Archive for the ‘Jason’s News’ Category

Pimp my breadbin

Monday, September 1st, 2014

This time last week my Beloved and I were thinking about the journey home from my parents’ place in Kent and, along with the kit I’d dragged down there to get some work done, we came back with some C64s because I want to “pimp” one a bit and needed a working or repairable board as a starting point. Here’s the one I’ve pretty much settled on with Blok Copy in the back to test it and act as a power LED…

…which was working perfectly when it arrived but someone (well okay, probably me) had already removed the SID so the Nano SwinSID that I was given and had been saving for this project was installed. It was then given a quick clean and the thermal paste removed from the VIC-II before being left on test for a day. Here’s an “after” picture taken just now (I’ve just had a quick game of Co-Axis RX to test the joystick port… honest!) with a keyboard, joystick, SD2IEC and Action Replay 6 connected for more thorough testing.

And yes, that’s a C16 keyboard connected to it, but the underlay is from a C64 keyboard so it works correctly – whilst I modified one like this back in the 1980s for my main work C64, this must have been given to me as is during the 1990s because the shift lock is connected and I wasn’t able to do that!

At some point a degree of bravery is going to be required on my part because, when the appropriate parts and time show up, a soldering iron will be taken to this fully working board. The plan is to add recently-created replacement parts like the SwinSID and a replacement PLA – as well as socketing the relevant parts of the board) to produce a machine to demo these toys at events. The SD devices tend to get as much attention from people as the games being run from them do so having a machine I can just open and point to the shiny new components would be good.

I’m currently in two minds about the case though, because I have a couple spare but there is also a deceased C16 here so the case from that could be used with a few modifications to it and the board. I really like the idea of the black case with a neon blue power light, but part of me thinks the stock breadbin with all of the new toys “under the hood” would be cool as well… so more thought is required it seems.

Wolverhampton wandering

Monday, August 11th, 2014

So… what did I do at the weekend? Oh yes, on Friday Spencer and I threw the Oldschool Gaming small rig (C64 with Turbo Chameleon, Atari 800XL with SIO2SD and A600HD with CF conversion) into the back of his car along with his four player Daytona USA emulation set-up and pootled down to Wolverhampton for Revival 2014 at the Dunstall Park race course. Like you do…

As with the previous Revival, the event took place over two halls in an L shape and this time we were set up in the room where the two met. Spencer was running the Racing Zone and I was there to help out and provide a couple of indie 8- and 16-bit games next to Pocket Studios (who are Kickstarting a reboot of Saboteur based on team member Clive Townsend’s original Spectum code) quite literally under the indie gaming banner (there was one hanging from the door frame that decided to jump for it just as we were shutting down the machines on the Sunday!)

There were a few games running on my stand over the course of the weekend including Commando Arcade on the C64 and my own Atari 8-bit blasters Callisto and Battle Eagle, but the Amiga conversion of Flappy Bird, Twenty Forty Eight on the Atari 8-bit and C64 Canabalt were particularly popular for some reason.

These events are always a fantastic chance to meet up with old friends (including quite a few people who I only get to see at retro gaming events or chat to online) and meet new people that I can talk at talk to about new games on the 8- and 16-bit systems or indeed anything else retro-related. A couple of random highlights were watching two small boys play the sit down Ridge Racer coin-op with one steering and the other working the pedals, getting hold of a Diddy Kong plushie for Sue and the cosplaying photo shoot for the Revival game Revival Survival where some of the people who kickstarted the project dressed up as their in-game characters and “menaced” Craig Turner.

In fact the only down sides to the entire weekend are the myriad aches and pains I’m bravely suffering this morning and having All I Want by The Offspring on constant loop in my head, the latter being caused by prolonged exposure to a Crazy Taxi on free play. On the plus side, I developed something of an irrational attachment with Racing Hero and Super Chase

…simply because they were the two machines in the Racing Zone area that didn’t have a proper free play mode so I spent the two days feeding them “coins”. As always, here’s a gallery of photographs taken before and during the event which probably give a better idea of how much fun was had at Revival than can be achieved with words at the point and “normal” services will recover when I do.

Revival 2014

Pictures taken before and during Revival 2014 at the Wolverhampton race course, 8th and 9th August.

Unexpected reference

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

Today has been a pretty lazy one; the morning was spent writing a post for another blog and watching the back end of The Dave Gorman Collection (having binge watched the first five yesterday) whilst the afternoon being reserved for several rounds of prodding at Facebook, watching assorted YouTube videos and occasionally pootling through some of my more regular online haunts. Which is sort of how I ended up doing a quiz over at Us Vs Th3m called “How Obsessed With Doctor Who Are You”. My final score was a mere 68 out of 81 – although that’s apparently 83% and the average score was more around the 56% mark – so not as obsessed as certain family members and friends would claim me to be.

But I digress somewhat, because this post was prompted by a specific question in the test:

Now, whilst I know what the Paul McGann Estrogen Brigade is, realising that someone else does by having it turn up as a reference in one of these online tests was something of a surprise! I used to be a fairly regular poster at rec.arts.drwho around the time the PMEB was formed and my then girlfriend (we first “met” in one of the Weekly Stats threads and subsequently ended up being written into one of the Bernice Summerfield books by Dave Stone) was one of the earliest members, which is how I ended up being an honorary member myself. Not in the sense that I lusted after the gentleman in question or anything, but more because I’d be taken along on PMEB outings to things like the play Sabina (performed in a teensy little place which was, basically, a large room above a pub with grand ideas!) where Paul was playing Carl Jung in order to hold coats and take photographs with an assortment of cameras.

The memory cheats as JN-T used to say, because mine is insisting that these events happened in 1997 despite all of the evidence to the contrary like the play only running in early 1998… so now I feel old and confused!