The Sony PlayStation prototype sold for $360,000 to Pets.com founder Greg McLemore

This prototype Sony PlayStation, the result of a failed Sony and Nintendo collaboration in the early 1990s, sold Friday for $360,000 in a live online auction. Background here. While Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey was thought to have made the winning bid, the winner was actually Greg McLemore who made a fortune in the first dotcom gold rush as founder of Pets.com and Toys.com. McLemore is a an avid videogame collector and historian who runs the virtual International Arcade Museum. From Forbes:

According to a profile in Robb Report, money from those early dot-com ventures helped (McLemore) start a 20-year journey collecting video game memorabilia, from strength-testing machines of the 1880s, to prototypes of coin-operated mechanical horse rides in the 1920s, to the first commercially sold arcade game Computer Space from 1971...

I'm looking to not have this machine just buried in a closet somewhere," McLemore told Forbes, saying he wants to take his collection—which he estimates includes over 800 coin-operated machines and countless other smaller games, trade magazines and original art—and build out a permanent museum.

Working his way toward that prospect, he's beginning to develop exhibitions with outside partners to display the items, including an upcoming run with the University of Southern California Pacific Asia Museum in spring and summer 2021 illustrating Asian influence on the video game industry; the Nintendo PlayStation will be included.

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Trailer for "Insert Coin," a new documentary about the creators of the biggest videogames of the 1990s

"Insert Coin" is a new documentary about Midway, the Chicago-based videogame developer that transformed the industry with Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and other coin-op classics. Director Joshua Tsui funded the film via this Kickstarter and will premiere at the SXSW Film Festival later this month. From the film description:

Eugene Jarvis, the creator of 80s classic videogames such as Defender and Robotron, returns to the industry in the 90s. In the process, he assembles a team that pioneers the concept of bringing live-action into videogames, kickstarting a new era in the arcades.

The technology mushrooms into massive hits such as Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam and soon the team begins to conquer the world. What began as a small tight-knit group begins to deal with success and eventually the rise of home consumer technology.

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Review of an ultra-tiny but usable Bluetooth gamepad controller -- the 8Bitdo Zero 2

Sam Makovech of Ars Technica reviews the 8Bitdo Zero 2 ( on Amazon), an adorable gamepad controller you can use with a Switch, PC, or Mac. His overall impression of the meant-for-travel gamepad is favorable.

From Ars Technica:

To my pleasant surprise, 8BitDo starts this gamepad off with a crucial emphasis on its D-pad. At roughly the size of an American dime, this small D-pad is comparable to some of Nintendo's smallest takes, like you'd find on a GameCube controller or a Nintendo 3DS console. But unlike those offerings, 8BitDo allows its Zero 2's D-pad to protrude ever so slightly farther from its body. Pressing down on any edge of the D-pad offers a full 2mm of action, and this has a satisfying sense of travel when a thumb is in its depressed, rounded center—built for the sake of neatly rocking from left to right or up to down.

The D-pad's quality was borne out by my own feverish Tetris testing, which worked whether I rapidly tap-tap-tapped in one direction or pivoted to a crucial "up to fast-drop" maneuver in newer Tetris games. When I imagine various times that I might rely on the Zero 2 as a controlling option, I think about how a good D-pad is the primary differentiator from other on-the-go options, whether that's a spare Joy-Con turned sideways, a weak laptop's keyboard, or a phone's on-screen buttons. I'd rather play Tetris or Super Mario Bros. with my thumb on this D-pad than relying on those other options.

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Video tutorial on how to play retro video games with a Raspberry Pi

In this video from Pi My Life Up you'll learn how to install and use software called RetroPie on a Raspberry Pi. RetroPie lets you emulate a bunch of different game platforms, like Atari 2600, Sega Genesis, Game Boy, and so on.

By the way, I co-wrote a book with Ryan Bates called Raspberry Pi Retro Gaming: Build Consoles and Arcade Cabinets to Play Your Favorite Classic Games, which has instructions for building a tabletop arcade machine. Read the rest

Mario says "Fuck you!" to Luigi on "The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!" (1989)

My 13-year-old son showed me this and we couldn't stop laughing. How dare Mario be so rude to his brother!

The 1989 TV series "The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!" starred wrestler Lou Albano as Mario, Danny Wells of "The Jeffersons" as Luigi, and Jeannie Elias as the voice of Princess Toadstool.

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Atari Centipede commercial with bad 1980s TV rap

Enjoy this 1983 television commercial advertising Centipede for the Atari 5200. Read the rest

Fantastically deep history of plug & play videogame consoles

Back in the early 2000s, cheap plug & play videogame consoles became ubiquitous. I remember spotting them for sale everywhere from toy stores to Walgreens. Self-contained systems, they integrated one or many games instead of allowing users to swap in cartridges or CDs. Today, Frank Cifaldi of the Video Game History Foundation shares the deep and geeky history of plug & play as a launching point for his research on the TV Guide Quizmaster, "something so rare it might not even exist." Below are a few bits from the thread. See the whole thing on Twitter!

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Fantastic Atari commercial from 1982

This outstanding 1982 TV commercial makes me want to play my son's collection of vintage Atari 2600 games. Except, of course, for Pac-Man.

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Review of a tiny handheld retro-game console: Bittboy Pocket Go

ETA Prime takes a look at the new Pocket Go from Bittboy. The $40 device emulates GBA, SNES, MD, SMS, PCE, NES, GBC, GB, NEOGEO, and more. Read the rest

How to make arpeggio music using MakeCode arcade

MakeCode Arcade is a Scratch-like programming language for writing retro-style games. In this video, John Park shows how to make arpeggio music using MakeCode arcade. In the early days of video games, the existing technology didn't allow for chords, so arpeggios were a way to get the feel for a chord by playing all the individual notes in a chord as quickly as possible.

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PyBadge is a credit card sized computer with a built-in display

AdaFruit recently announced the PyBadge and the PyBadge LC (Low Cost), a single board computer with a 1.8" 160x128 color display, buzzer-speaker, and 8 silicone-top buttons arrange for handheld gaming. The video above shows the PyBadge in a 3D printed case designed by Pedro Ruiz. Read the rest

The evolution of snooker video games

Starting with a 1984 version of snooker (kind of like pool with more balls and smaller pockets) for the Commodore 64, Nostalgia Nerd shows how videogame versions of the game have evolved over the years. Even though the latest versions are hyperrealistic, I think the simple C64 version is the most appealing, but as Nostalgia Nerd points out, the physics and collision detection are laughable. Read the rest

Review of the LDK Game open source handheld retro-game emulation console

ETA Prime reviewed the LDK Game, an open source handheld retro-game emulation console that can play games from Nintendo, Sega, and other retro-platforms. It costs $60. Read the rest

GB Studio is a free OS X app to make Gameboy style games

GB Studio' looks like a cool way to quickly build retro-games using visual scripting. You can play the games on a mobile phone, a Raspberry Pi, Itch.io, the web, or even a Gameboy. It's free and runs on OS X. Read the rest

Easy way to play retro video games on your Mac

OpenEmu is a free multi-platform retro video game emulator for OS X. It has emulators for Atari, Nintendo, Sega, PC, and Sony consoles. Setup is brainless Once you install it, you can drag and drop your ROM files (making sure, of course, you legally own them) into the app and start playing them. You can play the games from your keyboard, but I recommend getting a USB controller. The one I use is this Buffalo Classic USB Gamepad:

To configure it, go to Preferences in OpenEmu, click Controllers, select the controller you want to emulate, then follow the prompts for which buttons to push.

You'll be playing your favorite old games in no time. Check out the large library of great homebrew games that you can download directly from the app, too. Read the rest

Streaming 2003's Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic: I am a padawan

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic is one of the most beloved video games of all time.

Ride along as I miserably stumble my way through an award-winning game 16 years after its release.

There is some great Star Wars backstory left forgotten by all but the most knowing fans! We can uncover it, or just read the faq.

I have never played all the way through this game, and only recently realized it had both been "Enhanced" with updated graphics for the Xbox One X in 2018. The Darth Revan story is famous tho. Star Wars fans can bring it up as a trump card in any discussion. Now I will be able to say "Yeah, I played through on the Xbox enhanced!" This should quiet all but the folks who have played the numerous mods.

I will be able to join their ranks. I'm usually auto-leveling my characters, and I keep forgetting to be "dark" but I really do mean ill.

Tonight I am about to close out the first major level, and leave the planet Taris... once I steal a ship and escape the Sith. Then it isoff to Dantooine where I train as a padawan.

I'm sure I'll make a great padawan. The best.

The RPG from 2003 is surprisingly fun to play. I did not enjoy the most modern hit RPG Red Dead Redemption 2, but I am very happy to play through this game and looking forward to the enhanced version of KOTOR 2. Read the rest

A brief history of the bizarre, unholy offspring of Tetris

In 1984, Alexey Pajitnov, then working for the Russian Academy of Sciences, completed his masterpiece, Tetris. It was perfection and, sadly, could only go downhill from there, as the inimitable videogamedunkey explains in this delightful video above.

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