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New England Classing Gaming meet up in April 2024


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This past Saturday, March 23, 2024, I met Eduardo Mello, the mastermind behind Opcode Games. Turns out he does not live far from me. He expressed interest in reacquiring some of the 2600 CONNECTION newsletters that I published. I still offer the issues in printed book form, so I hooked him up with all 4 volumes ( issues #1 - 100 ) We decided to meet up in person in Mansfield, Massachusetts.

 

I had already met Caleb Garner, who runs 8-bit widgets. I asked him to join us as well so he could meet Eduardo.

 

We met and chatted for 3 hours. I am amazed by the talents and skills that these gentlemen have.

 

Eduardo is a creative programmer who has found an amazing technique to push the Colecovision to heights I have never seen before. 

 

Caleb is an energetic inventor / creator of things with a 3-D printer. He is not afraid to try and tweak and perfect. 

 

These guys are so smart. I enjoyed the time spent with them because I learned a lot.

 

We are going to meet up again in April. If anyone is in the Boston / Mansfield, Massachusetts or Providence, Rhode Island area and you would like to join us, please let me know!

 

 

I had the idea of resurrecting the New England Classing Gaming User Group name. It has been dormant for some time.

Both Ed and Caleb liked the idea...

 

Perhaps we can pick a Saturday in April and agree to meet up and trade items. Sort of like a swap meet.

 

Your thoughts?  Would you like to join us?

 

 

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Caleb is taking the picture. Eduardo is on the left, Tim on the right.

 

 

Edited by timdu
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  • 2 weeks later...

I have good news!

 

Caleb and Eduardo and myself are resurrecting the New England Classing Gaming User Group!

 

The first meeting will be on:

 

Saturday, April 27 from 11:00am - 2:00pm

 

Norfolk Public Library, in the large meeting room

2 Liberty Lane

Norfolk, MA 02056

 

We agreed on the location because it is central to the  Boston area, Rhode Island, and the Southcoast of Mass.

And they agreed to allow us to utilize the facility.

 

I will be giving a presentation about the homebrew game I created and published. "MEAN SANTA: from an idea to a finished product"


Caleb will be giving a demonstration of his ADAM computer and the various tricked-out peripherals for it.

 

Come and join us!   let's plan on bringing a bag or box of some items to swap / sell at the meeting as well.

 

thanks, and hope to see you there!

 

-Tim Duarte 

 

 

 

 

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On 4/6/2024 at 3:48 PM, Zeptari said:

If this ever turns into a swap meet please let me know. That is all.

It is a swap meet.  Tim is just saying sort of because it's not JUST a swap meet.  We're going to be demoing various retro technology as well as modern innovations for classic hardware.  Likely some vendors of some sort as well, so buy / trade / sell is all possible.  

 

Also, yes it's totally free.  No fees or anything.  

Edited by 8bitwidgets.com
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Oh wow! I live on the border of Mansfield and could have probably walked to the last one :)

 

As the developer of ColecoDS and the resident emulator guy... I feel like I'd be the odd-man out here (carrying around my Coleco and ADAM in my pocket with a few thousand games) - but maybe I'll pop in if only to remind myself what real hardware looks like :) 

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Cool, all are welcome.  :)   This is actually going to be our first one at least since the group had gone away for some period of time.  Before my time.  Maybe one of the upcoming events you could give a presentation on emulation creation.  I think this house is big enough for everyone :)    I use emulation for homebrew learning / development.  Also plenty of MAME and other emulation interests here. 

 

Thanks,
Caleb

 

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9 hours ago, wavemotion said:

Oh wow! I live on the border of Mansfield and could have probably walked to the last one :)

 

As the developer of ColecoDS and the resident emulator guy... I feel like I'd be the odd-man out here (carrying around my Coleco and ADAM in my pocket with a few thousand games) - but maybe I'll pop in if only to remind myself what real hardware looks like :) 

Hi DaveB!  Yes, I hope you will come by! I am a fan of your work! I will bring my Nintendo DSi! I'm right handed so this handheld console is kind of awkward for me.

I will also bring an SD card. Maybe you can show it to me and load the latest and greatest on it and others at the gathering can try it out!

 

Tim

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I think most DS users are right-handed (including me) - if only because most people are right-handed :)

 

I think you prefer the directional on your dominant hand - there were some players back in the early days of the arcade that would cross their hands so their right hand would control the joystick. Most arcade control panels were designed with the joystick to the left and buttons to the right (see Galaxian, 1979, below for a fairly typical layout) and a few games were kind enough to give buttons on either side of the joystick for player preference.

 

MikesArcade.com - Galaga Control Panel Complete

 

Nintendo and Sega who owned the markets from 1985 onwards settled on the d-pad to the right and buttons to the left which is how the DS is laid out.

 

Directions to the right is not for everybody, though it's been the trend for 40 years after the first generation of consoles. I think we all have a natural preference for which hands controls the directions. Interestingly enough, with a Colecovision, I do cradle the controller in my left hand and use my right for directions (mostly because that was the picture in the manual) - though I have become accustomed to using the NES, SNES and Genesis gamepads over the years. I guess I'm a switch-hitter :

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On 4/18/2024 at 7:16 AM, wavemotion said:

see Galaxian, 1979, below for a fairly typical layout

I still find this amazing..  to me this is left handed..  and as a lefty this always felt correct for me..   the 2600 joystick for example.. that was right handed..  tron.. and discs of tron.. those were right handed games..  

 

I guess in their minds fire buttons were more important to be controlled by the dominant hand?  

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5 hours ago, 8bitwidgets.com said:

I still find this amazing..  to me this is left handed..  and as a lefty this always felt correct for me..   the 2600 joystick for example.. that was right handed..  tron.. and discs of tron.. those were right handed games..  

 

I guess in their minds fire buttons were more important to be controlled by the dominant hand?  

Or 90% of us would be at a disadvantage.... More quarters.  LOL

 

It is funny, I am right-handed, but it never bothered me to play the games with left-handed controls.

However, if I play Pacman or QBert, I will play them right-handed. So, I guess I would have liked all the games to have been right-handed.  

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On 4/18/2024 at 5:16 AM, wavemotion said:

I think most DS users are right-handed (including me) - if only because most people are right-handed :)

 

I think you prefer the directional on your dominant hand - there were some players back in the early days of the arcade that would cross their hands so their right hand would control the joystick. Most arcade control panels were designed with the joystick to the left and buttons to the right (see Galaxian, 1979, below for a fairly typical layout) and a few games were kind enough to give buttons on either side of the joystick for player preference.

 

MikesArcade.com - Galaga Control Panel Complete

 

Nintendo and Sega who owned the markets from 1985 onwards settled on the d-pad to the right and buttons to the left which is how the DS is laid out.

 

Directions to the right is not for everybody, though it's been the trend for 40 years after the first generation of consoles. I think we all have a natural preference for which hands controls the directions. Interestingly enough, with a Colecovision, I do cradle the controller in my left hand and use my right for directions (mostly because that was the picture in the manual) - though I have become accustomed to using the NES, SNES and Genesis gamepads over the years. I guess I'm a switch-hitter :

 

That's Galaga I think,  But your point is well taken... Galaxian has that left side joystick as well...

 

Remember TARG and Spectar?

 

hqdefault.jpg    targ-47947.jpg

 

Totally Right handed!

 

And Frenzy and Berzerk?

 

Frenzy_CP_Original_1.jpg   22.jpg?w=700

 

Right Handed!*

 

*But can also accommodate lefties.

 

What's my point?  I don't think I have one,....well...Maybe,...The NES,  which I love BTW, along with Turbografx, SNES, and Genesis, etc,  and the rest (that followed) were left handed controllers!  But it's all good sometimes it's good to be more ambidextrous  (In your thinking too and activating the other half of your brain)...

 

 

 

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I've heard the theory that they switched to make it more difficult for the player - but I'm not sold on that. Nintendo and Sega owned the market from 1985 on and their offerings for home consoles placed the directionals on the left. Sony had no choice but to follow a decade later or risk their offering going down in flames. By the time Microsoft came along, there was already a full generation of players who wouldn't know what to do with the joystick/joypad on the right.

 

Games also became more complicated - with the advent of the JAMMA arcade standard and the rise of fighting games, there were often more buttons than directionals. I subscribe to the theory that it's easier to slide in a direction with the non-dominat hand and produce complex series of button pushes with the dominant hand. I couldn't imagine playing something like Street Fighter with the panel reversed.  

 

Whatever the cause - there was a shift around 1982 (though plenty of left-joystick control panels existed before this on very popular games).  

 

When I built my arcade controllers on my MAME setup, I do provide for two buttons to the left of a joystick and six to the right (Street Fighter!) so some of the simple arcade games from the early days can be played either way. I also place the 4-way joystick in the center (between the 8-way joysticks) so it's equally usable in whatever configuration a player wants. 

 

 

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On 4/17/2024 at 5:36 PM, timdu said:

I will bring my Nintendo DSi! I'm right handed so this handheld console is kind of awkward for me.

Hey Tim - I know you're looking to unload your DSi - hopefully someone will take you up on it!  

 

I think if you showed your system playing a game or two in the Buy/Sell forums here, you would move it quickly enough. With just my emulators alone (covering 7 classic systems), the buyer would have access to about 10,000 classic games.

 

image.png.be1757ce45d10d4ab65f19959fb33e53.png

 

A buyer might even be willing to reform old habits :) 

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2 hours ago, 1980gamer said:

Or 90% of us would be at a disadvantage..

brilliant!  jones.. finish that line of coke and make all joysticks on the left side!  

 

1 hour ago, GoldLeader said:

But it's all good sometimes it's good to be more ambidextrous 

As a lefty I wanted to play guitar left handed (strum with left hand) but my dad, also a lefty, and a professional musician insisted I learn right handed, which once i got past was kinda cool because I was doing the finger work with my left hand, though I'm no Joe Satriani I still think it made my experience in making music more interesting.

 

1 hour ago, wavemotion said:

switched to make it more difficult for the player

yea i agree, i don't see them doing that on purpose. In fact I did some googling and this appears to be the reason, at least for the NES:

 

The famous Nintendo controller was designed in part by Gunpei Yokoi, who was responsible for the d-pad being on the left. Japanese games were different from American games at the time in that Japanese games tended to be much faster paced and had much more "action", so Japanese arcades tended to have joysticks on the left.

 

1 hour ago, wavemotion said:

I also place the 4-way joystick in the center (between the 8-way joysticks)

Yea that makes a ton of sense to have two joysticks since virtually any 4 way joystick game probably doesn't even have a fire button or if it does.. like.. one.. :)

 

1 hour ago, wavemotion said:

I will bring my Nintendo DSi!

I have a DS lite.  Is it difficult to install emulators on it?  Or even possible?  

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15 minutes ago, 8bitwidgets.com said:

I have a DS lite.  Is it difficult to install emulators on it?  Or even possible?  

The DS-Lite is a great little handheld... I have one myself. Since it doesn't have the SD card slot of a DSi (or DSi XL/LL or 2DS/3DS) you would need a flash cart. They are super cheap these days... under $20 for sure.

 

They are almost always knock-offs or clones of the venerable R4 card. And it's a bit of a scam these days as they are all labeled slightly differently and they make it seem like they have special abilities but really they are all exactly the same with a different knock-off sticker on the outside.

 

This is the brand I got ... super cheap Chinese knock-off of the original R4. I have the white and another gold one (both of mine are from 2019 - they update the year as if you're getting something 'new' but that's not accurate).

 

image.png.bce9cf3bbffa2817fb808d7822c680b3.png

 

 

 

The DS-Lite (and original DS-Phat) are running at the original 67MHz with only 4MB of RAM. My emulators all run on such a unit but with some trade-offs. For ColecoDS, it will still run virtually everything for the Coleco, ADAM, MSX, SG-1000, SordM5, etc. with the main difference being that for Super Games I have to turn on a very light frameskip (showing 3 of 4 frames) that shouldn't really be noticiable. I also can't support more than 64K of expanded memory for the ADAM emulation (with the DSi and above I can give you 2MB of expanded RAM). Again... probably a non-issue for most people - nobody is using ColecoDS to do any serious development under T-DOS!

 

For some of my other emulators, I cut back a bit on the sound quality to get the speed needed for the older DS units (vs the DSi and above). It's generally still an enjoyable experience - and many people prefer the feel of a DS-Lite vs DSi (I happen to like the DSi XL/LL for the larger size).

 

All DS-Lite, Phat and DSi units use the same screen resolution of 256x192. This is 1:1 pixel-perfect to the TMS9918/28 VDP on the Coleco and Adam (and MSX1, etc) so it will look nice on any of the older handhelds.

 

My favorite of the units is the DSi XL/LL (USA vs Japan model - no other differences). This is a larger physical screen (but same resolution) with an SD card slot so it's trivial to run something like Twilight Menu++ on an SD card with no modifications needed to the actual unit. The larger screen also has a slower refresh rate which more closely mimics the phosphor fad of a TV. It's a enjoyable portable experience for me - your mileage may vary!

 

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Oh cool... not seen that cart before. Whatever you do, don't format the microSD unless you have a backup of the kernel files. It can sometimes be hard to find just the right kernel to boot the card.

 

If (and I'm far from sure) it's close enough to an R4 card, you could just try putting one of my emulators in the root directory.  For ColecoDS, go to my page: https://github.com/wavemotion-dave/ColecoDS and download the ColecoDS.nds file - that's the only file you need with all the emulation baked in. You will also need BIOS files - I don't supply them for obvious reasons. At a minimum, coleco.rom placed, preferably, in the directory:  /roms/bios  (all my emulators will look there first).

 

And then put your games/programs wherever... though the 'cool kids' put them in /roms/coleco which is where the emulator will look first - otherwise you have to browse around.

 

I'd be interested to know if it works on that cart... I could see the chances being 50/50.

 

And sorry to hijack the thread a bit... you can contact me via PM if you have questions.

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42 minutes ago, wavemotion said:

It can sometimes be hard to find just the right kernel to boot the card

yea i gotcha there, i've not put in a computer to see if i could read it but i'm pretty sure it should be just a typical fat32 setup

 

cool about the stuff! 

 

yea no worries about the thread.  Hopefully between now and then people see the subject at all :)    This might just be like 4-5 folks, but I think over time this will grow as people learn about it.  

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@wavemotion I am 90% sure I will be going.  If I bring my DSi and 3DS with me, can you help me configure your TI99 and Intellivision EMUs?

I haven't used my handhelds for a while, I basically use them when I travel.  But adding these would be pretty awesome.  I do have a few flash carts.  I need to dig them out.

 

To the rest, I have a bunch of games for the intellivision and colecovision that I want to sell, should I bring them along?  Mostly homebrew.

I have moved to mostly emulation at this point.  Many devs are selling roms these days.  Takes up much less space.  ;)  

 

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@1980gamer bring a box of bag of items that you would like to sell / trade. I would like to see what Coleco homebrews you have to offer. 
 

@wavemotion I will bring my DSi with me. And a 2GB SD card … I would like to get the latest and greatest of your software package for it. I know what you mean about crossing my hands ; I have done that technique in arcades.  lol

 

unless there is a way to hook up an external controller to the DSi, I cannot use this little device.  It’s too bad.  Seems like it would be nice ….if only  was left handed 

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1 hour ago, timdu said:

@wavemotion I will bring my DSi with me. And a 2GB SD card … I would like to get the latest and greatest of your software package for it.

It's really just as simple as copying the .nds file on top of the existing one for each of my emulators. There are no other files needed - and they are all available at my github page.

 

However, spending time upgrading the emulators on a device that you can't use feels like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic :) 

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Had a good time meeting everyone today.

It was a great facility and looking forward to meeting again.

 

Got a sneak peek of new hardware (and games), very impressed, I will not talk about it here.  The creator will reveal it when the time is right.

 

Gene

 

Oh.. Also looking forward to trying my TI99/4A creations on my DSi.

 

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Posted (edited)

Yes, a big thank you to the folks at the Norfolk Public Library.  What an awesome meeting room they have!

 

We plan to meet again in June. Will post the date once I get confirmation for the reservation of the room from the staff at the library.

 

I saw the new hardware too and I think that is going to be awesome!

 

It was a lot of fun and Dave AKA wavemotion kindly gave me a SD card for my DSi and I have now decided to keep it.

I am not going to sell my DSi now that it has all these fantastic emulators on it...  AND IT FITS IN THE PALM OF MY HAND!    

 

Amazing work, Dave!

 

We took a group picture, minus a different Dave ( who had to leave early )

 

I believe Dave said he will post it here!

 

thanks again everyone... It was a lot of fun today!

 


Tim

 

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