• A Line at a Time: The Atari 2600, Now with S-Video

    From Pitfall II to the Channel F to the NES cartridge port, a spectre has lurked in the background of Nicole Express: the spectre of the Atari 2600. The best-selling console of the second generation, an icon, and yet to date, I have not covered it, or even owned one. That all changes today, and we’ll find out what the deal is with this strange artifact from the past. Plus, we’ll get some S-Video.

  • A New Ongoing Project: The Satomi/Sammy/Three Star Arrangeball!

    “Oh, what’d you get there? A new pachinko machine?” “It’s technically not a pachinko machine, though it does use pachinko balls, and a pachinko launcher…” “So it’s a new pachinko machine.” Such is the conversation between myself and my fiancee. What is this new machine? What have I gotten myself into? Is this the beginning of the analog age of Nicole Express? One thing’s for sure: it may be new to me, but it’s definitely not new.

  • The Namco ND-1: Taking 2D for Granted

    Last year, I covered the CAVE CV-1000, an early-2000’s arcade platform that was the last gasp of dedicated 2D hardware, with a RISC CPU and a blitter. But that was to power fast-paced “bullet hell” shooters with huge numbers of moving objects each frame, where even slowdown is crucial to strategy. What if your aims were a bit more… pedestrian? What if all you wanted was to make some 80’s games on cheaper hardware?

  • The Parts-Bin Approach: Konami's Contra

    Over and over, I look at games that are part of “systems”: the Sega System 1, the Hyper Neo Geo 64, the CAVE CV1000. But there ain’t no rule that says you have to organize your games that way. You could just take whatever parts are most convenient. The Panic Road board I built a pinball controller for is one example. But Konami is probably most associated with this approach. Let’s take Contra as a case study.

  • A Dangerous Hybrid: Speeding up the Super Game Boy

    The Super Game Boy allows you to play Game Boy games on your Super Nintendo. This is an impressive feat, when you consider that the two consoles share basically nothing in common. Today, we’ll look at the hybrid machine that creates: a multi-processor machine where the two CPUs share nothing in common. And maybe, just maybe, we can make the Super Game Boy go fast.

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