The Retrogaming Times

- The Bimonthly Retrogaming Hobbyist Newsletter -


The Retrogaming Times
Twenty-Fourth Issue - January 2020


 
 
Prepare to Qualify
by David Lundin, Jr.

It's great to be back on schedule and publishing on time again.  I sincerely hope all our readers had a wonderful end to 2019 and a beginning to 2020 filled with retrogaming fun.  Before we get started, I want to extend an invitation to all our readers to consider contributing to The Retrogaming Times.  It's as easy as writing an article and sending it in!  We're always looking for fresh perspectives, reviews, memories and musings about retrogames!  Additionally if you spread the word when a new issue releases, let me know and we'll feature your site on our announcement index!  Remember, our newsletter is 100% written by retrogamers just like you!

The new decade begins with nostalgic board games translated to Commodore 64 in this issue's cover story, the second part in Merman's look into Parker Brothers properties on the platform.  In another follow up, Sean Robinson offers ideas of how to spend post-holiday cash on retrogaming goods.  A new retrogame music album column, Game Tunes, begins with a review of a hard rocking tribute to classic gaming.  Galaga records are smashed with an article from John Klinkel.  Todd Friedman returns with an announcement of a book that he assisted in the creation of.  The Sega Dreamcast closes out its first two decades on the planet, as detailed by Sean Robinson. 
All that and more are ahead in this issue of The Retrogaming Times!



Upcoming Events
Compiled by David Lundin, Jr.

Midwest Gaming Classic, April 3rd - 5th 2020, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

The Midwest Gaming Classic is a trade show featuring 150,000+ square feet of retro and modern home video game consoles, pinball machines, arcade video games, table top RPGs, computers, table top board games, crane games, collectible card games, air hockey, and that’s just the start.

The Midwest Gaming Classic is about celebrating gaming, trying new things, learning about the gaming hobby, about meeting others who share the love of gaming, and having fun doing it!  No matter if you have one console and a handful of games or thousands of games in every room of your house, you'll find something to celebrate with us!

For more information, visit http://www.midwestgamingclassic.com/

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Pintastic Pinball & Game Room Expo, June 25th - 28th 2020, Sturbridge, Boxborough, USA

Flippin Fun For Everyone!  Are you looking for a little relief from the hot summer sun?  Look no further than Pintastic New England, which is the first of its kind, centrally located in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.  This expo is 30,000 square feet of fun for the whole family.  The kids can have never-ending excitement with a caricature artist, face painting, friendly clowns & balloon animals.  The adults can bring out their inner child with over 200 pinball machines set on free play, all while enjoying an ice-cold craft beer.

For more information, visit https://pintasticnewengland.com/

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KansasFest, July 21st - 26th 2020, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

KansasFest is the world's only annual convention dedicated to the Apple II computer that revolutionized the personal computing industry.  Held every year in Kansas City, Missouri, KansasFest offers Apple II users and retrocomputing enthusiasts the opportunity to engage in beginner and technical sessions, programming contests, exhibition halls, game tournaments, and camaraderie.  Any and all Apple II users, fans, and friends are invited to attend the event.

Will you be among the 2020 attendees? Mark your calendars for July 21-26, 2020.

For more information, visit http://www.kansasfest.org/

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Classic Game Fest, July 25th - 26th 2020, Austin, Texas, USA

The biggest retro gaming event in Texas is back on July 25-26, 2020! Classic Game Fest returns to the Palmer Events Center in Austin, TX on July 25-26, 2020. The annual summer event will feature all the expected attractions including special guests, live music, free play games, a massive vendor hall and more. Vendor booth and ticket information will be available soon.

For more information, visit https://classicgamefest.com/

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If there is a show or event you would like listed here, free of charge, please contact David directly at trt@classicplastic.net.  Please include a short official blurb about your event along with any relevant links or contact information and it will be published in the next issue of The Retrogaming Times.  The event listing will remain posted until the issue following the event date.  Big or small, we want to promote your show in our newsletter..

Check out these great events, shows, and conventions and let them know you read about them in The Retrogaming Times!



More C64! - Parker Brothers Part 2 - The Board Games
by Merman

In last issue's feature we looked at how Parker Brothers had moved from board games into video games. But there have also been several conversions from Parker Brothers board games into video games for the C64. Here then are some of the best, along with games that are now part of the Hasbro conglomerate that currently owns Parker Brothers. The British company Leisure Genius was responsible for several of these games; Gametek did the Sorry! conversion and the Gang of Five programmed Risk for Virgin.


The Leisure Genius logo from 1984's Scrabble, and Gametek's logo from Sorry!



CLUE (AKA CLUEDO)
Devised 1943
First published by Waddington's in the UK 1949
Leisure Genius computer edition 1984

The classic murder mystery board game was created by Anthony and Elva Pratt, but post-war shortages meant manufacturing did not begin until 1949. The game was known as Cluedo, but was licensed to Parker Brothers simultaneously for the American market and renamed Clue.

There are six suspects for the murder of Mr. Boddy (Doctor Black in the UK), with six possible weapons in one of nine possible rooms. By making suggestions and collecting clues, the player must deduce the correct solution hidden in the Solution Envelopes at the start of the game.

In the computer version, the computer will play any characters not controlled by a human. After the dice roll, a simple menu gives access to the various gameplay options. If you want to look at your clue cards, the computer will advise you to cover the screen so other human players don't see them. Although the controls are a little clunky, there are some nice touches - including a little theme tune for each character.

Trivia: The game Clue appeared on Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis in 1992, developed by Sculptured Software and published by Parker Brothers.


Miss Scarlett makes a suggestion, and rolls the dice for her turn.



CLUE MASTER DETECTIVE (AKA CLUEDO MASTER DETECTIVE)
Devised & first published by Waddington's in the UK 1988
Leisure Genius computer edition 1990

The board game Master Detective changed the rules, with 12 rooms, 10 characters and 8 possible weapons. There was more than one version, with the later UK edition adding "Clue tokens" that the players picked up and offered more help. The solution was now held in three plastic wallets, and used colour codes at the corner (revealed by sliding a small flap) to help the player identify the killer, room and murder weapon.

The computer version plays more conventionally, missing out the plastic wallet and Clue tokens. It does include the extra characters and a menu-driven game. Once again there are neat touches, including the rolling dice and overhead view of the mansion.

Trivia: The 1985 film Clue, starring Tim Curry as the butler Wadsworth, is based on the board game and had three alternative endings. Originally these were to be shown at different cinemas, but all three appear on the video release and the TV version. Although it initially failed to make back its budget at the box office, it now has a cult following.


Choosing from the expanded cast, and Sgt. Gray makes a suggestion.



MONOPOLY
Devised 1903/1932
First published by Parker Brothers in 1935
Leisure Genius computer version 1985

The original idea can be traced back to The Landlord's Game devised by anti-monopolist Lizzie Magie, who took out a patent in 1904 and self-published it in 1905 - with rent and cardboard houses added in the re-patented 1923 edition. After playing the game at a dinner party in 1932, Charles Darrow started to publish a similar game called Monopoly, based on locations in Atlantic City. This was bought up by Parker Brothers and became a smash hit that remains on sale today.

The early work of computer company Leisure Genius was published through the Virgin Games label. Monopoly took an interesting angled view of the board, with a larger view of the squares being moved through at the bottom of the screen. A pair of dice rolls onto the board to determine movement, with the player's money and options (selected by pressing the first letter) shown top right. Up to six players can take part, represented by the classic tokens. Although the speed of play is quite slow, all the familiar aspects of the game are well represented - with the occasional sound effect (such as a police siren when going to jail) adding to the atmosphere.

Trivia: Leisure Genius published a compilation on disk and tape of its first three board game releases - Monopoly, Scrabble and Cluedo. The BASIC game Monopole played a decent game of Monopoly and was converted into several languages.


Choosing from the six familiar tokens, and making a move after rolling the dice.



MONOPOLY DELUXE
Leisure Genius computer version 1988

This second attempt at Monopoly by Leisure Genius features a similar view of the board. But this time the game is controlled by a menu bar at the top of the screen, with the keyboard shortcuts of pressing the letters still present. The graphics and sound are improved, but the menu system does make some aspects harder to do (for example, building properties). There are separate European and American versions; the European has London properties like the UK version of the board game, while the American edition reverts to the classic Atlantic City property names.

Trivia: The Board Genius cassette compilation featured four of the games reviewed here - Cluedo Master Detective, Monopoly Deluxe, Scrabble Deluxe and the cassette version of Risk.
 

The computer draws a Chance card, while the dice roll along the street.



RISK
Devised in 1957
First published by Parker Brothers in 1959
Virgin computer version published 1988

French filmmaker Albert Lemorisse devised and published the game in France under the title La Conquête du Monde (The Conquest of the World). Parker Brothers bought the rights and it became an international hit under the new name. The board splits the world into 42 territories and the players must try to conquer as many as possible. Dice determine the outcome of battles when two armies meet, with cards collected and played to gain reinforcements.

In the case of Risk, the cassette and disk versions were different. The disk version accessed regularly to load in more information and graphics, while the cassette had fewer options and had to be reloaded once a game was finished. Both games used a sword pointer to access the menus and choose territories from the large, scrolling world map. Although it captures the original well, it can be very slow to play.

Trivia: There have been several variations of the board game Risk, including Castle Risk, Secret Mission Risk and Risk 2210 A.D. After recent franchise-themed versions, Winning Moves licensed the game from Hasbro and released 1959 Risk as a tribute to the original.
 

The impressive disk loading screen, and Ukraine on the attack against South Europe.



SCRABBLE
Devised in 1938
First published 1949 (by J W Spears in the UK from 1955)
Leisure Genius computer version 1984

Alfred Butts had created an earlier word game called Lexiko, but came up with the familiar coloured grid and tiles in 1938. The point values were arrived at by "frequency analysis" of various works including The New York Times newspapers, working out which letters were used most often. The rights have passed through several companies, with Mattel holding worldwide distribution and Parker Brothers/Hasbro the rights for the US and Canada. The player has seven tiles in their rack and must score as many points as possible, with double/triple tiles multiplying the value of a letter or the complete word.

The computer version opens with a message about the original, before offering a chance to play two players - either human vs. computer, or human vs. human. The skill level chosen for the AI computer opponent also determines how fast it makes a move. Other intriguing options include the ability to see all the racks, to use a real board alongside the computer and alternative colours when using a black & white TV. The grey board resembles the original quite well, with the coloured bonus squares standing out and attractive orange tiles. The only thing that lets it down is the limited dictionary, improved for the follow-up.

Trivia: Scrabble has been turned into a computer game across many different formats. The 2007 Nintendo DS version proved troublesome when the computer AI started using offensive language.


The computer apologises for dealing me a bad rack, and takes its time while thinking up a word.



SCRABBLE DELUXE
Leisure Genius computer version 1986
 
Although not based directly on a new version of Scrabble, the Deluxe computer version underwent some changes. The board is now on a black background with white outline, with symbols rather than coloured squares to show the bonus point spaces. Up to four players can take part - human or AI - and their current tiles can be optionally shown on the right of the screen. The AI is much better, particularly at finding short two and three-letter words. It is about the same speed as the original game however, with a message saying Player is thinking... appearing while the computer thinks. The bigger dictionary of possible words makes for better games.

Trivia: The deluxe versions of the board game use up-market materials including leather and wood, with a rotating board so that players can read the grid easier. Although there have been many official versions, many players preferred online alternatives Scrabulous (shut down by legal action) and Words with Friends (from Zynga).


TAXED earns me 30 points by ending on a Double Word square, and the computer is thinking again...



SORRY!
Devised 1929
First published by Waddington's in the UK in 1934
Gametek computer version 1990

William Henry Storey devised the original game, based on Parcheesi and Ludo, and licensed it to Parker Brothers in 1934. Each player has four pawns that must be moved from Start to Home. Movement is determined by cards drawn from a deck. Landing on an opponent's pawn bumps it back to Start, while landing on a Slide area with the correct number "slides" the pawn along to the end, knocking back any pawns on the Slide. A Sorry! card allows the player to move one pawn from Start onto an opponent's pawn, knocking that back. The name comes from the ways you can frustrate an opponent, leading you to say sorry...

The computer board looks very attractive, with plenty of colour. Up to four players can take part by entering a name, with the computer playing any that isn't human-controlled. (Entering C for all players to be computer-controlled runs a demo game). During the game the computer shows you the cards drawn onscreen, and a "hand" cursor is used to select the piece to move. The computer plays a decent game but this is another that runs slowly and doesn't add a whole lot to the experience of playing on a real board.

Trivia: A Windows version of Sorry! was released in 1998, with extra card types added to the deck. The board game has undergone many revisions, notably the 2013 rules changes, and has appeared in several themed versions (including Disney, The Simpsons, and Star Wars).


The hand is used to select a piece, while drawing a 2 lets me draw again.

 

TITLE GALLERY

To finish off, here are some of the title screens from the games.


An alternative Leisure Genius logo (with animated letters), and the original Scrabble's title page.




The original UK Cluedo logo, and the Monopoly title page from the UK.




Sorry's simple introductory screen, and the gorgeous Clue Master Detective bitmap.



Loading screen from the US version of Monopoly Deluxe, and the opening screen of Scrabble Deluxe.

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That brings our look back at Parker Brothers to a close. Maybe check out their games for your favourite console, or play a few board games with your family to bring back that old-fashioned fun.



A Post-Holiday Idea Guide For Retrogaming Purchases
by Sean "Nz17" Robinson

It is the "post-holiday season."  The Christmas presents, Chanukah checks, Kwanzaa cash, solstice gift cards, and even the New Year debit cards have been distributed.  Perhaps you or someone you know are looking for ideas on what to buy with all of those holiday cheques, debit gift cards, store gift cards, or plain old money?  Follow this simple guide for some ideas for the freshly financially empowered retro-gamer and you'll be sure to have a jolly January with all of your new personal acquisitions which were specially-picked just for you by you!


Sega Genesis Mini

A classic revised as a miniature console with forty-two games including North American Mini exclusives Earthworm Jim, Sonic Spinball, Vectorman, and Virtua Fighter 2 among others.  Two of the games (Tetris and Darius) were never officially released before now, but keep in mind that the Tetris which is included is not the rare 1989 Sega Mega Drive Tetris but a new 2019 conversion of Tetris based upon Sega's arcade machine.  Darius is also a new port for 2019, making them exclusive to the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Mini.  (Extra: Go into the menu options and change your menu language to Japanese to access the Japanese counterparts to the games. They often are different from the American games beyond just the potential linguistic changes, as they weren't altered for the West like the classic American releases and include everything which was originally there.  Also try changing the language to a non-English European language to access the European variants of the games such as Probotector, the Euro counterpart to Contra.)



Mega Drive Mini

There are three of these so please don't confuse them.  They are the European / Oceanian, Chinese / Korean, and Japanese variants of the Sega Genesis Mini.  (Well, the Sega Genesis Mini is the North American variant of the Mega Drive Mini, but you get the idea.)  However, one is not just the equivalent of the others!  While the North American and European ones have an identical line-up of games, the Japanese line-up is often different despite some identical inclusions.  The Japanese Mega Drive Mini exclusives include Assault Suit Leynos, Dyna Brothers 2, Game no Kanzume Otokuyou, Langrisser II, Lord Monarch, Mado Monogatari I, MUSHA, Party Quiz Mega Q, Powerball, Puzzle & Action: Tant-R, Rent a Hero, Slap Fight MD, Snow Bros, The Hybrid Front, The Revenge of Shinobi, and Yu Yu Hakusho Makyo Toitsusen though some of these are also available in the Chinese Mini.  Yet exclusivity doesn't stop there!  The Chinese Mega Drive Mini exclusives include Alien Soldier, OutRun 2019, Shining Force II, and Sword of Vermilion.  Get all of these variants to collect all of these games!


Extra controllers for the Sega Genesis Mini / Mega Drive Mini

The North American Sega Genesis Mini and European / Oceanian Mega Drive Mini include two controllers, but they are only the three-button kind.  The Japanese Mega Drive Mini consoles include controllers with six buttons and there are two editions: one has a console with only one controller and the other has a console with two controllers.  Whichever one(s) you might get, you can always even up the game by buying official six-button controllers!  These really help to make the matches fair and fun for six-button fighting games!


Extra controllers for the NES Classic Edition (Mini) and the SNES Classic Edition (Mini)

Remember how the NES Action Set included all of the basics plus two games, two regular controllers, and the light gun?  Not so with the Minis!  It is unfortunately not the case that you get a light gun nor even a second regular controller with these.  Thus you should consider picking up a second controller for your NES Classic Edition or your SNES Classic Edition.  Keep in mind though that certain Wii-compatible controllers will work with these mini consoles as well so that is also an option.  Remember that the SNES controller can work with the NES Classic Edition too!  And there are many third-party wired and wireless controller options for each that are specifically made for these mini consoles.


Extension cables for the mini consoles

Don't let short cable lengths be a hindrance to you!  Pick up an inexpensive controller extension cable, HDMI extension cable, or just a longer HDMI cable and find some freedom!


TurboGrafx-16 Mini / PC Engine Mini / Core Grafx Mini

57 games (25 English games, 32 Japanese games); includes one controller; supports two controllers without additional hardware (instead of only one like the original console); a multi-tap accessory (for three to five players) and additional controllers will be available separately for multi-player games; March 19th, 2020; only $100!  Unless you are a very serious game collector, there is sure to be at least a few games included with this compilation that aren't in your collection.  If you are an average game collector, then I'd bet there are dozens of games here that aren't in your collection... and we all know how expensive TurboGrafx-16 games and hardware can be!  This is definitely a bargain if you ask me!



PlayStation Classic

PlayStation Classic includes 20 games, two wired controllers, an HDMI cable, a power cable, and is easily hack-able to modify it with your own games and even emulators for other consoles.  What could possibly be missing?  (An A/C power adapter, but we'll get to that in another description.)  The truth is, while this mini console has its flaws, this is actually a really good bargain for the price.  Some people will turn up their noses due to the emulation not being perfect or the game selection being somewhat questionable.  However there are some very good games included!  If you were to buy them from the PlayStation Store every game would cost you $6 each and additionally you'd still be required to bring your own PS3, PS4, PSP, or Vita.  If you were to buy these games as original PlayStation games on CD-ROM, then while some of these would be about $6, many of them would cost much, much more, and that's not even counting the price of shipping and handling!  Here we have (almost) all of the hardware included as well as 20 games.  And the price?  Only $30 for new and $20 for used.  Truthfully, you can often find these PlayStation Classic consoles for $20 new, online or offline.  Some people will say that they could build an emulation machine for less.  Perhaps if you already have all of the hardware, but what if you don't have all of the pieces?  A base computer, case, power cable, power supply, A/V cable, and two wired controllers will collectively cost much more than $20, and that's all before the legal, financial, and moral questions of where you planned to obtain all of your games.  Going the PlayStation Classic route, all of that is taken care of for a small price that's quite nice!


A/C USB power adapters for all of these mini consoles

Can you believe these things typically don't include an A/C to D/C converter?  Oh sure, you'll get a power cable with them, but the adapter has to be purchased separately!  Take care of all your consoles and keep in mind that these can be purchased for $5 or less.



Game Tunes - Vic Viper - Launch (2016)
by David Lundin, Jr.

In the late 1980's into the 1990's hard charging rock anthems became a staple of video game music, particularly with games developed by Konami and Capcom.  While more powerful hardware allowed for more detailed game worlds, the music that accompanied these games has remained as fresh and powerful as the day it was written.  It's the reason that Castlevania games almost always have callbacks to the series' earlier music, or Mega Man themes fall into a category of their own - the music is embedded in the DNA of the genres that emerged during the golden era of so many developers and publishers.  While Sega and Taito would form in-house bands to record and play their respective company's music live, most other game soundtracks were relegated to verbatim hardware recordings, if even given a soundtrack release at all.


The physical CD release of Launch features beautiful case artwork

Vic Viper is a four-member band that plays straight up rock covers of the best video game music of the aforementioned golden era.  The music of Konami, Capcom, Technos and others is accurately represented in a loving homage that celebrates some of the finest music that video games have ever known.  Vic Viper's 2016 album Launch is a collection of seventeen tracks, featuring both instantly recognizable metal anthems and more obscure but equally awesome game tunes.  While a lot of video game bands will remix classic music, the selections on offer here are kept in line with the classic compositions.  This not only showcases how genuinely impactful the original music is but also the razor-sharp and spectacular musicianship of Vic Viper.

Album Track Listing:

01 - Gradius II - Stage Interlude, Burning Heat
02 - Gradius II - Ending
03 - Castlevania - Wicked Child
04 - Castlevania II - Dwelling of Doom
05 - Contra - Jungle
06 - Mega Man III - Dr. Wily 2
07 - Mega Man II - Dr. Wily 1
08 - Street Fighter 2010 - City Lights
09 - Double Dragon II - The Fight Continues
10 - Life Force - Starfield, Burn the Wind
11 - Metal Gear - Jungle
12 - Mega Man V - Dark Man
13 - Batman Returns - Gotham Plaza, Save the Children, Follow the Circus Train
14 - 鳥人戦隊ジェットマン - Area A (Choujin Sentai Jetman)
15 - Ninja Gaiden II - Approaching Evil, Tower of Lahja
16 - Mega Man 9 - Flash In the Dark
17 - Ys II - To Make the End of Battle


There are few NES games that open as awesomely as Ninja Gaiden II in my opinion

Without a doubt my favorite track on the album is "Approaching Evil, Tower of Lahja" from Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos.  Ninja Gaiden II is one of my favorite video games of all time and features an incredible soundtrack that sadly gets overlooked by many.  "Approaching Evil" is the theme from the opening cinematic, opening with a dark and smoky progression that builds and builds until exploding in a rush of hard rock.  "Tower of Lahja" is from stage 3-2, the first truly challenging stage of the game, and is arguably the most recognizable piece of music from Ninja Gaiden II.  Next to that my favorite is "Starfield, Burn the Wind" from Life Force / Salamander.  If you've never listened to the Salamander soundtrack then you owe yourself to do so, it's one of the most spectacular game soundtracks of all time.  "Starfield" is the second stage theme and easily the most well-known piece of music from Life Force / Salamander.  (Beatmania and DDR players may know it as the introduction for Salamander Beat Crush Mix by Nite System)  "Burn the Wind" is the stage four theme and my favorite from the game - there's just always been something about how it starts out and the driving beat that resonates with me.

If you grew up in the NES era you really can't go wrong with Launch, doubly so if you enjoy the Konami and Capcom games of the time.  I saw Vic Viper perform live at California Extreme 2016 and was completely blown away.  Almost four years later, this album has remained in my regular rotation and stands as the perfect complement to the music it commemorates.  If you have yet to listen to it you're missing out.

Launch can be listened to and purchased directly from Vic Viper at https://vicviper.bandcamp.com.  It is available as a physical CD or a digital album, with the digital release featuring bonus tracks.  Vic Viper merchandise is available for purchase as well.  You can also check them out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vicviperband.



Galaga's Top Pilot at Galaga Forum
by John Klinkel

It has been one year since Armando Gonzalez took down the 29-year-old Galaga Marathon Settings (3 Ships to start, Free ships at 20k, 70k and every 70k, thereafter, Rank D - the most difficult setting) World Record previously held by Stephen Krogman.  Not only was this a monumental achievement but, in doing so, he became the first person to ever hold the Tournament Settings (5 ships only, Rank D) and Marathon Settings World Records simultaneously.

Galaga Forum (https://www.galagaforum.com), recognized by top players as the official adjudicator for Galaga scores, has adjudicated both games and they stand at the top of their respective leaderboards with links to the game play.

The Marathon record was revered and thought to be untouchable prior to Gonzalez's achievement.  It had been on the books at Twin Galaxies since January 6th, 1989.  There was even some suspicion that the score wasn't real, as many thought it to be unattainable.  That was proven very much untrue on October 20th, 2018.  Armando began his game and approximately 12 hours later became the new Marathon Settings World Record Holder, per Galaga Forum.

These World Record scores achieved by Armando (aka APK) were a follow-up to a disappointing performance at Score Wars, the first-ever Galaga World Championship, hosted by Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Although he finished 2nd to Andrew Barrow, ranked the overall #1 MAME player in the world and also a world-class Galaga player, he wasn't satisfied.  He became determined to etch his name into the very fabric of Galaga lore for all time.

He has done just that... and not so easily as one might think.  Score Wars sparked a great deal of high-end competition among Galaga players and he was greatly contested by Mike Thompson, who took the Tournament Settings World Record from him before he was able to recapture it by a small margin.  There are several players who have emerged as serious contenders for these, and other, World Records on Galaga.  Some of them are continuing to play and reach higher and higher scores while some have moved on to other games or are just waiting for the opportunity to devote more time to Galaga.  For scores that big, it takes a lot of preparation and hard work.

Armando Gonzalez has done both and, as a result, is Galaga's Top Pilot!



Walter Day's Gaming Superstars Volume One
by Todd Friedman

Walter Day's Gaming Superstars Volume One is a 100+ page book that will cover the entire first year of trading cards released in the series. The cards will be accompanied by beautiful imagery and stories told by people within the gaming community who were featured on the cards, as well as stories from Walter Day himself.  Walter Day is known as the creator of eSports and has often been called The Patron Saint of Video Games. His remarkable efforts to find, verify and catalogue video game world records has led to a decades-long partnership with the Guinness World Records book.

Using the simple collectible trading card as a vehicle, The Walter Day Collection documents and commemorates the history of today's popular culture, focusing on science fiction, comic books, the video game & pinball industry, biographies of the world's most influential people, and the remarkable emergence of professional eSports.  Though originally created to celebrate the history of Twin Galaxies, the vision for the card set soon expanded to include the history of the worldwide video game industry, documenting not only important milestones in video game history, but also honoring world record holders, iconic industry pioneers, noted video game personalities, contest winners, legendary events, and the thousands of individuals and companies who, through their creative contributions, have given shape to today’s worldwide video game and eSports culture.



This book is all about the first year of trading cards from The Walter Day Collection. Not only will the book focus on all of the cards released, but also has stories about Walter Day from those people involved. This is the ultimate tribute to everything Walter Day has accomplished with this series of cards.  We were lucky enough to have the legendary artist Dan Tearle draw a rendition of Walter for the cover of this book. Dan has been involved in lots of projects over the years, including working at Topps with an amazing Star Wars series.

The cost of this 1st edition book, with shipping is $40.00.  To order your copy today, please email Walter at walterday@yahoo.com.

For more information on the trading cards and interviews with the card members themselves, go to www.thewalterdaycollection.com.



Happy Australian 20th Anniversary and
Japanese 21st Anniversary, Sega Dreamcast!
by Sean "Nz17" Robinson

The Sega Dreamcast launched on November 27th, 1998 in Japan, making November 2019 the 21st anniversary of the famous orange-swirled console. Yet that's not all! November 30th, 1999 was the launch date of the Dreamcast in Australia, New Zealand, and the rest of Oceania, making November 30th, 2019 the two decade mark for the console there as well as the final 20th anniversary for the venerable Dreamcast throughout the world.

Back in the day, many enthusiastic Kiwis and Aussies imported their Dreamcasts from overseas. Why? For one thing, the wait was so bloody long! Japan is closer to Australia than North America is, but North America and Europe got their Dreamcasts months before Oceania; Australia had to wait after all of the other territories in the world got their Dreamcasts to finally get their own amazing 128-bit consoles. It was faster and simpler to import or rent imported consoles and games from Japan a year earlier than to wait for another 12 months for it to arrive, and Japan got more Dreamcast releases than any other country in the world, so selection and variety were more key reasons. Besides, many Japanese Dreamcast games had English in them or were simple enough to figure out. If it were that much of a concern, then your Japanese Dreamcast could be sold and an Australian Dreamcast purchased in short order after launch.

Some even chose to buy or rent imported games and Dreamcasts from America. Why? Depending on tariffs, other taxes, parcel & post, and the exchange rate, it might be less expensive or at least break-even to import from America than it was to buy locally. Besides, a lot of games got releases in America that never happened in Australian or PAL territories, so importing also seemed brilliant that way. Plus NTSC games, whether American or Japanese, ran at 60 Hertz instead of 50 Hertz, meaning the games seemed to run 20% faster, giving movement and motions a nicer, smoother appearance than PAL games, effectively getting a higher frame-rate in exchange for losing about 20% of the vertical resolution. Then again, you had better make sure that your TV could support NTSC and PAL if you were going that route, or at the very least have a spare monitor to use the VGA cable!

A few blokes were even upset about the big delay with the Web browser. You would think after launching in Japan, North America, and Europe, that browser software would be ready for launch in Australia on launch day, but Aussies would have to wait until about three months later to finally get online with their Dreamcasts. It was a major selling point back in the day when you didn't have any Internet access on your PC, you know. For a lot of people, their Dreamcast, television, Web browser, and dial-up were the way they got online for the first time. Thing is, the first online game wouldn't even arrive until months later with ChuChu Rocket!, but by then a lot of people had already imported from abroad instead of dealing with even more delays by OziSoft and Sega.



Weekly Retrogaming Trivia Recap
Compiled by David Lundin, Jr.

Every Friday on The Retrogaming Times Facebook page (facebook.com/theretrogamingtimes), we present a Weekly Retrogaming Trivia question.  This just-for-fun trivia challenge provided each week is an opportunity to test your arcane and oddball retrogaming knowledge.  The answer to the question from the previous week is posted along with a new trivia question every Friday!

Below is the recap of all questions and answers posted between this issue and the previous issue:
 
11/01/2019 - WEEK 138
Question:    What was the last officially released NES Power Pad game?

11/08/2019 - WEEK 139
Question:    What two arcade games developed by Yu Suzuki can be played in Shenmue II that were not in its predecessor?

11/15/2019 - WEEK 140
Question:    What was the first LaserDisc arcade game to be released?

11/22/2019 - WEEK 141
Question:    What four Intellivision games require the Intellivoice Voice Synthesis Module?

11/29/2019 - WEEK 142
Question:    Mario's rival Wario made his first appearance in what game?

12/06/2019 - WEEK 143
Question:    What Japan-only game combined Ghosts n' Goblins characters with mechanics from The Incredible Machine?

12/13/2019 - WEEK 144
Question:    What was the final commercial release on NEC's ill-fated PC-FX?



Short Order / Eggsplode! brought the Power Pad era to an end (left), Nazo Makaimura was a unique take on a Capcom property (right)

Answers:
Week 138 Answer:  Short Order / Eggsplode! (1989).
Week 139 Answer:  Out Run and After Burner.
Week 140 Answer:  Astron Belt.
Week 141 Answer:  B-17 Bomber, Bomb Squad, Space Spartans, and Tron: Solar Sailer.
Week 142 Answer:  Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (1992).
Week 143 Answer:  Arthur to Astaroth no Nazo Makaimura: Incredible Toons (Arthur and Astaroth's Puzzle Demon World Village: Incredible Toons) from 1996.
Week 144 Answer:  First Kiss Story (1998).


Only these four games required the Intellivision Intellivoice Voice Synthesis Module for play

Don't be left out!  Be sure to follow The Retrogaming Times on Facebook or The Retrogaming Times Info Club on Twitter for a new retrogaming trivia question every Friday!

We need your questions!  If you have a trivia question you would like to submit for possible inclusion in the Weekly Retrogaming Trivia question pool, e-mail it to trt@classicplastic.net!  If you question is selected to be featured, you will be entered in our year-end prize drawing!


See You Next Game
by David Lundin, Jr.

In the year ahead I'm honestly most looking forward to the TurboGrafx-16 Mini, although its purchase really isn't a necessary one for me as I've had a Turbo EverDrive for years.  I think it's more the opportunity to be able to directly spend money on the intellectual property (even if it goes to Konami rather than the defunct Hudson) after years of buying second-hand.  By the time I had the money and means to buy a TurboDuo, Turbo Zone Direct was on life support (although I did buy Cosmic Fantasy 2 and Exile: Wicked Phenomenon from them) so the era had well passed.  Also other than the subpar ColecoVision Flashback, I haven't purchased any of the mini consoles and figured this was the best time to get in on one since it's a hardware platform I love.  The draw of having native HD output is nice as well, as I've never been satisfied with any upscaler I've owned and play most of my retrogames on a CRT for that reason.  Once the pre-orders ship in a couple months we'll see how it lives up to the hype - expect a full review right here.

Thank you once again for reading The Retrogaming Times.  We'll be back on March 1st with our next issue.  Be sure to follow The Retrogaming Times on Facebook and join our community for the latest updates and information!  Additionally The Retrogaming Times Info Club on Twitter features up-to-the-moment news and notifications for all things The Retrogaming Times!  I sincerely hope you enjoyed this issue and that you will return to read the next issue and possibly submit an article yourself.  Remember, this newsletter can only exist with your help.  Simply send your articles directly to me at trt@classicplastic.net or check out the submission guidelines on the main page.  Submit an article today and join a great retrogaming tradition!

See You Next Game!


      








Content and opinions on this page are those of their respective writer(s)
Assembled and published by David Lundin, Jr. on January 7th, 2020 at ClassicPlastic.net
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