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tapedeck, February 16, 2010 in General Gaming Discussion
Nice piece by Time Extension about the Sony vs Sega E3. Some of the pranks they pulled were hilarious.
The Complete History of the Super Mario 64 A Button Challenge
Watch it if you got some time to spare and want your brain to explode.
Here's an article from Time Extension about the import scene back in the 80s and 90s. It's a great read and really took me back to those times.
Importing games was too rich for my family's blood but I always loved reading the import articles in gaming magazines. Once I started earning a wage myself I was able to start importing games but that wasn't until the Gamecube era.
God I remember Shekahna growing up! Used to love that store!
Game Focus up Warren Street was always my favourite though!
Man I miss local import shops
The Hyrule Journals - YouTube Channel
Oh nice! Their Majora's Mask localisation documentary was excellent, so I'm looking forward to their upcoming videos
Got myself a small retro handheld. Wanted something small and simple that I could just throw in my bag when I'm out. Things like my Steam Deck are just too big and expensive to carry around. As you can see I'm starting with Xenogears on it. Other than the Final Fantasy games the PS1 JRPG library is quite a big gaming hole for me so I'd like to try some.
I miss actual pocket-sized handhelds... Was nice when you didn't need a backpack and a case just to play a bloody game on the bus or train.
Yeah that's why I got that one. Going down to London for a few days next month with Goafer for WASD and wanted to be able to bring something with me that didn't take up the entire bag.
Tempted to order some of these and a retractable hdmi cable for the hotel room as well.
I'm gonna have to use that Dreamcast Flipping Of The Bird next time
So... I got a new toy around a week ago...
YES! I finally have an Analogue Pocket of my very own... and I also have the Dock to go with it as well!
Now, I know I previously mentioned that I wasn't going to get one because I didn't feel the need for it when it first came out. I already have an IPS modded GBA and plenty of means to play GBA games on my TV (Game Boy Player, GBA Consoliser, MiSTer etc)... But that was all before the announcement and release of Analogue's Open FPGA platform... and to say that it's a total gamechanger is a massive understatement.
First of all, lets talk about the hardware itself. Now, anyone who is remotely familiar with this system is probably already aware of how absurdly good the screen looks... and yes, it really is something special. Games look incredible on this screen, but it's really the GB/GBC/GBA screen filters that impress the most. They use the insane resolution of this display (1600×1440 resolution, at 3.5 inches, that's a ridiculous 615ppi!) to simulate how the original GB/GBC/GBA screens worked and it really does a great job of simulating the intended look & feel of those original systems, without the limitations of the crappy screen technology from back then. I won't go into too much detail, but even without the filter, the games look as good as you could possibly hope for really. I'm not really one for scanline or screen filters myself, but the GB/GBC/GBA screen filters are so good that I would actually consider using them... if they worked with the Open FPGA cores, which they currently don't. Apparantly this is coming in a future firmware update, but for now? All Open FPGA cores offer unfiltered video only. This still looks great, but I'll be keen to try out the filters on these cores when they do eventually enable them.
The buttons feel really nice. All the buttons were manufactured by 8bit-do and they're mostly great. The face buttons are basically the same as on a SNES controller and come with the convex/concave layout as seen on the US SNES controller, which is pretty nice. The L/R buttons are basically the same as on the GBAsp, which means that they're good... if not completely ideal; I have no real complaints with them, as I've always like the GBAsp L/R buttons, but I know some other people find them a bit too small. Given the form factor though? There's no other realistic way they could've incoporated them however. The D-pad is mostly good, it's a SNES-style d-pad with minimal travel and non-microswitched; so it resembles the GB/GBC d-pad more than the GBAsp's microswitched one. It feels nice to use and is generally pretty responsive, however, I feel that it's not the best at picking up diagonal inputs. This is a common issue with 8bitdo D-pads though, so if you've ever used one of their SNES controllers, it feels pretty similar here. You do have to press a bit harder to register diagonals, making it not really ideal for fighting games, but otherwise? It's a solid D-pad and one of the better ones I've used on a handheld. The start & select buttons are ok, but not really ideal as they're a bit small and a bit far away from the main face buttons, and the bottom three buttons all being the same size and shape isn't ideal either. But otherwise, I'm very happy with the ergonomics; it's very comfortable to hold and use; and the system has a nice heft to it that makes the system feel solid and premium, but not heavy in the hand.
The speakers are also very nice and pack a real punch. They're probably on par with the Switch OLED, which is extra impressive considering just how tiny the Pocket is compared to a Switch! (More on that later...). The SD Card is super easy to get to and convinient too, and the link-cable port works exactly as you'd expect it to. Original GBC and GBA link cables work perfectly... but unfortunately the shape of the system prevents you from attaching the GBA-GCN link cable or the GBA wireless adapter without modifying the cables themselves (which I am not willing to do!); while there's also no way to connect a link cable while the the system is docked, since the link cable port is on the bottom of the console. Bit of a shame that Analogue didn't account for either of these things. Likewise, putting the GBC IR port on the bottom of the system is a strange design choice, but it's not exactly a feature that you're likely to be using all that often anyway.
And the battery life is superb as well! Playing at 70% brightness (about on-par with the Switch OLED's brightness) will net you a good 8 hours or so of battery life, which is just incredible for a modern-day device! (This is regardless of which core you're using BTW)
Ok, so onto the Open FPGA cores now and oh my! We have quite the selection! Most of the cores have been ported directly from MiSTer (outside of the Spiritualised 1997 cores... which are basically all the official Analogue/Kevtris cores but shh... it's totally not Kevtris shh ) and they all run basically perfectly. You can literally run the entire GB/GBC/GBA/NES/SNES (Including ALL expansion chips!)/GG/Master System/Mega Drive (minus just Virtua Racing), NeoGeo and TG16/TGCD libraries, and every game works flawlessly outside of a couple of edge cases on the MD side. This is nothing new to MiSTer owners of course, but to have this on a handheld is just incredible! It's such a joy to be able to play the original SNES version of Chrono Trigger or Starfox, or Super Mario RPG on a handheld with no bugs, no input lag and no emulation glitches of any kind!
Oh... did I mention that there's a Super Game Boy core as well?
Yes! The core accepts real Game Boy Carts, and even features full link cable support! And yes, it's the real-thing, including all the SNES specific functionality with supported games (DK94 features the SNES voice clips and additional colours, as does Kirby's Dreamland 2!) It's... it's beautful!
And as an added bonus... GBC/GBA games that originally featured rumble support? Get this... RUMBLE IS SUPPORTED WHEN USING A DS RUMBLE PAK!
Don't ask me why I still have one of these...
So freaking cool!
Really though, as great as the Open FPGA cores are. As great as it is to finally be able to play the entire libraries of these classic consoles on the go with no dodgy software emulation needed? The real star of the show is the form-factor of this device. Sure, you can play a selection of these games on the Switch, but lets face it. Switch is NOT a pocket-friendly device at all. It's big, it's bulky, it has limited battery life by comparison and it requires a carry-case & a bag when taking it out and about; making it a pretty mediocre handheld device. The Analogue Pocket though?
Literally smaller than a Game Boy
True to the system's name, it actually fits in my pocket! I can use it like I would use my GB or GBC or GBA or DS or 3DS. I don't need a carry case or a bag, or a battery pack. This is something really important to using handhelds outside the house that modern devices have really forgotten. Something that I'm sure @RedShell would really appreciate (you get where I'm coming from!) I really miss handhelds that actually fit in your damn pocket and this finally fills that void with those 8 & 16 bit games I love!
And speaking of modern devices? The Dock does exactly what you think it does. It works exactly like the Switch. You chuck the system into the Dock and in around a second, the game is on your TV screen, with bluetooth/2.4ghz wireless controller support enabled. It's all very seamless. The Dock features are pretty basic right now, it enables 4 player wireless and USB controller support (as well as the ability to turn on and off the device via the controller - something MiSTer actually doesn't support!), pristine 1080p output and that's about it. None of the screen filters currently work, and there aren't really any TV-specific display features available. Supposedly this is due to get expanded on in future updates, but this has been heavily delayed and is really overdue at this point. Despite the lack of bells & whistles though, the Dock does exactly what you want it to do, and it turns the Analogue Pocket into what is essentially a Switch for retro games. Pretty dang awesome.
There's one last thing I want to address with the Analogue Pocket though and it involves Sleep Mode. Since it uses FPGA hardware, there's no hardware-level functionality for a low-power sleep mode state like on a typical modern mobile device. However, the system does have a form of Sleep Mode which works much like how Quick Resume works on the Xbox Series consoles, where the console performs a save state of the current game and shuts the power off; while waking the console powers it back on, reloads the save state, deletes it and puts you right back where you were. This works pretty well... for the cores that actually support save states that is. GB/GBC/GBA carts all support the feature, as do the GB/GBC/GBA and NES Open FPGA cores... unfortunately, no other cores currently support the feature. This is a real bummer, as SNES, MD, NeoGeo and TG16 games could really do with the ability to use Sleep Mode when you're out and about. Hopefully it'll come at some point, but considering that even the original MiSTer cores for these consoles (of which the Analogue Pocket ports are based on) don't currently support Save States? We're probably not gonna be seeing it happen for some time, if ever. While this isn't a deal-breaker by any means, it's not ideal, as it means with the non GB/GBC/GBA/NES cores that you have to leave the system on with the game paused when you need to stop playing; old-school Game Boy style, wasting battery power.
Overall though? I absolutely LOVE this thing! It's genuinely portable in a way that we haven't seen since the 3DS, and to finally be able to play the full libraries of basically every 8bit and 16bit system out there on the go in 100% accurate form is genuinely incredible! It's even getting some of the arcade game cores ported over from MiSTer to boot! However, the system is ultimately limited in FPGA capacity and power compared to MiSTer, so it's unlikely that we're ever going to see anything beyond the 16bit era (certainly PS1 and Saturn won't be happening), but maybe SEGA CD might just barely be doable? Let's hope so!
To be honest, I don't get why Silent Hill and Resident Evil are frequently classed as being rivals. For starters, SH has not had a new released entry in over a decade now, which means Capcom has been soaring into the fast lane alone, while other companies give their own take on the survival horror genre now and again. They may be horror games where you generally carry out similar objectives like acquiring keys and other items, in order to proceed. But in terms of the enemies you encounter, you cannot really compare them.
It's like the normies who regularly bash RE3 for the cut content it was hated for, not realizing or just not being in any way acceptive, of the fact that RE2 and likely now RE4 as well, did the same crap. You know?
Well, I just find that rather peculiar. I'm having a hard time understanding why a fan of a franchise would come across as being that stubborn, so not to admit that many of the recent RE projects are pretty casual so that modern day gamers can comfortably get to grips with them, and enjoy the experience.
RE2 is also quite streamlined, in terms of the gameplay. Puzzles got minor changes. Some sections are shortened, like the beginning of the game when you have to make it into the police station. It's a doddle in the 2019 game since it's practically only a single street now. So if people say RE3 is a short remake and a cakewalk to complete, then hell. Please say 'hi' to RE2 in that case...