If you drop an Xbox 360 controller, don’t let it land on its bumper buttons. The micro-switches break easily on the inside. They might still work, but need more pressure to be triggered. This problem plagues old Sega Saturn gamepads too.
To open Xbox 360 controllers, you need a special Torx security screwdriver with a hole in the tip, size T8H. If you don’t have this rather unusual screwdriver, you can break the tiny pins in the screws and unscrew them with a regular T8 or T9 Torx screwdriver. Seven screws need to be removed (yellow circles). One of them is hidden behind the white sticker with the barcode and not behind the black sticker where I looked for it first (red circle).
Because the internal storage space (32 kB) is limited sooner or later every PC-FX owner needs a FX-BMP memory backup module (128 kB).
The module is backed by two AAA batteries and has it’s own place behind an access door in the PC-FX front expansion port.
When the internal memory is full some games (e.g. Dragon Knight IV, about 12 kB free space required) refuse to start. Then it’s time to move things around until enough space is available for the game to create an initial save state.
The Bandai Datach Joint ROM System is an add-on for the Nintendo Famicom. It plugs right into the cartridge slot and comes with its own small cartridges. The games are enhanced with barcode cards, similar to the Mattel HyperScan.
The retail package with one include game, Dragon Ball Z: Gekitō Tenkaichi Budokai, is rather easy and cheap to obtain.
Additional games are very rare and even rarer and pricier when the corresponding barcode cards are included. I’ve seen some bootlegs of those games on regular Famicom carts but never tried them so far.
Have you ever wondered how to play (and win!) one of those numerous Mahjong games that exist on almost every game console? I’m not talking about the in the west well known matching game but about the real Chinese or Japanese Mahjong, usually played by four players. If you are not familiar with the Japanese language or characters this is almost impossible because not many translated games exist.
I’ve found two games so far that taught me how to play (and win) in a couple of weeks:
Last year I was tempted to import an expensive and rare official ASCII / Sammy Keyboard Controller for the GameCube, but I’ve found a way cheaper alternative for now: the ebest e-Keyboard Converter for PC/PS2/GC/XBOX. It costs approximately 1-5 EUR and connects a standard PS/2 keyboard to a PC and PlayStation 2 (via USB), GameCube and Xbox (via proprietary connectors). Continue reading Connecting a Keyboard to a GameCube→
In 2006 the Mattel HyperScan was a short lived console with an interesting concept: Enhance a classic videogame with collectible RFID cards. A concept that was picked up in a similar form by the Skylanders games and maybe someday will be used in Nintendo’s new Wii U console.
Playing the games (and scanning cards) can be described as interesting but not as fun. The games seem unfinished and buggy. And then there are the long loading times, a problem already the NeoGeo CD suffered from back in the days.
There were even some first steps with homebrew programs here and here.
In the 80s Sharp made some interesting devices powered by the Nintendo Famicom/NES technology. The less known devices are the Famicom Titler, a video subtitler, and the C1 NES TV/Sharp Nintendo Television, a television set. More common is the Twin Famicom, a console that plays Famicom cartridges and Famicom Disk System Disk Cards (and, with a 72-to-60-pin adaptor, NES cartridges too). This is the black Turbo version AN-505-BK:
For connecting the GameCube to a PSO server I chose the game Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II (US), two flavors were available, v1.01 and die Plus version, both have bugfixes or new features and are superior to the PAL version. In addition most NTSC games can be played in 480p progressive scan mode (hold B when booting the game). There is a High Definition Game Database that lists all video/audio/online features of most games of the last console generation.
Unfortunately US games hate it when PAL save states are on the memory card, you can’t start playing and get stuck in a loop in the settings menu. PSO has at least four save states that are protected and can neither be copied nor moved to another memory card. To play online with my Hunter character of the last decade, I decided to try it with the PAL PSO game. Sadly my character wasn’t there anymore, just a dummy that was used to connect to the disc server. Continue reading Playing Phantasy Star / GameCube Online→