Author - Ripper71

Razer Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2 Review

The first thing that struck me about the Razer Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2 was its small size. Most keyboards both gaming and non-gaming have a set of numbers off to the side to interchange with the ones that go across the top of your keyboard.  This is known as the numeric keypad and I know people who use those side number keys, but it is very seldom used in video-gaming.  That numeric keypad is mostly used when balancing the bills, adding and subtracting what someone owes them, mostly that kind of thing.  I know a VERY small group of people who game using up, down, left, and right keys instead of WASD and they then usually use the number pad because it is closer to their arrow keys.  This becomes less and less common the higher the player rankings until when you get to the pros or at least tournament players that “numpad” becomes near useless.  Programming types might use it but gaming it just becomes extra bulk in the way. This is why the Razer Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2 simply got rid of it!

With the Razer Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2, Razer removed the section gamers don’t need, the numbers pad, and placed a wrist pad on it instead to help prolong wrist comfort and tournament longevity.  That way you can practice and play longer! Also, because it doesn’t take as wide of a footprint on your desk, you can have more room on the side of your keyboard for things such as a larger profile mouse pad, a well-secured beverage or even a pastrami sandwich with extra pickles!

Another big feature of the Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2 is its ergonomic wrist rest.  Strangely, over the years these have faded out of connection with the keyboard becoming more of a separate thing mostly associated with the lower section of the mouse mat. As a result instead of both wrists getting rest when you are working on typing or gaming only the wrist that does any of the mouse work gets any of the cushiony comfort.  The result is that your wrists will start to become sore over prolonged use.  Everyone has heard of carpal tunnel syndrome by now and what was previously known as tennis elbow has become more associated with computer use.  People are notorious for not treating an issue until it becomes a problem and damage due to computer use is definitely one of them.  That’s where this keyboard is playing smart, it removes keys you don’t need and gives you ergonomic wrist rests that everyone can use.

The Razer Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2’s small size helps in carrying it to events or just on the road for when you need to do a little writing. This keyboard fits into most backpacks, making it terrific for traveling especially since the wrist rest can be removed for travel. In fact, even the USB cable has a quick-detach feature where it connects to the keyboard itself, meaning that it won’t get in the way of things when you are carrying it around in your bag!

Being a Razer Mechanical Switch product means you can count on an 80 million keystroke lifespan – Razer has definitely done their stress testing!  Up until 2010 mechanical switches were only used for typing because they seemed to be the only ones who needed to type keys between 60-100 times a minute, then Razer realized that competitive gamers were hitting those speeds and so put mechanical switches in their keyboards.  So a type of key switch that was once an obscure workplace tool helped usher in a new renaissance in the world of e-sports.  If you have ever watched professional a StarCraft tournament, you will see the insane level of moves made per second that some of those players are capable of.

Also of great usefulness if the ability to program key macros on-the-fly so that you are able to top you speeds by removing repetitive strokes.  The keyboard also includes 10 key roll-over anti-ghosting and it purrs along at a 1000 Hz Ultra-polling rate. This key switches are of the clicky variety, so they should add some audible satisfaction to your keyboarding.

Now for one of my parts and least important one the Razer Chroma customizable backlighting with 16.8 million color options.  It is rather pointless for the most part but darned if I am not in love with being able to make it “shiny”. I did put black lights in my rig for pretty much the same reason and I doubt I was the only one to buy it off that shelf.

Official Specifications

  • Razer™ Mechanical Switches with 80 million keystroke lifespan
  • Tenkeyless compact layout
  • Ergonomic wrist rest
  • Instant Trigger Technology
  • Razer™ Mechanical Switches with 50g actuation force
  • Razer Chroma customizable backlighting with 16.8 million color options
  • Compact layout
  • Razer Synapse enabled
  • 10 key roll-over anti-ghosting
  • Fully programmable keys with on-the-fly macro recording
  • Gaming mode option
  • 1000 Hz Ultrapolling
  • Detachable braided fiber cable with cable strap

My New Little Love:

The Razer Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2 is a beautiful and more compact replacement for full-size gaming keyboards that also manages to take tournament gaming to the next gaming level.  When it comes to gaming keyboards, this model’s portability and reliability is hard to beat. The Razer Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2 retails for $139.99 and is available now. It also deserves the GamingShogun.com Seal of Approval!


Razer Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2 Review Score

(5 out of 5 Stars)


 

Inmates Review

Inmates starts with you at the bottom of a very high flight of spiraling stairs with no hand rails that look exceptionally creepy. They just keep on spiraling upward while unknown people hang in the center of the structure via chains and cages. During the player’s ascent, you also get treated to game developer credits.  Interestingly, the people hanging in those cages aren’t doing anything out of the ordinary, just looking downtrodden and defeated.  I got to the top of the stars and found this place is some sort of prison, but there aren’t many prisoners left.  You find matches that help illuminate your way in darker parts but need to be used somewhat conservatively, you only get a couple each time you find a box.  As you go you find a picture of wife and yourself torn in half, you find blocked off corridors as if during a riot desks and tables had been used as barricades.  Periodically, you find notes in a cell and on rarer occasion you’ll encounter someone locked in a cell, just shaking their head ultra-fast like you see in horror movies such as Jacob’s Ladder. It’s a creepy effect, to be sure.

After a while, you find clues to talk to people, warnings to avoid some people, and puzzles to open locks which will further travel you into what you realize is your psyche. Saying anything more about the game’s story would be a spoiler since the game average playtime is  only 3 or 4 hours depending how fast you are with puzzles. This time would have been decreased considerably if the player had the ability to run. Not being able to move fast made me feel like I was dragging an iron ball and chain on my ankle, constantly slowing me down.  When I discovered the run-time and had experienced the game I decided to check into things, thinking maybe it had funding issues or something but found it was actually the fact that it was written and developed by one solitary person!  This really explained a lot and made the game feel more ambitious but also made me wish that he had asked for a hand from a friend to give us a bit more game to enjoy.

Inmates uses the Unreal Engine 4 and when you consider it’s not a high-action game, all that power is getting put into an extremely detailed and claustrophobic environment.  The deeper you get, the more things make sense but that depth has to be reached through puzzles, puzzles, and more puzzles.

Final Thoughts on The Game’s Final Thoughts:

It’s always interesting when a game creator tries to capture metaphysical concepts in the form of a puzzle game.  Inmates captured a dark horror feeling but didn’t seem able to quite keep hold of it.  The atmosphere was beautifully rendered and immediately filled the player with dread, maybe the game should have been held back to make sure that feeling could be maintained.


Inmates Review Score

(3 out of 5 stars)


 

Michael Myers: Absolute Evil Mockumentary Review

Fan films can offer horror fans a welcome break from the stresses of the day. One such fan film is Michael Myers: Absolute Evil, a mockumentary that attempts to address how the town of Haddonfield, Illinois would first try to handle the Michael Myers incident. It looks at how law enforcement would react to his continued slipping through their fingers and how copycats and cultists would no doubt pop up to worship Michael Myers.

The film starts with one of Michael’s first and longest surviving targets, Lindsey Wallace, as she talks about how all small towns have secrets and the one Haddonfield tried to bury was Michael killing his sister. Then it moves on to an author who wrote “The Devil’s Eyes, The Story Of Michael Myers” and nicely picks up speed from there.  It would be really easy to fall into the trap of having one or two talking heads be the sole narrators through the mock documentary but it actually keeps a nice pacing. There are interviews with his mother, a documentary filmmaker knowledgeable about child murders (I fact checked and they were true cases going back to the early 1900s), and it even talked about other movies being made about Michael that had wrong facts about his family.

Later on in the mockumentary, they have Lindsey describe what happened on that fateful Halloween night from her point of view, that of a terrified little girl, which was really well done and believable.  The next time I watch the first Halloween movie I will be thinking of what happens with her and what was said in Michael Myers: Absolute Evil. It also has a journalist who had been extensively through the case notes and reported on the hospital attacks and describes things from an outsider’s point of view.  The last bit I will say without trying to spoil much is the coverage of the cult and copycat were very believable too.

The stylized name plates and photo filters are a bit too heavy handed, making them a little distorted, but it is manageable.

Michael Myers: Absolute Evil isn’t a lovefest mock documentary it is a very well done attempt to imagine what historical documentarians would have tried to piece together about the tragedies created by the serial killer Michael Myers. It is a good watch with just enough historic truth interwoven to make Michael seem that much more believable.  It would be a great watch as part of a marathon.


Michael Myers: Absolute Evil Mockumentary Review Score

(4 out of 5 Stars)


 

GameACon Convention Postmortem

Some conventions are started by people who have a whole bunch of industry connections that can put out advertising and pay for lots of big appearances.  Others have to start small and work their way up by way of grass roots efforts. GameACon in Las Vegas was one of these smaller events. I had heard about it rather last minute and it felt like most people who went did so the same way.  It was a nice little event! There was fun tournament play, lots of Jenga sets to topple, a few cosplayers in attendance, and a couple important companies that showed up as anchors such as Microsoft and Alienware.  There were also a handful of booths there, one of which I had to be dragged away from because it had Pocky and glow in the dark toys!

We took in an enjoyable panel about the fun and pitfalls of cosplaying, watched a few tournament rounds, and I debated picking up a straight razor from the weapons merch booth (I am “Ripper” after all).  We saw people running in and hugging each other, especially among the few cosplayers since they had planned to meet up which was definitely the way to do it.

GameACon has its share of growing pains right now but I really hope that they are able to get stronger and give it another shot next year.  Some word of mouth will kick in from this year and they just need to get some print notice out and maybe a few celebs (I hear some will fly out for airfare and room!) which are always a draw.  Here’s to hopefully seeing you again next year!

The Houses October Built 2 Review

Over the years, there has developed a more extreme sort of haunted house. One that pops up around Halloween in far smaller quantity than traditional haunted houses. I call them “shock houses”.  Those looking for them can find them through word of mouth and other underground channels.  There is a huge market for these extreme experience too, and they generally require a reservation and sell out early in the scary season.  The fact that the public can’t just walk up and buy a ticket adds to the mystery and, when we talk about how we go to haunted houses, people always want to know if we have been to one of them.  These places have you sign waivers for indemnity that aren’t just for theatrics.

A few years ago, The Houses October Built was released. The film was about a group of twenty somethings, four guys and one girl, going around the country trying to find the scariest haunted house for a documentary they’re filming.  In discussing what entails the “scariest” haunted house it falls somewhere between a haunt and a shock house.  In their search, they end up getting the attention of a legendary underground shock house called the “Blue Skeleton” that sends them a private invitation.  The first film is a combination of found footage from the group and found footage from various security cameras.

Now, The Houses October Built 2 is getting ready to be released, and we got the chance to see an advanced screener for review.  In the film, which takes place after the events of the original, the crew is back on a quest for intense haunted houses. After the events of the first film, Zack (Zack Andrews) is tight on money and wants to cash in on their 15 minutes of internet fame by going to haunts across the country and rating them as pseudo-celebrities.  He gets the four guys together no problem but Brandy (Brandy Schaefer), who is the real draw thanks to The Houses October Built, has had enough trauma in her life.  Now known as “coffin girl”, she is reticent to return on the haunted house quest due to the trauma she previously-incurred.

They talk her into coming along with the promise that they will only attend normal haunted houses. Knowing her one friend is severely tight on cash, she agrees. During their travels, they get the attention of an extreme shock house known as “Hellbent”.  Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it!

That is all in the setup you need, and I’ll avoid spoiling anything else for you.  The movie shows some of the very good and well known haunted houses from around the country and has some creepy surprises and twists.  It’s nice that they are using actual haunted houses too instead of just setting up fake ones. In The Houses October Built 2, you are shown the haunts and you can look them up if you like!

I’m trying to decide which of the movies I liked better but I think they follow a nice, natural progression. Zack, who was the mastermind behind the search for the shock house in the first one is still hooked on the idea. Brandy, who was jumpy to begin with in the first movie, winds up with the a rough, lingering reaction to the Blue Skeleton and definitely doesn’t want anything to do with them. The Houses October Built 2 attempts to ratchet things up.

One thing I watch for in found-footage films are cameras or angles that aren’t explained in a movie.  You would be amazed how often what is supposed to be a three camera shoot suddenly has a completely unexplained shot or uses a camera view that nobody would care enough about to have pointed a static camera at (a chair storage room for example).  This movie not only explains how every shot could happen but showed just about every cameraman in one of the shots so you knew they had even more than you probably thought to get all the angles. Technically, it makes sense.

The film moves along nicely with good pacing thanks to director Bobby Roe, who is also one of the writers and actors in the film. Unfortunately, the climax of The Houses October Built 2 is not quite as satisfying as the original’s ending was, but the entire film is a fun ride. The Houses October Built 2 is due out on September 22, and I highly recommend you watch both films back to back. The two of them a great double feature on an October evening with the lights turned down low.


The Houses October Built 2 Review Score

(4 out of 5 Stars)


 

Blood Bowl II Legendary Edition Review

The Warhammer Universe is HUGE and they have been very smart about using the franchise in pretty much every way that can be imagined.  The IP’s use in strategy games is one of my favorite of these ways. My favorite Warhammer game I have ever played was Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, with its third person shooting style. I actually want to go back and play it right now but I don’t have it anymore…  Oh I feel like I am missing out right now not being able to wield that chainsword, but I digress.  In this mix of strategy games is one that disguises itself as a sporting title called Blood Bowl II – Legendary Edition. Blood Bowl is a miniatures board game released by Games Workshop back in 1986 that actually already had two computer games based on it – Blood Bowl in 1995 and Blood Bowl in 2009. Blood Bowl II was initially released in late 2015. The new Legendary Edition features all the DLC and enhancements in one box.

The first place you want to start playing is in the game’s Campaign Mode.  This will give players a series of goals to complete that helps show them around the field of battle play.  You start off as a human on a “Bad News Bears” sort of football team that dumps its coach and players then hires you to try to fix everything.  You make a contract with a company that sells bell polish which is a huge step down from the days of courting “Bloodwiser” and you don’t get near the funds you need to fill your roster.  It has you playing against an AI and I played on its standard difficulty setting of “Medium” since I had never played any other Blood Bowl title.

The graphics are well done, the commentators during the game are hilarious, and the video cuts to a cinematic style view when someone gets particularly clobbered – or the other team cheats in some way. These cinematic moments are funny and continue to feel fresh even when they happen over and over again.  Set at medium difficulty, the opposing team has certain styles of play and it  doesn’t take too long on the first few matches to see their patterns and work around them.  The hardest part are the dice rolls. If you do a battling move or if you try to run at the edge of your range it rolls for you. When running if no one is around there is a good chance that you can stop without falling on your face but I did one time run into the end zone where it did a roll and with no one around I fell down and the ball bounced a few squares away. The dice rolls are a way of keeping its RPG roots alive and adding chance to the game.

Blood Bowl II: Legendary Edition is, at its heart, a turn-based strategy game.  You get a turn and you decide where your characters move across square spaces on the field within their range of movement.  If they encounter an enemy or try to pick up the ball it gives you a percentage of chance that you will complete the task.  So, say you have one of your faster runners and he has to pass to a much slower lineman.  It might say you have a 68% of accomplishing that then when you do it the computer rolls the dice for you.  Now if you are naturally and notoriously bad at rolls in life like me you will fall on your face, get knocked out or possibly killed!  It can be pretty funny when you manage to get past all the blockers then trip over you own two feet.  And it shows a video replay of you face eating the turf.  Every role is done with virtual six-sided dice, some rolls using more or less dice depending on the situation.

The higher you get in the campaign the more interesting skills you can get for your players and upgrades to your stadium that help your team.  It’s all the little tips and such from the campaign that will give you an edge if you play other players.  You can start friendly games where it looks for a local player which means lower ping to play or you can invite a friend to play.  You can also create your own league where you play against AI through a whole season using a team you built yourself. Or, you can play Multiplayer where you search for an existing multiplayer league and join in.  It gives you different options and, let’s face it, while an AI can be easier or harder than a human opponent, it seldom thinks the same.

Blood Bowl II: Legendary Edition is the base Blood Bowl II game, Blood Bowl II Expansion, and 8 more race packs all combined!  The result is a whole bunch of different races you can mix together in some modes, plenty of stadiums with different upgrades and add-ons, and even a Challenge section where you have to do something crazy like kill a Thrall or make improbable touchdowns.  One of the weirdest things I think is a new race that is composed of circus folk and a trained bear…  To say this game has no end is completely true since you can even start a single player mode Eternal League where you just ever level and learn across different campaign, leagues, challenges… FOREVER.  If you really want a laugh, get a friend who swears they hate turn-based strategy game and wait until they are completely engrossed to point out what they are playing.

Blood Bowl II Legendary Edition is one of the best games in the Warhammer franchise and Warhammer is one of the best gaming franchises in existence.  Blood Bowl II Legendary Edition is not only super-addictive, but it is also the best sports game I have ever played.  Time to get back to game before the commentators say any more bad things about me or my players….


Blood Bowl II Legendary Edition Review Score

(5 out of 5 Stars)


 

ARK: Survival Evolved Review (PC)

Before I hit the age when I got a BB gun, I used to have my plastic dinosaurs fight my plastic soldiers all the time.  I lost a lot of them in my great grandma’s back yard, never to be seen again. I never lost my fascination with dinosaurs. When I learned that we could not only fight dinosaurs but also ride them – not to mention taming sharks, cage dragons, and more, I knew I had to play ARK: Survival Evolved.

Dinosaurs, Dragons And Sharks, Oh My!

ARK: Survival Evolved gives you a massive online experience that starts with very humble beginnings.  You wake up on a beach, pretty much naked, and you have to construct some shelter and defenses.  You have to forage for your own resources and protect yourself at the same time. If you have the means, I definitely recommend starting this game with a friend  so you can watch out for each other and work towards common goals – in this case, surviving.  Another important thing to consider when starting ARK: Survival Evolved is whether you want to start out on a PVP or a PVE server.  In case you don’t know the difference, PVP means “Player Vs. Player” where other players can kill you and loot your corpse for your stuff.  Most players who play this type of server try to find a big group to join or bring friends along to play together.  If you think that it is hard enough, you also have to worry about everything from bugs to dragons wanting you dead! If that isn’t your cup of entertainment, you might want to play on the “Player Vs. Environment” server where players cannot kill each other.  If you are a lone wolf player or, like me, a reviewer who finds he likes a game but knows he probably won’t get back to the game in months, then going PVE makes sure no one boots you from their tribe for inactivity!

Once the server is chosen, you’ve landed on your beach, you can start punching trees for wood and work with stones so that you can get to the “Stone Age” of your existence and are not trying to kill bugs and small dinosaurs with your fists. Many of the dinosaurs roam in packs and you will be outmatched without some good old human ingenuity.  Since you out in a diaper and hungry, staying warm and getting food are your first necessities.

Another cool thing is I know as I am going in I will start with sticks and stone axes but eventually I will have sweet guns and have the ability to tame creatures in order to use them as mounts.  Also some of the animals you can’t ride, but you can use as pack mules! This is really cool as you will have a second dinosaur following you around with all your stuff.  Speaking of stuff, you get recipes to make most of your items, although loot drops do exist as well.  The important thing is you need to know this game definitely has a grind and a pretty long one at that, during which time you have to be willing to dedicate yourself to to get to the end content.

If you find you need a break from that grind, you can play the ARK: Survival of the Fittest multiplayer arena game which is included with ARK: Survival Evolved. This game mode could could have been called ARK: Hunger Games with Dinosaurs in terms of its design. The biggest departure there is that you work in tribes, not by yourself.  In this mode, you and your tribe are in a dome and you have to run around and try to kill off all the other tribes.  When someone gets killed, their face gets projected up on the dome along with who killed them – last tribe surviving wins.

Surviving The Evolution

ARK: Survival Evolved is a huge multiplayer game that, while featuring a grind, has some really great content to explore as well as cool end game capabilities.  The only limitations in the game are your imagination and with how well your latency holds up on a 70 player server.  In addition, the game recently got a map expansion and a bigger game expansion is due out in October.


ARK: Survival Evolved Review Score

(5 out of 5 Stars)


 

The Atoning Review

I love this time of year because of all the horror and supernatural movie screeners start being distributed to the press.  I don’t care if the budget of the movie is tiny or huge, all that matters is that it does whatever it supposed to. Thrillers building tension, horror spreading fear, etc.  Some movies like The Blair Witch Project managed to reach fame on a micro-budget, while others have millions and completely fail to illicit any response except disappointment.  But, I will give them all a fair shake, especially if they give good poster art or a nice trailer like Michael Williams (OzLand) directed The Atoning did!

The poster art with a pale skinned Vera (well-played by Virginia Newcomb) contrasted by a demonic black hand covering her mouth made me want to see the trailer, and the trailer showing off the demon creatures were made from practical special effects – not CGI – pulled me in even more.  CGI effects can save a movie money and if done right can be down right creepy but, if done poorly, they can ruin an otherwise good film.  A great example of this is American Werewolf in London which had some of the best practical effects in horror history, meaning they really created the hand stretching, spine popping, and muzzle growing.  It’s sequel American Werewolf in Paris however used computer effects when showing the werewolf running around and it looked silly and ruined the movie (ed. note: I still love Julie Delpy in it).

So I was excited going into the movie and now comes the hard part of trying review it without giving too much away.  First off the camera work is excellent, the lighting is spot on, and everything is set up well to immerse you in the film’s setting.  The movie has a few twists and is designed to have them be solved throughout the movie at an almost even pacing.  The filmmakers want to give you a chance at solving them early so they give a hint at the beginning which unfortunately if you get actually makes the movie drag on a bit.  At a certain point in the movie the average person has probably figured out what is going on and the demonic things from the poster and the trailer are in full effect, but in kind of a confusing way.  Why hadn’t these demons shown up 20 minutes into the show, they would have saved the characters (and the viewers) some unnecessary time lost.

That is what it really came down to.  The Atoning had great cinematography, a good story with twists & turns, solid acting, and well-done practical effects.  The problem was it could have been a much shorter film.  If the repetitive nature of the story (which, admittedly, serves a purpose to some extent) were trimmed down a bit this movie would have been excellent but, as a result of deciding to edit to a full length feature, it feels padded and as a result is decent. It should be noted that the film did win the Magnolia Independent Film Festival’s “Best Home Grown” award in 2017!

The Atoning is available now on digital HD and DVD.

GameStop Expo 2017 Post-Mortem

I get the chance to cover a lot of the gaming conventions that roll into Las Vegas and I love the GameStop Expo. In many ways, it is like a mini-E3!  It has many of the same photo op pieces such as the Mario “Capo” tank, Pickachu, Spiderman, Iron Man, and Freddy from 5 Nights At Freddy (it must have been about 10 feet tall).  There were lots of celebrities to get pictures with like Gary Payton, Alexa Bliss, Kirk Angle, and even a wandering Pickachu.  There was a surprisingly small contingency of cosplayers until I found out what other cons were happening this week and which ones were coming up (it has AX in it).

For a long while, the GameStop Expo was an industry-only event for GameStop employees. Now, however, it is open to the public and they even sell a VIP pass that garners the attendee a sweet swag bag. Of course, a huge draw for the convention was getting the chance to play demo builds of games that are not out yet: The Evil Within 2, Vampyr, the latest Super Mario Bros., Star Wars Battlefront 2, and a lot more. Speaking of Battlefront 2, that demo station had a never ending line that had to be cut off before the end of the day, it’s going to be a VERY popular title.  The Nintendo Switch was there for display and Nintendo of America reps were there to answer my questions. Considering how many controllers I have mastered over the years, the Switch Joy Con controllers will take a little while to “get”. The simple fact that moving the controller and splitting it in half was introduced it shouldn’t be that hard but I was instantly struggling, I think I almost caused the Nintendo rep teaching me to use them to have a breakdown – Sorry, Nintendo rep!

Those who are really in the know of this particular event go and check the GameStop mini stores built into the expo floor and the benefits room.  They look like GameStop shops but all the inventory is either drastically discounted, rare to find or, in some cases, both.  I missed a big one and saw just about everyone walking around with a Disney Treasures boxes clutch tightly to them so I couldn’t even see in the bags. They had $2 shirts, $5 hoodies and their wall of shirts that would be between $15-$20 in the stores were all $10.  Those who were seeking out rare Funko Pop! Vinyls figures needed to just keep checking back throughout the day to see what new stock came out, we got a few hard to find horror ones that showed up midday and were gone in minutes.

There were a couple vendor aisles which I don’t remember from two years ago when it was last in Las Vegas, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there.  Also, it felt like there weren’t as many booths as in previous years but that is possible that I am remembering when it was last here it was for employees so lines were shorter and smaller crowds make a place feel bigger.  Either way I highly recommend going to the GameStop Expo and am anxiously awaiting its return!

Photo Gallery

Retro-Bit RES+ Retro Console Review

I am an old school gamer with a hoarding problem. I keep hold of my game systems, disks, and cartridges even when I go onto the next system that comes along.  So, even though I have a PS4 and an Xbox One, I also have an Atari 2600 system, two original NES consoles, a Super NES console… But I digress.  A big problem for my gaming is time. Time gives us room to make technological advancements and these advancements make playing those original consoles troublesome. For example, I’m not going to keep a CRT television around just so I can play an Atari or NES. There are some ways around this but these workarounds seem to come at the expense of visual quality and clarity.  Retro-Bit makes new consoles that accept old cartridges and disks, and utilize the latest and greatest connections and outputs. Enter: the RES Plus retro game console.

Game On:

The first thing I noticed about the RES Plus when I pulled the system from its box is that it is only about the size of an NES cartridge.  That means for play at home or on the go it takes up very little space.  I can toss the RES Plus and a couple games in a suitcase and head out the door in minutes.  It also means that it can be taken from one room to another, plug it into an HDMI port and be right back into the game!  Or as I mentioned before if I am playing a game and it is time to head off on a trip I just grab the system and it is so compact I can put it anywhere in minutes.  If you are having a hard time getting enough room for an HDMI connection the system also works with an AV one.

The RES Plus is a top loader as apposed to the original NES, which was a front loader. Being a top loader makes it nice because, without even turning on the system, you can tell which game is loaded for play.  For transportation you might be a little more likely to disconnect the cartridge rather than leave it plugged in but that is really the healthiest for the cartridge and the system anyways.  Plus leaving your cartridge in during transporting was believed to be one of the main reasons your system would start having trouble reading games.  The original NES required you push the cartridge in until you couldn’t any longer then you pushed it down.  A lot of people would then leave it in that position when moving it around in the room or taking it over to a friend’s house.  Sometimes the cartridge would pop up due to being shook around instead of the ejection process and, as gamer rage is not a new thing, sometimes people would eject the cartridge roughly.  As a result, it got so players would have to delicately push the cartridge down into position JUST right to make it work… or there was the dreaded folded cardboard trick where you had to fold some up an place it between the cartridge and the top of the loading section to make it work.  No side plugging and engaging with the RES Plus, just push down the cartridge straight down in the top until you can’t anymore and you are ready to play!

One of my other favorite aspects of the RES Plus is the power system.  You can plug the power cable into a standard outlet and play away but sometimes when you are on the road the power outlets are far, far away.  Thankfully, with the RES Plus, the very end of the power cord detaches to allow you to plug into a USB port. In other words, you can plug it right into a USB battery like you might use to recharge your phone on a trip.  At that point your game play is only limited to the amount of juice in your battery. Brilliant!

The game system comes with two 6′ long cable controllers that are a variation of the original NES systems though you shouldn’t have any problem using other controllers like I have for my NES systems such as the NES Advantage, QuickShot, Zinger, you get the idea.

How is the quality? The quality is great! I played on my HD television display and was simply delighted by these classic games that I feared I may not ever get the chance to enjoy again in their full glory.

One of the best things about the system would be its price point, pretty much no matter where you buy it you get it for $40 new, picking up an actual NES with all its wear and tear will usually cost you more than that.

Game Over Man, For Now:

Retro-Bit has given old school gamers a gift when it comes to the RES Plus, one that is great at home and even better on the go.  This system will be a new part of my travels and will let me set my NES systems up on display somewhere instead of taking up space on my media center.  Now I just need to get ahold of the other Retro-Bit systems to make even more room on my shelves.


Retro-Bit RES Plus Console Review Score

(5 out of 5 Stars)