WWII Inspired Video Game Propaganda Prints

We are huge fans of Fro’s (aka Fernando Reza) video games related propaganda posters!

His latest series are inspired by World War II video game propaganda prints. This latest set contains a whopping 26 prints! There are six new Mario and Zelda prints each, as as well as Metroid, Galaga, Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Tetris, Metal Gear Solid, Joust, Frogger and many more great prints – check them all out here.

Duck Hunt – For Vital War Needs

Space Invader – Stop the Invasion

Mario – Superior Firepower

Galaga – Protect

Zelda – Victory

Tetris – Build for Victory

Zelda – Hope for the Future

Mario – Building for Victory

Pac-Man – Protect Our Pellets

Duck Hunt – Keep’em Firing

source: Fro Design Company

 

Review: Atari Retro Handheld

Let’s get one thing straight, this Atari Retro Handheld is not a Flashback portable console by ATGames! There, hopefully we have clarified this point for you all.

This cool Atari Retro Handheld is by powered by Blaze. With its iconic Atari faux wood veneer and Vader lines along its front, this portable system design screams late 70s kitsch. It is like having an Atari VCS woody in your pocket – almost! We say almost, cause you can’t really grab your old Atari 2600 carts and slam them in this handheld, but you can play one of 50 classic titles, including Asteroids, Adventure, Breakout, Centipede, Crystal Castles, Millipede, Sword Quest, Yar’s Revenge  and our absolute fave Atari 2600 game of all time, Missile Command – check out the full list of games below.

  1. 3D Tic-Tac-Toe (31 in 1)
  2. Adventure
  3. Air-Sea Battle
  4. Asteroids ®
  5. Black Jack
  6. Bowling
  7. Breakout ®
  8. Canyon Bomber ®
  9. Casino
  10. Centipede ®
  11. Circus Atari ®
  12. Crystal Castles ®
  13. Demons to Diamonds ™
  14. Desert Falcon ®
  15. Dodge ’em
  16. Double Dunk
  17. Fun With Numbers
  18. Golf
  19. Gravitar ®
  20. Haunted House ®
  21. Home Run
  22. Human Cannonball ™
  23. Maze Craze
  24. Millipede ®
  25. Miniature Golf ®
  26. Missile Command ®
  27. Night Driver ™
  28. Off the Wall
  29. Pong – Video Olympics
  30. Quadrun ™
  31. Radar Lock ™
  32. Realsports Football ®
  33. Realsports Tennis ®
  34. Realsports Volleyball ®
  35. Sprintmaster
  36. Steeplechase
  37. Stellar Track ™
  38. Street Racer
  39. Submarine Commander
  40. Super Baseball
  41. Super Breakout ®
  42. Super Football
  43. Swordquest: Earthworld ™
  44. Swordquest: Fireworld ™
  45. Swordquest: Waterworld ™
  46. Tempest ®
  47. Video Checkers
  48. Video Chess
  49. Video Pinball
  50. Yar’s Revenge ®

The Retro Handheld sports a 2.4″ screen, which surprisingly suits most of the games, however, there were a few that felt cramped on the tiny screen. The unit does come with a composite A/V out interface, so you can plug it into a TV (preferably a CRT) for some big screen action. Emulation was pretty much spot on, with the games playing like their cart counterparts. To round out its retro-ness, batteries, yes, batteries the AAA kind, are required to power this little Atari – relax, this isn’t like the original Atari Lynx, you’ll definitely get a considerable amount of playing hours out of 3 x AAA Duracell batteries.

We were a bit iffy when we first saw the controls, especially the funny looking d-pad nub. Once we started playing, the d-pad and the buttons felt good under the thumbs and were responsive. However, there was one game that was totally unplayable using the nub – not looking at you Pong! Apart from that little niggle, gamers will feel right at home with the controls. Oh yeah, one nifty feature is when changing games, you simply hit the Start and Select buttons at the same time and viola, you exit the current game and go back to the menu to select a new one – this was cool, as we didn’t want to turn off the unit every time we wanted to play a new game.

There will be some that will scoff at this little handheld and others that will absolutely love it for what it is – a portable little Atari that looks like your old Atari 2600 woody and plays your favourite games. We definitely love playing on it (bar the unplayable Pong!), even though we are not big fans of the current Atari SA company. If you can get past this, then this is a little winner.

If you are keen on one of these Atari Retro Handhelds, grab one from FunstockRetro right now! They will even throw in a limited edition Atari Centipede Gold Coin for free – but you better hurry, as this sale ends soon!

Disclosure: The Atari Retro Handheld was kindly supplied by FunstockRetro for this review.

 

Arcade1Up – Rampage Review

Arcade1Up’s line of diminutive arcade cabinets turned a lot of heads online when they were first announced. After all, the chance to own officially-licensed arcade machines for a fraction of the price of a real cabinet, complete with authentic controls and games? It’s a no-brainer! So there was a lot of waiting to see which of these machines (if any) would reach our shores in Australia, and if so, what were they like?

So it was with great trepidation that I scoured the local ALDI stores to find one on the day of their release. I had heard that they were selling out fast, and it didn’t help that ALDI didn’t offer any convenient way to find out which stores had stock in, so I was eager to get out and about to my nearby stores.

The question I was asking myself on the trip was, which one of the two available would I choose? On the ALDI site they were advertising two versions of the Arcade1Up cabinet. One was advertised as containing Williams / Atari classics Rampage, Gauntlet, Joust and the greatest shmup of all time, Defender. The other had a placard boasting it had a roster of Capcom favourites: Street Fighter 2 Championship Edition, Final Fight, Ghouls ‘n Ghosts and Strider.

The good news is that a local store had plenty of both machines on hand to purchase. The not good news? The Capcom cabinet was purely for Street Fighter 2 games. To make things even more confusing, the American version of the Street Fighter 2 machine had all five variants of the legendary fighting game, but the Australian one had only three. That’s….oddly frustrating. My personal favourite Street Fighter 2 Turbo, was completely missing and for the life of me I can’t understand why.

Plenty of machines ready to play!

So, in the interests of game variation, I picked up the Williams / Atari (aka: Midway Classic Arcade) one. As much as I personally love Street Fighter 2, I knew the people who would be using the cabinet would get tired of it a lot quicker than I would, and the chance to introduce Defender to a new generation was too much to pass up. $500 later and I was driving out of the car park a happy man.

Ready to assemble!

Assembling the machine was surprisingly easy and straightforward. If you’ve ever assembled an IKEA book shelf you’ll be in familiar territory here. Frankly, I have to commend the designers here for making it such a painless process, as parts were clearly labelled and the included instructions made sense at every step. You’ll need a good Phillips-head screwdriver and about an hour or two of spare time to go from opening the box to having a small but perfectly formed arcade cabinet in your own home. It’s a good excuse to invite some friends around to help and share in the multiplayer fun afterwards.

Starting to take shape…

It’s when you start putting the machine together that you really get a sense of how small this thing is. Basically, everything is ​3⁄4 of regular size. The controllers are small, not too small, but small enough to be noticeable. The 17” monitor is small, but not enough to be a problem. The cabinet stands 1.2 metres tall, which…yeah, is an issue. Basically the cabinet is too tall to comfortably play while sitting on the ground, and too low to play at all while standing unless you’re under the age of ten. The raisers that Arcade1Up offer aren’t available at retail stores here in Australia, so you’ll need to figure out your own solution. The small size also means that it’s difficult to have more than two people comfortably crowd around the screen, especially if you’re sitting on chairs because of the height issue. It’s workable, but it’s an issue you need to keep in mind.

Almost there….

There are three microswitched sticks for three players, and two buttons (labelled Jump and Attack) that feel suitably responsive if not a teensy bit spongy. I have a hunch that the sticks won’t take the kind of pounding you can dish out in a real arcade, but I don’t really want to test it. On the controller deck is a big power switch and a switch for volume that goes between no sound, “loud enough to be clear for everyone who is playing” and “loud enough to let everyone else in the house know you’re playing”. It just feels nice to play with.

The back of the monitor houses the little box that runs the emulation software.

Anyway, enough about the hardware, let’s talk about the games! Arcade purists might scoff about how these systems use emulation, but honestly, for the price point this thing was never going to be 100% arcade accurate anyway (LCD screens can never replicate the feel of an old-fashioned CRT after all) and the emulation quality itself is legitimately good. However, the way the games play varies wildly.

No coins needed and always ready to play!

So, the cabinet is dedicated to Rampage, with all the original marquee and controller art to suit. That means that it’s a great Rampage machine and offers many hours of fun especially in multiplayer. It’s always a laugh when players end up hitting each other more than they’re hitting the buildings. So, Rampage is good.

Joust surprised me. I have always had a soft spot for the game since playing the Atari 2600 version back in the day, and for some reason I’m even more besotted with the arcade version. It looks the least interesting to play of the four games on offer but I have a hunch that it will be the one I return the most to. It’s a game that rewards skill and has a control system that will take a long time to master. So, thumbs up for Joust here.

Gauntlet is where things start to fall apart. The original was known for its four player action, but since the cabinet was designed with Rampage in mind it only has three controllers. So, at least you can play a three player session, right? Nope! For some unfathomable reason the version of Gauntlet on offer here is the two-player one. Frankly, that’s just absolutely stupid. Also, the game itself has not aged well at all and, since you can just give yourself infinite health with continued pressing of the start buttons, there’s absolutely no challenge on offer. I found myself just wandering aimlessly through the mazes not even bothering to fight any of the dungeon’s monsters. After fifteen minutes I gave this one a hard pass.

Finally we get to Defender. I love Defender. I mean I really, really love Defender. Eugene Jarvis and friends made what I think is one of the few “perfect” games. Legend tells of people who can survive more than five minutes of playing this exquisite classic, but I have yet to meet them. Yes, I am terrible at Defender but I still love it.

Defender plays like absolute garbage on this machine. I hate every second of it. The controls are so offensively broken that I feel like it wants me to grow a third or possible fourth hand to have access to all the buttons that are spread haphazardly across the entire surface of the control panel. You move up and down with the first stick, Thrust and Reverse with the player one buttons, smart bomb and hyperspace with the player two buttons, and fire with one of the third player buttons. It plays worse than it sounds. Your hands spend so much time moving across the panel there’s no way you can make the instinctive, split-second decisions needed to play Defender properly. This is one of the cases where I actually wouldn’t have minded if they used the control method found in some of the home console ports that eschewed the Thrust and Reverse buttons for left and right on the joystick. Even just thinking about playing Defender on this system makes me mad.

Uh…no thank you?

Also, and this one completely infuriates me for some reason, high scores don’t save at all! That’s a particularly egregious oversight that for me completely diminishes the arcade experience. Arcade games are all about high scores! What, I have to get a chalkboard to put next to the machine for people to write their scores down? Are we cavemen?

For $500 there were always going to be some compromises, but some of them just make my blood boil. I get the size. I get the build quality. But I really can’t get over how two of the games are basically broken and there were weird software shortcuts. If you’re a super fan of Rampage, or if you want to use this as a starting point for a modification project then absolutely you should get one. Otherwise…keep looking.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Cameron Davis
Writer and artist of Rose: a comic about the world’s hungriest redhead and her love of food, friends, food, family, food and FOOD!

Follow Cameron on Twitter

 

 

Mini 3D Printed Classic Consoles and Computers

Do you want to collect retro gaming consoles and retro computers? Do you have a space issue?

If you answered yes to both questions, then Dave Nunez of Rabbit Engineering has a solution for you! Dave has created and 3D printed a series of more than 100 miniature devices and peripherals based on classic old school computers and video game consoles, each of which is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand (Ed: space issue solved!). They may not be exact replicas or to scale, but they definitely capture the spirit and style of the system to induce nostalgia!

Here is a sample of Dave’s very cool creations – you can check out the rest via his Rabbit Engineering Etsy store.

image source: Rabbit Engineering

[via: technabob]

 

Classic Times at PAX Aus 2018

There is one undeniable fact about PAX Aus – attendees love reliving their gaming past in the Classic Gaming area!

For the sixth year in a row the ever popular Classic Gaming area returned to PAX Aus – this year brought to you by Ausretrogamer, Bartronica, Bayside Pinball Club, Mr. Pinball, Pinmem, Press Play On Tape podcast, Weird and Retro and Zax Amusements. These groups all brought along their carefully preserved (and awesome) wares to create the magical and nostalgia inducing area.

From the Commodore 64, Amiga 1200, Atari ST and MSX old school computers to the Atari Lynx, Game Boy, WonderSwan, Neo Geo Pocket handhelds and Atari 2600, Vectrex, Sega Master System, NES, PC-Engine, Sega Mega Drive and Super Nintendo consoles (just to name a few!), the Classic Gaming area had your retro gaming covered.

Of course the area didn’t just cater for old school computer and console gamers, it had arcade machines from the golden age like Asteroids, Bad Dudes, Rampage, Double Dragon, Mortal Kombat 2, Rastan, Street Fighter II and a dozen pinball machines, from the new Stern Deadpool to the old High Roller Casino just to tickle your sentimentality without the need of extracting coins from your pocket!

Another section that made a return due to popular demand was the display museum. Standing along the right perimeter of the Classic Gaming area, the glass display cabinets created the perfect backdrop by showcasing carefully curated classic and exotic gaming pieces that invoked strong feelings of intoxicating nostalgia from gaming’s past. This of course was the intention the Classic Gaming team was going for.

With the area proving to be popular as ever, there was never an empty seat or a lonely controller – attendees took full advantage of playing on machines from their childhood and for those with families, it was great to see kids playing games that their parents would have enjoyed when they were their age. With smiles all around and a lot of positive feedback, we can safely say that the PAX Aus Classic Gaming area was a huge success.

So what will we have in store for you all in the Classic Gaming area at PAX Aus 2019? You will have to wait and see, but rest assured, we will definitely be tickling your nostalgic nerve.

 

 

 

We are at PAX Aus!

Yo peeps, the Ausretrogamer gang and their awesome friends (Weird and Retro, Press Play On Tape podcast, Bartronica, Bayside Pinball Club) are all at PAX Aus 2018 this coming weekend running the awesome and nostalgia inducing Classic Gaming area.

If you are attending PAX Aus, come over, say hi and most importantly, play and have fun!

We are here!
image source: PAX Aus

Midway Gaming Box: The Perfect Christmas Gift


We reckon we have just found our Christmas present!

If you are a retro gamer or know someone that is a retro gamer / classic arcade gamer (Midway, Atari, Bally, and Williams), then this USD$29.99 Midway Gaming Box is the perfect Xmas gift. This nifty gaming box includes a Rampage journal, Defender Teeny Tin, Joust Bumper Sticker, Defender bumper sticker, Paper Boy sheet magnet, Joust Boingler vinyl figure, and a Spy Hunter pin.

Pre-orders are now open, with the Midway Gaming Box landing in November – great timing for Christmas!