Sunday, March 17, 2013

Toyless Interlude

I was going through my Photobucket (in my regular visits to see if they've fixed anything yet) and realized that I've got some really random junk pictures when taken out of context.  I thought you chaps might enjoy a good romp around the fine velvet rug of the sitting room that is my Photobucket. 

First off, just to get you acclimated to the lack of toys: here's what could still be considered a toy.  The NES 2, or Model 101.  I just got this recently and I've been wanting one ever since my eyes first met it in a Toys R Us behind a glass cabinet window.  As you can see, it's not a ridiculous box.  It's much smaller than the original ridiculous box that was the Nintendo Entertainment System.  I had been baffled by the choice of design for the NES for years until I read a piece that opened my eyes:  The original NES was built like an ugly VCR because, at the time of the original release, the US was going through the Video Game Crash of 83.  Everyone was sitting on unsold game consoles at the time, so Nintendo of America wanted to redesign the Japanese Famicom from a sensible top loader to something more like a high-end electronic a VCR.  And SO: Rather than the simple idea of pushing a game down and turning it on, we had to push it in, then push it down!  Which lead to also pushing it to the side maybe, blowing in it, juggling it a bit, pulling it out and looking inside the system to find out WHY MY GAME WON'T PLAY AAAAGH.  So you gotta romance it.

My point is: They re released the NES in that tiny version you see above.  They brought it back to the original top loading design of the Famicom and it works GREAT.  Spectacular, even.  I'm playing NES games I thought were broken for good.  Turns out it was my ugly box!  You can take that however you like.

This was my first dog, Cody.  1990-2003, RIP.  Best dog ever.  This pic is when she was quite old, but not into her senile days yet.

This is my second dog Summer, got her 2005, I think.  She's living with my Dad still.  Ridiculously nice dog.  She's huge, but is the least imposing dog I've ever met.  She loves everyone.

This is my current dog, Rory.  She breaks sometimes.  Apparently she fixes herself.

Here she is before she broke.  See?  She used to be all small!  Now she's all big and ugly EEEWWW!

This is a trading card I got for Halloween when I was knee high to a grasshopper.  It depicts the villainous Mario stealing a helpless child while everything behind him has a face, regardless of what it is.  I love every inch of this thing: 

 - The Koopa Paratroopa helplessly hanging in the air and obviously distressed about his soon to be hammered face, because he's flying right into that Hammer Bro's smashing tool. 

 - The prototypical Lakitu that is still working the kinks out of his "throw spiked animals at people" routine - he'll remove the chain later when he realizes that every single one of them ends up choking to death when he tosses them out of the cloud. 

 - Lets not forget the Bullet Bill who is wigging the fuck out and is not at all happy about his situation, nor does he appear to be aware of what his situation even is. 

My favorites are the Goomba and the Toad, however.  The Goomba is utterly baffled by the whole situation.  I think he's the only one that knows things aren't running smoothly in the Mushroom Kingdom.  And Toad?  He.  Is.  ECSTATIC.  Why?  Because everything is going badshit insane and that bastard Mario is finally leaving with the Princess, which will break the constant loop of Bowser stealing her and Mario roving the Kingdom, breaking blocks that once were Mushroom people and eating their severed heads.

I was very young when the original He-Man cartoon was on the air.  Most of what I remember from the show are sounds - I can vividly remember Skeletor's laugh, laser noises, and that weird sound they use when someone rolls on the ground.  Some scenes stand out, however.  Like this one.  Keep in mind I had to have been 3 or younger - probably younger.  This is a shot of a robot He-Man double (not Faker) getting his face knocked off.  I mean it's obviously a robot, but MAN that looks like a skull to a little kid!  Freaked me the heck out.  That is still burned in my memory.

Faker is gona stab Bizarro right in the crotch.

This is -

-----wait, where are you going?  Come back!  Okay, now hear me out: I was bored.  The power was out back at the old apartment and often times I fall back on coloring books when there's nothing to do.  I had a book full of Batman and there's only so many ways you can color him.

Yes I wrote "Sexfight Batman" on there.  It's a variant.  You don't go into a sexfight without being prepared.

The hot pink colored pencil is a carry over from the 90's.  You can imagine I didn't have much use for it, so it's still around.

It's just a nub.

This Halloween I was out of ideas for pumpkin carving.  Rather than make a face, I decided to let y'all know what time it is.  (My nephew Ian did the creeper face).

This is how New Adventures Skeletor became all cybernetic.  I may have messed with the dialogue I dunno.

If any of you were wondering about my religion: There you go.  It's The Lamp.

I honestly can't remember where this pic came from, but it was most certainly somewhere on  The cat makes me laugh.

What I always loved about hint guides back in the day, was that they were allowed to use the images of licenced characters, but not the official art.  This leads to random creepy pictures of Mega Man narrowing his eyes on his kill and sicking his evil robot dog on them.

Did you know I was married on Halloween?  Did you know it was a costume wedding?  Did you know I was Cobra Commander?

Well I was.

Did you know that the Best Man was Cobra Commander?

Did you know that my Dad was Cobra Commander?

Did you know that my wife's sister's husband was rip-roaring drunk and also Cobra Commander?

Did you know that Mario was Cobra Commander? you have the time?  'Cause Cobra Commander does.

Did you know that mask smelled like ass at the end of the night from multiple people wearing it and a groom sweating in it most of the time?

Goodnight everybody!  Don't forget to tip your waitress.  Also I thought we were in my sitting room?


  1. But which one of us is the REAL Cobra Commander!?

  2. Oh, NES model 101. A brief rant.

    Like everyone else about my age and origin, I had a NES as a kid and had the damnedest time getting it to work. Along came a model 101, and suddenly every game worked just fine. But there were two problems:
    1. SCANLINES. Did you ever notice that when you play games in a 101, you get these awful vertical lines on the screen? It might not affect every system, but I understand it's quite common.
    2. Design. Honestly, I don't like the 101's aesthetic. I think it's sorta random and unappealing. I much prefer both the boxy look and the tactile qualities (press down game, close door) of the original machine.

    So eventually I did away with my 101 and focused on making the original model work. And after years, I've FINALLY gotten my NES to be reliable. Here's what I did.
    1. Bought new connectors. You are probably aware that Nintendo purposefully made the connectors on the original NES weak. This was because...I don't know, kids' muscles are small? Anyway, you can buy a new set of connectors from Amazon or eBay and it's pie to open your NES and install them. The new connectors are made with more tensile strength than the old ones.
    2. Cleaned every game the BEST WAY. Here is the ultimate secret: Brasso. That stuff is specifically made to clean brass, which the NES connectors are made of. Buy a security bit from Amazon for $5 so you can open up your cartridges, pull out that PCB and swab Brasso all over those connectors, and marvel at all the nasty gray shit that comes off of them. Then finish it off with the good ol' alcohol.
    3. Snipped the lockout chip. This was the thing that caused the NES to blink on-off when an unlicensed (or dirty, or just slightly off-center) game was inserted. I got a hobby knife and cut exactly one little metal piece, and my NES will never blink again.

    Sometimes the deck STILL doesn't work, I should say. But it works a hell of a lot better than it used to.

    1. I read about the lines when I was thinking about buying the 101, and I decided to do it anyway (mostly because it's also sort of a collectors thing for me as well). I've noticed the lines in a few games, but they haven't bothered me. I do not miss the in-and-push-down of the old box, to tell you the truth. And I do like the look of the little 101 - it's cute!

      Still: I may try your tune-up just so the old box isn't sitting around as a relic, and I certainly like your game cleaning idea! Now to clear up some stuff:

      1) Can you link me to the correct connectors on amazon?

      2) Is brasso sold in stores regularly?

      3) Is there a site that shows me what the lockout chip looks like? Some tutorials somewhere?


    2. 1. Something like this: .

      2. Yup. I got mine at Wal-Mart. Here's the tutorial where I learned about it: , and here is the security bit I bought from Amazon: . Older NES games - the ones without the clips on the top of the cart - can be opened with a regular flathead screwdriver.

      3. I used this tutorial: .

      There are 5 bombs left. You have my support.

    3. Thanks! For some reason when you said "connectors" I thought you were talking about the pluge for hooking it up to the TV! Didn't even think of the thing the game plugs into.

      Anyway, not sure when i'll get around to trying this, but I've really got nothing to lose. If I screw up then I'll use the old box about as much as I am now, which is not at all. Seeing how easy it is to take apart, it almost makes me wonder if I can use the parts to just rebuild the shell and make it a top loader....

  3. What are these scan line you speak of? I really want to replay some of the old NEW games, but my system only works half of the time. Are these scan lines enough to make someone pass up on the 101?

    1. They are semi- transparent vertical lines that cover the whole screen. They are enough to bug me but your mileage may vary