Saturday, November 30, 2013

Gateway to Apshai (Colecovision and Commodore 64) Manual Artwork

This is the image from the Gateway to Apshai, a roguelike RPG for the Colecovision. Below is the crazy Commodore 64 box version...

Released in 1983, it's one of the first console RPGs, and it remains impressive in 2013--thirty years after it was made.

It's a few years after the groundsbreaking Ultima games, but still I have to admire Gateway to Apshai's ambition and vast amount of content. An almost endless series of dungeons are available to explore.

Give it a try, its one of the best on the Colecovision.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Donkey Kong Artwork

A gallery-style collection of Donkey Kong artwork and packaging. In one of them Mario looks like Thor and Donkey Kong is an anime super villain. Classic stuff. Anyone have a favorite version of Donkey Kong? The arcade and NES are probably the best, but Colecovision has its charm to be sure.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Adventure Island 1 & 2, Mega Man High Scores

Some recent NES and Colecovision scores. See the full post for all 4 images. Above: Adventure Island (NES) 116,320.

 Adventure Island II (NES) 232,650
-no continues

Frenzy (Colecovision Emulated) 22,702 
-Game 1

Mega Man (NES) 1,667,200
-no continues

Elektronika MK-90

The Elektronika MK-90 was a Russian mini-computer. Not quite as powerful as the TI-8X calculators, it seems more like the "PDA" toys released in the 1990s. It had 16k RAM and a 16-bit CPU (not sure exactly how fast it was, but my guess would be slightly less than half the speed of a TI-83).

It packs the ability to program in BASIC on it, making it a pretty damn awesome piece of hardware. You could program a lot onto the 120x64 pixel display. Apparently it was too fucking expensive for anyone but the richest czar to own, costing the equivalent of $22,000 in 2013 money, adjusted for inflation and adjusted for an American wage. Your calculator would be worth more than your education.

I guess it was ahead of its time.

You can watch a video of some of the games. There is a pretty good Pac-Man clone on it, and, of course, TETRIS.

Read all the technical specs on the Museum of Soviet Calculators on the Web.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Untitled 2

Untitled drawing #2.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Have a high score? Post it to 

You can make an account for free and vote on if other scores are legit. They have special categories for emulated versions, which is better than 10,000 categories for each individual emulator and platform. Original or Emulated, two varieties and you can compete on both. Just take a picture with your name on an index card in the shot when you get a high score and people will probably vote it in. You can always view the evidence for any high score.

Sign up now and vote for some scores! Get trophies and conquer the galaxy.

This advertisement wasn't paid for; I just really like this site and want to see more competitors there.

Computer Chess

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Donkey Kong High Score 80,600


I just managed 80k with this final score on default settings (3 Lives, 1 Extra Life awarded at 7k). Donkey Kong is damn tough, but rewarding. previously my high score was around 40k, so I'm pumped to have both broken my own record and doubled it in the same game.

I'm heading back to play, really getting into this game. I can only imagine how impressive it was in 1981.

Atari 5200 Ad

Nobody is hotter than Atari this summer. Check out this radical advert for the new 5200 Computer System. Far out! Totally!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Robber Goblins

Goblins robbing a town guard.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Frenzy Score

Playing some Colecovision Frenzy. 22702. Setting #1.

Colecovision Warrior of Wiz

Similar to Frenzy and Wizard of Wor. Classic arcade goodness. Kill the wizard and his robots before they kill you.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Colecovision Wizard's Quest

The first "Metroidvania," Metroid and later Castlevania, among others, would eventually copy this classic' style and sense of exploration.

Colecovision Ghost Adventure

Precursor to Adventure Island and Ghost 'N Goblins. Both games would steal most of their stuff from Ghost Adventure. 1983.

Commodore Tank War

A turn-based strategy combat game for the Colecovision. 1983. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Colecovision RPG 2

Another Colecovision RPG screenshot.

Colecovision RPG

An RPG for the Colecovision. This is a mock-up.


An alien. 

Frenzy Poster

This particular poster is for the Colecovision version of Frenzy, but this artwork originally came out with the arcade version in 1982. That 2 years before George Cameron would make skeleton robots famous with The Terminator in 1984. This particular drawing is obviously inspired by Star Wars, as the R2-D2 unit can testify.

So Star Wars inspired Frenzy which likely inspired The Terminator.

Fat Warrior and Skeleton

Pixel art. Orange and green remind me of CGA graphics.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

2013 Houston Pinball & Arcade Expo

I saw a Berzerk machine for the first time. It was sitting next to Ghost 'N Goblins and Robotron: 2084. I was at the 2013 Houston Pinball and Arcade Expo.

Over 200 machines filled the bottom floor of the Crown Plaza. The first was dark and blasting '80s tunes. The second was brighter and half filled with machines. The other half consisted of arcade junk vendors, a pinball tournament, and arcade tournament, the Atari Age booth, and kitsch vendors.

My girlfriend and I had driven in and arrived just an hour after opening. It had already been in full gear since Friday afternoon, with the hardcore partying until 2:00a.m., and undoubetly past that for the truly hardcore.

Every machine at this place, except for the pinballs, is from the '80s and '90s. Asteroids, Donkey Kong, 2x Robotrons, Berzerk, Star Wars, Tron, I Robot, Virtua Fighter, Centipede, Battlezone, Tempest, and others.

Atari Age (.com) had a huge booth with about 20 Monitors. Each had an Atari System or classic computer. 5 or 6 Homebrew titles published by Atari Age were on display with their boxes and information about the title. Frenzy, Space Rocks, Ixion, Seaweed Assault, and Stay Frost saw constant playtime, and it's cool that the homebrews were displayed so well. Also, there were Colecovisions, Commodore 64s, an Apple ][ and a Dreamcast. I set the high score on the Apple ][, which was was running Galaxian all day. Samiorigami discovered Adventure II on one of the 5200s and beat it twice.

I found a weird looking machine, Major Havok. It's a vector based shooter/platformer with minigames in between stages. It's one of the best arcade games of all time, and I've never even played it before this week! I'm hooked on this machine, and I probably spend about 1.5 hours of the day playing it.

But I couldn't stick to one machine, there were the pins, of course. Xenon, Stars, Centaur, Demolition Man, The Wizard, Kiss, The Black Knight 2000, Terminator 2, Pinbot, Pirates of the Caribbean, Johnny Mnemonic, and dozens more. There were new machines as well: Wizard of Oz, Metallica, and Star Trek are all new and play very well. Wizard of Oz is the flashiest thing in the universe. The Metallica machine was camped out for hours by a pair of friends with pinball tattoos. Also I met Steve Richie, the famous pinball designer and he talked a little about his new Star Wars machine from a rules perspective.

Someone else brought a Vectrex and Virtual Boy. And the Vectrex was totally wicked. Vectrex was released into the public domain in the '90s, the system OS and the ROMs, so you should go download ParaJVE ( right now and check out the Vectrex. It's free and you have nothing to lose. Dark Tower is especially fun, and Frogger plays like it's arcade perfect. The Berzerk port surpasses the 2600 by a mile. Awesome vectors.

After 10 hours we had to leave, but I scored 8x $1 Star Wars Action figures, 2x $1 He-Man Action figures, and 12x $1 untested Atari 2600 Carts.

I'm going back next year.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Arcade Music

What's your perfect arcade playlist? Not talking about music from arcade games, just the heavenly tunes that permeate those dark flashing smoke filled computer temples of the past.

I've got a few suggestions to get your personal Arcade playlist started, but to get an authentic feel we need to move beyond the obvious "Come On Eileen's" and "Billie Jeans's."

So let us build a list of the best sounds for your own personal arcade. Or for a 10 hours M.A.M.E. binge. No judgements.

1. The Clash - Death or Glory
2. The Police - Walking on the Moon
3. Flock of Seagulls - Space Age Love Song
4. Flock of Seagulls - I Ran (So Far Away)
5. The Alan Parson's Project - Games People Play
6. David Bowie - Ashes to Ashes
7. Blondie - Atomic
8. Paul Engemann - Scarface (Push it to the Limit)
9. R.E.M. - The One I Love
10. Talking Head - Psycho Killer

What else we got? Post your own additions, suggestions, etc.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Asteroids Atari 2600/VCS

One of my favorite games on the 2600, Asteroids uses the hardware well to create an addicting game with a fun premise. Everyone like space shooters, and the idea of being a rogue fighter pilot is classic. It's almost as if the display could actually be a representation of a futuristic ship, something of a remote-control Ender's Game type situation. 

After a few practice runs, I managed to roll the score over twice and get 247,940 points tonight. My strategy is pretty basic: I never fly around, just spin and shoot the closest asteroid. Getting the angles right is key, but the game remains challenging. I never have more than 10 lives stored up, and when one life is lost, a few more tend to follow. 

Asteroids is reason enough to own an Atari, and it and Missile Command are available on most of the Atari reproduction consoles and collections.

In some ways, I like this version better than the arcade original. The arcade game tends to be about keeping 1 asteroid on the the screen and farming UFOs. That's not how you play the one on the Atari, and in that sense it's a much better game. Having to farm UFOs (or spiders in Centipede) can only hold one's attention for so long, and I think that's the reason game with progressive levels (Missile Command, Galaga, Galaxian, Pac-Man) continue to be more popular.

There is no reason to ever be bored if you own Asteroids for the Atari 2600.