Sega Gamegear saves the day….

Ah the dilema…… A gorgeous sunday for lazin on the beach and England Vs Germany footie on at 3pm. What to do!

Well at last the retro game console collection came in handy for something other than retro gaming. Whilst looking doubtfully at the 42″ HD Plasma and wondering how good the picture would be on the beach running from a generator, I suddenly remembered that I have 3 Sega Game Gears and one of them has the TV plug in.

A quick rummage around in the loft and a lot of batteries later and….






Hey presto! Portable TV.

Looking back now I needn’t have bothered ha ha, but before I witnessed the diabolical sham known as “The Match” I lay there basted up with oil, a cool box full of Sol Lager and wedges of lime, a 25 degree sun, water lappin at my feet and with the footie on and was in paradise….for the first few minutes anyway ha ha

What did become obvious to me was that out of the three Sega Game Gears that I have, two of them are suffering major display issues and one minor issues. I have had to repair the audio on all three Game Gears already replacing all of the capacitors on each audio board as they dry up over time and you lose external sound.

It appears from the symptoms I have (dark screen, switches itself off a few times, distortion on screen etc etc) that I now have to replace about another 10 capacitors on the main board as well as a potential acid mop up job from where the old capacitors are leaking their dielectric out. For some reason wet caps were used when Sega Game Gears were built. I’m replacing them all with dry electrolytic ones so that I don’t have to replace them again!!

Oh by the way, while I was up in the loft I was accosted by a sinister gathering..





ARGHH!!! It’s Attack Of The Omnibots!!!! From Right to left: Omnibot, Omnibot 2000, Hearoid and Robie Sr and in the background is Robosapien 2.

These poor guys have been up in the loft for a while. Omnibot, Hearoid and Robie Sr work perfectly. Omnibot 2000 works partially with the exception of voice over from the remote control and I haven’t got around to repairing it yet. Omnibot has box and all accessories (tray etc) so does Hearoid. Robie Sr is just himself and Omnibot 2000 has the motorised tray although I stripped it down to clean it and have only 3/4 assembled it again. Another guy project on my list!! Which reminds me, I must some pages to the website for these fellas!!

Commodore Amiga CD32

This came down from the loft a while back for a clean and functional check.

I thought I’d take a few pics of it up and running:

The Beast Itself.


Bios Screen


A battered up box


The precious contents


A part of the included paperwork


Two controllers. The eagle-eyed of you will notice that the D-Pads are different. This is because the original design on the right was due to be shipped out as it was, but feedback from testers slating the D-Pad design meant a last minute change of sticking a more directional pad on top of the original design. In the case of the right hand controller, this fell off and was lost some time ago.


More paperwork


The product labelling on the bottom of the unit.


Game time! Loading up Myth.


Myth mid game.


Amiga CD32 Rear ports. From left to right:

On-Off switch / Power Input / RF Tuner Output / S-Video Output / Composite Video Output / Left Audio RCA Output / Right Audio RCA Output.

Amiga CD32 Side ports, from left to right:

Controller 1 or mouse input port / Controller 2 or mouse 2 input port / Aux Input port.


Close up of the animal itself with top loading CD deck open.


Close up with lid closed.

Why is diagonal movement faster than straight movement in old arcade games / 8 bit computer games

I am talking bout real old skool games here, like early 80’s arcade stuff and old 8 bit computer games, but on a lot of them if you had a guy on the screen and you ran straight up, down, left or right you’d move slower than if you moved diagonally.

The issue sounds pretty odd but it’s easily answered and can be proved using Pythagoras Theorem.

If you push the left button, your guy on the screen moves 1 pixel to the left say, and if you push the up button your guy moves 1 pixel up the screen. Pretty straight forward yes.

Now if you push left and up at the same time then your guy moves up-left diagonally. This means he’s moved one pixel left and one pixel up in one move. The actual diagonal distance he’s travelled isn’t 1 pixel though, it’s actually just over 1.4 pixels, just like if you had a right angled triangle and the two shorter sides were 1 metre each then the hypotenuse would be just over 1.4 metres.

This means distance wise that every three straight the guy has travelled 3 pixels, but every three diagonal movements the guy has travelled over 4 pixels, hence why running diagonally gives you an advantage in old computer and arcade games, although usually the enemies had the same diagonal advantage too.

How to fix it? Well when you move diagonally, instead of shifting the guy one to the left and one up, shift him 0.7 to the left and 0.7 up and this will make the hypotenuse about 1. Of course ths screen itself can only display in whole pixels and will round up but as long as you don’t round up the actual x and y co-ordinates of the guy then he’ll skip a move every so often which slows him down to normal pace.

So why wasn’t this built into old arcade and computer games….Well there are three possible reasons:

1. It just wasn’t noticed to start with. (Unlikely)
2. It was noticed but people couldn’t be arsed to add the extra code to make it right.
3. Due to limited memory, there wasn’t enough space to add the additional code so programers just lived with it.

Izzy’s Hedgehog Birthday Cake

Hedgehog Cake
My 5 year old daughter Izzy decided that she wanted a Hedgehog Birthday cake and I leapt to the challenge, knowing that Tesco sell hedgehog birthday cakes very reasonably. This all went horribly pear-shaped when I found that Tesco had stopped selling them and so I set to task creating my own hedgehog and the pic is the result.


It was actually pretty easy if I’m honest. Two large chocolate swiss rolls, trim them down a bit and put them next to each other with a bit of the trimmed bit at the front to form the head shape. Next some Betty Crockers chocolate fudge icing (ready made in the pot) and do a plastering / cementing job all over creating the hedgehog shape. Malteser for the nose, Matchmakers for the whiskers, white chocolate buttons with blob of icing for the eyes and three small toblerones broken up and stuck on the icing for the spikes. Went down well and happy Izzy 🙂