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!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Retro Computing: Why Bother? Special: More Fun With the Commodore 1084

I just cannot get over the mighty massive utility and quality of this little gizmo.  While it is not the better looking and stereo S version it is just so damned GOOD.

A good composite monitor is basically one of the least effort requiring display options you can get for your computing needs.

And hell, as I have shown it even makes your console games look great.  And given that some console titles were ports from computers you have even more effort light ways to play your favorites, in some cases much cheaper!  Let's show some more stuff!

(As always click for larger.  And note this is me pointing a camera at a screen and using Sony Play Memories to do some light editing.  In general they look so much better in person.)

 Here we have the SNES version of the Amiga classic GODS.  It still runs fast like the Genesis port but it looks and controls nice and sweet.  Plus in level music, something the Amiga original didn't do. For some reason a lot of UK made software in the 8 and 16 bit era were either sound effects or music in game, but never ever both...

And unlike a 1 button DB9 port controller I can use this mighty joystick with 6 action buttons, variable speed turbo and slow motion (on games that pause with START), and even have all 6 buttons at even autofire or normal button press independently.  A very classy stick!  I love my Epyx 500 XJ to death but the sheer volume of controllers for the consoles gives you some leeway.

Heck, with the SNES you can even get away from terrible ancient portable game consoles with their tiny screens, no lighting, and passive matrix screens.  Its called The Super Game Boy.  

 Some games such as Metroid II even have a default color palette though you can use various SGB menu options for various borders and color schemes.  Some were even designed for the SGB and have exclusive colors and borders, which its bigger and more versatile brother never did.  (More on it later.)

 I generally go with the black and white palette for most games designed without any SGB support and a black border.  Which is why I am zoomed in on this here Ultima Runes of Virtue game.  (Yes kids, there were two exclusive Ultima games only on Nintendo consoles.  Both of them are still better than Ultima 8 and 9 are.)

 Even if Sherry the Mouse got kind of homicidal...

 Shadowgate Classic is the Gameboy/Color dual cart translation of the Macintosh 68K adventure game.  On a SGB black and white is ideal I would say.  

 Speaking of the black cart Game Boy Color titles, Dragon Warrior 1-2 have a custom border but they don't let you mess with palettes.  

But the Gamecube had its' own Game Boy player, one that also covered the Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Color, albeit losing some of the palette and background goody options the SGB had.  Let's take a look eh?

 Dragon Warrior in full color.  But in widescreen mode it looks.. ungood to me.

 Much better in proper aspect ratio.

 You can also shrink the screen for a sharper image.  

 Widescreen is still butt though.

 Shadowgate Classic now looks like a BOSS.  It even looks superior to the NES port.  

 Most GB original games just go to some default color scheme I think is the same as the Game Boy Advance and GB Color auto palette options.  You can change to a couple presets by holding directions and buttons but compared to the SGB it is a giant pain.  No menus and you pretty much have to write down the combinations.

 Sherry is green.  With EVIL.  I guess she was based off someone Lord British in real life was dating.  Break ups can be rough man!

 Metroid II looks AMAZING though.  Great color selection trumping the SGB.    

Really folks.  Never play Game Boy-Advance games on anything but a Super Game Boy or Gamecube Game Boy Player by and large.  

On a Commodore 1084 you get a crispy good picture and stuff!

 Its pretty good for actual Gamecube titles too!  Resident Evil looks damned good and scary.

But let's go back a bit.  Show the enemy of the Commodore 64 and how it can utilize the 1084 for retro gaming glory.

 My ancient NES manufactured in 1986 for said Christmas season.  Still with many stickers 12-13 year old me was dumb enough to put on it, plus an original game pad, the original GREY Zapper light gun, and the magnificent NES Advantage.  

See how old my rig is?  367K serial number.  It should have been even lower but.. well when I get to a full NES retrospective I will talk more about that.

 It was a pain getting games to run but once I did it is sheer excellence thanks to the A/V cables on the side of the NES that the top loading machine of the later era skimped out on while making cartridges more reliable.

 With many a great screw removal we see the internals of my NES.  Its the US launch version.  CPU 04 motherboard.  I opened it up to give the internal contacts a good cleaning.

 Also to clip this 4th pin on the 10NES lockout chip.  The ceramic capacitor made it a doozy to get to.  Clipping this pin allows for unlicensed games to be used and for legit games to work better without that constant blinking screen issue.  You still need to clean your game and console contacts though.

 See Nintendo in their usual form of WE DO WHAT WE WANT AND YOU LIKE IT ways decided instead of plugging a cartridge in that they would slide into a slot like a VCR, then you would press it down to connect to the contacts.  This makes for loose connections.  And is also why NES cartridges are roughly twice as tall as their Japanese counterparts.   OMG NINTENDO'S ISSUES CAUSE ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES SOMEONE CALL SOME TREE HUGGERS!!

 This sort of contact is called a Zero Insertion Force contact.  This can make electrical connections shoddy in the long run.  I am showing a cart inserted as before I screw a good 20 screws back in I want to make sure it works.

 Yep.  While many games take a couple tries to work there is no more blinking and it requires a lot less effort.

 Yes indeed.  Ancient games that were rarely taken care of with tons of build up of ucky on their contacts are given a little rubbing alcohol cleaning with a cotton swab and it helps a bit.  Once I get a proper bit to open these cartridges I will give them a super good cleaning and remove all issues.  Plus new batteries for battery save games.

 MULE on the NES is much cheaper to get than the computer edition.  Mainly because NES fans don't know classics when they see them.

 A bit more MULE screenage.

 And Ultima 3 on the NES for more port action.  While my photo has a bit to be desired it is all pretty and crisp in person.  And blows the HELL out of the Atari 8 bit version.  NES Advantage > Keyboard commands.

And one last thing.  Your modern TVs cannot do light gun games but the Commodore 1084 CAN.  This was my first game of Hogan's Alley B mode in... 20+ years.  Got a fairly decent score.  Gun seemed quite accurate in spite of me sitting awkwardly on a big comfy chair mostly full of my 26 NES carts.

So what have we learned kids?  

Well we now know that a good composite monitor is one of the best investments for your computer AND console classic gaming unless you simply cannot get past using a 13" monitor and must have some enormous thing instead.  

That and we learned that sometimes a beloved computer classic is available in other formats which sometimes are superior though by NO MEANS ALWAYS.  (You don't even want to see the THING Defender of the Crown is on the NES.)

But this kind of is giving me an idea now that my retro collecting has been picking up as of late as my hobby gaming is slowly ending sadly.

Not just buying games cheap, but PLAYING THEM.

I am maybe thinking of taking all my games, all my systems and redoing my collection posts with a plan.

A game a post.  I HAVE to play each game I own for at least 45 minutes and talk about it.  I can play it more but it has to get 45 minutes of play.  Then I can say if I want to play it more immediately, when I have time, or if I am fine never playing it again or whatever.

This is kind of why my hobby gaming has been dying.  What is the point of buying this stuff to merely sit unused and unloved?

And unlike hobby games a good videogame can be played without anyone else.  Or even leaving the house.  Great for our modern terrible work and life schedules where you gotta get your fun in whenever you can.

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