Peter Leigh, known as the Nostalgia Nerd on his YouTube channel, has a cool new hardcover book out called The Nostalgia Nerd’s Retro Tech: Computers, Consoles and Games, which is exactly what it says it is - photos and descriptions of gear from the 1970s-1990s. Here are a few spreads from the book to give you an idea of what's in it and how the material is presented:
In the mid-1990s, Nintendo released Satellaview, a satellite modem for Nintendo's Super Famicom (SNES) only available in Japan. Just for kicks, Bertrand Fan hacked an SNES and Satellaview to run Slack. Bertrand has an intimate knowledge of Slack because he's one of the engineers building that platform. From Bert:
If you can beam satellite signals to a SNES, you can probably run Slack on it...
Most SNES games are closed systems. When you play a game like Bronkie the Bronchiasaurus, an educational game about dinosaurs with asthma that teaches you how to use an inhaler, the content is fixed on the cartridge.
But the game that comes with the Satellaview, BS-X: The Story of The Town Whose Name Was Stolen (BS-X それは名前を盗まれた街の物語), is different. It looks like a lot of Japanese RPGs but has one key difference: it can receive content beamed from the sky and that content gets integrated into the game....
Using a tool called SatellaWave, you can generate your own Satellaview Broadcast binary files.
Slack on a SNES (Bert.org)
I am a huge fan of Jon Peterson's beautiful doorstop of a tome, Playing at the World, an exhaustive history of D&D, RPGs, and wargames. So, I was delighted to discover his YouTube channel. Even though he only has a few videos on it, I found them all very interesting.
In "A History of D&D in 12 Treasures," Jon looks at 12 artifacts (I assume from his personal collection) that help in understanding the early development and history of D&D. It it so cool to see early correspondence between Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, early newsletters, rules for pre-D&D games that influenced D&D, and of course, the first printed, 3-booklet edition of Dungeons & Dragons.
Before there was Critical Role, HarmonQuest, D&D With Pornstars, and Wizards of the Coast's own Dice, Camera, Action, there was The D&D Radio Show. Or, there would have been if it had ever been broadcast. Back in the 1980s, TSR created a pilot for a D&D radio show that never saw air. Jon got a hold of the pilot episode. It's fascinating to ponder what RPG entertainment, now in its infancy, might be like today if it had taken hold over 30 years ago.
In this video, Jon sits down with fellow D&D history nerd, Bill Meinhardt, to go through the early boxed set editions of D&D to discuss how you can tell which printing is which. Read the rest
A company called Rose Colored Gaming upcycles damaged Nintendo SNES consoles by putting them into clear acrylic cases.
These SNES consoles* have been treated to a 100% brand new, hand-built exterior, all while retaining complete original function. Each is assembled by hand with the care and attention to detail that you have come to expect from RCG. The housing consists of laser cut and etched acrylic components which have been drilled, bent, bonded, threaded, & assembled using all new anodized aluminum hardware. Many internal components have been slathered in various finishes then etched in order to accentuate items which were never meant to be seen. All hand-built, these units will only be available in VERY limited quantities upon release, with each being treated to a unique serial number.
*This product employs original Nintendo hardware. We only source units which have extensive exterior damage, the likes of which leave each unit in an otherwise irreparable state.
The Ataribox looks great but $300?????
Looks like this proposed box that could have been a complete Atari 2600 library with paddles and blocky joysticks is instead an Atari inspired set-top streaming box!!?
According to Mac, the Ataribox will cost somewhere between $250 and $300. It’ll run Linux and have an AMD processor with Radeon graphics, facilitating a more open, PC-like experience than standard set-top boxes. But if that sounds intriguing to you, you’ll have to wait a little while because Atari needs to crowdfund it through IndieGoGo first. Mac said that a campaign to raise cash will launch in the Fall of 2018.
“People are used to the flexibility of a PC, but most connected TV devices have closed systems and content stores,” Mac told VentureBeat. “We wanted to create a killer TV product where people can game, stream, and browse with as much freedom as possible, including accessing pre-owned games from other content providers.”
That all sounds fine. Powerful and customizable tech has its audience. But the big idea of releasing a retro-console is offering a bunch of classic content. Putting out a sleek, wood-paneled box with the name Atari slapped on it creates an expectation that you’ll get all the Atari gaming money can buy. Unfortunately the company is still being cagey about what will come with the Ataribox when you fire it up.
I just want to play Star Raiders.
FinnAndersen spotted this wonderful vintage portable TV in a dumpster. He gutted most of it and outfitted the shell with a new screen and Raspberry Pi 3 to run RetroPie. Demo video below.
"It can emulate everything up to and including N64/PS1/Dreamcast, with a built-in wireless XBOX controller receiver for multiplayer parties!, he writes. "It also has a digital tuner inside to watch actual television, using the original knob for channel switching."
I'd love to do this to a JVC Videosphere!