Coleco Chameleon to Relaunch on Kickstarter at Lower Price

The Coleco Chameleon originally launched as the Retro VGS and embarked on a very ambitious Indiegogo campaign. Its creators tried to produce a new console which uses cartridges and appeals to retro collectors. Furthermore, the Retro VGS didn’t incorporate any online functionality, or community features like achievements. Instead, it was designed to offer a retro gaming experience via unique old school gameplay and impressive artwork. However, the project’s target of $1.95 million was frankly absurd and revolved around a minimum entry price of $350. This was absolutely laughable given the device’s mediocre specification and unknown software support.

As you can imagine, this didn’t bode well and the project only amassed $63,546. Eventually, the console was re-branded after an internal re-design and acquisition of the Coleco license. On another note, Piko Interactive, famous for releasing new games on older systems has pledged their support for the console and will release a number of intriguing games. As a result, the Chameleon is already building a small library which encourages consumers to be early adopters. Clearly the biggest hurdle is the device’s price which deterred many people from investing.

Recently, the team announced a complete overhaul of their pricing structure and the console will cost $135 for the first 1500 backers. This is a discount of 10% compared to the later models which retail for $150. This is a major reduction in price and probably down to a better production line or cheaper source of components. Also, they might have underestimated how difficult it is to acquire funding for a console without any history, or powerful branding behind it. Despite the new price, some retro enthusiasts are not convinced and feel it’s a flawed idea. A friend of mine, who’s a huge retro gaming expert told me this about the product:

Another major error is they asked for a huge amount of money on Indiegogo. Kickstarter is usually the best place to pitch ideas with large targets because it’s a more well-known platform. This time the Chameleon is going to relaunch on Kickstarter on February 26th. Although, we don’t know what the team’s targets are.

Image courtesy of The Verge 

Japanese Gamer Left SNES Powered On For 20 Years to Preserve Saved Game

Nearly five years ago, I dug out the old SNES to satisfy my hankering for some classic Mario. After a few hours of playing Super Mario World, I saved my game, intending to return to it later that evening. I turned the console back on to find that, 22 years after it was first purchase, the battery within the Super Mario All-Stars cartridge had depleted, leaving my game unsaved. I played anyway, resorting to leaving the Super Nintendo on overnight so that I could continue – and complete – the game without losing my progress.

One Japanese gamer, though, has taken that idea to the extreme, leaving his Super Famicom (the Japanese moniker for the SNES) on for over 20 years. Twitter user Wanikun posted a photo of his Super Famicom, powered on, revealing in a caption that the system had been that way for more than two decades to ensure he did not lose his progress on platformer Umihara Kawase after the internal battery that powered the SRAM died.

Wanikun’s Super Famicom has been on for somewhere around 180,000 hours. It was unplugged only once, to move house, but Wanikun was able to rush the console to his new place and plug it in again before the internal power entirely dissipated, according to RocketNews24.

That’s one way to do it. I just bought a set of Torx screwdrivers and a new battery in the end.

See the Never-Released Nintendo Play Station in Action!

The PlayStation 4 is winning the console war, consistently outselling the Xbox One and Wii U, but had a particular historical curiosity progressed as intended, things could be so much different. Back in the late Eighties, Nintendo approached Sony to produce a CD add-on for the Super Nintendo console, which relied on en vogue cartridges. Sony, at the time not interested in entering the games market alone, agreed to develop the hardware, previewing the result at the 1991 Consumer Electrics Show. The prototype, dubbed the “Play Station”, was a combination of Nintendo’s SNES console and Sony’s SPC 700, which ran SNES-CDs. However, a breakdown in licensing agreements meant that the hardware was never released, leaving Sony with the genesis of its own game platform, leading to the release of the Sony PlayStation in 1994.

Earlier this year, the son of Terry Diebold revealed on reddit that his father had found the prototype Nintendo SNES PlayStation console (the space between “Play” and “Station” now absent), previously thought to have been destroyed. While many branded the machine a fake, Diebold insisted that it was genuine, revealing that “one of the guys he used to work with, I think his name was Olaf [Olafsson, former CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment], used to work at Nintendo and when my dads [sic] company went bankrupt, my dad found it in a box of “junk” he was supposed to throw out.”

Engadget was granted some time with the SNES Play Station, and has confirmed that if it’s a fake, it’s a damned good one. While the CD drive is not functional – not surprising considering its age – the rest of the console is fully operational and capable of playing SNES cartridges.

Terry Diebold himself has elaborated on this curious story, telling Engadget: “The company I worked for, Advanta Corporation [a banking company], they filed for bankruptcy (November 8th, 2009). When they did that, we purged the buildings. What you do is you take pictures, you itemise, and then they had an online auction. And I had gotten into the auction myself because there were a few things I wanted to buy.”

Diebold had already earmarked the SNES PlayStation prototype as an item of interest and made sure to track it during the auction. “So I knew what were in certain lots,” he said. “And when they called out the certain lot number, I raised my panel and I ended up winning it. You want to hear the ridiculous price? $75.”

Nintendo No Longer Bringing Back SNES Games to New Consoles?

One of the greatest features of the newer Nintendo consoles of the last couple of generations, has been their efforts to bring classic games from consoles such as the SNES and the Game Boy to their emulated platforms via the consoles app stores. However, after 9-years of doing so, it seems Nintendo are going to stop focusing on the much older formats, despite fans demanding more titles from them, in favour for the “newer” classic consoles.

Natsume said that Nintendo has moved on from publishing games from the original Game Boy and SNES, which is a shame, but also not especially surprising at the same time. With various Nintendo DS consoles, as well as their N64, Gamecube and Wii, there is certainly no shortage of Nintendo games to keep us happy, but even the 3DS virtual console hasn’t had any new releases since February.

Which classic Nintendo games would you like to see ported to the Wii U virtual console? Let’s us know in the comments section below.

Thank you Arstechnica for providing us with this information.

Twitch Streamer Uses Xbox Rock Band Guitar on Bloodborn

What do you get when you mix a Xbox 360 Rock Band 1 Guitar controller with a PS4 version of Bloodborne? Well, a bit of a headache getting it to work at first, but eventually an epic ‘Guitarborne’ gameplay video, as Twitch streamer bearzly names it.

It looks like the guy really has some crazy ideas up his sleeves, but at the same time, they are most entertaining to watch. Also, the Guitarborne stream is not his first, according to his Twitch profile. He has performed many ‘terrible controllers’ runs of different games, but mostly Dark Souls, as he states he is a huge fan of the Souls series.

Aside from his latest Guitarborne video, he appears to have made a Drum Borne (drum controller), piano controller, one finger, Wiimote & Nunchucks and Bongo Souls (bongo controller) videos. Other videos he has in the planning stages include controllers such as the DDR Pad, Maracas, Katana, N64, SNES, Powerglove and Kinect.

Twitch users can also suggest him other crazy controllers and have him try to make an epic video out of them. At present, the hardest controller he used to play on and stream with is the piano Rock Band 3 controller, experiencing a lot of problems with running straight on the thing. Still, the videos are epic!

Watch some of his videos, including the Guitarborne one, below:

If you want to watch more of his videos, head on over to his Twitch profile. What do you think? Have any crazy controller ideas in mind?

Image courtesy of IGN

Man Plays Super Mario World by Putting a Recorder up His Nose

A man known as Wakou, user of Japanese video sharing site NicoNico, has uploaded a video in which he plays SNES classic Super Mario World by blowing into a recorder with his nose.

Wakou mapped each button function to a particular note using a program called Audio Pad. Each note is converted into an action. For example, E is jump, D is left, and F is right. Although Wakou is able-bodied, and the sight of him playing a musical instrument through his nose is quite comical, the technique could well inspire another way to help disabled people to play games.

Source: Kotaku

Scientists Turn Mario into an Artificial Intelligence

Scientists from the University of Tübingen in Germany have made Mario, star of the Super Mario games, self-aware, able to think, talk, and learn. The project, called ‘Mario Lives!’, was created to compete in the annual competition run by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), and is a modification of the Super Nintendo classic Super Mario World.

As one of the researchers explains, “As most of you know, this is Mario. But what you do not know is that this Mario has become aware of himself and his environment – at least to a certain extent.”

Mario is aware of his environment and has his own internal emotive states. He can also be externally influenced by the research team, so when told that he shouldn’t feel happy, Mario responds, “Somehow, I feel less happy.” Mario is later asked what he learned after jumping on a Goomba. He answers, “If I jump on Goomba, then it maybe dies.”

The AAAI Video Competition 2015: People’s Choice Award takes place on 29th January in Austin, Texas.

Source: Science Alert

SNES Emulator Sneaks Onto iOS App Store

Emulators are banned on the iOS App Store, but on a few rare occasions, emulators and other banned apps sneak past Apple’s reviewers and onto the store. That has happened again, this time with a SNES emulator disguised as a file manager.

Floppy Cloud just looks like a fairly innocuous file manager, but if you just so happen to load a SNES or NES ROM file into the app, you can actually play it. Touch Arcade were the first to report the hidden feature.

“It’s masquerading as a file management app, which technically lets you manage your files, but if you let it “manage” a .nes NES ROM or a .smc Super Nintendo ROM in a very special way: It’ll load right up inside of the appropriate emulator. Both iCade and MFi controllers are supported too, making this a particularly sweet find for someone who owns any kind of controller accessory.”

As Cult of Mac points out, Apple’s head offices practically completely shut down for the entire week of Christmas, meaning it could be a while before Apple gets around to deleting it.

However, if you are interested in getting some retro Nintendo action on your un-jailbroken iOS device, you I suggest you download it as soon as you can from here.

Source: Touch Arcade Via: Cult of Mac

 

Is Emulation the Best Feature of the Nvidia Shield?

Introduction


Emulation is a popular pass time for many PC gamers, and in recent year there has been a big increase in GPU horsepower in the mobile market, allowing us to enjoy many classic games on the go, not just  on our desktops. The Nvidia Shield is one of the most powerful mobile gaming devices on the market, and this is especially thanks to its Nvidia Tegra 4 GPU/CPU, which is not only capable of running many older games such as those from the Super Nintendo and Mega Drive, but also a lot more advanced 3D titles from consoles such as the Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast and more. What I hope to find out today is whether or not these games work well enough to justify using the Nvidia Shield as a dedicated emulation device.

Obviously there are some grey area legal issues when it comes to emulation, most of which focus around the piracy of compatible roms, so I feel obligated to mention that I do not condone anyone downloading games, but that there are also many other ways to obtain these games. There are tools and apps out there which let you rip games you own, and this applies to both cartridge based games as well as disc based games. Fortunately I’ve been collecting games for many years now and can use games I already own and have at my disposal, but keep in mind that you’re responsible for sourcing your own titles how you see fit, as we here at eTeknix take no responsibility for this, nor will be providing sources to where or how you can obtain the games. Boring stuff out of the way, let us get back to the action!

Getting roms configured on your Nvidia Shield, or to be honest any powerful mobile device can be a little tricky. Generally the more powerful your device, the better chances you’ll have of getting your games to run, as the task of emulating hardware can be quite demanding, especially when it comes to more modern titles such as those from the Sega Dreamcast. So while I am focusing this article on the Nvidia Shield, there is no reason why you can’t try this out on your mobile phone or tablet, so long as you think it’s powerful enough to do so.

The Nvidia Shield has a few extra tricks that make it a great choice for emulation, firstly because it has a controller built directly into it, as well as a high quality touch-screen display. You can use USB OTG to connect wired controllers such as the Xbox 360 controller, a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable to put the device into console mode and play on your big screen and more, so you’re not going to be limited to only playing this as a handheld, but virtually anywhere you want, on whichever screen you want (so long as it has Miracast or HDMI).

Today I’ll be taking a look at the Super Nintendo, Sega Megadrive, PlayStation 1, PlayStation Portable (PSP), Dreamcast and Nintendo 64. There are plenty more emulators and formats out there, but I feel the ones I have chosen cast a wide net over what is possible on mobile device emulation. Even older or less powerful systems such as Gameboy, MAME, NES and Master System generally all work from the same emulators I’ll be testing and already have widespread, proven compatibility with most mobile devices, so feel free to experiment with them at your own leisure.

Super Retro Trio Console Launches Next Month

We love a bit of retro gaming from time to time, but since the price of the original Genesis (Mega Drive), NES and SNES consoles is ever increasing, especially for ones in great condition, there needs to be a more cost effective solution. Sure you can emulate, but that’s not really a suitable option for everyone, sometimes it’s nice to actually have the real cartridge in your collection.

The Super Retro Trio looks set to offer a solution that keeps costs down by combining three classic games consoles into one device. It comes with slots for all three different types of cartridge; Genesis, NES and SNES. It’ll handle all three types of original controller, but comes equipped with a pair of SNES style controllers, an AC adapter and a standard S-Video / AV cablle.

The console is due to release next month, although those who have been waiting to buy one will know that it was delayed last year while the manufacturer solved issues with the controller mapping.

“We stand behind our products,”-”There is no room for less than the highest level of satisfaction. Retro-bit is one of the elite brands that Innex distributes worldwide and this collaboration with the manufacturer will ensure a successful launch of this outstanding console.” said Innex President Titi Ngoy when discussing the delay in production.

For just $70 it’s certainly a tempting option and its far cheaper than buying all three original consoles, while also saving on space under your TV by only needing one console.

Thank you Geeky Gadgets for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Geeky Gadgets.

Street Fighter Theme Song Goes Perfectly With Fight In NHL

What’s not to love about Ice Hockey? The players have skill, speed, excellent hand eye co-ordination and let’s be honest all Ice Hockey players are usually as tough as a $2 steak. The game is always super fast paced and very physically demanding, so fights are usually a normal thing. However in a recent game between the Montreal Canadians and the Dallas Stars about 4 minutes into the 2 period of play a fight broke out between Canadians winger Travis Moen and the Stars winger Antoine Roussel. Now this is not out of the norm, however the music that started playing over the PA loud-speaker wasn’t. Below is footage of the fight, go to around the 40 second mark to hear what was played over the loud-speaker.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKUF5btBX1I[/youtube]

So for those who don’t remember that music being played, it’s Guile’s theme song from the SNES version of Street Fighter. Clearly someone in the sound booth had some fun with this and it looks like Guile’s theme song can go with anything. Being a die-hard Ice Hockey fan I would love to see more fun things like this done during Ice Hockey games and would love to see more video game crossovers happen during games. Who knows maybe play the Final Fantasy VII end of battle song at the end of a fight or when someone scores a goal, now that would be entertaining. What video game songs would you like to hear played during games?

Thank you Kotaku for providing us with this information. 

Image courtesy of Eventhubs.com

Comic Strip Of Classic Snes Game “PLOK” Launched By The Pickford Bros.

First seen in the classic SNES platform game Plok!, the eponymous hero has been relaunched by creators The Pickford Bros as a regular comic strip.

Starting today, and published exclusively on the Zee-3 website, Plok The Exploding Man will follow the adventures of Plok as he wakes up after 20 years of sleep to discover that the modern landscape of video games is not quite what he expected it to be.

Plok comic strips will appear at www.zee-3.com/plok/

The Pickford Bros, John Pickford and Ste Pickford, are veteran indie game developers from the UK. Their most recent release was the BAFTA nominated iOS game Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint. They are currently working on three new iOS titles.

“We are constantly being bombarded with fan-mail requests to bring back Plok,” explained Ste Pickford, artist and co-writer of the strip, “with people asking us to make a sequel or to re-release the SNES game on Wii Virtual Console, 3DS, iOS, etc. We’ve wanted to revisit Plok for a long time, and we eventually decided that a regular comic strip would be a great way to re-introduce Plok to the world.”

“Will Plok return in his own game?” added John, the creator and co-writer of Plok, “Anything is possible, but for now he’s got a lot to catch up on, and we can draw new comic strips a lot faster than they can make new games!”

Plok was the star of the critically acclaimed SNES game Plok!, designed and produced by The Pickford Bros, developed by Software Creations and published in 1993 by Nintendo (Europe), Activision (Japan) and Tradewest (US).

I was a big fan on the game on the Snes when I was a kid and it would be great to see this fun title return, so Ste and John, if you’re reading this, please make it happen.

Thank you Pickford Bros. for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Zee-3.