From Retro Gaming Cat Scratchers To Arcade Belt Buckles

Who said cats don’t retro game? Based on these video gaming inspired cat scratchers from If Industries, it is quite clear that felines enjoy some old school Atari and Nintendo action! Um, need I say more? Of course not! Scratch away baby!

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Don’t worry, those people at If Industries haven’t forgotten about you either. You can now hold up your pants in style with these awesome arcade belt buckles. They even light up! So, are you a 25c or a 50c kind of arcade gamer?

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source: if Industries

Celebrating the Atari Lynx

Atari_Lynx_piles_of_gamesIt may have started life on a napkin back in 1986, but it wasn’t officially released to the gaming public as the world’s first 16-bit colour handheld till October 1989 (Ed: the Atari Lynx was officially released on September 1 1989, but it wasn’t available for retail till October of that year). The Epyx Handy, which would eventually become the Atari Lynx, celebrates a significant milestone – it’s another year older and it is still kicking nostalgic goals!

The Atari Lynx may have been decimated in market share by the Game Boy juggernaut, but it’s place in history is undeniable. It didn’t bask in the same glory as Nintendo’s little pocket rocket, let’s face it, no other handhelds did, but with 16-bit colour graphics, support for hardware scaling, great arcade conversions and the ability to link up with friends, the Lynx was still a force to be reckoned with. With two system variants, the Lynx provided many hours of fun – as long as you were stocked to the teeth with AA batteries.

We wrote about the Lynx’s history (Ed: you can read that here), which in typical Atari fashion was quite colourful, with lots of twists and turns. This feature celebrates everything about the mighty 16-bit colour handheld – its hardware revisions, its awesomest games and some very interesting facts.

The Lynx was truly ahead of its time. Long live the Atari Lynx!

Hardware Comparison:
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Game Cards – Curled vs Flat:

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Awesomest Atari Lynx Games:
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Interesting Atari Lynx Facts:

  • It was initially going to be the Atari Portable Entertainment System. But once it was pointed out that the acronym would be APES, the name change was swift;
  • The Lynx was christened many names before Atari settled with the name we now know and love – it went from being the Epyx Handy, APES, Nuclear Toaster to finally, the Lynx;
  • The model name was chosen due to the system’s ability to link up with multiple machines. It wasn’t in reference to the big cat of the same name;
  • It was the first home system to support hardware scaling, just like After Burner and Pit Fighter in the arcades;
  • Mikey was the first sound chip in any console to provide specialist sampled sound support on all four channels;
  • Game cards could store up to a maximum of two megabytes;
  • The 8-bit CPU was paired with a 16-bit math co-processor – this took a lot of the cycle load off the CPU and allowed the Lynx to provide super fast game play;
  • It was the first colour LCD with a 16-bit graphics chip (Suzy) – providing 4,096 colours to choose from with a maximum of 16 per scanline.

 

Chubby Checker’s Dig Dug Dance

digdug_titleThere is something quite endearing about old video gaming advertisements – from daggy TV commercials to the advertising wars between the heavyweights of the industry!

Then there are the TV advertisements that were released, but not as originally intended. The unearthing of a cassette tape with Chubby Checker singing in Atari’s Dig Dug arcade commercial, has sent a buzz around the retro gaming community.

Just in case you weren’t aware, the cassette was recently discovered by Matt Osborne, son of former Atari vice president Don Osborne. The song itself was technically used in the Dig Dug commercial, but without Checker’s vocals. The reasons of why this recording exists and why Chubby Checker’s vocals weren’t used in the final product, are unfortunately lost to history. We know which version we prefer.

Chubby Checker’s version

Final Atari Dig Dug Dance TV commercial

source: Scottith Games

image and Chubby Checker vocals source: TheOzMan (Matt Osborne)

Arcade Legends Of The Golden Age

ArcadeLegendsGrowing up during the golden age of arcade gaming, I didn’t know nor care who created them, I just wanted to have fun playing them. I was always on the lookout for titles that other gamers and friends were talking about. Who was Dave Theurer or Eugene Jarvis? These names didn’t mean a thing to me as a youngster. As long as I had coins to pump into the machines, I was happy.

With passing of time, my curiosity got the better of me. Forgetting about the Sega, Atari, Taito, Nintendo, Namco arcade brands, I was curious to know who the human beings were behind some of the industry’s most iconic arcade games.

This is my way of paying homage to the real creative legends of the arcade games I loved (still love) playing.

Welcome to the ausretrogamer ‘Arcade Legends Hall of Fame’.

YuSuzukiName: Yu Suzuki
Company: Sega Enterprises
Games: After Burner, Out Run, Space Harrier, Hang-On, Virtua Fighter
Comment: The Michaelangelo of the video games industry

 

EugeneJarvisName: Eugene Jarvis
Company: Atari, Williams Electronics
Games: Defender, Robotron:2084, Stargate, Smash TV, NARC
Comment: Arcade games and pinball designer extraordinaire

 

EdLoggName: Ed Logg
Company: Atari
Games: Asteroids, Centipede, Millipede, Gauntlet series
Comment: Quarter guzzling arcade master

 

DaveTheurerName: Dave Theurer
Company: Atari
Games: Missile Command, Tempest, I,Robot
Comment: Pioneering game designer that was inspired by Pong

 

YoshikiName: Yoshiki Okamoto
Company: Konami, Capcom
Games: Time Pilot, Gyruss, 1942, Gun.SmokeFinal Fight, Street Fighter II
Comment: The arcade games innovator

 

ShigeruMiyamotoName: Shigeru Miyamoto
Company: Nintendo
Game: Donkey Kong
Comment: Critically acclaimed influencer of the video gaming industry

 

ToruIwataniName: Toru Iwatani
Company: Namco
Game: Pac-Man
Comment: World record holder of the most installed arcade machines

 

TomohiroNishikadoName: Tomohiro Nishikado
Company: Taito
Game: Space Invaders
Comment: The granddaddy of the killer arcade game

 

YoshihisaKishimotoName: Yoshihisa Kishimoto
Company: Technos
Game: Double Dragon
Comment: The grandfather of the beat’em up genre

 

It is always difficult composing such a list as there will be other deserving arcade game creators that will miss out. Who would be your pick for your arcade legends hall of fame?

 

Atari: Game Over

Atari_GameOverBack in April of this year, we reported on the impending dig of the sacred Atari burial site in Alamogordo, New Mexico. We all waited with bated breath as photos trickled in showing what the landfill was hiding all these years.

After a few months, Fuel Entertainment Studios and Xbox Entertainment Studios have now released their first official trailer of the upcoming documentary. We are definitely looking forward to this documentary, but the focus on THAT one game that Howard Scott Warshaw created that brought down the industry is misleading at the least. We hope the finished film will have a balanced perspective of what really happened over 30 years ago.


source: Xbox

Nintendo and Atari Mashup: The Atari Lynx II GameCube Portable

Last week we posted an article on some great looking custom Nintendo consoles. Not all custom made consoles are equal. This week, we have this Nintendo and Atari portable mashup – is it blasphemy or pure genius? We’ll let you be the judge. If you ever wished for a portable Nintendo GameCube, then read on.

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Crammed inside an Atari Lynx II shell lays the heart and brains of a Nintendo GameCube. The brainchild of this portable Frankenstein is Akira. The features of the GC-Lynx are impressive to say the least:

• Case made out of an Atari Lynx II console
• GameCube blue/purple paint job with glossy finish
• GameCube PAL motherboard
• Silent IBM fan, customised for optimal airflow
• All original Nintendo GCN controls and sticks
• Complete analogue trigger (L and R buttons)
• 4.3 Inch widescreen; VGA Screen with 480 x 272 resolution
• Original Nintendo component video chip wired to produce VGA out
• Shielded composite video wire to reduce interference.
• WiiKey Fusion modchip flashed with Swiss autoboot firmware
• 6400 mAH batteries – provides 3 hours of play time
• Battery indicator with 5 LEDs – lets you know how much power is left
• 128 MB memory card soldered directly onto the motherboard (GameCube slot-A)
• SD Gecko adapter to run homebrew and emulators through Swiss (GameCube slot-B)
• Stereo sound speakers, Used 2x iPhone 4 speakers for very clear sound
• Switching stereo headphone jack
• Analogue volume control
• Video controls to access display menu and switch between A/V (composite) and VGA display
• System can play from wall socket while being charged (comes with charger and power adapter)
• Weight is 700 grams
• Size of GC-Lynx: (w) 235mm x (h)114mm x (d)50mm or 9.25″(w) x 4.5″(h) x 2″(d)
• Comes with 1 x 64GB SD card for GameCube games (wasp fusion slot) and 1 x 32GB for homebrew, games and emulators (GameCube Slot-B)

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There has been a fair bit of backlash on custom consoles on a number of forums. Even though we may not be a fan of this one (Ed: that’s because you are such an Atarian!), we are still in awe of the people that come up with these ideas and executing on them. To read Akira’s trial and tribulations on his GC-Lynx creation, go here.

What do you think?


source: soepschoen

Generosity Of An Atarian

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I may have said this before, but I will say it again, the best part of retro gaming is being part of a like-minded, considerate and passionate worldwide community.

I have met many great people and cemented many friendships due to a mutual love of retro gaming. Aleks ‘Serby’ Svetislav (Weird and Retro) is one person I am particularly grateful to have met. Apart from sharing my passion for all things retro, Aleks is a very cool guy.

During one of the retro gaming community events, Aleks showed off his immaculate Atari 8-bit XEGS. As a one-eyed C64 fan, I was intrigued by this part-computer, part-console 8-bit from Atari. I had never experienced the XEGS till this point. After a few hours of play, Aleks’ love of the Atari 8-bit rubbed off on me. The XEGS bug had bitten me hard! It wasn’t long before I hunted and obtained a XEGS of my own.

To welcome me to the XEGS gaming family, Aleks gifted me three still-in-shrinkwrap games – Blue Max, Desert Falcom and David’s Midnight Magic . Now I was truly ready to start playing on the XEGS!

The generosity shown to me by Aleks was (and still is) truly humbling. When life gets too tough, I always think of how lucky and thankful I am of having great friends in this big wide world of ours. Game on!

The new XEGS games stack. Should I open them?
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Bustin’em open!
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I love the smell of freshly opened XEGS games in the morning
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