Sometimes it’s difficult to keep up with every piece of retro gaming related news that flies through one’s news feed every week. We feel it’s our duty to record and share all the nostalgic gaming news that we uncover. Here’s another of our semi-regular curated lists of the best retro news that passes our desks. Our roundups are intended for sharing of news and promoting thought and discussion within the classic gaming appreciating community.
Here we go…
- By now I’m sure most readers will have already heard of the upcoming C64 Mini which is pitched to arrive early in 2018. It seems like a rather obvious attempt to piggyback on the success of the similar Nintendo, Sega, and Atari all-in-one consoles, which given their mainstream and financial success isn’t an altogether silly idea. What some may not know is that over the last fifteen or so years there’s been a number of Commodore 64 clones released, most notably the C64 Direct-to-TV created and designed by Jeri Ellsworth. Whether this incarnation is based on an iteration of the same design or it’s something entirely new is unclear at this point, although the joystick is nigh on identical to that of the C64DtTV. Conjecture aside, the C64 Mini is packed with what is essentially a standard shopping list of features for a modern retro consoles – 720P HDMI video output, pixel perfect graphics at 4:3 ratio, CRT filters, game saves, a second USB port for another controller (or a keyboard), and (somewhat appropriately) 64 built in games. It’s a very comprehensive and playable bunch of titles, and you can check out the list here. It can be pre-ordered from Argos in the UK for £69.99 – we’ll update when the official Australian price is announced.
- Another day, another expensive bespoke retro console. The Zette System is handcrafted from wood in the guise of a portable vintage cassette / radio. Aesthetics aside, the system breaks apart into two control pads (or arcade style controllers in the arcade edition), speakers, and a 640 x 480 DLP projector. It’s undoubtably neat, good looking, and well constructed, but according to Kotaku the Zette will be limited to only twenty five units and priced at €1899 for the standard version and €2399 for the arcade edition. Wow. Pricey, just like the other gorgeous retro gaming items from the same artist. Surely there’s a happy medium for products in between high end pieces of art like this and cheap Raspberry Pi gaming systems?
- Here’s a recently unearthed five minute advertisement for the original Magnavox Odyssey from 1972. Marketing of video games and consoles sure has changed! Part of the charm with this video is in the depth of detail they go into with regard to setting the system up, as well as describing just what a video game console is.
- Wired magazine recently published a comprehensive essay on the origins of Pong and the early days of Atari. Grab a coffee / tea / beer and enjoy!
- Here’s another great read, this time from the Arcade Blogger – an essay about the Atari arcade game Kangaroo. It’s very comprehensive, delving into the history of the game (it was purchased by Atari to compete with Donkey Kong and other arcade platformers) and how the Atari in-house programmers were not happy about the process whereby their games were ‘demoted’ in favour of Kangaroo. Time to grab another coffee / tea / beer.
- Our friends at Ausretrogamer have posted information about a new Commodore 64 shooter called Galencia. Fifty levels, different gameplay styles reminiscent of Galaga (or even better according to Ausretrogamer!), boss battles, six chiptunes, high score tables, and more. There are a number of cartridge, cassette, and disk options available for purchase – Ausretrogamer has the skinny, so do check it out if you’re a C64 fan.
- Tetris is an intense two player game, especially when there’s a crowd cheering on the players (as well as making them more nervous). The Tetris World Championships is the pinnacle of competitive Tetris. Check out this recently posted video of 2016’s event…wow! You can also view the more of the event on YouTube – click through for the full thirty five minute gameplay video.
- Reboot continues their prolific output for the Atari Jaguar, this time with a new twist on the popular side-scrolling-shooter genre. Their latest original homebrew title The Last Strike (to be released by AtariAge) evokes the look and feel of 16-bit shooters as your ship rescues humans (increases currency) and grabs fuel (so you don’t run out); mechanics not too dissimilar to those of the classic Konami arcade games Scramble and Super Cobra. The game includes multiple layers of parallax scrolling with a 60Hz refresh rate, end of level bosses, an in-game store for purchasing shooting, shield and smart bomb upgrades (amongst others), a banging rave music soundtrack (with some very familiar samples), and currently has five unique stages, multiple music tracks, and a few other goodies. The video preview below shows the first stage plus a few second sneak-peak of stage two. There’s not much information yet, but we’ll be watching the progress of this South Australian produced game closely.
- Talking about the Jaguar, here’s a demo of Crumbs!, a first-person Pac-Man clone created by SporadicSoft and coded entirely in Raptor Basic +. Sounds and some graphics are placeholders at the moment, but it’s an interesting proof of concept nonetheless.
- Indie Retro News has published details about a demo of Shadow of the Beast to the Amstrad GX4000 and Amstrad Plus. It’s a technically amazing demo that rivals the 16-bit versions, although it’s unclear whether a game will evolve from the current work.
- Alex Kidd in Miracle World turned 31 years old this month. In relevant news, also sourced from Indie Retro News (seriously, they’re great!), is information about an Alex Kidd demake for the PICO-8. Alex Kidd in Pico World (heh!) is a fantastic accomplishment – all 16 levels, all vehicles, all enemies, Janken (rock/paper/scissors), and more. You can play it in your browser in all of its 64 x 64 pixel glory via the Domarius Games website.
- Here’s an interesting development – a fan edited version of Donkey Kong for the NES. In order to more accurately simulate the arcade version (compared to the original NES port, which the author says “sucks”) one needs to rotate the CRT to portrait mode, similar to a number of Japanese SHMUPS on PS1. There’s more information in the original thread on the NESdev forums.
- In case you missed it, Eight Bit Magazine has released a free promotional issue for viewing online. Check it out here, it’s a great read, and it may well sway you to subscribe if you already haven’t.
- Sometimes all it takes is an idea, a little bit of ingenuity, some cardboard and other household items, a lot of glue, and one can create something…unique. Take this physical Super Mario Bros clone that ‘anyone’ can make (high-speed visual instructions are in the video). I’m not sure if I’m more impressed with the idea and execution, or jealous of the creator’s obviously endless amount of free time to come up with such a contraption.