A Look Back at the Generation NEX!

Not sure if I have reviewed this clone system on here before. But here I go again. Don’t mind going again. You might mind me going again. I don’t. Sorry for the long blog.

The Disclaimer: If you are the type of person that is a “Diehard Nintendo Purist” and need everything perfect when it comes to playing all your favorite NES games, then you need to have, and stay with, an Official Original NES console. Please stay far away from clone consoles. Now for the rest of us………..

The Preliminary: The Generation NEX is built around the Nintendo-on-achip technology or NOAC as it is commonly called. This is an attempt to fabricate the original NES hardware on a single computer chip. It looks like a glop on a PC board most of the time. The technology is not perfect in that it does not fully imitate the hardware perfectly. They just don’t have access to the original info on the technology for obvious reasons. Nintendo keeps that to themselves. But the NOAC is cheap to make and mass produce. Some, or many, manufacturers have taken advantage of that. Over the years there have been literally hundreds of NES clone systems built around the NOAC.

GenNEX2

The NOAC technology not being perfect results in some, if not all, NES games playing less than perfect and there are some games that do not play at all. The main problems are, colors being off, music or sound not exactly right, some instances of garbled graphics, which could pertain to sprites or background. Making some games unplayable. There seems to be different levels of success with the NOAC. Some clones work better than others giving different results. That may depend on the manufacturer. But all share the common problems. That being the situation, there are still loads of games in the giant NES library that are not hindered by any of the problems in its playability, and enjoyment. But as I said before, if you are the type of person that stops and says, “Wait a minute that color is a shade darker!” Aiiiiiiigh!!! Or “There is a crisp sharp twang there that I don’t remember!” Hiiiuuaaugh!!! Then you need to stay with that old NES original hardware.

The First impressions: (I purchased this back around the first of 2008 and this was my first impressions. I am editing for this blog. Consider this an update.) The total design of the unit is almost a tribute to the original 8-bit NES system. It looks like a miniature version of that first big bulky gray NES console. The system itself, the outer plastic shell, is of a very nice sturdy quality build. Having purchased a few imported gaming stuff, I am impressed, no egg shell here. This particular clone is produced or was marketed, maybe both, by the now defunct Messiah Entertainment Inc. This system was originally released in 2005. Messiah claimed that their clone system was the perfect replacement of the NES and would play everything perfectly. That was met with a lot of hostility from gamers once the truth came out, it was just another clone system. Has the same problems as others. Messiah went bankrupt. Sorry.

IMG_0437

My original interest, which drew me toward this particular system clone, is its ability to play both the NES and the Famicom games. They are both the same system, one was in Japan and the other here in the US. The main difference between the two is the pin-out that was used on the game carts. The NES used 72 pins and the Famicom used 60, making them non-interchangeable. An adapter would have to be used, for example, on the Original NES to play the Japanese games. This comes prepared for both by way of having two game cart slots, one on top for the Famicom games and one in front (like the old NES) for the NES games. You cannot have a game cart in both slots at the same time. You are warned not to. I take it that it could damage the system, which is very understandable.

The controller, that comes with the system, is a nice quality build and feels nice, responsive, handles very well, and comfortable when playing, though, for some, it is not the original. The buttons are arranged very differently. The start and select are located above the A and B buttons, odd. There is also a turbo and slow motion feature built in the area of what should be the “select” and “start” buttons. If this pad is a problem, no fear you can use all of the original NES controllers, light guns, etc. (I use the original OEM NES controller myself.) The system also has a built in wireless feature that accommodates the wireless controllers that were available, for purchase at the time, from the Messiah Entertainment Inc. You can now occasionally find them up on eBay for a “price.”

And how are the games? They are the original Nintendo game carts. Retro Gamers know what I am talking about. People that grew up with an NES know what I am talking about. What more can I say. Messiah Entertainment Inc. did have a list of compatible games on their, now non-existent, web site. Can’t find a list today around the Net. There was a claim of 97.25% compatibility. But I don’t think that has ever been confirmed by Gamers. There was a claim of over 700 NES games that they have tested and found working and playable. All of my games, that I have, play great. I have no problem with any of them. That is, as well as a clone system can play them. I have no issues with it, if you know what I mean. I still have loads of fun. The system has prompted me to look for more games to purchase. At this point flea markets, garage sales, video game store bargain bins, auction sites, become your best friend. (I have seen several stores pop up in my local just in the past few years carrying old NES games, sweet.) Also all my Famicom games play with no problems. I would still advise cleaning all of your games very good before inserting them into the NEX, especially if they have been stored away for a while. I had no problems with getting anything to boot up and run. (Except for Millipede that I purchased this past week. Just needed a good cleaning.) I have read, that some say, the game carts fit tight and are troublesome to remove. The grip is horrible, they say. But I had no problem to that extent, what so ever, even close to that type of experience. My game carts seem to fit like they do in my Daughter’s Original top loading NES. And they still feel pretty snug to this day. It also plays the multi-carts, sometimes 400-n-1, of NES games that you find all over the Net. Good way to get a good collection all in one cart, if you don’t mind not having the original item.

IMG_0438

The Final thoughts: When Messiah Entertainment first announced the Generation NEX, they gave the impression that it was a Heaven sent replacement for the aging NES. They did not, up front, reveal that the system was built around the NOAC. I think they paid dearly for that with all the negative feedback and reviews that flooded the net in those days. If they had been more open, I think there would have been a more positive atmosphere around the NEX. And they might have still been around. You got to be honest with gamers.

It is a high quality clone system. And it is up to the individual, whether or not, they deem that it is worth the price. I would not recommend it because the originals are now cheaper. In its day, you could get cheaper clones for much less, but from what I have seen, honest thorough comparative reviews, the NEX had a better performance with the NOAC when playing NES games, in its day. I got my NEX inexpensive at the time. It has since become somewhat of a collector’s item. You can purchase the original NES that has a new 72 pin replacement for a lot less than the price of the NEX. You are then guaranteed full compatibility with all NES games. But to play Famicom games you will need a converter. Not that expensive, what, $9 USD. For me, I feel that I got what I wanted at that time and it satisfied my need. I like the very convenient size and the ability to play Famicom games without a converter. None of the games that I presently own are incompatible with the NEX. Parts of this review was written nine years ago. I am now 62 years old and still playing on the Generation NEX my NES and Famicom games. But recently I have been wanting to get me a “real” Famicom and NES console. There are a lot of games that I really don’t know how they are supposed to sound, the effects and music. Might be missing something. And there is that deep longing for a clone system which finally gets it right. The old consoles are aging. Not sure how much longer they will last. The point is, those old games are still fun. And see, when it is all said and done, it is all about that old NES gaming.

 

NES Shooter Marathon!!!

(Original Cart, A Generation Nex clone system, on a retro cathode tube TV. The way it was not exactly meant to be. But close enough, maybe?)

IMG_0396GunNac

I had my NES games out yesterday, and today. I know nothing about game programming. (Did a little basic in my Commodore 64 years, but nothing to talk about) So I don’t know what I am talking about except from a gamer viewpoint. I was playing NES shooters. Now I know that the NES is not exactly known for its shooters with the exception of its Gradius and Contra series. But I am mainly addressing the horizontal and vertical type stuff. No run and gun. Mainly more of the, alien, outer space flavored type shooter, which are my favorites.

IMG_0422IMG_0421

I have trouble understanding why the genre can be so diverse in its playability on the NES. Gradius seems to play too fast for me. The Gameboy version is much more playable in my opinion. Parodius, on the other hand, just boggs down and is so sluggish on the NES. It has slow crawling and dragging gameplay. Then there is Summer Carnival – Recca, plays great and is very enjoyable, even insane. And so is Crisis Force, plays great, no problem. I know having a lot of sprites on the screen can bogg the game down, but Gradius and Parodius are basically the same game. And it does seem that the sprite overload is the problem. I know I am playing on a clone NES. Maybe that’s it. I need an actual NES? Not sure that’s it, bad programming, maybe? From Konami? I like the Parodius series!

IMG_0408IMG_0415

And what about Gun Nac which has loads of sprites on screen and is a complete dream to play. Loads of fun to play. And totally madness, at times, like Recca as to what can be thrown at you all at once. Salamander, no trouble, except for the difficulty level. Gun Nac is set at the right difficulty for me. I can shoot my way through without frustration even though I lose space ships in the process and have to start at zero power-ups. It is still just as enjoyable. The same with Crisis Force, which is a Konami game, highly detailed fast action shooter with plenty of on screen sprites. Love this game too, it deserved a US release, but got none. Zanac is another one that had a lot of on screen sprites, good game.

IMG_0418

Can I mention Super Star Force, never made it to the US but it is a fun little shooter with some unique quarks. Again another busy shooter. Star Ship Hector is another good sprite loaded shooter. Star Force, Abadox, and Star Soldier throws a lot at you, good games.

I didn’t pull out everything that I have but I did play all of these today. I guess my main beef is with Parodius. I first started playing it on my SNES and was wanting it to play the same on the NES. Even the Gameboy version of Parodius plays great. It has been a fun fill weekend of an NES shooter marathon.

IMG_0420

Reproduction Games: A Retro Gamer’s Musing?

(All photos included in this article are reproduction games.)

As a retro gamer, I like having a hard copy of my games. To me, it is just part of the experience of hunting down a copy of (place name of game here), purchasing, and holding it in my hands. It used to be so simple, but things have changed. The waters are becoming muddled. I have become cautious in my purchases. I am somewhat concerned.

HNI_0094IMG_0298IMG_0297

I first ran across fake games years ago, as I made an attempt to purchase a copy of a GBA game as a gift. I loved Astroboy for the GBA and wanted to give it to someone. As I received it from an ebay auction, I noticed a weight difference and the cart shell felt thinner. Yes it was that big of a difference and it was one of those awkward moments. Opening it up I found a glop in the middle of the PC board. I got scammed?!! I paid very little for it so I kept the game because it fascinated me.

IMG_0296IMG_0299.JPG

Technology has presently advanced so much that it has become easy, and commonplace, to manufacture carts of retro games from the 80’s and 90’s. And they are getting so good at manufacturing the cart that it is getting very difficult to discern authentic from fake. These things are starting to pop up on eBay at an alarming rate. Words used to describe the game in the auction are names like “new parts version,” “reproduction,” or “custom.” I have occasionally seen some that do not acknowledge it as a reproduction, but you can tell by looking at the cart. Or at least you can tell that some carts are not the real thing. It is getting to the point that if you want the real thing, you had better ask the Seller to post a photo of the PC board so that you can see for yourself. So many are starting to look so authentic, labels, plastic shell, that you cannot tell from outward appearance. The PC board have chips, which means a lot has went into designing and manufacturing the game. The only thing you have left to tell? Well, a real Nintendo PC board will have the name Nintendo written on it. So far, the fake Sega Genesis cart have a glop on the PC board. I have not had a chance to purchase a N64 game yet. Even the boxes and manual are being reproduced. Only a matter of time as people purchase, then comes that day in which they will want to resell….? And that is really my point. Most retro gamers want to collect, usually the real thing. If I paid $80 for a rare sought after game, it had better be the real thing. On eBay many of these reproduction games are starting to demand a high price, especially if the game title is a rare collector item. I have difficulty with digesting that and wrapping my head around it. I understand the value of the real thing but not the reproduction. And I have noticed that a lot of Sellers with the real thing are starting to show the PC board in the auctions. Interesting……………. isn’t it?

Chrono1Chrono6.gif

I guess most people, or gamers, may have, either, mixed feelings, or no thought, about a reproduction game. Some out right refuse to even own one. Those gamers oppose the idea. I personally, as a budget gamer, have purchased some reproductions of rare high priced collector item games because I just cannot afford the real thing. The real game cart is just out of my reach financially. But I have purchased the reproduction games knowing what they are. And I have not paid over $20 for one. Anything over that, I find myself in the ballpark of considering the real thing.

gbaFAKE

As a kid, I would go out to the driveway the next day after a Summer rain. I would look down into the puddles of water. It would be crystal clear. You could see everything at the bottom. I would take a stick and begin to poke it in the bottom of the puddles. After continuously doing this, the water would become cloudy and muddy. No longer would the water be clear. Somehow I see all this in the same way when it comes to reproduction games.

top

Super Famicom: Darius Twin!!

(Original Cart, original hardware, on a retro cathode tube TV. The way it was meant to be.)

In this weekend of gaming, my obsession has been “Darius Twin.” I have this for my SNES, but it is relatively inexpensive, so I had to have it for my Super Famicom. You don’t need to know Japanese, menus are in English. It is one of those shmups, shoot’em ups, space shooters, whatever you want to call them, from the past. In those days, they filled the arcades and those early consoles. Love this sort-of stuff, I cut my gaming teeth on them. Shoot everything that moves, high score, repetitive, and all your enemies come in patterns type gaming.

IMG_0256darius2

The enemy ships are mostly shaped like fish or some sea creature in this series of shooters. The graphics are colorful and bright. Parallax scrolling going on in the backgrounds gives the stages that “depth” feeling. Each stage basically has their own particular bunch of enemies with some reappearing from earlier stages. Everything has their own patterns, and direction of entry, in which you can memorize and learn to avoid, hopefully, get those reflexes involved. That is, I guess, a part of the fun, challenge, and typical of this genre.

darius3darius5

The gameplay is simple, dodge, power up, dodge, shoot everything you see, dodge, and it moves at a good pace, not too slow, not too fast. Curious that it doesn’t have a hard mode of play, only easy and normal. And looking at what I would normally call a world map, there are twelve stages where you only go through seven because you get four choices between stages. Only subtle differences between the top and bottom stages, maybe a difference in difficulty? Sort-of a choose your own route. I like the fact that if you lose your ship, you return to the same spot and keep all your power-ups. And you power up your ship to be a powerhouse able to blast everything. But your not invulnerable to all the flying bullets, gun fire, even though you do have shields, which does help to a certain extent. I find this game so enjoyable.

darius7darius6

What “wows” me about this game is that it was an early game for the system and it had no slow down which was characteristic of several other early shooters. It also has two player gaming! And there was a later Darius entry, Super Nova, which, I think, Darius Twin is the better game. Just this gamer’s opinion. Hey, I can only get to the next-to-the-last-stage at the moment, but having a great time doing it. Big thumbs up here for a fantastic shooter. Highly recommended if you are into this sort of stuff.

darius4

Saturday Morning Super Famicom Marathon!

(Original Cart, original hardware, on a retro cathode tube TV. The way it was meant to be.)

What other way to start a Saturday than to dive into a pile of games? Just going to give here a short burst of thought on each game as I play, I’ll stop, and give impressions.

img_0200img_0199

img_0202

Super Valis IV seems to be an adventure platformy, exploration, slasher treat. Enemies seem sparse at times, but that is why I included exploration. You run around exploring the level hunting for these gray blocks that I am thinking are some sort of power ups which adds to your attacks and, or, abilities. You use the “B” to jump, “y” to shoot, or slash, and the “X” for items. And you run across these enemies, more frequently in some areas. The easy level gives you a longer life bar. And that is only “one” life with some continues. You also get the item area prefilled. Normal level is more challenging with more aggressive enemies and so forth. And there are bosses at the end of each level. Only wished I could double jump because there are some places that I have not figured how to reach. Jumps are precise with the items hidden in unexpected places. The game grows on you as you play. No knowledge of Japanese needed to play this game. Everything I see is in English except for the stills in between that give a sense of a story. Can be found relatively inexpensive. Good Game!!!

img_0217img_0212

img_0216

GRADIUS III is my game. This was the first game that I purchased with my SNES back during the 16-bit era. Hours upon hours spent on this game. It was the relaxer for me after a hard days work. Still holds its own even after all these years, at least it does to me. Just had to have this for my Super Famicom too. This is the shooter (also called shoot’em up, or shmup) to have and the occasional slow down does not bother me. This is one of those shooters that I arm my ship to the teeth and if I get half way through the game then suddenly lose my ship, I turn it off or reset. I don’t want to start at the bottom piloting a puny little ship with nothing. Very English friendly. Can be found relatively inexpensive. Fantastic Game!!!!! Though I am bias toward this genre.

img_0218img_0219

img_0220

The COMBATRIBES is an arcade 2D side scrolling beat’em up with a mixture of Double Dragon and Final Fight. Got to clean up all that crime in the streets, no one else seems to care, right? This is pure repetitive beat’em up madness. If you like that sort of thing then this is total heaven for you. I love it. I find it humorous and fun. LOL, that first boss who comes out with what looks like a 2x12x10 ft (3 meters) board and starts to beat the tar out of me, whut? Only a life bar? I have to depend upon continues? Whelp guess who got beat to a pulp? I know there are those gamers that just can’t handle mindless stuff like this, but hey, this is arcade fun and it is what made the arcades the “arcade” back then. Then there are those “clowns” in the next stage……………. Only the story part is in Japanese, and it is very English friendly in gameplay, believe me. This can be found moderately expensive, but if you like this sort of thing, I’ll say that it is worth it. Great Game!!!!

img_0222img_0224

Puyo Puyo 2 is one of those type of puzzle games I find intense and at the same time relaxing. The idea is loosely based on tetris in its concept, yet different enough to offer you a fresh experience. Love this sort of arcade gaming and find it does stimulate your thinking in a fun and enjoyable way. I found it easy to stumble my way through the menus, everything is in Japanese. And I was playing in no time. The gameplay, itself, is simple and English friendly. Can be found relatively very inexpensive. Great Game!!!

img_0229img_0235

img_0238

Super Ghouls n Ghosts (Chōmakaimura) considered a side scrolling platformer, with a bit of shooter element. A little guy in armor can so easily end up in his undies. The armor only protects you for one hit and then you are running for your life in your undies trying to find that power-up that will put you back in your armor. This game is one of those type games in which it seems difficult yet addicting at the same time. Very fun to play and intense. The gameplay makes you feel it was your fault that you just got turned into a pile of bones. I didn’t do that. Did I do that? If I can just, one more time, WAIT A MINUTE, that blasted ghost!! The game is well worth a purchase. Very English friendly. This can be found moderately expensive, but like I said, worth every penny. Fantastic Game!!!!

Hmmm.. this ends this marathon of gaming for today. I shall have more of these. I usually just purchase the cart by itself, but there are a few games here that I will, sooner or later, want the box and manual. And I like the Japanese artwork, so much more colorful and a lot of times with that manga or anime touch. And I hope this has been helpful for anyone looking to purchase a Super Famicom. Most often there are a lot of games in which you will find that the Japanese counterpart is less expensive than the US release on the SNES. And still accessible to anyone that only speaks English.

bottom

Celebrating Today!!

My 62 trips around the sun riding on a planet moving 67,000 miles per hour. And my hair is not even messed up. Though I have lost a few on recent trips.
Hmmm…..sixty-two years old? It is at this age, that I feel, I have reached a milestone in my life. The mark of success is that I have survived life. The option becomes available to “exit stage right.” But I have decided to continue working until sixty-six rolls around. It is something to ponder in that, this part of my life will change at some point. Just having to reorientate your mind is unsettling. Usually a person define themselves in their work. It becomes a part of who you are. Let’s face it, you spend and give your whole life to whatever provided your income. The question you must now answer for yourself is, “What do you do when you start to fade?” Preparing to retire is that transitioning period that you must begin to attach yourself to another norm which in most cases is the unknown. That motivated focus and drive must find new meaning and purpose. The daily grind and drive will turn to a slower relaxed atmosphere. No more rat race, obstacles, trains, snow, disorientated drivers in front of me. It will put a smile on my face as I think about the younger generation out digging in the snow at 4:30AM, that struggle against time, agonizing. It will be like an inside joke. Maybe that is what they meant about this being the “golden years.”
The question in my mind, is, will I wait that long, I will be open to listen to my body, judging if I need to consider something before then. Believe me, the older you get the more you realize that these are not the “golden years” that they keep harping about. It is all a sham, hoax, propaganda, or brainwashing. You can’t eat what you want anymore. And you have to deal with that “second childhood syndrome.” You can’t run anymore either. Remember the wobbles you dealt with when trying to walk as a toddler, well they’re back. And you feel like you are back to walking like a toddler. There might be that one day I wake up and tell myself, I just can’t drag this carcass into work anymore. (Just looked on line and the definition of carcass is, “the remains of a cooked bird.”)
But knowing I can opt out at any time gives a sort-of relaxed restful feeling, and a sense of accomplishment. At the same time it offers new challenges in life, like, how to stay active when you don’t feel like it. Keeping my mind engaged, my intellect, my reasoning intact. Which would need to be more than just TV. Television only turns your brain into mush (mush means; a soft, wet, pulpy mass). TV just doesn’t offer any solid activity to motivate thought. There is no complexity, only simple unreal fantasies. Everything is like teletubbies, politically correct liberal dead intellectualism. Good books will become more of a focus, the only way to shake your brain. And I do not wish to forget video games. More “puzzle orientated” are nice and those that make you think. Which means, I will totally be doing retro gaming. Modern gaming consoles take all of the challenges out, giving you “hand holding” all the way through, requiring “no skills” from the player. Seemingly you always win, what’s the fun in that? Which also brings up the thought that jigsaw puzzles will take on a whole new meaning. The challenge will be trying to piece one together with cats around. I can physically stay active around the yard. There is so much there to occupy my time. And there is always some dancing exercise game using the Nintendo Wii. Of course there is that time spent with my Family which will be rich. But behind all this is the foundation of my life, serving Jesus Christ, my King and Saviour. The journey on that road never ends. That is the only “golden” I see in these years.
Allonsy

A Look Back at the Gameboy Pocket

There was an outcry from gamers everywhere and Nintendo listened, sort-of, well maybe not. The cry for color and backlighting seem to fall on deaf ears. Out came the successor to the Original Game Boy, the Game Boy Pocket. The internal hardware was slimmed, trimmed and shrunk to make an even smaller Game Boy. Remember this is still the same old “Original Game Boy” technology. Prehistoric technology that still sold like crazy. There was only some minor changes, like the screen and size of the overall system. You could say that this was only life support of the Original Game Boy resulting in an extra two years. Nine years was pretty good for an aging gaming system back then. Hey, I ran out and got one and so did a lot of other people.

The Pocket’s compact size feels better in my hands. The change was good. The old games seemed new in the nice new clear screen size. And the introductory price was smaller, easier on the pocket, $59 USD. During those years my daughter and I linked to play Pokemon with the Pocket. A lot of fun on this one. Sneaky Snakes is another good game for linking.

gbppack

Screen: The “Pea Green” transparent overlay is gone. Instead of the 2.5” screen that was on the “Original Game Boy” we now have a larger 2.6.” Woo Woo! Even though the size different doesn’t seem that much, it is very noticeable. The new LCD offers a much clearer screen experience which is a lot easier on the eyes. The 4 shades of gray give better contrast, but still gives you a blurring with any fast action. The analog contrast control has moved to the right side. Shame there is no backlight.

Controls: The buttons are the same as on the “Original Game Boy” only smaller. The analog volume control is now on the left side along with the link port. The link port has been redesigned and sports a smaller size. In order to link with the “Original Game Boy” you would need an adapter, or a new cord to enable both to be linked for any two player games. The power switch no longer locks in your game cart when switched in the on position. The headphone jack still remains at the bottom.

Power: For some reason smaller size means smaller and less batteries. The unit uses 2 AAA batteries giving you a 10 to 14 hour play time. And power consumption always depends on the game being played. The AC adapter jack has moved to the bottom of the unit. The battery light has been renamed as “power.” Light now diminishes as the battery power diminishes.

gbpsize

Games: Being that this is the same internals as the “Original Game Boy,” all of the previous releases of Game Boy games are fully compatible, instant game library. I think that it was about this time that the Pokemon craze started. Yeah, I got caught up in it too. (Something that helped sell these units.)

Pros:

The LCD is clearer, bigger, and easier to see.

Large deep game library, same as Original GB

Cons:

Still blurring on screen graphics, maybe worse, or more noticeable

Need an adapter to link up with the Original

Diminished playing time

No backlight

Final Thoughts: At some point they started a “Shout” line of the Original Gameboy which offered color units to replace the drab grey. But with the Gameboy Pocket a change of marketing began. The Gameboy Pocket was released at the start with a limited amount of colors to choose from, for that outward shell, instead of the standard gray. One feels that it is a bit more personal when you can choose a color that you want or like. I prefer the Pocket over the Original, I think because the redesigned improvements make it just so much better and nicer to hold. If one really wanted to go back and smell the roses, I would recommend the Pocket over the Original. It still makes a good little system to carry with you for that Tetris urge. Just make sure you are in a “well lit situation.” Presently, I occasionally still pull out one of my Pockets just to play some of the the Original Gameboy games. A big thumbs up to something good made better.

gbpcamera