Bits and Pieces
by Al Backiel

In DP issue #35, I listed Electronic Games Monthly as a current magazine devoting some space to Retrogaming. That situation has since changed. In a recent editorial they stated that they had no plans to do a regular series on classic videogames. They claim this is due to lack of space. I don’t buy that!. What is it going to kill them to devote one page per month? I think they would sell more copies per month to all those classic collectors who would not normally buy it. In my recent ATLANTIS review in DP, I could not identify one of the 2600 clones. It turns out the game that I dubbed "Atlantis III: Birds & Bats" is actually CURTISS by Rainbow Vision (Australia). I even had it in my collection, but had forgotten about it until it was too late.

The world of Videogames lost one of brightest stars recently with the death of Gumpei Yokoi in an automobile accident.. Mr. Yokoi was one of Nintendo’s chief engineers and the father of the GAME & WATCH handheld series, the DONKEY KONG arcade game and the highly successful GAME BOY. His only failure was the VIRTUAL BOY. After the VB sales did not take off, he either left Nintendo of his own accord or was pressured into leaving. He was in the process of forming his own development company when the fatal accident occurred. Who knows what else he might have come up with in the future? The consensus of opinion amongst myself and my user friends is that the VB will become the next VECTREX. This means it will be highly sought after someday and is worth purchasing now while it is still around. Already some of the rarer Japan only games are commanding $100 apiece. It looks like Gumpei Yokoi had the last laugh after all. I got together with Keita Iida and put together a FAQ on the VB. It can be found on the DP website (

Are you are missing overlays for the Vectrex? Do you wish there were overlays for the newest third party games (e.g. J. Dondzila’s Patriots)? Wish no more! Now you can get faithful reproductions of the originals, or interpretations of what the overlays might have have looked like if they actually did exist. These overlays I must warn you are not made of the exact stiff plastic as the originals, but are closer to the plastic used in overhead projectors. You may also be required to give them a final trim along the edges. I would suggest buying one just to see if you like the way they look and feel. The repros of the originals I believe are exact because they were scanned. I would recommend buying anything you are missing or at least Patriots. Dark Tower is almost done. The website to check is Tony Price’s at Sorry about the plug, but I thought it might be of interest to some gamers.

The GAME BOY has now taken the lead as the system with the longest running support by the original manufacturer. It first reached the US in May of 1989 and it still is going strong today. Why is it such a big hit? It isn’t even in color! The secret is the huge software library behind it and the killer apps like TETRIS. Not to mention the convenience of portability. It’s the perfect go-anywhere-while-you-are-waiting-timekiller. Here is a bit of trivia. If you put issues #92 - 102 of Nintendo Power in order and look at the binding, you will see that a picture of MARIO (N64 version) has formed. Another image is forming starting with #104 thru 106. It will probably turn out to be Link from ZELDA (N64 version). It will take another 6 months or so to complete.

Just in case you were wondering if any of those Questions that I posed in DP#33 have been answered, the answer is NO. There were a few promising leads, but they did not result in anything conclusive. Come on you guys! Where are the detectives out there? The answers may lie somewhere out there in cyberspace.

In DP#21 FAME, we the staff, drew up a list of celebrity endorsed classic video games. Somehow we all missed JOURNEY:ESCAPE. I guess one really couldn’t call this one an unforgettable game.

Joe Santulli and I went to the March 14th NAVA Collector’s meeting in Howell, NJ. This was the first time for Joe and everybody was glad he finally showed up. I asked him what he thought of it and he replied " Pretty much what I expected…. minus the dancing girls and beer". He made a few new friends and gave away souvenir Digital Press pens and sample issues. Keita Iida was there and he brought his Japanese Virtual Boy games. This was the highlight for me. I got to play games I’d thought I’d never see. John Hardie was also there and we made a few trades. Mike Etler was unavoidably detained because he had to handle an emergency in store #2. There was one electronics hacker there who if he didn’t like the controller that came with the system, made his own improved version. Pretty impressive! Another guy showed up with laminated movie poster size blowups of Atari cart labels. Looked nice! Somebody sprang for pizza. Thanks again! I hope to see more people at these events. Bring your trade items. Contact Mike Etler for the next date. Do you realize that video games have been in existence for over 25 years? That’s right. PONG came out in 1972. My God, how time flies when you’re having fun! .

Al Backiel is just one of those guys that can't get enough of video gaming. How well we can relate to that. His specialty is Atari 2600, and you can reach Al at

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Last updated Tuesday, February 13, 2007 05:58 PM