Lets Play: Time Pilot

Time Pilot

We take a look at the Konami arcade game Time Pilot, in it’s incarnation on the MSX.

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We take a look at Outrun Ports

Outrun is probably one of the best loved Arcade racers out there.  Designed by Yu Suzuki in 1986 it utilised the hardware created for the earlier Hang On and Space Harrier titles.

Because it was an incredibly popular Arcade machine it was ported to many consoles, we take a look at it on:

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Sony MPF520-1/04 PC FDD to Amiga conversion

The external floppy drive that I was using with my CDTV died and replacements were a little expensive (ok, they weren’t that bad but I was impatient).  So I figured, how different could an Amiga FDD be from a PC one?

Turns out there are a couple of differences, the signals on pin 2 and pin 34 are reversed (Density Select, Ready Change) and the drive needs to identify as DS0 if it’s the internal drive on a normal Amiga or the external drive on the CDTV (PC drives don’t because they’re generally picked up using cable select).

How this works will vary depending on your drive, but for my Sony model it was very simple.  It requires two wires, two track cuts and a jumper change.

Basically we need to cut the connection that pins 2 and 34 are on, and then put a wire from 2 to a solder point that was pin 34‘s original destination and between 34 and a solder point that was pin 2‘s original destination.

You should be able to work out where they are from the pictures, be careful when cutting to only cut the one track and don’t cut yourself.

If you want to revert the drive you can just run a wire between the pins and their original solder points.

The jumper is at the back of the drive, next to the motor.  If it’s on 0 and 1 (nearest the motor) then it’s set to be DS0, if it’s on 1 and 2 then it’s DS1.  If you want it to be internal on an Amiga or external on a CDTV then it needs to be DS0, if you want it external on an Amiga then set it to DS1.

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Sony Playstation 2

Sony Playstation 2

6th Generation Competitors
Gamecube Dreamcast XBox
Region Release Date Discontinued Lifetime Sales
Japan 4th Mar 2000 2012  155M (total)
North America 26th Oct 2000 2013
Europe 24th Nov 2000 2013

 

 

Sony took over the console world with their first console, the Playstation.  They had no experience in the market but still managed to outgun Nintendo and Sega.

Needless to say, the industry was looking forward to seeing how they coped with their second foray into the gaming world.  They did not disappoint.

The Playstation 2 was a behemoth in terms of technology, it shipped with a, then, expensive DVD drive.  It had a processor that was designed from the ground up to play games.  It was capable (at launch) of installing Linux, so it could be used as a powerful workstation.

The PS2 was an instant success, true the software attach rate wasn’t great.  Whilst it wasn’t cheap the PS2 was still far cheaper than any DVD player, so many people bought it for that purpose.  This may not have sold games but it put a PS2 in a lot of living rooms.

The rumour is that this fact was the final push the execs at Microsoft needed to fully support the XBox project.  The idea that a company as large as Sony, who seemed to be supporting an alternate operating system to their Windows platform, would control the living room was too much of a risk.

The Playstation 2 was definitely responsible for the very fast acceptance of DVD, it quickly became the single most used DVD player in Japan and probably the world.

The Playstation 2 saw the first 3D version of the Grand Theft Auto franchise.  The franchise is now one of the highest grossing entertainment products of all time.

Sony released a price cut slimline version of the Playstation 2, called the Slim.

 

The Playstation 2 is considered to be one of the greatest consoles ever made and is the longest lived and highest selling.  It was a genuine display of the art of technology creation and cemented Sony’s role in the gaming world.

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Sony Playstation

Sony Playstation

5th Generation Competitors
3DO Jaguar Nintendo 64 Sega Saturn CD32 FM Towns Marty PC-FX Pippin Playdia Loopy
Region Release Date Discontinued Lifetime Sales
Japan 3rd Dec 1994 2006 102.49M (total)
North America 9th Sep 1995 2006
Europe 29th Sep 1995 2006

 

 

Nintendo had released a floppy drive for their previous console, the Famicom.  After they released it’s follow up, the Super Famicom, they decided they wanted to do the same thing.

Rather than approach Sharp as they had with the Famicom, Nintendo decided to talk to Sony through Ken Kutaragi, the man who had convinced them to use the Sony SPC-700 sound chip instead of the near standard Yamaha family.

Sony returned with a prototype, a unit that was slightly bigger than the base machine but packed a CD Rom.  This was a working prototype and the Nintendo execs agreed to work together.

Nintendo agreed to announce the partnership at the May 1991 Consumer Electronics Show.  However, behind the scenes then president Hiroshi Yamauchi had re-read the contract and realised it handed Sony far too much power.

When Nintendo of America chairman, Howard Lincoln, stepped up on the stage instead of announcing the partnership with Sony, he announced one with PhilipsPhilips were Sony’s main rival in the CD world and this was a  gut punch too far.

Sony approached Sega, Nintendo’s chief rival, and offered them the technology.  Sega of America were interested but the idea was vetoed by Sega of Japan who stated, Sony don’t know how to make hardware or software, why would we do this?

Sony considered canning the whole project but instead decided to do it themselves after all.  They started planning a whole new machine based on their work and, after seeing Virtua Fighter, making it primarily 3D Focused.

The launch was nearly perfect.  Because they didn’t have the luxury of an existing games unit, they purchased companies and signed exclusivity contracts with others.  Sega managed to help them by flubbing the Saturn launch badly and Nintendo were far behind with their 3D console.

The Playstation shot into the lead in every market, far outselling the Saturn.  It was still being outsold by the previous generation but price cuts in the following years solved that too.

Whilst Nintendo are considered to have saved the games industry with the Famicom, they didn’t really grow the market in any meaningful way.  The Playstation, on the other hand, increased the target market to an older generation, thus hitting a more mature and wealthier demographic.

Because of this the games market started on the path to beating the film industry in revenue and moved the hobby out of the niche that it had been stuck in since inception.  They made it cool to play games.

The Japanese market took longer for Sony to dominate, whilst they took the lead early, the Saturn didn’t fall as far behind.  Much of this was due to brand loyalty, something that the North American and European markets weren’t really affected by.

Sony released a cut price, smaller version called the Ps One in 2000.

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