Sam’s Scores 12: Strange Controllers
4) Ms. Pacman Plug n Play
Today we start off with a plug n play, ok it isn’t really a controller, but this thing is wireless, which means the top becomes a controller! Flawless Technicality! I love the modern-retro influx of plug n play systems, I still hunt down the original hardware and software, I just prefer to have tons of options at my finger tips, and this thing does just that. Jakks took the Ms. Pacman cocktail design and brought it to a handheld, and with other games thrown in, coupled with wireless, this is quite a unique plug n play system
3) SG Genesis ProPad
I’m no stranger to controllers that look like this one, I actually own one for the SNES, which is why I was originally confused by the pseudo SNES button layout. There are even shoulder buttons, for what I haven’t the slightest clue. The point is this controller is comfortable, for the Sega Genesis and has a turbo for almost every button, and a slow motion for the start button. Strange, but fun.
2) NES Dog bone controller set
On two previous occasions I’ve run across NES Dog bone controllers, not that often though. So when I saw these two I had to pick them up. I needed to untangle them for nearly 10 minutes, but the efforts were well worth that time spent. One of them looks as if the previous owner thought it was literally a dog bone. Sadly only one of them worked, so I put all the best parts together to make 1 working and the other is for parts.
1) NES Turbo Touch 360
I’ve seen the Turbo touch controllers for other systems and I knew they made one for the NES, I just never thought I would have one cross my path. The D-pad is a motion sensing pad and is pretty accurate, the buttons are large and have very NES Max like turbo buttons underneath them. My only complaint would be the Genesis controller styling, which isn’t really a complaint as much as it is kind of weird to feel while playing an NES.
Retro Games and Passwords, why!?
Passwords, the bane of many retro gamers. After a long week of writing things down at school the last thing you wanted was having to write down something from a video game you just rented or bought. No, video games were suppose to be a refreshing exit to your week and made looking forward to the next week a little more sweet.
Before the luxury of memory cards or even battery backups, many gamers had to sit next to a pad of paper with their choice of pen or pencil to write down codes to log their hours of hard work. But to some writing down passwords seemed more like the modern day achievement, rather than a common nuisance. Passwords were, for many great retro games, the only way to ensure your hard work was there the next time you fired up the game, but many retro gamers quickly learned that passwords simply weren’t going to work.
Passwords were comprised of a given combination of letters, numbers or even symbols given to the player after what in many other games would be the game over screen. Many game developers just tossed out a grid of all 26 letters in the alphabet, sometimes in lower case and capitals, alone side numbers; sometimes things got rather confusing. Lower case Q’s could have been confused for P’s or G’s, Zeros looked like a capital O, and more often than not gamers simply had to start the game all over!
One good thing about passwords was that they were exclusive to the programming within the game, so you didn’t have to worry about renting the exact same cartridge twice to enjoy a correctly transcribed password. But still many retro gamers will have as many fond memories of mistaken passwords as they will of actually enjoying the games they were trying to write down the password for.
Even after battery backup was commonplace, the 16-bit era still rolled out games requiring passwords. For the most part though, the 16-bit era learned from the guinea pig that was the 8-bit era. Passwords were much shorter and less confusing, for the most part, to write down, making games that required passwords more enjoyable to play.
Today I keep a notepad on my laptop containing the passwords for games, and no I don’t mean through emulation, simply because notepad’s font is light years ahead of my own handwriting. I also take the time to scrutinize each line of the password to make sure I have it written down correctly. Sure I could easily go online and seek out a password pertaining to my current status on some retro games, but it isn’t my hard work, now is it?
One particular game sticks out from my childhood that frustrated me to no end with it’s completely, and utterly, useless and pointless password system, River City Ransom. River City Ransom is without question an NES classic, but that password system left a lot, and I mean heaps, to be desired. Partly because the password system required you to start a new game, press start and then select the password option; but most because River City Ransom required a whopping 66 characters per password!
Passwords could be fun also, sometimes you could mash in a nonsensical combination and have the game start up with things you didn’t earn yourself, other times the password wasn’t acceptable or it just started fresh anyway. Many retro gamers would give passwords to their friends to show off their progress, or to help them out a little. I’ve found many slips of paper covered in passwords within retro game cases, or even hand written inside the manual.
Today they are but a distant memory, but many retro gamers still retain the memories of frustration when a good password went bad. Love them or hate them, passwords were a part of retro gaming culture. I liken the retro gaming password to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, something to be remembered so we aren’t doomed to repeat our past.
Radica Sega Genesis Plug n Play Review
When it comes to plug n play systems that look like, feel like or play vintage video games, I must own them! Although to some these systems might seem outdated, the plug n play era is pretty new to me; but I’m happy to dive into any of them that I don’t already own. So far, through the many different plug n play systems I have collected, I’ve been pretty surprised by what they bring to the table.
Obviously I prefer to collect the original hardware and software for the classic systems, but when I have the chance to get a handful of games built into one system for a fraction of what it would cost for the originals, that will tide me over until I can get the real thing. This is exactly what many of these little systems do, in fact some even bring new games to my attention that I never knew about or are so hard to find that I couldn’t possibly get my hands on them anyhow. While not completely the case today, I would have to say the Radica Genesis is still a pretty cool system to own!
Radica made a few variations of their Sega Genesis plug n play, the one I own is a single player system, which is obviously modeled after the Sega Genesis model 2. The system has a large, blue Genesis controller hardwired into the system, as well as hardwired AV cables that come out of the back. The system is powered by 4xAA batteries or a power supply, which I do not own.
Once the system is powered on you’re presented with 6 original Genesis titles: Sonic The Hedgehog, Golden Axe, Flicky, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, Altered Beast, and Kid Chameleon. Everything looks to be pretty well executed with respects to the menu, everything is presented by a nice logo for each game. From here you simply move the D-pad in any direction and select the game you want, what I found surprising here is that each game starts up the same way they would if this were a genuine Sega Genesis.
The controller looks and feels exactly like the original, large Genesis controllers, except it is a transparent blue shell, has the D-pad upgraded to the smaller Genesis controller style, and has black contoured buttons. The controller is setup exactly the same as well, with the exception of a menu button to bring you back to the game select screen when you tire of the game you’re currently playing, which is set in deep enough to easily avoid accidental resets. Overall, since this controller has the upgraded D-pad, I find it a bit more comfortable than a genuine Genesis controller.
I haven’t noticed any slow down or any significant issues from this being a Genesis on a chip type system; Gameplay for each game is the same as if it were played on a genuine Genesis. The picture quality is good, although you are reduced to mono sound, so this system gives off an organic Genesis experience, to a point. I personally have no issues with this system and found it quite fun.
Perhaps my only complaint would be that it leaves out my whole Genesis library and doesn’t get much attention, as opposed to my real Genesis. This does offer games that I don’t own for the Genesis, so sometimes I just feel like breaking it out for those games alone, namely Kid Chameleon. Again Radica made a few variants of this system, so if I happen to get my hands on one I will be sure to review it!
Sam’s Scores 11
Personally I feel as though Sam’s Scores has hit a crossroad. I want to continue bringing you cool finds, yet I rarely hunt anywhere other than the Goodwill outlet store. Although I do find a lot of cool stuff there, I feel a bit strange marking prices as per pound. I’ll do my best to keep the series going, but hunting anywhere other than the Goodwill Outlet store usually leaves me empty handed. Please bear with me in my continuation with the series and please let me know what you think. Enjoy!
4) N64 Gameshark
I was out at a normal Goodwill store when a glistening N64 Gameshark caught my eye. I picked it up and checked the price, it was oddly cheap so I decided to buy it. After doing some research online, promptly after walking out of the store, I learned that version 3.3 Gamesharks, which this one is, commonly brick and become unusable. I hoped that wasn’t the case and indeed, it wasn’t! The Gameshark worked flawlessly, until I bricked it myself changing the keycode. No worries, apparently this can easily be resolved by plugging in the correct game that corresponds to the keycode I changed it to. At least I hope! Either way it was cheap enough to keep even if its shot.
3) Nintendo Gameboy
I’ve been collecting for a few years now and I’ve never run across an original Gameboy that I wanted to buy. They were all trashed beyond repair and overpriced! After finding tons of stuff at the Goodwill Outlet, I decided I could hold out, in hopes of finding one there. I prevailed in doing just that, although the system was extremely dirty, missing the battery cover and the contrast adjustment is broken. I still feel that it was worth holding out to find one, because it cleaned up really nice!
2) Nintendo Gameboy
No, this isn’t an error, this is yet another Gameboy that I happened to find in a flea market. If you examine the pics closely, you’ll notice some discoloration in the screen protector for this one, as if it were super glued back into place. It was cheap enough that I figured I could use the guts and battery cover to repair my other one, if needed. This one however worked perfectly, with the exception of missing columns which is common for these original Gameboys, after time. Now I feel as though I can repair both Gameboys and have 2 for way cheaper than any of the ones I had seen before.
1) Nintendo Gameboy Pocket
Another Gameboy, but this one fits in my pocket! Yes, the Gameboy Pocket! I already own the silver one without a power LED, so when I saw this one I needed to own it as well. I’ll be honest, this and the previous Gameboy came together in a bag, so for half the price I’ve seen them bashed up in thrift stores or flea markets, I now have 2 decent Gameboys. This one works perfectly, but having a GBA SP and the Gamecube Gameboy Player, I’ll probably pick those over pulling this thing out.