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Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Merry Christmas!

Santa was good to me this Christmas, got some much wanted Technosoft and NMK games, and even a great puzzler for the wife!

Also, my wife got me a 60G harddrive for my XB360, so I can finally log onto the Xbox Live Marketplace to download Mushihemesama Futari Black Label (and more). For those that care, my gamertag is "ArcadeFever".

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cyvern The Dragon Weapons

Cyvern is an exceptional Kaneko game on the Super Nova motherboard system. I bought this awhile ago, and don't see it come up for sale often anymore. I started playing this today after watching NRKCFK's 27M superplay (and 41M Cyvern Plus superplay). As seen in the videos, using a 30hz rapid fire on the C button can recharge your banish shot a lot faster!

*Updated* with my newly aquired artwork, and score from STGT'10 Cyvern competition.

DJK - 5,193,250 1-4

Friday, December 18, 2009


Galmedes is one of those hidden gems you don't hear much about, most likely because it was designed to eat credits. The level of difficulty is quite steep from the very start, adding another credit to continue does not reset your score, and there is no way to disable continues. Outside of these deficiencies, I'm finding the game quite addictive, and surprisingly similar to Dangun Feveron with respect to ship speed, and charge shot types. Did I mention this was produced 6 years before Dangun?

I found it strange that Galmedes was produced on Taito hardware, yet no mention or credits of Taito in the game.

I had play tested this in Mame, and never made it past the first stage, so I was quite pleased with this accomplishment, making it well into stage 3, using a rapid fire board.

DJK - 572,200 - Stage 3

[update]I had a heck of time trying to figure out why the game had no sound on my Astro City 2 or New Astro City cabs, but worked fine in the Windy or original Astro City cabs. Turns out Galmedes, being an old Taito board, requires -5V for the sound to function.[/update]

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Japanese STG blogs

While searching for information on NMK produced shooters, I stumbled upon another STG collector in Japan who has similar stories (and struggles) when it comes to obtaining and playing these rare games. Well, at least these are rare in the United States, but probably not so rare in Japan.

Although I cannot read kanji or katakana, I found using Google Translate to read Japanese blogs can give me the high level subject matter and conversation. Of course this is not optimal, and I'm probably missing much humor and intricacies when it comes to game strategies. I wish I had time to learn Japanese, but between my work and hobbies, there is just not enough time for such an undertaking!

Anyway, the blog I found interesting is owned by Ikeda_San, and is titled "Watcher ][" at . He is a collector and STG player who has been building an impressive collection of PCB and arcade hardware over the last year. I was particularly impressed with his classic 1980's era black Taito sitdown cabinet, which leads me to believe this style cabinet may have been the motivation for Dillinger's computer desk in the 1982 movie Tron! :)

==?==> ^_^

Commonly referred to as "cocktail" cabinets, these sit down machines did not gain much popularity in the US, preferring to stand than sit while playing arcade games. Personally, I prefer the newer "Candy"cabinets to the cocktail style, but do own a few classic upright games from the early 1980s.

I tried to leave a comment on Ikeda_San's blog, but could not navigate the input form correctly (perhaps password protected) so I decided to send him an email instead. He graciously responded in English, which I'm sure was not easy for him, so I appreciated the response! おかげでIkeda_San

One last item worth mentioning, if you read back through Ikeda_San's blog far enough, you will see he has also encountered the dreaded VARTA battery leakage.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Weekend Project - XB360 to Jamma

After finally receiving Mushihimesama Futari for XB360 in the mail last week (14 days shipping!), I took some time this weekend to get my XB360 hooked up proper to my Exceleena cab.

Used xbox controllers were $20 each from gamestop (what a ripoff!), $10 project box from Fry's, a fingerboard I had laying around, and two 12 position barrier strips from Radio Shack.

Connected the two barrier strips together with quick-zip ties, disassembled the joysticks and soldered wires to the digital controls. Next, drilled and trimmed the fingerboard, and soldered wires onto it. Then ran both sets of wires to the 12 position barrier strip, which is just enough for 1 joystick, 6 buttons, 1 start, and 1 ground.

Why did I use a barrier strip? This allowed me to rewire the button configuration if I needed, and ended up having to do this after I finished the project. I initially wired the buttons to match the XB360 Street Fighter IV tournament stick, but realized afterwards that arcade cabinets have A,B,C buttons on the top row, not the bottom row. Also standard jamma only supports 3 buttons (some cabs support 4), so I ended up mapping A,B,X,Y buttons to the first 4 in the jamma connector.

Next was to take out the dremmel and trim my project box so I could mount the fingerboard between the two end screws, and have it still close properly. It was a tight fit, and just barely got everything squeezed inside this small box.

Final touch was to drill two strain relief holes for the controller plugs right at the seam, and close it up. And here is the final product.

Since I plan to play the XB360 on my Exceleena cab, there was no need for audio or video to the jamma box, all that would be taken care of via the cab's vga connector and stereo amplifier. But to make this really jamma compatible, future enhancements could include my Ultracade UVC converter to downscale 480p to 15khz or 24khz, and a mono amp, although that requires 12v from somewhere. Lastly, I'd probably wire a capcom kickharness to use the lower 3 buttons properly if I wanted to play some fighter games.

Anyway, here we are in hires shmupping goodness!

Update: I have since made one more modification to this converter which makes it a bit safer to operaate!