Almost Hero – NES Beat ’em Up Homebrew – First Impression, Tips & Review

FIRST IMPRESSION: (1h into Gameplay)

My buddy Lincoln and I were about to throw in the towel.  Yes, we had a good time playing, but progress felt like walking through mud.  We were figuring out the game, but our repeated deaths were even faster.  Rather than giving up and powering down, we clicked the reset button to switch from 2-player mode to 1-player, and spent the next ½ hour making some huge breakthroughs.

THE GOOD:

Almost Hero brings a solid mix of old-school 8-bit NES challenge and humor.  The character’s sprite shapes look nice, bust some faces and kept reminding us of River City Ransom or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT).  Once we figured out how to grind out enough coins for upgrades, it was a whole new game.  The sense of accomplishment and progression was nice.  Additionally, we appreciated having infinite lives and the ability to keep upgrades after each death.  The throwable items added a nice touch to gameplay, and we went nuts over the green turtle shell.

THE BAD:

Targeting enemies is super tricky.  Early on in the game, this is especially frustrating as it’s basically trade of blow for blow.  It’s also frustrating that punches and kicks cannot be made while moving.  It made for that muddy gameplay experience mentioned earlier.

FINAL IMPRESSION: (1.5h into Gameplay)

It’s pretty amazing that in 2017, Mega Cat Studios is creating new, homebrew titles for the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

“Almost Hero” flies about as well as a brick.  Being that this is a Beat ‘em Up, a flying brick is a good thing.  Yes, it’s not a heat-seeking missile, but it’s a period appropriate piece of ammo for the NES lineup.  It flies straight and packs a punch!

TIPS:

In our 1-2 hours of gameplay, Lincoln and I made a bunch of discoveries through sheer trial and error.  I’d suggest you stop reading and just buy the game if you’re the kind of gamer who enjoys figuring all that sort of stuff out yourself.

  • UPGRADE TIPS:
    • Vendor Menu:
      • New Cola ($2): Small health fill
      • Strato Soda ($4): Fills health entirely?
      • Fifty Tints ($25): Adds two health bars.
      • All Pros ($35): Faster movement.
      • 1001 Punches ($35): Faster punches.
      • Foot Passion ($35): Faster kicks.
    • Always have a cola in your inventory.
    • The $4 cola is significantly better than the $2 cola.
    • Grind, grind and grind bonsai seeds. $35 is your target.
    • Backtracking is essential for farming and buying more cola. This also works forward.  If you beat a boss, you can now bypass mobs and run to that boss.
    • You lose half your cash (seeds) when you die. PS…you die a lot.
    • 2-Player:
      • You can only buy items for yourself.
      • Upgrading means one guy grabs all the coins.
  • FIGHTING TIPS:
    • Hit & run
    • Auto attack.
    • Jumping is always a jump kick.
  • STRATEGY TIPS:
    • Cola and other items will disappear.
    • Each level is a one-way street. One screens are cleared, you can run through them.  This is super handy for boss farming.

Have a tip that’s not on our list?  Let us know!  We’d love to hear from you in the video’s comments.

LOOKING INSIDE THE CARTRIDGE:

Thank again to Mega Cat Studios who provided us a free copy of this game in exchange for an unbiased review.

 

Let’s Build Our Own Mini NES Classic Edition

Say what you will about the new Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition, but Nintendo got one thing right.  Retro gaming is needs to be in more hands.  Tons of kids never played 8-bit NES games, and the rest of us just love reliving our childhoods.

Since Nintendo’s newly released NES Classic Edition is going for crazy money on eBay right now, I figure it’s time to 3D print up a mini-NES and to slap a Raspberry Pi running Retro Pie in that bad little baby.

  • HDMI – check
  • 4 Player – check
  • Super Tiny – check, check, let’s print!

Fortunately, people on Thingiverse are way ahead of the curve on this DIY project.  Less than two weeks into owning my Robo 3D R1, this project is on like Donkey Kong!

You’re seeing a time lapse of one of my 3D printing a case for my RetroPie setup. The print came out surprisingly nicely. I’m blow away by how snugly the babyNES’s door attached. The only trick was finding the right size size of screws (see link below). Even then I did some light drilling to get the screws to advance smoothly.

Here are all the links you’ll need to do the same project.

Printing: BabyNES Raspberry Pi B+ case
Designed by: jrebeiro
Downloaded from: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:449877
Printer: Robo 3D R1 http://amzn.to/2eZ2JoK
Filament 1: Silver/Grey http://amzn.to/2gfxuef
Filament 2: Glow in the Dark Blue http://amzn.to/2gfGkZN
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B: http://amzn.to/2fUHWDI
Screws: 3/4″ Length, #3-48 http://amzn.to/2gfzL9o

New to RetroPie?

Here’s a great guide for people new to RetroPie.
Plus, an awesome RetroPie Facebook group for sharing tips.

Happy retro gaming!

Throwing a NES Zapper into Comic-Con

Being too big of a chicken to dress up myself, I threw my favorite retro gaming twist on San Diego Comic-Con 2016 by getting some of the incredible costumed folks to pose with my ole’ faithful NES Zappers and Power Glove!  Pretty much everyone was game, and the result is the following retro gamer / costume mashup.  Enjoy!
#SDCC #SDCC2016 #Zapper

How to Replace Pokemon Gold Battery with a Soldering Iron

Find our VGM Gold 3.8mm Security Bit on Amazon or eBay.

Warning: Proceed at your own risk and be careful when doing any repairs.

In the past we’ve show how to replace your lithium battery without soldering.  It’s quick.  It’s easy.  But so is soldering with a little practice.  Plus, it turns out that the solder method is a bit stronger as it is how these game-saving power supplies were installed in the first place.

Best part is that this method works for Pokémon Gold, Silver, Crystal, Blue, Red, Yellow, plus Zelda games, Tecmo Super Bowl, and a bunch of other retro video games.

Here’s what you’ll need:

FAQ

(Ok, so a lot of these FAQs were handled in our Solderless Repair Guide and have been recycled below.)

Q: Why can’t I save my game on my old Pokémon Game Boy Color cartridge?
A: Before game systems saved games on flash memory and hard drives, games relied on lithium batteries to maintain saved games. Unfortunately, when that battery dies, so does the saved game. It’s sort of like taking the battery out of your watch. Once the battery is gone, the watch loses the time.

Q: My cartridge lets me save the game, but when I turn it on later the saved game is gone. Is my battery dead?
A: Yes, without a working battery, the game will attempt to save and then lose the saved game data after you power off your Game Boy. Bummer, huh?!

Q: How powerful of a soldering iron do I need?
A:   We’d suggest one with 25 or more watts.  Ideally, you’d get one that has a temperature control to find a setting that works best for you.

Q: I don’t have a soldering iron.  Can I use a flame thrower, light saber, or other implement of destruction?
A:   Hmmm…please make a video of said attempts…using proper safety methods for each of course.

Q: Which Pokémon games does this repair method address?
A:   We’ve used it to repair Pokémon Gold, Silver, Crystal, Red Version, Blue Version, and Yellow Version (Special Pikachu Edition).  These include Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald versions.

Q: Did I see a FireRed GBA cart in the video?
A: Yeah, we accidentally showed a Pokémon FireRed cart in the video, but it actually doesn’t use a battery. Ha ha, that cartridge looks so much like Ruby at first glance that we mixed them up during filming.

Q: My battery is dead. Will replacing it restore my saved game?
A: Unfortunately, when the battery dies, your saved game files are lost.  It’s sort of like unplugging your alarm clock.  Once it loses power, it loses track of what it saves, which in the case of an alarm clock is the time.  The exception to this is GBA games which only relied on the battery for an in-game clock.  That in-game clock affected things like berry growth.

Q: My battery is old but still working, is there any way to switch the battery without losing the game save?
A:  When you remove the battery, your saved game will be lost.  If you’re thinking about putting in a fresh battery, you should back up your saved game to a device like a Mega Memory Card.  You can also do certain backups using a N64 transfer pak and Pokemon Stadium 2.  Check out this thread for tips on this.

Q:  What size battery do I need?
A:  Most likely, if you’re replacing a battery for a Pokemon Game Boy Color cartridge, you’ll need a CR2025 Lithium battery.  However, some cartridges originally used a CR2016.  When you remove the existing battery, you can check its labeling or for battery size information stamped on the board next to the battery.

Q:  Does this repair work for Game Boy Advance Pokémon games on the GBA?
A:  Yup, you can use the same method to repair Pokémon games for the GBA and GBA SP.  These include Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald versions.

Q:  Does this repair work for games of other systems?
A:  Yes, you can use the exact same method to repair games for the Original NES, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Sega Genesis, Game Boy Advance and other older cartridge based games.  This is especially helpful if have an original Nintendo Entertainment System and want to fix your Legend of Zelda, Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy, or Tecmo Super Bowl carts.  There are way too many games that use batteries than we can list for these systems.  If you have one with a battery, chances are this method will work just fine.

Q:  Can I use a solderless method instead of soldering the batteries back into place?
A:  Most people don’t know how to solder and don’t have any friends who do either.  While we admire those people who can restore their games through the process of soldering, we want to teach this simple and effective method that most anyone can do.  In our opinion, our no solder method involves less risk of having a person who is new to video game repair hurt themselves or the game cartridge.  Plus, we’ve been pretty happy with the success of the no soldering method.

Q:  How do I open my game cartridge?
A:  Many games require security bits to open them.  We suggest using a  VGM Gold 3.8mm Security Bit.

Q:  Do I really need a security bit to open my cartridge?
A:  Using the correct tool is definitely the easiest and safest way to open your cartridge.  However, others have gotten creative in using thin needle nosed pliers, tweezers, and even modified Bic Pens.  I’ve even heard of a guy (@roxas8137) using a Dremel tool to carve a flat slot in the screw for a normal screwdriver. We suggest getting a security bits since they’re cheap, easy to use, and have lowest risk of scratching or damaging your game.  Note: We also strongly discourage the use of dynamite, chainsaws or pet saber-toothed tigers in opening your game cart as these tend to damage the internal components.

Q:  How long can I expect my battery to last?
A:  The easiest way to figure this out would be to take the year the game was released and to subtract that from the year the battery died.  Speaking in broad terms though, the original batteries in games like Pokemon Gold (generally using CR2025) seemed to last 10-12 years or more.  Amazingly, original batteries in The Legend of Zelda NES cartridges (generally using CR2032) have been know to last 25+ years!  Everything seems to depend on the size of the battery (larger CR2032>CR2025>CR2016>CR1616 smaller), the quality, and the amount of drain placed on the battery.  Regarding drain, games with a continuous clock or items like a Dreamcast’s VMU are always drawing power from the battery. However, a Legend of Zelda Cart simply uses its battery to maintain the saved game.  If you replace your battery, it won’t last forever, but you can probably get a good number of years out of it.

Q:  Can I put a CR2032 battery into a game that previously had a CR2025?
A:  I always like to replace with the exact same battery type that it originally used.  Both the CR2032 and CR2025 are 3V batteries. In my understanding, the main difference is that the CR2032 is 3.2mm in thickness and the CR2025‘s is 2.5mm in thickness.  Additionally, the CR2032 should give longer battery life.  Proceed at your own risk if you’re going to mismatch batteries.  But…we’d gladly use the larger battery for our own games.

Q:  I tried to replace my battery, and it isn’t working.  What did I do wrong?
A1:  Make sure that the battery is in correctly (Positive matching + and Negative matching -).
A2:  Sometimes it helps to wrap a thin strip of electrical tape around the edge of the battery.  This can help to prevent a metal contact from touching both the battery’s positive and negative sizes simultaneously.
A3:  Try cleaning the game and board.  The metal contacts most commonly need cleaning.  We suggest using a Qtip or cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol or WD-40 to clean the contacts.
A4:  Are you certain that your game worked in the first place?  If your little brother dropped it in the toilet 15 years ago and you’re hoping this will get it to work, chances are your game will still have issues.

Your Feedback:

We would love your feedback!  Please comment on the YouTube video or Facebook with your questions and comments.  Thanks!

Introducing the 3.8mm VGM Gold Security Screwdrive​​r Bit

After months of design, engineering and production, we’re happy to announce our new 3.8mm VGM Gold Security Screwdrive​​r Bit!

Get your 3.8mm VGM Gold Security Bit on Amazon or eBay

We’re demonstrating all the different types of cartridges a 3.8mm VGM Gold Security bit can open. This is perfect for opening your retro gaming collection for cleaning, battery replacement, and repairs.

3.8MM VERSION OPENS:

  • Original NES Nintendo game cartridges
  • Super Nintendo game cartridges
  • Nintendo 64 game cartridges
  • Original Game Boy game cartridges
  • Game Boy Color game cartridges
  • Virtual Boy game cartridges
  • Sega Game Gear game cartridges

QUALITY:

  • Durable strong hardened steel
  • Heat treated for maximum strength
  • Length is about 7.6 cm (~3 inches)
  • Gold colored for identification and corrosion resistance
  • Precision engineered teeth fit tightly
  • Pattern: 3.8mm Female 6 Node (6-Pointed Star)
  • Fit any 1/4″ hex hand tool receiver
  • Made in the USA

We’ve worked hard to offer the highest quality screwdriver security bits on the market. We’d rather offer a top quality item once rather than ask people to continuously replace low quality imitations.  We feel we’ve done just that and our proud that these are made 100% in the United States.  This gives us highest quality control, top quality, and supports American jobs.

Get your 3.8mm VGM Gold Security Bit on Amazon or eBay

Protecting Your Boxed NES SNES & N64 Games: Clear Plastic Box Protectors

With the Video Game Museum collection steadily growing, we’ve been working on our methods for preserving our collection.  Just like collecting comic books and baseball cards, a good collection has to be handled with care and properly protected.

NES Box Protectors on Amazon & NES Box Protectors on eBay

Our goal at VideoGameMuseum.com is to provide the best repair tools and preservation materials possible to retro gamers.  With that in mind, we’ve custom designed custom NES, SNES & N64 box protectors to beautifully fit and protect original game boxes. They fit in smoothly and snugly with just enough extra empty space for the best protection. (Certain NES games from independent manufacturers like Color Dreams run larger and won’t fit.) These cases are perfect for protecting your favorite boxed and sealed original Nintendo NES, Super Nintendo, and Nintendo 64 games.  Cool thing is that SNES & N64 game boxes are the same size, so that model will work for both boxes.  See photos for a closer look.

QUALITY FEATURES:

  • Archival Grade PET Plastic
  • Strong 12 Gauge Thickness
  • Locking Tab Design
  • Crystal Clear Clarity
  • Scratch-Resistant Coating
  • Acid Free Plastic
  • BPA, Lead & Phthalate free

VIDEO GAME MUSEUM ARCHIVAL QUALITY: Each of our boxes is Video Game Museum branded so that you know you’re getting the highest quality product possible. These are manufactured in Canada using materials created in the USA. (Most other sellers cut corners by buying from Chinese suppliers and cannot guarantee our level of production or material quality. That’s not a risk we want to take with our collection, so we want to offer only the best to our customers’ collections.)

NES Box Protectors on Amazon & NES Box Protectors on eBay

SNES & N64 Box Protectors on Amazon & SNES & N64 Box Protectors on eBay

 

 

Between the Toes of the Giant: Gam3rCon

Gam3rCon (2)San Diego Comic Con is a beast.  It’s the biggest, baddest giant in town.  Yet, surprisingly, growing between its toes is an event called Gam3rCon!  Rather than withering in SDCC‘s shadow, Gam3rCon is thriving!Gam3rCon Main Floor Racing (1)

In some ways, I scratch my head that there are gamers who live in the San Diego area and don’t attend Comic Con.  Some are just not interested, or they’re interested but couldn’t get a ticket.  Others would attend SDCC but hate all the hype and crowds.

That’s where Gam3rCon comes in.  It’s small. It’s gaming.  It’s not Comic Con.  This was our first year to check it out, and I have to say I was impressed!

Gam3rCon Main Floor (4)Ok, so Gam3rCon is small and independent…but not really that small.  These guys and gals rent out a five story building and pack it with an insane amount of content.  Upon entering, a gamer walks into an old church sanctuary that has been converted to a shrine to gaming with dozens of Xbox 360s and PS3s.  Shooters, fighters, and DoTA seemed to dominate the scene, while a driving simulator was projected on the wall.

Gam3rCon Retro Gaming Room (3)All the while, upstairs is a retro gaming room complete with Atari, NES, SNES, N64, Dreamcast, PS2 and a freak’n rad Fairchild Channel F!  Yup, that’s the room where I parked for a bit.

Down the hall is an art gallery with some solid works of art, and if you’re interested in creating your own art, we spotted some graffiti and silk screening going on as well.  Did we mention the huge, green-screen photo booth for those of us who are less than artistic?!  Check out our interview with Mr. Benja from The 8-bit Cubist for more on that art gallery:

If tabletop gaming is more your thing, there was plenty of that going on in the tabletop gaming lounge.  Up on the roof was pizza and comedy.  Add to that film screenings and a bunch of other stuff that we probably didn’t even find, and there’s something for everyone.

If you’re thinking about doing both San Diego Comic Con and Gam3rCon, we wish you all the best.  Both are great and worth checking out.  As a pretty active guy in his 30s, I was hurting after packing both into one day.  If they were staggered by a week or two, I would have loved spending more time at both.  Yeah, I know, cry me a river, right?

Regardless, I’m stoked that there is one more gaming option in Southern California.  Best of all, this small, independent gaming con is thriving!  Game on!

Check out the gallery below for a closer look at Gam3rCon.

NES Marathon Round 3

Ready for another 24 hours of NES madness?!  Yup, Pat the NES Punk & his fearless sidekick Ian are gearing up for their third NES Marathon!  As per usual, donations benefit Child’s Play Charity.  It goes without saying that we at VideoGameMuseum.com love two things: the NES & watching Pat suffer!

It’s with those goals in mind that we’re returning as a sponsor, and we invite you to make a donation and to tune in as well.  Please join us this Saturday, October 20, 2012 at 3 PM EST/12 PM PST for the 3rd Annual NES Marathon!