Sunday, 13 November 2016

Retro Game Pixel Art vs Real World Mashup

Many months ago I found a picture on the internet that I thought was really cool. It mixed video game pixel graphics with a real world photograph. After further research I discovered it wasn't a one-off but rather a series of pictures under the title of  Real Bits by a fella called Victor Sauron.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, his pics inspired me so much that I decided to have a bash myself, even though I know next to nothing about Photoshop, because I noticed there was a distinct lack of ZX Spectrum games being used. I had to rectify this as best as I could. My efforts are no where near as good as Victor's, I'm not an artist by any stretch, there's no shadows, proper depth or fancy 3D or blur effects going on, but I'm still quite proud of what I've knocked up and whenever I get the chance I'll be doing more. It's just so great to see your favourite retro games brought into the real world. Hence the title I like to give them from a very famous video game movie.....

"Meanwhile... In the real world"


Manic Miner

Horace Goes Skiing

Sabre Wulf

Scuba Dive

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Eighties Video Game Ads + Reaching 10,000 Hits :)

Haven't posted anything in about 5 months. To be honest I've been a bit lazy and also busy with Retro Rekall's Facebook Page and another great group on Facebook, Retro Games Forever. But thought I'd better post up something to celebrate 10,000 hits on my little old blog. So here it is, Eighties Video Game Ads.

I used to love the ads for video games when I was a kid. Some of the artwork they used was out of this world and raised the anticipation levels even higher for new games being released. Here are a few of my favourites from the pages of computer and video game magazines of the eighties. The time of the 8-bits. I hope they help you recall some wonderful memories like they have for me :)

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Name The Game - ZX Spectrum Part Three

Yet another ZX Spectrum Screenshot Quiz, the third to be exact. There are 20 more screenshots of games I played back in the day, some quite famous and some not so much, so about as difficult as previous quiz I reckon.

So let's see how you do. Either give your answers in the comments here or on the Retro Rekall Page or the Retro Rekall Group. Don't worry, if you need adding I'll sort it. I'm going to post up just the screenshots too on Facebook if that makes answering easier. So once again, best of luck :)

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Cybercon III - My Faourite Amiga 500 Game

Cybercon III, U.S. Gold Ltd (1991)

A gem of a game in my opinion, nine video game magazines giving review scores between 86 and 93 percent agreed with me, but a few others disagreed saying it was too complicated and too slow.

But I found the speed suited the plot and after a bit of practice those so called complicated controls became second nature and that's when it really drew me in.

I'd turn off the lights and become immersed in a strange new world of shaded polygons that represented my Power Armours (PA) view of the many geographical features within the Cybercon III defence complex.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Retro Japan Computer Special - MSX Computers + Games

Back in the early eighties when I got my first computer, the ZX Spectrum, I wasn't really aware of computers globally. I knew about Atari, Commodore and Texas Instruments from the US along with most of the popular UK computers but not much else. I did hear about MSX and I knew it was a computer usedby people in Japan. That was as far as my knowledge stretched and it didn't stretch much further over the years. For a long time my knowledge of Japanese hardware was limited to the Sony Playstation, my first console, and, to a lesser extent, Nintendo and Sega consoles mainly because I had an Amiga in the late eighties and a PC in the nineties.

I now know that MSX was not a computer from Japan but a standard for home computer hardware made in Japan which was introduced in 1983 after an ASCII Microsoft executive noticed the success of the VHS standard for VCR's. It was quite popular not just in Japan but also around Europe, South America and The Middle East in countries such as Spain, Brazil, Kuwait, France, South Korea, Russia (previously USSR), The Netherlands and Finland.

Similar to when PC standardised computer hardware was introduced in the US, with manufacturers such as Dell, Olivetti and Gateway, MSX computers were built by a whole host of famous manufacturers including Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Casio, Hitachi and Samsung. The standards were further upgraded in 1986 (MSX2), 1988 (MSX2+) and 1990 (MSX Turbo R). Over 5 Million MSX-based computers were sold world wide.


CPU: Z80A @ 3,579 MHz
ROM: 32 KB
RAM: 8 KB min (Usually 64K)
Video Display Processor: Texas Instruments TMS-9918/TMS-9928/TMS-9929
Video RAM: 16 KB (Max res: 256×192 pixels with 16 colors)
Sound chip: General Instrument AY-3-8910 (PSG)
Connector for tape/data recorder.
Centronics interface (for connecting printers and other parallel devices)
One joystick/mouse connector min. (Usually two)
One expansion port min.
Keyboard with at least 70 keys (inc. 5 function keys with 10 programmable functions and 4 arrow keys).

Additional - MSX2 (1986)

ROM: 48 KB
RAM: 64 KB min
Video Display Processor: Yamaha V9938
Video RAM: At least 64kB (usually 128kB)
Sound chip: Yamaha YM2149 (PSG)
Clock chip: Ricoh RP5C01 (or compatible)
Disk Drive: 3.5" Floppy disk drive

There are no shortage of games for MSX computers and many of them do not require you to know any Japanese. In any case if you look hard enough to can find English language versions of many top games too. So here are thirty great games, in alphabetical order, that you can play on MSX computers. If you have a PC you can also play these games using the MSX emulator found here.

Aka Moai No Hiho (The Secret Treasure Of Moai) - Casio 1986

Puzzle platformer where you must reach the stage exit by destroying and climbing over blocks. Some blocks reveal special items which are usually required to reach the exit. You must also climb over and destroy blocks in the right order or you may not be able to reach the exit. Stages get harder and harder and are inter-spaced with bonus stages where you collect diamonds for points.

Aleste (Power Striker) - Compile 1988

Vertical scrolling shoot 'em up with six stages and eight different types of weapon. Collecting the same number over and over again will upgrade the strength of that particular weapon. Ammo is not unlimited so you also need to keep collecting the same type of ammo to ensure it doesn't run out. There are end of stage bosses which need to be destroyed piece by piece. This game also had a very similar sequel released the following year.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Name The Game - ZX Spectrum - Part Two

More fun with my second ZX Spectrum Screenshot Quiz. There are just 20 screenshots this time, again not all from classic games by, but I did play them back in the day so I would say this was moderately difficult.

So let's see how you do. Either give your answers in the comments here or on the Retro Rekall Page or the Retro Rekall Group or even on my personal Facebook page. Don't worry, if you need to send me a friend request I'll accept. I'm going to post up just the screenshots too on Facebook if that makes answering easier. Good Luck :)

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Top 30 Arcade Games from the Silver Age (1986-1995)

As promised here is the follow up to The Top 30 Golden Age Video Games (1978-1985).

The period from 1986 up to 1995 is, in my mind, the silver age of arcade video games. Improved graphics and sound but less inventiveness. Specific genres of video games were cemented in the psyche by this time. Shoot'em ups, Beat'em ups, Platform and Racing games ruled the roost. At this point I had a terrible job and the arcade after work was my chill out time until Saturday afternoon came along. But in the evenings sometimes I was the only person in the whole arcade.

Towards the end of the eighties I went to college to improve my skills in the hope of getting a much better job. There I met a bunch of friends who also enjoyed video games. We regularly visited the arcades after lectures to play games like Double Dragon and my personal favourite, the game I could make 10p last for three quarters of an hour, 1943. I also remember watching a guy play Dragons Lair and completing it, without even looking at the screen.

But still the slow down was obvious. People had home consoles and computers which were proving much more popular than a visit to the arcade. By the time the Sony Playstation came along everybody had one and nobody went to the arcades anymore. The arcade game manufacturers tried to create games that would be difficult to physically reproduce at home but even this didn't halt the decline. Instead of a weekly pastime arcades became something you checked out whilst on an annual holiday. The arcades were dead. But they would return.

So without further ado here are my Top 30 Silver Age Video Games. Note this is my own personal list and if you don't agree with it, which you probably won't with it being subjective an all, it would be great to see your comments.

Number 30 - Robocop - 1988, Data East

Based on the violent sci-fi action movie of the same name. Side scrolling run and gun game where you can punch and shoot enemies and take on the end of level bosses to save old Detroit. I preferred to just watch more skillful players on this rather than play it myself, but it looked pretty good.

Number 29 - U.N. Squadron - 1989 , Capcom

Take on helicopters, tanks and gun emplacements in this side scrolling shooter with huge end of level bosses to deal with too. A bit run of the mill but I still enjoyed it a lot.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Retro Japan Computer Special - Fujitsu FM Towns (Aka. FMT) + Games

One of the last unique Japanese PC variants before companies moved their focus into producing IBM PC clones. Fujitsu produced the top selling FM-7 before the NEC's PC-8801 came along. NEC also produced the PC-9801 which, at one point, had over 70% of the market in Japan. So Fujitsu decided to produce a computer with better graphics, better sound and innovative multimedia features to rival NEC's best seller.

They came up with the FM-Towns which included a CD-ROM drive as a standard component, along with a mouse-driven OS, 24-bit color, and PCM sound. Even though it was superior to the PC-9801 in many ways it was unable to knock it off the top spot. Around 4 years after it's initial release Fujitsu even released a games console that was compatible with existing FM-Towns software called the FM-Towns Marty. Eventually with the addition of a DOS/V mode switch the computer began to resemble yet another IBM PC clone and lost much of it's uniqueness.


CPU: Intel 80386
Memory: 1-6 Mb RAM
Resolution: 640 x 480, 640 x 400, 360 x 240, 320 x 240
Sound: 8 channels PCM (19.2 KHz) + 6 channels PCM

Many western games were released for the FM-Towns along with a lot of Japanese hentai games. The games I'm going to show here will be in neither of those categories as they're either too well known in the western world or just not something I'd be interesting in playing.

So here are thirty great games, in alphabetical order, that you can play on the FM Towns. If you have a PC you can also play these games using the Unz emulator found here

Alltynex - Siter Skain 1997

A top-down vertical shooter developed by Satoshi Yoshida, of Siter Skain fame, where The fighter can change into a more powerful but slower mech.

Dead of the Brain - Fairytale 1993

A horror adventure game where interaction is via verb commands and objects on the screen. One feature is timed tasks where the player has to solve problems before zombies kill people.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Retro Rekall's 1st Birthday

I'm very proud to announce that Retro Rekall, my first serious attempt at any kind of blog, has turned one today. Special thanks to my wife who puts up with my geeky nerd side and my 3 year old son who makes me want to share the nostalgia of my youth and already enjoys playing retro games.

To celebrate I've decided to upload a few pics which briefly review what's been blogged over the last year. Thanks to everyone who has ever checked out the Retro Rekall blog, Facebook group, Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and Retro Rekall's little sister pictures only blog My CAVE 33. If you haven't here are the links.

My CAVE 33 Picture Blog
Retro Rekall Facebook Group
Retro Rekall Facebook Page
Retro Rekall on Twitter
Retro Rekall on Instagram

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Retro Japan Computer Special - Sharp X68000 (Aka. X68) + Games

Back in 1987 the Sharp X68000 was an extremely powerful and stylish 16-bit computer. So powerful that Capcom used it as the arcade development machine for their CPS1 games. It has two vertical case sections styled around the look of New York city's World Trade Center. It's most famous outside of Japan for it's arcade ports but I'm mostly interested in it's exclusive titles and other games which are maybe not as well known as those from the arcades. For me this machine is the excellent eastern equivalent to the also excellent Commodore Amiga. It is my favourite Japanese Computer.

SPECIFICATION - Sharp X68000 (1987)

CPU: M68000 10MHz
Memory: 1M RAM
Resolution: 256 x 240 to 768 x 512 (16 to 65K colors)
Sound: Yamaha 2151 2 channels, OKI MSM6258V 4bit mono

Here are thirty great games, in alphabetical order, that you can play on the Sharp X68000. If you have a PC you can also play these games using the X68 emulator found here.

Akumajo Dracula (Konami 1993)

Another version of the original Castlevania with some new levels and secrets. Some excellent remixed music and a rare healing item in the herb subweapon which is not found in any of the other versions. It has great graphics and the usual fun but highly difficult gameplay.

Aquales (Exact 1991)

An action platformer where you control a Mech which can be equipped with a whole host of weapons such as rockets, chainguns and flamethrowers. Your Mech also comes with a grappling hook which can be used to reach higher platforms. Each stage is fairly large and littered with treasure chests that contain various power ups useful for defeating the boss at the end of the stage.