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Retro gaming

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by Bryan^H, Feb 8, 2018.

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  1. Message #1 of 132 Feb 8, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
    Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    Here is a thread for all of the retro game enthusiasts to discuss all things retro.

    I want this, and I think I may just go for it:

    Analogue Super NT. What a beauty.

    Edit: ordered--whoa, $35 shipping. That was difficult.
     
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  2. LeoA

    LeoA Cinematographer

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    Mine should be here by tomorrow. :)
     
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  3. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    I think the price is a bit high considering the TVs that I own still have composite inputs and both of our old SNES' still work (mine and the wife's). But if people are able to quickly hack this and rewrite the FPGA configuration, then this could be a nice little all-in-one machine. I still think the price is a bit much, even if it's actually worth that value.

    I'd really like to see Nintendo or Sony do a retro console with and FPGA but I imagine they'd want to aim for really low prices.
     
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  4. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    As much of a CRT champion, and strict believer that the only way to play classic gaming was to use what was provided(composite, S-Video) at the time, FPGA has been a slap in the face to me.
    In a good way. I never imagined Classic gaming could look so stunning(on an LCD of all things!!).

    My game room will still have 4 27" CRT televisions, and one 50" HD tv. I was going to use the HD tv strictly for the XBox 360, but now looks like it will be shared with the Super NT, and the NT Mini.
     
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  5. LeoA

    LeoA Cinematographer

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    I think the price of the product is extremely reasonable.

    It's not a product meant for someone that actually finds composite output out of their SNES to their HDTV (Which likely is then raped and pillaged by being displayed as if it was 480i) acceptable. It's meant for diehard Super Nintendo fans that want the cleanest picture possible with no added input lag.

    Shipping on the other hand I think is way overpriced.
     
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  6. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    And my only SNES system is finally starting to give out. It plays cartridges fine, but sometimes if It is touched at all during gameplay it freezes. I can't have that, and no way I'm sifting through hundreds of E-Bay listings to find a decent used console for over $100.

    The other problem I have-batteries on some of my favorite games have gone bad like Super Metroid, and Zelda. Looks like I will have to solder some new ones in....if I want to save the game:(
     
  7. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    The Super Nt doesn't go above 60FPS, and some of the original SNES titles do. So there will be some games that are not completely accurate as to the original operating base. But you know what, I'm sure I won't notice the difference anyway, and there has to be a line drawn between being a purist, and being a fanatic.
     
  8. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    Also, the Super NT doesn't include controllers, even though it can work with your old SNES controllers. If you want new wireless ones (like the 8bitdo ones that are designed to pair with the Super NT's designs), then that's an additional cost to consider.

    (This post is about to become more about "retro gaming" than just the Super NT)

    Honestly, I've come to the point where I think retro gaming is great (though I don't have the time for it, I'm too involved in my current-gen games, but wish I could indulge in it more) but we really do look back on things with rose-tinted glasses. I think Square Enix has done the right thing by re-releasing Final Fantasy games in their nearly-original forms for new platforms but with enhanced cheat modes. Yes, Final Fantasy VI is a great game. No, I don't want to spend dozens of hours grinding levels just so I can finish the game at all, let alone with ease.

    So when these retro consoles come out, I wonder what they do that is new or that can add to the experience. At best, I see them as fancy adapters that simply get the game's images and sounds to play on my newer TV. They try hard to reproduce the experience I had 20 years ago but only in a technical sense. The game looks and sounds as good (or better) than it did before, and it even controls identically with the right controller. But...it doesn't "feel" the same. When I think about playing Mega Man X2 on Super Nintendo, I remember being really powerful and pulling off the Street Fighter Dragon Punch. What I don't remember is that the bosses were really hard or that you had to reacquire the Dragon Punch each time you turned the game on. So...what if I could have a save state that keeps me right where I left off? Or what if I could flip a switch and just be super-powered from the beginning?

    ET was "the game" that defined the idea that games should represent their dollar cost with long amounts of time investment required, and I think the sentiment was still pretty strong going into the mid-90s. I'll still gladly sink 50 hours into a brand new game (most recently put about 45-50 into Mario Odyssey, still chugging away with over 150 in Zelda: Breath of the Wild) but I'm not convinced I'd want to do that with a game that I bought 25 years ago and already fully completed at least once. I guess I'm looking for an experience that's more like a 2-hour guided tour of a museum than actually reliving 25 million years of human history.

    I think that's one of the strengths of the RetroPie (the ability to use cheats or control how a game plays) with the huge negatives being the shoddy compatibility for later consoles (N64 and beyond), lag issues, and the DIY nature of the beast. Those negatives are why I've avoided buying/making one myself.

    I read a quote once that was used in the context of videogames but more generally applies to really all adult hobbies. It was something like, "We spend all of our time indulging in this hobby to try and replicate the best experiences we had as kids, but we will never be able to achieve better." Retro gaming, I find, kind of hits the middle of that. Powering up an old console, or even an emulated game (RetroPie, Wii U, PS2 on PS4, whatever), and seeing the original splash screens and sounds and then going into levels you still remember because you played them so many times is a great feeling. But after like 10-15 minutes, I'm usually kind of disappointed or just uninterested. (Well, with most games. There's a handful of classics that suck me in.) I absolutely loved plowing through Super Mario 64 a bunch as a kid, but am I going to really try and get all 120 stars again as an adult? It's a bit too annoying how you get kicked out of the level each time you get a star. It's a bit ugly to play through again. The music is catchy but gets repetitive. (Or whatever other complains you can have by going back in time to something you love.) So instead...I just kind of don't play them.

    All that said, I'm very excited about the prospect of a MegaMan X Collection for my Switch. So...what do I know.
     
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  9. Message #9 of 132 Feb 8, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
    LeoA

    LeoA Cinematographer

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    It works with all existing Super Nintendo accessories (And with a DAC that's under development, even the Super Scope when connected to a SD CRT). That includes the 8BitDo SN30 controller and SNES Retro Receiver, like you can now buy with plastic that matches a Super NT.

    I don't see it as an issue. This isn't intended as an entry-level Super Nintendo for someone that wants to casually revisit some decades old memories (Or the occasional classic gamer that wants to experience it for the first time). That's what cheap SNES clones from Retro-Bit and Hyperkin, homebrew emulators like SNES9X, or Nintendo's Virtual Console and SNES Classic Edition are for.

    This is for the diehard Super Nintendo enthusiast that wants the best possible graphical and audio fidelity, full support for original accessories and cartridges, and with zero inherent input lag on a modern HDTV (Any input lag is going to be your tv's responsibility, unlike with software emulation).

    Such folks already have Super Nintendo controllers, making the matching 8BitDo controller a nicety that can easily be passed on or delayed if the additional $40 can't be justified right now, rather than a requirement as a basic part of the package.
     
  10. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    Yeah, that is pretty much it. To play Zelda on an HD TV 1080P HDMI pass through on a receiver simulated 7.1 sound mx has me excited.
    But for me it also about preservation of my ever growing collection of games. Even though Nintendo Systems are the standard of "never Die" consoles...they will...eventually. Like I stated with my above post about finicky behavior of my SNES.

    My friends have all moved on to modern games only, but still find it amusing when they can play a few minutes of a 25 year old game at my house. Retro Gaming can be great, but it seems I am the only one in my circle that truly enjoys it. Sad, but expected.
     
  11. skylark68

    skylark68 Screenwriter

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    Wish someone would do this with the Atari 2600. The Flashback consoles are great with the built in games but none offer the ability to plug in your original cartridges (at least without major surgery). The Super NES was a great system but I was already way into computers by the time that came out. Guess it's a generational thing... LOL
     
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  12. CraigF

    CraigF Producer

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    Unfortunately, people like me who don't have any of those cartridges are shut out. It's not like the (good condition) carts are going to get easier to buy (or cheaper!) if they're also easier to play by more people...
     
  13. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    I'm sorry to hear that Craig. I honestly wouldn't think of starting a collection today either. The prices are just climbing to the point of me cooling off to it a bit( original XBOX, PS2, and many PS1 titles are still quite cheap though most around $5-$10). Mostly just the cart based prices are climbing.

    I was lucky enough to have a used video game store near me that I went to from 1995-2016(when the owner finally closed the shop). I tell you collecting NES, Super NES, Sega Master System, and Genesis titles was a dream. Everything in there (mainly late 90's, early 2000's) was $5. Everything! At that time it was hard for the owner to sell them....no one wanted them back then.

    I got so many rare NES titles, but I have never been a re-seller. Not my plan. I just buy them to play, and enjoy.
     
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  14. CraigF

    CraigF Producer

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    ^ Yeah, I realize I'm not the intended market for this device. Getting in now would likely be somewhat of a nightmare for a complete noob, the Classics are much more suitable for people like me (still have yet to see one in real life...).

    Never even heard of an independent gaming store in these parts. Our equivalent of GameStop are just about as common as Starbucks in these burbs, and perhaps unsurprisingly, they're often very close together.
     
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  15. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    Well since my favorite local used game store has closed up, my buying has decreased about 99%.
    I am strictly going on the back log of games in my collection now.
     
  16. Message #16 of 132 Feb 9, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
    LeoA

    LeoA Cinematographer

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    The verdict isn't yet out, but Hyperkin is designing a HDMI Atari 2600 using an older version of the Stella emulator before the Stella team started to use the GPL license (Which Hyperkin doesn't seem to want to respect the terms and conditions of). They're calling it the Retron '77, and I believe it's slated for a Q2 launch. And as seen in the image below, it includes a cartridge slot. :)

    [​IMG]

    And following the introduction of HD support and Bluetooth joysticks to last year's Atari Flashback, the AtGames guy at AtariAge has strongly hinted that the 2018 Atari Flashback revision will be utilizing the Stella emulator instead of their flawed in-house design, and support SD rom loading.

    Stella is the top of the line PC emulator for the Atari 2600, so incorporating that into their line, especially if it's based off Stella's current state rather than 15 years ago like Hyperkin's project, will be a big leap forward in terms of accuracy and compatibility.

    And while not the same as using your own cartridges, you can at least expand the built-in game lineup with downloaded rom images of your own. AtariAge is full of hundreds of legally available rom downloads, including the 1st party lineup that's available there with Atari's permission.

    Chances are in a few weeks, Kevtris will release new unofficial firmware that allows you to play SNES rom images off the SD card on the Super NT. That's how his previous project with Analogue worked out with the NES based NT Mini.

    And I suppose much like talking about DVD burners, it's okay to mention that there are alternatives out there. The Super Powerpak, Super Everdrive, and SD2SNES all allow a user to load SNES roms that they've downloaded, including freely available titles (A good multicart isn't just a pirating tool), and then play them on their original hardware.

    You just put the rom files onto your memory card, insert the memory card into the multicart, and then use it like a normal SNES cartridge with you selecting your game via an on-screen menu.
     
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  17. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    That Retron Atari 77 is quite awesome, I'll buy one. One thingI have to say all these plug n play, and clone systems I think most are short sighted with including an HDMI connection only. I know some have composite(but not many). For input junkies like me it would be nmice to play them on a CRT as well...and for light gun games!

    This is one of my favorite Plug n Play systems. I love it
    cv.
     
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  18. CraigF

    CraigF Producer

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    You are way over *my* head! What I meant about it being a nightmare for me to try to get into some of this stuff now, I just don't have the background to make good decisions, or to even know what I'm really getting into... I guess I should stick to the pre-packaged (but restrictive) boxes with games built in.

    I am a bit surprised that there's enough market to make some of these devices financially viable. Not that I think anybody's getting "rich" from one or the other device, but it still seems like they went to a lot of work to create these products. But what do I know? There's a huge potential global market, and something "obscure" to me may be very common/popular in some places.
     
  19. Message #19 of 132 Feb 9, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
    LeoA

    LeoA Cinematographer

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    One thing helping make the Super NT and other similar high-end consoles for classic gaming enthusiast viable is what's called a FPGA. It stands for field programmable gate array, as I recall.

    I don't really know anything about it except that it's basically an off the shelf computer chip that can be redesigned on the fly via a software file that instructs it how to set itself up, in order to mimic the original hardware as closely as possible. All the original transistors and stuff are there, just not in a traditional physical form.

    This allows for these fairly small hardware runs to be economically feasible, since the electronic guts of the system aren't actually unique to a system like the Super NT and specifically made for it. Not much besides the plastic shell is unique to this system from a physical standpoint.

    Emulation, which I'm sure you have some knowledge of, can also do a virtual simulation of an older game console. But it has some quirks that make it less desirable for these higher-end products aimed at dedicated classic gamers.
     
  20. Message #20 of 132 Feb 9, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
    CraigF

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    ^ Yeah, I know about FPGAs, the successor to FPLAs, FPGAs are "one step" lower granularity re hardware you could say. That's one thing I found a bit funny about the video: he was talking as if they were new, and they've probably been around for a couple decades at least. But I guess the point he was also making is that they're cheap enough to make this financially viable...they've been inexpensive enough for quite a while, so he must be talking that they're "dirt"-cheap enough for a limited production device where parts cost is relatively small compared to the costs of getting the product made and to market. Plus he must be valuing his time at a low rate, I'd have to guess, this is the "labor of love" type of endeavor to some extent.

    The thing about them is they're fast, much faster than the type of soft/firmware-based processor you'd find in a typical console. Plus they're "on the fly" re-configurable (to the developer)...sort of in between ("pure") hardware and firmware, the benefits of both. The point for this device being that you can make FPGAs hardware compatible with existing stuff, as opposed to just software compatible. The big selling point for the hardcore retro gamers. [Edit: I later realized that the "newish" aspect he must be referring to is that they're erasable (reconfigurable/reusable). I sure wish I had those back in the day. They're erasable and fast enough and large enough and also cheap enough to be viable for small development...I guess that is sort of new, and it probably got lost a bit in the video editing, implied rather than said.]
     

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