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.

 

Weirdest N64 GameShark Repair Ever

It’s hard to imagine a stranger repair than this!  But it worked for us, and I’m still scratching my head.

If you have a Nintendo 64 GameShark (version 3.3) that won’t boot up, here’s a quick and easy trick that might repair it.  You’ll need a working GameShark of the same version.
http://amzn.to/2kUkM43

***Before you start, verify that your bad GameShark displays the number “8” as ours did in the video.  There are lots of things that can go wrong with these devices, so make sure your issue matches ours.***

***Proceed at your own risk.***

Step 1–Bottom:  Insert the working GameShark into your system.
Step 2–Middle:  Insert the bad GameShark into the top of the working one.
Step 3–Top:  Insert a compatible game into the top of both GameSharks.
Step 4:  Boot up your system.

Pardon the grainy footage.  We actually filmed this about 10 years ago and had forgotten about the footage.  I hope this helps unlock some of your bricked GameSharks.

Best of luck & happy retro gaming!

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!

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.

Adding a Dreamcast Kiosk to the Collection

Dreamcast Kiosk (1)

Regret is a powerful motivator for collectors.

Back in 2007, I spotted an abandoned Dreamcast kiosk along the side of the road.  I seriously debated throwing it in my Honda Accord and taking it back to my tiny beach apartment.  Space for surfboards and a fear of scaring my new female roommate won out.  Unfortunately, I kept driving.  I’ve been kicking myself ever since.

Since then, with 200+ titles in my beloved Dreamcast collection, I’d been scouring eBay and Craigslist for just such a gem.  Unfortunately, these often pop up out of state, and shipping would cost as much or more than the kiosk is worth.

Several weeks ago, lady luck looked down on me.  Sure enough, a listing popped up on eBay, and it was here in San Diego!  I quickly messaged the seller about local pickup options and then realized that he might also be listing it on Craigslist.  Sure enough, it was on Craigslist too, and we were able to arrange the sale.  Best part about buying locally was that I was able to connect with another fellow collector.

Ok, let’s take a look at this fantastic store display unit!

If you’re a stickler for details, I believe these units originally had white controllers.  However, I think it looks great with the translucent ones.

Dreamcast Kiosk Dreamcast Kiosk (2)

The gaming unit sits on the top of a custom base that interlocks with the main unit by a series of metal tabs and a machine screw.  It’s no big deal that this screw was missing as I easily found an appropriate screw in our workshop.

Dreamcast Kiosk Base Stand (1) Dreamcast Kiosk Base Stand (9) Dreamcast Kiosk Base Stand (8) Dreamcast Kiosk Base Stand (7) Dreamcast Kiosk Base Stand (5) Dreamcast Kiosk Base Stand (4) Dreamcast Kiosk Base Stand (3) Dreamcast Kiosk Base Stand (2)

You can see how the metal tabs on the top of the stand slide into the base of the top unit.

Dreamcast Kiosk Base Stand Locking Connection (1) Dreamcast Kiosk Base Stand Locking Connection (2)

I removed the back of the kiosk to take a look inside and to clean it up.

Dreamcast Kiosk Back Shell (5) Dreamcast Kiosk Back Shell (4) Dreamcast Kiosk Back Shell (3) Dreamcast Kiosk Back Shell (2)

What’s surprising is that inside the unit is a standard Samsung TXH1370 CRT TV.  For a VGA-capable system, it seems like the kiosk should have been designed to included a computer monitor or a nicer TV to show off the insane graphic potential of this system.  The system plugs directly into the TV with just the standard composite video cable and mono sound.  The unit doesn’t seem to feature an external power switch.  Instead, you simply power on the kiosk by plugging in its 4-receptacle power strip / surge protector.  Each receptacle is used for the following: Dreamcast console, TV, left fan, right fan.

Dreamcast Kiosk Back TV (4) Dreamcast Kiosk Back TV (3) Dreamcast Kiosk Back TV (2) Dreamcast Kiosk Back TV (1) Dreamcast Kiosk Back Power Strip

The Dreamcast system is accessible through a removable plexiglass door on the front of the system (see below for more info).  The base of the compartment is recessed for controller cable routing and for the machine screw that interconnects the top unit to the stand.  The TV’s controls are hidden by a plastic flap.

Dreamcast Kiosk Compartment (2) Dreamcast Kiosk Compartment (3) Dreamcast Kiosk Compartment (4) Dreamcast Kiosk Compartment TV Controls

The system itself sits on a metal tray which raises the system up about a half an inch from the compartment floor.  This helps to nicely hide the cords and keeps the system firmly in place.  There is still plenty of room in the compartment for switching out games.

Dreamcast Kiosk Compartment Console Tray (1) Dreamcast Kiosk Compartment Console Tray (2) Dreamcast Kiosk Compartment Console Tray (4) Dreamcast Kiosk Compartment Console Tray (3) Dreamcast Kiosk Compartment Console Tray (5) Dreamcast Kiosk Compartment Console Tray (6) Dreamcast Kiosk Compartment Console Tray (7)

The Dreamcast kiosk is notorious for super loud exhaust fans.  I pulled out one of the fans to clean it, and due to age the plastic was brittle enough that it cracked.  It sounds like I have a great excuse to put in a quieter fan!  Just for reference, the original fan is a Comair Rotron Sprite Model SU2A5 and is 115 volts requiring AC power.

Dreamcast Kiosk Fans (2) Dreamcast Kiosk Fans (1) Dreamcast Kiosk Dreamcast Kiosk Fan Replacement (5)  Dreamcast Kiosk Fan Replacement (4) Dreamcast Kiosk Fan Replacement (3) Dreamcast Kiosk Fan Replacement (2)

Unfortunately, the kiosk didn’t come with the original plexiglass door.  Instead, mine came with a piece of hand-cut, flat acrylic.  I was curious what the original piece looked like, and the seller was able to show me one instantly.  Funny enough, he actually had two Dreamcast kiosks at the time!  Collectors are the best sort of nuts!  I photographed the original door in comparison to my replacement piece.  If you happen to have one of these for sale, please let me know.

Dreamcast Kiosk Plexiglass Door (5) Dreamcast Kiosk Plexiglass Door (4) Dreamcast Kiosk Plexiglass Door (3) Dreamcast Kiosk Plexiglass Door (1)

Regret is a powerful motivator for collectors.  After six years of kicking myself about “the one that got away,” my eyes have happy Dreamcast swirls as I gaze on my kiosk.

In case it isn’t already 100% clear, I love retro gaming advertising and display items!   If you or a friend have an old kiosk, promo sign, poster, etc, please let me know.  I’d love to take a look at it and to chat with you about it.

Happy retro gaming!

Gaming at the 2013 San Diego Fair

San Diego Fair Sign Custom (1)Game On Gaming Area (13)Star Trek Captain Kirk's Chair Tribble

If you live in the San Diego area and love gaming, today is the last day to Game On at the San Diego Fair!  Besides all the rides, great food, pig races, and other goofy fair stuff, this year’s theme was perfect for us electronically minded folks.

Our favorite part?

Collections!  Little did we know that the Fair allows people to display their collections.

Hand-made Items!  Created by adults and students, we were blown away by the talent and creativity of these gaming-inspired creations.

Retro Arcade!  Let’s be honest, shouldn’t every fair have a retro arcade?

 

Replacing N64 Controller’s Joystick with Original Styled Replacement

If you’ve owned and loved an N64, you probably have a few worn out joysticks.  In addition to our GameCube-styled replacement N64 joystick, we’ve found an option that feels and looks a lot more like the original.

If you’ve seen our other N64 joystick repair video, this process is pretty similar.  Here’s another great option!  It’s made by RepairBox and seems to have a solid design. The installation is still super easy.  Just make sure you have a Philips Head screwdriver handy and about 10 minutes of time.

Just let us know if you have questions, comments or any thoughts on this model of joystick.  Best of luck, and happy retro gaming!

Find one of these RepairBox joysticks on Amazon.

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

Nintendo 64-Joystick-RepairBox-Replacement-Part

N64-Joystick-RepairBox-Comparison