Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Video Game Purists Ep 62: Gutter Rebels

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This week opens with some talk of upcoming releases. Yes, there are games starting to come out! Then Trees is having more home improvement fun while Fred is back to outdoor theaters and animated series. On the games front, both Trees and Fred are having a blast with Rayman Legends. Trees jumped on game pass to get back into Rory McIlroy’s PGA 14 and is watching all kinds of Mii insanity on Switch with Miitomo. Fred is on his 3rd round of Resident Evil Village demos and also played the E3 demo of the unreleased Dreamcast title Castlevania: Resurrection.

Written by Fred Rojas

May 7, 2021 at 11:00 am

RetroActive Episode 1: Ys III

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Introducing my new retro podcast on the culture behind games of the past: RetroActive. Each episode we delve into a main topic (often a specific game) and dig into its place in history. There are also smaller sections covering all kinds of topics in the world of retro. Think of this as the audio form of a mid 90s gaming magazine.

This first episode features guest Chase from Learned from Gaming who joins to examine Ys III: Wanderer’s From Ys. Despite being the third game in the series, it was the first to get a widespread North American release despite being a somewhat dated action RPG for the time. In addition Fred discusses what RetroActive is all about, retro gaming hardware options, and how best to handle PSN’s uncertain future on PS3 and Vita.

Written by Fred Rojas

May 3, 2021 at 10:00 am

Posted in RetroActive

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Video Game Purists Episode 61: SMH

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This week Trees is in the gutter while Fred is playing musical theaters trying to see Mortal Kombat. There is a relatively spoiler free discussion, but we also warn you if you want to avoid the 15 or so minutes it’s discussed. Then it’s onto the games front where Trees describes the beautiful and fun worlds of Yoshi’s Crafted World and Rayman Legends. The conversation shifts due to a listener question to the state of Sony’s first party titles, including the cancellation of Days Gone 2 and the remake of The Last of Us. It all wraps with Fred having a blast in VR and struggling to find the fun in Watch Dogs 2.

Written by Fred Rojas

April 30, 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in Blog

Video Game Purists Ep 60: Wet Treated Wood

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This week Trees is rebuilding his back stairs and attempting to replace his cell phone while Fred is complaining about snow and attempting to soft mod his PS3. In gaming Trees played the GameStop trade-in game as well as enjoying The Flame and the Flood. Fred tried the Resident Evil Village “Village Demo” on PS5, continues to love Astrobot, and is frustrated with games that have solid gameplay loops but disconnects in progress.

Written by Fred Rojas

April 23, 2021 at 11:00 am

Video Game Purists Episode 59: Virtually Stunning

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This week Fred and Trees return after a week off and it’s time to get down to business. Discussions begin with an update on Trees’ household, new and old furniture, and Godzilla v. Kong. We have a listener mail on HDR and how it works on both PC monitors and TVs, then it’s on to games. Trees has started Paper Mario: The Origami King, enjoyed classic shmups with the Vasara Collection, and tried to be king of the hill with Pac-Man 99. His big passion has been turning into a teenage girl and scouring the land for resources in Atelier Rorona (which also lends to our closing music). Fred has finally wrapped Days Gone with near 100 percent completion and about 45-50 hours of work, but his true love this week has been VR. Thanks to a lent PS VR from Trees, he’s been flying through a catalog of the top titles of the platform, all of which were obtained from PS+ or freebies from Sony.

Written by Fred Rojas

April 16, 2021 at 11:00 am

Video Game Purists Episode 58: Monkey v Lizard

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This week we get a little personal about life before talking a bit of movies. On the games front Trees is trying to stay positive with post-campaign Bowser’s Fury and checking out Monster Hunter Rise, but also realizing that the true stress reliever for now is Splatoon 2. Fred is still hooked to Days Gone, which is good because he tried (and failed) to get into Just Cause and Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Written by Fred Rojas

April 2, 2021 at 2:37 pm

Video Game Purists Episode 57: 7 to 10 Days

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This week is more about catch-up.  Trees is living a complicated life due to a new visitor in his home while Fred hasn’t been up to a whole lot of anything.  On the gaming front Trees has started (and may be done with) Empire of Sin, showed his son Minecraft, and thoroughly enjoying family time with Splatoon 2.  Fred replaced his Genesis with a Gen 2 V4, goes hot and cold on Return to Castle Wolfenstein, wraps up Resident Evil 7 again, and has a surprise reveal from Days Gone.

Written by Fred Rojas

March 26, 2021 at 11:00 am

Capacitors and Retro Game Consoles

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When it comes to old video game consoles, there’s no shortage of things that can go wrong.  I’ve spoken on Twitter and in podcasts many times of my issues with optical (CD/DVD) drives and my obsession with getting flash media replacements in the form of Optical Drive Emulators (ODEs).  That’s just one thing that can go wrong though, it has nothing to do with all the usually dependable parts that can go bad.  I’ve had power and reset buttons stop working, controller ports malfunction (certain buttons stop working or no power altogether), power supplies fail, cartridge ports malfunction, and of course the frailty of capacitors.  One of the biggest ticking time bombs of certain retro consoles can be a simple and inexpensive part called a capacitor.  Keep in mind that capacitor replacement, often called re-capping, is not the golden answer and it comes with a fair share of caveats.  In this post I’m going to dig into what a capacitor is, why it’s important to consoles, what consoles are most affected, and of course share some resources should you want to do additional research for yourself.  This is high level explanation for interest and the supplemental links are for those more knowledgeable than me who can explain it in more depth.

What is a Capacitor?

A quick electronics lesson here, but trying to keep it relatively non-technical and also because I’m no expert.  Capacitors are basically storage tanks for energy, in our case electricity.  They allow a steady current to flow through them, but they retain a charge so that if a current is interrupted briefly a consistent flow of electricity remains, and then they refill once the current returns.  Capacitors can be essential in circuit boards to maintain consistent voltage especially when using AC power.  As I understand it, Alternating Current (AC) power has what are called “inductive loads” that can lag the voltage behind the current, and most game consoles take in an AC current from wall outlets.  Granted, many of these consoles have Direct Current (DC) power adaptors, which I’m not completely sure of how that adjusts, but a capacitor basically allows for voltage consistency when dealing with inductive loads.  In game consoles we have a lot of power traveling across the board and capacitors make sure all the parts of the console continue to work despite the inconsistency of power.

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 23, 2021 at 11:00 am

The Return of Blog

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This site is probably best remembered as having started a podcast that delights with almost 500 episodes on a vast majority of the mainstream topics that exist in the retro gaming world. In truth, however, this site started as a blog and was intended to be a location of various types of information as my interest was piqued. If you sort the site chronologically you’ll find all kinds of articles about all kinds of subjects and actually does start to look like a 101 on the history of video games. You don’t have to go back if you don’t want to, but it’s there nonetheless.

As time moved on the podcast became my core focus because it simply had the largest audience participation. There’s nothing that makes an informative or entertaining project feel valued than hearing from the people who engage with it. The shift to the podcast did come with its fair share of setbacks because audio is not ideal for all topics. There are just things, like instructions, technical breakdowns, even guides and reviews, that don’t lend themselves to audio well. Frankly, they’re just boring to listen to – which is why I never went into more than a few episodes of Tech 101. There’s also the fact that with video streaming services, such as Twitch and YouTube, the video medium seemed a better fit for the topics and information provided by our podcast. This is all my personal opinion, which I’m fully aware of, but it keeps me from giving my all to the project. I’ve spoken to quite a few people about this, but if you’ve ever done a project you share, you have to do it for yourself first and share it with the world second. I wasn’t fully invested in the podcast and I didn’t have the time for a video series. As engagement slowed down, scheduling got harder, technical difficulties more common, the downfall of any project becomes apparent quickly.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to get involved in more projects. I’ve always loved the process of researching items, exploring them, and then explaining my findings. What I don’t have is time or resources. Creating a podcast, especially with one or two co-hosts, is a lot of collaboration on top of post-processing if you want high quality. You’re talking at least 3+ hours a week of dedicated work if the show is 60-90 minutes on top of living life. A video is like 10 times that dedication. Not only that, but there are a lot of people out there who are trying to make a living doing this, so you’re now a hobbyist competing with professionals whether you like it or not. Experience has taught me that no one seems to notice, or care, that you don’t have ads in your videos and the audience is quick to destroy every square inch of your work because they were in a bad mood that morning. Even when it is constructive criticism, and you ask questions to help improve the work, you get ghosted. When you spend 30 hours making a 7 minute video that you are proud of, let alone a 45 minute documentary, and someone blasts you over single fact or comment, it hurts. Then a big site like IGN or Digital Foundry makes a video identical to yours but some full time paid employee got to make it as their weekly project and you just want to give up. That’s where I’m at: I want to give up on both podcasting and video making in relation to retro gaming. I know that may not be what some of you want to hear, but it also probably surprises no one.

The written word, however, is cheap, quick, and can be replicated. I can consistently deliver written works that take a relatively small amount of time to produce, can deliver the same content (often more concisely than my audio/video pieces), and can keep up with my ever-changing interests on a daily basis. As such I’m going to kick the blog portion of this site back into high gear and hopefully find something redeeming for myself that will eventually translate into something worthwhile for you readers. The traffic to this site is scant, probably 100 hits a day, and I bet half of it is the newest episode of Video Game Purists and the other half is my guides on games like Majora’s Mask. Still, I want to investigate, research, and share my findings and opinions, which will happen whether someone is reading it or not. The world is cyclical and it’s only natural that in a time where I can spare maybe 30-60 minutes a day to something, a blog be the best source. The topics will be varied as will each reader’s interest in what I share, but ideally there will be a daily post about something I find interesting that I would like to share. I also intend to do larger pieces that can take several hours to produce, which will just stay holding in the chamber until they are completed and properly edited. I have a journalism degree, I studied the written word professionally, it stands to reason I return to it as a hobby.

 

Cheers,
Fred

Written by Fred Rojas

March 22, 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in Blog

Video Game Purists Episode 56: “Real” Irish

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This week Fred and Trees are all about home and car improvement before moving on to a lengthy discussion about movies. Heading to the video game front, Trees completed Mario Galaxy, played some Splatoon 2 with his son, and jumped into indie titles A Boy and His Blob (2009) and CounterSpy. Fred has been playing Real RTCW and Halo 2 with his daughter in addition to enjoying a third round of Resident Evil 7 and questioning the continuation of Days Gone.

Written by Fred Rojas

March 19, 2021 at 11:00 am