General Old Game Hardware Thread

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Thad
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General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:05 pm

My oldschool game setup is coming along nicely. I've got a CRT TV with component inputs, and I just bought a soundbar at the local used electronics store.

I fired up my Sega CD and it sounds fantastic, but its battery's gone and died on me. I looked into what it takes to replace it and nope, it is not a project for somebody who is barely competent at soldering such as myself.

Since I need to stop by the game shop anyway, maybe I'll ask if they do repairs. (My PS2 just quit powering on too, so there's that.) Or, if not, what it costs to just buy another one.

I was thinking of picking up a Mega Everdrive, maybe next bonus check (I've been quite pleased with my NES Everdrive and my SD2SNES), and in addition to loading ROMs it also works as a save cartridge for the Sega CD. That should help, but I'm guessing I still need to replace the internal battery if I don't want to have to reformat the internal storage every time I want to use it.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby malikial » Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:31 pm

I watched a video of what needs to be done to the Sega CD and I kinda wish we lived closer. James could do that in like 15 minutes if he was having a good day with his carpal tunnel and his hands weren't shaking because of WRIST PAIN. I always hate and feel bad when stuff like this happens to my friends, when things I can repair, or know someone who can repair, easily are so far away. On top of that it wouldn't be real affordable for you to ship the damn thing across the whole of the US for James to spend 15 minutes fixing it. But, on the other hand, it IS a repair anyone who knows about small electronics and soldering can do very quickly so you could probably find someone in your area who could do it pretty handily.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:35 am

SNES-style retro controllers are abundant (I quite like my 8bitdo controllers; I've heard the diagonals don't work very well, but haven't had any issues; I hear it's mostly an issue in fighting games). But I've been wondering for years when someone will make a decent wireless Genesis controller.

Well, looks like it's coming.



That's Krikkz, the guy who makes the EverDrives. My experience so far is that he does excellent work; I have an EverDrive N8 (NES) and a Mega EverDrive (Genesis).

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Wed May 16, 2018 12:36 am

I dunno if anybody else but me has an SD2SNES, but somebody's gone and gotten SuperFX/SuperFX2 support to (mostly) work.



Also, it looks like the Joyzz wireless Genesis controller I linked in the previous post is now available for purchase. It comes with a receiver dongle for Genesis/SMS; apparently it doesn't currently work on PC or other consoles, but Krikzz has said he's open to the possibility of making dongles for other systems if there's sufficient demand.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Silversong » Wed May 16, 2018 8:33 am

Does anyone know if it's worthwhile to get Dreamcasts fixed? I have two, one is nonfunctioning and the other fails about half the time (sometimes while already running). I don't know any other way to play my two player Typing of the Dead...

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:02 am

I got the new 8bitdo Genesis controller, with a dongle to play it on my Genesis.

I've only spent about 10 minutes with it but my reaction so far is that it really feels right. The Genesis had a pretty unique D-pad, of course, and this feels like the real deal (at least the version on the 6-button controller).

I played a couple rounds of SSF2. I'm not a great Street Fighterer, as you might guess from my willingness to play it with a wireless controller, but I didn't have any of the problems with diagonals that I've seen some people report with the NES/SNES 8bitdo controllers. I managed both hadokens and shoryukens just fine.

I also did my requisite play through the first Sonic 3 Blue Sphere stage and didn't have any trouble. Granted, I've Perfected that stage with everything from a Logitech Rumblepad 2 to a GameCube controller to a DualShock 4, so that doesn't say anything particularly compelling about the D-pad, but I was impressed enough by the feel of it that I think I'll try and use it the next time I fire up Sonic Mania.

The controller comes in a couple of different versions: a Bluetooth model for $30 that works on multiple platforms (Switch, Windows, Mac, GNU/Linux, Android) and has a separate Genesis adapter for $20, and a Genesis-only version that costs $25 including the adapter. I opted for the more expensive option because, while I primarily want to use it on a real Genesis, I'd like to be able to use it on other machines too. (All links are affiliate links.)

I haven't spent much time with it yet but I'm already considering spending another $50 for another controller/adapter set. I've been waiting for a good wireless Genesis controller for ages, and so far this feels like just what I've been waiting for. The closest anyone's come before now was the Mad Catz SF4 gamepads, which had spotty compatibility (their wireless receivers only worked on certain USB hardware) and, while the floating D-pad worked great as a replacement for an 8-directional joystick, it was lousy for precision platforming. Good for Street Fighter but bad for Sonic; the 8bitdo pads are good for both.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Wed May 01, 2019 4:49 pm

Got me a Game Boy EverDrive. As in original GB/GBC; no GBA.

Went ahead and ordered a refurbed GBA SP, too (the "brighter screen" revision); I've got an original-model GBA, but even with the frontlight mod its screen still sucks. (Pity, because I like the form factor a lot better than the SP. More comfortable in my hands, plus no hinges to break -- I'll come back to that in a minute.)

Also ordered a Japanese Super Game Boy 2 (which fixes the original SGB's slight difference in clock speed from a real Game Boy, and also has a link port just in case I ever wind up with an opportunity to do any multiplayer with this thing). I know it won't fit in a US SNES without some modification, but I do have an old SNES Game Genie and I'm hoping I can just stack it on top of that instead of having to go in and break plastic tabs out of my cartridge slot.

Also took a look at my old DS (which can't play original GB games, but I bought a GBA USB charging cable and wanted to test it and haven't gotten the GBA SP yet) and found that one of its hinges is broken. Haven't touched the thing in years and it's been sitting in a hard case, so who knows how that happened, but it's a bummer. I looked up how to fix it, and...nope nope nope, that's way beyond my technical skill. Thing still works, but I'm kind of bummed. I know the local used game shop has a couple later-model DS's for sale; maybe I'll take a look at those and see whether they're DS Lite or DSi. (I'd rather the Lite; I've got a 2DS I can play original DS games on, but I'd still like to have a DS to play GBA games in addition to my GBA for playing GBC games. I may be doing this wrong.) Though I sure like my original model DS, so if anybody knows a good workaround, like just a piece of PVC or something I could stick on that hinge to prevent it from wobbling, that'd be swell.

The game shop also has a guy who fixes old equipment, but I contacted him recently and he said he's swamped and not accepting any new work right now.

Anyway. The "get some flash carts to play old games on authentic hardware" collection continues apace. Probably GBA next time I have some money saved up.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Fri May 03, 2019 11:56 am

Can anybody recommend a good hard case for a GBA SP? I've done a quick search and a lot of the cases I'm seeing have reviews that are variations on "this case clearly wasn't designed for a GBA SP; it doesn't fit unless you really squeeze it in tight."

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Fri May 03, 2019 11:31 pm

GBA SP came in today. About what I expected: screen is gorgeous (for, you know, Game Boy values of "gorgeous"); actually holding the thing in my hands is a lot less comfortable than the original GBA.

It's a refurb job; I don't have an original SP around to know what the buttons are supposed to feel like, but they feel like quality parts to me.

Found a used Airform Pocket case for sale, so I ordered that.

Any obscure/rare GB/GBC games that should be on my radar, or ROM hacks? I've never played Shantae so I'll probably give it a look at some point, and I remember Sharkey saying the GBC version of Daikatana was actually pretty good.

I looked for GB ROM hacks and...it looks like most of the recommendations are for color mods to the Super Mario Land games and Metroid 2, plus a buttload of Pokeyman hacks.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Lottel » Sat May 04, 2019 12:08 am

For my upcoming birthday I ordered a translated reproduction cart of For Whom the Frog Tolls

So there's that.
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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby mharr » Sat May 04, 2019 3:50 am

Ars have a lot of advice on GBA hacks and upgrades, the most important is probably the one on retrofitting the original design with an SP screen. https://arstechnica.com/features/2018/0 ... -new/3/#h2

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Sat May 04, 2019 11:49 am

Lottel wrote:For my upcoming birthday I ordered a translated reproduction cart of For Whom the Frog Tolls

So there's that.

Thanks. Parish recently published a Best Of list (ETA: not so recently; it's from the 25th anniversary and USG has just reposted it for the 30th), and it's got a few import recommendations at the bottom, including For the Frog the Bell Tolls. So that's two recommendations; guess I'll have to check it out.

Tried to charge the thing overnight with a USB dongle but it didn't charge. Could be a bad battery, or a bad USB dongle, or just not enough juice from the charging port; I've got it plugged in with its wall-wart for now, so we'll see. If it's a bad battery I'll let the seller know.

mharr wrote:Ars have a lot of advice on GBA hacks and upgrades, the most important is probably the one on retrofitting the original design with an SP screen. https://arstechnica.com/features/2018/0 ... -new/3/#h2


Interesting. Way beyond my skill, but I guess if I'm ever in the market for another GBA I could look for pre-modded ones.

Course, if I'm just playing at home, I do have a Super Game Boy around here somewhere (and that SGB2 coming in the mail). Could hook up my GameCube, too; it's got a Game Boy Player.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Sun May 05, 2019 12:16 pm

Thad wrote:Tried to charge the thing overnight with a USB dongle but it didn't charge. Could be a bad battery, or a bad USB dongle, or just not enough juice from the charging port; I've got it plugged in with its wall-wart for now, so we'll see. If it's a bad battery I'll let the seller know.

None of the above. It's not a problem with the battery; it doesn't like the EverDrive. When I power it on, it will frequently (but not always) behave the way it would if the battery were dead: power light briefly flashes, then it goes dead and the screen never comes on. If I keep power-cycling, it will eventually come on.

Thought it might be a problem with the power switch or something, but I tested with a GBA game and nope, it works just fine with that. Haven't dug out a real GB/GBC game to test with, but I suspect that would work fine too; there's just something about the EverDrive that misfires. Annoying, but again, it comes on eventually.

The seller canceled my order for the Airform case. There's somebody in the UK selling one; I'm debating whether I want to pay shipping on that. Guess I probably will; whole thing comes out to around $20, which is more than I'd expected to pay for a case but ultimately not that much.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Wed May 08, 2019 12:10 am

SGB2 arrived today, in great shape. (I was worried when I first got the delivery notification -- just my luck that, of all the days it could possibly arrive, it would be on a day that it was raining in the damn desert. But the box was unharmed.)

Haven't been able to try it out yet. I was hoping it would fit in a Game Genie, but no, the GG has the same plastic tabs that the SNES cartridge slot does. I decided to order an adapter rather than tear the tabs off my SNES or my Game Genie. So I guess I'm waiting for that to come in now.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Wed May 08, 2019 12:43 pm

I get a persistent buzz when I plug headphones into the SP. Is that normal, or did I just buy a shitty cheap dongle? If it's the latter, can anyone recommend a good dongle?

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Lottel » Thu May 09, 2019 3:02 am

If I remember correctly that's normal but I'm running off a15 year old memory at this point.
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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Sat May 11, 2019 1:38 pm

The My Arcade Super Cartridge Converter appears not to work with the Super Game Boy. Seems odd since it seems like the way this thing should work is just to short pins straight across, but...seems to work fine with SNES games and not with the SGB. (Slow loading, graphical artifacts, no audio, inconsistent controller inputs -- only seems to affect the GB games themselves, not the SGB UI.)

The problem doesn't seem to be with the EverDrive or the SGB2 I bought on eBay, because I dug out my old GB collection and tried a few different games and also tried them on my American SGB. Same result regardless of which game or which model SGB.

Haven't decided whether to return it or keep it onhand in case I ever start collecting real SFC games.

The "break the tabs out of the Game Genie" plan doesn't look like it'll work either; I tried my US SGB in my Game Genie and it has the some problem. So at least I found that out before I broke any pieces off it.

Seems like probably the only fix is to rip the tabs out of my SNES (in which case, yeah, might as well return the adapter). I'm kinda sentimental about the old thing and reluctant to be breaking pieces off it, but objectively it is old and yellowed and not exactly a pristine piece of hardware anyway.

I know Parish has an SGB2 as well. Maybe I should look through his videos and see how he set it up.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Niku » Sat May 11, 2019 4:55 pm

Yeah, I'm almost positive Parish mentioned clock speed problems with pass throughs at some point while talking up the SGB2. Wish I could remember the solution he came up with, but I think it's somewhere online.
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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Sat May 11, 2019 11:56 pm

Went ahead and found my wirecutters and needlenose pliers and had me a SNES bris. It took a bit of wiggling but the SGB2 is working. Returning the adapter since it didn't work for the thing I bought it for and now I no longer need it.

So I guess that's original Game Boy sorted in my growing flash cart collection. One of these days I'll get a GBA one (probably wait until Krikzz releases one that can handle save states; I don't expect to have much budget for that sort of thing in the immediate future anyway, as Q3 looks to be new phone/new graphics card & rebuild computer season.)

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Sun May 12, 2019 12:17 am

And apparently there's a custom boot ROM for the Game Boy Player that's ostensibly better than the official one. So I guess that's probably something I'll look into eventually.

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