Variations on a theme: Dreamcast cables

There’s some confusion over which cables are better or worse for the dreamcast, since there’s a few options to choose from.

So here’s a handy diagram I drew to illustrate the situation more clearly.

You have to click on the image to see the full size, as it clips the right hand side off.

Feel free to use this, but please credit me if you do :)

Bear in mind that some TVs just “don’t like” s-video, so consider it to be the most risky format, although the results can be absolutely superb if your TV can handle it well.

mmmonkey addresses a common dreamcast fault – the random reset

I mentioned this on facebook, but it’s got quite a reaction so I guess it’s important enough to get its own article here.

Basically, as any good retro trader knows, the dreamcast is getting pretty unreliable in its old age. We bench test every dreamcast before sale for at least 2 hours, and we find that about 3 in 5 will not pass this bench test.

The most common errors are:

-apply light pressure to the lid while in operation and the console resets (more on that later!)

- The dreamcast seems to start a constant downwards reset cycle once it warms up.

mmmonkey has addressed point 2 in this tutorial.

We’re not 100% convinced that this would fix every last one of our resetting dreamcasts, we’ve learned that usually the simple fixes are too good to be true! But we’re going to monitor the situation and see just what proportion can be saved by the simple action in the tutorial. Please also comment below if you’ve tried it yourself.

Gameboy Printer – Retrospectively – is it any good?

The Gameboy Printer…the not so must have accessory for the original Gameboy. Though the printer was supported by a good few games, it wasnt really much more than a gadget.

But…the big question is, is it any good?

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How Bright is YOUR Backlight? The GBA SP’s Secret Relative Revealed, AGS-101 vs AGS-001

So, you have a Gameboy Advance SP to play GB / GBC and GBA Games on? Not bright enough?

Turns out theres something that not many people know about the GBA SP. There was a second release with a backlit screen, not frontlit (technically side lit..).

It was released in North America, and Europe in very limited numbers. The available colours are typically light blue, light pink and dark metallic grey. In Europe, also the tribal is rumoured to have been released in the 101 model. So, you won’t see a standard common silver AGS-101.

How can you tell the difference? It’s simple, if you know what you’re looking for. The serial number on the bottom.

The original GBA SP has model number “AGS-001″.

The prized 2nd release with the bright screen has model number “AGS-101″.

And here’s the difference in brightness, side by side. The AGS-101 is on the left, obviously.

..and the difference in price is at least double.

So, next time you see a GBA SP console, just flip it over and check the model number ;o)

Retro game carts don’t save anymore? Fixable, of course..

If you’re a collector you’re bound to have come across this scenario. You buy a SNES or NES game from ebay, or you dig one out of the cupboard, and insert it to find:

Save Game 1: —  –/–/–

Save Game 2: — –/–/–


Nightmare! So you think, well, maybe it will be ok. You start your game. You play a bit, you save, you go to bed.

Next morning, still no game!! Read on..

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Scam, Spam and Jam


A quick tip off about a scam going round at the moment “on ebay” which might catch you out.

I say “on ebay”, because actually that’s just the thing. It’s not. It’s actually just an email directed at you, with a question designed to get a “rise” out of you, so that you click the reply link in blind rage without thinking, and before you know it, you’ve given away your password.

How it works:

1) Scammer gets your username and email address from ebay. This is not hard, given that if you’re a business you probably have this info available on your about me page.

2) Scammer sends you an email like the one I received this morning:

I saw that you relist the item 200344258848. What is the bottom price for it?
Richard Nye

where the item number above contained a link to:

(good so far right? If you only read this far, or your email client only shows the first few characters, it looks genuine – but the rest..)


So yeah, there is a vague chance that you might click on this page thinking it’s real.

3) The page you’re directed to looks and feels like an ebay login page. You duly enter your username and password. Scammer then laughs all the way to the bank, as he’s just got your username and password for free.

I’ve seen a couple of these that contain ridiculous complaints, like “The item you have sent me <link to fake ebay page> has broken and I am going to leave you negative feedback”. Obviously this is a dangerous situation, as a seller you might rush to investigate, not sit back and think rationally.

The solution is simple:

Never reply to messages or respond to emails by clicking a link. Always go to your ebay “my messages” by typing in or .com yourself manually by hand.

If someone emails you from an address other than ebay, dont click any links. You can type item IDs manually into ebay search too.

A litle extra effort goes a long way.


I realise that posting this won’t make a blind bit of difference, but I’d like to mention that I have a wordpress plugin that completely filters all spam comments. It really does.

I recommend it to anyone with wordpress. It’s called “akismet”.

So, crazy spammers – you can post comments like this:

I enjoyed the article and thanks in esteem of posting such valuable appellation after all of us to skim, I skiff it both of avail oneself of and instructional and I ungracious sketch to address it as usually as I can much as you like. It’s not going to get through, and your spammy links aren’t going to end up on the web through me. Even in the highly unlikely event that akismet misses your post, I still moderate all posts. It seems such a shame that you clearly waste your time with such….eloquent…erm….well yes.


Well, it rhymes with the aforementioned. Nothing else to say about that.

Game Review Special: Gameboy Advance – Bit Generations

Heard of bit generations? Possibly not. You’re missing out on a big piece of classic gaming that never made it outside of Japan. And best of all, no Japanese language skills needed.

The games are a nice set of 7. For the sake of completeness, first I will list them:

1) Boundish
2) Coloris
3) Dialhex
4) Dotstream
5) Digidrive
6) Orbital

Let me set the record straight first of all. These aren’t just games. They are art. I know occasionally the world has a “debate” about whether games can be art, but proof beyond all reasonable doubt lies in these titles. Here’s why…

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How to refurbish your SNES controllers – a guide

After 10+ years of use and abuse, you have probably completely forgotten how firm and responsive your SNES pads used to be. Restore your snes pads back to full working order and nice stiff response, with this guide, and the kit – available here.

Here’s the process, very simple as you will see…

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Retro collectors beware: polystyrene inners damage your cables!

This is actually a serious warning, not a joke. A hardcore collector will probably have observed this phenomenon but might not realise what’s going on. Well, here’s the lowdown!

For the Americans, by polystyrene you call it “styrofoam”. That clears that up for starters.

You may have seen this, you may not. Chances are if you have any boxed consoles, you will. The effect LOOKS as if the polystyrene around wires (gamepad cables, mains wires, RF leads) has melted. Only wires are affected. The polystyrene may be stuck completely to the wire, or it might be carefully removed.

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Retro value, the investment games


Very few games and consoles ever exceed their original RRP, so it is considered foolish to buy any gaming hardware and keep it to sell on later.

But there are exceptions to every rule. This was highlighted recently when a pallet of new Virtual Boy consoles was discovered, and now must be worth an eye-wateringly huge amount. These consoles would have presumably otherwise been sold off in the bargain bin of some department store back when they were withdrawn for, well, blinding small children a bit.

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