Tag Archives: Console modding

July Games 2022

July Games

A good amount of gaming done, completions and more. Even bought a few new ones for a change…

Games completed this month

Ni No Kuni - April Games

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Nintendo Switch

In July I wrapped up my completion on this. Both the original ending with the credits roll, and then finishing off all the additional errands and bounties after. Excellent. Now just waiting for my group to both finish and we can start the next one.

At present it might still be on sale on the eshop, but if it’s back to full price or you’d rather have a physical copy, it’s available here from Amazon*.


Until Dawn - PlayStation 4/5

Until Dawn – PlayStation 5

My girlfriend and I completed our playthrough of this, really enjoyed it again. Lining up the Dark Pictures Anthology games to play next.

It’s quite old now, and regularly on sale digitally. Amazon* do still have the physical copy though.


Betrayal Legacy - Board Game

Betrayal Legacy

Okay so this is a board game, but since it had a full campaign that we played over 11 months I decided to include it here. My legacy board game group finished the story in July, and we were successful (although it was touch and go for a minute and came down to one last re-roll). Really enjoyed playing, and it’s nice that I now have a customised version of Betrayal that can be played for individual sessions. May be a while before I want to do that again though.

Think it may be out of print as my preferred stores don’t have this now, and there are copies on eBay for over £100. The 3rd Edition of the non-legacy edition is available here* though if you’re interested in the theme.


Games played during July

Forza Hot Wheels - July Games

Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels – Xbox Series X

The new expansion arrived and it’s great fun. I loved the Hot Wheels pack for Forza Horizon 3, and didn’t think they’d do it again. The content is pretty similar but that’s to be expected. I’ve been playing this, and still doing the weekly seasonal stuff in the main game.

Again I’m playing on GamePass, but if you would prefer to own it on disc you can buy it here*. If you are on GamePass like me, this bundle of extras* includes both Hot Wheels and the next expansion as well as other content like extra cars.


Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 4 – Xbox Series X

My recent return to Forza Horizon has seen me looking back at the older games too. Realised there is still quite a bit I didn’t do in Horizon 4 and its expansions, so I’ve been dabbling in that in between sessions on 5.

It’s still on GamePass, but also quite cheap here* if you don’t have that and want to check it out.


Ragna Rock VR

Ragna Rock – PC VR

I picked this up in a bundle of VR games a while back and never got round to trying it. One of the games I picked up this month reminded me I’d bought it so decided to boot it up. This is great fun, beating drums with hammers in time to the music to make your Viking warriors row faster.


What’s been on the arcade?

Arcade Speakers

I still didn’t play as much as I wanted to, but the new ten pence arcade game, Tinkle Pit, was new to me. It’s a fun maze game, and I think I’ll probably come back to it.


July Pick-ups

Dark Pictures Anthology - Little Hope

Dark Pictures Anthology – Little Hope – PS4

The first Anthology game “Man of Medan” was free on PS+ this month, so I grabbed it as it’ll be perfect to play next now we’ve finished with Until Dawn. I noticed this second game was on sale for £10 as well so I bought it ready. If we enjoy these I’ll look to pick up the other two games.


Audioshield - July Games

Audioshield – PC VR

This is the game I picked up that reminded me I owned Ragna Rock. It’s another music/rhythm game, and was only a couple of quid to buy in the Steam VR sale. Didn’t find it as much fun as Ragna Rock though so not sure I’ll stick with it.


Half Life Alyx - July Games

Half Life Alyx – PC VR

It was about time I bought this, still regarded as one of the best VR games available. Now I just have to find time to play it.


Death Smiles 1 & 2 - Switch

Death Smiles 1&2 – Switch

A bit of an impulse buy because this popped up for a good price as a physical edition. I really enjoyed the first Death Smiles game back on the Xbox 360, and I did also pick it up on PC so I could still play it. However I never tried the second game and it has been very expensive to buy on Xbox now. Not even sure if it is backwards compatible on the Series S/X anyway. I prefer to play shmups on my arcade machine, but since the Pi4 isn’t up to handling these games I thought I’d take a punt.


Games Retired this month

Seems a while since I’ve retired any, but these two were lurking around on my “currently playing” list and I just don’t think I’m going back to them.

Blacksad - July Games

Blacksad – PS4

A bit sorry to give up on this, but it’s just so slow and clunky that I wasn’t enjoying it. Such a shame as I wanted to love it. The world and the character are great. Maybe I’ll just read the comics again.


Nanotale - July Games

Nanotype – PC

Similarly I’m not sure why I never finished this one, it just didn’t hook me like the previous game although all the elements are there.


*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me a small commission if you buy something.

June Games

June Games

One completion just scraped through at the end of the month, but I played and bought a few others.

Games completed this month

Turtles - Shredder's Revenge - Nintendo Switch

TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge – Xbox Series X

GamePass delivers once again, a standout title for the year and it’s available on the service from day one. This modern release is very much in the style of the old Turtles arcade games, and has many nods to those classics included. Like Streets of Rage 4 in 2020, this once again shows there is life in the genre yet. I played this the way your supposed to, all the way through in one sitting, with wine and a friend. I’m still not a fan of playing brawlers like this solo, but there are few better genres to play co-operative with friends.

I’m playing on GamePass, but it seems a good fit for the Switch too, Amazon have a physical copy for pre-order here*


Games played during June

Ni No Kuni - April Games

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Nintendo Switch

Unsurprisingly taking up a lot of game time, but not dominating the month as much as I’d expected. More on that story later. Anyway still very much enjoying it, although Drippy is an abomination and I hope he isn’t in the sequel.

At present it might still be on sale on the eshop, but if it’s back to full price or you’d rather have a physical copy, it’s available here from Amazon*.


Turnip Boy - Xbox Game Pass

Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion – Xbox Series X

I’m still enjoying trying things on GamePass that I probably wouldn’t otherwise look at twice. This is an entertaining if simple little action RPG. Quite enjoyed playing it for a while, although I’m stuck on a bit of an annoying bossfight, and not sure I’m bothered enough to keep playing.


Forza Horizon 5 - June Games

Forza Horizon 5 – Xbox Series X

Got heavily back into this during June, so much so that it slowed my Ni No Kuni progress and allowed my friends to run away in front of me. No regrets though, and they’ve finally announced the first expansion will be launching in July so I expect my gameplay to continue. The expansion is another Hot Wheels one like they did for Forza Horizon 3, that was one of the best packs yet so really looking forward to it. Although the expansions are not included in GamePass, there is a good bundle of extras* that includes both Hot Wheels and one more pack yet to be announced as well as loads of cars and in game perks.

Again I’m playing on GamePass, but if you would prefer to own it on disc you can buy it here*.


Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1&2 - June Games

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 – PlayStation 5

Revisited this after talking about it recently with my nephew. It’s really well done, and runs great on the PlayStation 5. I’m still pretty bad at it though. Did progress through a few levels, but as much as I have fond memories of the originals, I don’t think I was much good at them either. Don’t expect there are many who would agree, but my favourite Tony Hawk games were Project 8 on the 360 and Sk8land on the Nintendo DS. I’d love a remake of Project 8 to be honest, or even for it to just pop up on GamePass.

I have this PS4 edition available on Amazon* – however, I did pay an additional £10 for the PS5 upgrade. It’s worth it in the sense that it looks and feels much better, but probably not for me for how little time I’ve actually spent with it.


Until Dawn - PlayStation 4/5

Until Dawn – PlayStation 5

My girlfriend doesn’t play many videogames, but does share my love of horror movies. As suspected this has proven to be quite a hit, and we’re currently enjoying a playthrough of this together. Not sure how many of the cast will survive, but I had forgotten just how entertaining it is.


What’s been on the arcade?

Arcade Speakers

New ten pence arcade game is Pac-Land, not really my cup of tea, so I’ve been back to playing Bubbles, Robotron and Super Street Fighter 2 on the cabinet.


June Pick-ups

Grow Bot - Nintendo Switch

Grow Bot – Nintendo Switch

Application Systems Heidelberg are currently sharing codes with me faster than I can play them. This is an interesting looking little puzzle game though, again one that’s been out on PC for a while but is shortly coming to the Switch.


Panzer Dragoon Remake - June Games

Panzer Dragoon Remake – Nintendo Switch

With Nintendo running a pretty decent sale on the Switch eshop, I picked up a few this month. This was the first I went for. As remakes go it had respectable if not great reviews, but I’m a big fan of the original SEGA Saturn game and it was on sale for £2. Worth a punt.


Tales of Vesperia - Nintendo Switch

Tales of Vesperia: Definite Edition – Nintendo Switch

My JRPG group have lined this up to play after Ni No Kuni. We all enjoyed Tales of Arise, but had never played any of the earlier games so interested to see how this is.

If you don’t fancy the digital edition, Amazon do have the physical one*. It’s pricey on Switch but can be had much cheaper for PS4 or Xbox.


House of the Dead Remake - Nintendo Switch

House of the Dead Remake – Nintendo Switch

Why settle for one SEGA Saturn remake, when you can buy two? Jury is still out on this for me, but since I don’t currently have a PS3 or Wii set up in my lounge I was hoping this might fill the light-gun void. You can use the joy-cons to aim, but on first go it isn’t very satisfying. I’ll spend a bit more time with it and see how I get on.


Before Your Eyes - June Gaming

Before Your Eyes – PC

My one purchase from the Steam summer sale. I’ve been interested in this since hearing it mentioned on a few podcasts. I haven’t tried it yet but the basic idea is that it uses your webcam and that the story advances every time you blink. Looking forward to trying it.


PS5 Hard Drive and External SSD for Xbox Series X

Longer term, I want more storage for the Xbox as that’s where the majority of my gaming is done. However, I originally had the same setup for both of these consoles. That is, PS5 and Xbox Series S/X games installed on the internal hard drives (as they have to be to run) and all the PS4 and backwards compatible Xbox games on two external 2TB traditional HDDs.

My goal was to stop using the HDDs entirely for faster solid state drives. (I want to do the same with my PC in the long run, but costs are fairly prohibitive. It’s getting better.)

I bought this Western Digital SN850 M.2* drive for the PS5, adds an extra 1TB to the internal storage on the console. Fitting it was relatively straight forward, although taking the case off was a bit of a faff. As it happens it’s also faster than the standard storage it comes with. I moved the PS5 games onto there, and the PS4 stuff is now on the other internal drive. I’ve still got some space left for now and no need for an external one.

I got this Crucial 1TB external SSD* which I’m using with the Xbox for now to house all the backwards compatible stuff, because it’s much faster than the old HDD I was using. When the costs come down (or I run out of space on either machine), I’m going to grab this 2TB internal upgrade* for the Xbox and move the SSD to the PS5 to use for PS4 stuff.

Convoluted, sure. Makes sense to me though and I now have a couple of spare 2TB HDDs kicking around.


*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me a small commission if you buy something.

handheld game console

July Gaming

Another small indie completion this month, along with a bigger title I’ve been playing for a while.


Games completed during July

The Static Speaks My Name – PC

Another free indie game, I think I originally heard good things about this on a podcast. It almost has something mildly interesting to say about loneliness, mental health & death, but nothing too profound. Narrowly avoids disappearing up its own behind, but only if you don’t read the comments on Steam.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus – PS4

Not quite as great an experience as The New Order, but still a really good game. Very much enjoyed the story and shooting Nazis is always fun. It’s pretty tough though, a few frustrating parts almost spoil the experience in places. I’ve only finished the main campaign so far, time will tell if I put any more time into it.


Also played this month

Quake Champions – PC

Still in early access, I won a code for this from Twitter or somewhere. It has some frustrating trappings of the Free 2 Play model, but aside from the Champions which you can buy with a one off purchase, it’s pretty much just cosmetics in the loot system. It is great fun to play already though, and still fairly sparse in modes. I’ve been playing quite a bit, but struggling to climb the scoreboards on the solo instagib queue. Yet to decide if I just need practice to regain my Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament era skills, or if I’m just old and the required reaction times are far behind me.


July Pickups

PC Upgrade!

This bundle from overlockers.co.uk had been tempting me for a little while, when I realised I’d had my current CPU/Mainboard/RAM combo since 2012 I decided it was time for an upgrade. CPU is an AMD Ryzen 2600 and I plumped a little extra to double the RAM up to 16GB. It came with a free 250GB SSD, so that’s now in place as my new system drive.

I’m delighted with it, nice boost to performance and I think my old CPU was holding back the GTX 970 graphics card I got last year.

Elder Scrolls Online – PC

A few friends and I decided to give this a go now you don’t need a subscription. We’ve only played a couple of hours so far but it seems pretty nice. Might help me hold off trying out the new World of Warcraft expansion for a bit longer too.

Sonic Mania Plus – Xbox One

A surprise gift from my sister, seems she pre-ordered it back in May for my birthday and never told me, so it just turned up unannounced on release day. Was a perfect surprise as all the people talking about it on Twitter were tempting me into buying it myself. I’ve had a little go so far, it is as good as they say.

EZ-Flash Omega – Game Boy Advance

I’ve been in the market for a good flash card solution for the Game Boy Advance for a while. The EverDrive looked tempting but very pricey, and has an annoying oversize shell that wouldn’t fit flush in either my Game Boy Micro or Nintendo DS. A friend tipped me off to this though, and it’s perfect. Performance is close to the EverDrive, has interchangable shells so it’ll fit flush in either machine (I’ve gone with the DS one, and I think I’ll sell the Game Boy Micro on) and it cost less than a third of the price of the EverDrive.

Fable Anniversary – Xbox One (Xbox BC)

Finally picked this up in the Xbox Summer Sale. Never played the original Fable, but loved 2 & 3 back on the Xbox 360. Looking forward to finally checking out this version.

 

Custom Back-lit Nintendo Game Boy

I went up to NERG in July, and as well as generally having a great time with friends, I also picked up this beauty from the traders. It didn’t have the light fitted but I fell in love with the colour scheme and it was super cheap (they even threw in a copy of Tetris). Joe Bleeps was kind enough to fit the back light for me for a very reasonable fee.

The finished article is gorgeous, and now I’m going to pick up a few of the games I enjoyed as a nipper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

RetroPie Project

This month I managed to complete a project I’ve wanted to do for quite some time. I picked up a Raspberry Pi back in February, installed RetroPie and was enjoying it just hooked up to my TV with my old Xbox 360 Hori EX2 Joystick.

I had seen various projects online involving fitting a Raspberry Pi into an existing, or specially built, arcade stick enclosure. This way you have a portable system that just hooks up to power and a screen, and you’re ready to play. Having worked a little bit with customising a stick for my PS4 previously, I figured I’d give it a go.

In deciding on a colour scheme, I was inspired by this classic Namco Playstation Arcade Stick. I am pleased with how mine has turned out.

Components used:

  • 6x fire buttons – Went with the screw in version of the same buttons I used in my PS4 stick. SANWA OBSN-30 Screw in buttons*
  • Start and credit feed buttons – These are the smaller buttons at the top. Although I usually prefer SANWA parts, I went with Seimitsu for these because I wanted the translucent yellow. SEIMITSU PS-14-DN-K 24MM Screw in buttons*
  • 2x Side buttons – spare originals taken from my Venom PS4 stick, decent enough for function buttons and I like that being a darker colour they look unobtrusive.
  • Ball Top Joystick – Again I went with the same stick I used in my PS4 one, have been very happy with that. SANWA JLF-TP-8YT Ball Top Joystick*
  • USB encoder – I got this from Amazon, mostly because I wanted it next day. Seems pretty good so far. Reyann Zero Delay Arcade USB Encoder *
  • Enclosure – Out of stock at my supplier of choice, so I imported one from China. It’s the same as this, with two extra button holes in the side. BLACK EMPTY FIGHT STICK CASE*
  • 64gb flash drive – Got this one based on size and speed, but I’ve since learned it runs hot, will need to keep an eye on that. SanDisk Ultra Fit 64GB *
  • Wireless keyboard and mouse – Had these already, the USB receiver for it is tiny, so it’s very convenient to keep installed.
  • Panel mount ports – I just grabbed short extension leads for USB, Micro USB and HDMI from eBay. Only the USB one has proper panel screw fittings, I figure I’ll just glue them in place.

*These are affiliate links, where I will earn commission if you click through and make a purchase

Installation

I originally had the power and HDMI cables plugged directly into the Pi, routed through small holes in the rear of the case. However I wanted to be able to easily detach the cables for storage, so decided to mount power and HDMI ports to the case, along with a USB port for hooking up a second controller. Unfortunately I’m impatient; rather than order some decent attachments for my dremel I only had the couple that came with it. I ended up using a small drill bit to cut the holes, which is why they look hideous. I’m going to glue the ports in place more neatly later, so I’ll tidy the holes up at the same time.

I did briefly look into building the enclosure myself (or getting my Dad involved), but found these pre-cut boxes were so cheap that it wasn’t worth the effort. Almost didn’t get the one with the side button holes, glad I did though, it’s quite nice to have them for hot keys etc.

The RetroPie software is installed on a 16GB SD card, then it’s setup to load roms from the 64GB USB drive. I find this setup preferable to using a larger SD card. Flash drives seem less prone to data corruption as well as being cheaper and generally easier to work with. Now it’s all set up though, I just use WiFi if I want to add any games or change anything I can’t do from within the RetroPie software.

We’re done, for now…

On the whole it was quite straight forward, and gives me confidence for possible future projects. I’ve also got a Pi Zero W from my birthday that I’m still deciding what to do with…

Ta-da!

Finally getting the Arcade Stick I deserve…

I recently undertook a minor project to acquire a new arcade stick and mod it with SANWA arcade components. This is something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while, but has always been held up by costs or the need for additional tools for the processes involved.

I still have 2x Dreamcast Agetec sticks that I would like to adapt, but the need to widen the holes for buttons and cut spacing for changing the PCB etc has enabled my natural tendency towards procrastination.  However, a desire to replace my current 6 button Xbox 360 stick & cronusmax combo with a new 8 button model for my PS4 sent me to Google.

My current stick next to my friend's fightpad

A little research found that this “budget” stick from venom was fairly well regarded, and even better all of the parts are compatible with standard SANWA arcade components.  As a bonus, it even has easily replaceable art. The stick itself I picked up from my local GAME, it was pretty much the same price as everywhere online, and I had a bunch of trade-in credit that made it extra cheap. The Venom PS4 arcade stick is available from Amazon here*.

As it comes...

There are various guides for this mod around, but I found this one most useful.  I used Arcade World UK for all the components, and purchased these:

Those lovely new components!

Some people also suggest getting an octagonal gate, but once I found out what they were talking about, I decided I was happy with the standard square one…

Street Fighter V was the primary motivation for getting involved in this, and I decided straight away that I would be going for a “Ken” theme.  I found this artwork online that someone else had shared to use for now. I have asked a friend to look at maybe making a new custom design for me, so hopefully I’ll be changing to something new later.  Cutting the artwork wasn’t as bad as expected, I had it printed onto A3 and with patience and a decent blade it was pretty painless:

Cutting artwork

Changing the components over and fitting the art was all straight-forward, no messing at all!

I am really pleased with the results, and very much enjoying using the controller online.  I intend to re-purpose at least the original buttons from the Venom Stick, putting them into one of the Dreamcast sticks once I get my hands on a dremel…

Ta-da!

*These are affiliate links, I’ll get a small commission if you use them and buy something. Thanks!

Upgrading modern console storage on a budget

If like me you’ve got entry level versions of both the Xbox One and PS4, then you’re probably running out of space on those 500gb drives.  There are many guides online on how easy it is to replace the internal hard drive on a PS4 and similarly how easy it is to add external storage to your Xbox One.

There are also numerous links to External USB Hard drives that are easy to open up and remove the drive ready to use in a PS4.  The natural extension of this applies if you have both consoles and wish to upgrade the storage in each machine as cheaply as possible while still getting a decent drive.

First of all I purchased this drive*, various other sites recommend that the 2014 and 2015 editions are suitable for opening up. I took a punt on the 2016 version and am happy to report that this works fine too.  Opening the case was just a matter of patience, took about 10 minutes working around the seam with a blade and then easing it open with a small screwdriver.  There are little clips all the way round.

Once you’ve got the hard drive out, you can follow the guide here for the process to upgrade your PS4.  A little note, when you get to Step 5 and need to reinstall the software, the most obvious download on the linked page will only give you the ‘update’ version of the firmware (it’s around 250mb), this won’t work.  What you need to do is scroll down to the bottom of this page and click on “Perform a new installation of the system software”, Step 2 of these instructions has a new Download link which will give you the full upgrade file, (around 950mb so you know you’ve got the right one).  Once you’ve got that you can follow the rest of the steps to install it on your new drive.

When you’ve got the old 500mb drive from your PS4, you can put that into the enclosure your new one came in, and hook that up via the included USB lead to your Xbox One.  There are helpfully USB ports on the back of the machine so you can keep this tidy.  Once connected your Xbox will ask if you wish to format it to use for games storage, hit yes and once the format is complete it’ll be ready for use.

2TB PS4 and a 1TB Xbox One for < £70.  Bargain.

Note you don’t get the full advertised amounts of storage space, this is partly because some of it is reserved for system use and partly because of how data storage volumes are recorded, but you already knew that, right?

*Affiliate links, I will receive commission if you purchase

Mega Drive Modding Success

Off work with heinous dental issues I decided to use the time today productively.  It turns a bit of Mega Drive modding was just the thing to distract from the pain.

My wire, switches etc that I mentioned in my last blog post arrived earlier this week, and deciding I could only afford one game before I next get paid, I plumped for the classic collection* pictured below.  Flicky is one of my favourite “I’ll just have a bash” games, and Gunstar Heroes was on my list as something I absolutely need to put some time into.  The other two games aren’t bad, but I’m not so fussed. (update: was clearly delirious when I originally wrote this, the other two games are awful. Altered beast especially)

I feckin love Flicky!

I got myself sorted, cleared some space, and loaded up the guide I’d chosen to work from.  It can be found here if you’re interested.  On we go!

Minor dilemma.  Once I exposed the mainboard and found the jumpers referenced by the guide, I discovered the layout was different than expected.  Basically the jumpers were in order JP 1 – 4, where as the models referenced in this guide and most of the others I’d see go, 1 2 4 3. I wasn’t sure I could then rely on the pin diagram (and don’t own a multimeter). Fortunately I googled the version number of the board “bd m5 pal” and found this page. It’s for the two switch mod, and the guide isn’t so clear, but it did give me enough information to proceed with the first guide. (Look at me, adapting and everything).

Making the hole to fit the switch was the bit I was most worried about, but it went pretty smoothly.  Some cautious drilling, followed by a bit of time filing.  This is my first time doing any kind of mod with an externally visible part, so was relieved that it looked okay.

I couldn’t get my phone to focus on the switch to show the pins, but connecting to it was pretty straight forward.  Simply a matter of pushing the cable through a hole, and holding it in place with a blob of solder.  You’ll notice I haven’t included any close ups of my soldered joints.  This is because my soldering is horrific, and will give you nightmares.  From the second pic, you can see the main mistake that I made in the whole process.  Vastly over-estimated the length of wire required.  I went with it anyway, I play by my own rules.

I tested my switch while the machine was still in pieces, and happy it was working as required, I put the machine back together.  Gotta say I am pleased with how it has turned out!

Full Screen Flicky makes me happy! Even if I continued to commit aspect ratio sins.

It’s not so present in Flicky, but Altered Beast and Gunstar Heroes have an odd border down the left when in 60hz.  I suspect this is down to my TV.  The games running at full speed is much more important though, and I’m very happy with the results.

Just in case you were curious, here’s Altered Beast running with the switch at Euro 50hz. Yikes.

Now to pick up some games!  Must get a Japanese one soon, as the previous owner of the console had done some Mega Drive modding of their own and filed down the cartridge slot so they should fit in and I’m keen to test it. Also on the lookout for Bio-Hazard Battle, one of my favourite Mega Drive Shmups that may earn a blog post of its own.

*affiliate links, I’ll get a cut if you buy something.

Another Console Project Beckons

Been ages since I updated, again!

I did maintain the sitting on the beach plan, but my productivity was limited to a few things I needed to write for work, and progressing with my reading list.

However, I have finally got around to acquiring a Mega Drive, and as such there is a need to mod it! (What could go wrong?)

A thing of beauty, isn’t it?  I also grabbed one of the recommended SCART leads from here so it can draw stereo audio from the headphone socket.

The games that came with it were all terrible, but it is working and has a couple of controllers. I’ve now ordered the bits I need to attempt the Region and PAL/NTSC switch mod, so expect an update detailing how it went wrong in the coming weeks.

Console modding for beginners…

Slight delay getting this up, but I blame Super Bowl weekend for that.

Last week saw a couple of arrivals I’d been waiting for, my first USA N64 games, and a replacement Dreamcast shell very generously donated by Danny (@dog_retro from twitter). Friday night I sat down after dinner, got the tools out and got on with a bit of (mostly) straightforward console modding.

Firstly, swapping the Dreamcast over:

The replacement shell Danny sent to me, even including the modem and a bonus game. 😀

I watched a couple of youtube videos of Dreamcasts being taken apart to aid the process, but if anything they managed to make it look much harder than it actually was!

Looked much worse in life, and had a lot of scratching etc

Whole thing took about half an hour of console modding, really easy, and very pleased with the results.

Secondly, modding my Japanese N64 to play USA carts:

This is fairly straight-forward following the guide here.  I did have a slight misadventure where I misread the instructions and didn’t pay enough attention to the pictures.

On my first reading of the instructions, I believed the intention was to just cut out those two blocks.  This would work, but they are very solid, and would require a stronger tool.  I did attempt this first anyway, as you can see:

I then realised (after stopping the bleeding) that in fact the guide just suggests removing a whole chunk of the plastic.  Like so:

Easy with my hacksaw!  Also very satisfying for the little die-hard SEGA fan in me to take a hacksaw to a Nintendo console.  I then reassembled and tested it with my USA copy of Wipeout 64.  Much rejoicing and a successful Friday evening.

  Enough console modding for now, on with the gaming!

The continuing saga of my Nintendo 64

Since my previous post where I ordered myself a Japanese N64, things haven’t quite gone to plan.  The original intention was to mod the console for RGB output.  I had been reading the directions here and growing in confidence that performing this mod was well within my ability.  The required components can all be found very cheaply on eBay.  Being a Japanese console it is also a simple matter to cut the casing so it will also play American games, following the instructions here.

The console arrived quickly enough, and came with Japanese copies of Wave Race and Pilot Wings.  I hooked it all up for testing, and was pleased to discover that people were not exaggerating the speed difference between NTSC and PAL.  The fact that all the Japanese text meant I had no idea what was going on, only emphasised the need to play American games.  The next step I ordered myself a gamebit 4.5mm to open the machine, and a Japanese copy of Mario Kart 64 so I had something to play.  This was mostly in case there was a delay to the modding, and because I was sure I could follow Mario Kart even if it wasn’t in English…

Fortunately, I held off ordering the components of the RGB mod until after the gamebit had arrived and I opened the machine.  When I got the tool I sat down to have a look inside and discovered signs that the console had been opened before.  Pushing forward with a growing sense of unease, I found the board contained the dreaded MAV-NUS video chip.  I had successfully purchased a console that couldn’t be modded for RGB output, making the whole exercise pretty pointless.

I was disappointed, and put the whole thing aside for a few days.  On reflection, I decided that I’d resume the hunt for a decent Nintendo 64 picture in a few months giving my finances a chance to recover.  In the meantime I would get hold of an S-Video lead to make the best of a bad situation.  This is now in place, and the quality is much improved over the RF cable, and quite playable.  Just like my childhood though, the Sega Saturn picture makes the N64 look silly.  I’m hoping I can pick up a pre-modded RGB N64 at Play Blackpool.

I’ve ordered myself a few American games anyway, to start the collection and make the most of the machine.  When they arrive I will be butchering the case as mentioned above.  Amongst the games I ordered is an NTSC copy of Robotron 64, so I can go ahead with my original plan of blogging about that.

Such an effort.  Anyway…

This is my current setup, I added the Daytona and Raiden prints this week, to cheer myself up about the whole chain of events.  The 360 and PS3 are connected via HDMI, the Wii is component, Dreamcast via VGA and then the Saturn and N64 go into a SCART switch box.  I change my mind pretty often, but my current intention is to replace the 360 with an Atari Jaguar and to swap out the Wii for a Wii U once Mario Kart 8 appears.  I’m resisting the Xbone and PS4 at present as my PC is more than good enough for current/next gen gaming, and Steam means I save a fortune on games that way too.  The PS3 justifies itself as a Bluray/Singstar/Lightgun Shooter device.