Retrogaming Times
Issue #89 - Is that the smell of issue 90 nearing or burning leaves? - November 2013


Table of Contents
  01. Introduction
  02. Video Game Hunter
  03. Ouya Reviews
  04. Benefits of New Systems
  05. Sites of the Month
  06. Youtube Classic Videos
  07. Conclusion


Already hit with the first snow of the year and it was a doozy!  Heavy snow knocked out  power lines and destroyed trees.  But I was lucky to escape most of it. 
Have been spending some time with the Ouya and especially MAME on it.  Will get more into that in the Ouya reviews section.  Already received some emails from people who were surprised to see the newsletter is back.  Quicker than I expected to get any notice, but it was nice. 

Video Game Hunter
I was at the local flea market on a Saturday.  It was my second time through the flea market (I would get there early to do a first walk, trying to snatch up deals as they were being set out and then I would do a second walk to look for vendors who were setting up late) and I already spent most of my money.  I had $50.00 left and hoped to find a good deal.  As I was walking around, I came across a table with a boxed Bally Astrocade.  It looked like new and had a price of $25.00.  I picked it up and looked it over.  I opened the box and it was complete.  Looked like it was never used.  I was excited and ready to buy it as I never found a boxed one before.  But there was one problem, there was no one at the stand.  I looked around and asked the people at the other tables if they knew where the seller was.  They did not, so I waited with the system in my hand. 

As I waited, another guy eyed the box and watched from behind me.  I could tell he wanted it as well and I knew there would be trouble.  If the seller would be at their table, I would have purchased the system and been on my way.  But now, I had another interested buyer to contend with. 

The seller finally came back and she saw me with the system.  I pulled out my money and told her that I wanted to buy this.  Before I could hand her the money, the other game stepped up and said he wanted it.  The lady looked at me and then at him "  She then turned to me and waited to see if I would raise him.  I did raise him $5.00 bucks.  This went back and forth until he reached $50.00, the amount that I had.  I made one last offer, even though I know I didn't have it.  I said $55.00.  He did not hesitate and went up to $60.00.  I finally gave in and let him have it.

At first I was upset that someone outbid me on the system.  I was even more upset when I saw similar ones selling on ebay for anywhere from $100.00 - $150.00.  But I did have the satisfaction of knowing that I helped the lady get $35.00 more for the system than she would originally had received.  And from the looks of her car, she needed to money more than I did.  I never did find another boxed Bally Astrocade again in the wild. 

Ouya Review
This was a great month for me and the Ouya.  Two programs came out that I have used considerably.  And they came at a good time as my wife has taken over my computer and my son has taken over the Ipad. 

If you have a android device and are a classic gamer, the odds are you have tried MAMEDroid.  It is based on the MAME .139 build and offers a ton of great games.  While the Ouya controllers aren't ideal for MAME (nothing beats my Devastator II controller), I quickly figured it out.  The biggest problem is that many of the controls are set in less than optimal places.   Push down on this joystick and you get a screen, which happens too often.  But I cannot complain about playing exact arcade games on my television in my bedroom.  Guess I could do the same with my laptop and an HDMI cable, but that is so much more trouble.

While the more advanced games do not work (any of the Sega Naomi based games), I found that the vast majority of games work flawlessly.  It was nice to bounce from Donkey Kong to Anteater to Jungle King to Zookeeper and not leave the program.

Comic Reader
If you ever looked around this site, you know that my other love besides video games is comic books.  I once owned my own comic book store, so the love is still there.  While I don't read as much as I used to, I do have alot of digital comics.  Years ago, I bought a bunch of DVDs that were filled with Marvel Comics.  A company was selling them before Marvel decided to put their comics online and didn't renew the license.  But I was able to buy almost all of them.  And they were cheap then (not so much anymore).  For about $25.00, you would get all the issues of Amazing Spider-Man or Avengers or Incredible Hulk.  This included the original ads (the main reason I bought them, for my Comic Ads section), letters page and everything else.  But the problem was I did not enjoy reading them on a computer screen.  It was all right, but  it sometimes was hard to read.  But with this program, I can read comics on my television! 

At first it would seem odd to read comics on a television, but I can say that with the default settings, I love it!  It makes the picture extremely big and navigates easily.  I found myself pouring through these old comics and enjoying them once again.  I now have to see if I can find anymore collections.

Benefits of New Systems
All the talk in the video game world is about the two new video game systems that are being released this year.  With the Playstation 4 vs the XBOX ONE, we will see an epic battle.  With so many people looking to buy one or both of the new systems this holiday season (wonder if people will camp out like they did in the past), it can only mean one thing to gamers like us, tons of PS3 and XBOX 360 games will be traded in and the prices of used games will drop.  That's right, it will mean that many of those games that you were on the fence about buying will now be irresistible at their new lower prices.  It is a great time for vultures like us that will circle around the dying game systems and wait for the carrion, I mean falling prices.

With two new game systems taking up precious shelf space at used game stores, look for not only lower prices on the last generation of games, but also look for them to clearance out the inventory on the PS2 and XBOX games, if you they much left.  You will see some awesome deals on these as their prices get pushed down even further.  So this Thanksgiving, remember to be thankful for dying game systems and the bountiful harvest they produce.

Sites of the Month
With talk of MAME for the Ouya, I decided to spotlight a couple of ROM sites.  One is a straight download site and the other provides a service.

The Old Computer Site
This site has roms and more roms.  This includes some of the older versions of MAME like 139 that is used in MAME Droid.  And it is not just MAME roms, there are also tons of consoles as well as old PC games.  As Frank Sinatra said "If you can find it here, you can't find it anywhere."  OK, that is not his actual quote but you get the idea.  For a small donation you can download to your heart's content.

For people who want it all and don't want to problems with downloading, there are sites like this that offer a hard drive full of downloads.  This hard drive is amazing!  The amount of work that went into this is out of this world.  You not only get MAME, but 20+ classic consoles and it all has a awesome frontend that is beyond amazing.  You can spend hours just going through all the menus with the animations and sounds.  Just watch the video and you will see.

Youtube Classic Videos
Time to dig through the vast amount of videos for a couple to showcase this month.  This time I decided to theme it after the system that got away.  In my Video Game Hunter article, I talk about getting outbid on a Bally Astrocade.  While I did get a loose one later, I still was bummed out of missing out on a complete boxed one.  So with that in mind, I decided to put a few videos that highlight the Bally Astrocade, a system that for the most part had a handful of good games, but was still a pretty interesting system.

20 Games that Defined the Bally Astrocade
As the name says, this is a short video of the top 20 games for the system.  See if you agree with it.

Bally Promotional Video
This 5 plus minute promotional video is pretty cool.  If you like the Astrocade, then this video is for you.

Bally Astrocade Review
Here is a eighteen minute review of the game system that I think is a very fair review.  The reviewer goes into some reasons for why it didn't do well as well as some of the strengths of the system.

I know this is a shorter issue, but my wife is big into genealogy and has been monopolizing the computer.  So I had limited time to work on this, but I was able to get an issue out.  Hopefully next month, I will get more time and make a bigger issue. 

-Tom Zjaba (This issue was done while listening to Buckner & Garcia, Midnight Syndicate and Aerosmith).

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Tom Zjaba 1997 - 2015      

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