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, December 9, 2013

Retrocomputing: Why Bother? Special: Fun with the Commodore 1084 Monitor! Duo Style!

As we have seen in previous posts, the Commodore 1084 is a lovely piece of kit that is excellent for making your computer's video output be nice and wonderful.

Since I am lazy here is that information on my blog so one can catch up:  http://wargamedork.blogspot.com/2013/05/more-fun-with-commodore-1084-monitor.html
Also it itself has links to more info I have on it.

With all the lovely knobs and dials you can even tweak color and brightness back in the days where the games themselves gave no damns.

(Please click for bigger if you would like.)
 You can turn MEH.

Into: Not as meh!


A hell of a lot LESS meh, eh?

 Or those funny black buttons on the front and back and just go full black and white without messing with color settings.

(If I haven't mentioned these are screencaps from an actual monitor taken with a camera and then given a light edit with Sony Playmemories.  Which kind of sucks but it is free till I get an iPad Air with iPhoto and that photo dongle thingie.)

Of course based on the color choices done by developer, some games like this RPG based on Ali Baba (with a Greek mythology game on the other side!) where you can have multiple players with their own character are only going to look so good...

But.. there is another handy thing this little wonder monitor can do as one of my links mentioned:

Given how most modern HDTVs don't even bother having S Video inputs which is really the other best choice for retro gaming, and even then it only does so much depending on system and console:

32" 1080 HDTV.  SNES.  S Video with "smart" fullscreening.  Some softening of pixels and a very light color bleed visible even to the naked eye and not just this 14.1 megapixel camera.

And Chuckles.  
Always must you hound me Bueche?  

Game Boy Color games with original GB capability and preset Super Game Boy palettes. From a sub 3 inch screen (diagonal) to the better part of  24 out of the HDTV's 32 as is the Super Game Boy's wont.  I AM DOING IT WRONG.

Or am I doing it very very RIGHT?  I shall have to test my Game Boy Player on my Gamecube with various video output solutions to be sure.  And plug the Commodore 1084 back in and try composite mode for both GB solutions.  Game sounds FANTASTIC coming out of 5.1 speaker setup though.  Even if the composer does deny his nation's WW2 atrocities.  :(

But the main point here is to show a good friend that SA forums and IRC bros (irc.synirc.net #retrochat) Vkeios and Acid Police inspired me to do.  Kind of.  

To take out my long traveled and much abused pal, the Turbo Duo.  One of the best looking pieces of game electronics ever made, especially in its' Japanese form where it has some blue and violet buttons, and even glorious white and off white models.

An upgraded Turbografx 16 which I have showed in my epic Let's Play of Dungeons & Dragons: Order of the Griffon this one included the nearly 200K ram booster that the earlier PC Engine US model the Tg16 is did not have built in.  The Duo ran about what a Sega CD unit ran at the time and came with a buttload of amazing games making it a no brainer to get new games and to jump on the CD game and music revolution!

(My first music CD?  Tribute.  Ozzy.  Randy.  Live.  Hell yeah!)

My Duo has been on multiple airline trips.  Shipped multiple states in the mail.  Had stupid anime stickers up over the white military stencil marker I used to ensure no effective theft of my machine would happen.  (People in the Navy would steal your damn sweat covered ball cap if they needed one themselves for work!  Hell, they stole E7 rating hats!)

One of these days I will use some Goo Gone and Simple Green and bring this sucker back to its shiniest possible, removing all Naval influence.  You can see right next to the main unit is the 5 player adaptor.  Because the Turbo consoles only had a single built in controller port.  I guess it kept the price down and the inherent looks nice but it does add a giant dongle in the front if you want to go multiplayer.

 And what I will be using to play this puppy today!  The enormous power brick that takes up like 3 spaces on a power strip in spite of not even being a polarity two prong plug, the Turbostick joystick controller I got a pair of for 10 dollars each when you could still buy some Turbografx products from the company behind the Duo and the last gasp at saving the Turbo in the US from NEC's own incompetence, and the composite cables that are standard on the Duo. (These were not standard on the Turbografx or the original PC Engine model.)

And the dongle that was like five dollars which STILL made the Turbosticks cheaper than getting more official control pads. 

Well let's plug it all in and get to gaming!

We shall start with the game in the unit, probably having been there for the years it has been since I last played this machine which was all covered with dust.  (I felt bad because it was super dusty and gave it a dusting with one of those tickler dusty thingies, then a wipedown with a slightly moist paper towel, then a dry with another one.)
 I use this legendary classic known as Splatterhouse to get the turbo settings juuust right and to get used to the controller.  Look at the crisp pixels and lines on this monitor.  While the stock settings of the 1084 obviously aren't perfect with some overscan issues and a bit of color bleed to have things vivid enough it looks VERY good!

 I sadly failed the shotgun drop trick via having said gun fall into a pit.  I still owned this guy.

 My second least favorite boss in the game.  Note I have the Golden Cleaver.  I was once gonna dress up as TG 16 Rick for Halloween, spraypainting a glow in the dark cleaver while leaving the soft edge glowy.  Sadly I was unhappy with how my mask was turning out and scrapped that plan.


 The manual says you are fighting through the Birth Canal.  Rick is in a giant hoo hoo punching giant bubble floating fetus monsters.  There is.. something off here...

I am totally blaming the controller for me dying on the final boss.  But not bad for a no continue run if I do say so myself.  While I am no Caitlin of the SA forums and Splatterhouse/making Famicoms look GOOD fame, I do alright for myself.  (Protip: Don't turn turbo to maximum.  It makes it so you don't always attack PERIOD.)

(I should probably compare it to the Wii Virtual Console release of this same game on said system using Component cables or the PS3's arcade original emulated as a bonus on the game of the same name.  Eh.  Maybe later or in another post.)

 My Little Working Designs: Victor Weeabooland is.. well not Magic but he is something.  (This is Parasol Stars.  It kicks ass.)

 World Court Tennis! It has no pause in game so I cannot show you how short the women's skirts are.  Panty shots would never been seen on a Nintendo game.  We shouldn't see them PERIOD but sadly Japan will be Japan.

 The real reason I bought this game.

 IT HAS AN RPG MODE WHERE YOU PLAY TENNIS FOR YOUR COMBATS.  This is so brilliantly stupid I can't help but adore it.

Let's bring a little SUPER CD-ROM(2) into this shizzy.  Will the 1x CD drive still work?  

 Crispy animu hero face shows up!

 What are we buying this stuff for?

 The music starts rocking with hard guitar stuff.  It can mean only one thing:



 My only regret is that my 1084 isn't the later S model with stereo sound.

Let's do one more game and call it a day shall we?


 Macross 2036!  Gotten relatively cheaply at like 25 bucks or so.  I have seen this game going for Rondo of Blood prices before which is fricking stupid.  Hell it is stupid for said Castlevania game!  Or any game really.

 Some more animu so we can see our alternate history Macross Valkyrie being all Macross.. Valkyrie.

 Transforming seems to just happen when they tell you it will.  I can't read Japanese so no idea if I can go to Gerwalk (Guardian if you are Robotech) mode or not.  It's pretty fun but I have it on Easy and Slow bullets.  Because this game is a ONE HIT AND DIE SHMUP otherwise.  Thankfully not too power up dependent and your extra lives access right then and there.  No Gradius checkpoint crap.

A quick trio of in game shots from an emulator for comparison:
(Magic Engine Emulator and uploaded to Facebook.)

This folks, is Magic Engine's screencaps at the normal TurboDuo resolution.

 This uses the Macross movie as canon and thus all the looks and designs are meant as a sequel of sorts to that movie.  (The anime Macross 2 takes place like 35 or so years after this.  So its part of an alternate continuity.)

Yes friends, emulation or game consoles with no region lock out (at least for CDROM games.  In the Duo's case I would need a converter card to play HuCard games.  Though what those things go for these days (about a hundo) I might as well just buy one of the later PC Engine models for Japanese HuCard titles.  It would be about the same price.  Sadly the nicest looking PC Engine is only RF output without the CD Dock.  And the two cooler options are VERY expensive. (Supergrafx and PC Engine Shuttle) Or you know.. I could just buy the cards and play in an emulator.  Not as authentic but.. it does well.  Save States and being able to take PC screenshots and do Let's Plays has some advantages even if this is more legit.

But sadly this being a Japanese game and on the NEC PC Engine family we have to have some serious character development of our main heroine:

(NSFW probably.)

Don't tell Harmony Gold.

Especially don't tell them I also own Macross games on the Dreamcast, Saturn, and Playstation Portable and am thinking about seeing if I can eventually collect a complete Macross/Robotech game collection.

They will get mad.  These are people who sent lawyers after Bandai and Hasbro.  Companies who make more money in a week than Harmony Gold probably does in a YEAR.

(Seriously this might be NSFW so take this as a friendly warning.)

Oh Japan.  Oh PC Engine and your T&A games.  Their failure of a follow up console was apparently nothing but this.  If not more hardcore.

(I guess it IS less revealing than many of the outfits or going ons in many recent Tecmo games or the Rumble Roses games.  Or many Soul Calibur character outfits.  This isn't saying much.  Japan please join us here in the 21st century please.  Also switch to English so I can more easily play your turn based wargames and RPGs.)

So there we go!  Another great use of a good composite monitor!  Not just playing your classic computer games at their historical best, but your console titles too.

While I am primarily a computer gamer there are dozens and dozens of console titles I love as well.

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I like to play nerd games! I am a nerd! Join our nerd ways at https://www.facebook.com/groups/112040385527428/