When we started this site a few years ago, we had rules dictating what we would cover. The main rule was 10 years or 2 generations back. With PS4, Wii U and Xbox One out now, we are facing a dilemma.
PS2, GameCube and Xbox don’t seem vintage. They are older systems, but they don’t feel old enough. Help us decide if we should cover those consoles.
After my last article I decided to pull out all of my screen magnifiers and give them a run through, to see if they were truly as horrible as I remember them being. Now I’m not knocking their ability to magnify the screen, I’m actually complaining about their wildly varying and not so useful attempts to light up the Game Boy screen. No matter how well they do magnify the screen, they simply can’t add enough light, or do it in a proper manner, to make the screen look good in the dark.
To start this off right I will state at this point every single one of the four magnifiers I currently own have had to be repaired. The two Performance brand magnifiers were easy fixes as they used extremely cheap wires that snapped, but left me enough wire to do a quick resolder. The Light Boy, however is quite well built, inside and out, but the manner in which they used to transfer power needed a good steel wool rub down. The High Frequency for the Game Boy Color needs a complete rewiring, as it suffers from the same problem as the Performance brand, yet they didn’t give me enough wire to just strip and resolder.
Another issue that these magnifiers suffer from is quite visible in the High Frequency below, scratches! Over the years these things gather scratches as if it were dust, but for the most part they don’t bother me as much as scratches on the Game Boy (or in this case Game Boy Color) screen itself. The High Frequency magnifier does a good enough job, but as I stated above it still needs repaired, so I can’t critique its lighting system. But I will say that it only requires two AAA batteries, making it light and comfortable to use with the Game Boy Color.
Next up is the cheapest of my two Performance brand magnifiers and even after repairs this thing doesn’t work right. This poor thing screams super cheap, starting with the way they branded their name on the front and finishing with the junk wires and switch inside. Again the screen magnifier does well but the LEDS are fairly dim, when they decide to actually work. Powered by two AA batteries, which are often hard to insert or remove, this one balances well on the Game Boy.
Now this one has been mine since its purchase; I remember opening it on Christmas morning with my Game Boy and quickly shoving it aside. The lens of this one is noticeably bigger than all the rest and the LEDs give off a decent amount of light. Again, powered by two AA batteries this one also balances quite well, my favorite of them all.
And finally we reach the officially licensed Light Boy, from Vic Tokai. This one was a bit of a pain to get working, but it didn’t require any soldering as this unit doesn’t even have wires. “But how does it work without wires? SORCERY!!”. No, the real answer is that they used a clever series of copper strips connected in such a way that it made an electrical circuit. The issue there is that over time the copper strips had oxidized and turned green, but the real issue was popping this thing open when it was secured from the inside like a Famicom cartridge!
After painstakingly popping the unit open and giving all the key points a good steel wool scrubbing, I slapped in the batteries and it came to life. The magnifier, again, works as to be expected and the LEDs aren’t very bright, but my main issue is with the H.R. Giger’s Alien look to the unit. Unlike the other 3 magnifiers this one has the batteries (again two AA) hanging off the back of the Game Boy, throwing the balance of the whole system off. Its only a minor complaint while actually playing, but if you need to sit the Game Boy down it never looks comfortable.
So there you have it, my quick review of the screen magnifiers I own. All of them do a good job of magnifying the screen, but none of them do an adequate job of lighting the screen, atleast not to my liking. If you need a screen magnifier I would suggest any you can find, with minimal scratches of course. If you’re in need of a decent way to light your screen while also using a screen magnifier you may want to track down a NUBY Game Light Plus, or modify your Game Boy with a backlight kit.
For the past 6 months or so I’ve had a neat little peripheral sitting in a drawer that I wanted to use so bad, but due to the state of corrosion on the battery contacts I packed it away and never really bothered with it. The overall condition wasn’t bad so when I saw it at the outlet store I tossed it in my bag anyway; whats the harm in buying a vintage gaming peripheral even if it may never work again? That peripheral is the NUBY Game Light, a neat little device that slides on to your original DMG-001 and lights up the screen so you can play in the dark.
When I originally found it I popped it open to make sure there were no batteries left inside, if I’m paying by weight I’m not paying for old, corroded batteries too! The corrosion didn’t alarm me until I got home, to have a deeper look inside the unit itself to see exactly what was going on and to map out how to fix it. All of the contacts were covered in a thick blue and rust colored layer of corrosion, so I reluctantly just packed it away in favor of doing something easier.
I put the NUBY on one of my DMGs that doesn’t have a screen protector, hoping that the Game Light would keep anything that would do the screen harm far enough away. So every time I opened up that drawer to grab my working Game Boy, there it was, staring me in the face, almost begging for help. After a while of seeing it, and wondering what it did exactlty, I decided I would take on the challenge to clean the contacts, but how?
I did some research online as to what would remove corrosion from battery contacts, the most popular result was to use vinegar but I didn’t have any handy. After a quick rethink I went to the old standard way of cleaning and polishing small metal parts, STEEL WOOL! The steel wool polished up the contacts on the door quite well, which turned out to be brass, but the contacts deep inside the Game Light were a bit harder to reach.
The poor man’s ingenuity kicked in! I grabbed a pair of needle-nose pliers and grasped a small chunk of steel wool in the end. After giving all four of the inner contacts a good rubbing, or as good as I could get, they turned out ok.
After all the contacts were cleaned I checked inside to see which way the batteries went, when the sheer excess of the NUBY Game Light hit me. This thing takes four AA batteries, thats the exact same required to power the DMG-001! Four AA batteries to power 2 LEDs compared to the same to power everything needed to have a complete handheld gaming experience in your hands, it didn’t make sense. But these were the 90s, when technology wasn’t as sharp as it is now, so I will let it slide.
After popping in the thirsty beast’s battery requirements I slide it on to my Game Boy and flipped the switch, success! The LEDs are very bright and since they are in direct contact with the screen, as opposed to the LEDs in a magnifying unit that are so far away from the screen they barely do any good, the NUBY Game Light actually brightens up the screen pretty well. I was pleasantly surprised with the results to say the least.
With advances in modern technology, and the modification community, many people are using custom backlight/frontlight kits for their old DMG Game Boys. Admittedly I would love to have a backlit DMG, but I don’t want to modify any of my Game Boys, perhaps I’m too much of a purist in that sense. Over the years I’ve owned many of those hokey magnifier units that only slightly brighten the screen, but thats never been good enough. With the NUBY Game Light I can see much better, although its far from perfect, especially with its battery requirements, but it does a lot better than any alternative I’ve tried.
By 1998 the Sega Saturn was fading away, leaving Sony and Nintendo to rule the market. By the end of that year the Dreamcast was out in Japan and hitting big, but what would Sega offer the North American market to tide us over? The answer to that question is absolutely nothing, but they did allow someone else to give us the Sega Genesis 3!
Even though the Sega Genesis 3 says Sega right on the console it was actually made by Majesco, under license from Sega. The console itself is very basic, inside and out, but does function as a basic Sega Genesis. When I say it functions as a basic Genesis I mean that it will play most games, but it does have a list of things that it can’t do and games it won’t play. Most notably the Genesis 3 is missing any port to hook it up to a Sega CD, so that’s out. The Genesis 3 also, from what I understand, has a stripped down and rearranged motherboard, although I’m told they used the same chips, making it incompatible with the 32x add-on and even Virtua Racing. I have read, however, there may be a quite substantial mod to make the Genesis 3 compatible with the 32x and Virtua Racing, but still not the Sega CD.
Although it is much smaller and lighter than any of its first party brothers, the Genesis model 3 only slightly feels like a third party console. Every controller I’ve tried with the console works properly and every game I’ve tossed in has fired up without any issues, just the same as they did in my model 1 and 2, with the exception of Virtua Racing. But another cost cutting feature is the lack of a power LED, instead there is an orange sticker under the power switch. I’ve never been one who needs an LED to tell me my console is still on, which seems to be a popular, and if you ask me redundant, modification to all consoles without one.
I purchased my Genesis 3 with no hookups so I had to improvise; the Genesis model 3 will work off the same AV/RF adapter(MK-1632) as the Genesis model 2, as well as the MK-2103 power supply. My only issues with this were that the power supply often slips out of the console and the system seems to get warm over extended periods of play, so far with no ill effects. Another small gripe is the death grip that it puts on the cartridges once inserted. If the system wasn’t so small it wouldn’t be an issue, but I do find having to pick up the whole console to remove a game half it’s size a bit of an annoyance.
I’ve been told the Genesis 3 will play the majority of Mega Drive games, but since the only Mega Drive game I own is PAL I’m still unsure if this is true or not. During testing the system went to the initial license screen and then just went black, after a few more tries the system just offered me a totally black screen, no more licensing text. I now assume they were referring to Japanese Mega Drive games, which I would love so I could possibly expand my library without having to mod my other Genesis consoles.
In today’s gaming market I feel that the Genesis 3 is missing too many functions (ie: 32x, Game Genie and a few games) to really compete with how cheap the official Sega Genesis consoles can be found, perhaps that was the view back in 1998 as well. From time to time I do enjoy pulling out the Genesis 3 and using it, just to give it a good jolt of power. As a functional console I think the Genesis 3 is ok, but it surely won’t take precedence over my model 1 or 2, unless I need it to play Mega Drive games.
Since the Genesis 3 is harder to find than the model 1 and 2 its more of a fun little conversational piece. But Majesco didn’t stop there, no, Majesco also secured the rights to make their own Sega Game Gear! Maybe I will have to sit down and give it a thorough testing and comparison next, we’ll soon find out!
Quickshot is a name that almost every vintage gaming fan will no doubt be aware of. Whether you had Quickshot peripherals, knew someone who did or are just getting into collecting and find them almost everywhere, Quickshot still seems to be a third party brand from the old days that you just can’t escape. Quickshot is perhaps best known for their plethora of joystick based peripherals, but today I will be taking a look at the QS-150 (aka Intruder 3), which is essentially a flight stick for the Sega Genesis.
The Quickshot QS-150 is massive in size and unless you have a table, or some other surface, readily available this beast isn’t very comfortable to use. Not to say that its impossible, but its large and the flight stick takes slightly more torque than Quickshot’s other joysticks to get it to work, making the suction cups on the bottom a real necessity. Once you have the Intruder 3 set firmly on a surface and ready to play, though, you’re in for a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
The Quickshot Intruder 3 is obviously geared toward flying games, so while testing it for this review I decided to stick with that theme, for the most part. First up was F-22 Interceptor; the Intruder 3 did well, but where it really helped was the immersion factor. I felt as if it were more of an arcade experience as opposed to some dork sitting in his room testing a controller for an online review. Next I gave Desert Strike a whirl, but since the Strike series has always seemed to have a bit of a counter-intuitive control scheme the Intruder 3 didn’t seem to make things any better, although again it did push along the immersion.
To be silly, I mean thorough, I tossed in Sonic the Hedgehog (the first one). The Intruder 3 actually did surprisingly well, although the game doesn’t require more than the D-pad and a single button for action; it only felt slightly awkward, but I still prefer to use a normal Genesis controller. Lastly I popped in Lethal Enforcers for the Sega CD, and I know what you’re saying already, “Its a light gun game you moron!”, but that’s not strictly true as I’ve been playing it with a normal controller since I got my Sega CD. So how did the Intruder 3 do on Lethal Enforcers? I don’t ever wish to speak of it…
Being a massive fan of the NES Advantage I’ve always felt Quickshot’s Maverick series of controllers borrowed heavily from that, so I always enjoyed the Quickshot Maverick joysticks. The Intruder 3, however, seems to borrow slightly from them both but adds a few details to push immersion along even further; most notably the use of a realistic flight stick. The action buttons are located on the flight stick where we would imagine the fire buttons on a real jet fighter would be located, even offering a cover to make the player feel as if the B and C buttons are important. However the C button is left out when it comes to the turbo levers, which offer a few different levels of turbo, why they left C out is beyond me.
In keeping with stealing ideas from the NES Advantage, the QS-150 offers both a slow motion and quick switch from Player 1 to Player 2, on the main panel. Another great feature is the super easy to figure out plug system, as they’re completely separated as well as clearly labeled on the front of the controller, absolutely no confusion, unless you’re completely mindless.
My only real gripe with the Intruder 3 is its size. I mainly keep it in a huge box, hidden under other controllers, because I don’t always feel like lugging it out and utilizing it when its so much easier to grab a 3 or 6 button controller and do the exact same thing. Although I do feel that we shouldn’t hold my laziness against the Intruder 3, because it does its job and does it well.