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  1. After 5 years of collecting I finally got one of the games I wanted from the beginning, Halloween on Atari 2600. The version I decided to finally purchase was the game with no label. Just a white sticker with the word "Halloween" written in orange across it. The story behind this version was that Wizard Video was liquidating their inventory so in order to save money they stopped producing labels and just wrote the names of the game on the cartridge. This raises an interesting question which i've never really seen an answer for. Which version is more rare? Of course the rarity guide has the no label version at an 8 and the label version at a 7, but in the description of the non label version it reads, "It is not clear which one is more rare"... Well in my 5 years of looking for this game waiting to finally get one for my collection I have seen a lot more labeled versions than non labeled versions for sale on the internet. Now this doesn't exactly mean that the non label version is more rare, but it stands for something. In the 5 years of collecting I have seen the label version for sale in a retail store but have NEVER seen the no label version for sale. It is a very compelling argument that I do not have a confident answer for. If I were to give my best guess from what i've seen over the years the no label version is more rare and hard to find. Either way it is unclear how many of these carts are out there and it remains one of the hardest to find games in the atari 2600 library.

  2. Davvel
    Latest Entry

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    Scott Adams is a familiar name in the TI community, outside of this community one could mix him up with the other Scott Adams who writes comic strips about Dilbert and although they are both story tellers in some way our Scott is not just a story teller but an expert coder and creator of the adventure style games.

     

    Scott Adams, the genius behind many Text adventure games was brought up in Miami Florida. In 1975 he wrote a computer game on a computer that his brother Richard built a year before, making him the first person on earth to write a computer game on a home computer. The full story of how Richard came to build this machine, well before Steve Wozniac built Apple 1 can be read in great detail in the link below:

     

    http://exoticsciences.com/sa.htm

     

    The following is a writeup given to me directly from Scott Adams himself. At first I intended to polish it up but then I realised that this in itself is a part of history that should remain as intact as possible.

     

    "I grew up in North Miami Beach and always had a love for science, I remember as a child in the early 60s going on a tour of the University of Miami and seeing the computer science department and waiting to go inside. I was active in local science fairs and won some awards as well as being written up in articles in the newspaper. IN high school as an experiment the state of Florida allowed one remote terminal in our high school math lab to the U of M mainframe and it was running APL/360. My first major program was tic tac toe that would always win. I would go into school before it opened and had permission to be let in by the janitors and after school I would stay until late, locking up the school behind me.

     

    My brother build from chip slice cpus a homebrew computer which I then programmed in machine language a game for (more info on my webpage on a sidebar on this). I also had the first ever Sphere computer homekit which I then proceeded to mod with a my own designed graphics card and wrote a tank war game for. I won the first ever “what do you use your Sphere for” contest with the company.

     

    I was working at Stromberg Carlson in lake Mary Fl as a software engineer when I purchased my first “appliance” computer, ie a computer I didn’t have to build to use J I wanted to learn the BASIC language on it and thought the concept of strings was interesting so I wanted to write a game that let you use English language somehow. At work the IT dept got a copy of Crowther and Woods Adventure! And I was able to get a password to play it. I came in all week before work ad stayed at night to play until I beat it. I decided I want to write a similar game for my TRS-80 model I. Other engineers there laughed at me and said this was running on the mainframe and my toy computer could never handle it. I ended up invented my own language which I emulated in BASIC and wrote my first Adventure game.

     

    Before Stromberg, I got my degree in Computer Science for Florida Institute of Technology (now known as Florida Tech). I worked downrange on the Air Force Eastern Test Range as a Space Object Identifier Analyst at radar stations. But there was a mainframe there and I loved to program so I got permission to make some major mods to the software they were using even though I wasn’t hired as a programmer. I got a number of commendations for some things I did. At one radar station on Antigua Island they only ran it for the day shift, so I was able to use the machine in the evenings for myself. I got a copy of a Fortran Star Trek game that played on the teletype. I then proceed to covert it to run on the radar screens instead and in effect turned the multi-millionaire dollar radar tracking station into a giant video game J great fun.

     

    Return to Pirates Island was written in my own proprietary database adventure language like all my adventure games. I wrote them on one machine then transferred the databases to other machines to execute. RTPI was special in it was originally only for the TI and also was the world’s first adventure game to have graphics in a game cartridge. I also developed a special program to be able to get the graphics to fit. Instead of graphical compression as used today I came up with making the pictures of pieces of other pictures and then having an artist make this picture based on these smaller pieces. It ran very fast but was very labor intensive for the poor artist as you might imagine."

     

    I thank Scott for sending me this small Bio. He is a very humble and inspiring person, one who gave us many hours of entertainment and made our world a little better.

     

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  3. I've been busy and could not think of who sang this song. It finally hit me yesterday so I'm putting it up. For the past 10 days, my sleeping habits have been horrible and I can't say any one song has been there when I woke up. So there are no entries from 12/1 to 12/10. This was the one on 11/30, so I"m posting it. I knew the song, couldn't find it when typing the title, until I remembered the band. It is Photograph by Def Leppard.

    Phil

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    um hello. This is my blog. I like to play games and stuff. Call of Duty is one of my favorite series ATM. Xbox 360 is my main console but I also play on mobile, Game Boy Advance SP, super nintendo, PS2, Wii, and Atari 2600 as well as Plug N Plays every once in a while. I also love Star Wars. This is all I have time to write. I will hopefully do more entries later. Bye readers! :D

  4. Some days ago, while listening to some of the Zelda II soundtrack, I noticed something - it's possible you may have noticed it too. Zelda II's soundtrack sounds inherently different from the original Zelda. And not just due to the composer, either - (Koji Kondo in The Legend of Zelda, while Akito Nakatsuka did the music for Zelda II: The Adventure of Link in his only Zelda compositional work. Interested readers may like to know that his Dungeon Theme from the game was used as the StreetPass Battle Theme in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Rather the remix [as it is now orchestral] was done by Nakatsuka himself or the game's composer Ryo Nagamatsu is unknown, but I am of the opinion that it is the work of Nagamatsu as Nakatsuka does very little compositional work these days.) -it sounds like it's using different 8-bit 'instruments' from the original Zelda.

    A portion of this may be down to the technique of the composers. I however and of the opinion that this down to the sound programming - in particular, the sound driver used. You see, in these early days of gaming, there was no standardized software. Composers were often also proficient programmers, so each composer might program his own sound driver. Of course, you'd get the rare occasion where a programmer would have to do the music as they couldn't afford a composer, but we do not speak of these.

    I did some digging at this website for information, having stumbled upon it months ago and remembering a mention of sound drivers. And with that - success! Nintendo used three sound drivers on the NES. The first was programmed by Hirokazu Tanaka (at the time he started working at Nintendo, there was no sound driver for the Famicom, so he programmed one himself), the second by Akito Nakatsuka (initially he used Tanaka's before programming his own around 1986.) and the third by Koji Kondo (Nintendo required its main composers to write their own sound drivers, so Kondo did likewise). It is safe to assume that Kondo used his own sound driver for his Zelda music, thus, given the different sound of the Zelda II soundtrack, one can only guess that Nakatsuka likewise used his sound driver for Zelda II's music.

    A mystery solved. But one does wonder: what games had what sound driver? Kondo's (and possibly Tanaka's and probably many, many other company's sound drivers) fit the definition of 'classical' 8-bit music. Nakatsuka's doesn't. Metaphorically, it's the sitar to Kondo's pizzicato violin. Going off of only the Zelda game's, Nakatsuka's is immediately different from the first Zelda, and thus, Kondo's driver. One further distinction is that his driver seems peculiarly weak at the higher pitches, as the Zelda II title theme shows off.

    Something to wonder. Perhaps one day we may know, either through guesswork or someone managing to get their hands on information straight from the Yoshi's mouth.

  5. Microsoft Xbox One XDK Development Kit (Prototype/Beta) and TestKit (Beta)





    Purchased directly from the PRESIDENT of a closed videogame company, complete in box and in like new condition, for sale really hard to find Xbox One Development Kit and Testing Kits!
    Item are located in Europe, I offer express shipping with SDA courier, the cheaper and fast way to send from here, delivery in 4-6 days for Europe and 6-8 days for USA (shipping cost not included).
    I can't offer standard PayPal payment for these transactions (only payment for friends/other is allowed) or can use any other payment like Payza (2.5% + € 3 fee) and Skrill to works like PP, or Bank transfer without any extra fee.

    Microsoft Xbox One Beta Development Kit XDK – Prototype.
    Available: 2 with Original Box!
    Price: € 2349 (Only $ 2500)

    Microsoft Xbox One Beta Testing Kit XDK – Test.
    Available: 2 with Original Box!
    Price: € 1399 (Only $ 1500)

    Microsoft XBOX One XDK (Beta/Prototype) DEV/Development Kit with Original Development Box (Like New/Used). € 2349 ($ 2500 USD)
    (No software or tools are included in the price! No PayPal, Available only 2 kits!) More Pictures: http://goo.gl/AM6HmY

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    Microsoft XBOX One XDK (Beta) TEST/Testing Kit with Original Development Box (Like New/Used). € 1399 ($ 1500 USD)
    (No software are tools are included in the price! No PayPal, Available only 2 kits) More Pictures: http://goo.gl/WMTG6m

     


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    NOTE: For feedback and more info please check my eBay profile (ID: 20yearsofplay)

     

    For details, questions, please send private message, but don't ask me about "technical" questions as no information will be given.
    Note, these comes with QR codes, serial numbers and more, nothing was removed, I just removed these details from the images! not sure you will ever have another possibility to purchase this kit.
    We do not sign any NDA, we don’t have any contract and these kits are NOT more property of Microsoft as they allowed the re-sale and not return from the Devs.
    Let’s talk about "Real" Developers prices, we have $ 1700 for Test Kit and $ 3750 for Development Kit, this price does not include any ID support, just hardware.
    I don't have possibility to order more than these 4 kits, so this is the first and last time to you will see these for sale.
    Feel free to send me private message, or contact me directly at: XDK.development@gmail.com

     

    You can add me on Google+ as “Xbox One Development” or follow me here on eBay.

     

    Note before purchase




    No development software/tools are included, but you can find these online for free download.
    Items are located in Europe, of course I don’t keep these at home, but are ready to be send.
    Available also huge quantity of PlayStation 4 Development and Testing Kits for pre-order and some located in Europe ready to be send.
    You can also check my personal online store at this page: https://goo.gl/6CSR73 (copy and paste in your browser) to access the gallery and price list.

     

    Note about rumours (False)




    There are plenty of rumours going around about how easy and cheap it is to build for consoles… and with declining mobile app sales, this is what peaked my interest in the first place.
    First, a quick response for the many inaccurate “news articles” around the internet regarding console development.
    If you read “Any Xbox One can be a Development Kit” this is false!
    And according to the ID team, in 2016 Microsoft will be push Windows10 to Xbox One after it finishes releasing it on mobile and desktop, during this process, developers with Windows10 and Windows10 Universal applications can make changes to allow for Xbox One support - and Microsoft is hoping that Xbox One can be locally developer unlocked at that time.
    Right now they have a very limited amount of development systems, and have been only selecting larger companies with games ready to release at any minute.
    Another rumours is “Xbox One is targeting Indie Developers” another false news.
    This actually won’t be in effect until 2016, if ever! right now they are actively seeking games that are complete and “high volume” from publishers.
    What about the “Xbox One DevKit cost $ 500”? yes, also this one is false, there are not Dev/Test Kit for XB1 to cost $ 500 USD, development kits prices are protected by NDA, so you will not read all these prices around every media website if will be true.

     

    Thanks for reading and watching!

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    The enhanced learning of the regularity and structure of environments may act as a core mechanism by which action video game play influences performance in perception, attention, and cognition.
    Video games have an appeal that crosses many demographic boundaries, such as age, gender, ethnicity, or educational attainment. They can be used to help set goals and rehearse working toward them, provide feedback, reinforcement, self-esteem, and maintain a record of behavioral change.
    Their interactivity can stimulate learning, allowing individuals to experience novelty, curiosity and challenge that stimulates learning. There is the opportunity to develop transferable skills, or practice challenging or extraordinary activities, such as flight simulators, or simulated operations.

     

    Whether playing video games has negative effects is something that has been debated for 30 years, in much the same way that rock and roll, television, and even the novel faced similar criticisms in their time.
    Purported negative effects jocuri such as addiction, increased aggression, and various health consequences such as obesity and repetitive strain injuries tend to get far more media coverage than the positives.
    In a series of experiments on small numbers of gamers (10 to 14 people in each study), the researchers reported that gamers with previous experience of playing such action video games were better at perceptual tasks such as pattern discrimination than gamers with less experience.
    In another experiment, they trained gamers who had little previous experience of playing action games, giving them 50 hours practice. It was shown that these gamers performed much better on perceptual tasks than they had prior to their training. The paper concludes!


  6. A wonderfully wacky British TV show for us 'boffins' was The Secret Life of Machines. Try it - you won't be disappointed. You might have seen it in the US on TLC or Discovery, back when they showed good TV.

     

    Source: Excellent Early 80's series on microcomputers from the BBC

     

    It is a wonderful TV series - I videotaped a lot of it. But my videomachines have died on me and have not got a working replacement. It's quirky cartoons are more interesting to me, than South Park, or Family Guy, etc.

     

    Harvey

  7. sh3-rg
    Latest Entry

    So I started a new game for the Jaguar, preliminary title "Boingy Uppy". That name just might stick. Be warned.

    http://atariage.com/forums/topic/242697-wip-boingy-uppy/

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    I had been meaning to do this for a while now, show what I have been doing to restore the Grey Spectrum +2 I received around 3 months ago.

     

    First off I had to retro brite the machine, as most will know the whitish machines tend to go a yellowish brown, grey machines tend to go a dull moss green color.

     

    Retro Brite is a handy thing to know, everyone has their own technique and results can differ. However, I am going to do another blog within the next week dedicated to Retro Brite.

     

    So first off you need to clean the machine, I use the Cif Oxy Action kitchen spray cleaner to clean the old machines, I do both inside and out to make sure there is no lingering dust or old crud. This stuff is great, it removes old smells also, my black +2A stunk of cigarette smoke when I got it and cleaning with the Cif stuff after a few days the smell was gone.

     

    Machine issues when I first received it :

     

    Tape mechanism not spooling consistently
    Keyboard not working at all
    Missing feet (Cosmetic I know)
    TV not tuning correct to RF signal
    Having to hold power connector in place to keep power on
    Hit & miss boot menu

     

    So a few issues there that needed sorting alongside the retro brite.

     

    Thankfully here in the UK we have a great store for replacement Spectrum parts, as you can see in the pic I bought 4 rubber feet, a 9v power connector and a new drive belt from Dataserve Retro, all for a few pounds delivered.

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    I ordered a silver Sharpie to redo the lettering and will eventually get some satin silver model paint to make sure it is permanent, looks nice though doesn't it.

     

    First up with this project and good practice in general is replacing drive belts if something has been stood for a while. What you tend to find is the rubber becomes less springy and you get a kink in the belt where it has been sitting round the capstan connected to the motor.

     

    In this first picture you see the old belt removed and the new one sitting where it is going to be put.

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    On this second image the new belt is fitted and you can see the old belt on the left hand side, see the v shape at the bottom, that is where the belt has sat in position for numerous years round that small white spindle.

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    Next up was tackling the TV Out picture issue and the hit & miss issue of getting no boot menu.

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    On this next picture the large Amstrad chip was smothered in thermal paste, it was touching the legs joining them together and just everywhere, there was also an aftermarket heatsink added that wrapped around the chip one end to the other, this was stopping the legs sitting in the mount as deep as they should. So I lifted the chip from the socket and removed the heatsink then using surgical spirits removed all the thermal paste and refitted the chip back to factory standard.

     

    Little life hack here, if you have ran out of surgical spirits you can use anything that has alcohol in it. So in certain cases cheap aftershave, you know the stuff you tend to get for Christmas that either smells really bad or you use it as a daily aftershave. Alcohol content is 60% or higher with this stuff so can be used as a quick fix to clean heads and remove stuff like thermal paste.

     

    So now the chip has been remounted correctly time to investigate the snowy barely visible picture.

     

    That little silver colored box top left side is the RF (Radio Frequency - aka Co Axial) out. I opened the top of the box and after close inspection noticed a dry broken solder joint. Where the cable end sits in the fitting there is a resistor soldered to the board and onto the metal, this keeps the output signal clean. The solder had dried and cracked where it connected to the fitting. So a quick resolder onto where it was supposed to be and the picture issue sorted.

     

    Finally I had to work out why I had to add pressure to power connector. After doing a bit of research I found out that this was a common fault. Removing and putting back in damages the connector over time, hence why there is a reset switch on the left hand side of the machine. There is no need to hard reset by pulling the power out.

     

    So time to fire up the soldering iron again. After removing the old connector I tidied up the board connector on both front and rear. There was way to much flux on there and huge blobs of old dried out solder.

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    So after tidying everything up I was ready to attach the new 9v connector. A few minutes of careful soldering and job done.

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    Upon removing the keyboard membrane I noticed thick dust bunnies between the 2 layers of the film and under the keys. A membrane on Both Spectrum & Amiga computers is a clear plastic film usually a green color that has a circuit board on it with either copper or graphite connectors, this then connect to the motherboard. So a full clean with the Cif Oxy Action again and reconnecting thankfully solved the problem and no new membrane needed this time around.

     

    Just goes to show, when doing a project like this always start with the cleaning, it can sort a multitude of issues. Dust is not good with old machines, it causes static electricity and in turn static can damage components, components that are becoming increasingly hard to find.

     

    So now that the internals were all done time to attach the rubber feet and sort out power.

     

    Now this machine literally came as is, no leads at all so I needed to find a male to male RF lead (Not an issue I already have loads dotted about the place) but the power was a different matter.

     

    So I looked around on eBay and Amazon and came across the multi voltage wall adapters where you can change voltage and also select the different ends.

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    So I ordered 2 of those power adapters from Amazon, handy for stuff like Game Gear, Atari Lynx and various other household items. I forgot to include the additional connectors in the picture.

     

    Now after all this work the Grey Spectrum +2 should be good for many more years to come.

     

    Only 2 things that I cannot do with it now is the clear plastic on the tape deck, it has had a postcode scratched onto it and I can't buff it out, maybe look into a wet / dry sanding to sort that and above tape deck name and address is scratched onto case, barely noticeable but still there. Mind you those marks add character to the machine and show age.

    This blog entry is also on Colexions but decided to put it here on Atari Age for a wider audience :)

  8. This is my second time trying to post this.. the first time a browser glitch discarded my post, and I couldn't be bothered to type it up again. But now I feel like it. ;)

    With Super Space Acer nearing some form of completion after almost 25 years, my thoughts have turned to its final destination, which I'd always hoped was an arcade cabinet. I came close years ago with "SSA:DX", which was a emulation hack that replaced graphics, music, and some of the gameplay, but I lost interest in that approach. This version is much more likely to happen.

    I decided that since the ColecoVision version is the farthest along, and because I have relatively mature tools for it now, that I would base it on that. But I needed a JAMMA-based ColecoVision. So I started sketching, and after a few nights of running through scenarios, I came up with a compromise system that I'm pretty pleased with.

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    The starting point, of course, is the ColecoVision. That defined the memory map and the hardware base. Z80 CPU, SN76489 sound generator, and a TMS9918A VDP.

    The first thing to go was the VDP. Since I need RGB out for JAMMA, the 9918A is right out. It can be generated from the 9928 (as Baby Pac Man proved), but a simpler solution was to go straight to Matt Hagerty's F18A (codehackcreate.com), which is a plugin solution that doesn't require the external RAM. Even better, it has zero wait-state access, a built-in GPU, and extended graphics modes, while offering nearly 100% compatibility. As a finished, ready-to-go product, it was the ideal choice that offers a free upgrade to boot (and it can be installed in real ColecoVisions too). It outputs VGA, so will require a small amount of work to output 15Khz RGB for JAMMA - I'm working with Matt on what that will take. But that's just an FPGA stream change, the hardware is good.

    The F18A has an additional benefit - like the 9918A it generates two clocks. One is suitable for driving the Z80, and the other is suitable for driving the sound chips. That saves on clock generation circuitry. I also planned for a VHDL change to allow software to double the CPU clock, allowing for a faster Z80 to be in place.

    Next I looked at memory expansion. The ColecoVision memory map has 24k of space between the BIOS and the cartridge, so filling that was obvious. At that point, I wondered about the OpCode Games Super Game Module. I thought it would be nice to have the support of a developer like that, so maybe I could adopt his memory map.

    It made things a little more complicated. My original memory map broke things into 16k chunks, but this requires that the first 8k also be pagable. The BIOS needs to go in and go out. After some research, I also found there were some bad feelings over people using the Megacart cartridge scheme (which I also wanted to adopt), and wondered if that would extend here.

    After much consideration and several designs, I finally compromised. I went back to my 16k pages, but I made paging the BIOS out and replacing it with RAM compatible with the SGM method (which itself is based on the Adam paging). This has two benefits - for one, my system will fail Opcode SGM system detection, meaning unauthorized titles won't "just work", but the actual code to make them work remains familiar to SGM developers, on the off chance anyone else is interested in this. ;) To me, that's the right answer.

    The upper half of the memory map contains the cartridge ROM. Since I am familiar with the Megacart and have a toolchain for it, that's what I wanted to use. The first 16k of cartridge space is fixed, and the second is pagable. I preserved this scheme, but in order to both reduce the hardware and eliminate potential bad feelings, I leave the banks non-inverted compared to the Megacart scheme (that is, bank 0 selects the first bank on the EPROM, not the last one). This also means that ROMs don't need to be built for the exact right sized EPROM like Megacart ROMs do - they will mirror properly. At the same time, the techniques and actual code paths for Megacart software does not need to change, so it remains familiar to developers and my existing tools will continue to work for me. Unlike Megacart, I also opted to go with 256 pages instead of 64, giving a maximum space of 4MB (this might break some existing megacart titles if they don't have enough space at the end of a page, but again, it's not hard for the developer to work around).

    So this produced a system that was largely compatible with the ColecoVision, but expanded, with a 16k BIOS, 16k RAM, and 32k cartridge space. In addition, the BIOS can be swapped with another 16k RAM giving 32k total, and the cartridge space can be paged up to 4MB.
    The Adam paging scheme for the BIOS range uses two bits, so I decided to fill in the unused two settings with two halves of a 32k NVRAM, for high score saving. This is a stretch goal that I'm not 100% certain of yet, but it's not hard to add.

    With the memory map and video defined, I still had one more thing to look at before closing the book on the SGM. The SGM added the MSX sound chip, an AY-3-8910 (presumably to make MSX ports easier). The port that it lives on is unused in my design, so again as a stretch goal, I added it to the system. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this one, we'll see how it plays out.

    An important part of hardware developing is debug, so I wanted to add a serial UART for printing debug messages to a console. After a little research, I settled on the FT2232 - this is a very nice USB serial interface chip with a parallel output suitable for CPU interface. I can basically drop it on a port and have bi-directional serial communication over USB - very nice option for modern systems.

    Finally, the controllers. Settling on the wiring for the controllers was probably the hardest part of the design - and the least compatible with the ColecoVision.

    The hardware interface itself I left identical. This only made sense, to be compatible with existing libraries and even existing software. (However, it's a bit of a mess, requiring three port ranges, and overlapping the sound chip! Yikes.) But since JAMMA systems don't have keypads, I completely discarded the keypad concept and replaced its bits with discrete buttons.

    Using spare pins on the JAMMA harness it's simple to get 5 buttons per player, and there were enough inputs for this, so I did. (I had a game that did so back in the day, the spares are right there beside the mapped buttons). There are also enough bits for separate start buttons and coin inputs. So far as service switches, I mapped test, tilt and service. There's technically one bit spare.

    One unknown I need to test is whether monitoring the coin inputs via software will work -- I may need an external latch to ensure the coins are never missed. I don't want to rely on maskable interrupts and the NMI is already owned by the VDP - but an external latch is easy to add if needed.

    Since there were a good number of available bits for inputs (16 bits per player), I also mirrored the buttons on the two reads. Reading the joystick side, you get the four directions plus B1 and B2, like normal. Reading the keypad side, you get all 5 buttons plus Start (including B1 and B2). This may help reduce load on systems that only care about one or the other, or not. It didn't really hurt. Note that since I don't encode patterns like the keypad does, ColecoVision's B3 and B4 is not the same as mine.

    Finally, there was the input. I really wanted to just be able to drop in a big EPROM, and I chose 4MB because that was the biggest DIP EPROM I know of. I'm still wavering on this - and the ROM source may end up being a flash on the PCB instead, updated via software. The USB port makes that easier, at least! The memory mapper takes the BIOS from this space as well, meaning that every update can replace the BIOS too - the BIOS can then contain the ColecoVision BIOS if it needs that to run, or can simply contain more game code.

    So far I have most of the circuitry worked out on paper, except I haven't selected latches for the controllers or designed the amp (I might just use an external amp anyway). I'm starting the schematic capture. I'm hoping by mid next year to have a prototype running (maybe sooner if I just hack a ColecoVision, but I want to test my circuitry). My biggest uncertainty is whether to build the final units with discrete logic, or use an FPGA for all the glue (and probably the sound chips, too). The FPGA approach will certainly go faster, and it'll still have a real Z80 on board. It will also simplify the board a lot - the current discrete design is 21 chips, and that doesn't include off-board interfaces. With an FPGA I can take it down to 7. That's really the strongest argument in favor, but it feels like cheating. ;)

  9. After visiting relatives and having to fix their antenna cables I looked at the masthead amplifier for their antenna. It amplifies the signal coming from the antenna (duh).

     

    Because of where it is located the power and the signal travel through the same cable much like the studio ii. The voltage and current are a little different but it essentially does the same thing

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    blog-0275323001434392678.jpg3-Year-Old Writes Letters To His Dead Dog And Gets A Response…

     

    OK, I am going to warn you right now, get your tissues out. Even the coldest of you who came here today just to check out pic number 40 and accidently clicked on this article might get a little bit verklempt. That’s because a three year old boy named Luke Westbrook in Norfolk, Virginia wrote letters to his recently deceased pet dog, Moe.

    read more here

    http://faymouri.blogspot.com/2015/06/3-year-old-writes-letters-to-his-dead.html

     

  10. I had the goal for the revive mode being done for this Sunday, but since I added Revive, added GameOver, added 2nd player and implemented the console switches... I might as well do an update now :D

     

    blogentry-4460-0-74991900-1432839011_thumb.png

     

    Left Difficulty will eventually turn on/off the background music if I get around to adding any. It sets it's flag properly but there's obviously no sound in the game yet. Sound effects will be unaffected by this setting.

     

    Right Difficulty only matters in a 2-player game. It allows a player that's lost all it's lives to steal a life from the other player if set to Expert. To do so, they have to press both fire buttons during the active or revive modes. It won't work between waves since that'll complicate things a bit, and obviously it won't work during gameover since neither player should have any lives left if you get to that state.

     

    Reset will warm boot the game using "reboot".

     

    Select will move the game to Title Screen instead. Since both the intro section ("Loading...") and Title screen are just place holders for now these don't really have much of a difference. When I get to highscore saving/loading that would be done during the intro section.

     

    The pause function is just whatever's built in to 7800basic for now.

     

    I'll try to work on a temp but less placeholdery Title screen next so that you can actually select a new game properly, change from a 1 player game to a 2 player game, etc. It won't be fancy.

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    Mountain King
    Latest Entry

    testing

  11. Hey guys, thanks for the 150+ blog views! I am a very big fan of Pitfall! and I hate Pac-Man.

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    waterMELONE
    Latest Entry

    To welcome you to my blog, here is a hacked rom that works for ataroid and any other Atari emulator!Pac-Man (Enhanced Hack).bin

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    moviestarplanet hack v1.1

     

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    The Usotsuki
    Latest Entry

    I've never been much of a game programmer by myself, and oftentimes I need a hand writing stuff.

     

    Lately, I've found out about a couple so-called "sprite cards" that add a TMS9918 video display processor to the stock Apple ][, and this got me thinking, would people be interested in this stuff, if there were software for it? So I figured I'd try to fill that void, but although I didn't find it particularly hard to understand most of the TMS9918, and I don't get stuck writing stuff like demos and terminal code for it, I tried writing two very basic games (Pac-Man and Flappy Bird) and got stuck because I just couldn't figure out what I was doing... I really think it would work better to have someone else be like, well, this is what should happen, and I try to implement that. :/

     

    Not like I haven't, at all, figured it out.

     

    uKLQGoi.png

     

    For example, for Flappy Bird I have a working sprite, and I've got moving ground. I've got the graphics for the pipes. But I can't figure out how to decide, oh, this is how the level should be laid out, this is what you want to display. And so my head explodes.

     

    For Pac-Man, I'd really rather try translating Z80 code, if I understood Z80 and how it worked. There's a lot of great arcade ports out there that run on Z80-based systems with the TMS9918 and AY8910 (or the similar SN76489), so the only major barrier is that I'm running on a system with a 6502, not a Z80. I'd love to be able to make use of what's already there rather than reinvent the wheel.

  12. wongojack
    Latest Entry

    So it seems that I've been taking an annual "staycation" to play video games since 2009. Holy Fnck, that means I've been doing this for SEVEN years! This tradition started in Jan of 2009 when my wife and I had been basically ripped off by a contractor we paid to remodel our home. He stole about 17k from us and we ended up with no kitchen and no money for a while.

     

    When I say, we had no kitchen, I mean it. Everything was gutted while we waited for cabinets that would never come. We needed to lick our wounds, forget about our troubles and not spend very much money. So, we decided to deliberately invest time in some of the entertainment we'd purchased but never consumed. We both quickly isolated what we wanted was a vacation to play video games and eat things we could heat up in a toaster (which was sitting on our fireplace in the living room).

     

    During the first staycation, I had a backlog of AAA titles I wanted to play: Mass Effect, Bioshock, Twilight Princess, God of War II. I set a timer for myself for about 60 mins. When the timer went off, I'd switch to a different game in the rotation. I realized early that one hour was really too short and upped it to 90 mins where it has stayed for 7 years.

     

    Fast forward and the staycation has had a different flavor from year to year, but it has always been about video games. I've used different selection criteria to come up with the list each time, but this year I chose to favor variations in genres. Last year I played a lot of open world games and it was just too much, so I wanted to be sure I chose different types of games.

     

    My staycation list looked something like this:

    1st Tier

    *Super Mario Galaxy 97 (3d Plat)

    *Guacamele 81 (2d Plat)

    *Halo4 91 (FPS)

    *Brothers ATOTS 90 (Indie Story)

    *Infamous 2 83 (3rd Open World)

    *Haunted Adventure Trilogy (Classic)

    2nd Tier

    Tomb Raider (3rd Action)

    Bioshock 2 (FPS/Horror)

    Skyrim (RPG/Action)

    *Stanley Parable (Indie Story)

    MT Punch Out (Classic)

    Punch Out (Classic Remake)

    I've learned to make a 2nd tier in case I really just don't like a game, or I get through it quickly and want to fill its spot in the rotation with something else. The number on the right is the metacritic score for the game. These are games that I own, but have never gotten around to playing. I mostly sort my options by review score, but I'll make exceptions if I just don't trust the review score, or there is something further down on the list that I know I want to play.

    I found that the variety of genres was very welcome. It even let me deal with some of the less enjoyable parts of some of the games, knowing I was going to move on to a complete different genre for the next game, and that helped to limit frustration quite a bit.

    I "finished" every game with an asterix next to it either during the staycation or in the few subsequent weeks after. Here are some two sentence reviews and a grade (best is 5).

    1)
    Super Mario Galaxy
    5/5 - Playing SMG is like visiting a carnival where the games are actually fun and the variety makes you feel like you are having a new experience with each level. I was blown away by the deep design that went into this game, and I still have many stars to go back and collect.

    2)
    Guacamele
    5/5 - The very forgiving checkpoint system may turn off a lot of 2d plat fans, but I found it to be the game's greatest strength. Never frustrating, Guacamele introduces clever fighting combos that make sense and give you plenty of ways to creatively dispatch your foes.

    3)
    Halo 4
    3/5 - Yes, the robot falls in love . . . . I mean, I guess that is what happened, right? The campaign is more of what you'd expect from Halo, but they do a nice job of mixing in vehicle combat.

    4
    )
    Brothers A Tale of Two Sons
    5/5 - This is only going to take you 6 hours max unless you really stretch it. The story worked for me, and I liked the unique control scheme.

    5)
    Infamous 2
    4/5 - The game does a great job of letting you feel you are in control of a superhuman, badass, free-running, American Jason Statham. The gameplay can be varied if you work at it, but the negatives are that there is a lot of repetition and the story, while somewhat compelling, isn't anything you are going to care about once the PS3 is turned off.

    6)
    Haunted Adventure Trilogy
    4/5 - While HA1 is a very obvious hack, HA2 is an almost completely unique game. Forgiving the core gameplay mechanic of maze memorization, the only real knock on these is the dependence on the easter egg triggering pixel and the fact that the randomizing enemy really turns up the challenge level (sometimes past fun).

    7)
    The Stanley Parable
    2/5 - The game works as a vehicle to deliver a lecture on game design. I think when it came out people were hungry for self-aware indie games, but I think its moment has passed.

     

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    About a year ago, I listed some ST stuff on Craigslist and was soon contacted by an interested party who at first wanted me to deliver the items to his home. I do a lot of selling (and buying) via Craigslist, and for safety reasons, I do MOST of my transactions in public places (in front of supermarkets, etc.) Obviously, when purchasing furniture or appliances, this isn't really an option, but that's neither here nor there in this case.

     

    I explained my usual transaction policy to the buyer and while his responses were a bit iffy, we eventually decided to meet at a bus stop up the road from his house (apparently he doesn't own a car). After a couple weeks of failures to coordinate a meeting, a friend of mine expressed interest in the items and I wound up selling them to him instead. Hey, it's Craigslist, things happen... I apologized to the guy, he expressed some irrational anger and then things went quiet.

     

    A couple weeks ago, I listed a boxed 1040STf for sale and lo' and behold, I was contacted by that same potential buyer. He once again tried to get me to deliver the computer to his home, and after I clarified my standard transaction policy, he grumbled, but eventually agreed that we could meet up. That reply contained enough odd commentary (mainly about me being paranoid) that I should have spotted the red flag then and there.

     

    Earlier this week, we made arrangements to meet up at 6:30pm (after I got off work) in front of a nearby PetSmart store. The evening before the transaction, I E-mailed to confirm everything and informed him that the computer was in my car and that I would be there AT 6:30pm.

     

    Last night, I drove straight to the store, found a parking space RIGHT IN FRONT of it, and parked my car (note, I did tell him what car I drove and what I looked like). I arrived at 6:15... I stood outside in the cold waiting for him until 6:50! He never arrived. I checked my E-mail to see if he sent anything... Nothing. Finally, I went in to a couple stores, bought some items, came out to check the parking lot TWICE, and then left. I had a dinner arranged for 7pm.

     

    When I got home, I discovered an insulting, angered, and threatening E-mail from the guy in my InBox. He called me names, he said he was there until 6:40 and didn't see me (lies, of course), he said he saw my car as I left, wrote down my license plate number and intends to do a background check to find me, he even threatened me with physical violence and said that I must be selling stolen goods!

     

    Yes, THAT escalated quickly!!!

     

    Anyway, I have a string of E-mails from the guy, and his name and personal address... And yes, I will be contacting the police.

     

    One of the funniest things about the entire deal (if you can find anything amusing here) is that he threatened to "blacklist" me among the local vintage computer community. I know a LOT of the guys here and we're all friends... Good luck with that buddy!

     

    Just some Atari-related nonsense for the New Year that I thought I should share with you all!

     

    Anyone interested in a 1040STf in box with foam inserts, but no mouse??? :)

  13. With this handy tool from Frankenstein, made in 1992, you can create your own OS and BASIC ROM dumps.

     

    Boot the ATR, start ROMSAVER.COM, insert an empty disk and press start.

    The tool writes OS.ROM (16K) and BASIC.ROM (8K).

     

    Good luck!

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  15. Another long gap between posts, but... another milestone hit.

     

    Today Rebooteroids ran for the first time from a production Jagtopus board, complete with all high score tables (4 of them) and all game options (control config/audio settings/etc) saved to the card EEPROM chip.

     

    Since the last update there have been many changes/fixes/additions, some of which are below:

     

    The boot loader intro has been completed.

    Name entry and high score screens added.

    Interlaced High Resolution title picture added.

    Multi-player Co-Operative mode has been added (For main game and skirmish)

    Multip-layer Kombateroids has been finalized, complete with a config screen and 10 battlemaps for head to head action.

    A code entry screen has been added (cheats, hidden stuff, etc)

    Extra config for rotary to give even more (finer) adjustment for different spinners.

    Several bugs have been documented, located and squished.

     

    Phew!

     

    More news on the Reboot Facebook page as it happens.

     

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