Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Gamers New Years Resolutions 2016 Edition

Two years ago I published my New Years resolutions for the upcoming year of 2014. By New Years Eve 2014 I found that I was able to accomplish roughly half of what I set out to do, which you have to admit isn't too bad especially when you factor in family and work obligations. 

2015, despite not having New Years resolutions to guide it, has been a pretty good year for me as both a gamer and collector despite the last 6 months of my year being fairly tamaltious. I've been able to add such systems to my collection as the XBox One, 3DS, Apple IIe, iMac, Coleco Gemini, Atari Jaguar, and others including my personal favorite the Vectrex. Not to mention all the games I've been able to add including a number of classics, and very nearly finishing off my Atari 7800 collection. 

Throughout the last three or four months of 2015 I've been thinking about what goals I would like to accomplish as a gamer and collector in 2016, and it's a list that keeps growing. So here we go;

As a collector:

Time to Get Super

100 SNES Titles by the end of 2016

I've had my SNES for about two years now, but I've only collected about 25 titles for it. Of course there are some undisputed classics in that 25, as well as a few personal favorites drawn from memory.

One major argument occurring amongst classic gamers right now is that it takes owning about 100 SNES titles to really experience the system as a whole, and there are many lists out there to back it up. Of course it's easy to counter this argument by saying that quantity isn't nearly as important as quality, or even just having games you personally find fun. I do agree it's more important to have games you find fun, rather then by number or someone else's definition of fun or a "classic". If there is one thing NES, collecting has taught me in the last year it's that sometimes there are diamonds in the rough, and hopefully I can find some of those as part of my 100.

Seriously NES

200 NES titles by the end of 2016

As of 12:01 AM on January 1, 2016 I was only 5 or 6 titles away from this resolution. 

If there is one thing 2015 has taught me though, it's that the NES is a system of surprises. Over the summer I added a lot of titles that are considered obscure, yet I've found a bulk of these games to be unique, and highly entertaining offerings. My goal will be to find a few more of these titles, as well as finish off my Tengen collection (that means you Tetris), and my black box games. 

Atari at 300

Have 300 Atari 2600 titles by the end of 2016

You know when you make those resolutions you realize are a long shot at best? Well this is one of those times, since pushing past the 200 mark wasn't exactly easy. In the past I've collected by publisher, but I have also used The Atari 2600 Game by Game Podcast, as a benchmark for collecting by trying to buy games that coordinate which each show. So I have some direction, the question is do I have the pocketbook for it.

Dream Adds

Systems I would like to add in 2016

-Sega Game Gear
-Atari Lynx
-Sega Saturn
-NeoGeo AES
-Xbox (Original)
-Arcade Cabinets??

Games I would like to add

-Super Metroid 
-Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Fallen
-Double Dragon Advance
-Tank Commander 

As a Gamer:

Much like The Retro Leagues Rob Anderson I too have a "List of Shame" i.e. a list of games I have started but never finished. In 2015 I started a number of games I haven't been able to finish for a myriad of reasons, so here is my list of games I hope to finish this year:

My List of Shame 
-Watch Dogs 
-Mass Effect 3
-Shenmue (started in 2014)
-Fallout 4
-Super Mario Bros 3 (started in 1990)
-Halo 5
-Halo: ODST
-Halo: Wars (2013 start)
-Hotel Dusk: Room 215

Honorable Mentions (started games, but not as far along)
-Fallout 3
-Halo 2
-Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (WiiU)
-Legend of Zelda: Majoras Mask 3D
-Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
-Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

2016 Goals (Have and want to play)
-Star Trek: Legacy
-Ace Attorney: Apollo Justice
-Dash Galaxy 
-A Boy and His Blob
-Mass Effect 
-Mass Effect 2

The Return of 8-bit Fridays

Yes, 8-bit Friday's I'll talk about this in a future posting 

As A Collector and Gamer:

Attend a Gaming Convention

I've been attempting to get to Midwest Gaming Classics for a few years now, but it always managed to fall the same weekend as my oldest sons Pinewood Derby Finals. Luckily, for he and I the Cub Scout days are over, and unless he has a Boy Scout campout we will be there. 

Finish My Gameroom 

It wasn't that long ago I published the article Saying Goodbye To My OldGame Room  ( in which I mentioned my move in late June early July and how my former game room is a memory. Currently the closest thing I have to a game room is what I have set up in our unfinished basement. My goal for 2016 is to slowly but surely convert that space into a dream game room.

Support my Local Gamestore

My local classic gaming store TNT Games, has had to close a few of their stores over the past year. Luckily, my local store isn't one of them, but it still leaves me worried. 

Changing this Blog

I have a lot of ideas for blogs posting in 2016, including a few series I'm excited about. There is some bigger news though, in that I'm getting ready to move off Blogger, and on to my own website hopefully within the next month or two. I'll make sure I keep you all posted.

So this is where I am for 2016. It will be interesting to see what I can and can't finish. So what are your gaming resolutions for 2016?

Friday, November 20, 2015


The box says Bowling Videocart 21. It's a simple elegantly designed black box dominated by  Bowling pins and a red Bowlingball rolling at them. The box itself is in good shape but still a bit worn, after all it's 37 years old. The sticker on the front says $19.95, it looks to be from a Toys R' Us, or perhaps a Child's World but it's hard to tell and could be from one of a few thousand other places these games where sold. The center of the sticker has a pen written "A" with a circle around it, which if my memory's of old toy stores serves me correct meant the item was on clearance at some point. As for the $19.95, that would have been a substantial sum in 1978 roughly equivalent to the $59 I just paid for Halo 5, of course whoever bought this game back then didn't pay $19.95 for it (if it was on clearance that is) and I didn't even pay that much for it either in 2015 CIB and all.

Of course as interesting or as uninteresting as you may consider my Sherlock Holmes appraisal of this box there is something I find even more interesting, the boxes size. Thats right its size? The box itself measures 5 1/2" inches long, 4 1/8" wide, and 7/8" deep. OK, that may not sound impressive but consider this, the yellow Channel-F cart inside is 5 7/16" inches long, 4" wide and 3/4" deep, meaning the cart just barely fits in the box, leaving only enough room for the manual. To go with a box this size was an interesting decision on the part of Fairchild for a few reasons, first for how tightly the cart fits in the box leaving little protection from theft or damage. Secondly is the fact that when this game was released at the end of 1978 into 1979 Atari was already an established competitor of Fairchilds, yet their smaller carts measuring 3 3/4" x 3" x 3/4" where given larger boxes measuring 7 1/2" x 5 1/2 x 7/8", adorned in bright colors, and with exciting and action packed original artwork. Of course any potential answers that can be derived here come from examining the Channel-F itself and its often overlooked and even forgotten history.

It may be up for debate but I think most of us who have a working knowledge of video game history consider the Fairchild Channel-F to be a pioneering piece of technology for two very distinctive reasons. One being that the Channel-F was the first system to ever offer fully interchangeable video game cartridges, and second and most importantly it was the first console to ever feature an on-board microprocessor. These two distinct elements made it the first generation 2 video game console, and an all around game changer (no pun intended) for the future of video game consoles. Or to put it another way what it ushered in has historical implications that can still be felt today even in systems like the Xbox One, WiiU, and PS4, all of which still feature interchangeable games and onboard microprocessors.

To fully understand the impact of the Fairchild Channel-F though, I first need to take you back to 1976. In 1976 there where three different ways you could experience video games; the arcade, on a home computer or through a home video game console.

First of all lets start with the arcade. The best way I can explain the meaning of the arcade in pop culture all the way up until the early 90's, is that the arcade is much like how movie theaters are now (or always have been). Suppose you go to the movies this evening, you buy your ticket, your soda, and your popcorn, than you sit down in your seat for an hour and a half to two (or more) and watch on. What you will experience in your trip to the theater this evening is seeing the latest movies, in the setting they where optimally made to be shown in. When it came to video games in 1976 the arcade machine was the equivalent to a movie theater now, the video arcades had the newest games in cabinets that where designed to hold the optimal hardware and play mechanisms, so that the player could experience the game as is was designed. Even to this day there is still nothing like playing an actual video arcade game in its original cabinet. There are of course caveats to arcade machines though, like the fact that you have to go to an arcade to play these games, or that you have to have a bushel of quarters to really experience a game through its completion, and not to mention that a favorite game could be switched out at an arcade at any time.

Then there is the home computer. Yes, there was a wide variety of home computers at the time but they where still rather primitive compared to what was on the horizon only a few short years later. There was however a variety of games available for these systems, but most of these games had to be typed into the computer from code, and the end result was often nothing more than an text adventure. All be it that may not sound like any fun at all, most computer enthusiasts of the time will swear by the joy of such activities and of playing text adventures. Of course as one final caveat to home computing was the cost of these units,  many of these systems some no more then un-built kits, had price tags of $600 or more, and that was in 1976 money too.

Lastly, there where home video game consoles of 1976. To put it lightly these systems where all basically Pong  and Pong clone type systems, all be it they where made by a variety of companies including Atari and Nintendo. The only real standout was Magnavox's Odyssey, which some argue had interchangeable games before the Channel-F. In actuality the Odyssey's game carts didn't actually have video games on them but where, believe it you not, hardware extensions that modified the internally programmed game on the system itself. Ingenious yes, but the carts had no software on them at all. With that said to have a home console of any type at that time no doubt made you the talk of the neighborhood, but these consoles where are far cry from their arcade big brothers. In many ways you can modify the old adage about the color of Model-T's to the generation 1 consoles of 1976 by saying "you can play any game you want as long as its Pong".

Before the manufacturing and release of the Channel-F, Fairchild Semiconductor was well established in the microelectronics industry. Their products where sold far and wide to a myriad of manufactures for a number of uses in everything from industrial and corporate computer systems, to the arcade cabinets and the home computers mentioned above.  So when electronics engineer Jerry Lawson was approached about the concept of designing a video game console for the company, he knew the company had what it took in resources and experience to enter into the bold task.

If you would like to learn more about Jerry Lawson the father of console gaming as we know it, be sure to check out the Channel-F Files podcast, and there recorded interview with Lawson on the designing and building of the Channel-F.

Essentially, the system was designed to show off Fairchild's F8 microprocessor, which for its time was exceptionally powerful and cutting edge. As time wore on though it became apparent that the entire systems was to be cutting edge, including its controllers, arcade like games (not Pong), and interchangeable games. The concept of interchangeable cartridge based programs though wasn't something Fairchild came up with on its own, since interchangeable cartridge type memory was being used since the early 70's for commercial applications. However, these commercial memory carts had never been used for the storing, and quick accessing of a software program, game or otherwise, before let alone unleashed on the consumer market. 

One of the true miracles of the Channel-F, is that the systems was on the market by Christmas time 1976, despite having only been a pipe-dream at the beginning of 1975. This means that Lawson and his team develop and designed a motherboard, cartridge system, and software for a system unlike anything seen before, plus Lawson's personal crowning achievement the Channel-F's controllers, and had it on the market less then a year and a half later. Of course such a modern marvel of cutting edge technology and R&D came with a costly price tag as well, about $170. In todays money that may not sound like much but it was +/- $750, in 1977 money when we factor in inflation, meaning the system sold for about as much as a buying an Xbox One and PS4 at together nowadays. Of course considering there was nothing else even remotely like it on the market, the Channel-F was a commercial success for Christmas of 1976, especially as consumers realized they where entering a new world of home video gaming.

With that said though Fairchild's foray into the consumer video game market with the Channel-F was to be short lived success. Less then a year later Atari would release its Atari VCS (later known as the Atari 2600). Despite coming to the party a year late, and with its console costing $30 than that of the Channel-F, Atari came in with an immediate market advantage. Atari after all was a huge player in the arcade market, and that gave them enough street cred to get consumers attention, especially when they where releasing games on the system that many consumers played and loved in the arcade. After this the Channel-F would manage to hang on for a few more years, even getting a redesign with the Channel-F System II, but the redesign would also signal Fairchild selling its interest in the Channel-F to Zircon International in 1979 where the Channel-F's story eventually came to a unceremonious and forgotten end. 

The rest to sound clichĂ© "is history", as Atari would dominate second generation gaming and go on to be known as an icon of console gaming and late 70's and early 80's pop culture. The Channel-F on the other hand faded quickly into obscurity with little if anything known about the important role the system played in the world of gaming we knew and still currently know. Luckily, for the Channel-F and those of us eager to learn more about gaming history, the retro gaming movement of the past 5 to 10 years has bought many forgotten systems like the Channel-F back into gamers consciousness, and the story of the Channel-F and its legacy to everything we know as gamers has become a bit more well stated. The Channel-F like many system of a pre-Atari 2600 era still sits on the tendering balance of being forgotten to time, especially when many younger gamers believe gaming started at the Atari 2600.

So as I sit here starring at the box for Bowling Videocart -21, I realize this box has a story to tell that lies beyond its own personal history, and into the history of all of home gaming.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Saying Goodbye to my Old Game Room

Having a gameroom of any kind isn't easy when you have a family, but sometimes you do luck out. In my case it was the a-typical basement that became my mancave or as I preferred to call it my gameroom. When I first moved into my last house the finished portion of the basement was where the spare pieces of furniture and other decor quickly collected. As the first few months passed and the main areas of the house began to become de-cluttered of moving boxes, I finally had the first opportunities to begin transforming the basement into an area for my games.

Sadly, time became a premium and what should have been a simple weekend project failed to get done. Then one fateful day when I went to work sick, had an equally bad day at work, I came home to find that my wife and oldest son had taken the day to work on the basement for me including putting up decor. All I can say is that it changed a bad day to a very good one quickly, and I must have just sat down there looking around at everything they did for an hour after they first showed me their accomplishments.

This was the turning point that would finally allow me to hook up many of the systems I owned at that time, and to begin unpacking, playing through, and cataloging what games I had. Two months later I would finally get my Atari 2600 Jr, the model of 2600 I had the most memories of as a boy, than later I would follow that up with a Sega Genesis, and eventually many other systems and games. My TV would eventually get changed out as well from a 19" Polaroid TV, to a much more substantial 42" Panasonic Plasma bought down to my gameroom after it was replaced by a larger TV in the family room.

As 2015 arrived and the lease on our house was ending we decided it was time to buy our next house, and by late January the house hunting began. Luckily for us some pre-hunting in the fall put us through the ringers and helped us narrow our hunt considerably. Our final choice in houses lead us to a place that worked well for my family, but on the gameroom side not so much.

The bad news is that the basement of our new house is unfinished, the good news is that the basement on the new house is unfinished, but it's also a huge English type with large windows. Can anyone say "barcade"? In all honesty though I know my work is cut out for me but in the meantime, who says we can't have fun? My eldest son and I hooked the PS2, and surround sound up down there over Columbus Day weekend and it sounded like an arcade.

But, to my old gameroom I would like to say, Thank You! This room gave me the ability to add systems as I wanted, and always gave me a place to play the new games I bought. Memories of lost evenings down there and the many games played will linger with me for a long time. 


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Happy 30 NES

Looks like this has historically been a busy time of year for Nintendo. A few weeks ago we celebrated 25 years of the Gameboy, and today we are celebrating 30 years of the NES in North America. Once again I wish I could have written something more in depth for today, but I'm a bit caught off guard. 

For me the NES came into my life later in its life in the Christmas of 1989. My system (which I still own and operate) came with the Power Pad, light gun, and triple game cart including Super Mario Bros, Duck Hunt, and World Class Track Meet. I also believe I was given Super Mario Bros 3 that Christmas as well.

My NES and its descendants the SNES to the left and below it the WiiU. My collection also has an N64, GameCube, and Wii on standby. 

My NES may not have initially been a huge go to system for me, but it did inspire me back then as well as much later. My NES would be a huge influence on my getting my Gameboy back in 1990 when I was so impressed by my NES, I decided I needed it's new mobile companion. Then in 2011 my NES would inspire me to get into retro gaming after I found it and hooked it up to my TV after years in storage. 

The simple collection of 14 games I had when I put my NES away so many years ago has now increased to a 175, and having it has encouraged me to explore many of its contemporaries, and those systems before and beyond. 

As I said I wish I could write more and I have in the past and no doubt will in the future. For now though Happy 30, my iconic, tempormental, beautiful white and grey box. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Defining 8-bit: Part 2 - Memories and Experiences

In the last part of this series I talked about 8-bit's legacy, how its sometimes misinterpreted, and its evolution between the Atari 2600 and the NES. Of course the 8-bit era would extend back before the Atari 2600, and after the NES and its fellow generation 3 counterparts, so if I have forgotten systems like the Fairchild Channel-F and the Nintendo Gameboy you will have to forgive me since both of these systems and others are as instrumental to 8-bit as the systems I did list.

With that said, it's often too easy to find some mindsets trapped into interpreting 8-bit based on technical specifications. True 8-bit is usually defined by the central microprocessor a console uses, but in my case what we are talking about here are personal definitions of 8-bit. Or to put it another way those feelings that seem to hit you when you see an 8-bit image from your favorite system, and the way you perceive 8-bit from those feelings. To be honest defining 8-bit in this way almost seems a far more honest way of interpreting it than through technical specifications.

Defining 8-bit this way is something that I found to be personally daunting since my personal definition alone would fail to paint the full picture of the 8-bit experience as I would wish to pass on to others. I order to really paint this full picture, I decided to find those who know a lot more than me about this topic, and who like me choose to openly share their love for retro video gaming either in the form of blogs, through podcasts, YouTube shows, or a mixture of these forms of media.

If you follow my blog then you will know that in the past I've written blog posts reviewing and introducing you to some of my favorite podcasts. Since that time many of those podcasts have inspired others to make their own podcasts,  expanding my favorites list enormously. Over the past few weeks it has been my pleasure to be in contact with the hosts of many of these podcasts, and to have them help me paint a more full picture of 8-bit through their own memories, and/or interpretations. What you are going to be reading next are what the hosts of these programs shared with me when answering the question: What is your definition of 8-bit?

The Retro Rewind Podcast

My first response is from Francisco Ruiz and Paul J Powers at the Retro Rewind Podcast, which is an amazing podcast that covers video games and movies. These guys are really fun to listen to, and to goof around with on their Facebook page, and I'm glad to have been able to make friends with them since first listening to their show on F-Zero for the SNES.

Francisco's answer:

"8-bit is waking up at 6AM as a six year old so that you can be the first to play Super Mario Bros. It represents a time when games were mostly too hard but some how were still funner then a lot of games nowadays - though maybe its just the nostalgia talking"

Paul's answer:

"For me, 8-bit gaming are those games played on 8-bit systems or emulators, such as the NES and Sega Master System. All others would not be considered 8-bit. For example: Atari 2600 or 5200, SNES, or Sega Genesis".

Thank You, Francisco and Paul!

Be sure to catch the Retro Rewind Podcast on iTunes, or on Stitcher! These guys will make you laugh well indulging in a little nostalgia. You can also find them on Facebook at Retro Rewind Podcast, or at Be sure to check out my review for them at to learn a little more about them and their phenomenal podcast, which has actually gotten even better since I last wrote this article.

The Retro League 

My next response is from Hugues Johnson at The Retro League. If there is one spot in all of podcasting or even the internet that you could call retro gaming's hub it is The Retro League, and the podcasts website and forums. Hugues co-host this podcast with Rob Anderson who is also a regular on The Cartoon Retrocast, and together each and every week they bring us retro gaming news, discuss a gaming topic, provide reviews of old games, let us know about free games or sales, and discuss about a number of other topical subjects.

Hugues answer:

"Interesting question... when I hear "8-bit gaming" I immediately think of console systems from the Atari 2600 to NES. Adventure and Super Mario Bros are the first two games I picture. Oddly 8-bit computers don't immediately come to mind although they certainly qualify.

Some might argue that the Intellivision is "technically" 16-bit but I'll always consider it an 8-bit system, on the flip side some might argue the TurboGrafx-16 is "technically" 8-bit but I never think of it that way."  

Thank You, Hugues!

You can catch The Retro League on iTunes and Stitcher, and you can even watch it on YouTube. As a podcast it will keep you highly informed as to the goings on in the retro gaming world, and also give you a a few good laughs. You can also find them at The Retro League on Facebook, but more importantly at their website and at their forums which is a phenomenal place to meet fellow gamers and discuss gaming topics. you can check out my review for them at, FYI much like the Retro Rewind Podcast, The Retro League has gotten even better since I last wrote this article.

The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast 

The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast is still a fairly new podcast just having kicked off in January of this year, so sadly I have not had the time to write an article about it yet. But, if I had I would tell you that its host Phil, is also host of a YouTube video game review and commentary program called The No Swear Gamer, and Phil also goes under the moniker of  "The No Swear Gamer" in the retro gaming community. The podcast is a descendant of Fergs,  Atari 2600 Game by Game Podcast and covers as you may have guessed Atari 7800 games at the rate of one or two per program. Phils add his own unique twist and sense of humor to these reviews which is needed when dealing with the many odd titles the Atari 7800 had. Phil is also lucky enough to have a full Atari 7800 collection.

Phil's Answer:

"Growing up, I first recall hearing about bits around the time the Sega Genesis arrived in the US. The Sega Genesis was 16 bit so 8 bit was for the earlier consoles like the NES and Master System. For a long time, I figured that since bits had just doubled, then the Atari 2600 must have been 4 bit since it was part of the previous generation. Later I learned that most early systems were also 8-bit, albeit with less power overall. So now, I consider 8-bit gaming, anything on a home system before the Sega Genesis with the NES/SMS/7800 being the high point of 8 bit gaming. Yes, there are new 8-bit style games released today and yes, technically this may not be entirely accurate since the Intellivision can be considered a 16 bit system, but that's my definition and I like it!"

Thank You, Phil!

You can catch The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, and Stitcher, and the No Swear Gamer on YouTube. Be sure to check out both if you can, since they are pretty insightful, and his game reviews are well done and usually dead on, plus both are really fun. Podcasts like this particular one and a few other system-centric ones I will mention are a great resource for those interested in learning about a particular system, and also collecting for it. Be sure to check out Phil's blog at

Master System Masterpieces: The Mega Podcast Plus   

Master System Masterpieces: The Mega Podcast Plus is another fairly new podcast that premiered in late May, and took inspiration from the NES based podcast 2 Dudes and a NES. As the title would indicate the podcast focuses on the sometimes forgotten (at least in North America) Sega Master System an 8-bit contemporary of the NES, and Atari 7800, and Sega's first internationally released console. The hosts George and Eric really engage you in this podcast while providing insight about a particular game, its development, and its game play elements, coupled with an honest review of the game. Overall the show is fun to listen to and an excellent resource for those collecting for the SMS, like me.

George's answer:

"What is my definition of 8-bit gaming, huh? That's an interesting question. For me, I think right away about the NES and Master System. For North America, the Nintendo Entertainment System is the machine that defined video games and helped bring back the video games market. I would say it's the "face" of video games. For the Master System, it was popular in countries from Europe, in Australia, New Zealand, and even Brazil. What is my definition of 8-bit gaming? Well, what about Atari's 8-bit computers? The NES? The Master System? The Atari 7800? People loved them, they were fun. Honestly, any 8-bit machine that gave someone enjoyment, pleasure, satisfaction, nostalgia, etc. That's what defines 8-bit gaming to me, having fun and holding on to memories of an old machine. I personally grew up a tiny bit with an NES, and I still have memories of it to this day. I was a Playstation kid though. Now with the SEGA Master System, I was curious as to why people enjoyed it, why they loved it. I went ahead and took a look at it, I got a console, I started playing. People enjoyed the thing so much, and from many different parts of the world. That's what defines it for me. A simple matter of the world enjoying playing these games, whether together or alone."

Thank You, George!

Much like the other podcast here you can catch Master System Masterpieces: The Mega Podcast Plus on iTunes and Stitcher. This is another podcast I have a lot of fun listening to, and having just bought an SMS towards the begining of this year it was awesome to find a podcast out there to help walk me through this system to get to know its games with those who know and have played the system for a while. I actually wrote about my first experiences with my Master System in January with a follow up article in April, you can find them here: and I found the Master System Masterpieces: The Mega Podcast Plus shortly after publishing these and all I can say is that it was nice to see this system get some love, and also see that it had a pretty good following dispite the fact that it was the era of the NES, or at least it was here North America. Be sure to check Master System Masterpieces: The Mega Podcast Plus out.

A Special Thank You!

I want to thank Francisco, Paul, Hugues, Rob, Phil, George, and Eric for their truely awesome podcasts which have bought me hours of entertainment, and expanded my appreciation for gaming in its entirety. I would also like to thank some some of the other podcasters who are working on their answers as I write this. The question I asked can be a big one for you if you feel strongly about what 8-bit means to you and I'm hoping I can do a part 3 to get those answers in.

So what is 8-bit? 

Francisco, Paul, Hugues, Phil, George, and myself all lived in, and have memories of an era when 8-bit was all there was. To be honest "bits" in games never mattered back then, and much like Phil stated  "Growing up, I first recall hearing about bits around the time the Sega Genesis arrived in the US.", this is an important statement because up until that time all we really know was that our NES's, 7800's, and SMS's, could do a lot more than our Atari 2600's and Colecovisions ever could. 

Of course nowadays you don't hear about "bits" anymore on modern systems, and we really haven't since the N64 and the muddled mess that was the 32/64-bit era. But, by that same token we also live in an era of snarky video game journalist who believe the world of gaming started at the PS2, and look at anything considered "8-bit" to have the quaintness of the Lascaux cave paintings. They often mistake, and far too often consider the games of this era, to be overly simple in design and gameplay. Sure, there weren't hours of cinematic plot line in every cut scene in games of that time, and  of course games where mostly two dimensional, but theses games where anything but simple. To quote Fransico above  "It represents a time when games were mostly too hard but some how were still funner then a lot of games nowadays", this is the thought process of many gamers who have traversed gaming since the 8-bit era. Gaming back then may have seemed simple in appearance, but by know means where the best and most memorable, easy. Games such as the Castlevania series, Metal Gear, Alex Kidd, Midnight Mutants and Metroid for instance all have gained infamy over the years for being notoriously hard to beat, and those are just some of the better known titles.  

The five answers to my question, "What is your definition of 8-bit?" may have been varied but they all seem to have the same soul. 8-bit is seen as a time when the act of gaming itself was simpler, but the games themselves where not. It was an era where you knew your system by name, and not by its technical specifications. It was also a time when we plugged a game into a system and left it there, returning to it after school, and early on weekend mornings till we beat it. We didn't teach ourselves how to play games with lengthy in-game tutorials, and Internet walkthroughs, but rather through a trial and error process resulting in the many senseless and even stupid deaths of our on-screen personas. Lastly, there was just something special about the way 8-bit looked and felt, with its vibrant colors, and its imaginative representations of objects, and characters that stirred us with excitement and a sense of adventure and unlimited possibilities. It was a look that would slowly but surely disappear from gaming as 3D, and realism took over the realm of gaming in future generations.

So the only thing left for me to ask is, what is your definition of 8-bit?



Friday, October 2, 2015

I Emulate You Man, I Really Do: Part 2 - Together Yet Separate

Ok, I know its pretty much been forever since I last visited this series and its a little odd coming back to it after two years. At the same time though I've learned a lot in the last two years and have had the chance to experience emulations in a lot of more ways than I had originally thought I could. In that same respect I have also found out that there area lot of folks out there who want to give emulation a try but have no idea, how or where to start.

Legal Warning

Due to copywrite laws it is technically illegal to emulate a game unless you own a hard-copy of said game (i.e. a cartridge, CD-Rom, Etc..), or have purchased your emulated copy through a reputable provider (ala Steam, GoG, Nintendo Virtual Console or the like) and have license to hold an electronic copy of said game.

This is just one of those FYI things, although its nearly impossible to know who has "illegal" copies, and/or where they got them from. I can suggest however, that buying electronic copies of old games from Steam or GoG isn't a bad way to go, since Steam and GoG provide you with well supported methods of playing these older games.

Understanding Emulation

Essentially there are two different ways of emulating games Hardware Emulation and Software Emulation, and both have their benefits and drawbacks:

Hardware Emulation:

This means that your are using some sort of device to emulate games from another and/or older system. To be honest this is nothing new and has been a fairly good way of emulating in the past, and has been a favorite method of Nintendo's up to the current WiiU and 3DS. For instance look at a little device known as the Super Gameboy from the SNES era. This enlarged SNES cart was actually fitted with Gameboy hardware inside, and using that hardware it played any Gameboy game put into it, and only used the SNES console as a way of projecting screen output, and of receiving user inputs via the SNES's D-pad controllers. Since then systems like the GameCube had hardware add-ons for playing Gameboy, and GBA carts, the later Wii could play GameCube games, and the current WiiU can play Wii games (although some would argue, the WiiU is just the HD version of the Wii). On Nintendo's portable side, the early models of the small screen DS could accept GBA games through a cartridge slot on the bottom, while the 3DS can play DS games (although once again there is little difference in the two systems to begin with).

Outside of the world of Nintendo, hardware emulation has crept up elsewhere. Some in the form of the various Retron systems, up to and including the Retron 5. Other examples come from early gaming like Sega's Power Base Converter which allowed the Sega Genesis (Mega-Drive) to play Master System games, and the Atari 2600 Game Adapter, which allowed the Atari 5200 to play 2600 games. Of course you could also say that the Atari 7800 hardware emulated Atari 2600 games, but once again you are getting into a similar Wii to WiiU, and DS to 3DS debate (oh and PS1 to PS2).

Lastly. and more strangely there is also Sega's 32x which was essentially a reverse emulator allowing the 16-bit Sega Genesis (Mega-Drive) to upwards emulate the supposedly 32-bit games of the 32x. Although the 32x had its own hardware inside the unit relied heavily on its 16-bit mothership to allow playablity.       

Software Emulation:

A video game or any software program is usually stored on some sort of media as a ROM (Read Only Memory). ROM storage devices have been cartridges, CD-ROM's (doy!), floopy disks or whatever method a system might use, meaning every video game from Pong on arcade machines to Halo 5 on XBox One is stored on something in its entirety as a ROM.

Software emulation is basically taking a ROM, and through some sort of software or another opening and playing that ROM. DOSBox for instance is a modern program, that allows you to use DOS based applications on a modern computer such as one running Windows 10. One great example of this in action is the afore mentioned online game store GoG (Good Old Games) which will not only sell you a legal copy of a DOS based games ROM in electronic format, but will also provide you with a DOSBox front end to play that game. Here DOSBox acts as an interface between the ROM, and the modern system, DOSBox manages this by taking what it needs from the system to play that game as it was meant to be experinced, even if that means its essentially dumbing down the newer systems capablity's. GoG, of course is just one of many examples on PC, on consoles we have Nintendo's Virtual Console on Wii, Wii U, and 3DS, XBox Live on Xbox 360 and One, and PSN on PS3 and 4, all three of these services offer older games, with a built in emulator to allow these overpowered Gen 7 and 8 systems to play these games while also  enhancing them in some cases.

But, not every game you want or miss from your past is going to be available on one of these sources. This is where other forms of software emulation come in and there are many of them for all different types of platforms. There are emulators and ROMs online for everything from actual arcade games to something as new as DS and Wii, with stops in between for rarer systems like the NeoGeo, Sega 32x, or Atari Jaguar. The only major issue here though is that the hunt for good emulators and ROM's can lead you to some really skeezy websites, and get you a destructive virus, spyware, or ad based Trojan rather than your favorite game. However have no fear, having been playing with emulators over the past two years I have come up with a good source that I can share with you. If your looking for system emulators or ROM's, you may want to check by a Emuparadise ( Emuparadise is one of the few emulation sites I have found that isn't laden with potential computer disasters. The only downside is that you may have to sit through a 30 second ad to download your ROM or emulator, but hey 30 seconds of toothpaste ad is a fair price to pay for the hours of joy The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords, or whatever your choice is, may bring you.

Emulation Isn't Perfect:

Although it may sound like the best of both worlds being able to play old games on new systems, they do have their drawbacks.

Control Issues:
Both hardware and software emulations have at times been known to have control issues within the games themselves. By this I mean that an emulated program may have a delay between your control methodology, and what happens on the screen. For the most part we are talking no more then half a second or so, but in some games that half second delay may make a game unplayable.

Music and/or Sound Effects:
It's also not uncommon for there to be issues with game music or sound effects with software emulated programs. This may be in part to the ROM or the emulator one is using,  but the complaint is one I have heard before and often. Sometimes the sound effects or music are too loud, or the original music has been swapped out for something else, or the music or sound effects are heavily distorted. No matter what the issue is though these things and a variety of other issues may happen.

Glitches and Bugs:
This is a problem that happens on both hardware and software emulation with the latter being (you guessed it) the more common of the two. We talking about ROM's being uploaded and downloaded with the chance of file degradation along the way, as these programs travel and are used outside there natural environments. This is bound to happen from time to time.

Nasty Stuff:
As previously mentioned hunting for ROM's and emulators online can be tricky, and you may end up with a disaster on your hands.

Emulating an Upside:

Hopefully you have taken something out of this that will serve you well as you journey to relive your favorite games via emulation. Keep in mind that emulation does allow you to play games from different platforms without having to invest in all those original platforms and games. Emulation is inexpensive because you can either buy titles cheaply on sites such as GoG, Steam, or on a virtual console or find them for free. This means you can build a huge library of games that won't cost much or take up any space. Also, some emulators offer save states on games save states never existed on to begin with, which is a nice feature especially if you are an adult with kids.

A Final Suggestion:

Image result for homeworld remastered pic
 Get it here:

One of my current emulated (semi-emulated) loves has to be Homeworld: Remastered available through Steam. Homeworld was a classic RTS on the Windows 95/98/ME platform and has since, do to a lot of loving fans, been remastered for 4k HD. The remastered part is basically a Windows 8/10 program, but you also have the option of playing the original version which is emulated from the Windows 95/98/ME original. You may want to check it out.

Good Luck, and have fun with your old games on emulation!!!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Happy 25 Gameboy

I've started collecting again for my Gameboy's for the first time in at least 15 years. It's fun to be a little older and have a little more money to pick up some of those titles I couldn't get as a kid. 

Of course when my first title Solar Striker arrived by mail a couple weeks back, I felt like a kid all over again. Suddenly, memories came pouring back, of being 12 or 13 and looking at and buying new Gameboy games. I remember being able to put hours into those games and in most cases beating them. 

My time with my Gameboy and its games was at that right time in my life when I began to notice the world around me. Super Mario Land (1&2) where my summertime games, Metroid 2 was a Christmas vacation game played before Christmas. Choplifter 2 was my after Christmas game and winter game, as was The Hunt for Red October. Radar Mission was a Saturday night buy when I was stuck at a store with my parents and a traveling companion thereafter. Most of my games had a place and a connection to something else in my life. I can even remember two games I wanted Top Gun: Guts & Glory, and Turn & Burn being games I wanted to by the summer after I graduated from 8th Grade. 

Once I got into high school my taste changed as I became a PC gamer. But in 2000, while stuck in an endless string of hotels I bought a Gameboy Color and new memories emerged, especially with Paperboy, and SpyHunter. 

With today being the 25th anniversary of the original Gameboy, I wish I had a bigger and more in depth article in place. Frankly, the date snuck up me though and all I can really justly do is just share these memories. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Defining 8-bit: Part 1 - A Journey into Nostalgia and Perception

About a two years ago I was having a conversation with a hardcore Atari 2600 fan regarding a particular game we both liked, that had both an Atari 2600 port and an NES port. In the conversation I had made some comment about how that particular Atari 2600 game was good but looked better in 8-bit alá the NES. As I said that he stopped to correct me (very nicely I might add) saying that although he knew what I meant about 8-bit and the NES, that Atari 2600 games where technically 8-bit too. At first I was taken a bit back by that though, I knew that Atari had programmed many of their games using 8-bit computers like their own Atari 400 and 800, but I never made the direct connection to Atari 2600 games being 8-bit. In my mind when comparing the offerings of the Atari 2600, to the NES it was easy to lose sight of the fact that the 2600 was 8-bit too.

Even though both the Atari 2600 and the NES are 8-bit, it isn't an illusion that what you are seeing looks worlds apart. The fact of the matter is that this has very little to do with the graphical limitations of 8-bit, and more to do with the hardware itself. The NES as well as the other systems of the 3rd generation had hardware that was exponentially more powerful than those of early gen 2 systems like the Atari 2600. In one of my previous articles "A Bit of an Issue"  I talked about the part Moore's Law played in this and how the hardware of 1983's Famicon (the NES forerunner) would have been anywhere between 16 and 64 times more powerful then what would have been on the 1977 Atari 2600. This would mean that the NES was not only an overall more powerful system do to its updated microprocessor and onboard memory, but game carts of the era would have benefited as well by being able to hold significantly larger programs that increased both the quantity and quality of gameplay. Despite all this though game programmers still went about developing games for 8-bit microprocessors and continued to use 8-bit machine language to compile their programs. The end result was two forms of 8-bit that looked and felt nothing alike.

If you dig deeper though, you will see an evolution take place between the 2600 and NES that can show you how changes in hardware development lead us from one to the other in visual terms. The Atari 5200, Intellivision and Colecovision, as well as computers of the era such as the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Atari 800, and early PC all give us hands on examples of how changing hardware and its capabilities evolved 8-bit between 1977 and 1985. Games began to look better, and become more complicated as ever increasing instruction sets played out, and as many developers where able to bring their imaginations to graphical fruition. The 1982 Lucas-Arts game Rescue On Fractalus on Atari 800 and 5200 is a prime example of the evolution of 8-bit gaming between 1977 and 1985. Rescue On Fractalus although now a relatively obscure game, pushed the boundaries of 8-bit gaming with a unique space/flight simulator experience that no other game of the time was offering. The neatly textured 3D terrain, characters, and complexity of play set the game apart from many of its simpler contemporaries of 1982. The game was able to show off the capabilities of the short lived Atari 5200, which up until that point had for the most part had been relegated to playing nothing more then upgraded versions of titles previous available on the Atari 2600. In essence Rescue On Fractalus was a preview of what 8-bit would come to look like on gen 3 8-bit systems.

In this series I hope to get a clear definition of what 8-bit is from gaming podcaster's who experienced it in its many forms when it was the only way to play. My end goal being to show you my reader the many incarnations of 8-bit, while expanding the way you perceive it. 




Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Pardon Me Nintendo, I think you forgot something!!

So I'm downstairs in my game room in front of the TV sitting on the floor and just staring at one of the shelves under the TV with my NES, N64, and Wii in it. My first thought is what strange roommates the three are, then it hits me that the three all have one more thing in common than just being Nintendo consoles, they are also the units released in the odd numbered game generations. The NES gen 3, N64 gen 5, and Wii gen 7. Did I do this on purpose? Well no actually, it's just how it all worked out thanks to that whole top loader/side loader thing which is why Nintendo's gen 4 entrant the SNES, and gen 6 entrant the GameCube site side by side in an adjoining shelf, and the gen 8 entrant the WiiU someplace totally different.

So I sat a little while longer staring at the lineage of these systems, and I thought how it was really  too bad that I didn't have a Nintendo gen 1 or 2 system to bring everything together. Then it hit me that although Nintendo had a gen 1 systems they never made a gen 2 entrant. That's right, there is not a direct lineage between Nintendo's ColorTV in gen 1 to our much beloved WiiU! Or is there?

Nintendo's Famicom is seen as the first of the gen 3 systems, and the somewhat ugly brother of the NES. The Famicom which was largely released in Japan, but saw a few imports to the US, made its debut in an interesting year especially considering what was going on with its "gen 2" contemporary's. 1983 after all was the year the Atari 5200 would stop being produced, the year the Intellivision would be released in Japan, the same year the Colecovision would produce both its highest and lowest sales figures, and also the same year Atari would dispose of excess inventory in an Alamogordo garbage dump. Although market demand in Japan was ripe for a new video game console here in the U.S., 1983 was the infamous year of the "Great Video Game Market Crash".

So it needs to be asked if the Famicom was actually a late gen 2 entrant. Based on the timeline the answer should be, Yes! On the other hand based on what the Famicom was able to do the answer is a resounding, No! Although the Famicom was released in the world of the Atari 2600, 5200, Intellivision, and Colecovision the Famicom even in its earliest stages was already producing next gen graphics. Although the Atari 5200, Intellivision, and Colecovision where able to produce better looking and playing games than the Atari 2600 all  these systems still produced the blocky and simple 8-bit graphics highly indicative of gen 2, especially since all four of these systems released many of the same titles.

The Famicom produced a richer and more in depth 8-bit look that all of us familiar with the NES know. As a matter of fact many of the early Famicom titles became what we know as the "Black Box" titles released with the early NES.  Using the game Mario Brothers a gen 2 staple and one of the "Black Box" releases one can almost do an apples to apples comparison between what gen 2 systems like the Atari 5200 could do with the game, and what the Famicom and later NES could do with it. The contrast is more then noticeable as the gen 3 version gives us a lot more detail, and in some cases deeper game play, or levels not seen outside of the arcade.

So despite being birthed in the waning gen 2 era, its pretty clear that the Famicom was anything but a gen 2 console. So with that said we are back to where we started with fact that Nintendo never produced a gen 2 system. So the lineage from NES to Wii U is the closest we are going to come for the gaming dynasty.   


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Mastering the Unknown – Getting to know the Sega Master System (Part 2)

In part 1 I talked little bit about the Master System, it's history, and what made me consider getting one for myself. At the end I mentioned that I had gotten a Master System, and that I would be talking about my reaction to the system and giving a brief review of it in part 2.

Well here we are in part 2. So let me talk little bit about how and why I got a Sega Master System. As far as how that was pretty easy, between searching my local video game store, and searching eBay I was finally able to come across a system in good condition on eBay. It came with all the necessary wiring, one controller and a few games, and between the price of the system and shipping I was able to pick up a Master System for less then $60. The whole thing arrived surprisingly well packed, and in the exact condition the seller stated. 

A week after it arrived I finally found time to hook the Master System up to a secondary TV in my gameroom I use for this exact purpose. To say the least the system started up and worked flawlessly meaning I had made a good buy. With that said though, let me talk about my actual experience with the system and a few of its games. 

With all most of my systems hooked up to the large flat screen in my entertainment center, I keep a smaller flat screen around to test new or recently repaired systems. This saves me the hustle of fighting with cables behind the big TV. 

Just as the Genesis had impressed me with my first play-through of Sonic, Saga's earlier system had the same effect. The Master System quickly showed me that it was the "Master" of Gen 3, outperforming the NES and Atari 7800 and to say the least leaving me speachless.

What made the difference is that the Master System presented games in a more arcade like manner, with faster gameplay, and more vibrant colors. Comparing Sega's Hang On, to Nintendos similarly themed motorcycle racing game Machrider for instance we see a more highly developed game with Hang On. Machrider is a fun game and all, and one of Nintendo's "black box" classics, but it's slower game play and boxier overall presentation make it look as if it lags behind Hang On by an entire generation. Even an apples to apples comparison of After Burner reveals the same thing, as the Sega version seemed to feel smoother and faster then it's NES brother and far closer the the arcade experience. 

As far as the system itself and feeling impressed by it overall capablities, I have to say it's design is pretty awesome too. The black and red, stealth jet design made the system unique and definitely gives it a more futuristic feel then its Gen 3 counterparts. Of course considering the NES had a pretty unique and memorable design, and the Atari 7800 was an update of the classic Atari look, design and appearance have very little wieght in Gen 3 besides product differentiation.  Much like Atari 7800, and the NES, the Master Systems design also played a major factor in its functionality. For me one of the designs I like the most about the Master System is its controller. Sega unlike Atari made the joypad a standard feature, not just an option or regional feature. With that said though the joypad and console do lead to a dislike of mine. Although the Master Systems joypad has a start button feature, it's fault lies in that it's built into one of its two firing buttons, and unlike the NES serves no functionality as a pause button. This leads to a pet peeve of mine that is also an issue with the Atari 7800, whereby one needs to play within a few feet of the console to get full game and system functionality, in this case pausing the game which can be a real problem if you have to put the game down right away to answer the phone, or get to some household matter quickly. 

Overall though the Master System is a really impressive console, and one I think I will be adding more titles to in the near future. I'll probably also pick up a copy of Derek Slaton's The Sega Master System Encyclopedia, which covers all the games for the Master System in detail. If you haven't heard of it I would encourage you to check out the Gaming Historians: The Sega Master System Encyclopedia Review on YouTube at for a fantastic review of that book. 

As far games go my system came with a copy of Choplifter in case, as well as Space Harrier, Hang On/Safari Hunt, California Games, and Thunderblade all loose. Choplifter looked and played as great as it always does. The highly acclaimed Master System Classics Thunderblade, and Space Harrier definitely lived up to their hype, especially Space Harrier which proved to be as challenging as it is fun. As far as Hang On/Safari Hunt I already spoke about Hang On earlier, Safari Hunt I was unable to play since I neither possess the Sega Master Systems light gun or a CRT TV. As far as California Games it is fun but an  overall mediocre game on all Gen 3 platforms. Of course I did have some additional games I purchased for the Master System before I hooked it up like the afore mentioned After Burner, which I found to be fairly faithful to its arcade origins. 

I have to be honest and say that the NES is by far still my favorite platform of Gen 3, but the Master System is the better of the two systems. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Mastering the Unknown – Getting to know the Sega Master System (Part 1)

If you've read my blog before then you'll know that I'm the proud owner of a Sega Genesis, and that I was outright floored the first time I ever played Sonic the Hedgehog and saw just what the Genesis and its 16-bit graphics could do. Outside of the Genesis though, Sega and its systems have always been somewhat alien to me. I had heard of the Saturn and knew it was a Sega product, and I had heard of the Dreamcast and knew very little about it let alone it was a Sega product. Then there where the terms Master System, and Megadrive that always threw me for a loop since both names conjured up images of PC-console hybrids like that of the early Famicom with is disk drive. As time has passed though I quickly learned that the Megadrive was what the rest of the world outside of North America called the Genesis, the Master System on the other hand would elude me for a little longer though. Then one day I decided to research the unit and an image of it, and suddenly the formally alien system seemed familiar to me as a memory suddenly popped in my head of seeing the sleek black system on display at a Toys R’Us many years ago.

Although it may seem silly now to many other gamers that I didn't know the Master System, you have to put yourself back into the time when the Master System first came out. 

For us here in the United States and North America there was probably no console more iconic than the Nintendo Entertainment System the “NES” for short. Everything about it shouts classic from its gray cartridges with the finger notches, to the toaster way of loading games, to the power and reset buttons, to those beautiful d-pad controllers. The NES and the image of it, speak volumes about the gaming experiences of a generation, and the new found interest in home gaming consoles the system would spark.

Some experts believe the NES won Gen 3 gaming hands down by capturing anywhere from 80-89% of marketshare in North America, with the Atari 7800, and Sega Master System falling to a low selling second and third place respectively. To be honest anybody who lived back then can find those numbers easy to believe, Nintendo was everywhere like TV, Movies, and even cereal boxes. But the reality is that on the world stage the NES may not have been the hands down winner we thought it was.

The Sega Master System was the hands down winner of 3rd generation console gaming in Europe and many other parts of the world, and very conceivably the winner of Gen 3, period. For a kid like myself with a background of Atari and Nintendo, the name Sega wouldn’t come into mind until the great Sega Genesis of the 16-bit era. From there on out the name Sega would be synonymous with Sonic the Hedgehog, and “Doing what Nintendon’t!”. The fact of the matter is though that I and others like me had no concept of the fact that Sega had been competing with Nintendo long before the SNES.

The Master System would hit North American shores in 1986, a full year after the NES. Despite its sleek high tech stealth jet like design, and slightly improved graphics, the year lag had caused the system to be no more than a blip on the radar for many North American gamers. Those who had the system loved it, but the NES was taking hold, and would stir into a frenzy by 1987-88 with Nintendo Mania. So with the door almost closed on them in North America, Sega moved towards releasing the Master System in Europe a year later in 1987, and in Brazil in 1989. The smaller European market was highly receptive, since console systems bringing arcade games into the home where still somewhat foreign since Europe was heavy in to PC gaming at that time with systems like the ZX-Spectrum, and Amiga. Since Nintendo seemed to concentrate more on the far wealthier and larger North American and Japanese market, Europe was ripe and ready for the taking. The Master System caught on like wildfire, cementing Europe as a Sega stronghold for years to come.

In 1989 Sega was able to get the Master System into Brazil, a notoriously tough market to enter due to government restrictions on imported items. To help ease import issues Sega licensed production of the Master System to a Brazilian firm, which although risky would prove to be a highly strategic move on Sega's part and would quickly make the Master System and subsequely the Megadrive Brazil's most readily available and therefore favorite video gaming consoles. This would make the Master System in Brazil what the NES was here in North America garnering huge marketshare for years to follow. The longevity in production and sales of both systems wouldn’t be challenged until Sony would license production of the PS2 in Brazil nearly 2 decades later in 2009.

In today's world long after the era of the NES, Master System, and Atari 7800 all three systems are making a resurgence in popularity amongst collectors and devotees. Although the NES has always been a favorite, a new light is being shined on the 7800 and Master System by those who loved these systems when they where new. So after a great deal about the Master System, I decided it was time to give the Master System a try and add it to my collection. 

In part 2, I will give my reaction to the Master System as I play my newly acquired console. Will I love it? Will I hate it? I guess we'll find out.