Vintage gaming options

Discussions about non-Evangelion related video games, board games, card games and gaming in general.

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Vintage gaming options

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Postby Shamsiel-kun » Thu May 21, 2015 1:34 pm

After some consideration, and because I'm not particularly fond of modern consoles and their region-locking nonsense and other bullshit (bad quality etc.), I am thinking of getting myself a vintage console (or should I consider emulators on the PC?).
Please understand that the last game console I touched is a Sega Master System II...

The period I am most interested in is the mid- to late 1990s and early noughties (2000-2005). From a quick look on Wikipedia, it seems the Nintendo 64 (worn out controllers are an issue, I understand?) and Sega Saturn might be good choices, although when it comes to sheer gaming library size a Playstation 2 (the large one) would also be a good choice (hardware quality issues and region locking nonwithstanding).

Any recommendations? Any good online resources I should know of? What about using US or Japanese (there's a pink Sakura Taisen Saturn that I wouldn't mind owning, IIRC..) machines in Europe?

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Postby jcmoorehead » Thu May 21, 2015 2:04 pm

Considering the time period your main options are probably the N64, Dreamcast or PS2. The PS2 can play PSOne games and there is also region-free discs you can purchase in order to play titles from other regions on your PS2. Not too sure how the N64 is regarding region locking, and I believe the Dreamcast is quite flimsy as regards imports/copy-protection.

I would probably recommend the PS2, when you combine it with the PSOnes library you've got an incredibly large library of titles to choose from that cover all genre. That said things can get a little bit pricy depending on what games you're going to be looking for.

For buying, I tend to find Amazon/eBay to be the best sources, maybe try to seek out independent game stores in your town that might stock retro titles. There was one where I used to live, before I moved to Edinburgh, that stocked everything from Amiga through to PS4/XB1.

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Postby The Eva Monkey » Thu May 21, 2015 2:29 pm

Hi! Just as a point of reference, not because I want to gloat, I've been collecting seriously for the past 6 years. I've got every major system from NES to Wii, and 500+ games in my collection.

The important thing is: what genre of games do you like? Action, adventure, fighting, RPG? Some systems are good for some genres more than others.

You can never go wrong with the NES. There's also tons of great stuff on Ps1 and ps2. You can also do virtual console to gain access to a ton of stuff.
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Postby Shamsiel-kun » Thu May 21, 2015 4:32 pm

Okay, games genres I like: racing games (there's a few vintage titles I'd love to try, one of them is Ridge Racer), simulation games like SimCity and RTS games (but those are best on PC, IMHO), shoot 'em ups (again, lots of interesting vintage titles), wide open sandbox.

I've never been good at platform games, although I suspect that might be due to playing Sega's Sonic platform games (which are quite hard) on a black and white TV. I do have some memories of playing Super Mario on a family member's Game Boy and actually not getting annoyed (Nintendo's platform games are more fun, I think). FPS games tend to irritate and/or scare me. Fighting games depends on the game - I'm not very good at memorizing or executing combos (bad hand/eye coordination).

The reason I'm interested in using a non-European system in Europe is that some non-PAL systems have advantages when it comes to region-locked contents. According to Wikipedia, the Sega Saturn has 80+ region-locked titles that are Japan-only, while only 4 are Europe-only. So getting a Japanese Saturn would give me access to most games without resorting to mods, while a European one would limit my choices much more. With modern TVs NTSC or PAL isn't an issue anymore, so that leaves the outlet voltage (solvable) and maybe onscreen menus (but the internet likely has translations).

An older vintage system that I'd love to have is a Sega Mega Drive II + Mega-CD + 32X, so I can play stuff like Sylpheed...

I've had a look at modern consoles and their webshops for vintage games, but I don't like how contents is bound to one console.

I think finding stores that sell old games shouldn't be too much of an issue; when I still roamed fleamarkets a decade ago there were always specialized dealers selling only vintage titles at low, low prices. IIRC I got some nice games for my Master System (sadly dumped some years ago) via second-hand shops.
Aaaand...there's a specialised shop dealing in second-hand reto systems in the town where I work. Will have to check that out.

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Postby NemZ » Thu May 21, 2015 5:44 pm

Obligatory comment: emulators are a thing that exist.

That said, ps2 is almost certainly your best if you're just getting one. Huge game library + backwards compatibility to ps1 is simply unmatched in that timeframe. Lots of great racing, fighting and sandbox games there, though Simulation and RTS are generally lacking... that's PC gaming territory.
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Postby The Eva Monkey » Thu May 21, 2015 7:13 pm

View Original PostNemZ wrote:Obligatory comment: emulators are a thing that exist.

That said, ps2 is almost certainly your best if you're just getting one. Huge game library + backwards compatibility to ps1 is simply unmatched in that timeframe. Lots of great racing, fighting and sandbox games there, though Simulation and RTS are generally lacking... that's PC gaming territory.

PS2 is ripe for collectors. Far more people have been dumping their libraries than there are collectors.

Also, as far as emulation goes, I'm not a fan of it, I like the real deal, and I just enjoy collecting, even if it is costly and consumes space. The alternative to this are flash carts:

http://www.stoneagegamer.com/flash-carts/everdrive-n8-fc-nes/north-america-europe-nes/

Basically, rather than buy a handful of games, get one of these, load every game you would ever want onto it, and then you basically have a NES with every game built into it. They're nifty, even if a bit in that legal grey area. Plus I think they can help with homebrews, reproductions, and games from other regions.
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Postby IronEvangelion » Thu May 21, 2015 7:25 pm

You may want to consider buying an original model fat PS3 and replacing the tiny hard drive with something bigger. I believe Sony has the how-to info on one of their websites, but if you can't find it there it isn't exactly hard to find instructions on the internet.

Reason? The fat PS3 had the PS2's chipset built in, which gave it compatibility with (to my knowledge) all PS1, PS2, AND PS3 game discs. And no region-locking. Sadly the PS2 chipset was stripped out of the slim and superslim models to cut costs, so they can only play PS1 and PS3 discs.

This is actually a project I want to try at some point in the future, but I figured you might find it interesting. You'd basically end up with a console that has a decent hard drive, plays PS1/PS2/PS3 games, AND functions as a CD, DVD and Blu-ray player.
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Postby The Eva Monkey » Thu May 21, 2015 8:08 pm

View Original PostIronEvangelion wrote:The fat PS3 had the PS2's chipset built in, which gave it compatibility with (to my knowledge) all PS1, PS2, AND PS3 game discs. And no region-locking.

Only for PS3 games. PS1, PS2, DVD, and BD are still subject to region locks.
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Postby IronEvangelion » Thu May 21, 2015 8:21 pm

View Original PostThe Eva Monkey wrote:Only for PS3 games. PS1, PS2, DVD, and BD are still subject to region locks.

That sucks. I thought everything on PS3 was region-free because my slim model played the DVDs that came with my Japanese collector's edition of Girls und Panzer: Senshado Kiwamemasu. But I just checked the backs of the DVD cases and they're all-region DVDs, so that's why they worked. Oh well, I still want to try that project some time. I wonder if those region-unlocking discs for the PS2 would work on a fat PS3.
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Postby The Eva Monkey » Thu May 21, 2015 9:06 pm

View Original PostIronEvangelion wrote:I wonder if those region-unlocking discs for the PS2 would work on a fat PS3.

Negatory, all disc solutions I'm familiar with require a flip top mod or for you to forcibly pull the tray out during operation. They're hardware-specific to the ps2. You'll need something specifically for the ps3. I'm not terribly familiar with those.
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Postby Shamsiel-kun » Fri May 22, 2015 1:50 am

It's likely that my first vintage console is going to be a (fat) PS2, then. Turns out there's at least 3 vintage game shops in the town I work (which is next doors to the one I live in), two of which are franchise shops and one is an independent shop. Independent shop looks better when it comes to service (somewhat ancient-looking website, but...); they sell vintage consoles including all cables and a controller, while with the franchise shops you have to buy those separately (WTF? :cringe: ). Supposedly they have a machine with all original paperwork and other stuff included...

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Postby Aiko Heiwa » Fri May 22, 2015 2:13 am

PS2 is definitely a good choice for your first "vintage" console (am I the only one that finds it odd that the PS2 is considered vintage? It was only discontinued in January 2013 and the last games for it came out in September 2013...)
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Postby Alaska Slim » Fri May 22, 2015 3:23 am

I recently acquired an Xbox, just so I could play Dynasty Warriors 3. Not a bad time waster, and now I have a good idea of what the rest of the series is like.

I ended up opening the Xbox up, and inserting a larger (80mm) yet quieter fan so the noise wouldn't drive me nuts.

Not a bad system, but note, if you do get one, immediately open it up to see if the clock capacitor is having a melt down. If it is, pull it.

Version 1.0-1.5 all have this defect, mine luckily is a v1.6.
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Postby jcmoorehead » Fri May 22, 2015 4:51 am

View Original PostAiko Heiwa wrote:PS2 is definitely a good choice for your first "vintage" console (am I the only one that finds it odd that the PS2 is considered vintage? It was only discontinued in January 2013 and the last games for it came out in September 2013...)


Very, it feels like very little time has passed since I got my PS2 to now yet it's been almost 15 years. That thing was with me throughout all of Secondary School and A Levels. Weird to think that we're not onto the second generation of consoles past that, so hard to think of it as 'retro.'

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Postby The Eva Monkey » Fri May 22, 2015 9:38 am

View Original PostShamsiel-kun wrote:It's likely that my first vintage console is going to be a (fat) PS2, then.

Definitely a good choice. Lots of great titles on there. And prices should be very reasonable. You should be able to get a couple dozen titles for the equivalent cost of a few new games.

View Original PostAiko Heiwa wrote:PS2 is definitely a good choice for your first "vintage" console (am I the only one that finds it odd that the PS2 is considered vintage? It was only discontinued in January 2013 and the last games for it came out in September 2013...)

The term we more often use is "retro". Is the PS2 retro? How do you define retro?

There are a variety of criteria people use. Some people arbitrarily say it's cartridges, some say that it has to be a certain age. Personally, the way I look at it is that something goes from new, then becomes obsolete, and then at a certain point starts to enter into nostalgia. I don't think the PS2 is quite there, but the Dreamcast definitely is, and the GameCube has been heating up as a retro commodity in the collecting community.
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Postby Sailor Star Dust » Fri May 22, 2015 10:10 am

Whenever I get my (well, big brother's) old SNES out of storage, I'm playing the shit out of Super Metroid. It's been since middle school since I played it on our system! I am fine with emulators for gaming but definitely prefer the original feel of consoles, etc. Love watching various Twitch speedrunners, too!

Last year or so, Zap got an NES and various games at a garage sale for a great price, but of course the silly thing seemingly broke down.

One thing that bugs me about the older systems is generally needing a CRTV since HDTV's don't input a certain way or latency issues (e.g. No Duck Hunt for you). I wish there was a workaround!
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Postby Ray » Fri May 22, 2015 1:33 pm

The Super Nintendo is awesome.

What we really need is a Netflix service for vintage video games. Regrettably with all the copyright issues, intra company corruption, and bias against emulators and mods, there really isn't anything right now to save our favorite games from the ravages of time.
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Postby Aiko Heiwa » Fri May 22, 2015 11:57 pm

View Original PostThe Eva Monkey wrote:The term we more often use is "retro". Is the PS2 retro? How do you define retro?

There are a variety of criteria people use. Some people arbitrarily say it's cartridges, some say that it has to be a certain age. Personally, the way I look at it is that something goes from new, then becomes obsolete, and then at a certain point starts to enter into nostalgia. I don't think the PS2 is quite there, but the Dreamcast definitely is, and the GameCube has been heating up as a retro commodity in the collecting community.

That's why I have a hard time considering the PS2 gen retro. Like for me, when I think 'retro systems', I think of the PSX gen going back. I think it's because the PS2 gen was the first gen (on consoles) with actually good and competent 3D graphics, so it's kind of hard to consider that 'retro', in my opinion.
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Postby NemZ » Sat May 23, 2015 2:37 am

True, ps1/n64/saturn generation was still featuring a lot of low-res textures on extremely boxy figures.

Didn't stop wave race or gran tourismo from looking downright amazing at the time though.
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Postby Falcon_of_the_Sun » Sat May 23, 2015 7:56 am

View Original PostAiko Heiwa wrote: I think it's because the PS2 gen was the first gen (on consoles) with actually good and competent 3D graphics, so it's kind of hard to consider that 'retro', in my opinion.


View Original PostNemZ wrote:True, ps1/n64/saturn generation was still featuring a lot of low-res textures on extremely boxy figures.


People should be more forgiving about the first 5-7 years of graphics on consoles. Most developers were reasonably unprepared and unskilled at the time, since 2D sprites and graphics were the way just before. You just couldn't expect everybody to gain overnight the experience and skills that Sega or Namco had from being top-notch arcade game developers. Still, by the time Saturn and PS1 came out, 3D was the buzzword and it was necessary to have polygon graphics to basically sell, not matter how bad other things could be with regard to the game.

More to the point of display, N64 idiotically suffered from non-native RGB output unless you were to modify the console. That was a real and noticeable hindrance when it came to display on CRT TV, especially on PAL versions since I believe they didn't even support S-Video. PS1 and Saturn had RGB which made things a lot better, although most of their games were effectively in what you could call 240p, with some very rare exceptions (Virtua Fighter 2 on the Saturn was an astonishing 480i at rocksolid 60fps)

I personally wouldn't be caught dead playing anything pre-HD on anything other than an old CRT TV although I guess they are totally discontinued. Some projectors might avoid upscaling, but I'm not really sure.

It should also be noted that Dreamcast had built-in 640×480 progressive scan output, which just needed a specific VGA cable to be enabled. All games (except 2D stuff meant for 240 lines) looked wonderful on a CRT computer monitor. It's probably a great option for anyone who feels a bit weirded out by the old graphics.

For the rest, I'll end my rambling agreeing with the Eva Monkey on the fact that the choice of console is pretty much a choice of games.
Here would be my run down for the thread opener

PS1: good for the early installments of a number of series that genuinely changed home-gaming such as Wipeout, Gran Turismo, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider. Add the Namco arcade stuff (mostly a SEGA rip-off, but still great) and you've got a great, great console.

Saturn: THE weapon of choice for all the good 2D fighting games from the 90s (Street Fighter, The Capcom vs series, all the SNK stuff), the SEGA arcade stuff, some other SEGA stuff rightly considered to be mandatory for connaisseurs (Yuji Naka's NiGHTs, Panzer Dragoon) and loads of 2D shooters (above all, Radiant Silvergun) and (J?)RPGs (most present in English too). Less of an allround console than the PS1, but very Japanese (it failed pretty big in North America and mainland Europe)

Nintendo 64: not much apart from the inevitable and amazing in-house Nintendo stuff and the Miyamoto and Rare games. They did have a couple of very good, for the time, Star Wars games, though. All in all, an even more specialised console than the Saturn because at the time, the choice of sticking to expensive cartridges and Nintendo's policy for royalties etc alienated a large number of developers which flocked to the PS1 (Konami and Square Enix above all).

Dreamcast: more variety than the Saturn but still strong on 2D shooters (Ikaruga and Border Down ftw) and fighters (Guilty Gear X on 480p was to die for at the time), the classic arcade stuff by SEGA and a number of other rather enterprising and innovative titles (Bass Fishing, Jet Set Radio, Crazy Taxi, Space Channel 5). It was also blessed by very good and updated Sonic games (which the Saturn never managed to have). Last but not least, Namco's Soul Calibur was on Dreamcast, the first game to be better-on-console-than-in-the-arcades (and in fact it was the second ever 40/40 from Famitsu).

I think that's all from me.
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