Tuesday, November 25, 2014

At Games Handheld Genesis system

Over the past decade I have seen the return in modified form of all the home consoles I loved as a kid. Starting with the Atari Flashback,which is up to the fifth version now.

A few weeks back I had to run to Walgreens, While waiting on someone I started looking around. And found an end cap full of these retro systems. Saw an Intellivision one,the Atari Flashback 5,At Games home console Genesis with wireless controllers and 80 built in games. But there was one I had never seen before. It was a portable Genesis with 80 games total. I was tempted but they wanted $50 a system. Way more than I wanted to pay.

Skip ahead a few weeks. I had been trying to think of what to get my cousin's two boys for X-mas. They both love video games and last time I visited them we spent a bunch of time playing a Genesis collection on the X-box 360. I was looking at the sale ads in the Sunday paper. Saw that Walgreens had all those systems marked down to 35 bucks. Which is a bit more than I spend on each kid. But what the hell it is X-mas. Ran to the store and grabbed the portable Genesis and the home console version.

I have no idea what makes this a collector's edition. But I do like the packaging. Smart move putting Sonic and whoever that is from Virtua Fighter on the front. They are the only two that modern kids will know. Also notice how it says 80 built in games. There is 80 games,40 of them are Genesis games. The rest are homebrews.
Damn that is a lot of empty space in the box. Now I didn't think the system would be huge. But it is a bit smaller than I thought. As you can see you get the system,instructions and a charger cable. The system comes with a rechargable battery in it. And you recharge it by hooking it into a usb port. Not a bad idea. It looks to be a standard USB cord so if you lose this one it shouldn't be hard to replace it.
I love how in the instruction book they not only tell you a bit about each game. But explain the controls. It is small touches like that ,that make a good product stand out from a bad one.
I threw the nearest DVD into the pic to give yall an idea of the size of the system. I would say it is slightly wider than a DS lite. But about as tall. And not as thick. On the left you got your d-pad. Which from about an hour of play feels good. Right above it is the menu button. Which you can push at anytime to go back to the menu. On the right is the 6 buttons. The smaller row is x ,y and z. The bigger row is a,b and c. They feel almost like the ones on the old Genesis 6 button controller.The red light below them is the battery level indicator. And right above them is the start button. It is the only button I don't like the placement of. It just feels odd reaching up for it.Oh forgot the speaker is on the left below the d-pad. And the sound is pretty good. No idea if the sounds are 100% matching the sounds on a real Genesis,mostly because I haven't played a real Genesis in years. But they sound right to me. The screen is much better than I expected. No ghosting or such with fast movement. And it is nice and bright.

Here's the top of the system. First off we have an AV port. Yes you can buy a cable and hook this up to your TV. Next to is the USB port. Then in the middle is the SD card slot. I will talk more about that in a bit. On the right is the volume control. I like that you can connect this to a TV.I got a cable that came with my portable DVD player that works on this. In the instruction book it includes directions on how to hook this up to a HD tv and what to set your contrast,brightness ,etc levels to when doing this. I hooked it up to the tv in the living room and it looked good. As good as when I hook my Dreamcast up and use the Genesis emulator. I love the placement of the volume control. It is easy to reach up and change it while playing a game.
Now onto the bottom. On the left we got an earphone port. With most portable systems I have found that the built in speakers are shit.So I normally use earphones while playing them. The speakers on this system are good. On the right we got the power switch. I like it's placement. I doubt I will bump it when playing a game. Plus with it being a switch not a button it is much harder to accidentally turn the system off.
Yeah the flash makes it hard to see ,but this is the menu screen. They have divided the games up. First batch is the Genesis games. The second batch is the homebrew ones. You get 10 games per screen. In alphabetical order. And when you highlight the games name a screenshot appears on the right.

There it is easier to see the menu screens now.
As you can hopefully see the screen looks great. Bright colors,sharp details. I  wanted to see if it might blur some during the faster moments in Sonic 1. It doesn't.

Now onto the previously mentioned SD cart slot. In the instruction book it tells you how to play games off an SD card. So I got curious and wondered if maybe you could load up Genesis roms onto a SD card and play them on the system. Did some research and it seems like you can't. So I wondered what games you could play. I looked through out the book and there was no mention of this or where to go to get the games. I looked all over the box and finally saw on on side a website listed. Went to the site and right now they got 3 games you can get for free. And then mention that at a later date they will be doing memberships. The games you can get now are similar to the homebrews that are already on the system. I hope they work out a way to offer old Genesis games. If that doesn't happen maybe someone will figure out how to hack the system. Cause sure the system has 40 Genesis games,with a bunch of good ones in that selection.But there is some Genesis games I want to play on here.

Speaking of games here is all the games on the system. With a few quick words about the ones I know.
Alex Kid in the Enchanted Castle-One of the early Genesis games, Alex was their attempt  at a mascot. Not a bad game. But I think the placement of the start button will hurt some in this game.Since you use that button fairly often.
Alien Storm-Really fun side scrolling beat um up.
Altered Beast-The original Genesis pack in game.Still fun after all these years. Even if it was never that deep of a game.
Arrow Flash-Looks to be a shooter. I never played this back in the day. But look forward to playing it now.
Bonanza Bros-Another I have never played. Have heard it called an under rated Genesis game.Looks to be a platformer.
Chakan:The Forever Man-Rented this when it first came out. Liked it but back then the game was way too hard for me. It is a platformer. Neat thing is 2 years ago I got to meet the man who created the character of Chakan. Found out he has made a series of graphic novels,yes real graphic novels not trades or hardcovers or whatever people that don't know better call graphic novels.Now that I am older and have played many more games I am gonna try to finally beat this game.
Columns & Columns 3-Columns was the Genesis Tetris ripoff. Still it is a fun game.Now I am wondering if there was a Columns 2 and if so why it isn't on the system. I have always said puzzle games are perfect for handheld consoles.
Comix Zone-Great side scrolling Beat um up game. Great sound and graphics,but warning this game is extremely hard. I have only beaten it once and that was while using the Game Genie.
Crack Down-Never heard of this one. You run around a building defusing bombs.
Decap Attack-Really fun and wacky side scrolling platformer.
Ecco,Ecco Jr,Ecco II The tides of time-Pretty sure this is every Ecco game for the Genesis.You play as a dolphin that has to save his pod. I only played the first game in the series. It was decent. But a bit harder than I expected it to be. The background music is really good. And the graphics and character animation is well done. I plan on trying to beat at least the first one.
ESWAT City under siege-I love this game. You are a cop that has a mecha suit. This is a game where it isn't super hard,but also not easy.
Eternal Champions-During the early 90s trend of 2d fighting games this was Sega's entry.From what I remember it was well done. The hard part now is going to be relearning all the fighters special moves again.
Fatal Labyrinth-Seems to be a RPG strategy game.Not a big fan of that type of game.But it is nice to see some variety in the game selection.
Flicky-This is a  simple but really fun game. You play a momma bird that has to rescue all her chicks.It is a game that is simple to play but hard to master.
Gain Ground-Looks like another strategy game. Might give it a shot one day.
Golden Axe 1,2 and 3-It was good ports of arcade games like Golden Axe that had all us kids wanting a Genesis back in the day.Golden Axe 1 is a game I still go back and play. Hell it was the one my little cousins and I had the most fun playing on that previously mentioned X-box 360 Sega collection. Part 2 improves the graphics and stuff.3 I have never played. I seem to remember it didn't get a release in the USA. I think it might have been available on the Sega Channel.
Jewel Master-No clue what this game is. From the screen shots I think it might be a puzzle game.
Kid Chameleon-Another platformer. Rented it once Decades ago,remember it being fun. But also fairly hard.
Mean Bean Machine-A great puzzle game. For years my mother had a Genesis emulator on her computer just for this game.
Ristar-After Sonic was a huge hit lots of companies tried to make their own mascot. Ristar was part of that cycle of games. From the little I have played it,it is fun. With a cute look to all of the graphics.
Shadow Dancer-Part of the Shinobi series of games. You are a ninja that goes from the left to the right killing bad guys with various ninja weapons. This game has really good music.
Shinobi III return of the ninja master-IIRC Shadow Dancer was Shinobi 2. So this is the sequel. Never played it.But if it is like the other Shinobi games on the Genesis it is worth playing.
Sonic and Knuckles-Sort of Sonic 4. This was the first time that you got to play as Knuckles. One drawback is on a Genesis you could plug Sonic 2 or 3 into the top of Sonic and Knuckles and play as Knuckles in each game. I haven't checked but I doubt you can do that on here.Still it is a really good Sonic game.
Sonic Spinball-Sonic becomes the pinball in a fun video pinball game.Fun but sometimes frustrating game.
Sonic 1 & Sonic 2-Sonic is the game that got lots of people to get a Genesis.And it is still very fun today. Sonic 2 I never owned.I am looking forward to playing it soon.
Sonic 3d Blast-The other Sonic game on the Genesis I never played. It has an isometric view that normally I hate in games.
Streets of Rage 1,2 and 3-Streets 1 is my favorite non-RPG Genesis game ever. This series was basically Sega's version of the arcade hit Final Fight. But with much better music. The music in these games is the only video game music I will listen to outside of the game. I just played and beat part 2 a week ago.Each game improves on the previous one. And all three are worth playing.
The Ooze-Never heard of this game and so far haven't played it yet.
Vectorman 1 and 2-These came out late in the Genesis's life. They are fun platformers. With great graphics.
Virtua Fighter 2-Kind of wondering why part 2 is on here instead of part 1.Never been a fan of Virtua Figher. But this port isn't bad.

And as far as the homebrew games. Well all of them look like flash games I would have played back in the early 2000s. I would have rather they dropped all the homebrews and threw in 10 more Genesis games.

Now is this a good deal? In most stores I see it costing between 40 and 50 bucks. Checked Amazon and they wanted 55 for it. At those prices I would say no.But I got this for $35. Which is much better. Went in expecting the controls to feel mushy.The screen to be shit and the speakers to be bad. I was wrong.One thing I would like to know is how long the battery last on a charge.All through out this review I mention how I am going to enjoy playing various games. And this is after I said I bought this for my cousin's kids. Well that is true. I grabbed it for them. But after testing it out I am now going to get myself one.Saw an ad from Dollar General where on Thanksgiving they are going to have these for $25. And it is worth that much. Hell if you find it for $35 and under it is worth is. The system seems to be well made. The screen is much much better than I expected. And there is a good mixture of the Genesis games. At Games Handheld Genesis System gets a B.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What cha reading for Wednesday 11/19/2014

Edward Lee
The Black Train

This was the second Lee novel I read. A chef with a struggling Foodnetwork show goes around hitting up microbreweries. He ends up in a tiny southern town. Where there is lots of ghosts and a dark past.

Lee is one of the so called splatterpunk authors. With of all of his fiction being extremely violent and full of sexual content. This is the second most extreme novel of his I have read. And I have heard that this is a toned down version of the story. From my research this story was first printed under a different title by  small press publisher. I have been tempted to track that version down. Mostly because this version has a few scenes that turned my stomach.

Now that Leisure press is basically gone all of their older stuff is out of print. But check stores cause I see these paperbacks being cleared out cheap. Over the past 3 years I have gotten piles of horror fiction from Leisure for 3 bucks or under  a novel.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Powerslam Productions presents Wrestlefestivus 2 Nov 1st 2014 McComb Mississippi

This is the first PSP show I have been too since Spring Bash early this year. I think the annual Heritage Days show in Liberty was the last Powerslam show. This was a comeback show for Powerslam. This year they have run into some issues. Which has caused them to not run as many shows as normal. Then they had some roster changes. With one former Powerslam Productions guy,Bu Ku Dao aka Ling Pham,getting signed by the WWE a few months back. Congrats Bu Ku Dao. Can't wait to see you on Monday Night Raw one day.

Now I have been to 5 or 6 Powerslam shows at the Pike County Little Theater,but each time I rode with someone. My Aunt Midget was up visiting. So I borrowed her GPS. I had a few things to do in town before the show. 2 hours before the doors were suppose to open I started on my trip to McComb. Stopped at the truck stop to grab drinks. Go to plug the GPS into the cigarette lighter outlet. I head off on the interstate and see that every time I hit a bump the GPS shuts off. The way the molding is around the outlet was too small for the plug. So I said screw this and figured I would find my way. Worst case I get lost and call someone to come find me.

I get to McComb early. And find the place. I park about a block over and walk up. See Christina and her 2 kids parked right in front of the theater. They get out and we talk for awhile.I really enjoy how we have a group of fans that are at every show.

The doors open and we all head in. I had reserved my seat weeks earlier. I go to get my seat and I am at the end of the front row. Real near where everyone walks in. I notice Koby,Philip and Stephen and his boys coming in. So I walked over to talk to them.

Koby and I had asked permission to film matches.Reggie was nice and told us to film as much as we wanted too. I was talking to Koby and this other guy I see at every show,when Koby whips out a tripod. Which isn't going to work cause he is sitting third row. Plus it would have ended up blocking the view of the kids sitting behind him. So Philip and I talk Koby into just going handheld.  I also noticed that the last seat in that row was empty. So I decided to sit there.

It is 15 minutes to bell time. And they are testing out the speakers. Which sound bad. Then I get settled in my seat. Get out my trusty notebook.And made sure my camera had fresh batteries in it. Then Eddie Money hit the speakers.I of course mark out cause this means Shane Champagne is on his way to the ring. Shane comes out and is great. Seems Shane has a new wrestler in his stable.

Yep Mr Sockittoome is now managed by Shane. The announcer tells us that Princess Kristen isn't at the show. So I am wondering who Sock will face. As you can see if you watch the video Kristen comes out as Ultimate Warrior and we get a recreation of the Warrior vs Honky Tonk Man IC title match.Not sure if the pre-match stuff was an official Champagne Lounge. But is was very entertaining. With the crowd really letting Shane have it. What is funny is while recording the Sock vs Kristen match I didn't realize they were parodying the Warrior/HTM match. Later on that night as I was watching the footage while uploading it I realized what they were doing. This was the second best Kristen vs Sock match I have seen. With the one from the Picayune show being slightly better.

Match 02-Nate Moss vs James Veal.

I forgot to mention earlier that Powerslam has a new ref. Who looks like a young Bob Ross. Wait am I showing my age by mentioning Bob Ross? Anyway,I had never seen either guy wrestle before. I knew both of them are being trained in the Powerslam Powershack training school. Moss is the heel and plays it up. During intermission I learned that this was James 3rd or so match. And Moss has maybe 5 matches so far. I enjoyed this match.Moss is good at verbally interacting with the crowd. Where as Veal does more with his body language. The crowd was quickly behind Veal and got into giving Moss lots of hell. Moss works a more mat based style,and Veal is more high energy and high impact. We were getting a nice back and forth match when Lukas Frost ran in. He attacked Veal. Which causes Reggie Matthews to come out to help. The match is ruled a no contest. And Reggie,who is part of the Powerslam tag team titles asks James to be his new partner. And they challenge Frost and Moss to a title match later on in the show. Overall it was a good showing from two younger talent.

Match 3-The Punisher vs Blade Beaudreux

Blade I knew his name from various PWI 500s. The Punisher I saw at Powerslam'sWinter Warfare show earlier this year.Blade has a good look,with how popular shows like Duck Dynasty and all the cajun based reality shows,it helped the crowd connect with Blade. The Punisher reminds me of all the masked guys from my childhood. People like The Medics,The Galaxians and from the great Gulf Coast Championship Wrestlng The Wrestling Pro. The lady who was sitting behind me had me laughing so much with her various comments. That is one of the major reasons why when I record matches I don't do commentary. I want to capture the crowd noise. And the local crowds are great. Blade gets the win and we got intermission.

By this time my throat is sore from all the yelling. So after grabbing my bookbag I head to get a soda. After taking a sip of my cool refreshing beverage I go to see what they got for sale at the gimmick table. Reggie had told me there might be a new Powerslam dvd ready. There wasn't but I did see lots of kids grabbing Powerslam and WWE dvds.That is another thing I enjoy about Powerslam,they always have lots of stuff for sale at the gimmick table. And their prices are decent. I ended up getting two issues of Sports Review Wrestling from 1980 and one issue of The Wrestler from 1982.

Notice how both issues of Sports Review Wrestling have apartment wrestling plugs on the cover. I have flipped through each issue and both Sports Review Wrestling issues have multi-page articles on Apartment wrestling. As  a kid the non-Apter mags aways had huge ads for apartment wrestling. And I would never buy them because they seemed so sleazy. I have had a blast just flipping through these old issues. Once again Reggie forgot to pack a sharpie. But he knows I am always prepared. No I was never a boy scout. So I loaned out the 3 sharpies I had in my bag.

Match 04-Powerslam Heavyweight Champion Wes Adams with Princess Kristen vs Calvin Rose

This is a feud that has been going on all year. Back in January Wes won a battle royal which gave him a match against Calvin for the title. The next show,Spring Bash 2014,Wes won the title. Their feud has a nice teacher vs student feel. I am not sure but I think Calvin is one of the many deep south wrestlers that helped train Wes, Back in July Powerslam was suppose to have a show that was gonna be Wes;'s retirement show. So going into this match I had a feeling Wes might lose.Which he did. Turns out Koby and I both recorded this match,

That is my version. It isn't the best looking. First off I have hand tremors. So that causes it to be shaky sometimes. Secondly to have enough room to record more than one match I film in SD. Thirdly while the Pike County Little theater is a great place to watch wrestling,because of how dark it is it isn't the best place to film.

That is Koby's version. If you enjoy southern wrestling check out his youtube channel. Most Mondays he is uploading a new match.
Koby Rutland's youtube Channel BMPBLUE

After Calvin won both of us shut off our cameras. Which was a huge mistake. Calvin is celebrating in the ring,when a guy wearing jeans,boots a Hank III wifebeater and with a cheap Halloween mask taped to his head crawled out from under the ring. Gets in the ring takes his boot off and attacks all the heels. I was standing there wondering who it was. The Hank III shirt should have been a big clue. The masked man takes off the mask and it is THE PRINCE OF PAIN JOE KANE!! As far as I know the last time Joe worked for Powerslam was the 2013 Heritage Days show.From what all us fans had heard we thought that Joe would never be back in Powerslam. So him appearing was a total surprise to everyone. The crowd went nuts. With lots of Welcome back and Thank you Joe chants going on.After chasing all the heels out of the ring Joe turned to Wes and since people say a picture is worth 1000 words here is a picture.

This is the first time I ever saw Joe work as a good guy. And I hope this means we are going to get a nice long feud between Joe and Calvin Rose over the title.

Match 06-Powerslam Productions Tag Team Champions Reggie Krimsynn Matthews/James Veal vs Lukas Frost/Nate Moss

I love the story behind this match. You get two long time Mississippi independent wrestling vets,Reggie and Lukas,teaming up with some rookies.Reggie is part of Big Ramp Enterprises.Big Ramp is a New Orleans DJ. Who also works for lots of wrestling feds in MS and LA as a manager. As you can see in the above video Ramp is awesome. The part where he is conducting the crowd in their chants is in my top 10 favorite things I have seen at a wrestling show.Reggie and James win. It was obvious to me that the crowd,who I doubt most of them had ever seen James Veal before,really like him.As you can hear on the videos of both his matches the crowd was solidly behind him. Reggie as always brings it. Reggie has this natural charisma about him. And it isn't just something he turns on for the shows. Reggie is just a naturally nice and great guy. I do wonder if Moss is Luka's new tag team partner or if by the next show Frostie will be back teaming with his long time companion Kool Jay Steele. Also I want to quickly congratulate Jay on his,as of this writing,upcoming marriage.

After the show was over as always at Powerslam shows at the Little Theater,the faces came out and interacted with the crowd. Saw lots of kids getting their pictures with the various guys. And again Reggie borrowed my sharpie. A few of us were invited to go eat after the show with the guys. So Koby,Philip,Big Ramp and I sat out in the lobby talking. And being very entertained by this one young man. I can't remember his name,but his mother was working the concession stand.Lots of jokes were told,and since there was a kid present they were all clean. And once again,like what seems to happen anytime a group of us is around,the cockupine story got told. If you want to know the full story catch one of us at a show.

Once the ring was torn down and the theater had been cleaned we all headed off to Waffle House.Got to sit and bullshit with Reggie and the guys for awhile.Had an encounter with a very drunk guy while I was waiting in line to pay my ticket.Then I got back in the Newt-mobile and made the short drive back home.

Honestly when the show started and I saw that the speakers were not working right. The mic wasn't working and we had a new announcer and ref I was thinking this might end up being the first bad Powerslam show I have been too. But thankfully I was wrong. Shane Champagne was ultra entertaining. The first match was a cute comedy match and the crowd seemed to love it.The second match I really enjoyed. It was neat to see two guys who are so early in their careers. Getting to see how they react to a crowd was enlightening. Calvin vs Wes was great and the main event tag team match was a great way to end the show and send the people home happy. But the return of Joe Kane was the highlight of the show for me.As you can see between Koby and I all the matches were recorded.Hell the entire show,besides Joe returning was recorded.But once Powerslam releases a dvd of this show I am buying one. First off to help support a great company. Secondly because I like to own copies of every wrestling show I have been too. Speaking of that,and I know this is a longshot,but if anyone reading this has or knows where to get vhs or dvd of any of Tiny Fraizer's short lived revival of GCCW or the Last Rites Championship Wrestling show from Brookhaven in August of 2012 let me know. Once again I want to thank all the wrestlers,ref and other talent from Powerslam for a fun show. Thank you to the Pike County Little Theater for letting Powerslam bring us another fun evening of deep south wrestling. And  final huge thank you to Christina and her two kids,Stephen and his two sons,Koby,Philip and Tony for being the best group of fans I have met.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What cha reading for Wednesday 11/12/2014

Thanks to Eugene on Walking Dead I have been listening to lots of Bill Hicks recently. So I am attempting another regular feature here. That I will more than likely do 3 or 4 times get bored with it and never mention it again :P

At last count,over 2 years ago, I own over 400 books that I haven't read. And I am always buying new books. I can't pass up a decent looking book that is a buck or less. So I am attempting to read 20 books in 2 months. I have read 3 so far in November.

I am on page 169 of 221 of "Lemons never Lie". Which is written by Donald E. Westlake under his pen name Richard Stark.

Alan Grofield runs a summer stock theater in a tiny rural town. To get the money to keep the theater open he is the crowd control man for various groups of professional criminals. After opting out of a job early on in the novel,mostly because it just doesn't feel right,Grofield is desperate for money.

This is the first thing from Westlake/Stark I have read. I had heard of his series of Parker novels. Which is where Grofield first appeared. I did some research and there is 4 or 5 Grofield novels. With Lemons Never Lie being the final one. And it being sort of the oddball of the series. The previous ones have more of a humorous approach compared to Stark's Parker novels. This one has very very little humor. Each night for the past 3 nights before bed I have laid down and read a chapter or two. I love the fast pace of each chapter and have to force myself to put it down each night.

This novel is part of the Hardcase Crime line of paperbacks.While the cover price of $6.99 for a bit over 200 pages is high,I found this one for a buck at Dollar General. I see various books from this line at the dollar stores all the time. Never costing more than $1.25. For that price Lemons Never Lie is a hell of deal.