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Topics - granz

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I'm trying to find such a database. For instance, I'd like to know which NES games were released as part of Nintendo's Classic Series. (not to be confused with the later "Classic NES Series" for the GBA) Likewise, I'd like to know about any other variations in cartridge or box art design, and possibly in-game changes as well - especially bugfixes.

This is a good example of the type of database I'd like to find, ideally. Unfortunately, this one covers only a limited selection of PS1 titles, and I think there's some other content related to a few Saturn games.

Any insight would be appreciated. Believe me, I've already done my fair share of search engine inquiries for months now. It's kind of hard to find anything relevant when GameSpot, IGN, Moby Games, etc. are constantly pushed to the top of the results page when searching for anything even remotely related to gaming.

Gaming Discussion / Famiclones - a bang for your buck?
« on: February 16, 2013, 01:15:53 am »
I've heard some pretty bad things about earlier Famiclones having notoriously high hardware failure rates, but I wonder if any of the newer models are made more reliably. I'm noticing that this particular model is pretty common these days, and I've been eying it for a while now. I'm sure most people would advise me to invest in real NES hardware and just purchase a 72-pin connector replacement instead. I've considered this as well, but the whole setup might be just a bit out of my price range.

I'm wondering if anyone on RHDN has ever invested in any Famiclones and can say anything positive about them, or maybe recommend a specific one.

Gaming Discussion / Final Fantasy classics are 50% off on PS Network
« on: February 05, 2013, 07:19:15 pm »
This includes titles such as Origins, Final Fantasy V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, Tactics and Dissidia. These are based on the PS1 versions, respectively. The classics are $4.99 each, while I believe Dissidia is priced around $9.99. I think the European PS Network is having a similar sale, or was.

Fortunately, I already own the actual PS1 discs of these games. I don't think the PSN versions changed anything, nor added trophies or other bonus content. :(

When kids begin asking for expensive toys, it's time to drag them to the therapist's office. After all, we don't want our society to become too Nintendpendent.

Were '90s grown-ups ever this lame? I don't remember. I was too busy playing Nintendo. :P

Gaming Discussion / Classic gaming on modern TVs
« on: January 31, 2013, 04:29:39 pm »
Since I got a PS3 for Christmas, I've been playing it almost exclusively. I decided to use a spare HDMI cable I had lying around, as opposed to the composite A/V cables included with the console. The picture is very nice. Every pixel is clear and crisp.

Well, I recently I decided it's time to stop neglecting my classic consoles, so I powered up my GameCube (via composite A/V) and immediately noticed how blurry everything was in comparison to the PS3. It never really dawned on me before, but analog signals are pretty crappy.

I'm wondering what sort of solutions you guys might have found for enhancing the video output of your older consoles. I've looked into devices that upscale analog signals and output them through HDMI, but I don't know how effective they are. They're a bit expensive, too.

I believe the original GC models had a digital output option, (which may have been for audio only) but I have one of the revised models that removed it. There's always the option of using a component A/V cable, but the only one available for the GC is a collector's item that retails for over $100. I haven't been able to find any generic ones for less.

That is, modern games like Mega Man 9 or 10, which feature regressive graphics, soundtracks and gameplay elements, but are developed for the current generation of consoles.

How would you feel about a throwback to, say, series like Final Fantasy or Mario, fleshed out for retail distribution with physical packaging and everything? Imagine a rendition of NES Super Mario Bros. in which players can create their own levels from the classic tileset, share their levels online or download levels created by other players; or a new Final Fantasy story set in an NES-style environment with turn-based battles and character classes.

Bear in mind, such games don't actually have to be bound to the restrictions and specifications of classic consoles. There aren't any foreseeable restrictions on things like memory, meaning the game world could be substantially larger and more detailed than an NES counterpart.

Gaming Discussion / Dark Souls guide
« on: January 22, 2013, 03:54:38 pm »
Does anyone know where to find a good online guide / walkthrough for Dark Souls? None of the guides on GameFAQs are particularly useful. I can't even find one with a full list of inventory items, equipment, spells, etc.

This is my first time getting into the game and I'd like to be prepared. I suspect characters are customized sort of like they are in Diablo, and investing in the wrong skills or attributes can result in a character that is too inept to complete the game.

ROM Hacking Discussion / Help replacing sprites that aren't clear-cut
« on: January 16, 2013, 08:11:48 pm »
I'm trying my hand at a Ms. Pac-Man hack, but I'm having trouble replacing the Ms. Pac-Man sprite. When I view the ROM in YY-CHR, Ms. Pac-Man looks a bit... scrambled. Switching to different views doesn't really piece things together. I'm guessing this has something to do with the way the sprite is compressed. It may not actually be possible to replace it for this reason, but I thought I'd ask for advice just in case.

Here's a view of the graphics data in YY-CHR:

I'm trying to replace the sprite with the ladybug found here: (or something similar)

I'll probably draw a custom ladybug sprite and make its antennae dart up and down as it moves, assuming I can even replace Ms. Pac-Man. No matter which approach I use, I end up with a sprite that has a huge gap in its side where Ms. Pac-Man's mouth should be. :P

Gaming Discussion / Help getting PS2 Slim to recognize external HDD
« on: January 13, 2013, 03:46:32 pm »
EDIT: This was previously about memory card back-ups. Don't mind the first few responses. Thread has since been reworked.


I have a PS2 Slim with a Free McBoot memory card. I'm trying to get it to boot disc images from an external HDD. Although the PS2 recognizes the drive and its contents, attempting to boot a game displays a black screen. After waiting several minutes for something to happen, I just power down the system and give up.

I verified an online database of games that are reported to work fine with this booting method, and those are the only games I've attempted to boot.

As for the external HDD I'm using, it's a 2.5" SATA in an enclosure. The enclosure has a dual USB 1.1 / 2.0 interface. The USB connector has three ends. Two are plugged into two USB 1.1 ports to shunt extra power to the drive, in case the device you're using doesn't have USB 2.0 support. (which is to say, there isn't an external power supply)

I read that HDD enclosures with external power supplies are recommended, but I don't know if this is an absolute necessity. Even though the PS2 recognizes the drive and displays all of its contents, is it possible it's still not getting enough power to boot games?

Gaming Discussion / Looking for GBA recommendations
« on: January 08, 2013, 05:50:22 pm »
Well, I'm not exactly new to the scene. I have a GBA SP with a Flash cart loaded to the brim with some 50 games. I'm mostly trying to find anything I may have overlooked, such as hidden gems that weren't very popular back in the day. Let me cover some of the bases of what I already have, though.

 - Probably all of the good platformers. Super Mario Advance, Sonic Advance, Kirby, etc.

 - Essentially every SNES-to-GBA or NES-to-GBA port / remake. Contra, Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land, Final Fantasy, etc. I even keep some of the "Classic NES Series" titles around.

 - Possibly every arcade collection. Love my classics.

 - Lots of RPGs. Golden Sun, Final Fantasy of course... I never could get into the Mario RPGs though.

 - Any good shmups I could find. Gradius, Invader, Iridion...

 - Some of the more well-known gems, like Ninja Five-O and Fortress. (I did plenty of research on RacketBoy's site)

At this point, I'm hoping there might be some undiscovered RPGs, especially anything with an open-ended world or sandbox feel. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance may be the closest thing I can think of. I loved it, but the difficulty was never challenging. Even though enemy levels scale with your own, they're always substantially weaker and have much fewer abilities. I think I recall there being a recent FFTA re-balancing hack, so I may check into it.

I've browsed GameFAQs' database and narrowed my searches to various genres, so it's possible I've already looked over every title there is. Still, if anyone can think of anything that might be new to me, I'd appreciate any suggestions.


On a similar note, there are a few overlooked titles I could recommend to others in return:

 - James Pond: Codename RoboCod. An early Amiga platformer that has seen as many ports (and re-ports) as Mario Bros. or Final Fantasy. It's a pretty fun game, but the atmosphere is a bit surreal. The environments consist of oversized mundane objects, like giant teddy bears and bathtubs. Possibly the only reason I like it is for nostalgia. I used to play the SNES port when I was a kid.

 - Mech Platoon. An RTS game that feels similar to StarCraft, with the exception that you're battling mechs instead of aliens. My only complaint is that the difficulty level is too low. Even VS. CPU matches are a push over.

 - Star X. A 3D shmup similar to StarFox, and one of the few titles that really tries to demonstrate the GBA's relatively unknown 3D capabilities. Most other 3D titles are racing games. Unfortunately, the textures aren't that great. It looks even less detailed than Sega's Virtua Racing on Genesis. The GBA is capable of pulling off so much more.

 - Payback. A 3D GTA clone. The view is top-down like early GTA games, but everything is indeed rendered in 3D. Consequently, the framerate is pretty low, and lots of action drops the framerate even more. It has pretty much everything that a GTA clone could offer. You can even hijack a tank and rampage through the city. It's worth noting that there is an official GTA title for GBA, but the framerate is even worse, and the game freezes pretty often.

 - Konami Krazy Racers. Might not be as unpopular as I'm thinking. It's definitely better than Mario Kart. (and far less difficult to finish 100%) One of the things I like about Konami's kart racer is that you can play battle mode vs. CPU anytime, whereas Mario Kart keeps you locked out of this mode entirely. (it's reserved only for human players with multiple GBAs and a link cable :( )

Gaming Discussion / New to PS3; looking for some games to try
« on: December 26, 2012, 04:47:03 pm »
A (very generous) friend of mine bought me a PS3 for Christmas. I'm a little surprised that anyone would spend that much on me, but I'm not complaining. :)

Anyway, this is a pretty new console to me. I've been searching online for genres of games that I might want to hunt down and play, but it looks like the PS3's library is mostly sports, shooters and action-adventure games in the mind of Assassin's Creed and Uncharted. The PS3 came with Uncharted, and I actually do enjoy it so far. From what I've seen of Assassin's Creed, though, I don't think it would be down my alley.

I'm hoping to find some titles more along the lines of a create-your-own-adventure sandbox, like Little Big Planet. It would be nice if there were something similar to the RPG Maker series as well.

Any suggestions are appreciated. I suppose PSN games are also fine. I may get around to setting up an account on there.

I've already created a list of titles that might interest me, based on what info I could find on GameFAQs. They are as follows: Sonic 4, (which I think is on PSN?) Sonic Generations, Final Fantasy XIII, Dark Souls / Demon's Souls, 3D Dot Game Heroes, Oblivion, Dragon Age, Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection, (I'm a sucker for classic compilations) Tomb Raider Trilogy, Fallout, The Orange Box (just for Portal)

Dark Souls is a maybe. I don't like anything Atlus-localized, and I've probably already been over that enough times in numerous other discussions. If I do get around to playing it, I'll likely import the Japanese version as it has no association with Atlus.

ROM Hacking Discussion / Insomnia is a terrible thing
« on: December 22, 2012, 03:12:17 am »

Otis and Ollie were two ordinary octoroks who roamed across the vast wildernesses of the Hyrule surface world. Continually thwarted by Link during his various journeys, Otis and Ollie grew weary of being conscripts in Ganon's dubious plot to control Hyrule.

One day, they ventured into the labyrinthine underworld and stumbled upon an unguarded fragment of the Triforce. Aware of the power it possessed, the two quickly made off with the artifact and defected from Ganon's forces altogether. Ganon, unwilling to concede to this betrayal, summoned an army of his most loyal octorok minions to seek out Otis and Ollie and reclaim the stolen Triforce fragment; but has Ganon underestimated the two? Can Otis and Ollie defeat their former allies and free themselves from Ganon's clutches once and for all?

The answer to these questions and more will be revealed in... Octorok City

Gaming Discussion / So, shmups... A dying genre?
« on: December 12, 2012, 07:06:12 pm »
Maybe I haven't done enough research, but I haven't noticed many shmups being developed for the current generation of consoles. In fact, I haven't found any on PS3 yet. (well, not counting online) I remember Konami supposedly working on a new Gradius title that would have appeared on PS3, but I think the project got canned. :(

In the meantime, I've been getting into some of the classics I've overlooked. There's quite a library of shmups available for PS1 and 2. So far, I've played: (or finished)

Gradius Deluxe Pack
Salamander Deluxe Pack
Gradius III and IV
R-Type Final
R-Type Delta
Thunder Force V: Perfect System
Thunder Force VI
Fantasy Zone Complete Collection
Starfighter Sanvein
Zanac x Zanac
Star Soldier (which I actually have for GC, but it's also available for PS2)

I'm thinking about getting Xevious 3D/G+ for PS1, but I haven't even played the original. It reminds me of the early Compile shooters, but not as detailed. I also need to look into Darius Gaiden and Gradius V.

I sometimes go as far back as '80s arcade shooters, but only when I can find them on emulated compilations. Speaking of which, I've been trying to import Jaleco Collection Vol.1 for PS1 for some time now, but it's really obscure. (and expensive) It features the arcade version of Exerion. Although it was faithfully ported to NES and MSX1, I still gawk at the idea of having the arcade original.

Personal Projects / SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« on: October 04, 2012, 12:49:56 pm »
I'm actively working on a re-translation of SaGa 3, or "Final Fantasy Legend III" abroad. When the game was localized, a number of changes were made to the script, character names, enemy graphics and menu layouts. The scope of this project is to give players a "full" experience by providing an English version of the original Japanese ROM.

Specific differences between the two versions include:

 - Changes to enemy graphics. (two of which are pictured below) The reasons for these changes may have been mild censorship on behalf of some of the more frightening foes. The drummer was possibly changed because it's a reference to a Japanese advertising mascot, and simply wouldn't be understood by Western audiences.

 - Multiple columns in the item and magic inventories. Obviously, these were changed to fit more characters in item and magic strings. In the Japanese version, item strings are limited to 7 characters, (6 for potions) and 4 for magic spells. The magic inventory (not pictured) has three columns, and each row is numbered. It's very similar to the magic inventory in Final Fantasy I, where magic existed in various levels of power. In the English version, there's only one column, and there game disregards any notion of magic levels.

 - In the Japanese version, the inventory allowed the party to hold 9 (or is it 8 ?) instances of most items, but 99 instances of potions. In the English version, the 9 (or 8 ) restriction applies to every single item.

 - Many of the character names were changed. "Arthur" is actually named "Dune," for instance. A lot of the characters have French given names, or names based on French words. This was probably changed because the references weren't very familiar to Western audiences at the time.

Screenshots of progress so far: (plus a couple of random game play shots)

Things to do:

 - Need to expand the character limit on some strings. This might require reworking entire menus. DONE

 - Find the rest of the dialog. It looks like it might be compressed. I've never worked with anything like that, so I'm not sure what sort of logic is involved. I did post a help-wanted ad earlier. Maybe someone who is familiar with compression or GB ASM can lend their expertise. DONE

 - Finish translating and inserting the remainder of the dialog.

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