Thursday, May 7, 2020

Thursday Retro Gaming Post: Where's my Ducking Money?

Somewhere along the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean sits a treasure of immeasurable worth. Well not immeasurable. Actually it's quite measurable. It's about $80 or so. I also don't know if it's along the Atlantic right now or not. It might still be in the clutches of Britannia, or sitting in a warehouse more domestically.

Either way, it's a Raspberry Pi 4 - Model B and a host of accessories that complete any look. It is destined to become my new emulator machine of choice. The prime HDMI port in my game room awaits, relieved of it's duty of carrying the signal of the Steam Link.

(Which, for the record, is a really nice piece of tech, but I really just don't use it that much. It lives on with the bedroom TV now.)

If you are unfamiliar, a Raspberry Pi is a small, credit card sized computer that's cheap and easily customizable. There's a million different uses for it, I use them for gaming because I lack imagination and drive. Anyhow, those with imagination and drive have developed a suite of software that can turn our little buddy into the ultimate retro gaming machine, complete with compatibility for just about every emulator and game from ~2000 to earlier. It has a very handsome UI that's pretty close to what you'd see on the Mini Consoles that have come to fashion of late like the NES Classic.

It's also exceedingly easy to set up and very well documented. Which again, is useful since I lack imagination and drive.

I bought a Raspberry Pi 4 instead of reusing my original Pi or Pi 2 for the extra features. The performance upgrade lets the 4 play PS1 and N64 games without breaking a sweat. It also has built-in WiFi, which keeps shuttling about with SD cards from one device to another at a minimum.

Of course the darn thing has to actually be delivered for any of this to happen. I'm not thick enough to actually rage against a delivery infrastructure dealing with a pandemic. But I'm allowed to sit here and be disappointed. Maybe even whine a bit.

In the mean time my actual retro game playing has been more or less put on hold. (Does Lord of the Rings Online count as retro? It released in 2007 and that's firmly the Xbox 360/Wii/PlayStation 3 era of gaming. I'm not ready for that to be called retro yet. My heart can't take it.)

I have, however, been loading up on podcasts for my marathon walks during this pandemic. Retronauts has been an enjoyable listen, although many of the episodes I want to listen to are behind a Patreon paywall.

I dislike Patreon, not because I don't want to pay creators, I very much do, but because the subscription model doesn't make sense to my brain. I want to pay for a thing and then receive a thing. (Ignore the 15+ years of MMO subscriptions I've been paying at this point.) I guess I'll break down, pay for a month at a premium tier of their service, download all the podcasts, and have effectively done the same thing. But I don't know how that plays nice with my podcast app, so I'll probably be shifting files from my computer to my phone for the first time in years. Gross.

Anyways, I like Retronauts. It's like a book club but for games I've actually played. Which is in contrast to the earning of my English degree, which was a book club for books I avoided reading. It's nicer this time, now that Class Participation isn't 15% of my grade.

The Dreamcast Junkyard Podcast is also on my rotation. It's admittedly a bit more uneven. It's also full of British cultural references that I'm too Yankee Doodle to understand. But it's a pleasant listen and they love the Dreamcast the same way I do: as the fucked up but still somehow favorite child of all my consoles. Sorry PlayStation 2, you may have went to law school and and had your 2.5 children, but the Dreamcast can live in my basement until he's ready to move out. He just needs a bit more time. And money for another doll. I mean action figure. Isn't he so precious?

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