New "How To" section - what should it cover?

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New "How To" section - what should it cover?

Post by NickThorpe » Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:10 am

If you've been reading the mag's mailbag section, you'll have seen that we've had a number of letters asking about different aspects of playing and collecting retro games (running old consoles on new TVs, running imported hardware, running homebrew software, etc.). We're planning to handle these queries by introducing a new section of the magazine in issue 132, a two-page "How To" section.

We've got a number of ideas for things to cover in this section, but we'd like your feedback too - what would you like to see?
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Re: New "How To" section - what should it cover?

Post by noobish hat » Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:22 am

How about bead sprite art? Easy to cover everything you need to know, even in just 2 pages, and lots of potential for high quality photos of different characters and games. Maybe even reader submissions. It's getting more and more popular, almost every forum I go on has threads dedicated to it.

I pitched this to Darran a long time ago, but there was no interest. I'd still like to see it in the mag. Maybe now is the time?
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Re: New "How To" section - what should it cover?

Post by Bub&Bob » Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:24 am

How to use Google?
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Re: New "How To" section - what should it cover?

Post by joefish » Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:30 am

Getting up and running with a ZX Spectrum emulator, selecting the machine, TAP files (and other formats), and matching up the in-game joystick options with whatever controllers you have plugged in to your PC.

Then do the same for C64, CPC, ST, Amiga. Or as much as you can without 'advocating copyright infringement'.

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Re: New "How To" section - what should it cover?

Post by necronom » Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:44 am

I always think that hardware is a massive omission, so maybe how to play games from SD cards on retro machines. I have an SD card reader for my C64/Vic-20 and I've just ordered one for my VCS. I wouldn't mind seeing something like that covered, and other modern hardware add-ons for ols systems.

Also, what about RF to composite mods? I did one on my Spectrum which was simple and didn't need any parts, and a recently modded my VCS (which was a bit more tricky). If people know what can be done it would be good to know.

Because of the SD and composite mods, my Spectrum and VCS went from something I'd hardly ever play on, to things I can use immediately on my big TV without any hassle (I usually load Spectrum games from an iPod, so nearly as good as an SD card).
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Re: New "How To" section - what should it cover?

Post by NickThorpe » Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:49 am

Bub&Bob wrote:How to use Google?
I get what you're saying, but as we've received most of those requests via email, we're going to assume they know how to use Google and want to see this content from Retro Gamer specifically.
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Re: New "How To" section - what should it cover?

Post by Bub&Bob » Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:00 am

NickThorpe wrote:
Bub&Bob wrote:How to use Google?
I get what you're saying, but as we've received most of those requests via email, we're going to assume they know how to use Google and want to see this content from Retro Gamer specifically.
Just selfishness on my part - I have my systems set up fine, CFW installed on PSP / DS / Wii etc and so don't want to see this in the mag.
joefish wrote:Getting up and running with a ZX Spectrum emulator....
I always used to skip the "how to set up emulators" in the cover disc days as I was happy to find out for myself.

But then again, at least its something different and there should be some good shots of machines etc so ignore me!!
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Re: New "How To" section - what should it cover?

Post by NickThorpe » Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:05 am

Bub&Bob wrote:
NickThorpe wrote:
Bub&Bob wrote:How to use Google?
I get what you're saying, but as we've received most of those requests via email, we're going to assume they know how to use Google and want to see this content from Retro Gamer specifically.
Just selfishness on my part - I have my systems set up fine, CFW installed on PSP / DS / Wii etc and so don't want to see this in the mag. I always used to skip the "how to set up emulators" in the cover disc days as I was happy to find out for myself.

But then again, at least its something different and there should be some good shots of machines etc so ignore me!!
Understood - I'm much the same way and tend to do well out of repairing "dead" hardware (last one was a 32X, picked up on the cheap from eBay). However, I've seen people within our videogames department who don't know about simple maintenance like cleaning the pins of a cartridge, let alone less obvious stuff.

We'll try to fit some entertainment into it, like Darran doing a big thumbs up after a successful repair or something. :wink:
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Re: New "How To" section - what should it cover?

Post by noobish hat » Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:11 am

How about console mods? There must be a few that are simple enough to cover in a couple of pages. Adding a backlight to a Game Boy Color would fit (and it might be interesting even to those who don't plan to do it, but that's probably just my strange opinion).

How about something like bleaching a PC Engine to make it look brand new. I fancy doing that myself.
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Re: New "How To" section - what should it cover?

Post by joefish » Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:19 am

Fixes for common problems, like the power supply board connection fix for the Dreamcast, along with replacing (or permanently jamming) the lid sensor.

All the sorts of problems that can be fixed by failed capacitors - scratchy colours on the Spectrum, failure of ST / Amiga and other disk drives (not because of a mechanical fault, but because the 12V supply drops out whilst the rest of the machine seems to work fine off the 5V), new drive belts for Spectrum / Amstrad cassette decks and disk drives.

Composite modifications are a good idea, not forgetting a way to then get the audio out.

Also any custom video or linkup* cables.

*I'm thinking of the GB Micro, which has a different connector to other GBAs - but my guess is it's a Nintendo custom one, so no-one's ever going to be able to make a system link or Gamecube cable for it...

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Re: New "How To" section - what should it cover?

Post by noobish hat » Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:30 am

I'm pretty sure I've seen some ghetto micro-to-GC cables.
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Re: New "How To" section - what should it cover?

Post by Antiriad2097 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:00 pm

How to build a mame cab. Or at least a decent USB arcade stick for mame.
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Re: New "How To" section - what should it cover?

Post by NorthWay » Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:54 pm

Where can I get old hw fixed?
Where can I buy old hw/sw?
What is the best possible picture you can get from hw X?
What hw mods can you do to old hw?
What can break down in old hw? (Capacitors)
What new devices can you get for old hw? (Modern storage like memory cards and network connections.)(For easier playing of games ofc.)
What new hw can you get that replaces the old hw? (FPGA based devices - are there any? Is there a NES thing taking old carts?)

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Re: New "How To" section - what should it cover?

Post by necronom » Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:59 pm

Antiriad2097 wrote:How to build a mame cab. Or at least a decent USB arcade stick for mame.
They did the MAME cab back in issue 6, though that was 10 years ago. Maybe an updated one. And as for a decent USB arcade stick, I can give you a USB arcade stick article, though 'decent' is in the eye of the beholder. It works for me, as I've been happy with it for almost 10 years of playing the Retro League games :D
Last edited by necronom on Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New "How To" section - what should it cover?

Post by Antiriad2097 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:22 pm

Yeah, I know how to do it and remember the old article, but thought its an obvious thing for an RG How To.

I learned an awful lot from the Project Arcade book.
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