A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Monday, May 13, 2013

More Fun With the Commodore 1084 Monitor!

A while back in my Atari 8 bit project, I covered our main solution to video display, the mighty Commodore 1084 Monitor.  http://wargamedork.blogspot.com/2011/11/lets-play-party-like-its-1987-lets_19.html  (If you want to go back and look.)

And even further back I covered various video options for the Super Nintendo : http://wargamedork.blogspot.com/2010/07/retro-video-game-video-part-1-quick.html

Well, the Commodore 1084 (sadly mine isn't the boss as hell S Stereo model.  Heck, I believe I spotted one of those in Paranormal Activity 3.  It was like the only good thing about that movie.  And I didn't even have to pay to see it!  That or I am a really big dork.) continues to prove it's worth.  Those composite/Chroma/Luma cables on the back continue to be my friend.

I did both Chroma/Luma and Composite tests with the Genesis that came out quite nice to the point I am not sure which is which:

I didn't write down which one was which but.. both look very good.  See, the Genesis has the same video out pin system as the Atari 8 bit so I gave it a try and it works.  Sadly the S Video cable from the Atari did not seem to work with my October 89 Genesis.  Oh well.  I can play Genesis and Master System and Sega CD titles nicely now.

Yet there is another system I can muck about with that I have a cable that does let me do S Video.  I already said which one, the SNES.

So I hooked up this Gamestop Universal Cable Thingie I got for under 10 bucks a couple years ago and saw if my SNES would be groovy with it.  Now, I am unsure if it is doing proper Chroma/Luma inputs or standard Stereo A/V Composite.  It does have S Video output though.  So maybe?

Well, with my shoddy camera pointed at the screen and a couple of recent retro pickups, let us see how it looks eh?

(As always, click for larger.)
 Batman Returns was my first try.  Now the colors and brightness had to be adjusted, which the 1084 makes a snap.  However with a proper suite of vivid colors and a fair brightness there is a little bit of color bleed.  But.. it is sharp and crisp even as a camera pointed at the screen.  I mean the text is all fully readable.

 The character select screen for Ninja Warriors (a hidden classic IMHO).  Plenty of sharp detail here too.

 The Kunoichi's reds kind of bleed a lot but.. tons of detail and all the text is readable.

 Heck, you can see the buttons on the telephones!   I had trouble getting any cool action shots as the game dims when you pause.  So the few shots I could get were ones without anything going on.

 Me about to beat the final boss (after a half dozen or more tries to figure out his gimmick).  

 And the blue Ninja character in Hard mode.  Again a little bleed on the bright blue but otherwise it is sharp and clean.

Mode 7 scaling and rotation graphics look good too!  Some bleed on the bright red biplane but you can make out pixels and everything.

So a good monitor with RGB, Composite, and Chroma/Luma inputs like the Commodore 1084 can be a great authentic feeling while still looking good solution to much of your retro gaming and computing needs.

Perhaps I will cover this again soon with more Genesis/SMS titles and maybe even test out some light guns? Possibly the Nintendo 64 which also uses the same video output plug as the SNES as does the Gamecube?  Maybe even get the Super Game Boy and compare the Game Boy Gamecube player and the SNES one?  Maybe do a little 3d polygonal test with the 32x, SuperFX Chip games, and the one big 3d game on the Genny itself?

See not only is it good to see what great video output you can get, but its more time PLAYING the games as you try things out.

But here is some info that started the Genesis thing.  Info from an old source:

Back in the 90s, the hated Electronic Gaming Monthly had extra magazines.  One of which was this one dedicated to Sega systems.  (I hated them because their way of doing things effectively killed the superior Videogames and Computer Entertainment, a magazine that reviewed the games out NOW with in depth writing and coverage as opposed to EGM which had tiny paragraph scores and was more interested in THINGS COMING OUT IN THE FUTURE MOSTLY FROM JAPAN YOU WON'T EVER PLAY.)

 And there was this little article.  It was in fact the first time I had ever heard of S Video.  It was something to ooh and ahh over.  And then go back to playing on a cable ready RF jack.  For the next decade plus.
(What shames me is the living room TV we had from the mid 90s till I replaced it in 06/07 with a HDTV had  S Video and I NEVER KNEW IT.)

And here is the Atari 130XE manual's picture of it's monitor jack plugs.

Knowledge is power folks.  I bring you that.  And also a lot of swearing because the 6th and 7th level bosses to Ninja Warriors were cheap SOBs.

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