Super 8 by Innovation - Review

7. April 2013 18:34 by Cameron in   //  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,   //   Comments

I recently purchased a rare accessory for my SNES that allows me to play NES and Famicom games on my SNES called the Super 8, designed by Innovation in 1993.  One can also play SNES and Super Famicom games using the pass-through slot. The system uses a NOAC for playing NES and Famicom games in a similar fashion to how the Super Gameboy used Gameboy hardware for playing Gameboy games on the SNES. Since I have an NES, it's more of a novelty item for being able to use only one console to play each set of NES and SNES games. It's compatible with most NES and Famicom games out of the box including Castlevania III with the MMC5 mapper and Akumajou Densetsu, the Japanese version of Castlevania III, with the VRC6 mapper and enhanced audio. Some games do not work due to the system being a NOAC and not original NES hardware. The NES PowerPak by RetroZone does not work on the Super 8 for some reason, but perhaps this will be fixed in a later firmware update for the PowerPak.

Once my unit arrives, I will begin compiling a list of compatible games and how it compares to the NES.

Known issues with fixes:

  • The Super 8 does not include native support for SNES games that use co-processors, but this can be fixed by adding a few solder points on the mainboard - I will update this later with the exact guide on how to fix
  • The Super 8 suffers from the same jailbars issue that the top loading NES and some Famiclones experience - this can be fixed by soldering a 470micro farad cpacitor - I will update this post with where to solder later

My NES and SNES game collection

7. April 2013 18:01 by Cameron in   //  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,   //   Comments

It's been a while since I've posted a new blog post. I've been fairly busy with life and work lately. Over the past couple of weeks, I've been expanding my NES and SNES game library. I plan to collect several original titles that I enjoyed playing as a kid. Some of the games that I recently acquired for the NES are:

  • Donkey Kong Classics
  • Tengen's Pacman
  • Tetris
  • Othello
  • Mario Bros. Arcade Classics
  • Castlevania I
  • Castlevania II
  • Castlevania III
  • Duck Tales
  • Dr. Mario
  • Caesar's Palace
  • The Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout
  • Tengen's Road Runner
  • The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle
My NES collection is rapidly growing as I previously only had these games in my library:
  • Super Mario Bros. / Duck Hunt
  • Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Home Alone
  • The Legend of Zelda
I plan to add the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trilogy, Megaman 1-6, Metroid, and several other great games to my collection. Megaman collections can easily go for $150 or more on eBay while a single copy of Megaman can be easily $30. I'm hoping to find a collection with all six games when I'm ready to add them to my collection. I love super Metroid on the SNES so I'm sure that the original Metroid will be an excellent addition. Metroid has held its value fairly well over the years. Copies of Metroid typically sell for $30 or more. I will also be adding a RetroZone NES PowerPak to my library so I can play translated Famicom games and homebrew. I would like to try my hand at NES development with 6502 assembly too.
 
For my SNES, I recently added these games:
  • Sim City
  • Donkey Kong Country 3
  • Buster Busts Loose
  • Kirby's Avalanche
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
I've got quite a large collection of SNES cartridges that I've been building on over the past few years:
  • Super Mario Kart
  • Super Mario All Stars + World
  • Super Off Road the Baja
  • Jurassic Park
  • Donkey Kong Country
  • Donkey Kong Country 2
  • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
  • Chrono Trigger
  • Starfox
  • Mario Paint
  • Final Fantasy II
  • Final Fantasy III
  • Super Battletank: War in the Gulf
  • Super Caesar's Palace
  • Super Mario RPG
  • SNES PowerPak
  • Super Gameboy
  • Super Metroid
Since I have a SNES PowerPak, I can play most all translated Super Famicom games, homebrew, and almost all of the SNES games available. I've used my SNES PowerPak for development of my own and playing various hacks or ROM translations. Even though I can play nearly every game available for the SNES using the SNES PowerPak, I still enjoy collecting the original carts. 
 
One may say that it's cheaper to just use a NES/SNES to USB adapter and play games on an emulator, but it's just not the same as playing on the original hardware. I grew up in the 1990's and the NES/SNES were a big part of my childhood. Arguably, I'd have to say the SNES is my favorite console as it's one that I played the most. I didn't have an NES at home as a kid, but I used to play at friend's houses. I have all the emulators and ROMS, but nothing compares to the feeling of playing a game they way it was meant to be played, on the glorious consoles themselves.

Unity 3D Game Project

5. March 2012 13:11 by Cameron in Programming  //  Tags: , , , , , , , ,   //   Comments

This semester, at Louisiana State University, I'm taking a video game design class and our goal is to make a 3D stereoscopic game using the Unity 3D engine. I'm working with a group of students from the University of Illinois at Chicago and one other member from LSU. So far, it's proven to be a very interesting class. We've pitched our storyboard ideas in front of our peers and our professors to get a good sense of what we should do next. Ultimately, we decided on doing a hang gliding game influenced by the PilotWings series. I have always loved the Pilot Wings games and I can remember the hours of fun I used to have playing PilotWings for the SNES. Today, I have Pilot Wings Resort for the Nintendo 3DS and thoroughly enjoy the game play. Our game, while having some similarities to Pilot Wings, will be unique and have its own twist. We're still working out all of the logistics of the game play, but we have some good ideas thus far.

I've been focusing on simulating hang glider flight physics using Unity 3D's physics engine and later I will help with composing the soundtrack of the game. I've setup a prototype of the game where the player is positioned in the middle of a canyon and has the ability to tilt left and right as well as climb and descend. I'm still working on making the movement more fluid, but the basic concept of flight is represented in the prototype. My colleagues are working on randomizing the terrain and managing the world objects for powerups and obstacles.

Once we have a presentable prototype, it will be fun to compose the soundtrack for the game. I've been playing piano for the past 15 years and I love to compose my own music. Some of the songs I compose are strictly solo piano while others have multiple parts to add depth to the sound.

I will keep this blog updated as more progress is made on the game project front. I'll also be sure to upload some images of the prototype at some point.

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