Legal Nintendo NES Rom dumping?

The next podcast & video will be about legal rom dumping/ripping. Talking about legal emulation is the precursor to then talking about the RetroPie, a Raspberry Pi setup that allows you to play just about every Retro Game in one spot with almost perfect accuracy and HDMI output. It’s my preferred way to play these games because of the preservation aspect, the better resolution, optional gamepads, better sound and game save capability.

Right now I want to cover the NES rom ripping. It’s the most complicated to do which is ironic since most people are going to see NES as the #1 retro system to play. The only thing I can find on this is a hobbyist board called “Kazzo” that you can DIY assemble or order from other assemblers on ebay (around $50).

Once you get this board, you are going to connect it with a USB cable to a PC running a 32 bit version of Windows. I would recommend a Windows XP 32-bit project machine for this and many other projects. Then you will download and run the software, obtainable here.

As if obtaining the hardware and having to setup a Windows XP project computer isn’t enough of a pain, there’s another issue. NES cartridges have different chipsets, which means you will need to get a list of these cartridges (here) that have a handy corresponding code for the software.

The next step is to use the code for the cartridge, you will pull down on the menu the same code and run the program, ripping the file.

  1. Kazzo board plugged into a
  2. 32-bit Windows XP machine
  3. The software is running
  4. Plug an NES game into the board.
  5. Select code in software, run the program to extract the ROM image.

This seems overly complicated, expensive and time consuming, but for now this is the legit way to run NES games on an emulator or Raspberry Pi/Retropie. The only other option that I can think of is getting the roms on illegal site. Never ask me for roms and NEVER ask me where those sites are. I haven’t jumped in the rabbit hole yet. Did you? Post comments or questions, I’d love to hear from you!

8bitdo Sega Genesis Receiver Review

8bitdo Sega Genesis Receiver Review

The 8bitdo Genesis Receiver allows your Sega Genesis or Mega Drive to use a modern gamepad such as the PS4, PS3, XBox or Wii U (pictured) as well as a wide assortment of Bluetooth controllers. Also pictured on the right is another device used in a similar way for devices that accept USB such as the Nintendo Switch, the Mini Playstation, PCs, etc.

Podcast:

Youtube video:

Install Linux console programs like Lynx on Mac OSX

You can install much loved Linux console programs like Lynx (text web browser) and Midnight Commander (powerful file browser) on Mac OSX using homebrew program installer “Brew”.

Example: Install Lynx
First you must install Brew. After this, you can install other programs with Brew.

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)" < /dev/null 2> /dev/null

Now use Brew to install Lynx:

brew install lynx

Now you can test it out:

lynx thinkzinc.com

Did you see thinkzinc.com in a text browser?

Try installing the Midnight Commander:

brew install mc

You can check out the “Brew” homepage and use the search for new programs to install. You can also very how many programs you have installed with this command:

brew list

I love Mac OSX but I can’t live without Lynx. Web surfing without busy ads and pictures. Enjoy!

Install Sony Playstation Now (PS Now) on Ubuntu

I’m always looking at ways to play video games on Ubuntu Linux. This one is a doozy. With Playstation Now, you can play over 700 real PS2, PS3 and PS4 games on your Ubuntu computer. The technology uses streaming from remote server where the gaming console exists. Sony typically will give you a couple weeks as a free trial though the deals vary. I was able to take advantage of a Black Friday sale with one full year of PS Now for only $70. Fantastic deal.

Here’s how to install PS Now on Ubuntu:

First install wine if it’s not already installed. Wine is a Linux program that helps us run Windows programs on the Linux platform.

sudo apt install wine-stable

Next, download winetricks into your downloads folder.

cd "${HOME}/Downloads"
wget  https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Winetricks/winetricks/master/src/winetricks
chmod +x winetricks

Now install some Windows apps with winetricks.

./winetricks corefonts
./winetricks vulkansdk
./winetricks dxvk
./winetricks vcrun2013

Now we are going to install Lutris, which is a program that helps you install games and other apps on your Wine Windows installation.

sudo apt-get install lutris

Once you find Lutris in your application menu and launch it.
Now visit the Lutris website and launch the PS Now installer.
https://lutris.net/games/playstation-now/
After you select ‘install’ you will see a Playstation Now icon in the Lutris application.

Here’s where I ran into trouble with this installation Mind you, I figured all this out by using directions cobbled together from many broken install methods I found on the web! When I tried to launch PS Now from Lutris, I was met with a message that said, “Vulkan is not installed” even though I installed it with winetricks (above).

Here’s the fix:

Right-click on the Playstation Now icon in Lutris.
Select “configure”.
Select the “runner options” tab.
Turn “Enable DXVK” off.
Save and relaunch. After poking on a couple dialog boxes, you should be good to go!

Sega Master System

Image result for sega master systemIf you are unfamiliar with the 8-Bit Sega Master System, the game system that Sega sold before the 16-Bit Sega Genesis – you are in for a treat. This third generation video game system debuted in 1985 in Japan as the Sega Mark III.  The name wasn’t very well revived so when it debuted in 1986 in North America, it was relabeled the Master System. The system competed with the Nintendo NES, which debuted a year earlier. In Japan and North America, the system was far less popular than it was in Europe and Brazil. The incredibly popular Sega Genesis followed in the market two years later, making the Master System a footnote outside of Europe and Brazil. Despite this, many great games were created. I put together a list of the best games, though there are many more. If you are interested in checking out what the system offered, check out the titles below. Also, just for fun check out this embeded youtube video with 25 popular Master System titles.

A Sega Master System console will run you around $50 on ebay. Just like any other retro game system, the game cartridges can run anywhere from $10 to $300 depending on the rarity, condition, desirability, and completeness (box, manual, etc.)

If you have a gen 1 or gen 2 Sega Genesis, you can use a “power base converter” (which ranges between $50-100 on ebay) to play Sega Master System games.

Another option is to buy a Mega EverDrive X7, which will allow you to load up Master System, 32X and Genesis cartridge roms. Don’t ask me for roms or where to find them!

Another interesting option is to emulate the system with a Raspberry Pi using RetroPie. There are plenty of youtube videos around to show you how to do this. Essentially, you are going to install an OS image onto a micro SD card, put it in your Raspberry Pi, then install your rom images to the rom directory. This is a great option and highly encourage!

Good luck and happy gaming!

Sega Master SystemGamegear portGenreMore Information
Alex Kidd in Miracle WorldPlatformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Kidd_in_Miracle_World
Alien SyndromeRun & gun shooterhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_Syndrome
Asterix2D action platformerhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asterix_(1991_video_game)
Astro Warriors
Shoot 'em uphttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astro_Warrior
Ayrton Senna's Super Monaco GP 2
Racinghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayrton_Senna%27s_Super_Monaco_GP_II
Baku Baku Animal
Puzzle gamehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baku_Baku_Animal
Bubble Bobble
Comical action platformerhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubble_Bobble
Buggy Run
Racinghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buggy_Run
California Games
Sportshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Games
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
Platformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_of_Illusion_Starring_Mickey_Mouse
ChoplifterActionhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choplifter
Chuck Rock 2: Son of ChuckPlatformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Rock_II:_Son_of_Chuck
Columns
Puzzlehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columns_(video_game)
Cool Spot
Platformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cool_Spot
Deep Duck Trouble Starring Donald Duck
Platformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Duck_Trouble_Starring_Donald_Duck
Desert Strike
Shoot 'em uphttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert_Strike
Double Dragon
Beat-'em-uphttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Dragon
Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
Falling block puzzlehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Robotnik%27s_Mean_Bean_Machine
Dynamite Dux
Beat-'em-uphttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamite_Düx
Dynamite Headdy
Platformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamite_Headdy
Earthworm Jim
Platformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthworm_Jim
Ecco the Dolphin
Action-adventurehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecco_the_Dolphin
Ecco: Tides of Time
Action-adventurehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecco:_The_Tides_of_Time
F1
Racinghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F1_(video_game)
Fantasy Zone
Horizontally scrolling shoot 'em uphttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantasy_Zone
Fantasy Zone 2: The Tears of Opa-Opa
Horizontally scrolling shoot 'em uphttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantasy_Zone_II:_The_Tears_of_Opa-Opa
Ghouls 'n' Ghosts
Platformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghouls_%27n_Ghosts
G-LOC: Air Battle
Arcade, Combat flight simulatorhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G-LOC:_Air_Battle
Golden Axe Warrior
Action-adventurehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Axe_Warrior
Golvellius: Valley of Doom
Role-playing gamehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golvellius
GP Rider
Racinghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GP_Rider
Hang-On
Racinghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hang-On
Impossible Mission
Platformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impossible_Mission
James Pond 2: Codename Robocod
Platformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Pond_2
Land of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
Platformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_of_Illusion_Starring_Mickey_Mouse
Legend of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
Platformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legend_of_Illusion_Starring_Mickey_Mouse
Marble Madness
Platform, Racinghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marble_Madness
Master of Darkness
2D action platformerhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_of_Darkness
Micro Machines
Racinghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_Machines_(video_game_series)
Ninja Gaiden
Action-adventure, hack and slashhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninja_Gaiden
Operation Wolf
Shooting galleryhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Wolf
OutRun
Arcade racinghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out_Run
OutRun Europa
Racinghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out_Run_Europa
Phantasy Star
✓ (Phantasy Star Adventure & Phantasy Star Gaiden)Role-playing gamehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantasy_Star
Power Strike II
✓ (GG Aleste II: Lance Bird)Vertically scrolling shoot 'em uphttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_Strike
Prince of Persia
Cinematic platformer
Action-adventure
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_of_Persia
Psycho Fox
2D action Platformerhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psycho_Fox
Quartet
2D action platformerhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartet_(video_game)
Rainbow Islands
Platformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_Islands:_The_Story_of_Bubble_Bobble_2
Rampage
Actionhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rampage_(video_game)
Road Rash
Racinghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_Rash
R-Type
Side scrolling shoot-em-uphttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R-Type
Sensible Soccer
Sportshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensible_Soccer
Shinobi
Platform, hack and slashhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinobi_(video_game)
Smash TV (Super Smash TV)
Multidirectional shooterhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smash_TV
Sonic Chaos
Platformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonic_Chaos
Sonic Spinball
Action, Pinballhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonic_Spinball
Sonic the Hedgehog
Platformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonic_the_Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Platformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonic_the_Hedgehog_2
Special Criminal Investigation
Racing, Actionhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_Criminal_Investigation
Streets of Rage 2
Beat 'em uphttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streets_of_Rage_2
Strider
✓ (Sequel as Strider II)Platformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strider_(arcade_game)
Super Monaco GP
First-person racing/Racing simulationhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Monaco_GP
Super Off Road
Racinghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Off_Road
The Lion King
Platformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lion_King_(video_game)
The Lucky Dime Caper Starring Donald Duck
Platformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucky_Dime_Caper
The New Zealand Story
Platformhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_NewZealand_Story
Thunder Blade
Scrolling shooter
Third-person rail shooter
Combat flight simulator
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunder_Blade
Virtua Fighter Animation
Versus Fightinghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtua_Fighter_Animation
Wonder Boy in Monster World✓ (Monster World II: Dragon no Wana)Platform/Action-adventure, Metroidvaniahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonder_Boy_in_Monster_World
Ys: The Vanished OmensAction Role Playinghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ys_I:_Ancient_Ys_Vanished
ZillionPlatform, action-adventurehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zillion_(video_game)

Would you like to be Google free?

By now you have probably heard that Google spys on your growing habits, searches, traveling locations, app usage and more. Google is so pervasive that it’s almost impossible to stop from being “the product” that gets sold and resold right? Wrong!

Now there are great Google alternatives.

Duckduckgo has setup a great guide that you can follow to help free yourself from the clutches of Google.

Gaming on the Raspberian Stretch Desktop

It really surprises me that there isn’t a Raspberry Pi gaming scene. I’m not talking about emulation. I’m talking about games that run native on the Pi in Raspbian. Old machines like the Atari 2600, Colecovision, ZX Spectrum and the Commodore 64 have an embarrassing wealth of new games coming out all the time. The Vic 20 still gets releases for God’s sake! So where is the love when it comes to our tiny Pi friend, which is much, much more capable?

Here’s a small list of games you can run on the Stretch Desktop. There are more but these seem to be the most popular. Let me know if you have any favorites you want added to the list!

For the 3D games, a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ is highly recommended!

Battleball – a 3D Tank arcade
sudo apt-get install battleball

Flare – Diablo-like RPG
sudo apt-get install flare-game

Freesweep – a console based Minesweeper
sudo apt-get install freesweep

Funny Boat – funny arcade game
sudo apt-get install funnyboat

Gnome Nibbles – a snake game
sudo apt-get install gnome-nibbles

Quake 3
-> Setup:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install quake3
game-data-packager quake3 -i

Minecraft Pi edition 

Open Arena – open source version of Quake with different maps
sudo apt-get install openarena

OpenTTD – based upon Transport Tycoon Deluxe sudo apt-get install openttd

TINT – a Tetris game
sudo apt-get install tint

Manually Install RetroPie over Raspbian Stretch

If you are enjoying a full or lite install of Raspbian on your Raspberry Pi, you can also manually install RetroPie rather than work off of a RetroPie SD image.

It’s advisable to first tell your Pi to boot into console mode at boot. 

pi@raspberry:~$ sudo raspi-config
Choose (3) Boot Options
B1 Desktop/CLI
B2 Console Autologin (optionally, you could select B1 to log in)
<Finish>

Install RetroPie manually

Start by updating your system:

pi@raspberry:~$sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

Verify your local settings for a smooth installation.

pi@raspberry:~$sudo update-locale LC_ALL="en_US.UTF-8"

Now we install the packages needed by the installation script:

pi@raspberry:~$ sudo apt-get install git lsb-release 

Download the RetroPie setup script using git. If you don’t have git installed:

pi@raspberry:~$sudo apt install git-all

then:

pi@raspberry:~$ cd
pi@raspberry:~$ git clone --depth=1 https://github.com/RetroPie/RetroPie-Setup.git 

Now run the script:

pi@raspberry:~$ cd RetroPie-Setup
pi@raspberry:~$ chmod +x retropie_setup.sh
pi@raspberry:~$ sudo ./retropie_setup.sh

The installation dialog appears:

Choose the basic install and then optional packages, settings and drivers. Once you are done, reboot and launch with:

pi@raspberry:~$ emulationstation

Raspberry Pi as a Spotify Connect source

This is verified to work with a Raspberry Pi model 3 B+ with Raspbian Stretch on 01/20/19. It really should work with any Pi using Jessie too.

The program we will use to stream music from any device to our Pi is called “raspotify“, which makes our Pi into a Spotify connect source. We will install the program and then make changes to the configuration file to customize the bit rate and Spotify Connect name which can be anything you choose.

Install raspotify from console:
https://dtcooper.github.io/raspotify/

From script:

curl -sL https://dtcooper.github.io/raspotify/install.sh | sh

Or manually:
# Install curl and https apt transport
sudo apt-get -y install curl apt-transport-https

# Add repo and its GPG key
curl -sSL https://dtcooper.github.io/raspotify/key.asc | sudo apt-key add -v –
echo ‘deb https://dtcooper.github.io/raspotify jessie main’ | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/raspotify.list

# Install package
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -y install raspotify

Restart raspotify:
sudo systemctl restart raspotify

If raspotify does not appear after boot, here are some options.

——————
Now you can send Spotify to your Pi using Spotify Connect from any device!

If you want to make changes to the Pi as a Spotify Connect source:
sudo pico /etc/default/raspotify

You will need to comment out the “#” for each option.

Change the device name:
DEVICE_NAME=”Spotify on the Pi”

If you want to change the bitrate:
BITRATE=”320″

Change the audio output, first the :
–device hw:0,5
(Note: you will need to type “lsusb” to find the Bus and Device Number)

Save the file and restart the service:
sudo systemctl restart raspotify

Final comments: I found this to work beautify.  Regarding the option to change the audio out hardware, my USB device was spotty. If you leave this option alone and simply use the audio out jack or HDMI you will find it is very reliable.

Emulating the Sony Playstation 2 (PS2) with Windows

To run a PS2 emulator in Windows 10, you will first need:

The emulator itself: PCSX2.
BIOS files.
Properly configured emulator.

Once you install the PCSX2 emulator, you must tell it where to find the BIOS files.
From the menu:
>Config>Plugin/BIOS Selector
Select BIOS from the left pane. Browse to your BIOS directory and select the BIOS file. Select OK

You will need to configure your gamepad so it works with PCSX2.
Menu – Config > Plugin/BIOS Selector
PAD – Configure (button on right)

Highlight each button in the area within the green boxes, then press the button on your controller/gamepad. Select OK when you are done.

Now that your emulator is in working condition, it’s time to configure it to optimum settings. Visit this video to find the right settings. The most important setting from my experience is the MTVU box in the Emulation Settings under Speedhacks.

After this is done, your emulator should be working great! To run a game:
Menu – CDVD > ISO Selector > Browse
Pick an ISO or BIN file
Menu – System > Boot CDVD full

To get games (ISOs) for this emulator, you will first need to rip your PS2 discs into ISO images. I found a great guide to do this here.

Happy retro gaming!

*With Windows 10, you may need to run PCSX2 in Administrator mode.