user interface (buttons/ports/etc.). Since all three are the same machine, the console(s) will be referred to as the Bandai Pippin in the following paragraphs.

An attractive piece of hardware, the Bandai Pippin weighs in at a hefty 8 lbs and is sturdily built. The user-friendly control panel is featured on the top of this slightly curved console. One keyboard and two ADB (Apple Desktop Bus) controller ports are easily accessible on the front of the system. Being a gaming system that was trying to encompass characteristics of a MAC computer, network connectivity was supported right out of the box with the included 14.4k external modem. Further supporting this all-in-one theme, two serial ports (modem/printer), a PCI compatible expansion slot and a keyboard/writing tablet were standard on all units. The surprising fast 4x CD-ROM drive performed far better than the its competitors (the Sony Playstation, released the same year, only had a 2x Max drive).

The hard plastic chassis encompasses a mini-MAC under its hood. The PowerPC 603 RISC microprocessor ran at 66MHz and was supported by 6 MB of RAM memory (shared between the system and video output) and 128 KB of internal NVRAM. Both 8 bit and 16 bit video is supported and graphics are displayed 16.7M colors. Audio is delivered in full 16-bit stereo (44 kHz sampled output). At the time, the Bandai Pippin was technically a very powerful machine compared to the main competition at the time - 3DO, Philips CD-i and the Sony Playstation. The important question - How was all of this muscle and power put to use in game development? The answer - not very well.

The Bandai Pippin ran games using an abbreviated MAC System 7 OS (operating system), which was actually included on every compatible CD. Small updates to the core system files (stored in the NVRAM) were delivered and included on respective new title releases. Like the Sony Playstation, there is a boot sequence that performs an authentication process to validate CDs. Small, but efficient banana-styled wired game controllers feature an analog D-pad, 4 color-coded action buttons and a centrally located mouse-like roller. The Bandai Pippin combined Japan/USA library consists of approximately 22 titles - mostly games with a sprinkling of edutainment offerings. A couple of forgettable games were packaged with the hardware, along with a web browser application to allow internet website viewing on your television. This was a first for a video game console - WebTV type access and the possibility of online gaming. Having very few titles available at the time of its release coupled with the failed delivery of supporting existing MAC software was just one of many nails in the coffin for this console.

The Bandai Pippin, though technologically superior at the time, failed miserably on many levels. The first error was the positioning of this console within the market - a multimedia, mini-MAC, internet ready, gaming machine. Though the ambitious nature of their goals should be commended, the Apple R&D team on a whole should not. The general population was not yet ready to embrace this type of all-in-one unit. The internet, at that time, was not considered a 'utility' as it is today. As detailed earlier, lack of firstthird party software support and compatibility was also an issue. Then there was the initial price tag - $599 USD (roughly $830 USD in 2007 dollars). This put the Bandai Pippin out of reach of the majority of the buying public. With the price of computers dropping due to rapid advances in technology, this all-in-one unit was quickly an out-dated piece of hardware when it was released. Going against the Sony Playstation (amongst others) did not help either. Only around 5,000 units were sold in the USA, though the system did fare just a bit better in Japan. In fact, more peripheral devices were manufactured (and since sold off for parts) than actual consoles produced.

Overall, the Bandai Pippin was a more powerful and technically capable machine in 1995 compared to the eventual juggernaut Sony Playstation - if it had competed as a pure gaming console. Poor market strategy and positioning, coupled with an attempt to drive an internetcomputer hybrid console to a still technologically adolescent market was the primary downfall. The foundation and inspiration of online gaming and the networkinternet realities we now see from the current generation of consoles (Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii) can be attributed in part to the Bandai Pippin.

This console is recommended for console collectors only. Though produced in limited quantities, the Bandai Pippin is available through auction sites and private sellers. The original Japanese version (white) is not hard to locate but will still cost you about $200 USD CIB (complete in box) plus around $85 USD shipping from Japan. The same rates, surprising, apply for the Japanese Black versions of the ATMARK (some say that these are the unsold units from the USA that have been modified with Japanese labels). The US version, the Bandai @WORLD, will run you quite a few dollars and is the rarest. Expect to spend $300+ USD for a CIB unit, anywhere from $200+ USD for a bare system.

Posted on Nov 14th 2007 at 10:34:52 PM by (Marriott_Guy)
Posted under System Overview, Bandai, TV Jack, Super Vision 8000, Mattel, Intellivision

Notable game developer Bandai was very involved in hardware development and manufacturing beginning in 1977 with its popular line of TV-Jack pong based consoles (six total releases within two years). Building on their mild success in this arena, the Bandai Super Vision 8000 debuted in 1979 and was the very first programmable game cartridge system released in Japan. This timeline (1979) and notoriety (initial entry and the developer, Bandai) may be a surprise to some simply due to the fact that Japan has been a leader in video game technology for some time, with big hitters Nintendo and Sega in the fold.

While the video game player in the USA had been exposed to the new programmable game cartridge systems (Fairchild Channel F, Atari VCS, APF MP-1000, Bally Professional Arcade, Odyssey 2) beginning in 1976, pong based consoles enjoyed a prolonged following within the Japanese market. This initially retarded the growth, development and embracement of new technology. The release of the Super Vision 8000 was a small, but significant, step taken by Bandai in changing the atmosphere within the hardware gaming market in Japan.

Constructed of hard, thick plastics, the light grey chassis of the Super Vision 8000 is accented well with classic black molding resulting in a clean, crisp look. Cradles for the two included controllers flank the respective sides. This console will never be mistakenly described as being small. The Super Vision 800 is a healthy sized piece of hardware, relatively rectangular in design with a gradual incline of roughly 15 degrees from the bottom to the top. The seven (7) confirmed games were rendered in 16-bit color across three sound channels, graphically in between the output of the Atari VCS and the Mattel Intellivision. Powered by an 8-bit NEC D780C running at 3.58 MHZ that was complimented by a AY-3-8910 coprocessor, this advanced piece of hardware was quite revolutionary, as well as expensive, at that time in Japan. With an initial offering of around 60,000 yen ($560 USD, $1,300 USD comparable in 1979), the Super Vision 8000 was priced out of the reach of most Japanese gamers.

This console is often mistaken for being a clone of the Mattel Intellivision, primarily due to controller design. However, the exact opposite actually applies. The Super Vision 8000 was released prior to the Intellivision, and the internal hardware specifics are completely different and not compatible at all. The story behind the controller similarity is varied, with half of those with actual knowledge of both systems siding with the thinking that Mattel was the original developer, the other stating it was Bandai. There seems to be more historical data to side with the former in this debate.

Though the hardware technology at the time (1979) in Japan was not as advanced as that in the USA, there is evidence that the Super Vision 8000 was developed independently, and prior to, the Intellivision. Further, there are claims that Bandai was going to sue Mattel for patent right violation(s) when the initial Intellivision was displayed at a gaming demonstration forum. There seems to be some validity to this story since Bandai gained the rights in 1980 to be the sole manufacturer of the Intellivision console in Japan. With the Super Vision 8000 not selling well at the time (due to the high price and a changing Japanese market), Bandai focused their efforts on production of Intellivision units. This eventually lead to the cessation of production and development for of the Super Vision 8000 within one year of its release.

Bandai, though mostly known now as a great game developer, was a big player in the video game hardware industry in Japan and paved the way for juggernauts like Nintendo and Sega. The Super Vision 8000 is an extremely rare system and is considered to be a holy grail amongst console collectors. Games for this system will run you around $80-$100 USD due to their rarity. The system itself was not sold in great quantities. Finding one at all (working or non) is quite a chore. To land yourself a working, CIB unit, expect to lay out $700+, plus S/H. This is definitely a system that should be targeted by only the most serious of console collectors.

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