Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Posts Tagged ‘cd

Podcast: Are You One of Us?

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tg16_post

This week Fred flies solo to discuss the short live but highly coveted niche console the Turbografx-16.  With an 8-bit processor and a 16-bit graphics card this Japan-centric console by NEC only hung around for 4-5 years but has a cult following almost as intense as Sega.  This episode covers its release, different versions, Japanese counterpart the PC Engine, and of course the expensive CD expansion and games.


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Written by Fred Rojas

August 21, 2013 at 11:00 am

Review: Dracula X: Rondo of Blood (PC-E CD)

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Console: PC-Engine CD (Japan)
Released: 1993
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Japanese Title: Akumajo Dracula X: Chi No Rondo – English Translation: Devil’s Castle Dracula X: Rondo of Blood
Instruction Manual: Not necessary – Link
Difficulty: Hard
Played it as a child? No
Value: $83.00(used) Unknown – this usually indicates none have ever been sold (new) (pricecharting.com)
Price: $90-$120 (used) N/A (new) on eBay
Digital Release? Yes – Virtual Console and remake on Dracula X Chronicles (PSP) – $9.00 (VC), $15.00 (PSP) digitally

Akumajo Dracula X: Chi No Rondo is one of those games that you either know about or you don’t.  As a side story to the series, appearing on the PC-Engine CD no less, I don’t think Konami ever intended the game to be popular but what it does for the Castlevania formula is worth noting.  Rondo of Blood (as it is known in English) follows Richter Belmont, a descendent of Simon and Trevor, in a side story where he seeks out Dracula to recover his girlfriend Annette.  It takes place in Germany, I think (I’ve never played the game in English), and the cutscenes even contain German dialogue with Japanese subtitles.  Thanks to the RAM and CD format of this title, it also features amazing sound design and an anime-like style.  Oh yeah, and until recently it was never released outside of Japan.

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Written by Fred Rojas

July 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Converts

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So now you want to import consoles and games, do you?  Well you’ll be happy to know that it is entirely possible on most consoles, however there are some things you’ll have to be aware of before you do it.  This article discusses the different things you have to do to both the electric and video signal of various imported consoles.  It will also briefly discuss how to get foreign games to play on US consoles, if possible.

Electricity Differences
No matter what console you are using, it’s important to know the differences between electricity in the US, Europe and Japan.

Japanese Consoles in the US
As you’ll see plenty of times in this article, Japan is quite similar to the United States in many ways, including power.  We use 120 volts as our standard for power.  Japan doesn’t appear to use a ground (or at least none of the Japanese consoles I’ve ever gotten do, never been to Japan itself), so all plugs from Japanese consoles will be two-pronged and fit in an US outlet.  Also fortunate is the fact that most consoles, especially retro ones, will use AC adaptors that work in the US.  Never interchange US power supplies into Japanese consoles, you could fry the console or worse.  For example, if you import a Famicom, use that console’s AC adaptor and not an US NES one.  For newer consoles like Japanese PS2s and PS3s, you may want to check the back of the console, but I think those are good for AC 100-240 volts for worldwide distribution, but I could be wrong.  Basically if it generates heat, be very careful and do a search for advice from a reputable source (no, Yahoo! Answers is not a reputable source).  Also if you want to be completely safe, there are Japanese voltage converters that allow use of Japanese products here.

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Written by Fred Rojas

December 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Generation Gap Pt. 4: 32-bit (with a dash of 64)

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By the time the SNES was dominating and the Sega Genesis was locked in an endless sea of add-ons to save the dying console, electronics manufacturers began to step up and create many of their own consoles.  As a result, the market was flooded with overpriced horrendous hardware.  They seemed to have everything a gamer wanted: new media format (the cheaply priced cd was preferred by developers to reduce production cost and retail price), impressive graphics and processors, and lets not forget the large numbers like “32” and “64” prominantly displayed on the startup screens.  Unfortunately they lacked one important thing: good games.  Still, that didn’t prevent many manufacturers from creating a loose version of the video game crash of 1983.  Thankfully one lone electronics company entered the foray with the next step in gaming – that company was Sony.

Electronics Companies Go Bananas (or Pre 32-bit Gaming)

JVC’s Xeye

I’m guessing somewhere around the Sega CD, boasting the ability to play your new audio CDs through your television as an added feature, electronic companies started to take notice of gaming systems.  As you guide through the progression of consoles the consumer electronics market grows stronger with gamers – let’s face it, they’re the perfect early adoptors.  Quickly companies scrambled to enter the gaming market including JVC, Phillips, Panasonic, Pioneer, Sony and even more.  Some of these companies licensed existing hardware, like JVC did with the X’Eye, a Sega Genesis/Sega CD hybrid that was re-branded with JVC’s logo.  On the other hand, Phillips, Panasonic and Pioneer – imagine keeping these companies straight as a consumer – released their own hardware with a (arguably) library of games.  In the end, they all sucked and had ridiculous price tags pushing back the concept of consumer electronics meeting gaming for at least another six years.  Below are the early disc-based consoles that failed so horribly.

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Written by Fred Rojas

November 21, 2011 at 1:28 pm