The 30 arcade titles that kept my piggy bank empty

The arcade scene is dead and for the most part gone here in the United States and it’s a sad thing to see. There are tons of things that can be credited for destroying the coin-op industry, but I’d rather not go into it here. Instead, I’m going to list 30 arcade games that I enjoyed the most through the 80s and 90s. These aren’t necessarily the best arcade games of all time, or even my favorite arcade games of all time, but simply the ones that I dropped the most quarters into.

Coming up soon I’ll post what I feel are the best arcade games ever made, but for now, enjoy my little list of the ones that robbed me of the most quarters. The list is found after the jump.
Continue reading The 30 arcade titles that kept my piggy bank empty

I’m starting back up on my MAME cabinet

A while back I purchased and restored a dedicated Street Fighter II cabinet and I spent countless hours inside my garage perfecting my skills before moving the cabinet into my office at work. Ever since moving the cabinet out of my home, I have had an itch to get arcade gaming back into my home life. That itch led me to start building a MAME cabinet, but I didn’t get too far before I was sidetracked by work, school, other hobbies, and some personal medical issues. Things are a bit different now, however. I’m done with school, work is settling down a bit, and I’m over my medical problems. I’m ready to build again.

Hopefully by this weekend I’ll be able to pull out what I’ve done so far and get going again. I’ll post pictures along the way and keep a good log of my work so others can see if it’s a project they might be interested in themselves. To think that thousands of arcade games are only a few saw cuts, wiring projects, paint jobs, and computer hacks away…it makes my skin all tingly.

HDTV Buying Guide

I’m writing a brief, yet hopefully useful, HDTV buying guide for all of you out there that are interested in buying a new set sometime soon. For me, buying a new HDTV took hours upon hours of research and education before I was ready to buy. I hope this guide will give you some direction and focus in your own search. The guide is split into two parts, with part one being available now.

Click here to check it out: HDTV Buying Guide

Lack of updates…

Well, the excuse for a lack of updates this time around is a pretty good one. Just as I was finally starting to get back to normal from my deviated septum surgery, I had to have my tonisils removed. I’m still struggling through that recovery (spitting blood into a bucket, throwing up, struggling to swallow water), but at least I have some good company. Last week I had my brand spankin’ new TV, a Samsung HL-S6187W, delivered just in time for the Super Bowl and plenty of post-op gaming.

The TV set is 61 inches of 1080p beauty and makes games like Gears of War truly spectacular. I’ll get some good pics of it up soon, but for now I’m still caught up in the awe of my new toy.

Regular updates will start again soon once I’m back on my feet.

This is getting ridiculous!

I’ve been running around since the Wii launch looking for a Wii to buy for one of my friends. I got my own the night before launch, but it’s been a royal pain trying to get a second system. I’ve been hitting stores on a constant basis and asking nearly every sales clerk in the state of Utah if they have any Wiis and when they think they’d be getting more. The answer is almost always the same: “We had some this morning, but they sold out in about 10 minutes. People were waiting when we opened.”

What’s going on? Why can’t Nintendo get more of these things out on the shelves? I know that demand is insanely high, and I understand that they’re selling units worldwide, but this system is pretty much a souped up GameCube. They should be able to be pumping these things out in massive numbers. Heck, maybe they are, but I’m sitting here tearing my hair out trying to get a hold of one. I can’t imagine how those that don’t have one yet must feel.

On the other side of things, I tend to find PS3s everywhere I go. Either Sony is replenishing supplies at a furious pace, or the $600 tag is scaring people away for the time being. I’m guessing it’s more of the latter. With Resistance being the one game that everybody seems to have interest in playing, Sony needs more heavy hitters to move the system. Sure, the inclusion of Blu-Ray is cool, but not everybody is interested in a hi-def movie player at this point.

Anyway, here’s what I ran into at Target today, and pretty much every other day and in every other store:

PlayStation 3 Section:

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Wii Section:

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The Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive:

I posted my review of the Xbox 360 HD-DVD add-on drive over at AMN Tek, but I left out some of the technical mumbo jumbo. The review can be found here: AMN Tek

Anyway, for those that a few more specific doubts about performance, I’ll say a bit more here. From testing on similar setups, I can safely say that the 360 HD-DVD drive performs just as well as Toshiba’s A1 drive which is priced at $500. The drive can’t output at 1080p through component cables, but you can through a VGA connection. The problem is, however, is that most HDTVs accept DVI, component, and/or HDMI for their HD inputs. The 1080i resoultion is fine for movies, however, so don’t get caught up on the lack of 1080p support.

As far as sound quality goes, it is about the same as you’ll get with a decent DVD player. Unfortunately the drive doesn’t support any next-generation sound like Dolby’s TrueHD, because the Xbox 360 itself only supports up to Dolby DTS through an optical out cable. Still, the sound quality is excellent, but you don’t get the extra clarity of lossless audio.

The drive will push out visuals as nice as your TV will display them, so prepare to be amazed if you decide to pick one of these drives up. I still don’t know if HD-DVD is going to survive this silly format war with Blu-Ray, but for $199.99 I’m happy to enjoy it for however long it lives.

CES was awesome

I wasn’t able to get down to CES this year, despite having a press invitation pass. Instead, I was in New York City and monitoring the CES news online and in the papers. I did, however, enjoy the offerings of the show and the implications that all of the new tech products have for the gaming industry. Panasonic and Samsung both had impressive showings for their upcoming lineups of TVs, but what I’m really excited about is Mitsubishi’s laser DLP sets coming later this year. It seems like Mitsubishi is always ready to step up and take the first jump in the TV market, and I’ll probably be happy to send some of my money their way when their new sets release.

The Apple iPhone is pretty awesome looking, but the $600 price tag and a Cingular exclusivity agreement have me bummed out. With the dual touch interface, I think the iPhone could definitely have some cool games and applications in the works.

Microsoft’s IPTV for the 360 was pretty cool, but I don’t know that it’s completely worth the money in the end. I’m sure those that buy into the service will be pleased, but only with a much larger hard drive solution.

Of all of the products shown, I still get most worked up about the TVs. There were cool gadgets all around, but the next-gen consoles really really on a killer TV set to be able to realize their fullest potential. I’ve been enjoying my HD-DVD drive (more on that in the next day or two), and I’d love to see what it looked like on a top of the line set.

Next year I doubt I’ll be pulled away for business like I was this year, so hopefully I can be down on the CES floor drooling over prototypes and soon to be released tech products. Until then, I’ll be keeping my eyes out for those laser DLP sets coming out this year.

I picked up the Xbox 360 HD-DVD add-on drive

Wow, first post in a LONG time. I guess that can happen when you undergo surgery.

Anyway, I picked up the Xbox 360 HD-DVD add-on drive earlier today along with Batman Begins, Superman Returns, and the free copy of King Kong. After just looking at a few scenes it looks great. I’ll come back with detailed impressions when I can spend more time with the individual titles and mess around with the features and settings.

So, I hereby welcome myself back to active posting on The Stupid Gamer.

Lack of updates

For all two of you that read this blog, you may have noticed a decline in the number of rants and bits of info that I’ve posted lately. Some of this is due to health issues, but the main reason is that the holiday season has me swamped at work and with game reviews over at AMN.

Recently I’ve started writing tech reviews over at AMN Tek. You can check that out here: http://tek.advancedmn.com

I’ll be back to updating regularly soon enough, just give me some time.

The Wii is a seriously dangerous time sink

Ever since the Wii landed in my home last week I’ve been glued to the little machine, and so has my wife. The simple software is extremely friendly to anybody that wants to give things a quick try, but usually those little “quick tries” turn into a thousand “one more times.”

If you have any interest in the Wii, make sure to pick one up when you get the chance. I’ve never been so satisfied so quickly after the launch of a console. The future for the Wii is overwhelmingly bright and I have a feeling we’ll all be singing Nintendo’s praises for years to come. Coupled with the DS, Nintendo has now firmly cemented itself once again as a prominent and important videogame company.