Modern Accessories for Retro Gaming vol 1 – Game Sack
[Music] Hello, and welcome to Game Sack. We’ve got kind of an unusual episode for you today, we’re talking about some Modern-age Accessories that you can get through your old retro consoles and, some of them can even be used for your new consoles, like the Switch And that’s the first half of the episode. Moving on to the second half we’re going to talk about some clone consoles that you may or may not have heard of, so… but first, let’s get to the syllabus “random stuff”. Let’s take a quick look at the Everdrive line of flashcarts. What is a flashcart? Well, it’s a device that allows you to load ROMs that you created or downloaded from the Internet and play them on your real console. If you have a good ROM, then the game plays exactly like it would if you had a real cartridge inserted into the system These exist for almost every console so far, from the Genesis to the Super Nintendo to the Game Gear to the Nintendo 64. The Super Nintendo one here isn’t actually an Everdrive, though. It’s the SD2SNES and I really recommend this one, but it also costs a heck of a lot more. More on this one in a bit. We’re not going to get into the shady morals of downloading ROMs from the Internet and playing them, because companies like Nintendo and others are still selling these games on modern systems Like the Virtual Console for example, but it’s your choice what you do with these devices. One of the things that you can do, which is neat, is play translation hacks of games that were never released in the West You can also play original free games that people make just for fun Like Fix-it Felix on the Genesis which is from the movie Wreck-it Ralph Or how about Alex Kidd 2 on the Master System. This seems more like an extensive hack of the original game, but it’s still fun with all new areas and stages to explore. Also, it has brand new music, and best of all, you’re not constantly playing Rock-Paper-Scissors Instead it’s just platforming goodness One thing that I personally like to do is get BGM files from real games -or even ones that people make- and create my own ROM files and then listen to the music on my real Sega Genesis This is great, especially for games without Sound Test, but be careful, because some BGM that people create on tracks like this Mega Man X conversion don’t sound quite right on real hardware. A while before that was even a thing, Tiido Priimagi did this great rendition of Guile’s theme from Street Fighter 2 that sounds way better than the actual music in the Genesis or Super Nintendo versions Yup, the Genesis version could have sounded that good, if they tried, but they didn’t want to try very hard. Around the same time, I even had Tiido record my voice and have it play back through the Genesis sound chip Every single sound you hear in this video is made by my very own sega Genesis model one console That’s right: everything, including this narration, which you are listening to right now. Isn’t that awesome? Well, I think it is anyway. Most Everdrives have built-in support for Game Genie codes and What-not. A couple, like the NES Everdrive and the Mega Everdrive even offers save states that work the same way they would in an emulator. These allow you to save anywhere you want and come back minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years later and start over right where you left off. Now, what makes the SD2SNES so special compared to the much cheaper SNES Everdrive? Well, for one, the games load instantly. Some of the older and cheaper Everdrives need to erase the flash and then write some new game to it before you can play. Also, the SD2SNES has the MSU1 chip. This lets you play, homebrew ported games with FMV like Road Blaster here, or even play games with Re-done music and CD quality. Damn, do you know how much I wish the Mega Everdrive to do this? The compatibility is as high as it gets for a Super Nintendo flashcard, but it still can’t play stuff like Super FX games. Maybe it will in the future, maybe not. Oh, and the SD2SNES lets you play SPC audio files as well directly off the SD card. And THIS is awesome. The Nintendo 64 Everdrive is cool, because you can put an emulator on it and run NES games It’s a little slow as you can tell. Castlevania here isn’t scrolling quite as smoothly as it does on a real NES, but still, it’s cool to mess around with for 5 or 10 minutes. Maybe 15 You can adjust the resolution of the Everdrive 64 menu from 640×480 to 320×240, but unfortunately it’s always interlacing at 480i either way, which sucks for those of us with upscalers I’m not going to officially recommend any of these devices. I’m just bringing to your attention that they exist. All right, let’s take a look at some Bluetooth controllers from 8-bitdo We’ve got some that are based of older controllers from Nintendo’s 8 and 16-bit consoles and something that looks very similar to the original Wii classic controller. According to the sides of the boxes, these are all compatible with Android, iOS, Mac OS and Windows. They also work for the Nintendo Switch. I don’t own any Windows or Android devices, so I couldn’t test those. There’s a huge hurdle right off the bat trying to pair these controllers with what you want to use them with. For each format I tried to pair these controllers with it took more than several times and lots of frustration. Reading the instructions, it seems pretty straightforward in what you need to do. I kept wondering if I was missing something somewhere, or was the controller broken. Each controller requires at least two button pushes, and one of these is a combination of buttons. It turns out I had to downgrade my firmware to get it to pair with my iPhone, the newer firmware just wouldn’t work! But once you do get the thing paired up it works, and it works great, as long as the software you’re using allows for it. It’s nice to be able to play a touchscreen game without having to actually touch the screen! Each controller has four face buttons and at least two shoulder buttons. The ones with dual analog sticks have four shoulder buttons. I’m very impressed with how these controllers feel. The quality is there in the design and build, from the plastic that’s used to the press of the buttons, to the field of the Control Pad. And to boot, you get a little accessory that when you remove it from the controller turns into a stand for your phone or iPad.
That’s a great idea! So how did they handle Gameplay? I tried the different pads on a few Switch games. After spending an eternity syncing the controller to the system, I first played a bit of Spectre Knight. I never felt any lag or any indication that my button presses weren’t registering. it felt very normal, and in fact, using the Super Nintendo dual pads I actually enjoyed the game more, as the Super Nintendo controller is the best controller out there I played a little bit of Zelda: Breath of the Wild after that. Of course the pads that don’t have analog are completely useless with games like this. But the ones with the dual analog worked fine. The thing I was most interested in it was how well do the analog sticks work. Surprisingly, they’re very accurate. You can move really slow when you want to, and as fast as you can when pushed all the way. Since Switch Pro controllers are $70 and the 8-bitdo Pro controller runs anywhere from $32 to $39, this is a cheaper alternative that works great. That is, once you get past the whole syncing issue. Next, I tried haunted castle on MAME. The syncing process with my Mac was much easier than iOS and the Switch. But then, of course, you need to go through and assign your buttons, but then after that it’s all fun and games. Literally. I’m used to using a PS3 controller for MAME, but these were much more comfortable, especially the Super Nintendo one. In the end if you can get through the whole debacle of getting these things paired up with your device, then I think they’re totally worth the trouble. If you have one, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts about it. The Dreamcast offered a lot of 3rd-party VGA boxes, to let you play compatible games in 480p on computer monitors. But if you want to play your games in 480p with an upscaler like a Framemeister, you’re going to want the TORO from Beharbros. It’s not cheap, coming in at $80, but it’s definitely the premiere VGA box for the system. It offers your normal VGA and stereo audio outputs, but it also offers a Euro Scart connector which you can run to your upscaler with your compatible dongle. 480p is output over both the VGA and the Scart Connectors, and it looks fantastic! I did find that the TORO needs an external sync like a Sync Strike or a sync stripper built-in to your dongle before the Framemeister will see it, though. it won’t work with this one, which doesn’t have the sync stripper chip inside, but it works with this one which does. Again it provides a beautiful 480p imagery in compatible games, and the large majority of the Dreamcast library supports VGA. The unit even offers four switches which allow it to do a few special things. I put this label on there myself so I’d remember what each one does. the switch all the way on the right allows you to switch between 480p and 480i Some games are for 480i only, like Air Force Delta from Konami here. For some idiotic reason, which I could just never comprehend, there are some games out there which won’t work in VGA mode, but this at least lets you play them in full RGB. There’s also a Built-in scanline generator. These can be toggled on or off and you can change them to odd or even lines, or even change the size of the lines themselves. This works great for 2D games like Street Fighter III, and it looks decently authentic. However, if you boot this game up in proper 240p mode, then the scan lines don’t look very good at all. You can even get a VGA adapter and use this as a standalone scanline generator for your PC and other stuff. Overall, this is a great VGA box if you can justify the cost to yourself. Want to play some Master System games on your Model 2 Genesis? Well, then you’ll need the PowerBase Mini from DB Electronics. I put this into my own shell and it fits into any Genesis model It costs $45 over @ Stone Age Gamer, and it comes with its own shell there It works with all Master System cartridge games, but won’t work with games on cards, or the 3D glasses. Otherwise you’re good to go, and the games play great through the Genesis, mainly because the Genesis is doing all the work. If you want to spend $25 more, you can get the PowerBase Mini FM. This is the same thing, but it contains a Yamaha YM2413 sound chip so that certain Master System games can take advantage of the extra 9 FM-sound channel. Though no game ever use them all, for some reason. Lazy-ass SEGA… Wait, did I just say that?! Anyway, it’ll make this… … sound like this! Just under 60 Master System games are compatible with the extra sound, many of them released in the U.S., but you’d probably never know it unless you had something like this. If you don’t like how the FM sounds on a certain game, fear not. Holding down the Pause button on the unit as you turn the system on will force it to the default PSG mode. So which do you think sounds better?
This? Or this? You can also buy these directly from DB electronics without a cartridge shell for $20 for the Power Base Mini and $60 for the Power Base Mini FM Also from DB electronics is the DB Graphics Booster. This cool thing plugs into the ass-end of the TurboGrafx16, which is a console which normally offers only RF video output. But this little device offers Composite video, S-video, as well as RGB output. And it uses a fairly common Genesis Model 2 style connector for the RGB-out. There’s also a little jumper switch, just in case you have an improperly built Scart cable with a 75 ohm resistor on the CSYNC line instead of a 470 Ohm resistor, like it should have. The DB Graphics Booster can also be attached to a PC Engine like the Core Grafx II here and also a Super Grafx. Sadly, it can’t be attached to a Turbo Duo, so you’re going to have to mod that one if you want RGB. Actually the same goes for any PC Engine or TurboGrafx system with a CD unit attached. You can blame NEC for that one. Anyway, so let’s check out the video quality. This is Composite video, which used to be the best you could ever get from the console, and here’s S-Video, which is quite a step up, and this is RGB, which is even more crisp and more awesome. This can be ordered from Stone age gamer for $90, but it comes surrounded with a giant piece of plastic. Or, you can buy it directly from DB Electronics without the box for only $65. In my opinion, this is the only way to play Super Grafx games. All right, there’s some crazy random accessories that, you know, honestly, I was… didn’t think there were in work efforts, but they actually turned out not to be too bad.
-Yeah, and for the second half of the episode, we’re going to talk about clone consoles, and is usually the case with clone consoles, they revolve around Nintendo’s stuff, but I’ve got one for SEGA in the middle there, but in the meantime, let’s let Dave take it away. This is the 8-bit HD video game system by Gamerz Tek, and that is with a Z: Gamerz. Out of the box you get the console, two controllers, power supply, AV mono cables and a HDMI cable. The system is small, and it’s only slightly larger than a NES Cartridge. I tried playing games with both the Composite and the HDMI outputs. The AV is of course nothing great, And it has color bleeding and blurriness just like you’d expect it to. The HDMI, while it’s definitely sharper, it has a few issues of its own Firstly, it’s not as sharp as the other clones like the AVS or the Analog NT mini. Secondly the console can’t change its aspect ratio . Actually, it doesn’t have any menu system at all. Every game that you play using HDMI is output for widescreen display at 720p. It tells you directly in the instructions that you must manually put your TV to 4:3. Well, great! Except that doesn’t work with my particular TV! So, sadly, the picture is stretched, and there’s nothing I can do about it, but play the games this way. I guess I could go out and buy a different TV. But why in the hell would I do that? Games are still completely playable, of course, but they just aren’t displayed in the way that they were meant to be displayed As far as the console goes I had a few problems booting up games I tried a reproduction card, and it booted up no problems I of course played more than a few officially released games, and they booted up fine. The Everdrive wouldn’t boot up, no matter how many times I tried. The controller that comes with the system isn’t too bad. It’s got a 6-ft cord, which is great, but I’m not a fan of the oval design. The good news is, though, that any real NES controller will work. However, I plugged the system into my CRT to play some Duck Hunt with the Zapper, and it didn’t work. It made the sound of the gun being fired and the screen flashed, but not even a single duck lost its length. As far as audio goes, the 8-bit HD is missing some base-in, often, sounds like it’s muffled, or in a tin can. You can really hear when you compare the audio from the original NES to the 8-Bit HD. You can play Famicom games with an adapter and, if your adapter is modified You can even play games like Akumajo Densetsu. The audio levels don’t seem to be mixed properly for games like this, which feature extra sound chips on the cartridge. For $30, you can’t expect the system to be perfect, and it isn’t. If you have the means then there are better options out there. If you don’t have the means but want something to play on Your HDTV and you can accept the system’s fault, then you should be happy with this console. Let’s check out the MiniGen console from Gamerz Tech, which is a Genesis and Mega Drive clone which retails for only $25. I wonder if this is called the MiniMega in Mega Drive regions. I don’t know, it should be. It’s a tiny little thing even smaller than the Genesis 3. It uses real cartridges only and it doesn’t feature any built-in games. Output options consists of Composite video and Stereo audio jacks, and that’s it No HDMI or anything like that. The extensive manual that comes with it say that if your TV doesn’t feature a Composite video jack use the Green Jack on the component input. Some TV’s allow for this, but definitely not all, so don’t be surprised if you get a black-and-white picture doing that. The console also comes with a power supply and two controllers based on SEGA’s official 6 button controller mold Now these controllers aren’t bad but they definitely feel cheaper than the real SEGA controllers. however, if you want, you can use any other Genesis controller. As for the gameplay itself, well, here it is. The video quality is pretty bad, even by Composite video standards. There is an exceptional amount of video noise, and the picture isn’t entirely stable with a bit of waviness going on. There’s also an extensive amount of rainbow banding. I mean, look at the life meter here in Castlevania Bloodlines. Nothing but rainbow, For comparison, here’s how the game looks in RGB on a real Genesis Model 1. The good news, at least, is that it outputs a 240p signal instead of interlacing it into 480i. And interestingly some games like Thunder Force 4 don’t have quite as much slowdown as they do on a real Genesis. It’s still there, though. The few games that do 480i interlacing, like Sonic 2’s 2 player mode, seem to work perfectly fine. So, how does it sound? Well, at least the sounds that are all supposed to be there are there, and sounds mostly like they should. But this thing has some pretty bad preamps, and there’s lots of distortion. Here’s what this theme sounds like on most regular Genesis consoles. And here’s how it sounds on the MiniGen. Granted, the sound quality even on real Genesis consoles is sadly all over the map, so this might even be close to sounding like some official motherboard revisions. Oh, and despite it clearly having left and right audio jacks, the sound is all in Mono. There’s no stereo separation where there should be in any game. That kind of sucks. Actually, that really sucks. And now for the Hellfire test. This is what Hellfire is supposed to sound like, being played on my Model 1 Genesis. And here’s what it sounds like on the MiniGen. Well, it sounds a lot slower right? To be honest, it sounds just as slow on a lot of different official Genesis models, Hellfire relies on a bug in the original 5313 assets chip in some Genesis units to play its music back at the proper speed As the Genesis hardware was consolidated and reconfigured again and again, this bug was fixed, and that causes the music in Hellfire, specifically, to play slow. So this clone console actually doesn’t have the original bug. The compatibility is fairly decent. It works with most of the games I’ve tried. There’s a region switch on the back to let you switch between US and Japan, just in case you come across any games that are locked out. It also seems to work just fine with flash carts like the Mega Everdrive here It does not work with Virtua Racing, which has a DSP chip in it to push those damn fine polygons. Amazingly it will play master system games if you have a Power Base converter like those from DB Electronics. Unfortunately it won’t play the FM soundtracks found in some Master System games, and it defaults straight to the PSG sound. Overall the MiniGen is not amazing, but it is interesting and hey, it’s only $25. Here’s the Super NicoFami by Linx Products. This unit came out in 2007, and was made in China for use only in Japan I hope I don’t get in trouble using this outside of Japan, but now what the hell, it’s worth the risk. This 2-in-1 system will play Famicom and Super Famicom games. The controller inputs are designed to take Super Famicom pads, and I’ll mention more about that in a minute. On the back of the system, there are outputs for Composite video, s-video and Stereo audio. You also get two 6-button controllers These controllers are small, slightly uncomfortable to hold, and actually kind of painful if you use them for a long time. And I don’t think they would last very long in our normal use. They are equipped with a Turbo and a Slow button. Super Famicom Games can be displayed using S-Video or Composite, but for some stupid reason Famicom games can only be displayed in Composite video. Can you believe that crap? Why make a console that’s only 50% compatible with one of your video outputs? So here’s what Famicom games look like on the system. Looking at Castlevania 3 here compared to the real NES, the screens much darker on the Super NicoFami Even the scrolling on the board seems to be much more jerky than the real console. Like the 8-bit HD, the external audio here is a mix right at all and it sounds pretty bad. As you’re playing, you can barely hear any of the sound effects. Games with normal audio seem to do alright, though. Konami Wai Wai World 2 seem to play okay, but it’s also much darker. Of course, being a Japan-only system, I couldn’t play any US game, since I don’t have a converter. Let’s take a look at some Super Famicom games on an eye-popping S-Video. Here’s Super Ghouls and Ghosts. The system seems to handle Super Famicom games much better. The Brightness is just about right, although it’s still a tad bit dimmer than an actual Super NES. The audio sounds fine, with all the channels fairly well balanced Just to be sure, I tried other games like Hammerin’ Harry, and again, no problems on the Super Famicom side. I don’t have a converter, so instead. I just took the PCB out of the cartridge to test a few US games. They all worked with no problem, but this is a really inconvenient way to play a game. I also tested the system to see if it would play games with the FX chip Star Fox is the obvious choice, and look it plays just as well as it does on a Super Nintendo. Ok, back to the controller. Not only can you use your original Super NES pads, you can also use some other accessories that were released for the system. I tried the mouse with Mario and Wario, which is a decently entertaining point-and-click game, where you have to make steps for the blinded Mario to walk on and it works just fine. As good as an old mouse, when the trackball can work, anyway. And I also tried out the Super Scope 6 as well, and it works perfectly Just remember that you can only use it on CRT’s and not Modern HDTV’s Even though I don’t have any friends, I tried out a Multi-Tap, and it had no problems with this accessory. As for me, the only thing appealing about this system is the fact that it can play Famicom and Super Famicom games. Other than that it just has too many problems with the Famicom side I just recommend spending a bit more and getting the actual game hardware, as you know it will work consistently. All right, well, there’s our random stuff and cloned console episode. Yeah, that was quite a little break from our normal stuff, but it turned out to be all right. I think I think there was a good episode Yeah, What did you guys think? Did you like it? Would you like to see more like this? Let us know and, in the meantime, thank you for watching Game Sack. Hello, and welcome to Game Sack In this episode we’re going to try out the new clone Dave which I think will work better than the real Dave because it’s a lot cheaper and probably a lot less annoying Dave, how do you like Game Sack? -Dave?
-Hi, I’m Dave. – Dave, we’re actually shooting right now!
– Wow, I like SEGA! Dude, I think I already liked this clone Dave better. Dave, Dave. What are you going to say about this episode? Come on. What? I, uh… I eat my boogers. It works.