Absolutely wonderful stop motion Super Mario with refrigerator magnets

Videogame developer Phil Compile and 4-year-old son Ollie made this absolutely wonderful Super Mario stop motion animation using refrigerator magnets.

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"Pokémon Go grandpa" has 64 smartphones attached to his bicycle

In 2018, Taipei resident Chen San-yuan, 72, had attached 15 smartphones to his bicycle so he could play numerous games of Pokemon Go at once. Dubbed the "Pokémon Go grandpa,” he has upped his game with a new total of 64 mobile phones in his array. Gotta catch 'em all, I guess.

The phrase 危險行為請勿模仿 in the caption translates as: "Do not imitate dangerous behavior."

(via The Verge) Read the rest

COPS, the Atari arcade videogame from 1994 based on the now-cancelled "reality" TV show

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? In 1994, Atari released COPS, a LaserDisc-based videogame based on the now-cancelled "reality" TV series. Above is rare footage of the gameplay.

According to the International Arcade Museum description, "You play a cop who must either shoot armed criminals while protecting the innocent or chase after escaping criminals in your patrol car."

As usual, it would have been more fun to play the bad guys.

Below are shots of a COPS Operator's Manual currently for sale on eBay.

More about COPS and other LaserDisc arcade games at the Dragon's Lair Project.

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

Grandpa gets a little too carried away with the VR headset

Man, 81, goes on rampage with HTC Vive VR headset

SEGA announces Game Gear Micro version of their classic 1990s handheld console

Pegged on SEGA's 60th anniversary, the company announced a tiny version of their Game Gear 8-bit handheld console first released in 1990. It will sell for 4,980 yen (US$50). From IGN:

The Game Gear Micro is currently only available to preorder in Japan and will launch on October 6th. At time of writing, there has been no news of a Western release for the device.

The console has a one-inch screen, and will arrive in four colour schemes, each with a different set of four games preloaded...

Game Gear Micro (Sega.com) Read the rest

Watch: How to build your own Nintendo Switch

Seattle maker Brennen Johnston wanted his friends to play Animal Crossing with him but they couldn't get their hands on a Nintendo Switch, a scarce commodity amid COVID-19 lockdowns. Enraged by the prices scalpers were charging for a Switch, Brennen set out to build one himself from individual components. The Internet fell in love with the build notes he posted to Imgur and now he's released the above video documenting the project! Brennen writes:

The support I received from my original Imgur post has been overwhelming. I never imagined so many people were interested in my project or had thought of doing something similar. I with I was able to answer everyone's questions but I just couldn't keep up with all the requests.

Most of the private messages asked me to do a version for the Joy-cons so I went ahead and made you that you can find here:

https://www.unorthodoxtech.com/#/blog/5ecc7e3157d93d0017683e23

"How To Build A Nintendo Switch From Scratch - Building With Brennen" (YouTube)

• Previously: "'How to build a Nintendo Switch' for coronavirus #StayAtHome gaming" Read the rest

This AI re-created a playable version of Pac-Man just by watching 50,000 episodes of gameplay

"NVIDIA GameGAN is a powerful new AI model created by NVIDIA Research and was trained on 50,000 episodes of PAC-MAN to produce a fully functional version of the classic without an underlying game engine." Read the article about it was done here.

Image: Nvidia Read the rest

Half-Life with all sounds replaced with rave music samples

Graham Dunning replaced all of the Half-Life in-game sounds with clips of 90s EDM tracks and rave music sample CDs. He basically turned the entire game into a Launchpad so he can play Half-Life like it's a techno orchestra.

(via Waxy) Read the rest

Talking Adventure Games with Dave Gilbert

Game designer and publisher Dave Gilbert founded Wadjet Eye Games in 2006.  This interview features conversation about point and click adventure games; digital game development, marketing and publishing; and the relationship between art, passion and real world commerce.

Jeffery Klaehn: How did you first become interested in point and click adventure games?

Dave Gilbert: I played King’s Quest at a very impressionable age! I typed the word “jump” and I saw Graham actually jump, and I was so blown away that I’ve been playing them ever since.

JK: You founded Wadjet Eye Games in 2006 to sell your game, The Shivah, commercially, then moved to pursue game design on a full-time basis and released The Blackwell Legacy, the first in what would become a series of five games.  What are your thoughts on these games and on the market then compared to now?

Dave Gilbert: I am Blackwell Legacy’s biggest critic. It was the first game I wrote with the intention of selling commercially – The Shivah was originally freeware, so I don’t count it – and it shows every inch of my inexperience. The gameplay is clunky, the story is told in three giant infodumps, and the main characters weren’t very likable. But that said, I know with absolute certainty that it was the very best game I could have made with the experience, resources and time I had available. So I stand by it.

As for the market, everything is different. Back in 2006, indie games in general were a very new thing. Read the rest

How Pong's inventor gave Woz a hack to bring color to the Apple II

In 1977, Steve "Woz" Wozniak used a neat hack to bring color to the Apple II computer. According to IEEE Spectrum, the obscure trick, called NTSC artifact color, "allows digital systems without specialized graphics hardware to produce color images by exploiting quirks in how TVs decode analog video signals." That hack later was employed by the IBM PC, Radio Shack TRS-80, and other early home computers. But how did Woz learn about it? Turns out, videogame legend Al Alcorn, inventor of Pong, turned Woz onto the hack. From IEEE Spectrum:

Stephen Cass: Analog NTSC televisions generate color by looking at the phase of a signal relative to a reference frequency. So how did you come across this color test tool, and how did it work?

Al Alcorn: When I was 13, 14, my neighbor across the street had a television repair shop. I would go down there and at the same time, I had my father sign me up for an RCA correspondence course on radio and television repair. So, by the time I got to Berkeley, I was a journeyman TV repairman and actually paid my way through college through television. In one repair shop, there was a real cheap, sleazy color bar generator [for testing televisions]. And instead of doing color properly by synthesizing the phases and stuff like that, it simply used a crystal that was 3.58 megahertz [the carrier frequency for the color signal] minus 15.750 kilohertz, which was the horizontal scan frequency. So it slipped one phase, 360 degrees, every scan line.

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Husband builds 'accessible' Nintendo Switch battle station for wife with aggressive MS

All for the love of Animal Crossing in the coronavirus pandemic. Read the rest

This NASA joystick used during lunar orbit just sold for $56,000

In 1969, astronaut Richard Gordon used this hand controller to steer the Apollo 12 command and service module Yankee Clipper around the moon while his colleagues frolicked on the lunar surface. The controller, complete with trigger switch, just sold at auction for $56,000. I hope the buyer is using it to mod a vintage Lunar Lander arcade machine. From the RR Auction "Space and Aviation Auction":

...Measuring 2.75″ x 4.75″ x 2.5″ overall, with affixed “Class III, Not For Flight” label and underside of base marked with part numbers: “S/N 16, 10022865-101, 94580.” The controller, with trigger switch, is secured to a walnut 4.75″ x 8″ x 1″ base with upper and lower plaques, “Apollo 12, Nov. 14-24, 1969” and “Rotational Hand Controller,” with handwritten notation to underside: “RG, 93-002b.” This spring-loaded hand controller was used to control pitch, roll, and yaw while Gordon navigated in lunar orbit. In fine condition.

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'How to build a Nintendo Switch' for coronavirus #StayAtHome gaming

Wow, man. Some of us take on more extreme projects during the Great Coronavirus Quarantine than others. Read the rest

Before Peloton, there was the Nintendo/Life Fitness Exertainment bike

In 1994, exercise equipment maker Life Fitness partnered with Nintendo on the Life Fitness Exertainment System with games designed for the Exertainment bike. Above is a promotional video for this short-lived product.

The footage shows how the system works and also alludes to Tetris and Pac-Man being made for the system as footage was even shown, but the only games to come out for the system were Mountain Bike Rally and Mountain Bike Rally/Speed Racer combo for the Lifecyle 9XS gym version.

And here's a description of the the Exertainment System Mountain Bike Rally/Speed Racer cartridge that now sells for more than $1300 on the collector market:

Welcome To The Exertainment System Game Pak! In this one Game Pak you can select from three exciting game titles: Program Manager Your Very Own On-Screen Trainer! Life Fitness Program Manager is your electronic personal trainer. It sets your personal workout goals and retains personal workout information for up to four members of your family. Program Manager is perfect for motivating you to get in shape and for tracking workouts - all while you're having fun on the Exertainment system! Mountain Bike Rally Wow! What a ride! Hop on your Lifecycle trainer and race against riders bent on winning at all costs. Watch out for punches and strike back at those cycling foes. But keep one eye on road obstacles. They're at every turn. Quick, choose the ramp routes and leave your opponent in the dust! Speed Racer Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines.

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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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Logos of videogame consoles from then and now

Graphic designer Reagan Ray compiled more than 100 logos of videogame consoles from 1976 to 2017. (Just a handful seen above.) Oh how I miss the days of the, um, Fairchild Channel F and the Bandai Playdia. Ray writes:

This list covers the second (1976) through eighth (present) generation consoles. According to Wikipedia, there were 687 first-generation consoles produced, so I decided that was a rabbit hole I didn't want to enter. I had fun designing the page to look like an old video game ad or one of those posters that came in Nintendo Power. The TV screen borders even made me nostalgic for playing games on an old crappy 19-inch TV.

Video Game Console Logos (ReaganRay.com) Read the rest

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