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The Retro Gaming thread


Sideways

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So lately, we've been seeing an increase in the popularity of "retro" gaming. I define retro as any generation of video game consoles that are up to and including the PS2 era. The GameCube, Xbox and PS2 and anything before that are retro in my book.

Having volunteered for a retro gaming convention for a few years, I've managed to get my hands on quite a few "new" systems to me over the past few years, including my Sega Saturn and my Sega CD model 1, as well as a Sega 32x.  (Can you tell I'm a SEGA fan yet? I own 5 Sega Genesis systems - 2 Model 1s, 2 model 2s and a Model 3, as well as both versions of the Sega CD and a 32x, and then my Saturn and the Dreamcast.)

 

Do you have any systems that are of importance to you? I always dreamed of having a Saturn and this year I imported a Japanese Saturn. It needed a lot of work, the CD drive would not read games and the memory chip was defective so I could not save games. I ended up replacing the CD drive and then sending the system to Ohio to have the memory chip replaced - the original one used the CR2032 battery to power it. The new one uses a 5v source and is not dependent on the backup battery anymore, that is used just for the clock now. I took the time to retrobright the shell, Because it had yellowed and looked nasty. But when I put it back together I damaged the ribbon cable from the CD drive to the controller board that plugs into the main board, and had to replace it. Also figured out that you have to orient the cable the right way or it doesn't work.

 

So all is good now and the next thing I'd like to do is replace the bios with a region free so I don't have to use the pseudo Saturn Kai cart to play US and burned games.

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One thing I love is cheap, borderline junk consoles.

image.jpeg.6a3b9b37aa99d672f9f985c69781c00d.jpeg

This bad boy is a Super Famicom I got for £30, with a game and cables. It's beyond yellow, has a rusted sound processor, has holes in it and has been glued together. I love this thing. I think the wear gives it character, it shows how many hands have had it before me. I do wonder how it got the big hole in the front, guess it had a fall? 

On the topic of SEGA, I once got a Mega Drive for £6. I cleaned it up, sold it for £16. What are some good Sega games? I have a reproduction cart of Alien Soldier, never got past the third level. 

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Yeah, that's definitely seen better days, but so did my Saturn when I first got it. I think I ended up paying around $45 total to get it from Japan to me. 

It needed a good cleaning when I got it. And then the CD drive would read audio CDs but not games. I tried cleaning the lens and adjusting the pots and it didn't help. So I ended up just replacing the whole thing.

 

Then I eventually found out it wouldn't save games. The system showed it had 0 memory and upon further inspection, the SRAM chip had a broken trace.

I elected to send the unit to a shop in Ohio who replaced the chip with a less volatile FRAM chip. The original was dependant on the CR2032 battery which powers the clock. If that died, you lost your saves. The new one is hardwired to the console and won't lose saves even without the battery.

I'm probably bringing it with me to our mini convention here this month.

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I've never had good luck fixing consoles. While not retro, once I broke my 3ds. I'll paste the story below:

Quote

I had a Nintendo 3DS, the poor thing served me well, hand-me-down from my aunt. But eventually, the cartridge port gave out. Using my immense intellect, I thought to myself, “Ah, that must be the pins!” so I took a small screwdriver, and attempted to push them back into place. Turns out, pushing metal where it doesn’t belong isn’t too good of an idea! I thought it’d be fine, but I turned on the system to find the bottom screen was black. So, I began opening it up, unclipping the ribbon cable to the bottom screen, but it turns out they’re in a really tight and finicky position. The clips were prone to breaking off, too! I did not end up getting it back together, turns out the black screen was board damage anyways.

But yeah, just haven’t been the luckiest with this kind of stuff. 

From an email I had. Something similar happened with my Switch, stripped the screws and had to give it in for repair. Fan issue, which is strange. My touchscreen doesn't work because of a cartridge port replacement, as well :P. 

 

I never had a Saturn, my mother did but she gave it to her brother, lol. I did see one at this bar/arcade thing, had a whole consoles section. 

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Thanks for this topic - I'm a sucker for hearing about and watching videos on electronics troubleshooting by folks more skilled than I am almost as much as I love retro gaming.

Most of my older consoles are boxed away until I can obtain the space to display them properly, unfortunately. That hasn't stopped me from buying the odd game here and there though. I think the NES and Genesis are my current favorites. I practically grew up with my cousin's hand-me-down Model 2 Genesis and a Streets of Rage cartridge, and the Genesis sound chip just has such a distinct, snazzy sound too. And being fully caught up in AVGN videos circa-2008 likely spurred on my appreciation for the NES.

As for future goals, I'd love to have the chance to play with a Vectrex someday.

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I do like the NES but the games are way too hard for me, lol. I was stuck at the second level of Castlevania for a while. 

On the topic of NES, what do we all think of the NES Championship game that just got announced?

 

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Interesting for sure.

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On 5/8/2024 at 6:23 PM, qwert said:

I do like the NES but the games are way too hard for me, lol. I was stuck at the second level of Castlevania for a while. 

On the topic of NES, what do we all think of the NES Championship game that just got announced

The phrase Nintendo Hard does come from the difficulty of games of that era, after all. :D

I had no idea that Nintendo NES Championship release was a thing. The gold novelty cart is pretty sweet, and I'm definitely a fan of when Nintendo does something different with their vintage games aside from just standard re-releases. The NES remix games were great executions of that concept, and this looks like more of the same with a twist. Color me enthused about it.

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Definitely lol, I was never the best at games.

It is interesting! I never sunk much time into NES Remix, I got a Wii U real late, but I remember liking what I saw. I have seen some concerns with some NES games being "solved" so that'd screw with the leaderboards, but I've never seen a leaderboard that hasn't been exploited to fill it up. Y'know the japanese version of the game comes with a pair of those Switch Famicom controllers, costs quite a bit more of course but it is interesting

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Those Switch Famicom controllers are pretty great. Nintendo puts out some incredible promotional/throwback items sometimes and then proceeds to make them nearly impossible to come by. Hell, for awhile it was an exercise in futility to try to buy a Wii-U or Switch Gamecube controller adapter for Smash Bros.

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I've yet to see one in stock. On eBay I did see some custom Sega Master System controllers, the Master System was popular here but I never imagined THAT popular, lol. Maybe they should bring those game over to switch, even if just for the Sonic ones.

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You want to see something that is hard to come by? Look up the Mad Catz Rock Band 4 legacy adapter sometime. These used to sell for about $30 or $60 when RB4 came out a few years ago, and now they're hard to come by and sell for about $300 to $500. It's crazy. I am glad I got mine when I did.

I picked up a non-working PS2 at the convention i volunteered at for $30. It needs a new disc drive, but it came with 5 games, a controller and even has the networking adapter, which is worth $30 by itself. 

I got it home and played with it a bit. It indeed does not read CDs or DVDs, even after I cleaned the laser lens with isopropyl alcohol. The next step was to attempt to adjust the potentiometers that control the intensity of the laser. With these older systems, adjusting the "pot" on the laser can sometimes help with reading issues but shortens the life of the laser. 

That did not work either.  I have another PS2 that does work and my train of thought was to pull the laser from the working system to measure the values of the pot so I could adjust the other laser to match, but it turns out my working system has a completely different laser in it.

Early PS2 models used a KHS-400B laser, those can be replaced with another 400B or upgraded to a 400C which is more reliable, and those were generally used on newer phat PS2s anyway. 

You cannot replace a 400C laser with a 400B, so I have to replace it with another 400C. My other system uses a KHS-400R, which is a completly different laser and I can't find much information about it. But I can't use that in my 400C system either.

Well, you can, but it requires a homebrew program to mess with the EEPROM of the system to update what the system thinks it should have. I'm not dealing with that nonsense.

 

I disassembled and reassembled both systems only to find my previously working system no longer working. The red standby light no longer was there, and it did not turn green when i pushed the standby button. The blue light for ejecting the disc did not work either, but both buttons worked as intended and the system booted.

It would not read discs. I don't know what I did. I left it alone for about an hour and then came back to it. I reseated the laser on the rails and made sure the ribbon cable was secured and all the way in, and then made sure the disc tray was aligned properly, as it's a pain to get on and off. When i put everything back together, it magically started working again. standby and eject lights returned and it read a disc.

 

So now i just await the new laser for the other system and hopefully that fixes it.

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13 hours ago, Sideways said:

I disassembled and reassembled both systems only to find my previously working system no longer working. The red standby light no longer was there, and it did not turn green when i pushed the standby button. The blue light for ejecting the disc did not work either, but both buttons worked as intended and the system booted.

It would not read discs. I don't know what I did. I left it alone for about an hour and then came back to it. I reseated the laser on the rails and made sure the ribbon cable was secured and all the way in, and then made sure the disc tray was aligned properly, as it's a pain to get on and off. When i put everything back together, it magically started working again. standby and eject lights returned and it read a disc.

There's nothing worse than disassembling a functional device, putting it back together, and having to stare at it dumbfounded as it proceeds to be dead as a doornail. Glad that you were able to get it going again. Interesting info on the generations of PS2 lasers too - I'll have to give my fat PS2 a look sometime to see what it has. I don't remember what year I got it for Christmas, but I'd like to think it was either '01 or '02.

Speaking of MadCatz, I stumbled across this video recently that was like a trip down memory lane. Though the poster is fairly critical of most of MadCatz's stuff, he does mention the difficulty in locating most of their controllers and accessories toward the end of  the video.

 

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7 hours ago, CrypticQuery said:

There's nothing worse than disassembling a functional device, putting it back together, and having to stare at it dumbfounded as it proceeds to be dead as a doornail. 

I get what you mean, lol. I've talked about my 3ds here, but I've had horrible luck with technology in general. I took it apart, put it back together and the bottom screen's display stopped working. I have a nasty habit of not doing this at a desk, so I end up losing screwss as well. I shouldn't tinker with things :P

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On 5/21/2024 at 10:38 AM, CrypticQuery said:

There's nothing worse than disassembling a functional device, putting it back together, and having to stare at it dumbfounded as it proceeds to be dead as a doornail. Glad that you were able to get it going again. Interesting info on the generations of PS2 lasers too - I'll have to give my fat PS2 a look sometime to see what it has. I don't remember what year I got it for Christmas, but I'd like to think it was either '01 or '02.

Speaking of MadCatz, I stumbled across this video recently that was like a trip down memory lane. Though the poster is fairly critical of most of MadCatz's stuff, he does mention the difficulty in locating most of their controllers and accessories toward the end of  the video.

 

There are actually a few different "versions" of the phat PS2, and it makes a difference in what's in the console. There's a website with information on how to tell them apart. I have a V4 PS2 and I can tell by the serial number as well the fact it has 8 instead of 10 screws holes on the bottom and there is an electrical warning stamped on the underside of the case too. 

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