• Converting from the Game Gear to the Master System

    Sometimes people ask me: “Nicole, how do you convert a Master System game to the NES?”, or some other combination of game consoles. And the answer is invariably the same: there is no way to do so without rewriting the game from scratch. 8-bit games are almost always written in assembly, and also take advantage of the platform-specific features. For you to be able to do this, the two platforms would have to be near-identical to begin with. And the best example, the exception that proves the rule: the Sega Master System and the Sega Game Gear. Thanks to Bob from RetroRGB for the post idea.

  • The IGS PolyGame Master: A Even More Neo Geo?

    Imagine, if you will, a four-button JAMMA arcade board that took large plastic-clad cartridges that had two PCBs inside. With a powerful Motorola 68000 processor, and a Zilog Z80 alongside to handle sound duties, with a powerful chipset allowing for colorful 2D graphics with scaling of sprites. Hailing from an island in the Pacific off the east coast of Eurasia. Great, so we’re on the same page– wait, what the heck is a Neo Geo? That’s not what I was talking about at all!

  • HAL Laboratory's Three Arcade Ports

    In 1988, HAL Laboratory released three NES games, ports of the arcade games Defender II, Millipede, and Joust. One doesn’t associate HAL Laboratory with arcade games, but in 1988 HAL didn’t have the reputation it did today. So one might think that these are just some random games. Sure they’re primitive for 1988 NES games, and all three games were well past their prime, but the NES was weird about that. But surprisingly, it turns out there’s a story here. (Also, if that wasn’t enough, a long digression on Millipede)

  • Making the Master System a Master of Speech

    The Intellivision Voice Synthesis Module was released in 1982, giving the 16-bit console the power of speech. But unfortunately, most other consoles weren’t quite as lucky. Sure, some systems, like the PC Engine CD and Nintendo Famicom, have the ability to play samples directly, so at least they can do pre-recorded speech. But the Sega Master System can’t even do that. So how do we manage?

  • The World's Most Popular Arcade Board?

    What’s the best-selling arcade game? The usual answer seems to be Namco’s Pac-Man. But there have been a lot of years since 1980. And so, doing a very scientific survey of one (1) barcade, I’ve found that there might be another competitor; at least, if we only look at boards. And hey, look at that– it even plays Pac-Man.

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