Sneak Peek At Atari’s New Gameband Smartwatch

Last week we reported on the imminent new Atari hardware, and now we can tell you a tad more. With just 3 days to go till the official Gameband Kickstarter launch (1:00am February 9th AEDT), some teaser sneak peek photos have emerged of the Gameband Atari and Terraria Edition smartwatches.

As can be seen in the photos (from left to right); there’ll be a straight Gameband Edition (Black, sleek and shiny), an Atari Edition (red, black and retro) and a Terraria Edition (brown, green and indie). Apparently there will be a super early bird price on Kickstarter (starting at $99USD) for a limited quantity – too bad the Kickstarter will launch at the ungodly hour of 1:00am our time :-/

According to Gameband’s CEO, Feargal Mac Conuladh, the Gameband Smartwatches will be “An insanely powerful Smartwatch, wrapped in gaming design and content.”. We shall see!

We reached out to Feargal to state that the launch was going to be at 1:00am on February 9 (our time), meaning a lot of Australians would miss out on the early bird special. He responded thusly:

It’s always good to see a CEO having a sense of humour!

 

Movieland Arcade: A Hit Of Nostalgia In Vancouver

Ah Vancouver, the city of many cruise ships and retirees boarding these massive vessels! This post has been a long time coming, but that’s because we’ve been distracted – till now!

Continuing on with cool places we visited while on our North American trip (like the Seattle Pinball Museum, Toy Shack and A Gamer’s Paradise in Vegas), the city of Vancouver delivered its own piece of gaming nostalgia via the Movieland Arcade!

There are some amusement centres that are stuck in a bygone era, a period of time when arcade parlours in the 80s were lined with machines, both of the arcade and pinball kind, checkered linoleum flooring, cheeky signage, an attendants booth for exchanging your notes for coins and of course, the smell. Well, it is safe to say that Movieland Arcade encapsulates this 80s era perfectly.

Situated at the hipster end of Granville Street in central Vancouver, Movieland Arcade cannot be missed – its distinct red tile facade enticing you to go in and experience some real gaming nostalgia. With pinball tables and arcade machines ranging from the 70s to the late 90s, you better exchange your notes for a shed-load of coins as you will want to play them all!

Movieland Arcade reminded us of the arcade joints we used to frequent in the 80s on Swanston Street and Russell Street in the centre of Melbourne. Unlike those arcade joints going the way of the dodo, Vancouver can count itself lucky with a place like the Movieland Arcade.

Whoa, we spot Movieland Arcade across the road!

You definitely can’t miss the distinct facade of this majestic arcade parlour

We better grab some more coins!

Here we go! Hmm, pinball or straight to the arcade machines?

We shall start from the left and work our way to the right..

You have to go slow when you are in here! Too many awesome distractions!

We can’t go past some Neo Geo action

Killer Instinct is next!

Whoa man, haven’t seen a Gauntlet Legends machine in almost 20 years!

Some single racing action on Daytona USA!

Inserting coins now!

Nothing beats some 8P head-to-head racing!

We spy Medieval Madness! Time to destroy some castle!

Needing some gun action, which Area 51 will satisfy

We enjoy gunning down zombies!

Hmm, not sure if these ‘movies’ and that ‘theatre’ are appropriate, but…

OMG, Raiden Fighters! There go all of our coins!

Our shmup senses have gone into overdrive! Get us some more coins!

We spent our last few coins on some Playboy action *wink*

Darn it, the booth attendant must’ve had a toilet break. We’ll be back.

Street Fighter III – The New Generation: In Real Life

El Gamer Cosplayer, known for his popular live action videos of The King of Fighters, has given his
signature cosplay treatment to Street Fighter III – The New Generation featuring Dudley, Sean, Yun and Ibuki!

FIGHT!!!

Street Fighter III – Cosplay Edition

Street Fighter III – Mexican Cosplay Edition

source: El Gamer Cosplayer

 

Get Your Gaming Fix At ACMI’s Screen Worlds

If you are struggling to keep yourself and the kids entertained during the summer break, why not head on down to the free Screen Worlds Exhibition at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) at Fed Square (Melbourne).

There is plenty of interactive and immersive experiences at Screen Worlds, from playing video games such as Way Of The Exploding Fist, to checking out Minecraft in the Games Lab section. No matter your age, there is plenty to see and do at at Screen Worlds.

It is great to see a free exhibition such as Screen Worlds for all to enjoy. For retro gamers like us, we are absolutely delighted to check out the classic gaming area to get a history lesson on where games came from and Australia’s early involvement in the gaming industry.

Where: ACMI – Federation Square, Melbourne
Exhibition: Screen Worlds
Open: 10am to 5pm daily
Cost: FREE

 

photos: Ms ausretrogamer

 

Final Fight: The Complete History

We reckon  Daniel Ibbertson from Slope’s Games Room must have a direct link to our gaming memories. Either that or we have identical tastes in video games – which is a great thing!

Daniel’s Double Dragon, Metal Slug and Splatterhouse complete history videos were absolutely brilliant, and now with his latest video, a complete history of our second fave beat’em up of all time, Capcom’s Final Fight, Daniel has nailed it yet again! From the game’s inspiration and franchise origins, to the game series and its many characters, Daniel leaves no stone unturned.

What’s this Street Fighter ’89? Daniel explains it all in his video

So head on down to Metro City, smash some telephone boxes, grab some meat rolls and swing a pipe at the complete history of Capcom’s awesome side scrolling brawler!


source: Slope’s Games Room


Thrill Of The Chase: Neo Geo Pocket Color Hanshin Tigers

It’s a new year and what a better way to start it than to hunt down a Neo·Geo rarity!

SNK’s 16-bit handheld, the Neo·Geo Pocket Color (NGPC) came in a number of colours, but it’s the special limited edition Hanshin Tigers version that is its most prized of the NGPC lineup. Inspired by the Japanese baseball team, there were only 5000 units produced, making it the rarer NGPC handheld.

2017 has definitely started with a bang at ausretrogamer as we bag our first thrill of the chase for the year. What else will we go hunting for in 2017? Only time will tell…

If only we were Richmond Tigers fans!

The Hanshin Tigers NGPC looks great from any angle

The NGPC’s home, an official SNK case to store the handheld and some games

No system is complete without games!

The Hanshin Tigers NGPC frolicking!

Bit of KoF action!

Let’s get button mashin’!

Interview With The Neo·Geo Collector

There are Neo·Geo collectors, and then there is Frazer Rhodes – he is the real-deal, as he is known as the Neo·Geo Collector on Twitter. Having rebuilt his Neo·Geo collection countless times, it is hard to argue Frazer’s loyalty, determintation and passion towards SNK’s Neo·Geo family of systems.

As is normal on social media, we met Frazer on Twitter – it was his handle and avatar that caught our eye. His collection is second to none and as fellow Neo·Geo fans, we knew we had to grab Frazer for an exclusive interview. Get yourself comfortable and start reading!

(WARNING: some drooling will be inevitable!)

AUSRETROGAMER [ARG]: Welcome Frazer, let’s start with, how old were you when you got into gaming? Do you remember your first system and first game?
Frazer Rhodes [FR]: I started to get into gaming when I was 8 or 9 years old with an Atari 800XL. The Atari was bought second hand but came with loads of games on tape and also the large floppy disks. I spent hours on that computer. I don’t remember what my first game was, but I vividly remember playing Green Beret, IK+, Ghostbusters and Pole Position to name just a few. Other friends had Spectrums, both the 48K and 128K models, but we all quickly moved on to 16 bit machines. Most of my mates opted for the Amiga, and I stuck with Atari and went for a 520STE. The one game on the ST that I always recall is Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders – I loved that game!

ARG: When did you first play on a Neo·Geo? Do you remember the first Neo·Geo game you played?
FR: The first Neo·Geo I ever played was an Electrocoin 4 slot (MVS) machine in Manchester. It had four games, NAM-1975, Magician Lord, Baseball Stars and Top Players Golf. I elected for NAM-1975, which is still one of my favourite games today. That would have been around 1991. I bought an Electrocoin 4 slot in 2009 and added those four original MVS games. The machine currently resides in my kitchen alongside a Sega Astro City!

ARG: What was it about the Neo·Geo that got you hooked?
FR: At the time I played on that Electrocoin, a limited amount of information about the Neo·Geo was starting to appear in video game magazines. The machines were available on grey import but it wasn’t that easy to find information on the machine or the games. Some magazines, C&VG in particular, would give initial snippets of information on the Neo·Geo, and it wasn’t till 1992 that they started to review many of the games as they were released. By this time, the Neo·Geo had officially launched in the UK.

Some of the gaming mags at the time gave the console a really hard time and very critical reviews. Let’s be honest, the price of the games was always going to be an issue, especially the new releases, but at the time, the SNES games were creeping up in price – I recall Street Fighter 2 for the Super Famicom being around the £90-100 mark on import, so the Neo·Geo games weren’t too far from that price point.

The Neo·Geo AES was like no other console – the carts were enormous, the joysticks were chunky and felt just like those at the arcade, it had a memory card to save your games….the list goes on.

At the time, the gulf between arcades games and home computers and consoles was considerable. Here was a console you could own which was exactly the same as the arcade – no compromises of any kind. I was hooked, I had to own one. I worked during the holidays at a screen printing factory – not particularly glamorous and not well paid either but nevertheless, I saved hard. I think my parents, now thoroughly bored of me going on about the Neo-Geo, realised how committed I was to owning this console. The system had just been released in the UK and one evening after work, my dad picked me up and rather than heading home, he said we needed to go run an errand. We arrived at a house not too far from home. Turns out my dad spotted a for sale advert for a Neo·Geo in the local paper and we’d come to buy it. I had a fair bit saved up and my dad put the rest towards it. I couldn’t believe it, not only was I going to own a Neo·Geo, but the machine came with two control pads plus Fatal Fury and Robo Army, the two games which had just been reviewed in C&VG – they happened to be the titles I wanted the most!

ARG: Your Neo·Geo collection is extremely impressive – when did you start collecting and how long did it take to complete your AES collection?
FR: Having picked up that Neo·Geo in around 1992, I built up a modest selection of games – around 15 titles by 1994. We then of course had the release of the Neo·Geo CD. All the signs indicated that this would be the future, after all £40 games versus £200 was a no-brainer (or so I thought).

Obviously we know different now but I sold the AES, picked up a CD machine but never felt the same way about it as the cartridge machine, so I moved on to buy a Sony PlayStation on the day of its release. I began to get back into the Neo·Geo around 1997 having missed the games and I picked up a boxed Neo·Geo Gold System. Slowly but surely I started buying back games, which were relatively cheap back then. I bought English versions of the games and by 2002 had built up a collection of 84 English Neo·Geo titles. At the time I was looking to buy my first home and had the dilemma to either sell the Neo·Geo games and move on or stay put. With an offer from Holland for over half the collection, I took the deal and bought my own place. Fast forward to 2004 and I was again missing that Neo·Geo collection.

The English variants of the games by this time had started to rise in price considerably. I was now settled in a house with a decent income so I decided I wanted to try and get a full set. Two trips to Japan in 2006/07 certainly helped, as the games were still plentiful over there and I’d come back with a suitcase full of titles. Slowly but surely I managed to pick up the titles I needed through a good network of contacts and trusted suppliers. The collection was featured in Retro Gamer (Issue 61) in early 2009 and I was 5 titles short of the full Japanese set at that time. Not long after that article, a fellow collector and friend sold me 4 of the 5 I was short, with the final game, Overtop, purchased from a seller in Japan. In total it took around 5 years to get the complete set.

ARG: Do you have a favourite game or genre to play on the Neo·Geo?
FR: Choosing a favourite title is a challenge. I do love fighting games and with the Neo·Geo its safe to say I’m spoilt for choice. KoF98, Last Blade 1 and 2, and Mark of the Wolves are some of my favourites. Outside of fighting games, it’s NAM-1975, Magician Lord, Metal Slug 1, X and 3, Pulstar, Shock Troopers and Baseball Stars. I’m also a big fan of the NGDevTeam games.

ARG: Are there any Neo·Geo items you are still hunting?
FR: There are a few items I’d like to find. I’m always on the lookout for any early material from the rental period in Japan (1990), and I’d like to pick up some of the third party joysticks made by Hori. The ultimate collectors piece is the Neo·Geo Deck, sometimes referred to as the Hotel system – a machine that was only released in Japan, which is very rare and very awesome – I’d love to own one.

ARG: You mentioned you have been to Japan – what has been your highlight(s)?
FR: I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited Japan on three occasions. I’d always wanted to go ever since poring over those video game magazines and seeing all the consoles and games being released out there. On my first trip there, it was everything I’d ever hoped it would be. My highlights would have to be video games shopping in Tokyo and Osaka (of course!), taking a trip up the iconic Tokyo Tower, exploring the temples and traditional parts of Kyoto, seeing the stunning Mt Fuji, visiting the peaceful temples at Kamakura and a visit to the Sapporo Brewery to name just a few.

ARG: Do you play on others systems? If so, which one(s) and are there any particular games you like?
FR: I have quite a few other systems, all of which are rigged up and ready to go in my games room. My other favourite systems would have to be the Super Famicom – so many memories from my childhood with games like Super Mario World, Pilotwings, Contra and Street Fighter 2. The other favourite is the FM Towns Marty – again, another one of those machines where there was little information available from importers at the time, which had some superb games; Kyukyoku Tiger, Tatsujin Oh, and a great conversion of Viewpoint. They even released a copy of Zak McKracken on the Marty, which I’m still hunting down!

ARG: Do you have any projects that are either imminent or on the go you can tell us about?
FR: I’m working on something really special at the moment which is Neo·Geo related. I can’t share any details at the moment as we have a Non-Disclosure Agreement in place. All I can say is stay tuned and all going well, there will be some exciting news for all Neo·Geo fans in Spring 2017 (northern hemisphere).

ARG: Where can people reach you or keep track of all your collecting and project activities?
FR: You can find me on Twitter – I am NeoGeoCollector.

As we pick up our jaw off the floor and wipe away the drool, we manage to thank Frazer for making time to talk to us about his love for the Neo·Geo and his video games playing days.