Could PS2 Classic be Possible?

You might remember the release of PlayStation Classic. It might have been a disappointment. At least that was what everyone thought like about it a year after its release. I am pointing to a fact that its price dropped from the original 120 euros to as low as 20 euros. That was the lowest price I ever saw it sold for. I bought it for 40 euros. There might be a debate about do you have the right to hack the device.

PlayStation Classic had 20 games with it. Those games were not the best ones and there’s not even a debate. These games could have been better. There could have been more games included. There could have been better game pads included. But even with its flaws the system ended up in my living room after all. It definitely was worth of its low price at least for me.

But would it be possible that there would be some day a gaming console called PS2 Classic? We can start to think about how many good games would there exist on the system. Or we can talk about the system requirements of this device. If one PS2 game takes about 4,7 GB of space, and if there were 20 games released with it, they would require a space of 94 GB. Maybe there should be at least about 120 GB of space on the hard drive.

We can also think about how powerful the system should be considering about processor and graphics processing. There is already an emulator that you can run on your PC called PCSX2. It doesn’t require so much from GPU and CPU of your PC. You can run it on a even an older computer today. A while ago this wasn’t possible. We should thank the progression of computer related technology for that.

If these technical issues were finally solved and there would be a system released we can come back to the first issue I mentioned. There would be a maximum number of games. What would the games be and would every game be available for it? This could be a limitation. There were many good games that were released for PS2. Would there be only like 10 games on the system? Would it be possible to hack the system? Would you have to do it to make it reasonable to even buy the thing? And finally – how much would the thing cost and would it be different than just running (illegally) your favorite PS2 emulator on your home PC? After all since the games are in DVD format you can play them, or rip them, directly simply putting the disc in the tray of your PC after getting your hands on the BIOS some way.

I have to mention that this text has barely scratched the surface of this matter. After all it’s not so much about what the fans or tech hobbyists think about. It is about if it’s reasonable to release a system like this. Is it profitable? And is it worth the effort? If you have some deeper hardware knowledge or experience in circuit design or electronics you might understand something more deeper in this matter. I am not a specialist and these are only some of my thoughts about this matter.

Xbox’s Answer to Gran Turismo

Xbox was released just a bit after PlayStation 2. The first PlayStation already had it’s racing game. That game was Gran Turismo. At the time it was the most realistic driving game ever released to any gaming console. As Xbox started to challenge PS2 they just had to have a good quality racing game for the system. This is where Forza Motorsport comes into play.

PS2 had Gran Turismo 3 and it later had the fourth game in this series also. I am familiar with many of these games but, actually, haven’t played all of them. You might already know that I am a big fan of racing games be it rally games or other. Actually back when I was playing PS3 only I played a lot of Need For Speed Shift 1 and 2. They differ a bit from Gran Turismo and it’s rival Forza Motorsport. But they also are street racing games and you also have circuits that you race on instead of real streets or muddy tracks (or something like that).

So I’m talking about how Forza Motorsport seems to feel compared to Gran Turismo. I have played this racing game only through twenty percentage or so in the career mode. I did play Gran Turismo through earlier and I have played just a bit Gran Turismo 3 and 4. I am playing with a Xbox 360 and this game was released in 2005 for original Xbox. Thanks to _Xbox 360’s backward compatibility it plays very well on it. All of the games of original Xbox aren’t compatible on the 360. But this game is.

You have several cars to pick up from. I think it’s supposed be like that you more like collect these vehicles. In Gran Turismo you had to really consider selling your cars to get money for updates. You can also tune your car. Every car feels a bit different. I don’t see a big difference on how the cars behave if we compare these games. Forza Motorsport does have this green-to-red display element that gives you an idea about at what speed you should approach the next corner. This wasn’t available in the first Gran Turismo. The driving seems to be very realistic.

You can definitely play this driving game with your game pad. I haven’t even tested it as my current driving wheel only supports PS3 and PS4. I think it plays just well. This game is taking a long time to complete. I am not very sure if it’s a good choice if you want to play a racing game as it is a bit old. You can see it from graphics and they are a bit dated. Music in this game is very generic compared to it’s competitors.

After all this is a good game. I originally bought it from flee market for three euros. It’s definitely worth that. It is a keen part of history of driving games. I didn’t mention this but the Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport are not released on other consoles so Gran Turismo you can play with PS2 and Forza Motorsport you can play only with an Xbox. I took the picture featured here as I needed some graphics for this blog post. I have lots of games for Xbox 360 as you can see. To be honest I haven’t had time to play all of them. I do have Forza Motorsport 3 and I am definitely at some moment going to play that game. I am also looking for a good racing game for my Xbox Series S.

Something New in PlayStation 1 Emulators – DuckStation

I keep my eye on YouTube. I watch videos there. Gaming is one of the topics that I am most interested in. It doesn’t come as a surprise that there are countless videos about Xbox Series S. I found a very interesting information from one specific video that introduced a way to play PlayStation 1 games on your new Xbox.

This is possible through a new retro game emulator called DuckStation. I am not going to go to all the details of how playing PSX games this way is actually possible. After all it is possible. You have to enter to Xbox Series S in a “developer” mode. Then you will have to install DuckStation and tweak the settings. Of course you need also the BIOS and roms of all the games you are going to play.

DuckStation is a very powerful emulator application. You can enhance your graphics a lot and it is promised that you can play old PS1 games with a 4K resolution. Why would you want to use your new Xbox for this? Maybe it is because it has a limited hard disk space or maybe you just haven’t found the most interesting games for this new console. What ever the reason for you to be interested in DuckStation is it can provide you an experience on retro gaming once again with all your classic PS1 games. DuckStation is also available for Android and Linux and Windows.

I am not so interested in this way of using my new console for retro gaming. I prefer to play my emulated PS1 games on a PC. There are many reasons. One is that you can choose to use Dual Shock 4 controller through DS4Windows. I prefer to use my controller this way instead of using the new Xbox game pad. Playing PS1 games with Xbox’s controller? That’s definitely a no from me. When considering it this would be a good way to expand your collection of games a bit. Maybe you can play Xbox with a different controller somehow?

You can find more information about DuckStation from the link below:

https://emulation.gametechwiki.com/index.php/DuckStation

Biggest advancements in technology of personal computers

There have been some significant steps in the technology of personal computers. As we look to the past we can figure that first computers that were called as personal computers came to markets in late 70s or beginning of 80s. This was surely the first big step. Computers were finally affordable for home users. They were small enough to fit in an office. It was this time that Apple brought it’s products to the market also.

First computers didn’t have a mouse. This was also a big step forward. First mouses were clumsy. They had two buttons. I don’t remember or know exactly how an early 80s mouse worked but I can guarantee that they were nothing like the ones we use today. My first experiences with a computer’s mouse were with one that was connected with PS/2 and it had a ball inside it. Mouses have later progressed. They are today connected with USB and use infrared to make sense of where the cursor is moving on the screen.

When PC’s first came to be there were screens but they had poor graphics or only text. This matter developed a lot and has been developing for a long time. We went from displaying only text to our present Full HD or even 4K or even better than those screen resolutions. 3D animations also brought many big improvements to gamers and also to designers. Gamers can today also enjoy many different USB controllers like game pads or driving wheels or even something else.

The biggest changes that I have had an opportunity to witness took place in the 90s and 2000s. I am talking about the advancements in the speed of internet connections, the expansion of  hard drives space and the impact of CD-R drives. I am actually currently reading a book about Spotify. It describes how this change in technology impacted on many things like the music industry and how things changed and developed. There were more space to store your mp3 files. There were lots of piracy.

Today we are in a situation that movies, games and music are sold through internet more and more instead of people buying physical products like CDs or DVDs. This has been possible because we currently have fast internet connections almost worldwide. Things have progressed fast. I have also seen times when we used to watch VHS tapes.

The fast development of technology has made it a bit hard to keep up with the latest advancements. It is also a bit pricey. There is and always will be those people that are in the front when it comes to buying newest technology. There will also always exist people that want to also remember the past. So these people are going to keep those retro devices working so they can enjoy things as they once used to be.

Gaming with Raspberry Pi

So I have this old Raspberry Pi 1 that I got back in about 2011. While it has many uses I haven’t utilized it in a while. What makes this interesting for the readers of this blog is that it can be used for retro gaming. While it is not able to run decently games that have 3D graphics it is perfectly good for playing retro video games like SNES games to give an example. Newer Raspberry Pis are capable of running some more advanced games that have 3D graphics. It is also not a bad choice to pick up a NVIDIA Shield if you are interested in emulated retro gaming and you want to be able to run games with 3D graphics. Shield can even run some Sega Dreamcast with Sony PlayStation games. If you want to be able to run PS2 games I think this is not, at least yet, your way to go.

So we have this Raspberry Pi 1. It has many ways that you can connect different equipment to it. It has two slots for USB. The connections are white which tells us that they are of type USB 2.0. This doesn’t affect us so much. The connections could be colored blue that only tells that they would be a bit more advanced and more effective in transmitting data through them. But for a USB controller or even Bluetooth dongle would work with USB 2.0s just fine. You can even expand these USB slots with an USB hub. It can provide you more USB slots.

If you don’t want to sacrifice one USB slot for Wi-Fi dongle you can connect your Raspberry Pi to your network and internet with an Ethernet connection. There’s no Wi-Fi built in the first Raspberry Pi but some newer models also have this feature included. So you might want to consider buying for example Raspberry Pi 4 instead of the first release. The first release also only supports SD memory card up to 32 GB. While this is just enough to support playing retro games, it might be too small for some uses. There is HDMI connection which delivers the sound and the picture from the computer to the display. There’s also a slot for video output and a small slot, actually a mini-plug connection, for audio output. Raspberry Pi also needs a power input that is provided with 5V micro USB connection. You can probably use your old smart phone’s cable for this, that is you have one available.

You get that Raspberry Pi needs a memory card  and a power cable to work. You will also need a keyboard, maybe even a mouse, a cable for Ethernet and an HDMI cable. That’s just for setting up. You have to install yourself a good operating system. For gaming I would go with RetroPie or Lakka OS.

Here’s some links:

https://retropie.org.uk/ and https://www.lakka.tv/

There are many ways that you can get the image file to your memory card. You can probably read some deeper instructions from those links that are above this text. It depends on your host operating system but I know that you are able to make the installation with Windows and Linux PCs.

After getting the software installed you need to fiddle around a bit with the settings. You can usually just connect your game pad and configure the controls. After that you only need to use the Raspberry Pi with your controller. You need to transfer the roms to your device also. This can be done in several ways. You can for example transfer them to USB stick or you can transfer them from your local network. I am not getting to this since this blog post is not actually a tutorial. I am only discussing about the possibilities and I am trying to give you a clear picture for what it is like to get your old, dusted, Raspberry Pi to work for you as a gaming device.

I really think that this is all about this subject. You can run your SNES, NES, Mega Drive/Genesis, Master System, DOS and Atari 2600 games like this (just to mention some of the most popular systems). I would recommend for your game pad Logitech’s or a USB SNES pad although there are plenty of possibilities. Some controllers might not work so don’t try to plug your PS4 controller in as it won’t probably work and would need some fiddling.

My Story

Oh. Where do I begin. I was born in 1984. Two years later my little brother was born. As any parent my parents noticed how clever I was. Or so they thought about it. They thought I was special. We lived in Helsinki for the first four years of my life. We moved to Vantaa in 1988 as my father got a job in high-tech electronics factory. He ended up having a thirty-year career in that company. Later I got to solder some components together but that’s another story.

So it was about 1987 when my father bought our family our first personal computer. I was very interested in it. I started to figure out some characters from the keyboard and I even wrote something with a keyboard before I learned to read. Our family didn’t teach me or my brother to read until we went to school and we learned to read and write actually there.

I was about nine years old when I got my Sega Mega Drive. I really liked Sonic The Hedgehog, Streets of Rage II and NHL 94. I had already played some Sierras games, some casual games, like Space Commander and many others. Space Quest, Larry, King’s Quest, Indiana Jones, Operation Wolf, Bubble Bobble, Sim City and so on.

This was only an introduction to the world I said Hello to as I got a PlayStation. Playing Mega Drive was fun. But the cartridges didn’t bring so much content. You can think about it. A Mega Drive game is about 1 MB. There is about 650 MB on a CD-ROM. So you can figure out how the games would be more longer and they also had more to offer as more and more people and even adults became aware of this situation.

PlayStation really sparked things for me. I played. I enjoyed. Other things in my life were playing basketball and going to junior high as I was studying here in Finland. I really enjoyed life. I even got myself a skateboard and actually also a snowboard. We hang around in Helsinki or Vantaa at parks and had really fun time. It was a fun period in my life.

I played so many games. I had about forty titles and I was eager to loan any games that my friends had. I didn’t get to modding then. I played Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, Gran Turismo, Oddworld, Colin McRae Rally, Medievil, Fear Effect, Final Fantasy, Silent Hill and Diablo.

I finally sold my PlayStation for so little money. I don’t recall the actual sum but it was about 120 euros. Damn. For all those 40 games, memory cards, two controllers, cables and everything else included. I would have liked to save them for me to use later. But I didn’t think about it then.

I went to Finnish Army in 2003. I had just graduated from high school and I had a place to study in a university. So things were looking up to me. I was not home playing games. I was shooting targets in the woods. So there were some years that I was, lets say, “lost in the woods” with my plans and my life. I believe this is not uncommon at all. I was then 20 years old.

Then in 2006 my mother found an original Xbox in sale. She bought it for me. The first game was Need For Speed Most Wanted. I was back in the game. Later I got to know my wife. She had a PS3. So I bought Final Fantasy XIII to it. I started really getting into gaming again. I started a school in programming. It was a school of applied university from which I graduated in 2016 at last.

So this brought me to my roots again. I started collecting retro in 2017 when I got a PS2 for me. Today I have a bit tens of devices and hundreds of games for them. I enjoy playing. It is my work, hobby and the thing I get most out of.

What is your story? I would like to hear something from you, my readers. Please leave a comment here or contact me some other way.

Space Invaders for PS1

Since I recently played Space Commanders, that is a Space Invaders clone for PC, I decided to pick up this PS1 game titled also as Space Invaders. I bought it some time ago but I haven’t really played it.  The price of this game was low. That’s one reason I decided to buy it. Back when I made the decision to buy this game I had already many items in my mind that I wanted to order. It kind of came with the other stuff that I ordered.

It is basically the same game that especially retro game fans know. The original game was released in 1978 as an arcade game and it was also released for Atari 2600 in 1980. Graphics have been improved for this PS1 release. It doesn’t introduce three-dimensional graphics. There is also some slight modifications made in the game play. Activision was the publisher of this PS1 version of this game.

All in all this is  a nice little game. It didn’t keep me playing for a long time. It is although interesting to me at this time of my hobby as a game enthusiast. It is  not difficult to figure out why this game was popular when it was remade for PS1.

As I read the Wikipedia page of Space Invaders I realize that there was a big difference in the arcade version and the console (Atari 2600) version of this game. During that period gaming consoles located at home weren’t as powerful as specially crafted devices that were placed inside arcades. I really don’t know much about their technology.

Things like game consoles and computers are things I know a bit more about. If you are interested in arcade machines and games you could play with them you might want to check this site: https://www.mamedev.org/

Thinking About Strategy in Colin McRae Rally 2.0

There are basically two ways to think about your car settings in Colin McRae Rally 2.0. You can concentrate on driving and copy the best settings from a strategy guide (which is actually available through internet for free) or you can actually test your car with different settings and change them to your own liking. Testing your car to find a good setting can take time. In this text I would like to describe how these settings take impact on your car in this game. I will tell you what each setting will do. So let’s get to it!

There are different settings in this game for tires. Basically you have slick tires that are good for stages that are mainly driven on tarmac. Spikes are good for ice. There are also settings for wet and dry mud and wet and dry gravel. So yo have to choose your tires based on how the surface of the road is. This is pretty simple. You just choose a right tires for each type of road surface.

There are however some settings that aren’t so clear on what they have effect on. Well, actually “gearbox” isn’t so complicated. You can set your acceleration to maximum level but then you loose some top speed. And you can also set your top speed to maximum and you will lose some acceleration. Good acceleration is nice for stages that have many corners and high top speed is better on stages that have long straight parts. That makes sense doesn’t it.

“Suspension” can be adjusted to soft setting on stages that are bumpy or that have many jumps. When driving on flat stages and also stages that have tarmac on their road it is recommended to adjust suspension to hard. You can also adjust your breaks and power of your car to have a tendency to under or over steer. And finally the last setting you have to worry about, that is called “Steering” tells you how sensitively you can steer your car. It can react fast or it can react a bit slower to how you turn your driving wheel (or press the buttons if you are playing this game with a game pad).

If you don’t like to fiddle with the settings and you want to just drive here’s a link to the strategy guide of Colin McRae Rally 2.0.

Pushing Hardware to its Limits (Commodore 64)

I decided to try playing Commodore 64. I somehow started to admire this product of computer industry. It started as I tried to figure out something new, again, something new that I yet haven’t discovered as a gamer or player. I was born in the 80s. But you would have to be a teenager back then if you picked a Commodore 64 up and really started fiddling with it.

There were just so many possibilities for a person. You could just play or you could learn BASIC and ultimately if you were good at it and had some sort of flow and interest in this technology you could go real far. You could actually learn how the thing works and program it to do whatever you wished to. This can be accomplished with Assembler programming.

My minor experiments are nothing compared to what some witty persons have accomplished. With this in mind I am going to begin. First I watched a video on YouTube that introduced me some games. It had 30 games on it. I picked the ones I found most interesting. Then I did a Google search and found this site . Just to give you a clear picture of what Commodore 64 is capable of doing I am giving you some names of some of the best games that I tested. The games are Amalyte, Bubble Bobble, Commando Arcade, International Karate, Katakis, Lode Runner, Prince of Persia, R-Type and Wasteland.

I have stumbled to Prince of Persia and Bubble Bobble way back when I was using our family’s PC so I already had a picture of what these games are like. They definitely didn’t look visually bad at all. You have to consider what kind of a device was in use. What were it’s capabilities of running games. I could just state here its specifications like processors speed and memory, ROM and RAM, that it had but that isn’t going to tell you much.

Commodore 64 was not so powerful. It is mind blowing how engineers and designers used everything they had to deliver games to consumers. There were many limitations to be taken in consideration. This made it a tough job for graphics designers, programmers and even hardware electronics professionals. They had to split the work depending on their own field of expertise. This is important also today when someone is trying to bring a product to the markets and available.

How did I feel after I tried to play some 1980s games? The limitations are there. As I was playing Commando Arcade I figured out some basic tactics and I find it to be real close to some modern shooting games. The action was fast. I had a modern game pad so it helped a bit. Bubble Bobble was nice. It is almost too familiar to me. And then there was R-Type which is a very nice space shooter. You can forgive the poor graphics because the playability is very good…and also fast.

If you are interested to find out more I suggest you use first your favorite search engine and find an emulator. I really didn’t have any hardware to test these games with. I am not sure if these games are available anymore and I think it’s okay to try them out. Later you can get familiar with hardware and you can actually also build your own C-64 if you have time and knowledge or maybe even both. I find even a small possibility of developing some or any software to Commodore 64 very interesting.

What Is Evercade?

Do you like handheld game consoles? Do you play retro games? If you answered yes to these questions you might find Evercade interesting. It has been in the markets already for some time. I haven’t really got into it but I think I am somewhat interested in it so I decided to gather some information and write a blog post about it. Here we go!

We have seen many forays on handheld retro game consoles. They are marketed by saying that they include tens or hundreds of classic games. I have also seen some do-it-yourself projects that have been made with Raspberry Pi. Evercade is a bit different. It offers games in a form of cartridge that has many games, like ten games or so (it actually varies a bit). So you can buy more games.

Let’s talk about some features. It is possible to connect Evercade to television with HDMI connection. Evercade scales th picture to HD resolution when connected to a television. It’s battery is charged through USB-to-micro-USB cable. There is a place for headphones and it is a mini-plug-connection. There is no Bluetooth connectivity. You can see in the “Featured image” of this post how the controls are positioned. Controls include also trigger buttons on left and right side of the device. The size of the screen is 4,3 inches. It is promised that Evercades battery will last four hours maximally. And one more thing about the features. The price of the Premium Pack is, here where I live, about 110 euros. On the Wikipedia it is said that the price is about “£80/$100”.

I think this product is interesting. I don’t know if I am going to buy it. I have made lately a purcase that I will now only tell that about it that it was a handheld game console. So I am not so interested in buying another new console. Also I am not going to buy any new game consoles to be connected to our television. My living room has right now so many consoles that I would have to think about where to put them and how to accurately display them. So I’m basically running out of room.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial