Fresh Retro Juice

It's All Geek To Me!

retro gaming

Retro Subscription Boxes

ShemboComment
The Retro Gaming Box.png

The phenomenon of subscription boxes is not new. Whether you’re into beauty products, a foodie, t-shirt fanatic, obscure anime enthusiast or love your role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, then you will be able to throw your fun tokens at regular subscription boxes delivered to your front door!

The basic concept is thus: pay a monthly subscription fee and receive a reoccurring made-to-measure box or parcel in whatever niche you love! Simples.

Being a huge retro fan (obviously!) I have dabbled in the likes of big names like Loot Crate to level up on my geekiness and “Shut up and take my money!” type purchases. However, I have recently come across UK based subscription boxers (I just made that up!) called The Retro. It does exactly what it says on the..box!

You can get up to 5 retro related treats covering vinyl, cassettes, comics and gaming ranging from 1960s – 1990s. All you have to do is a join a club!

What you need to know!

  • Every month you will get 3 – 5 treats tailored to your interests

  • Earn Retro Reward points with each purchase

  • Refer a mate and get £10 credit

  • Retro members can win big prizes each month

  • Worldwide shipping

  • If you receive duplicates then you can get involved with their Facebook Swap Shops

  • Students get 20% off

  • Supersize your box with add-ons if you need a more intense retro hit!

Nowadays it’s all about convenience because our level of lazy is spiralling out of control! Yes, you can still find the magic in trawling through charity shops, retro gaming conventions or raiding your parent’s attic! But you also can have a team of nostalgic nerds send you a monthly, authentic present customised especially to your vintage taste! So, if you have that warm wistful glow in your belly, and you’re not quite sure where to start your trip down memory lane, check out The Retro!

Analogue Mega Sg Lets You Play SEGA Mega Drive Games in HD

ShemboComment
analogue_mega_sg.png

You can now play your old SEGA Mega Drive games on your HD TV lag-free! Imagine!

Analogue first came to my attention with the super sleek aluminium Nt Mini which is a luxury version of the NES Mini. Unlike the various clones of the NES Mini on the market it wasn’t an emulation. It played all your old Nintendo and original Famicom games plus various add-ons and extras where you could essentially customise the console in look and sound. With the success of the Nt Mini and Super Nt, Analogue have now set their sights on SEGA with the Mega Sg, and I for one am way too over excited!

mega_sg_main.png

Due to be released in March 2019 and costing around £150, you can get your preorders in now. There is no need to drag out a heavy CRT TV to experience retro gaming, as you can now play in HD without losing out on video and audio quality. The Mega Sg which can play over 2180 classic cartridges, will make the knock off retro gaming toys out there look very silly!

I am a big SEGA Mega Drive fan. I transitioned straight from the daddy of retro game consoles, Atari, to a Sinclair ZX Spectrum to a 16-bit revolution with a Mega Drive. Yes, I had my dalliances with a Nintendo Game Boy and enduring chronic thumb fatigue playing Track & Field, but receiving a Mega Drive for Christmas with a 6 in 1 game cartridge with the likes of The Revenge of Shinobi, Columns and Golden Axe was and still is my happy place.

Here’s the science!

This bad boy is NOT an emulation machine like the other plug n play systems. This means no lag with video output and 1080p Hi Definition graphics all engineered with FPGA technology. The FPGA is a chip that simulates the original Mega Drive hardware instead of an emulation with software. The audio packs a 48KHz 16 bit stereo which essentially means the sound is upscaled to the highest digital quality. So no more complaints of distorted, variations of sounds when you’re trying to beat those “I only have one move” flying kick bitches in Streets of Rage!

mona and lisa streets of rage.png

The use of such high-end tech and precision engineering allows the Mega Sg to be free from compromises allowing you to play all the games as they were intended to be played all those years ago.

“We design systems to celebrate and explore the history of video games with the respect it deserves,” – Analogue.

As well as SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis cartridges and of course the Sega Master System, you are also able to use an original Mega-CD with the Sega Sg. There is a connector concealed in the expansion door that allows you to plug in and get going!

but wait theres more.gif

Analogue are all about preserving the rich gaming history of old skool video games and the consoles of our childhood, so of course they have thought about everything! And by everything, I mean, game cartridge adapters for Game Gear, Mark III, Sega MyCard, SG-1000 and the SC-3000. So, you can play even more retro games and avail of the sophistication and accuracy of FPGA.

With the Mega Sg you can use your old SEGA controllers but if you don’t have them then you will unfortunately have to purchase the control pads separately for roughly £20. But that’s not so bad as Analogue have super fancy wireless 8bitDo M30 controllers that come in black in white… and they look the business!

mega_sg_8bitdo_controllers.png

I know I know, historically speaking wireless controllers used with retro gaming consoles have always been a taboo matter, mainly down to the fact of the annoying lag you can experience with gameplay, but these wireless 2.4GHz control pads (not Bluetooth) are lag-free. Of course! Even though I have original Mega Drive gamepads, I still think I will purchase these… because reasons!

If you’re a SEGA fan and you want to invest in a bit of tech that we make you cry nostalgic tears of joy… then you need to hit up Analogue post haste!  

General Spec of Mega Sg

Colours

*USA, Europe, Japan and White.

Dimensions

*138mm (L)

*168mm (W)

*47mm (H)

 What You Get in the Box

*Analogue Mega Sg

*Analogue SEGA Master System Cartridge Adapter

*USB Cable

*HDMI Cable

*USB Power Cable

 Compatibility

*Mega Drive/Genesis and Sega Master System Cartridges

* Game Gear, Mark III, Sega MyCard, SG-1000 and the SC-3000

*Mega-CD

*Region Free (PSU: 100-240v, 50-60hz)

 Audio

*48Hz 16-bit

*Digital audio via HDMI

*3.5mmm Headphone Jack

 Video

*HDMI 1080p/720p/480p

*NTSC and PAL Support

*Zero Signal Degradation, Lag Free

 Special Features

*Original styled controller ports for Mega Drive/Master System

*Original connector for Mega-CD

*SD Card Slot for Firmware Updates

 8BitDo M30 Game Controller – 2.4g Wireless Receiver

*20hr Battery Life

*Auto Sleep Mode After 15 Minutes

*Lag-Free

 

Why Is Retro Gaming So Popular : The Science Behind The Fun

ShemboComment
Tetris on Gameboy.PNG

The average age of someone who identifies as a retro gamer is apparently 34 years old. And by ‘retro gamer’ I mean someone who likes to get overly animated when it comes to the old skool classic consoles of Atari, Sinclair Spectrum, Amiga and of course the more well-known Nintendo, SEGA and Sony PlayStation. Playing video games that date back to the 1980s and 1990s is not just an aimless meander down memory lane for those who are hiding from the 21st Century. (well… ok… sometimes this is true!) It’s more about the nostalgic feels that makes us warm and fuzzy as we indulge in our whimsical childhood memories. Memories of button bashing the hell out of Street Fighter or advancing through levels of Sonic resonates with the adult version of you.

The earliest game console came on the scene in the 1970s. It was called a Magnavox Odyssey and was the first commercial home gaming console. The monochrome screen brought the delights of the classic game Pong. In the late 70s/early 80s you had the explosion of Atari with such titles as Asteroids, Centipede, Breakout, Pitfall and the first game I ever played, Frogger. You may have also embraced the 8-bit likes of a Commodore 64, Sinclair Spectrum or Amiga. And then moving into the 1990s there was the great console wars between SEGA and Nintendo.

Sega v Nintendo.jpg

As we entered the 21st century, ‘old’ gaming consoles were considered obsolete and terribly uncool with many folk opting for technological advancements with enhanced graphics, better audio, faster processors and the need for an immersive, layered story when it came to their gameplay experience.

We’ve come a long way from the simplicity of Pong to the latest stunning visuals of Zelda!

We’ve come a long way from the simplicity of Pong to the latest stunning visuals of Zelda!

Collaborative games became ‘a thing’. Online gaming was where the party was at… And if you could play games on the move from your mobile phone, then you were winning at life. Convenience and speed were considered paramount in a world where we desperately needed to experience every-damn-thing in real time. Nobody had time for loading a game anymore or troubleshooting a heavily pixelated frozen screen by blowing into the cartridge!

The big game developers were consistently creating award winning games and even indie game studios were regularly releasing huge hits. The gaming industry was doing just fine… but as if from nowhere, people began dusting off their old childhood consoles and scouring the internet for second hand classics.

Nintendo Boombox.PNG

There was a resurgence in vintage items and memorabilia, and with that forgotten names like Atari, SNES, SEGA Mega Drive and Gameboy were once again thrust into the public over 30 years later. What the hell was happening and what brought this huge wave of popularity with retro gaming??

Money

Some say that the expense of modern game consoles like Xbox, Switch and PlayStation are making the 30-something year olds revolt back to simple, cheaper forms of gaming. To be a modern gamer you have to be willing to spend your fun tokens on add-ons, expansion packs, upgrades and in-game purchases just to complete a game. Whereas old skool gamers can play a retro video game from start to finish with only being out of pocket for the price of the game itself.

Resilience

Durability is also a huge pull for vintage video game systems. You should be able to dig out a SEGA Mega Drive from hibernation in the attic with a little wipe, and then kick off a game immediately. Whereas the newer gaming consoles would probably have a system meltdown if you tried rebooting it after it was dormant for 20 years. There is a warm reassurance you get with older game consoles that is completely absent from the fancy pants machines we have now.

Superiority and Simplicity

Another argument is that the old games and consoles from the 80s and 90s are just better and gamers are simply favouring these over the modern titles. It’s not just about the technology and build of the games and the consoles, but also about the characters like Pac-Man, Link from Zelda, Sonic and Mario who all captured the imagination of an entire generation which can be lacking in contemporary games. Yeah sure the graphics are immense… but if the narrative sucks then what’s the point? Many retro gamers also champion the simplicity of gameplay from back in the day. There were no online video tutorials or walk through cheats to download. You had three lives and you kept on going no matter how hard and fast the game evolved.

All of the above are of course factors in the ever-rising reputation of retro gaming, but I think it’s the power punch of nostalgia that has made us want to rekindle the magic!

Nostalgia is understood to be a mix of bittersweet emotions both negative and positive. They are anchored to memories of meaningful events and intrinsically linked to relationships. There are also two main triggers. External triggers can be a song on the radio throwing you right back to a school disco or a smell which reminds you of Sunday lunch at your nans. Internal triggers are the emotions that are brought on by feelings of boredom and loneliness. The number one thing that nostalgia has been proven to do, is to promote well-being and mental health especially for those living with dementia.

The force of nostalgic marketing is fierce! Gaming companies jumped on the idea of bottling nostalgia and they did it well by reproducing old consoles with new tech like the SNES Mini and SEGA plug and play consoles. You could now play 16-bit classics on a modern HD television with wireless controllers if you wanted to. It was seen as the picture-perfect marriage between old and new. When Nintendo released the NES Classic in 2016, they sold out of all 2.3 million of them. This Christmas the classic Sony PlayStation mini version will be available and is already tipped to be just as popular.

We get excited about classic video games just like we do old films and music. Kids of the 80s and 90s are now reliving their youth through fairly inexpensive retro game consoles, and we are now old enough to be able to afford the art of playing! The pleasure of indulging our nostalgia has paved way for the huge hype in all things retro with no clear signs of it being ‘Game Over’ anytime soon!

 

 

Retro Gamers Buying Guide For Beginners 2019

ShemboComment
retro gamers guide.png

Whether you have a nostalgic itch to scratch or you are a serious retro gamer who laughs in the face of the mini classic consoles that have exploded in popularity over the last couple of years, there’s no getting away from the fact that retro gaming is big business right now. Personally, I fall into the retro geek camp of 30-something year olds who yearn to stop the ageing process by playing with games from my childhood… because adulting is just too hard! I’m not an expert on the technical spec of every old school video game console from 1977 and I’m not going to scoff at those who have jumped on the bandwagon of retro gaming in recent years. I own an original SEGA Mega Drive because it epitomises my childhood and I’m a sucker for nostalgic marketing! But I also have a SNES Classic Mini because my motivation behind playing video games has always been fun even if it comes in a teeny tiny all in one game console that fits perfectly in the palm of my hand! If that kinda logic offends you then…

blow me cartridge.gif

My point is, however you wish to get your pixelated kicks is up to you… because retro gaming snobbery doesn’t live here!

The accessibility to retro gaming has never been easier but I understand that deciding to invest in this hobby can be slightly overwhelming with so many options and opinions. Plus, there’s the eye candy distractions of gaming rooms like these, where you convince yourself that you need immediately! (You don’t. Chill out!)

games room.JPG

You also want affordability when settling on a particular console of yesteryear. One that will suit your budget, because we’re at the age now where we have bills to pay! So, this guide is aimed to help the novice amongst you who want to effectively figure shit out before they throw fun tokens at experiencing the classic gaming world again.

The Original Purist

If you just want to jump right in and you are an all or nothing kind of person, then getting your hands on an original game console is where you want to be. The best way to experience vintage video games is to go straight to the source of origin which means investing in the genuine game cartridges, accessories, controllers and of course the original Atari, NES, SNES, Mega Drive or perhaps Sinclair ZX Spectrum! This route is considered more for those who are into the idea of being a serious game collector and not for those who just want to dick around for a few hours playing Mario Kart for sentimental reasons.

retro game consoles.PNG

Obtaining a classic gaming system with all the peripherals is fairly simple especially on the interweb. The likes of eBay and Amazon are the obvious big online merchants to find second hand retro gaming goodies, but look out for sites like Gumtree, Adverts.ie or a quick Google search to find gaming specialists in your area. I prefer the face to face transaction from those who actually know what they’re talking about like the guys at The R.A.G.E in Dublin rather than rudeboy_92 from some obscure online forum who over uses emojis! You can also look into retro gaming exhibitions and events near you like Retro Games Fair or Play Expo Manchester which essentially brings together a load of gaming enthusiasts under one roof, including retailers who are showcasing a lot of retro consoles and games for you to pick up and take home. Winner!

Just be aware that if you are wanting to go all guns blazing down this route, you will have to invest a few quid financially. Original games in decent condition are considered rare and so will come with a higher price tag. You also need to consider the space and storage for your multiple consoles and a possible CRT TV.

crt tv.jpg

The majority of us have a fancy HD television sat in our living room which now come without such trivial things as an ‘archaic’ scart connector. Imagine! So, if you’re resolute about the bona fide gaming experience that comes with a retro game console, then you’re going to need the old school kit to go with it. And a HD telly is just not it! Most serious gamers who play original video games have a CRT TV like you had when you were younger. This is what the consoles were designed to be played on so if you’re wanting authenticity, then this is the best way to enjoy it. You will also not be able to use a light gun which you would use to play classics like Duck Hunt on the NES because that will not work on a modern LCD TV.

duck hunt.gif

Just be wary of trying to marry old tech with new tech, because when your AV TV scart cable for your SEGA Master System doesn’t match with your 65” Smart HD TV with laser beams and a unicorn, there will be tears!

All in One Game Consoles

The all in one retro game console has been boosted in reputation over the last few years with the big names in the gaming world bringing out their own plug and play retro consoles. Notably Nintendo with the SNES Mini Classic which had people salivating with excitement over its release and now the new PlayStation Classic which will be here in time for Christmas. They both come with around 30 memorable and popular in-built games and mimic the look and style of the original consoles and controllers but with upgraded parts made for your modern life. For example, USB ports and HDMI connections.  

snes classic mini.JPG

I find these little bad boys fab for the part-time retro gamers out there who are looking to relive your youth without the commitment to an original retro gaming system as mentioned above. The only drawback is that with the all in one console like the SNES Mini Classic, there are no straight forward work-arounds of playing your old game cartridges. The miniature consoles are just an attractive model version. Unless you are a bit of a tech whizz and know how to jailbreak it in order to load more games onto it, then you are stuck with the pre-installed games.

The only plug and play game consoles that are designed to accommodate your old game cartridges, seem to be the Atari Flashback with 101 games installed and the SEGA Mega Drive that has 80 games ready to go. This to me makes perfect sense and it’s a shame that Nintendo and Sony have not allowed this magical hybrid to happen.  

All in One Video Arcades

If your idea of retro gaming is heading to the arcades with a pocket full of coins and button bashing until your heart’s content, then getting yourself one of these mini arcades could suit you best. Not only can you have up to 1000 classic retro games pre-installed on one machine, but you also get to experience the look and feel of having an arcade in your home. Let’s face it, they look awesome! There are various models on the market from legitimate brands but some unfortunately are a poor man’s version. For example, there has been comments about duplicated games on the system so you’re not getting the promised number of games as advertised or there’s a lag in gameplay where a cheaper joystick has been installed. To distinguish between the good and bad, I would suggest that you read all the reviews available to you online before you tap in your card details. These types of plug n play video games are on the pricier side due to their optimised hardware, gaming catalogue, size and of course the stylised graphics.

You will also have to consider where the hell you will put this in your gaff as they’re not as portable as a mini SEGA Mega Drive with a couple of dangly controllers. A mini arcade will be more of a permanent fixture that can’t just sit on the dining table!

Emulation with RetroPie

This option is very popular amongst the hardcore gamers who like the idea of a DIY project where they have control over what games they play and on which platform. Essentially, an emulator simulates the original gaming hardware from all the great retro games consoles like Nintendo, Atari, SEGA, Commodore etc. It can play infinite amount of classic games and with the help of the RetroPie app that can be installed on a Raspberry Pi, you can have all your childhood games stuffed into one neat computer! The actual games remain untouched in quality but if your emulator doesn’t replicate a true likeness to the original game, for example if it runs at different speed or the audio is off, then that’s when it can cause issues. 

The reason why so many gamers enjoy emulators is because they get to tweak and customise the gaming system to their liking. You can add Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities and even use your controllers from Xbox or PlayStation. There are also tons of guides and helpful YouTube videos to get you setup and troubleshoot any problems you may have.

retropie.jpg

The only real downside for using a retro gaming emulator would be the fact that you have to build it yourself. It is more powerful than an all in one game console with a few built in games but with great power, comes a lot more effort and fiddly parts! You also have to be careful about illegally downloading certain games from the big names like Nintendo. This is technically piracy and gaming companies are becoming more vigilant with stopping users downloading ROMs that they don’t own.

5 in 1 Consoles

Now in theory these appear great and convenient for those who require flexibility and are on a budget. The idea is that instead of having many retro game consoles you can just have the one universal console that can play more than one gaming platform. It’s like a Swiss Army knife of consoles! However, be careful as logic suggests that the more games you can play on one system, the more that will inevitably go wrong with it. If you have one machine that is dedicated to playing the compatible games that it’s designed for, then you’re looking at a better quality of gameplay. If you know that you will be playing specifically one retro system, then get the console which supports that. However, if you don’t want to invest in various different game consoles and you genuinely have a vast array of games for different systems, then these 5 in 1 may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Points to Remember

  • If you’re buying an all in one type plug and play game console, don’t get too carried away with the modern advancements like a wireless controller. These can cause problems with gameplay and they tend to lag. Go for connected controllers or the originals.

  • If you are wanting to go for the full retro gaming experience, then you need to consider space in your home to accommodate this hobby. A gaming room/den might be necessary with appropriate furniture and the correct storage in order to keep your consoles and games in tip top condition. Dust is the number one killer of vintage video game systems!

  • When you’re scouting for new games it’s best to go to a dedicated retro game retailer rather than a random seller on the internet. This is because you are much more likely to be purchasing the genuine article with original hardware and not a knockoff emulation.

game over.gif

Retro Game Review : 112 in 1 Sega Mega Drive Game Cartridge

ShemboComment
retro game review.PNG

So recently I came across a product on Amazon that I rolled my eyes so hard at I’m fairly certain I sprained my cornea! It was a Sega Mega Drive game cartridge for 112 games in 1.

sega mega drive all in one.JPG

The fact that it was £15 made me think that it was nonsense, or it was full of 112 obscure games with many many duplicates. As described, the game is for only genuine Mega Drive consoles and not compatible with the all in one Sega emulators that also take cartridges. So, as I have an original and I was clearly procrastinating the crap out of my day, I figured I would read on. And by read on, I mean check the reviews.

It has an overall rating of 3.5 stars out of 5 but scrolling down the product page, there is a mixed bag of 1 and 2 star reviews muddled with a handful of 5 stars. My spidey sceptical senses were tingling especially when some folk were saying “Avoid, scam!” or “If I could give this a 0 star I would.” But, my disregard to flaws and always wanting to fight for the underdog, I decided to trust the better reviews and throw money at it because it was payday and I was a little drunk! Yay drunk online purchases!

drunk amazon purchase.png

And let’s face it, 112 Sega Mega Drive games for 15 quid does sound super attractive.

A few days later my game arrived in an Amazon cardboard envelope. There was no fancy packaging just the cartridge wrapped tightly in bubble wrap and a small plastic bag.

sega mega drive game.jpg

I eagerly booted up my Mega Drive, inserted the game cartridge… and I honestly waited for it to either blow up, melt or just show me a black screen with ERROR stamped across it! However, once loaded I simply was greeted with the menu of a shed load of games.

sega mega drive 112 in 1.jpg

As I scrolled through, I recognised some classics from serials like Streets of Rage, Shinobi and Sonic. But as I got further on in the list I realised that I had stumbled into no man’s land of games I had never heard of. 

sega mega drive 112 all in 1.jpg

I decided to ignore that for now and figured the only way to see if this was worth anything, would be to actually play it! So, I started with Streets of Rage 2 and I quickly realised from being a die-hard original Streets of Rage fan, why I never really liked this sequel. But apart from my loyalty to the original game, there was nothing abhorrently wrong with the gameplay. The soundtrack still made me feel like I was tripping out in a Japanese electronic dance club, and there appeared to be no glitches. Winner so far.

I then hit restart and played the classic Sonic the Hedgehog. I wanted to see what it was like compared to my original Sonic game in audio and picture quality. I took a couple photos and videos for comparison and then tried to detect any differences.

sonic the hedgehog.PNG

I couldn’t find a difference between the original Sonic the Hedgehog and the Sonic installed on a cartridge stuffed with 112 games. Now I’m not a pro retro gamer. I have never pretended to be completely schooled in the fine art of vintage video games. I play because it’s fun and I rarely pay attention if the graphics or audio are slightly amiss from the original. As long as the gameplay is good then…  

frankly my dear monkey.gif

After my little test I scanned through the list a little more and got far too overexcited at a few Sega platform games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Captain America. However, I would need more procrastination tokens to give these games a real go.

teenage mutant ninja turtles sega mega drive.jpg
Captain america sega mega drive.jpg

In conclusion…

Pros of 112 in 1 for Sega Mega Drive Game Cartridge

If you’re a casual retro gamer like myself looking to pass some hours for nostalgia’s sake, then this is a great 16-bit buy. When you think that a standalone game can be easily upwards of £20, then £15 for a fair few decent games is bargain town! It’s a fab little journey down memory lane for all you button bashers who enjoy keeping active by consuming alcoholic beverages whilst screaming at your TV screen!

Cons of 112 in 1 for Sega Mega Drive Game Cartridge

If you’re a purist retro gamer, then you probably will hate everything that this stands for! The cartridge does look like a dodgy rip off from Wembley Market circa 1995! And yes, you do get some classic games like Contra, Golden Axe and Double Dragon to dick around with… but you also get a load of games listed in no particular order (which will ruin your OCD!) that are also spelled like someone sneezed!

Overall rating: A solid 7/10

Top Maintenance And Storage Tips For Retro Gaming Consoles

ShemboComment
retro game consoles.jpg

Do you remember receiving your first gaming console as a kid in the 80s or 90s with the jubilation, high pitched screaming and undiluted hysteria as if it was a big fat Christmas miracle??

Quick mum help I'm having an overexcited stroke!

Quick mum help I'm having an overexcited stroke!

Did you then think long and hard about where exactly you were going to safely store it to basically end up having a setup similar to this…

Why... because fuck you that's why!!

Why... because fuck you that's why!!

As a grown up and a lover of retro game consoles/refusing to move on from my childhood, I too showed little respect to my Sega Mega Drive that is currently squashed between a Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, SNES mini, Virgin Media TV box and some stray DVD's that I can't be arsed to put back in their case… And now when I want to play, my precious Mega Drive will decide if it will work or not and I am pretty sure my negligence has contributed to it being temperamental as feck! So, I’ve decided to take it down to the guys at The Rage in Dublin who will have a look and try to fix it, but I also need to have a long hard look in the mirror and think about how to store and maintain my retro game consoles if I want to continue playing them until I'm at least 85 years old.

Location Location Location

Any high-powered gaming system needs ventilation. So shoving it on an enclosed TV stand or cabinet screams all kinds of no. The heat from the consoles need to go somewhere so let it out damn it! You also want to eliminate as much dust as possible getting into the game consoles and dark corners are dust mite friends, so avoid. There are a few entertainment centres and TV stands ideal for gaming consoles but of course it depends on your budget and where in your home it is intended for. I mean sure, a stand which is practical with ventilation is great, but you also would want it to look good too. Here are a few of my top picks.

Budget - Basic Chrome 3 Shelf Unit £29.99

Mid Range - 4 Cube Shelving Unit £37.50

Ok lemme throw some more cash at this - Wood TV Stand 2 Shelf Storage Unit £45.99

Pricey enough - Glass 4 Shelf Unit £84.06

Console Maintenance

The easiest and laziest form of cleaning a gaming console is to simply blow the dust away from the system. Yeah… stop doing that! All you’re doing is moving the pesky dirt sprites from one surface to another. So, yes you may think that you’re clearing away the dust from your SNES, but you’ve probably just blown all the shit from the vents onto another electrical device! Use a vacuum cleaner. Presto! Pull the dirt out and away every 6 months. This may seem tedious and annoying, but in the long run it will certainly help.

You can also find a local retro gaming specialist near you who should be able to run a diagnostic check on your system to see that it is operating as it should. Retro gaming consoles today are considered a rare vintage item and so we should treat them with care like an archaeological find fit for the Antiques Roadshow. Because remember, when they're really broken, you can't just pick out a new one in the Argos catalogue and hope Santa will hook you up!

Here’s a few takeaway tips you should always adhere to if you essentially don’t want to fuck up a good thing!

* Do not stack game consoles on top of each other. The heat emitted is zero fun and can cause the gaming systems to have a meltdown.

* Use storage shelves and entertainment units for your game consoles that have open backs. This helps the air circulate so the system doesn’t overheat.

* Dust and electronics do not mix. Keep your retro gaming console clean with a vacuum cleaner.

* Retro gaming consoles are notorious for those long ass controller leads that drape across the floor. When you’re not playing, pack these away carefully. As watching someone catch their foot on the lead and drag your entire console down to the ground in slow motion… is truly heart breaking!  

 

 

The N Word Project : Nostalgia Marketing

ShemboComment
nostalgia project.PNG

The wave of nostalgia in the form of tech is at its highest. Big brands and bloggers like myself are tapping into the sentimentality of childhood memories. The difference with me versus some of the big businesses is that a) I only share things I believe are genuinely cool and think my audience will like and b) I'm Forest Gumping my way through with no real plan! Here is a visual representation:

power rangers.PNG

Remember those wistful hours spent playing your favourite video game? Well advertising companies are essentially punching us millennials in the feels, so we empty our wallets... and it's working! With releases of classic game consoles like the SNES Mini and other retro gaming emulators that offer you a gazillion video games, the strong stench of a yesteryear is here, and the world of advertising is cashing in. Yes fine friends, nostalgia marketing is a thing!

Companies for a long time now have recognised the value of nostalgia in the media and getting us hooked!

Well... obviously! A fine example of nostalgia being awesome and super popular!

Well... obviously! A fine example of nostalgia being awesome and super popular!

With technology especially gaming, the brains behind a marketing campaign figures that if they can evoke the playful feelings of you button bashing Track & Field on the Game Boy, then they will use this to make you throw money at whatever they are selling. Is it a trap? Yes. Is it clever? Yes. Are you still going to buy an Atari handheld gaming console? Shut up and take my money!

The trickery brands use to gain the interest of the consumer is simply to form an emotional connection to whatever they are selling. If the brand can resonate with positive memories, then the battle to sell us stuff we never thought we needed is already half won. Basically, the better we feel when using a product coupled with shouts of “Oh my god I remember that!” the more likely we are to add it to our basket when shopping online. #drunkonlinepurchases. The thing is… even though I know it’s all marketing wizardry set out to piss off my bank balance… I’m still probably definitely gonna buy into it because I lack self control!

Conjuring emotions for an inanimate object is a very powerful marketing tool. We know that buying a retro games console will give us an immediate fuzzy glow of satisfaction as soon as we slam Super Mario Kart into a SNES! It's these warm comforting emotions that encourages us to spend all the money on things we never need but simply want… because reasons! 

Studies on nostalgia tells us that it has the power to combat loneliness, anxiety and even boredom. As well as making us feel lightheaded and physically warm, nostalgia can make us more understanding, tolerant and generous to strangers. Old happy memories have also been noted to aid us in difficult transitional moments of our lives and help us feel more resilient in stressful situations. In short... nostalgia is a kick ass, potent, psychological phenomenon which makes selling us retro inspired shit so damn easy! The concept is so very easy, but super powerful!

I HAVE THE POWEEEEEEEERRRRR!

I HAVE THE POWEEEEEEEERRRRR!

Nostalgic strategies employed by advertisers help mask over the complexities of our current life with a giant, rose tinted, blast from the past plaster. In a world where instant gratification is deemed the holy grail of adult life, the N Word plays magnificently into that concept.

impressive.gif

So, continuing with the second round of The N Word Project is Naoise O’Hare from Retro Gamer Ireland who basically is a retro gaming extraordinaire from Dublin. I stumbled across his blog and got insanely jealous at his Instagram account that showcases all his retro video game consoles and games. Go check him out post haste and follow him all the way to the Shangri-La of retro gaming wonderment!

retro gamer ireland.jpg
retro gamer ireland naoise.jpg

Have you always been into retro gaming or did you pick this up later on in life?

I started out playing the Nes, then Snes and so on. Over the years I went along with the times and played modern gaming and left the oldschool stuff in the past. It wasn't until about 5 years ago that my girlfriend surprised me with the gift of a Super Nintendo that my love of retro games was sparked.

What made you want to start your website Retro Gamer Ireland?

I was having a lot of fun  using Instagram as a micro blog but wanted to share more in depth thoughts on retro gaming. I tried YouTube but it wasn't for me so I tried writing blogs and loved it so started the website.

What do you think it is about old skool games and consoles that makes it still so popular?

One word... Nostalgia.

What was your first gaming console?

The Nes and a copy of the Duck Hunt/Super Mario Bros cart. It's still one of my favourite consoles today.

What was your favourite video game?

The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I have so many fond memories playing it as a kid, and still love it to this day. It's a game that I will keep going back to for the rest of my days. 
 

What retro game throws you right back into being a kid again? (Mine is Streets of Rage on the Mega Drive!)

So many games take me back to the good old days, anything that I played as a kid will get the nostalgia flowing. One game that takes me all the way back is Super Mario Bros, one or my earliest memories is playing this game with my older brother Aodhan.

For me nostalgia and childhood memories make me feel like I’m hugging a hot water bottle or placing a warm towel over my eyes. What kind of emotions or imagery evokes nostalgia for you?

Any video game that I can remember playing as a kid will always fill me with nostalgia. Then certain tv shows and movies like the first 2 seasons of Pokémon and Power Rangers The Movie.

Do you think retro gaming will ever become uncool and die out as new technology booms (and the machines take over – Terminator style?!)

Haha, machines are already taking over! It wouldn't bother me if retro gaming became uncool because I'd be able to get retro games for cheap again if they did :D

If you had a time machine/Delorean, which age would you go back to and live for a week and why?

Probably the Christmas of 1997 which would make me 10. This is when my brother and I got the Nintendo 64 and it was one of my favourite Christmas holidays of all.

Do you think that it is unhealthy to still live in the past, using retro inspired toys, music and pop culture as a form of escapism?

Not at all. I'm definitely a creature of habit and I love playing the same old games over and over. I don't live completely in the past though as it's a hobby that I do in my spare time. For the most part I live very much in the present time and I'm not constantly trying to relive the past.

Does nostalgia and reminiscing about the good old days prevent us from moving forward and grabbing new adventures and opportunities?

I can't speak for others but it has never prevented me from moving forward and taking part in new adventures. Blogging about retro games has opened up so many new doors for me that I would never have been able to get to had I not been reminiscing of times long past. 
tom cruise high five.gif

5 Of The Best Gaming Chairs Every Retro Gamer Needs

ShemboComment
fresh prince video game.gif

I bought Road Rash II for the Sega Mega Drive the other day, and as I got overly excited and placed my buttocks on the dining room chair (because the controller lead wouldn't stretch to the sofa and I haven’t sat crossed legged on the floor since a school assembly circa 1994) I realised that my poor attempt of a gaming chair sucked. A lot. After approximately 20 minutes of using a stolen chain as a weapon on a police officer (in the game. Obviously!) my ass went numb. I recognised then that I owed my retro gaming antics more. I owed my consoles and games the respect they deserve with my undivided attention… and that means to be sat on a chair that doesn’t ruin my butt cheeks in mere moments!

I was thinking of a gimmicky chair that said "Hey everyone! I'm fun, retro AND hilarious!"

space invader couch.jpg

But the harsh right angles on this would certainly not make hours of shouting at Sonic the Hedgehog to go fuck himself whenever I died, any fun on my aging body.

So alas I poked around on the interweb and found the best gaming chairs that my money could buy! And also, a super outrageous shout of a gaming chair that would require me to sell a kidney on eBay to even afford a deposit. Here’s what I found… the jury is still out!

DX Racer 1 £201.22 

This German best seller was one name that kept popping up when I was researching, with many folks saying how super duper fly it is. Or words to that effect! From the outlook the design appears to be very similar to many brands who have the sports racing car feel, and some may argue it's just an expensive replica. But there’s a lot more going on than a glorified office chair which seems to warrant its price tag.

-    Fully adjustable backrest
-    2-dimensional armrest
-    Gas lift can hold the weight of approx. 100kg
-    Lumbar cushion
-    Adjustable headrest
-    Tilt mechanism angling to 170 degrees
-    Assembly approx. 5 minutes

Big Joe Dorm Chair £159.72

If you’re looking for a seat that you can set up camp in and refuse to move… then this ridiculously comfy beanbag chair is your winner! Yes, I know it’s essentially a beanbag but it won’t sink to the floor if you try to stretch out and reach for your snacks! And it has pockets damn it!

-    SmartMax Fabric (Stain resistant, water resistant)
-    Built in handles so you can transport it wherever you like. 
-    Built in pockets so your alcohol/smartphone are always nearby.
-    Double stitched fabric with safety lock zippers.
-    Filled with UlitmaX Beans which adjust to your body. Also refillable.

X Rocker Pro 4.1 £229.99

If you’re looking for that slick techno friendly vibe in your games room, then I’m fairly certain that this padded faux leather gaming chair would work a treat! I almost expect Dr Claw from Inspector Gadget to be sat in a chair like this waving his metal fist in the air!

inspector gadget.png

The main pull for this brand is the mounted audio system within the chair and the fact that it can be connected wirelessly to various devices. The X Rocker comes in different models like the Infiniti 4.1 PlayStation which is great for all the hardcore PlayStation gamers, but for retro gamers like myself, who will be button bashing on a Mega Drive or Mini SNES, you can skip that fancy pants version!

-    Audio system with subwoofer mounted in the backrest and headrest.
-    Wireless capabilities connecting to any audio device or game console. (Optical, USB or 3.5mm connections)
-    Bluetooth connectivity for smartphones and tablets.
-    Tri-Motor vibration that allows for a fully immersive gameplay.

Drian Workstation Game Chair £6039

This is the king of drunk online purchases that screams Flight of the Navigator, so naturally I want it! If you plan on never leaving the fictitious bubble of gaming and assimilating into the real world, then this bad boy would do it! There is a lead time of 4 weeks after buying this with fun tokens you either stole from a pensioner or by selling your soul to Satan, which makes sense as it’s a beast! You may not be able to afford to feed your family after purchasing this, but who needs family?! Because with an eye watering, extravagant highly unnecessary gaming chair… you will already be winning at life!

-    Posture adjustment switches.
-    Angle adjustment switches up to 140 degrees.
-    3 level seat warmer and cooler.
-    Lumbar support.
-    Adjustable headrest.
-    LED lighting.
-    Premium leather seat.
-    Integrated keyboard tray.
-    Mountable monitor brackets with up to 3 monitors.
-    Frickin’ laser beams! (I made that up)

IntimaTe WM Heart £64.99

Sometimes we need to just strip it back to the basics and keep things simple and real. This budget gaming chair is the cheapest of a great bunch but just because the price tag doesn’t aggressively shout “bankruptcy” in your face, it still offers the main positives you would need. I mean sure, does it look like a generic padded office chair… yes! But the ergonomic design makes sitting for hours and screaming at your TV a complete dream for your neck… your back! (insert rude hip hop song here!)

-    Ergonomically designed with high density foam like a racing car seat.
-    Load capacity up to 120kg.
-    Tilt function.
-    360 swivel castors.
-    Upright lock function.

 

retro gaming button basher.jpeg

SNES Classic Mini versus Raspberry Pi with RetroPie

ShemboComment
SNES Mini versus RetroPie.PNG

Over the last couple of years there has been a revival when it comes to retro gaming, 80s and 90s video games and especially retro game consoles with built in games. Last year I was gifted the SNES Classic Mini and even though I was never really into Super Nintendo as a kid (I loved my Mega Drive too much!) I was delighted at playing some classic old skool video games like Street Fighter 2 and of course Mario Kart! Even though I own the SNES mini and I have an original Sega Mega Drive, I wanted to know if there was a gaming system that encompasses all the retro games my hearts so desires from not just one, but various video game consoles.

I did entertain the idea of bagging one of these Pandora’s Box which not only looked epic with the feel and touch of playing retro arcade games, but it was reasonably priced and it could sit pretty anywhere on a surface without taking up too much space in my compact flat.  

Then my imagination spiralled a little and decided that I had all the fun tokens (I don't!) and I should just go big or go home with a table top video arcade machine I had played one similar at the 8-Bit Gaming Conference in Dublin last year, and I may have got over excited screaming at the inanimate object!

But then I decided to calm myself down and think about something different that could satisfy my unhealthy obsession with wanting to play retro games all the live long day! That is when I came across the DIY starter kit for Raspberry Pi with RetroPie. It’s essentially a tiny computer where you build and install yourself that can run a shit tonne of games from so many consoles that you can find in a museum! The price was also cheaper than buying just one retro gaming console, so it seemed like a no brainer! However, before I embark on this little project of actually building my own retro gaming system, I decided to see if it was worth it by comparing it to my SNES plug and play gaming console. With a little research and asking all the questions, here's what I found!

Why the SNES Classic Mini is awesome!

If you’re all about the simple life, the SNES is the way to go. You can literally play this out of the box with no need for stress. It also has that authentic feel you will only get from a genuine Nintendo product and your nostalgia levels will go through the roof!

Why the SNES Classic Mini is a bit of a nightmare!

Yes, you can plug and play straight from the box, but you are rather restricted to what you actually have to play. Unless you know how to modify your console which can be tricky or daunting for a novice, then you are stuck with the 21 pre-installed games. There’s also no game slot like the original SNES or like the Sega Mega Drive all in one console that allows you to use original game cartridges.

Price: £69.00
Number of games: 21
Connections: HDMI, Micro-USB (Power Supply)
Includes: 2 controllers, HDMI cable
Processor: Quadcore ARM Cortex A7
GPU: Mali - 400 MP
Memory: 256 MB DDR3
Storage: 512 MB

Why Raspberry Pi with RetroPie is awesome!

The obvious reason why Raspberry Pi is great for retro gaming nerds is the fact that you can play an infinite amount of classic games from Nintendo64, PlayStation, SEGA, Gameboy, Atari to name a few. By downloading RetroPie you can add all your fave retro games and thousands more. It’s a lot more powerful than your pre-built gaming consoles and can be tweaked and customised to your exact liking. You also can configure and use your controllers from say your Xbox or PlayStation, so purchasing the ‘retro styled’ gamepads are not necessary. The Raspberry Pi also has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity which makes all round usability with different tech (keyboard, controllers etc) a lot easier. It may seem like a daunting DIY project to build your gaming emulator, but it’s quite straight forward with many guides online to help troubleshoot and run you through the basics.

Why Raspberry Pi with RetroPie is a bit of a nightmare!

You will have to spend at least an hour out of your day with the initial setup. It is a project fine friends and not a pre-built gaming console like the SNES Classic Mini, so there’s no getting around that. Sorry not sorry! Also, you will have to pirate certain ROMs for SNES games which is simple enough, but as you don’t own them from Nintendo, you will be illegally downloading.

Price for the starter kit: £64.99
Number of games: Infinite
Processor: Quadcore ARM Cortex A7
GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV
Memory: 1 GB DDR3
Storage: Micro-SD
Connections: HDMI, 4x USB, Ethernet

In conclusion…

The SNES Classic Mini is faster (with very little lag in gameplay) and simpler. It looks all shiny, authentic and retro from the get go. It’s also 100% legal with Nintendo’s blessing! On the other hand, RetroPie is more powerful, flexible and heaps more customisable.

If you want to get a quick fix of a nostalgic high, then the SNES Classic Mini is your best option. However, if you take off your rose-tinted-retro-specs and see past the need to have a replica of an old gaming system, then with a little patience and configuration the Raspberry Pi with RetroPie allows you to re-discover all the classic games from your childhood from so many fab old skool consoles at your fingertips.

I think I’m going to give RetroPie a go and see if I have the will power to build a piece of tech without losing my shit/starting a fight with a screwdriver! I'll let you know how I get on!

 

The N Word : The Nostalgia Project

ShemboComment
nostalgia project.PNG

I’m that person who can be found most days saying, “remember when…” with a warm glow in my heart as I fondly reminisce about a childhood memory. If I could camp out in 1992 with my Nintendo Game Boy, Captain Planet on a giant television set whilst wearing a highly flammable shell suit, then I would steal a Delorean time machine and make that shit happen! Nostalgic musings of awesomeness is where I shine brightest!

The sentimentality of a memory is an important component to life. It first emerged from the Greek words nostos meaning ‘homecoming’ and algos meaning ‘ache’. It was later coined in the 17th century to describe the medical condition of anxiety. Since then the word has spawned a slightly different meaning associated with romanticism and the longing for those ‘good old days.’ Nostalgia can be anything from a smell, to a touch to an event in one’s past. It can also be stumbling into your parent’s garage and finding forgotten bottles of Archers peach schnapps and Malibu rum that instantly throws you back to being a teenager... sleeping in fields with vomit in your hair!

will smith drinking.gif

Nostalgia evokes strong vivid reactions in the human brain. The smell of freshly cut grass makes me think of playing football in the school holidays with my brother. This stimulus alone provokes once dormant memories to fizz in my brain and etch-a-sketch a little smile on my face no matter how much of a shitty day I may be having.

Although nostalgia was once considered in a negative light with images of melancholy, homesickness and anxiety, it is now thought of as a trope for improving mood and creating positive emotions. Nostalgia is also a fantastic coping mechanism when life smacks you in the face with adulting!

What is The N Word Project?

After spending an afternoon with my nan who has dementia, I decided that I wanted to explore what nostalgia means to different people. The potent power of childhood memories and past experiences are the things that keeps my nan smiling when she’s feeling confused with modern life, so I wanted to discover the importance of these reflective moments in our lives. The N Word Project is a collection of interviews with interesting folk as I try to figure out what nostalgia is all about.

First up is Brandon Felczer who part owns the amazing retro arcade bar Token in Dublin. They opened in 2017 and offer not only 30+ original video arcades and pinballs to play with, but also some seriously delicious gourmet food and of course booze to accompany all that gaming!

brandon token pic.JPG
token dublin.JPG

How did you get involved in Token?

I arrived in Dublin in December 2016 with two suitcases and no idea what I was going to do! I had a dream to live in Ireland and I had 90 days to figure it all out. So, I was talking to friends and thought about setting up a restaurant or bar. My friends suggested a retro arcade bar because they’re really popular in the states. So, I Googled 'retro arcade bar Dublin' and an article from Lovin Dublin two years previous popped up. I decided to reach out via Facebook to the company and Nick the primary founder, and I asked to be involved… And here we are!

What do you think it is about Token that makes it so popular?

It’s unique! There is nothing like it in Dublin. It gives you something different to do other than just coming in and having something to eat or drink. It’s great as a date night venue, we do community events, there’s food challenges and monthly specials and we are always evolving making changes based on what we hear from customers.

For me nostalgia and childhood memories make me feel like I’m hugging a hot water bottle or placing a warm towel over my eyes. What kind of emotions or imagery evokes nostalgia for you?

For me it’s definitely retro graphics like the screens that you see, retro clothing and certain colours and old cars. I love what’s going on in Stranger Things and how you get sucked into this world of the past.

What was your first gaming console?

Super Nintendo! My uncle gave it to my me and my sister for a present and it was my first experience on a gaming console. Super Mario Bros! I was obsessed with it and haven’t stopped playing games since.

What was your favourite video game?

My favourite game isn’t actually a retro game but it’s the Unchartered Series. It’s amazing! It started on the Playstation and has four core games and one spinoff. That and The Last of Us. Amazing cinematics and all about the narrative. I really love narrative driven games that make you feel like you’re playing a movie.

What retro game throws you right back into being a kid again? Mine is Streets of Rage on the Mega Drive!

I would say Super Mario World and Zelda, especially Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64. It’s won a lot of best game awards. It’s literally one of those masterpieces that has been untouched by time where you can keep playing it over and over and transports me right back to my childhood and trying to get through that water temple!

Zelda Water Temple.png
streets of rage sega.png

Do you think Token taps into the sentimentality and fond memories of youth as a marketing tool?

Oh absolutely! It’s all about being a grown-up kid without the kids screaming around you! From 4pm daily we’re 18+ (age) So you can come in and be a kid again, play games and eat fun tasty food. It’s a place to come and let your guard down and just throw back to what you would do as a kid and also drink a little bit! All of our games have drink holders, so you can continue your sippage and sesh while you’re gaming!

If you had a time machine/Delorean, which age would you go back to and live for a week and why?

Oh my gosh! I’ll probably have to say 6th grade when I was 12. I think I finally came into my youth and got out of a really awkward phase! I had really fun friends where we played a lot of games. And Final Fantasy 7 was out! That’s actually up there with one of my favourite retro games as well. It was before you started working, but you still had some responsibility and you valued your free time with your friends and I filled a lot of my time with gaming. Yeah, I definitely would go back to when I was 12! Young, dumb, carefree, hitting puberty but it was a fun time!

Do you think that it is unhealthy to still live in the past? Does nostalgia and reminiscing about the good old days prevent us from moving forward and grabbing new adventures and opportunities?

I think it is totally fair to enjoy your past and relive some of that. But I think you should apply that to your mindset of today and how you are as a person. But it is kinda fun to let go of things and be transported to the past and put on a retro game and not worry about what’s going on in the world. It’s just dumb fun! And I think dumb fun is ok once in a while. I do believe your past is the past. Like if I had a time machine I would have the option to go back but I would also choose not to go. Because everywhere I’m at from the past has led me to where I am now, and I focus on that. I do reflect on the past, so I don’t repeat the same mistakes and I take my learnings forward, but I think you can separate out retro fun and dwelling too much on the past.

Top Free 80s and 90s Retro Games for the iPhone

ShemboComment
press start retro gaming.gif

So, are you rocking the latest fancy pants iPhone like every other unimaginative lemming (including myself!) on the planet? Every time my contract is due for a renewal I curse the moons and the stars at how rubbish my now obsolete iPhone is and threaten to cross over to the dark side of SAMSUNG! However, due to me being a creature of habit/lazy mofo and not being a fan of change, I always continue with Apple and ignore the enticing alternative of Android.

The thing is… I may be turned on with ridiculous uber modern techy shite like paying for groceries via my phone… that can only be opened with my entire giant face BUT I also find myself desperately clinging onto the good old retro inspired days especially when it comes to gaming. If I could carry around my Sega Mega Drive and SNES Mini I would... but I fear that I would be this kind of unnecessary hipster wanker!

When vintage and modernity collide... but you're also still a bit of a twat!

When vintage and modernity collide... but you're also still a bit of a twat!

So how do we marry the old grumpy assholes of the world who refuse to move on from their childhood with new technology?? By playing retro video games on your iOS device of choice! Obviously.

Here are my top 5 80s & 90s retro games you can blissfully play on your iPhone all the live long day! I went for simplicity and a heavy dose of nostalgia when picking these. The kind of games that you can tap away on your iPhone when waiting for a bus wishing you called in sick to work! (All games are available for free from the iOS App Store.)

One – Sonic The Hedgehog 2

sonic the hedgehog 2 iPhone.jpg

I mean, Sonic numero uno is fun and all... but Sonic The Hedgehog 2 in my opinion ups the frivolity and merriment when you have your pal Tails in the mix! This game was originally released in 1992 and you can now be happily kicking Dr. “Eggman” Robotnik’s ass on your daily commute into work in 2018! Woooo science and stuff! This version of the iconic Sega game is the most complete with regards to gameplay with a remastered soundtrack we all will instantly recognise. You can play this game for free (with the usual ad free in-app purchases if you like) Explore 12 zones, collect rings, take on the Time Attack mode and you can also fly as Tails!

Two – Snake ‘97

snake 97 iphone.jpeg

If you didn’t spend hours on your Nokia 3210 following a snake around on dot-matrix screen trying not to die… did you even grow up in the 90s?! This is a homage to yesteryear where we all lost ourselves in the most iconic mobile phone game from the 1990s. Snake has all the old features complete with the same monotone sound effects! Get addicted once again and lose more precious hours of your life on this classic retro game!

Three – PAC-MAN

pacman iphone.jpg

This highly addictive game is certainly one of, if not THE most popular video games in the entire history of gaming… ever! Recreate the classic arcade feel with your fingers and thumbs as you scurry around in a dark pixelated room popping pills and running away from ghosts! You can play in new tournaments, opt for one of three game difficulty levels including the original 1980 PAC-MAN as well as getting hints and tips along the way. If you’re going to get your retro gaming on, then playing with this iconic character on your iPhone is a good place to start!

Four – Space Invaders

space invaders iphone.png

This is another arcade classic from one of the world’s longest running gaming franchises! Earth is being attacked and you need to defend our planet against the relentless assault! Ooooh drama! Space Invaders along with PAC-MAN are classic examples of gameplay getting faster and harder until you die… a bit like life! Play Space Invaders for free on your iPhone by tilting your phone to steer your spaceship and tapping left or right to blow the crap outta the enemy! For an instant gratification and wave of wistfulness, Space Invaders will keep you distracted long enough to miss your stop on the train!

Five – Breakout

breakout iphone.jpg

Breakout is an Atari classic that had gaming geeks hooked forever… or until your mum called you for dinner! This arcade must-have now can be played on your iPhone with enhanced graphics and added features like power ups and boost control. Sounds exciting right?!! You initially get 10 free levels and then you are able to purchase 200+ additional levels. Get involved and share your top scores with the global leader board, because nothing says I have too much time on my hands like an Atari Breakout top score!

5 Thoughts About The SNES Classic Mini

ShemboComment
SNES Classic Mini.jpg

I never was into Super Nintendo (SNES) growing up. Yes, I have just blasphemed and I’m sure your eyes are bleeding with such an outrageous statement! My only real brush with Nintendo was the Game Boy that I adored. My parents were fine advocates of second hand items “Give it a wipe and it’ll be as good as new again!” So, when it came to game consoles, my brother and I were always years behind the latest gaming trend. When my friends were swooning over the original Nintendo, I was playing Frogger on the Atari. When they advanced to the Sega Mega Drive or SNES (nobody had both! Pick a side!) I was patiently waiting for tape cassettes to load in my ZX Spectrum and then playing Paperboy and Dizzy. So, when my mother bought me a brand-new Sega Mega Drive I cherished it like it was my own child/pizza! 

homer pizza.gif

I received the SNES Classic Mini for my birthday last year and of course I was delighted! Any retro gaming console with built in games is going to have me salivating like these! Plus I always had a soft spot for Street Fighter on the SNES after I played against my next-door neighbour when I was about 12 and hammered the shit out of him with Ryu’s dragon punch and hurricane kick!

ryu punch.gif

But I digress...

I unpacked the console and immediately Forest Gumped my way to setting it up without instructions… because instructions are for the weak! I then executed the sitting lotus position on the floor mere centimetres away from the telly and then proceeded to gush out loud. A lot of people are not fans of the smaller reboots of plug and play retro consoles. It’s like ‘real’ DJ’s getting pissed off at other DJ’s who don’t use vinyl because they think they’re bastardising a much-loved skill and artistry. Yes, the old skool ninja ways are still hugely important and the quality is no doubt pure, but I also think that if you’re enjoying it, then why does it matter how it’s produced? Here were my 5 initial thoughts when I set about playing my new SNES Mini for the first time.

One

“OMG! This is so tiny and cute I can hold it in one hand and not freak out that I’m going to break it for being a clumsy smart ass.” The SNES Mini is very compact and light and feels more like a toy prop compared to the original SNES from 1992. I may have picked it up, waved it in the air a bit and thought, “Wow, this looks like it’s fake!” and “Why isn’t this a Mega Drive?!”

SNES Classic Mini Compact.JPEG

Two

“If this doesn’t have Street Fighter, then I hope you kept the receipt!” The SNES Mini does of course have Street Fighter 2 pre-installed ready to go. It also has 20 other retro games including the classics like Super Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda and Contra.

Three

“Where the hell do I connect the controllers?” The SNES Mini is not an exact functional replica of the original. The main features on the console are just for aesthetic purposes. So, no you can’t use cartridges as the slot is just an illusion of lies! And yes, you might have a few minutes of shouting hysterically that your console is broken, and then realise (with a little patience and deep breathing) that the original controllers ports are also make believe! The new controller ports (Nintendo Wii remote style) are stealthily hidden in a compartment under the pretend ones. Sneaky genius! 

SNES Classic Mini Cartridge Slot.JPG
SNES Mini Classic Controller Ports.JPEG

Four

“Where is the mains plug or is this so advanced I have to remotely power the SNES Mini with thoughts and prayers?!” The small console does come with a USB lead, but you will need your own plug to connect it to a power supply. This isn’t a big deal as I used my iPhone plug that was kicking about the house, so you will be able to grab one from your smart phone or other generic electrical device to make the magic happen!

Five

“Oh yeah, I forgot how much I actually suck at Mario!” After having irrational meltdowns setting up the really quite simple SNES Mini, it was amazing to relive the memories and give my thumbs a workout! If you just want a taste of good old Nintendo retro gaming, then these handy consoles with built in games are fantastic. However, if you want to immerse yourself in the full Shangri-La of 1990s gaming, then you can purchase a second hand original SNES Classic quite easily online from a specialist retro gaming shop like The R.A.G.E for my Irish peeps and RetroPlayers for my UK pals! You can then buy all the old cartridges your heart so desires!

For me as a part-time SNES lover, the Super Nintendo Classic Mini pushes my buttons!

snes mini versus snes original.gif

6 Thoughts I Had When Playing Streets of Rage

ShemboComment
streets of rage main.png

Streets of Rage on the Sega Mega Drive was my JAM!! I would play it all day every day until my eyes would bleed/my parents shouted at me to turn off the telly. I have completed it twice. Once when I was about 11 years old and again when I was 30 *cough cough* years old. I bought an old Mega Drive and salivated over the prospect of playing my favourite game all over again. When I was 11 I remember it taking me the entire day in between toilet breaks and my mum shouting at me for rotting my brain. The second time around 20-odd years later, there were WAY more temper tantrums and expletives in between eating pizza and drinking cider. However, one thing remained the same… the adrenaline and intense (possibly overly dramatic) emotions were the exact same. Here are my 6 legit thoughts I had before my muscle memory from 1993 kicked in and I won at life!

One

Oooooh it’s starting! The excitement is BEYOND anything I could ever imagine! Let’s do this!

streets of rage 1.png

Two

Hmmm... which character will I choose? I should represent and be the black dude BUT strangely enough, his speed is crap! Blaze is looking cute... can't decide if I fancy her. No no must focus... I need some good old fashioned strong, white, manliness to save us all! Axel it is. Swoon.

streets of rage 2.png

Three

Woooop! Off we go! Ah the strange technotronic soundtrack makes me feel like I'm in a 90s Japanese nightclub! Do I dance... do I beat the crap out of people with my huge menacing pipe?! What a time to be alive! Yay violence!

streets of rage 3.png

Four

It's all getting a little bit fast and crazy. There's flames and shit EVERYWHERE! Plus some dudes with boomerangs are trying to kill me! Rude. If I just close my eyes and press all of the buttons really hard... does that help?

streets of rage 4.png

Five

Nope. No it doesn't help. At all. Stop jumping in the air at nothing! I should've picked the black dude. Bollocks, I need back up! I'm calling my mate with the giant attention seeking bazooka. A little extreme but I'm happy to go with it.

streets of rage 5.png

Six

oh i forgot about the super casual dominatrix trying to whip me to death. that's what's missing today... a touch of random sadomasochism in computer games! how was this ever suitable for my 11 year old self? Oh nevermind. I'm dead.

This game sucks. *sulking for approx 20 mins*

Let's play again!

streets of rage 6.png