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ozzuneoj
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Re: Retro console gaming

Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:25 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
Something pretty crazy that recently popped up - chip tunes that you can play on the actual chips:

https://catskullelectronics.com/YM2017

It's a Genesis/MegaDrive cartridge with the music burned on the ROM. There are samples at the link above and it's pretty crazy what people have been able to do with the old Yamaha FM synth and Zilog Z80. I mean, I knew the Genesis could pump out the tunes. Yuzo Koshiro and Tommy Tallarico could do it in their games, but it's fun to see people taking a stab at it.

I'm sure it won't run well on Genesis clone hardware, though. :lol:


That is AMAZING. The sound of the old synth chips is a huge part of what draws me to vintage games. I actually obtained all of the proper chips (with the help of some awesome people online) to upgrade an original Sound Blaster 2.0 CT1350B with the CMS upgrade just so I could hear the music on games (and .cms files!) that supported it. I hope some day to put together a DOS system built specifically to support as many of the unique game music devices from the 80s and 90s as possible. I'm most of the way there, with the prohibitively expensive ones still left out (Gravis Ultrasound variants... I don't think too many games were built for these cards, but they were pretty great for mod tracker music).

More on topic though, I picked up one of the earlier (not the very first) SEGA Genesis models last year and its incredible just how crisp and clear the music sounds when you hook up some nice speakers to the headphone output on the front of the system. I have mine hooked up to a really nice old JVC receiver I use to power the huge floor speakers I built. Sonic the Hedgehog never sounded so good! :lol:

Some of the best, most atmospheric, video game music, in my opinion, was on the SNES. Shadowrun had awesome music.
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bthylafh
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Re: Retro console gaming

Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:35 am

I was curious about that CMS upgrade, and here's a Youtube video showing differences between that and some other sound systems on Monkey Island:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fr-84mjV3CI

Now I see why you wanted that upgrade.
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Re: Retro console gaming

Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:43 am

bthylafh wrote:
I was curious about that CMS upgrade, and here's a Youtube video showing differences between that and some other sound systems on Monkey Island:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fr-84mjV3CI

Now I see why you wanted that upgrade.


Good choice, I absolutely adore that theme. Some great covers of it out there too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etlcOJohqOM
 
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Re: Retro console gaming

Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:45 am

That kind of stuff is why I coveted a Gravis Ultrasound when I was in high school. Never did get one, and that was a bummer. I did have "The Gravis Ultrasound Experience" CD, and it was pretty cool, but I wanted my own. :D

That Roland MT-32, though. :o It sounds like what they used to make the Sega CD version of the game.
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Re: Retro console gaming

Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:22 am

Capcom is "re-releasing" Street Fighter II to mark the series' 30th anniversary. Kind of. By re-releasing, I mean they're selling a very limited number of reproduction SNES carts containing Street Fighter II - The World Warrior. It's a weird choice, but The World Warrior was a 12 megabit cartridge (the ROM is 1536KB) where Street Fighter II Turbo was 16 megabit and Super Street Fighter II was 32 megabit. So this is probably cheaper.

And, oh yeah, Capcom and the repro manufacturer are warning that your SNES might catch fire.
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Re: Retro console gaming

Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:55 pm

bthylafh wrote:
I do emulation, generally. I've only kept a few of my NES and SNES cartridges and both my NES units have bum cart connectors that I can't be arsed to fix. I've got a RetroPie-based emulator box hooked to the TV and several emus on my PC; on the latter I mainly use higan and Nestopia Undead Edition. Higan's one of the few programs that will really make my i5-2500K sweat and demands at least some overclocking to run smoothly.

I've got one of those iBuffalo controllers for my daughter, which IMO feels better than my two original SNES controllers... come to think of it, they could stand a disassembly and cleaning.


This day and age playing old games is hard due to all the old school hardware and wires but this guy above has got it right, Emulators are the way forward
 
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Re: Retro console gaming

Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:39 am

TRB wrote:
This day and age playing old games is hard due to all the old school hardware and wires but this guy above has got it right, Emulators are the way forward


Screw emulators, bring on the FPGAs! The RetroUSB AVS and Analogue NT Mini both clone the entire NES/Famicom hardware with an FPGA, so they can get absolutely perfect hardware-accurate results, but with built in HDMI output.

I look forward to the day when an FPGA powerful enough to run SNES and Mega Drive level systems is affordable to consumers. A single FPGA system capable of emulating any 8/16 bit system with 100% accuracy would be my dream.
 
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Re: Retro console gaming

Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:53 am

There's an unofficial firmware for the NT Mini created by the FPGA programmer (who goes by kevtris) that will emulate just about any 8-bit console and play ROMs off the SD card.

Unfortunately the NT Mini uses a huge block of aluminum for the shell. Replace that with decent ABS and drop the price $100 and we'll talk.

My issue with emulation on my HDMI-equipped TV is lag. I need a TV with less latency to the screen. Even my PC mouse has noticeable lag. that's what I get for buying a cheap TV I guess.
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ozzuneoj
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Re: Retro console gaming

Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:28 am

derFunkenstein wrote:
My issue with emulation on my HDMI-equipped TV is lag. I need a TV with less latency to the screen. Even my PC mouse has noticeable lag. that's what I get for buying a cheap TV I guess.

Display lag and motion blur are the final problems to solve with emulation and retro gaming IMO.

I still think if someone produced retro-gaming focused CRT displays again they'd be very popular. With a whole house full of LED bulbs, slim TVs and everything else that's super efficient and tiny, surely people would be willing to sacrifice a little power and space for an improved retro gaming experience. :p
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Re: Retro console gaming

Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:39 am

I could probably halve the latency by getting a TV with a proper "Game" mode that turns off all the post-processing and just puts what's sent to it on the screen. And at that point I'd probably be fine. For now I have a CRT but let's be honest, that's a dying trend.

Even a 27" 1080p monitor that's made for PCs as opposed to being a TV is probably a good upgrade. I could get one with a VGA port and connect my Dreamcast that way instead of by S-Video.
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Re: Retro console gaming

Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:00 pm

This thread easily caught my attention, given how I'm really into retro gaming these days. I still have some old consoles here like my PS1, Saturn and Megadrive (I don't live in the US). I only managed to save the consoles themselves for nostalgia's sake; no games, cables, controllers. So pathetic. I'll never understand why I lost those things.

I play Sega Megadrive games quite a bit these days using Gens+. Streets of Rage series FTW!! I dunno why but when it comes to those old console emulators I play Megadrive games practically exclusively. I should really start playing NES/SNES titles again but too many NES titles are impossible to finish.

Speaking of retro gaming, check out The Angry Video Game Nerd (AVGN) channel on YouTube. The guy's one in a million.
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Re: Retro console gaming

Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:55 pm

ronch wrote:
Streets of Rage series FTW!!

Absolutely. There's something magical and addictive about the simple-to-learn but tough-to-master gameplay and intoxicating beats of these games. SoR2 is in my top-5 MD/Genesis games, easily, with Shining Force, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Cool Spot (yes it's a 7-Up commercial, but the game itself is super fun and the soundtrack is amazing), and Street Fighter II.

I wish the Japanese version of Bare Knuckle III (the name of the game in Japan) had come to the rest of the world un-modified. The US market (maybe European too?) got a MUCH more difficult Streets of Rage 3, and stupid graphical changes that do nothing to make the visuals any better. Axel in a yellow shirt and black jeans? C'mon, son.

I've been playing an English translation of the Japanese ROM, which has a very different (and more coherent) story and the original difficulty level. It's really super good.

If you're inclined to hook up the old Mega Drive, get a Mega Everdrive from Krikzz. I have the X5 and it ran me around $90 USD. I have carts, but between dead batteries (which I learned to solder this summer!) and the second-hand market's prices being basically out of control, I just couldn't bring myself to pay a lot of money. I'm not going to feel bad about pirating games for systems that are 20+ years old. Even my Saturn falls in that category - I flashed an Action Replay Plus with Pseudo Saturn and now it plays CD-Rs. My Dreamcast has a USB-GDROM in it, but even then, an original model boots CD-Rs without modification (although it takes a bit of software trickery to do it)
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derFunkenstein
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Re: Retro console gaming

Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:10 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
I could probably halve the latency by getting a TV with a proper "Game" mode that turns off all the post-processing and just puts what's sent to it on the screen. And at that point I'd probably be fine. For now I have a CRT but let's be honest, that's a dying trend.

Even a 27" 1080p monitor that's made for PCs as opposed to being a TV is probably a good upgrade. I could get one with a VGA port and connect my Dreamcast that way instead of by S-Video.

Coming back to this for a moment, I found this on Newegg, and it'd be just about perfect, including a speaker output for my soundbar that's currently not being used.
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ozzuneoj
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Re: Retro console gaming

Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:55 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
derFunkenstein wrote:
I could probably halve the latency by getting a TV with a proper "Game" mode that turns off all the post-processing and just puts what's sent to it on the screen. And at that point I'd probably be fine. For now I have a CRT but let's be honest, that's a dying trend.

Even a 27" 1080p monitor that's made for PCs as opposed to being a TV is probably a good upgrade. I could get one with a VGA port and connect my Dreamcast that way instead of by S-Video.

Coming back to this for a moment, I found this on Newegg, and it'd be just about perfect, including a speaker output for my soundbar that's currently not being used.

I like BenQ monitors and I can vouch for the color quality of their VA panels. I've purchased a couple and they look very nice.

If you can still find an XL27020Z though, that's what I have and it is excellent for retro gaming since it supports a strobing backlight at 60Hz. This means, CRT-like motion clarity without having to have a source running at 120Hz. I think its still the only monitor that can do this.

https://forums.blurbusters.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1171

Personally, I'd sacrifice the color quality of a VA panel for motion clarity if gaming is the primary use (especially lots of side-scrolling 2D games).

Its too bad these are so hard to find now. I bought mine refurbished last year for about $250 and its been wonderful. Sure, I wish it was VA rather than TN, but the speed and clarity is amazing.

EDIT: https://www.benqdirect.com/xl2720z-refurb.html

Only three left. IMO, if you can even remotely justify the price, its worth it. Once these are gone, they're gone. It also has aspect ratio controls that allow you to change the size of the image without distorting the image. Its very handy for old games. This monitor combined with a high speed video transcoder (to go to VGA or HDMI) is basically the best replacement you can get for a CRT. I don't have such a device myself, but using this monitor with a VGA cable for old computers is surprisingly nice vs a standard LCD.
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Re: Retro console gaming

Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:41 pm

I've always been afraid of strobing because I already get motion sickness and headaches from things like riding in the car as a passenger. De-ghosting would be a super benefit, though...

To be a little more clear this would be for my RetroPie, not for the old consoles.
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Re: Retro console gaming

Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:59 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
I've always been afraid of strobing because I already get motion sickness and headaches from things like riding in the car as a passenger. De-ghosting would be a super benefit, though...

To be a little more clear this would be for my RetroPie, not for the old consoles.

Do you experience any discomfort when using a CRT monitor at 60Hz or a standard CRT TV? If not, a strobed LCD will actually be a little easier on the eyes. Plus, its configurable via a Windows app (Blur Busters Strobe Utility) so you can set it up in Windows and the settings will apply on any devices using any inputs (even after moving it to another location).

Emulators on a PC are a perfect use case for this (outside of high frame rate gaming).
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Re: Retro console gaming

Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:19 pm

Nah, my 60Hz CRT is fine, so if that's the case I'll have to consider it. It's 2X the price of what I was looking at, so it'll take some thought, but maybe.
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Re: Retro console gaming

Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:47 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
Nah, my 60Hz CRT is fine, so if that's the case I'll have to consider it. It's 2X the price of what I was looking at, so it'll take some thought, but maybe.


Like I said, if the price is somewhat doable and you're the kind of person that actually notices the one or two benefits a CRT has over modern LCD\OLED displays, it's a good investment. All the newer models of this monitor are unable to do 60hz strobing, and only some ULMB displays can be tricked to allow it with custom resolutions (which is obviously only going to work in Windows).

Upon reading a little more, I guess I was mistaken in that the flicker is probably slightly more pronounced (depending on settings) vs a CRT due to the differences in phosphor decay and the scanning motion of a CRT vs the full screen strobe of a monitor like this. Still, I think it'd be worth it to try it for yourself. If it doesn't work out, the monitor will probably worth MORE later, unless we have some massive change in display technology suddenly.

The thing that sold me on displays like this was remembering that games were designed to be played on CRTs up until maybe 2004 (just a guess). An LCD (that doesn't strobe) is never going to provide the same level of motion clarity that the designers intended. In 3D games this isn't as big of a problem (textures are filtered and there's a lot more movement in the scene), but in 2D games with high contrast pixel-art, scrolling backgrounds become smears of color that were never intended to look this way. This simply doesn't happen on a CRT or strobed LCD.

This is why I have two decent old CRTs in storage in my attic knee wall, a 21" CRT on my work bench and a strobing monitor on my main PC.
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Re: Retro console gaming

Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:21 pm

Just FYI, there's a sale right now on the BenQ xl2720z refurbs (as well as other models):
https://www.benqdirect.com/xl2720z-refurb.html

Apparently if you use the code SEPT15 it brings the price down under $250.

They seem to be going in and out of stock.
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Re: Retro console gaming

Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:50 am

I was on a retro gaming kick a few months ago. Since I lost my consoles long long ago, I've been using emulators for years. For PS2 I use pcsx2, for Sega I use Kega Fusion. Think I was using RetroArch for NES but didn't spend too much time on that.

The game that got me hooked (again, 20 years later) was the Genesis version of Shadowrun. OMG is it the greatest game ever (for its time). I literally got sucked in to the point that I beat it twice all the way through and started a third. Also played some Streets of Rage, various Mario and Sonic games, Paperboy, etc. But really just Shadowrun :) On PS2 I've actually been ripping iso's of the games I own to back them up. I occasionally will play Tokyo Xtreme Racer or Gladius. Gave FF12 a weekend of my life too.

My system is a brand spankin new HTPC with an i5-76t00k, 960 EVO and EVGA 1060. It (obviously) handles pretty much any emulator and setting I throw at it, even PS2 games with a mounted .iso. I use an xbox controller (I think it's an xbo360 controller), which I find pretty dang comfortable. My display is a Pioneer Kuro plasma, which has very little input lag. From what I understand, plasmas are typically a lot better than LCDs in this regard; unfortunately it's just about impossible to find a plasma these days that isn't 10 years old.

Would love to get into some more old games but my Steam backlog is getting miles long. Not enough time in the day/week/month/year/lifetime
 
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Re: Retro console gaming

Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:32 pm

Reading the Atari Age forums and seeing people who are contemplating MAKING A LINE OUTSIDE OF BEST BUY to buy the SNES Classic Mini tomorrow morning has me all like <O_o>
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Re: Retro console gaming

Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:52 pm

Right? People are crazy.
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Re: Retro console gaming

Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:46 am

To bring closure to that though, lots of people on those forums reporting they had no problem getting one. I might pop by Gamestop and Walmart at lunch today, because they're cute. Only 21 games, though, and not necessarily everything I'd want to play on the platform.
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Re: Retro console gaming

Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:50 am

#include "retropie.h"

though that's not everyone's cuppa, of course.
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Re: Retro console gaming

Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:51 am

Yeah, I built one last year and I've been put off by the input lag. I tried RetroPie and Lakka (which is basically RetroArch-as-a-shell) and neither one of them gave me that instantaneous feeling, even when plugged into my PC monitor. Emulators on a proper PC or an OG Xbox are the only things that have come close. I have some jumps in different Mario and Sonic games forever burned into my brain. I can make them on a real console or on the Xbox. I can't make them on a RetroPie - I fall off the edge.

So I mean, it's fine, but it's not a plug-and-play thing and it's not well-suited to action games. If you want to play some Final Fantasy it's sufficient, though. People don't put up with latency in their PC gaming. There's no reason they should put up with it in a small retro box, either.
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Re: Retro console gaming

Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:10 am

bthylafh wrote:
Right? People are crazy.

Maybe it depends on how valuable their time is? I imagine there's at least a small profit from buying a few and then re-listing them on Ebay.
 
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Re: Retro console gaming

Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:59 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
I built one last year and I've been put off by the input lag.


I finally got around to cleaning my SNES controllers and now I'm seeing what you mean: not all of the mushy controls was caused by a quarter-century of gunk built up inside them.

It was interesting to see the differences between them. My original from 1991 and the still-official one I bought from a used bookstore a few years ago used rubber domes with different colors and some of the internal arrangements of the shells and circuit boards differed. The second one had a pad on its circuit board labeled something like "P1 Only", for example.
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Re: Retro console gaming

Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:52 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
Yeah, I built one last year and I've been put off by the input lag. I tried RetroPie and Lakka (which is basically RetroArch-as-a-shell) and neither one of them gave me that instantaneous feeling, even when plugged into my PC monitor.

I've been meaning to do some testing on this, but keep procrastinating. I now have several different wired controllers, as well as a fast TN display and an actual CRT TV (which will require an adapter). The question is whether the lag resides in the input device, the display, the actual Pi/Emulator itself, or some combination thereof.

Anyone know what sort of equipment the pros use to get their input lag measurements?
 
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Re: Retro console gaming

Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:22 pm

The Egg wrote:
derFunkenstein wrote:
Yeah, I built one last year and I've been put off by the input lag. I tried RetroPie and Lakka (which is basically RetroArch-as-a-shell) and neither one of them gave me that instantaneous feeling, even when plugged into my PC monitor.

I've been meaning to do some testing on this, but keep procrastinating. I now have several different wired controllers, as well as a fast TN display and an actual CRT TV (which will require an adapter). The question is whether the lag resides in the input device, the display, the actual Pi/Emulator itself, or some combination thereof.

Anyone know what sort of equipment the pros use to get their input lag measurements?


Seems like you need very expensive equipment to get real results per wiki Display Lag Wiki

The lag is likely a combination of what display you're using, the emulator software and hardware. I can tell you that RetroArch running on an i5, wired controller and plasma TV has zero perceptible lag. Like many here, I have certain button combos burned into my brain and muscle memory from playing NES and Gensis as a kid - I've used emulators for years and certainly remember experiencing lag years ago on much less capable hardware. These days, on the right hardware you shouldn't have any lag...I'm guessing the Pi may be the weak link but haven't tried it myself.
 
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Re: Retro console gaming

Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:32 pm

Yeah, on a "real" PC, there's a big difference. I basically can't tell the difference from an input standpoint between real hardware on a CRT and my PC on my monitor. It's an IPS panel and so there's ghosting, but there's not any input lag. But the RPi on the same display I can definitely feel a difference.

Maybe a NUC is the solution to my problem. When my TV detects it's connected to a PC, all the post-processing disappears and it turns out it's super fast. at worst, one frame of difference. The way I measure is hardly scientific, though - my iPhone recording 720p60 with both the controller and the TV in the frame. Too bad I ebayed the parts of my Skylake build when I caught retro fever, because that's the machine I should be using for retro gaming, oddly enough.

BTW if you need a retro-style PC controller, the Hori Fighting Commander has the Sega Genesis/Saturn-style six face buttons and then four shoulder buttons. The outermost face buttons are mapped to R1 and R2, and a hardware switch on the top of the unit lets you decide how the shoulder buttons are mapped. Your options are:

L1, L2, R1, R2
L3, R3, L1, L2

The second option, if you don't mind fiddling with emulator mappings, lets you have 11 total input buttons (counting select/start and the PS button). It's also got a switch to let you switch between PS3, PS4, and PC modes (PC mode works with an Xbox 360, too, because it's an Xbox 360-style XInput device). For systems without analog sticks, it's a great solution. I love mine.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

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