Gaming History 101

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Archive for September 2016

Dissecting Nintendo’s Famicom Classic Edition (Mini) Differences

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This week, Nintendo announced the Eastern component to the NES Classic Edition (or NES Mini) that most of us knew were coming.  Nintendo did allow some hands on time and offer new information on the NES Classic that will probably apply to the Famicom Classic as well, so check that link above if you haven’t already.  The delightful Famicom Mini is officially called the “Family Computer Classic Edition” and it appears to be quite similar to the Western version save for the obvious aesthetic difference, but also with some details and games.  Like the NES Classic Edition it will contain 30 games, it does not accept cartridges, and it will retail for ¥5980 (which at time of writing is literally $59.80).  Those of you already hoping to import should expect international shipping to be approximately $20-$30 depending on the speed of shipment and retailer.  I’ve already checked and no one currently has it on pre-order, although some bigger import sites do have pages for it, but I suspect it will not have a supply problem as the price point for these consoles suggests it needs to sell a large quantity.

Now there are some notable differences that you should be aware of.  Of course the games will all be the Japanese counterpart and contain the Japanese versions, but the universal HDMI out means that any HDTV worldwide should easily support either console.  On the other hand the USB power supply is not included in the Family Computer Classic Edition and can be purchased for ¥1000 ($10) if needed.  Those picking up both versions can most likely use the included NES Classic Edition cable and it’s probably the common micro-USB plug type.  Also the Famicom Mini, like the original Famicom, has two controllers wired directly into the console and are not removable.  As for games, 8 titles are unique to each region, so 22 of these titles are on both consoles.  Here’s a quick list of those and you can expect a video of these region specific titles coming soon.

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Podcast: Donkey Kong 64 Game Club

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Donkey Kong 64 has got to be one of the most divisive titles to be released both by Rare and on the Nintendo 64.  Depending on how you came to play it, you either love it or hate it.  While Jam had tackled this title back when it released, even getting the coveted 101% completion, Fred had never touched it.  Thanks to listener Blake (jedislurpee) we played through the game in its entirety and go back to dissect the development, gameplay, and key factors of a title that probably gets more hate than it deserves.


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Written by Fred Rojas

September 28, 2016 at 11:00 am

Podcast: Project Reality

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It’s been nearly 20 years since the Nintendo 64 (N64) premiered in the United States.  Aside from being Nintendo’s third console, it marked a lot of major changes for both the company and the industry as a whole.  Fred and Jam look back on the console that started as Project Reality and eventually became one of the influential pioneers of 3D polygonal gaming.


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Written by Fred Rojas

September 21, 2016 at 11:00 am

Podcast: The Astyanax or Lord of the Kings

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Developer Aicom had a slew of interesting titles in the late 80s and early 90s, one of which was called The Astyanax or Lord of the Kings in Japan.  Oddly enough the game also had one of those infamous ports to the NES that changed and extended the original arcade concept, which Fred loved as a kid.  In this episode Jam and Fred discuss their discovery of the arcade original and a replay of the Nintendo port.


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Written by Fred Rojas

September 14, 2016 at 11:00 am

Gaming Tech 101 Episode 3: 4K and UHD

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Now the biggie, Ultra HD or 4K TVs. Fred gets into it all: what’s changed, what is 4K resolution, what is HDR exactly, and why should we all care.  He also adds tips to look for when buying a TV and most importantly, what the new consoles (and PCs) are doing with 4K and HDR.  Note: Already a correction.  Rise of the Tomb Raider does not currently support HDR on either Xbox One or PC, however Crystal Dynamics has claimed a patch is in the works.  As far as I can tell no games on PC support HDR at this time and NBA2K17, releasing Friday, Sept. 16th, will be the first game to support HDR on XB1 and PS4 thanks to a day one patch.  We still won’t know how true that is until it releases.


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Written by Fred Rojas

September 13, 2016 at 11:02 am

Gaming Tech 101 Episode 2: HDTV

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In this second part Fred talks about the principle changes to High Definition TV (HDTV) including the formats, resolutions, and options that are most common today.  He also discusses many factors involved in your HDTV that you may not be aware of and may want to pay attention to.


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Written by Fred Rojas

September 13, 2016 at 11:01 am

Gaming Tech 101 Episode 1: SDTV

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What was supposed to be the first three episodes of Gaming Tech 101 got expanded into a 3-part first episode thanks to everyone’s discussion of and confusion around 4K and HDR.

This first part (1a) covers the era of the Standard Definition Television (SDTV), most notably the CRT.  Fred talks about what the technology does and how it works with consoles.


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Written by Fred Rojas

September 13, 2016 at 11:00 am

Podcast: Top Scores, Volume 4

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Wow, another year and another fantastic episode of game soundtracks.  This year GH101 was delighted to get so many listener submissions that it amassed over 30 songs and nearly two and a half hours!  You can find the full playlist at the bottom of this post.


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New Podcast: Gaming Tech 101 (Episode 0)

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There has been much appeal to the hardware side of retro gaming and with so many new products coming out it’s time to get back to basics.  While Gaming Tech 101 will have its own feed and episodes, Fred figured he’d give you a taste over here on the GH101 feed.  In episode 0 Fred discusses what GT101’s intentions are and then delves into the growing world of NES clone consoles hitting the market.  From NOACs to FPGAs and even Nintendo’s own “mini” slated for holiday, it’s all covered in this first preview episode.  GT101 will be a bi-weekly podcast.


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Written by Fred Rojas

September 2, 2016 at 11:00 am