I asked for a car, I got a computer. How's that for being born under a bad sign? - Ferris Bueller

Nintendo Donkey Kong Country NES Homebrew

December 24, 2015 - 9:01 pm - Posted by Sean

Remember Donkey Kong Country (1994) for the Super Nintendo (SNES)? Of course you do!

What if it had been released for the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) back in the day? What would it have looked like?

Yep, that’s right! Thanks to a homebrew gaming group called the “Hummer Team” there is no need to imagine because they released their version in 1997.

I recently found out about this version and thanks to my Nintendo PowerPak, I’m able to play it in the year 2015 on real NES hardware.

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Achievement Unlocked: Apple IIGS ROM 03 PCB

November 8, 2015 - 11:19 pm - Posted by Sean

Achievement Unlocked! I’ve acquired an Apple IIgs ROM 3 motherboard:

Apple IIGS ROM 03 Motherboard PCB - Geek With Social Skills

Here’s a little bit of information about the Apple IIGS ROM 03:

  • Apple released ROM 03 in August 1989
  • Control Panel and real-time clock battery now user-serviceable
  • Standard amount of RAM increased to 1.125 MB
  • Additional memory was built-in on the motherboard
  • New ROM firmware now 256 KB in size and contains the System 5.x toolsets

The newer toolsets increased the performance of the machine by up to 10%, due to the fact that less had to be loaded from disk, tool ROM read access being faster than RAM, and their highly optimized routines compared to the older toolsets (pre-GS/OS based).

In addition to several bug fixes, more programmer assistance commands and features, a cleaned up Control Panel with improved mouse control, RAM Disk functionality, more flexible Appletalk support and slot mapping were added.

I’m pretty excited to have tracked this board down. In the near future I’ll be swapping out my ROM 01 PCB with this ROM 03 PCB so I’ll have a total of 2 MB of RAM. Game on!

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Apple IIgs Keyboard Restoration

October 29, 2015 - 11:46 pm - Posted by Sean

I recently restored my Apple IIgs Desktop Bus Keyboard (part number 658-4081 – older Alps version) and wanted to showcase the before and after pictures. Enjoy!

My first picture shows how the keyboard looked before restoration… a lot of yellowing on the case and specifically the space bar:

Apple IIGS Keyboard Restoration - Geek With Social Skills

In this next picture you can see the keyboard taken apart, the space bar removed and also the plastic spacer piece between the QWERTY keys and numeric keypad:

Apple IIGS Keyboard Restoration - Geek With Social Skills

This last picture shows my Apple IIgs keyboard reassembled after my special cleaning process… it looks so minty fresh and pretty close to brand new:

Apple IIGS Keyboard Restoration - Geek With Social Skills

In the future I’ll be sure do a follow up blog post with more details on how I achieved these amazing results, and before you ask, no, it wasn’t Retr0bright, but something less toxic.

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Atari Hot Wheels Store Display Kiosk

September 5, 2014 - 8:17 pm - Posted by Sean

In this video I’m showcasing my Atari Hot Wheels Store Display Kiosk that I picked up about a year or so ago (2013):

This was used to display the Atari 2600 themed Hot Wheels that were sold around October 2012 for a limited time. There were 6 cars to choose from: Tempest, Pong, Breakout, Atari 2600 Woody Bus, Centipede and Missile Command.

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Vectrex Vector Patrol (Moon Patrol) Game Prototype

August 13, 2014 - 6:01 pm - Posted by Sean

In this video I’m showcasing Vector Patrol, a homebrew port of Moon Patrol for the Vectrex game console.

The game is currently in the prototype stage and being programmed by Kristof Tuts known for previous Vectrex homebrews Vectrexians (2007) and Vector Pilot (2011):

In the video you will see flicker on the screen, but that’s only coming from my camera. There isn’t any flicker when playing the game. Basically I’m still trying to figure out how to record gameplay on my Vectrex without flicker using my new camera.

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