Monday, October 23, 2006


Yes, I am officially a blogging slacker.

I've got a few posts mulling around inside and will be posting more substance in the future. Most of my free time has been spent messing around on the computer (i.e. ignoring life), watching 24 with my wife, or watching kids. I hear from my wife that because I'm a dad I don't babysit, I just spend time with the kids. Not sure I agree. =)

Anyhow, my dad sent me this a couple of days ago. I thought it was good enough to share. It's pretty funny.

until later.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


So, I stumbled upon one of my favorite games from "back in the day".

It got me to thinking... it's a lot of fun playing these games. I should set up an old computer just to play dos games. I'm thinking about it. And then I remember that that would be way too much effort. But it was a fun nostalgia trip anyway.

As a bonus, my kids really liked the ones I have played.

I also thought about posting some ascii artwork, but I'll save that for another time.

There are 3 games I want to show you today. They are all available to download, you are welcome to do so and give them a try.

The first is (in my opinion) the best. It's called snipes. The goal is to take your eyes and mustache and kill the snipe nests that are all over the place. I've always liked maze crawlers and this one is fun enough to just pick up on a whim, yet challenging enough that you can play it for a good long time and not get bored with it. I don't remember where I got my hands on this, but I had a lot of fun playing it.

The next game I'd like to show you is Jumpman. This game is a lot of fun and has pretty good sound effects to boot. They are all PC speaker-ish sounds, but my kids liked this one the best. You can grab it (at least an easily playable version) here. I spent a lot of time with the CGA version of this on my dad's XT (or wahtever the pre-286 machines were, I forget) on Dos 6.22. I had a good friend who lived a few houses away and he was lucky enough to have an EGA monitor with his computer. I was always jealous of that.

This is Willy the worm. I had a ton of fun with this also back on that old machine. You're a snake and you have to collect presents while bouncing around on springs and avoiding tacks. Kind of fun if you're into that sort of thing. There was a level editor with that and I happily made all sorts of levels for this game. Yeah, I was a geek even then. My scout leader when I was 12 was a programmer I think (or at least worked on computers all day) and he had all sorts fo shareware and free games he would lend me to copy on my computer. I think it kept me going to scouts. heh.

I may post old games on here now and then as I "rediscover" them. I'm a big nostalgia gamer, so that kind of thing is fun for me. I'm also a self-proclaimed game designer/theoryist wannabe, so it's fun for me in that respect as well.

Oh, for what it's worth, I set up these with dos box, a dos emulator, and d-fend, which makes running these games as easy as a double-click once set up. (The setup has a wizard with it that makes it simple also. defaults work for many old games)

Maybe for nobody's sake I'll do a review of some of the old C64 games I played another time.

Until later.

Friday, October 06, 2006


So, this is what us World of Warcraft losers do in our spare time.

It took us about 90 minutes to get to the portion of the dungeon this guy is in. You have to have 10 people to do this, so we all hop on a ventrilo server to talk to each other while we are playing.

I'm not sure if I said anything during this portion of the video.

But now you know how big of a geek I really am. =)

Edit: This took place last night and one of our guildmates used a program called fraps to record it.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

teh MAME!

Installment number one.

Fair warning, I'm not sure I agree with the writing style here, but this is pretty well original and I didn't think that I should wait to have you all read it. Otherwise, well, you may never. =)

Took me long enough... On with the post.

Have you ever wanted to play the old 80's arcade games? Are you crazy enough to want one in your home? Have you ever thought it was possible?

A lot of people have worked hard at allowing you to do so, at least on a computer.

Someone immediately found a way to build their own arcade machines with a computer in it.

Of course there's always the real deal, and that's not a bad idea either. (Though to derail a bit, you're better off looking on ebay and craigslist to get a better deal on these, and especially around your local arcades. You'd be surprised what people are willing to sell for cheap if you look around.)

But what if you could play hundreds of games, on the same machine? That's where a home built arcade machine truly shines -- you don't have to be stuck with just one game you can have an amazing selection, and all housed in one arcade cabinet.

I started down that road over 3 years ago. I'd like to share a little of the journey with you.

It began with an old web friend, slashdot. Specifically, this story, if I'm digging up my links correctly. I decided to try my hand at making my own as well because hey, I thought, if I don't do it now, when will I ever?

So. First I needed to find out what I wanted to build. This took a good 6+ months of dreaming and scheming. Take a look here to see just some of the pictures I saved in my research phase of the project. I didn't add all of them because I'm lazy, but it should give you some idea of what I was looking for. This included what kind of cabinet I wanted, what controls were involved, deciding to use a coin door or not, using a TV or a real arcade monitor, and may many more decisions. (Check out the "guts and how to do it" link for a good example of what's inside a MAME cabinet, sort of a sneak preview for the people like me -- impatient.)

And after all that, I never really built what I originally planned. I wanted a machine that looked very nice, similar to this as far as construction.

And a control panel that looked something like this... I could play ALL of the old games. Well, with the exception of driving games, though you could use the spinner for a steering wheel for those. I'm not a huge fan of driving games other than pole position and maybe super off road anyhow.

So, I settled on a design. Dream big, as they say -- I took the design from Lusid, who had freely available plans and would be a good first project for a novice woodworker.

So I got a friend with a truck and headed off to home depot to buy some birch/maple plywood to build my own cabinet. $30 each. I bought four 4x8 foot sheets. I even bought a circular saw to cut them with, which has been very nice to have around.

The following Thursday my wife was looking at a thrifty nickel (print version, not online) and saw some pinball machines in a town near ours, about 45 minute drive away.

I still wish I'd have listened to her that day.

The ad had 3 pinball machines, $400 each. From memory, I believe these were the 3: Creature from the black lagoon, The Getaway, Terminator 2.

I'm still kicking myself. At the time I had no idea how much pinball machines ran and was pretty poor besides. If I had known I could have bought all 3 and then sold 1 for most of the money I'd have done it.

Anyhow, enough of the self pity. =)

There was also an ad of some guy here locally who bought/sold arcade machines. I gave him a call and arranged to go by his place and take a look saturday morning. I borrowed a truck and went down there. I'll get into that story another time, but I returned home $100 poorer with an empty defender cabinet.

Or rather, a Yie-Ar Kung Fu cabinet that was originally a defender cabinet. I went to work on the side art and ended up that evening with the yie-ar sticker removed and.... some of the defender side art showing.

So, the inspiration happened. I was going to make this game look like a defender machine. I just needed a few parts and it would be finished. I already had a computer I was going to put into it. No problem right?

Next time.... The Restoration.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


...I got a new computer. Including monitor.

It's been 6 weeks. The monitor stand is already broken. I've created an RMA ticket already with samsung. I hope it won't be too painful. It's already pretty wierd going back to a 15" 1024x768 monitor from a 20" widescreen 1600x1050 resolution.

Played lots of pinball this weekend. Worked on my wiring friday a bit, only 1 switch left to wire and all the lights are done. About time.

I'm thinking of posting a bit about the good old days of computer games. I ran across a game I used to love back in the day. It's still pretty fun, but not quite what I remembered. If anyone's interested I'll post about it.

And my MAME post is taking forever. You guys want me to post what I have so far? It's nothing spectacular, but I could od it in installments. Or something. Anything to move forward. Let me know.