Vintage computing, old video games

Finished Dark Souls III: The Ringed City DLC (PS4)

With a heavy heart, playing the supposed the last game in the series. From’s Hidetaka Miyazaki confirmed that the franchise was done.

Now I have played Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls 1+2+3. All DLCs. Play time on average 200 hours per game, on average 3 playthroughs per game. I intend to play some multiplayer on Ringed City while there is still life on online. Other than that, that’s it.

It has been a large part of my life since playing the Chinese pre-order of Demon’s Souls back in the summer 2009, on a CRT, when I was living in Santa Clara CA. Demon’s Souls was not well marketed. Found out about it through random word of mouth. At first I thought it would be a very typical character-driven fantasy ARPG. But, everything about this game was surprising. It was created in the golden age of quest markers and in-game explanations, of which there were none. It is a fantasy RPGs and those tend to be character based, but the focus was totally on gameplay and environment. It is Japanese, but plays like a WRPG.

I understand the game a bit better if it’s contextualized against King’s Field for the PSX, understood as a spiritual predecessor to the franchise. I didn’t play King’s Field until just a few years ago, but when it came out it would have been received much the same as Dark Souls today. It’s an RPG that is so finicky and brooding with barely any background music.

Ringed City was a good time. At the same time I think they have chosen a good place to end it.

November 12th, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

My first time playing this game on real hardware.

I treat the SHARP and 90s game consoles very differently.

The SNES I’ll carry it any which way. Power it off unsafely, leave it on for days, use the reset in an angry manner, be negligent with using cartridge protectors and so forth. Also, the fat PS2 has been taken apart and “repaired” (ask me in person if you want more details about this).

However, the SHARP is different. I move it very carefully and keep it upright. Touch nothing unless necessary. All disks must be either in the system, or in protective cases inside boxes. It must always be transported by me, in my car, in a cool temperature. And, minimize the number of FDD transactions.

That last one is the biggest one and it actively affects gameplay. I play in order to minimize the number of FDD reads and writes.

The death penalty in this game is not high in terms of gameplay setbacks, but it is high in terms of disk switching. Dying will reset the game back into the starting area (disk 1), from which you will typically need to insert disk 2 or 3 to resume your save- that’s 2 disk swaps. And starting the game from boot requires 2 swaps across both FDD0 and FDD1. (boot + data1 –> user + data1–> user + data2). And then of course 1 save == 1 write.

Put it all together, and you want to have few, long playthroughs. Try not to save too much, but also really try not to die. Don’t unnecessarily venture into areas which are stored on a different disk.

Is all of this strictly necessary? Maybe, maybe not. Is this founded? I think so.

All the while playing through Lagoon there is this nagging feeling in the back of my head like my days playing it are numbered.

Like the raw number of FDD transactions it can do is finite. While this is true for any piece of computer hardware ever, there is reason to believe it’s much more imminent on this machine. With every seek, every read, every grinding noise that comes out of the FDD- that brings it closer to no longer working. I was especially nervous at the in-game disk switching prompts (besides the boot disk and saved game disk, the game is spanned across 3 data disks). Eventually, this machine will break down and then the only option will be an emulator compatible with contemporary PCs.

Indeed, this is my second copy of Lagoon. The first copy I obtained several years ago. When I tried to boot it, the boot disk showed CRC fail. The data disks couldn’t be read. While this was a disappointment, it was not altogether a surprise. This happens with old disks and FDDs from that time period. It’s not even uncommon now. Recently when I was playing with the TRS-80 with my coworker Jeff, we tried loading some games from the late 80s on 5-1/4″ floppies. We had about a 10% success rate and blew out one FDD.

Therefore, I’m extremely lucky for having acquired fully working games with fully working hardware. There are a bajillion things that can go wrong with 5 1/4″ disks stored away for 30 years shipped from the other side of the world. If I try and play this game again in 5 or 10 years, I might not be able to. But I am really glad for this experience playing it like this and it’s something I’ll remember fondly.

Boot and resume save at gold cave

Ending credits


August 26th, 2017 at 10:45 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

I loaded the system disk into my computer and started the game. First couple quests things in the town to unlock the starter equipment.

Graphics and sound are good.

It can load saved games (of which, the previous owner left a couple… whoa)

But, can it save games?
Yes. Yes, it can. Yeah, let me just load my game from this 30-year-old magnetic tape
Minimal grinding and churning !!

The gold cave is a maze but no worries I have my old strategy guide.

Can I join the PC gamer club now?

August 15th, 2017 at 10:36 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

June 24th, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Finished Secret of Evermore for the SNES.

This was an action-RPG I had really wanted to play when I was little, but wasn’t able to obtain a copy. Nowadays the world is at your fingertips so I can finally play it. It plays very similarly to Secret of Mana.

The graphics and visual style really left an impression on me. Compared to most other RPGs from around the same time period, everything feels very ‘larger than life’, probably because it’s actually bigger in terms of pixel size- that is, if you compare it to say, FF5 or FF6. More frames of animation too. The design for the bosses “Thraxx”/”Coleoptera” was really cool. And as for the art style, it feels kind of realistic and gritty, none of the words seem too inviting, and it works for this game. Combined with ambient sound instead of background music for a lot of parts, the environments tend to feel kind of lonely and spooky.

It turns out it was developed by a North American division of Square which explains a lot. It is loaded with gags and pop culture references and in general feels way too western to be a JRPG. Although it does follow the cliche of having the obligatory Mode-7 airship type of thing toward the end. Overall, 10/10 would recommend.

January 29th, 2017 at 11:54 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

September 8th, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Every texture in Dark Souls replaced with Nicolas Cage

August 2nd, 2016 at 10:18 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

The Dark Soul(Platinum)
Acquire all trophies.

June 12th, 2016 at 2:27 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Replaying Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (replaying nostalgia games lately) and it never occurred to me until now how BAD the soundtrack is.

I mean, the game has other qualities. Just not that. Why are literally all the dungeons and bosses one of two pieces? Why are all the loops like 5 seconds long? Why does this exist:

I would link to the Fortune Teller music but I don’t want to put anyone else through that today.

October 12th, 2015 at 12:46 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Visions of bravery…

June 28th, 2014 at 10:31 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink