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ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
I legit got mine from eBay. There were so many of those cabs in places like Hong Kong that you can get a MV1-B or MV1-C for like maybe $60.

BUUUUUUUT... the first one I got was borked. It had a bad timing crystal. The seller just refunded me and told me to keep it, so it was fine, but a wee-bit frustrating.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
I wonder how hard it would be to fit a different timing crystal? I know you can do it for the Super Game Boy.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Yeah, that's my one concern, getting one that isn't actually working. I know I could get it for less than that - I've seen cheaper listings both on eBay and Arcade Projects. AliExpress, too, but I've never bought from there.

Hmm, decisions, decisions. I'll get it sorted, haha.
 
This is probably not the right thread for this:
But hey! So old Capcom fighting games prior to Naomi board seem to max out at 18 characters. I'm thinking sf3, sfa2, all versus before mvc2. Darkstalkers 3 has 3 versions due to this limitation...
So why does arcade Alpha 3 have over 20 characters? Does anyone know?
 

ArugulaZ

Fearful asymmetry
It's a less flashy game, I guess. Marvel vs. Capcom has four characters active in a single stage, while Darkstalkers has bigger, more fluidly animated characters. Alpha 3 is less demanding, with one on one battles (or one on two battles in rare instances) and more restrained gameplay. I think even twenty characters wasn't enough for Alpha 3, and Capcom seemed to agree, adding more to the home versions.
 
It's a less flashy game, I guess. Marvel vs. Capcom has four characters active in a single stage, while Darkstalkers has bigger, more fluidly animated characters. Alpha 3 is less demanding, with one on one battles (or one on two battles in rare instances) and more restrained gameplay. I think even twenty characters wasn't enough for Alpha 3, and Capcom seemed to agree, adding more to the home versions.
Is this why Alpha 2 looks rad, and alpha 3 looks bleg?
 

ArugulaZ

Fearful asymmetry
I always chalked that up to creative decay on the parts of the developers. I mean, Alpha 2 stages are generally pretty nice... New York City in the distance with a harrier jet looming nearby, Ken's wife's birthday party with lots of video game character cameos, the climb up to the top of a skyscraper in Rolento's stage complete with Fujitsu ads*, Sakura's humble but cozy house. With Alpha 3, well, it felt like the artists were running out of ideas. What's Dan's new stage, a playground? Cammy's got windmills, because of course when you think of a British special forces officer, Dutch architecture immediately comes to mind. I wouldn't go so far as to say they blow, but they're not as inspired as the ones in Alpha 2, not places you would care to visit. And they're really dithered this time out. They look almost like Neo-Geo backgrounds.

* That damn ad alone convinced me to buy a Fujitsu Lifebook a few years ago. Well, it was 75% that ad and 25% using it as a tablet for drawing, but it didn't work so well as a drawing tablet, so 100% that Street Fighter Alpha 2 ad.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
It's probably memory. Darkstalkers characters have hugely more animation than Street Fighter or Vs characters. Indeed, the animation was cut from the Marvel characters when they went into the Vs games. Vampire Saviour was as much as the CPS2 could handle.
 

ArugulaZ

Fearful asymmetry
And it's weird, because the CPS2 system (released in 1993) hit a brick wall, but the Neo-Geo (released in 1990) just kept on trucking, with games only growing in size. By the time the Neo-Geo was orphaned in 2003, its last game, Samurai Shodown V Special, was 79 megabytes, and by extension, over 630 megabits in size, nearly double the size of its proposed 330 megabit maximum. I guess the Neo-Geo finally, finally hit its cartridge size limit with the unreleased Samurai Shodown V Perfect, which had to make some cuts to the previous game to add a story mode... mostly the command fatalities which never felt like the right fit for Samurai Shodown anyway.
 

ArugulaZ

Fearful asymmetry
My biggest problem with Street Fighter Alpha 3 is that it's got this ESPN 2, X Games aesthetic. You've got tickertape messages that start each round and a smarmy announcer and more modern, intense music, as opposed to the more familiar character themes of the previous Alpha game. It's not classic Street Fighter anymore; a battle between two mighty opponents. It's a sports competition, brought to you by Snickers and Mtn Dew.

Around the end of the 1990s, Capcom was attaching different themes to each of its fighting game franchises. Alpha 3 became the X Games, Street Fighter 3: Third Strike had a gritty urban feel, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was a smoky jazz bar hidden on the edge of town, Vampire Savior went from the whimsical Tim Burton horror of the previous two games to something more legitimately horrifying, and Capcom vs. SNK was like a fashion show with elaborately dressed supermodels strutting their stuff on the catwalk. Of these rebrands, Alpha 3's new look bothered me the most, but now it feels like a time capsule from the time it was released... nostalgic, in a "wasn't 1998 cheesy as all hell?" kind of way.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Counterpoint: I played the crap out of SFA3 on PSX and loved it. But then again, I didn't sink much time into SFA2 outside of playing the compromised-but-impressive SNES port.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I'm just glad to find out I'm not the only one who found Alpha 3 to be off-putting. All that weird visual styling and they changed Ken's moveset? Unforgivable.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
SFA3 has one of my favorite announcers in the entire fighting game medium.

Dude is *SO PUMPED* by absolutely everything.

"BEAT 'EM UP GUY! GO! FOR! BROKE!"

And my heart says "I will do everything in my power not to let you down"
 

ArugulaZ

Fearful asymmetry
SFA3 has one of my favorite announcers in the entire fighting game medium.

Dude is *SO PUMPED* by absolutely everything.

"BEAT 'EM UP GUY! GO! FOR! BROKE!"

And my heart says "I will do everything in my power not to let you down"

I'm pretty sure the guy also does voice work for Propeller Arena for the Dreamcast, if you're looking for that same sense of energy in a flight combat game.
 
SFA3 has one of my favorite announcers in the entire fighting game medium.

Dude is *SO PUMPED* by absolutely everything.

"BEAT 'EM UP GUY! GO! FOR! BROKE!"

And my heart says "I will do everything in my power not to let you down"
FACE IT STRAIGHT!
TRIUMPH OR DIE!
YOU CAN'T GIVE IT UP!

But Third Strike's "YEA THAT MAKES SENSE" is great

Also what ever Fatal Fury Real Bout:
"PICK YOUR FAVOURITE CHARACTER"
"OH, NO? OK, SEE YA LATER GUY"
 

Beowulf

Son of The Answer Man
(He/Him)
Powkiddy X350 Review ($23 on AliExpress)

Yes, I bought more emulator handhelds. Yes, I’ll admit that I might have a problem.

PowKiddy's X350 is clearly named to evoke the Abernic RG350 (Presumably to confuse consumers, honestly) and is in pretty much all ways a cheaper version of that device.

The 3.5" screen feels like it's lower-quality, though I don't know enough from a technical side to say why. It's got a similar layout, though the two analog sticks are at the top and the start and select buttons are on the edges. Like many devices, it doesn't have a dedicated menu button, instead relying on start+select to bring up the main menu. (Which makes the handful of games that use that functionality an issue, of course.) The OS is the same one that appeared way back on devices like the X6 and X9-S, a non-customizable clunky setup that puts a dozen default games on the home screen and collects the rest under "games", has no recent games list, cheat options, or ability to save sram. (Save states work fine, but games where the SRAM is required to access features and/or long rpgs where you can accidentally lose a lot of progress are an issue.) It does run SNES better than the earlier handhelds in this series (that is, playably), though I can still tell from the music that it's not perfect, and there aren't any options that you can fiddle with to improve that.

The device feels a little better in my hands than the X6 and relatives (the weight feels more right, the plastic is softer) but the buttons are definitely cheap and feel like they're going to break quickly, whether or not that's true.

I got this, tried it out for a bit, determined how I felt about it, and then awarded it as the prize to the winner of a trivia contest I was running. I hope they enjoy it.

Overall, it's very much a "you get what you pay for" ($20) and I'd have loved it three years ago (it's a mild improvement over the X6 and X9-S in terms of feel and performance), but you can pay a little more for something significantly better.
 

Beowulf

Son of The Answer Man
(He/Him)
Game Player X40 Pro ($45 on AliExpress)

This is also in the same series as the X6 and X9-S that I played with a few years ago (which are usually, but not always, Powkiddy-branded). It runs another variant of the same OS and carries a lot of the same issues.

Pros: It’s the size of a Switch with a 7” screen, but lighter. The SNES emulation is good, markedly better than the older devices in the same family. It has a dedicated Esc button that pulls up the save-state menu, and I’m always a fan of the dedicated menu button. It appears set up to do HDMI output and plug in a second controller, but I haven’t tested that.

Cons: The shape is kinda awkward to hold, even with my big hands. (It’s not quite the same shape as a Switch.) It doesn’t save SRAM at all, and doesn’t support cheats. There’s only a rudimentary system for remapping buttons (though it does let you remap system-by-system) and the buttons on the device are labeled/arranged wrong. The buttons also aren’t nearly as responsive as you’d want for action games. My device came with the L1 button stuck down, though it was still sensitive to touch and could be used that way. There doesn’t seem to be any way to change the screen resolution, which means you’re stuck with fullscreen stretch. There doesn’t seem to be a way to fast-scroll through the games list (particularly an issue when there are 3600 SNES games on this thing) and there’s no “play most recent” menu. There are two pages of icons for specific games (which doesn’t seem to be something you can edit), and then the “Downloads” menu to access the rest of them.

Thoughts: I’m considering trying to do surgery on this, which would warrant a follow-up entry if I do. Assuming I could get the case open, I’d love to fix that L1 button and potentially rearrange the face buttons so the letters are correct. I also want to delete all of the repeated roms in the memory so there’s only one copy of each game and it’s easy to scroll through. But what I really want is to flash the OS with something better—if this was running TRIM-UI with the bigger screen, it could be pretty darn respectable. But I have no idea if that’s possible. (It seems absurd that with all the better emulation OS setups out there, they’re still churning out new systems with this one. But then again, they’re still churning out 500-in-1 Famiclone handhelds, too.)

Overall: Right out of the box, this is a decent device for playing arcade games on a large but still portable screen, and a mediocre but functional one for NES/SNES/GBA games. It has better performance than the X9-S but the larger size is both good and bad. If I successfully mutilate it into something better, I’ll follow up.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
SFA3 has one of my favorite announcers in the entire fighting game medium.

Dude is *SO PUMPED* by absolutely everything.

"BEAT 'EM UP GUY! GO! FOR! BROKE!"

And my heart says "I will do everything in my power not to let you down"
Objectively correct.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Neo Geo is a go. Woot! (Yes, I need to find a home for this stuff, just a bit messy...)

0JZy9Ys.jpg
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Thanks! I picked it up from a local thrift store a month or two ago. It's a late-era 20" set, one with composite and component but no S-Video. It's a fair bit easier to handle than the 32" one I have, to be sure!
 

Purple

(She/Her)
I would just ask in the other thread I have going for this specific project but I feel like this is where the real knowledge base is on this one:

I am working on building (among other things) a custom controller from scratch. Does anyone have any manner of strong opinions/recommendations about D-pads, buttons, or the actual contacts they depress?

Yeah that's an open question and if you're thinking "do you mean like ____?" just assume I do.
 

ArugulaZ

Fearful asymmetry
The Sega Saturn controller is king for D-pads. The pad sits on a pivot, resulting in outstanding performance with fighting games that require "curl" motions for special moves. There's also the Neo-Geo Pocket (Color), which has what's colloquially known as a click stick. It's utterly fantastic for fighting games, although less helpful with games that require cardinal movement (Pac-Man, specifically).

You may want to use microswitches in your custom controller, if they're available to you. They're responsive and have a satisfying tactile and auditory response.
 

muteKi

Ell eye ell why, ee ee ell why
The NGPC click stick is lovely, and there's a wired Genesis-style controller by PDP made for 360 and PS3 (different models) that uses such a stick, and it's one of my favorite controllers.
 

Purple

(She/Her)
The Sega Saturn controller is king for D-pads. The pad sits on a pivot, resulting in outstanding performance with fighting games that require "curl" motions for special moves. There's also the Neo-Geo Pocket (Color), which has what's colloquially known as a click stick. It's utterly fantastic for fighting games, although less helpful with games that require cardinal movement (Pac-Man, specifically).

You may want to use microswitches in your custom controller, if they're available to you. They're responsive and have a satisfying tactile and auditory response.
So I just spent... way too much time trying to work out how a Saturn D-pad is engineered. Apparently the nice fluid motion is actually from NOT actually having a central pivot. Easier to show than tell, but interesting to learn. And yeah, for this I'm definitely going membranes. It's the cheaper option by a mile, takes up less space on the PCB, and I'm not a huge fan of clicky sounds in this specific context. I was worried about how much custom membranes would cost but NON-custom membranes are absolutely stupidly cheap if you order from the right place and honestly I think I can just make some adjustments with a knife or something if they aren't all exactly where I want them.

Anyone have experience 3D printing shells/buttons and/or feedback on how awful the resulting surface textures tend to be?
 
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