Video: Unintentional Game Passwords

TheZZAZZGlitch over on YouTube found some entertaining passwords for 8-bit games that put you in interesting places. It also explains a bit about the nature of passwords as a makeshift data storage system, and why sometimes you can make them spell funny things that still work. They even offer some advice on constructing your own silly/glitchy passwords.

Via Vincent Kinian

Commodore Basic 2.0 for Other Systems

Say what you will about Commodore BASIC 2.0, the built-in programming language and makeshift shell for the Commodore 64, written by Microsoft employees and descending from code written by Bill Gates himself, it’s certainly, um, basic. Nearly everything that takes advantage of that machine’s graphics or sound features involves POKEing values into memory at various locations, requiring a programmer to memorize a long list of important numbers.

Because it doesn’t interface with the system’s unique features to any great extent, it’s a very generic version of BASIC. But this means it can be ported to other systems without tremendous effort. Fancy-pants commands don’t have to be converted to another architecture’s norms, because there aren’t any! And lots of systems used the instruction set and general capabilities of the MOS 6502, upon which the Commodore 64 is based, so now we have versions of its BASIC that work on the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Atari 800. They’re both based off of Project 64, an annotated disassembly of the C64’s BASIC and Kernal ROM code.

The NES port should be able to run on actual hardware, but you’ll need the Family Keyboard that was made to work with the Famicom’s own official BASIC to use it, which was only released in Japan.

By the way, the reason that I write BASIC in all-caps is, it’s an acronym! It stands for Beginners’ All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.

U Can Beat Video Games: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

U Can Beat Video Games (their YouTube channel) has only been around for a bit over a year, but they’ve already covered a lot of challenging games. It serves as a complete video playthrough, often revealing all the game’s secrets, and has remarkably restrained and helpful audio commentary by YouTube standards.

UCBVG videos cover the entire game, and can be long. The most recent, the covering A Link to the Past with a second part, is nearly two hours but it uses YouTube’s timeline annotations to mark any potential trouble spots you may have. Even if you’ve mastered the games he covers, I find it relaxing to watch anyway to refresh my memory on these decades-old amusements.

To date, UCBVG has covered 70 titles across the NES, SNES, Game Boy, and Mega Drive/Genesis. Some highlights include their videos on the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for NES (the first game on the channel), Mega Man I, II, and III, The Legend of Zelda, its second quest, and it’s sequel, Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Legacy of the Wizard (a.k.a. Dragon Slayer IV), Castlevania and Simon’s Quest, Blaster Master, Punch-Out!!, Ninja Gaiden and its first sequel, Clash at Demonhead, Metal Gear, Crystalis, Wizards & Warriors and its sequel Ironsword, Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy (in two parts), Actraiser, The Guardian Legend, Kirby’s Dream Land (including Extra Mode!), the weird and unique The Magic of Scheherazade, Sonic the Hedgehog, and even the notorious Battletoads, among many other games.

They update weekly, so why not take a look!

Video: Chrontendo and related

The third and last of the chronological platform cataloguing efforts is the longest-lived and most complete, Dr. Sparkle’s wonderful Chrontendo, going through the entire library of the Famicom and NES, along with sister projects Chronsega (Mark III/Master System and Mega Drive/Genesis) and Chronturbo (PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16).

Each of the projects I’ve presented have had a different style. Atari Archive does one game at a time, devoting from 8 to 20 minutes to it. Video Works tends to cover two or three times per video. Well, the various Chrons go for the omnibus approach: each entry shows from a dozen to 20 or more games. It also emphasizes gameplay footage, and also sometimes some side bits amidst the many games.

Chrontendo has been going since a while before 2010, and so there is a whole lot of material to catch up on. It also has the slowest rate of updating, with sometimes whole years between episodes. But each episode is its own little wonder, containing a solid mass of retro gaming information, including many games you probably won’t ever hear about anywhere else.

Video: Jeremy Parish’s Video Works

I figured I’d post all three of the major platform compilation projects I’ve been following. The second is Jeremy Parish’s Video Works, which is a collection of a number of mostly-ongoing subprojects: NES Works (1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, “Gaiden”), Game Boy Works (1989, 1990, Color 1998, Advance 2001, and Gaiden), SEGAiden, SNES Works (1991, Extra and Gaiden), and Virtual Boy Works (which is complete). The first link up there has everything; the others are in various states of completion.

What I appreciate most about Jeremy’s many series is how they’re informative without being dry (he knows his stuff!), interesting without being pedantic, and lively and entertaining without being obnoxious, obnoxiousness being a sin that I charge against many many gaming YouTube channels. If your videos whisk cut-out elements around the screen, their passage marked by swooping sound effects, then you are not going to get a link from me if I can in any way help it, so states the doom of rodneylives, and of Set Side B too if I have something to say.

Nicole Express: Tengen’s NES Chips

The always-wonderful retro gaming and hardware info site Nicole Express has a great post about the chips that Tengen (a subsidiary of Atari) used in their cartridges! Tengen is a special case among NES developers, in that while a Nintendo licensee they got to use their own mapper, from Namco, but went and manufactured their own ASICs when they split off from Nintendo’s licensing program. The deets are all in the article!

Nicole Express’ archives are well worth a look, which among other items hosts their article on Zaxxon and Future Spy. They have interesting games to play on their page too! Have I used enough exclamation points yet?!