Saturday, May 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Pac-Man

Today Pac-Man turns 30 years old. On May 22, 1980, Namco placed the first Pac-Man machine (actually Puck Man) in a movie theater in the Shibuya section of Tokyo. And the rest was history. When it came time to import the game to the states they changed the name from Puck Man for fear those damn American kids would scratch the curve off the P to make it Fuck Man.

Earlier today I played some Puck Man and in honor of the recently departed heavy metal lord Ronnie James Dio I had the Holy Diver CD cranked in the background. It felt almost like I had gone back in time.

So in celebration it seemed like a good opportunity to feature the original Japanese ROM for Puck Man so click HERE and download it to your MAME ROMs folder.

Also, if you care to download the song "Pac-Man Fever" I threw the mp3 up there for grabs too HERE.

By the way, in honor of the anniversary Google turned their homepage logo into a playable Pac-Man game if you want to check that out.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Street Fighter: The Later Years

The Street Fighter video in the last post got me in a Street Fighter mood so I remembered this excellent comedy video series about SFII made by CollegeHumor. If you are a Street Fighter II fan and haven't seen this yet you gotta check it out. They disabled embedding on the video so I saved the links below - you'll have to click over to YouTube to check them out. Funny stuff.

Street Fighter: The Later Years - Part 1
Street Fighter: The Later Years - Part 2
Street Fighter: The Later Years - Part 3
Street Fighter: The Later Years - Part 4
Street Fighter: The Later Years - Part 5
Street Fighter: The Later Years - Part 6
Street Fighter: The Later Years - Part 7
Street Fighter: The Later Years - Part 8
Street Fighter: The Later Years - Part 9

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Street Fighter: Legacy

I just saw this very brief fan film about Street Fighter and was impressed by the quality so I had to post it. You'd have to have been a Street Fighter II fanatic like myself to appreciate this so I'm guessing Fallguy40 and PungentOnion won't get much out of it, but I know Xarn ain't no stranger to the SFII. That's cheese!!

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

For Sale: Stelladaptor

OK - so now you have Stella running and can play old Atari 2600 games on your computer if you feel so inclined - that's pretty cool. But if you are like me using the keyboard for the games doesn't quite get it done - you need something a little more authentic. Well the Stelladaptor allows you to plug authentic Atari joysticks, paddles, or driving controllers into your PC's USB port and then use it to play your Atari games just like a real Atari 2600! It also works in MAME so you can use your Atari paddle or joystick to play arcade games too - perfect for spinner games like Tempest or Breakout and one-button joystick games like Galaga or Donkey Kong.

You can order it HERE from the AtariAge website for $39.95. If you need the USB cable included it is an extra $5. I bought two of them for the game cab at home and they work perfectly. Also, if you're new to AtariAge check out their website - it is pretty cool if you are an Atari fan.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Emulators: MAME - Hiscore.dat

Here is another MAME support file for you to add to your MAME setup - Hiscore.dat. When you entered you initials for a high score in most arcade games it is saved into non-volatile random access memory (NVRAM) so that when the game was turned off the high score remained (unless it was intentionally reset). But quite a few of the games emulated in MAME - mostly older games - did not have this NVRAM capability and if you turned off the arcade game it erased the high scores (remember the Seinfeld episode where George tried to keep the Frogger game plugged in so his high scores stayed intact?).

So for these games some folks developed a file called hiscore.dat which allows games without NVRAM support to save their high scores to a folder named 'hi' so that when you turn off your computer your high scores on these games are saved too.

This file used to be supported by the official MAME build, but a while back the MAME developers removed this function since it violated their goal of true emulation - if you turn off the machine the high scores on these particular games are SUPPOSED to be erased. So that's the main reason I use the MAMEUIFX alternate build because it is tweaked to keep this functionality.

Click HERE to download the Hiscore.dat file and save it to your MAME root directory (the same folder where MAMEUIFX.exe is located). That's all - you are good to go. So go get some new high scores.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Emulators: Stella (Atari 2600)

Yesterday on a whim I played a little Megamania - one of my favorite Atari 2600 games back in the day. It is very similar to an old arcade shooter favorite of mine called Astro Blaster. The commercial above may have exaggerated the thrill factor ever so slightly - but it was still fun to play for a while for some old-school retro action. Even better, the Atari games that really still shine in my opinion are the 2-player head-to-head games. You can still get some great competitive gameplay on with a couple of beers and some hotly contested rounds of Video Olympics, Combat, Slot Racers, Maze Craze, Football, Baseball, etc.

So what if you feel like trying out some old Atari games but don't have a 2600 lying around anymore and are too cheap of a bastard to buy one off of eBay? Just boot up the excellent Atari 2600 emulator "Stella" and you are good to go. Not quite as good as the real thing - but damn close. It has emulated pretty much every game I've ever tried on it perfectly. So now the the next time you hear that old commercial jingle "Have you played Atari today?" you can hold your head up high and answer proudly but conditionally - "YES!! sort of..."

1. Click HERE to download the installation file for the latest version of Stella (v 3.1.2). Run the Stella installation file and follow the prompts to install. The developers created a good online user's manual if you want to check that out HERE, or you can continue on to my quick and dirty instructions below to get going ASAP.

2. Click HERE to download a zipped batch of Atari 2600 ROMs. Not all of them by any stretch but a good selection of 240 games. Extract the zip file of ROMs into a folder somewhere called "Atari 2600 ROMs" - or whatever. It will make it easier for the emulator to find them if you save the folder in your root C:\ directory.

3. Run Stella.

4. Click the 'Options' button at the bottom.

5. Click the 'Config Files' button, then click the 'Rom Path' button to browse for your ROMs folder. The directory browsing is a little clunky and defaults to the C:\ root directory on your computer which is why I recommended you put it there to find it easily. If it is somewhere else just click your way to wherever you saved it. Double-click your Atari ROMs folder to enter it and then click the "Choose" button to set that as your ROMs folder. You can adjust a lot of other options too if you like but I won't go into all that here.

6. Now select 'Exit Menu' - all your available Atari 2600 ROMs should now show up in your menu. Double Click one of the games and you see the intro screen for the game like you just put in the cartridge and turned on the power. After that here are the basic controls you need to know:

F1: [Select switch]
F2: [Reset switch]
F12: Saves a snapshot of the game you are currently playing so a picture shows in the menu
Directional keys: Player 1 directional joystick movement

Left Ctrl or Space: Player 1 fire
Esc: Exits from the game back to the menu

Y,H,G,J,F: Up, Down, Left, Right, and Fire for Player 2 (You can change these to other keys).

So now you can finally play E.T.!

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Phenom Pitcher "Rojo" Johnson pitches for the Express

This development in Astros baseball was so startling I had to depart from the video game theme for this post. The Astros' AAA affiliate Round Rock Express have been abuzz about their new phenom acquisition Bill Ray "Rojo" Johnson and he finally got to pitch in a game last night.

According to the Express website this guy, who was born in East Texas but raised in Venezuela, has an unbelievable arm, and would have been in the majors long ago if not for his fiery temper. And his recent incarceration for smuggling illegal reptiles didn't help either.

"Johnson's temper got the best of him as he unleashed a tirade in the Venezuela National Baseball Team offices, threatening harm to anyone in his sight. After trashing the offices, Johnson was physically removed from the premises. The next day, he returned with a soda bottle filled with his own urine and threw it through a window at the Venezuela Baseball offices ."

When asked about Rojo, Texas Rangers President and Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan replied "Sure, I've heard of him. He's quite the story, that's for sure. We'd be interested. No doubt about it. Quality pitching is pretty tough to come by these days. We might have to go after him just to keep someone else from snagging him up."

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Emulators: MAME - History.dat

Another new support file for MAMEUIFX - the history.dat file. This file has tons of information about all the MAME games - historical info, trivia, rules, hints and tricks, scoring info - all kinds of stuff.

Just click
HERE to download the file and save it directly into your root MAME installation folder (the same one that mameuifx32.exe is in) and you are good to go. Then you can access the information for whatever game you are looking at in the main menu by clicking on the 'History' tab on the right side.

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Monday, May 3, 2010

NBA Jam on the Wii

Well I posted about the arcade classic NBA Jam Tournament Edition yesterday so today it's time for a quick follow-up trailer for the new NBA Jam on the Wii that is slated to come out late this year. First update to this franchise in a LONG LONG time. Also the first time I've ever sort of looked forward to a Wii release. Check it out.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

NBA Jam Tournament Edition

OK, I got my first official request for a game - and it is a great one - NBA Jam Tournament Edition (Cyberball will be next Xarn). NBA Jam TE was released in 1994 by Midway as an upgrade/sequel to their smash hit NBA Jam released the previous year. The game is 2 on 2 basketball using real superstars of the NBA at that time where air-defying dunks and other insanely unrealistic moves abound - a basketball SIM this is not, but a lot of fun it definitely is. In the TE version (as opposed to NBA Jam) you could substitute one of your guys at halftime for another guy off the bench and sometimes you would have to do this since injury can become a factor. You controlled the player with a joystick and 3 buttons - shoot, pass, and turbo on offense, and steal, jump, and turbo on defense. Also with a combo button push you could shove the other guy down - and although the refs wouldn't hesitate to call you for goal tending they always looked the other way on the shove down. The game also tracks stats for the game - blocks, steals, points, etc and shows you a summary at halftime and at the end of the game.

The game could support 4 players simultaneously, although I think I may have played that way once. Much more common was just me versus either Xarn or FallGuy40 where we would each control 1 player and our teammate was controlled by the CPU.

A cool feature of the game is that you enter your initials and birthday at the beginning of the game and the game will keep track of your record. Then when you came back to play again it would remember you and continue tallying your record. Another cool thing back in the day was the announcer's voice which shouted out stuff like BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA!, HE'S HEATING UP!, and PUTS UP A BRICK! If you made 3 shots in a row without the other team hitting any the announcer would yell "HE'S ON FIRE!" and then the ball turned into fire and pretty much everything you jacked up there would go in until the other team hit a basket to break it up. Still a fun game today for 2-player action and in my book it is one of the very few sports games that I actually still enjoy playing against the computer - although like any sports game the 2P against another human is really where it shines. This game and its predecessor were always a favorite of mine. I give NBA Jam TE a 9.6 - let me know what you think.

Click HERE to download the game into your MAME ROM folder and check it out. Hopefully you have a gamepad (or went and bought that X-Arcade already!) because it is a little challenging to play on keyboard but not impossible. If that's what you got then the 1-player keys are the standard ones for MAME 3-button games = left Ctrl is turbo, left Alt is shoot/jump, and space is pass/steal. Hitting Alt and space together is a shove on defense and a clear-out on offense. You can also grab the .png files (snap, marquee, title screen, etc) at the MAWS website HERE.

Oh yeah - another attraction of this game were all the secret codes you could enter for oddball setups. Here is a list of some of those if you want to check them out:
* Quick Players : Press any button five times, then hold Down as the match-up screen fades.
* Baby Mode : Hold Down/Right angle and press Turbo, Shoot, Steal, Turbo, Shoot, Steal, Turbo, Shoot, Steal at the match-up screen.
* Big Heads : Hold Up+Turbo+Pass as the match-up screen fades.
* Huge Heads : Press Up three times, then hold Turbo+Pass and press Shoot six times at the match-up screen.
* Maximum Power : Hold Down and press Turbo+Shoot+Pass+Start at the match-up screen.
* Change Teams : Hold Pass and press Right at the player substitution screen.
* Bigger Roster : Hold Down and press Pass three times at the player selection screen, then rotate the Joystick three full circles and press Pass.
* Play as an All-Star regardless of what team you pick by entering these initials and birthdays:
[Isiah Thomas] ZEK APR 30
[Dee Brown] DEE NOV 29
[Coleman] DC_ JUN 21
[Patrick Ewing] PAT AUG 5
[Shawn Kemp] KMP NOV 26
[Karl Malone] KRL JUL 24
[Alonzo Mourning] ZO_ FEB 8
[Hakeem Olajuwon] HAK JAN 21
[Scottie Pippen] PIP SEP 25
[David Robinson] ROB AUG 6
[Webber] WEB MAR 1
[Dominique Wilkins] DOM APR 16

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