A mini version of the Commodore 64 is coming in 2018

It’s hard to deny the popularity of Nintendo’s retro mini systems. After all, demand far outstripped supply for the mini version of the original console, and the same is expected to happen for today’s SNES release. It’s not a surprise, then, that other companies are getting in on the action. Retro Games is launching a mini version of the 1982 computer Commodore 64 called the C64 Mini. It will be available in early 2018, with a price point of $70.

Launched in 1982, the C64 home computer went on to dominate the home computer scene throughout the 1980s. Millions of units were sold across the world and have a special place in the hearts of its former owners.

The C64 Mini, which is half the size of the original version, will come with 64 preinstalled licensed games, including California Games, Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe and Paradroid. You can find a more complete list of games on their website.

  • Accurate C64 operation
  • Pixel filter options (sharp, CRT, scanline emulation) and Pixel perfect graphics
  • Save game function
  • 2 USB ports: plug in a USB keyboard and use as a fully functional home computer, or add a second joystick for 2-player games

It comes with a wired joystick, a charging cable and will connect to your TV via an HDMI port, but you can also use any standard PC USB keyboard to interface with it. The C64 Mini will have a save game capability and filtering options such as CRT, pixel perfect and scanline emulation. You can upgrade your console’s firmware via a USB flash drive. Retro Games is also planning a full-sized version of the C64 for late 2018.

 

SNES Classic Pre-Orders Sell-Out Overnight, More Expected Today

Amazon, Walmart Sold-Out, GameStop, Target, Toys R Us, Best Buy soon

SNES

Nintendo’s official page for its upcoming Super NES Classic Edition retro console now lists a half-dozen stores where customers can pre-order the console. But at least two of those stores appear to have already sold out of their initial stock.  The pre-orders went live with Amazon and Best Buy’s selling out in less than 30 minutes.

The remaining stores  – GameStop, Walmart, Target and Toys R Us – have yet to list their pre-orders. So if you’re looking to grab one of these likely hard-to-find consoles, it’s probably a good idea to start camping those online stores right now. We’ll update this post when we see the pre-orders go live on the sites, so feel free to camp out here as well.

The SNES Classic Edition ships Sept. 29. The system is pre-loaded with 21 games and will cost $79.99. It ships with two wired controllers, an HDMI cable, USB charging cable and AC adapter. Among the many classic titles included is one that has never been released before: Star Fox 2.

SNES Classic Edition

The SNES Classic Edition retro console that goes on sale later this year will include a rewind feature. The rewind feature will allow players to rewind their gameplay to retry sections, pick up missed items or just run through an area again to see if they missed anything, according to the company.

The rewind time depends on the kind of game: Players can go back a few minutes in role-playing games such as Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, while action titles such as Super Mario World offer around 40 seconds, ideal for re-trying short segments of gameplay. The system also comes with optional frames that can be wrapped around the on-screen display for each game.

Major issue at the moment is the wait time to September 29th.  Pre-orders haven’t gone live yet so there may be the similar type of lines to purchase the console.

The official Nintendo page for the Super NES Classic Edition no longer lists stores where the console is available for pre-order. It looks like that may have gone live a bit too early today. Stay-tuned for more updates.

Nintendo announces the Switch game console for March 2017

Nintendo Switch There isn’t much information on the cost but it can be anywhere between $200 to $350 (USD).  This pricing is critical for Nintendo as to whether they think the Switch will compete against the Xbox or PS4.  Remember the Xbox one dropped it’s price since the PS4 was winning on the console war.  Does this mean Nintendo cares about the war or are they going their own way with their fans?

You can view the Switch console video which shows everybody either remotely, on planes, walking just playing their games.

 

“As proof that Nintendo maintains strong enthusiasm for the dedicated game system business, let me confirm that Nintendo is currently developing a dedicated game platform with a brand-new concept under the development codename ‘NX’. It is too early to elaborate on the details of this project, but we hope to share more information with you next year,” said the late Satoru Iwata said.   The machine he was referring to is the Nintendo Switch, revealed on Thursday 20 October 2016, although sadly, he passed away in summer of 2015, so would not get to deliver that news himself.

 

Possible Nintendo Switch specifications

We’ve seen what it looks like but we will have to wait to find out the Switch’s actual capabilities based on the video.  You will have a home base and the controllers can be hooked on the side of the console.  The console can be used remotely and has a kickstand to hold it up.   The controllers are small for the remote playing as well as a full hand size.

Will the video be capable of 4K Ultra HD video streaming, no one knows.  Rumors have the AMD GPU as the processor, it must be at least 1080p, no idea on the battery life but it must be as good as the Wii U or better.  It seems you can insert SD Cards or the games are going with that format instead of using disks.

It has been confirmed that alongside The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for Wii U, which has now been put back to 2017, an enhanced version will also be available for Nintendo Switch from launch day. Nintendo hasn’t officially revealed what other games will be released for sure, but several did appear in the preview trailer, including Splatoon, an enhanced version of Mario Kart 8, a Mario platform that looks like (and could be) Super Mario 3D World, a Switch version of Skyrim, and NBA 2K17.

All in all, it is great that Nintendo has created something that will take the place of the disappointing Wii U and why would I need any game boys from this point.  The key for the Switch are the graphics. If they cannot compete against the Xbox or PS4 they will drop in profit and come up with another dud.  But the Switch looks really promising and March 2017 cannot get here soon enough.

 

 

Raspberry Pi 3

Raspberry Pi 3 is on sale!

The Raspberry Pi is the credit card sized computer that changed the world. It’s Linux-based, and is perfect for tinkering or learning to program. The Raspberry Pi is a single board computer that has an ultra low cost, compared to typical computers. The primary reason for its creation was to give kids a low-cost computer with which to learn how to program. It’s got a beefy quad core processor that runs at 1.2GHz, 1GB RAM, and most of the ports and capabilities that any normal computer would have. Generally, it runs on a Linux operating system and can run games, word processing programs, and spreadsheets.  For board comparisons you can click here.

Some of the features are:

  • ARM 64bit Quad Core Processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • Onboard WiFi and BLE Bluetooth
  • HD display via HDMI

No longer will you need to purchase a wi-fi adapter but instead it is built on the board as well as Bluetooth allowing access to other components such as mobile devices as in cell phones and tablets.  With the kids you can build a robot and make it into family fun!

There are kits available that include the case to hold the board as well as power adapters, cameras, add-on boards, etc.  Each board can be used to do a simple project within the house such as a security camera or garage door opener.  Using Python and VPN you can gain access to the board over wi-fi or use the internal Ethernet port.  There is also a touch screen you can purchase that will allow you to use the user friendly menu to update the operating system or download applets to complete a function.  Really neat stuff for home grown geeks.  Please visit http://www.mcmelectronics.com to view the many options you can purchase to start that project at home.

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Avatar Gaming PC company looks like they have gone under after a few years of selling some low budget machines for gaming folks. The product line were not the most solid but they gave the user a Windows 8 machine using AMD and NVIDIA components.   Some of the issues they always had were the CPU fan failing after a few months (cheap cool master) and the case was very thin.

The tech support guys were quick to answer and I would assume once the warranty is over (1 year) you are on your own. I would suggest to ask any vendor who still has the supply line to question whether the company is around or what type of warranty is there for a machine that the parent is gone.

The warranty from any computer firm like Newegg or Tiger Direct will support 30 to 90 days but then it goes back to the vendor and in this case the vendor has disappeared.  If you still want to purchase the machine you should get the extended warranty from Newegg or Tiger Direct otherwise you may have to pay it out of your pocket to fix any issues.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Google chairman Eric Schmidt said that the company is still hard at work perfecting its wearable, calling it a “big and fundamental platform for Google.”

So at this point while most normal people think it is a pretty cool idea, the cost and the support are next to non-existing.  Google earlier this year ended its Explorer program and stopped selling the original Glass. The project was moved out of Google’s research labs and transferred to a new unit that was under the watchful eye of Tony Fadell, who runs Google’s Nest connected home division.   “We ended the Explorer program and the press conflated this into us canceling the whole project, which isn’t true,” Schmidt told the Journal. “Google is about taking risks, and there’s nothing about adjusting Glass that suggests we’re ending it.”

In the WSJ article Schmidt indicates that Fadell will revamp the product line for the future market.  The real problem is that the Glass’s cost range between $1,000 to $2,000 even for developers which means if you cannot entice developers there will be no software.  This could be held true for the Apple Watch that is coming out later in April.

Just because these companies make the devices does not mean people will run to purchase them.  Various other software products (Microsoft Bob, Vista, Windows 8), hardware such as the Next or Digital Alpha machines proves that if the price is not right the product will not sell.

Recently the lab decided to test out the Winbook TW801 Black Tablet on a trip to see whether it can hold up to durability, usability and just plain old device use.  The lab is reporting that the tablet performed well on a recent Los Angeles business trip that provided the person with internet usage on a strong wi-fi connection, creating Lazarus Pascal programs on the tablet during the work days and finally checking emails or performing typical duties.

Winbook TW801

The TW801 tablet has a 8 inch screen which is capable of enough space to view videos and documents.  The tablet also comes with a one-year Office 365 package but you have to activate within the time limit which was 15 days based on our research.

  • Multi-Touch Touchscreen IPS 16:10 8″ 1280×800 Display
  • Intel Baytrail-T Z3735D 1.33GHz Quad-Core CPU
  • Intel HD Graphics (Gen 7 GFX)
  • 2GB RAM & 32GB eMMC Flash Storage
  • Windows 8.1 + Bing
  • Expandable up to 128GB via microSD card
  • Front and Rear Cameras (2 Megapixels each)
  • AC Adapter, Charges via USB Port
  • 1 x Micro USB 2.0
  • 1 x Full Size USB 3.0
  • 1 x SD (SDHC/SDXC)
  • 1 x Micro HDMI
  • 1 x 3.5mm Audio Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack
  • 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth

The device costs between $99 to 129.00 depending if you can get it on sale, the functionality is pretty awesome with touch thus allowing the end user to use Windows 8.1 the way it was meant to.

The warranty is for one year from the vendor and as always you can get the additional extended warranty as a cheap add-on but that is up to the end user whether they want to do that.

Office 365 Personal includes

    • Word
    • Excel
    • PowerPoint
    • OneNote
    • Outlook
    • Publisher
    • Access

Other available TW devices are the TW100 (10.1 inch), various different versions of the TW800 series and the TW700 which is the low end.

Using the Lazarus compiler the lab was able to design and develop working Object Pascal applications during the trip but the big key is to use the microSD card as much as possible, the flash storage gets eaten up fairly quickly if you decide to put too much on to the device.

We recommend that if you are looking for a cheap Windows 8.1 solution that you should give a solid look at the Winbook TW tablet series to see whether it fits your needs.

Go to www.microcenter.com for more additional information