The Retron 5 now looks like it's going to be available to buy here in the UK towards the end of the year. It plays NES, Famicom, Genesis, Megadrive, Super Nintendo and Gameboy Advance. Country lockouts are gone, but the machine takes the original controllers (6 controller ports...)
This kind of 'clone' console is going to become more common now the bulk of the patents protecting the hardware of that generation fall away, combined with the hardware manufactures seemingly being fine with the hardware being cloned as long as it still needs the original game carts themselves (no playing stuff off of SD cards here... at least out of the box).
So, I'm thinking that ahead of time I might try and pick up a few of the choice titles for those platforms.
First impressions from a bit of digging:
1) SNES games are the most expensive in general, even unboxed SNES titles command higher prices than a lot of boxed Genesis ones.
2) Every single job lot of unboxed carts will have FIFA and/or Madden in it. Sometimes multiple releases of said titles. EA have been happily milking those franchises for nearly two decades now...
3) Some people are *really* bad at putting together fakes. Case in point: I don't think your 'genuine PAL Final Fantasy V' is quite as legit as you make it out to be... (it's wrong for two reasons, bonus points if you know them)
4) No-one wants Starwing for the EU SNES. Everyone wants Starfox for the US SNES instead. Cause the EU one is crippled by running at 50Hz. If the Retron has the option to 'overclock' the consoles to 60Hz when running PAL games, that could be a bit of bargain.
In terms of obvious stuff I want to try and get cheaply:
NES: Super Mario, Megaman 2, Contra, Ninja Gaiden. Maybe the Zeldas.
Megadrive: Streets of Rage 2 I want, Sonic 2 probably as well. Most of what I'd like for the Megadrive will cost me more than modern PS3 games do (Phantasy Star 4 for example)
SNES: Zelda, Mario, the Final Fantasies (US versions, although the Japanese releases are much cheaper, they're going to be a bit hard to play...), Castlevania...
Some of the NES ones I might find easier to get as Famicom carts, if only for the novelty value.
So, anything I should add to my list perhaps?
Wow, UK politics is in a right old mess isn't it?
On one side we've got the Tories trying to get us to go to war, the Liberals forgetting what liberal means, and a Labour party that seems to want to not represent the unions anymore.
Who exactly is there left to vote for?
I've been writing in this journal for 10 years now.
Man I'm getting old. Hehe.
Very unproductive month it seems, although I did spend a good chunk of August away on holiday.
However, I did finally sort out a website and postal drop box address for the company, so maybe I'll actually get my game released in September. Only 4 months after I probably *should've* got it done and dusted, but still...
I spent far too long agonising over the details of who would host the site etc... rather than just picking one and going for it. I can get into this kind of 'decision paralysis' where I spend so long comparing options that I end up not being able to pick one. I need to develop a little more impulsiveness perhaps.
The game itself is pretty much done (as it has been for a while now) although I did spend a week or so making it 'universal' (that means the same app runs on both iPhone/iPod devices and iPad devices, rather than needing to release a separate 'HD' version), which means I have a larger potential market for it now than I did before.
I do however need to change it's name, as it turns out the name I've been using all through development (Word Tumbler) is already taken on the app store. I really should've checked that far sooner. Still, I think I have a good replacement, but I need to see how it affects the look of my front end before I settle on it.
So, on one of the forums I'm on we've been debating which games are important, and for what reasons.
One chap said that he thinks FF7 is the most important videogame for music because before that all videogame music was lacking in emotion.
Now, rather than just get angry and throw a pile of youtube links out, I've been set a challenge.
10 tracks that show that videogame music has been as intense, emotional and high quality as the FF7 soundtrack, and they must all be from before 1997.
So, Terra's Theme (FF6). And maybe Angel's Fear (Secret of Mana). Something from Chrono Trigger? Almost certainly 'Tal Tal Heights' from Link's Awakening...
I suspect the issue is going to be narrowing it DOWN to 10 rather than finding 10...
Pacific Rim. A western movie maker takes another crack at a homage to classic Japanese Kaiju movies like Godzilla and Mothra.
It's a very dumb but very fun summer blockbuster. It's trope overdosed, but at the same time a really good example of 'tropes are not bad'. It knows what it's referencing, it's not above making them quite obvious too. Unashamedly fan aimed.
Not once will you be blindsided by a plot twist you didn't expect. But you won't care. Sometimes just doing something *well* is more than enough without needing to be massively original.
And it's light years better than the truly awful Hollywood go at Godzilla...
Stephen, think you might enjoy this one. It's 12A but to be honest it's *right* at the lower end of that classification.
Still trying to come up with a name for the company, and it's now getting kind of in the way of getting on with the job of setting up a website etc...
I had one I liked for a while, but it used a word that is spelt differently on opposite sides of the pond which would've meant having to register both variants, and leave me no doubt having to constantly correct people's spelling of it. It was pretty long though, so no major loss.
It's remarkably difficult to come up with names for things though. Especially something as abstract as a company that makes games. There's a lot of silly ones out there, and a lot of ones that sound way too 'indie elitist' for my tastes.
And then when you get something you quite like, you do some quick googling and discover that there's already at least two companies using variants of it, or some Seattle grunge band has called themselves it, or that someone has just randomly squatted the domain for the sake of it...
Game itself is pretty much done now though, might start on the prototype for my next idea tomorrow and hope that working on something else lets my hindbrain find me a good company name.
iTunes random play reminded me that I actually own part of the soundtrack to Madlax. The vocal tracks, they appeared on an album by the band FictionJunction
, which is a group that sings stuff composed by Yuki Kajiura (a little like Yoko Kanno's 'Seatbelts')
You can tell this was scored not long after Noir, it's got a very similar sound to it.
Here's it's intro theme, 'Hitomi no Kakera
'. You'd be forgiven for thinking you were watching an alternate credit sequence for Noir, the character designs are so similar. They don't ACT anywhere near the same though, Madlax and Margaret are very different from Mirielle and Kirika.
' is Madlax's equivalent of Salva Nos. And here it is performed live
... (can you tell the audience knows this one quite well? Hehe)
And just because, here's Salva Nos
done live, mainly cause you get to actually see Yuki Kajiura at the keyboards in this one, and because this is a longer arrangement with the middle bit they never use in the series.
And from the same concert, the final boss music of Xenosaga part 3
, this time FictionJunction are just backing for the might of Eri Itoh
, a Disney princess no less. (She did vocals on the end theme for Panzer Dragoon Orta
as well, which gives you an idea of her range, Jpop idoru she is not.)
I am back to working in an office again. It's not mine, I'm just using a spare desk at a friends studio for a while until he needs it himself.
It's made a real difference to my productivity already. I did more in the three days I was in the office last week than I had in the previous 2 months. The game is much closer to how I want it to be (fixed some of the more irritating usability issues, ditched the very 90's AMOS looking particle work for something more modern, put together a proper about screen to give credit to the various open source things I've used...)
For the game I need to sort out iPhone 5 compatibility (it has a slightly wider aspect ratio), and then do game centre support and then it's done. For the company I still have a fair bit to sort out, not limited to logo design, website creation, domain registration, tax registration...
But being in an office where I can't be distracted by the TV or the XBox appears to have worked wonders.