Retro consoles in 2022
Genesis (Mega Drive)
My go-to game is pretty well known to be Sonic the Hedgehog, but since 2005 I've not had a Sega Mega-Drive (Genesis) to play it on. Instead I've relied upon emulation in order to get my fix of high speed ring collecting action.
Emulation is fantastic, however, nothing really feels the same as the original controller running on the original machine on an old CRT television.
So naturally the first console that I acquired in my quest to be Manchester's version of the 8bit guy was of course a Sega Mega Drive mark 1.
It was exactly as I remember it, the slider power switch, the reset button and of course the volume control for the headphones. Pure nostalgia in plastic form.
My bigscreen TV does have an RF in so I was able to connect it with no trouble. Alas, the quality sucked - big time. Nothing like I remembered at all and most certainly nothing like the emulated versions. Something was wrong. Colours were washed out and and the picture distorted.
Undaunted I searched for solutions. The first obvious one was to make use of the component out of the console and attach a HDMI converter to the console.
A HDMI converter brings with it new challenges which are mostly latency related. The converter that I purchased was on the cheap side https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08HVNYH4X but it did the job. The quality was notably improved however I noticed lines on the screen whenever there was sudden motion on the screen.
Next up was the Sony PlayStation. I played this console more when was in my early teens. I bought one from CEX rather than eBay for only £45 along with Tomb Raider 2 and Gran Turismo 2. An excellent choice if I do say so myself.
The PlayStation used the same component outputs that the Mega-Drive used. That means that connecting it was a doddle.
The image quality was great, no lines or artifacts and the colours were spot on. I didn't need to do anything more than just connect it up.
Keeping up with the Commodore
I next acquired an Amiga 500 from eBay. I remember playing this console when I was younger and I was excited to get my hands on one again. The Amiga 500 is a bit of a beast when it comes to connecting to a modern TV. There are three ways of doing it: via the RGB output, via the composite or the dreaded RF out.
I went with the composite and connected it to my modern television via my trusty composite/SCART to HDMI converter.
That was great and all but not exactly an authentic experience, so I decided to go for it and buy an authentic Commodore 1040s this enabled me to output to RGB where the text was much more readable.
Next, of course, was getting into programming for the Amiga. It's always best in my opinion to test your software on original hardware however developing directly on them is either difficult or near impossible.
Recently I've been readying Classic AmigaOS Programming by E. Th. van den Oosterkamp and finding it reasonably straightforward but naturally unfamiliar to get started. I've decided to start with C rather than jumping straight into Assembly but that will come next when I want to unleash the real performance of the Commodore Amiga.
So, as you can see, my journey into retro gaming has been a fun and rewarding one. I encourage you to get involved in the scene yourself, whether it's playing games, programming or just collecting consoles. There's something for everyone!