New Help Entry: Repairing Your NES

So you’ve cleaned and cleaned your Nintendo Entertainment System and its power light keeps blinking. It looks like your days of playing Super Mario Bros or Final Fantasy have finally come to an end. But wait! With one little part and 15 minutes of elbow grease, your NES will rise from its deathbed and play like it just came out of its original box. All you need is a new 72-pin cartridge connector and a “Phillips” screwdriver!

The rest of the article can be found on the magisterrex website, located here: Fixing Your NES

Repair your blinking light Nintendo NES System!


20 Years Ago – Great Video and PC Games Released in 1990

1990 was an interesting year.  George H.W. Bush was still President of the United States and Mikhail Gorbachev was the leader of the U.S.S.R.  It was the year Nelson Mandela became a free man, Mike Tyson got knocked out, Marion Barry got busted for drug possession, the Edmonton Oilers won their last (for now) Stanley Cup, the Detroit Pistons took another NBA title, Germany was reunified signaling the end of the Cold War, Margaret Thatcher resigned as Prime Minister of Great Britain, and Iraq invaded Kuwait. And that’s just some of the year’s highlights!

Just for fun, let’s look at what some of the awesome video & PC North American game releases were 20 years ago. All of these are great games to play, and some are retro gaming classics!  Of course, these are by no means all the game releases for 1990 – just some of the ones I thought were worth mentioning.

1990 also saw the release of Pretty Woman!

magisterrex Retro Game of the Week – The 7th Guest

It can be argued that The 7th Guest was responsible for the popularization of the CD-ROM format, as it predates the other pioneering CD-ROM superseller, MYST.  The atmospheric horror/puzzle hybrid was a smash hit at a time when CD-ROM drives were not ubiquitous across the PC gaming world.  With over 2 million copies of the game sold, CD-ROM manufacturers noted that their sales quadrupled in the aftermath of this game’s release.

Front cover of The 7th Guest game.

The game begins with the background story of how Henry Stauf went from a tramp to a rich toymaker. From there, the player finds himself trapped in an ominous-looking mansion with six other “guests” trying to piece together what has happened to them.  Their host, the enigmatic and wicked Henry Stauf, challenges them to a game with the winner achieving his or her heart’s desire.  But you are not an invited guest, and the game you must win is for possession of your very soul.  Scenes of what has already transpired are shown to you as you solve each of the puzzles, culminating in a final confrontation with Stauf himself, all done in a first-person perspective.

Puzzle from The 7th Guest

This was a game like no other before it.  First, it was BIG.  At a time when game companies were packing 1.44 MB of code on multiple 3.5” diskettes, The 7th Guest clocked in over an astounding 770 MB on two CDs.  The reason for that massive size was the full-motion video used to propel the player through the mystery, as well as the prologue and epilogue of each puzzle.  With superior production quality and professional actors, the game’s cut-scenes were enjoyable to watch.

Another puzzle from The 7th Guest.

An interesting feature of The 7th Guest was how the music, composed by George “The Fatman” Sanger, interacted with the story.  Each character had its own rendition of “The Game” – the main theme music of the game, which played when that character was on the screen.  If two or more characters were on the screen at once, the musical variations were woven together. This led to a heightened mood and better storytelling, and was just one more example of the game’s professional production.

Portrait of The Fatman in The 7th Guest.

The 7th Guest is legendary for the hype that surrounded its development.  From the first demo shown to the gamer masses during the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago in 1992, the anticipation building to its eventual release in 1993 seemed to indicate either that The 7th Guest would be an amazing game or a bitter disappointment.  Judging by the sales this title achieved, “disappointment” was not a word used to describe The 7th Guest.

Nasty Old Man Stauf from The 7th Guest.

The game’s creators, Rob Landeros (a graphic artist) and Graeme Devine (a programmer for Virgin MasterTronics) followed the success of The 7th Guest with a sequel, The 11th Hour.  Although their company, Trilobyte, was initially flush with cash from the success of The 7th Guest, increasing tensions from divergent visions of the company’s future and spiraling production costs exhausted their funds, and eventually their partnership sundered.  However, in 2004, another gaming company, Lunny Interactive, announced the reunion of both Devine and Landeros and the imminent development of the long-awaited third game in the series, The Collector. Six years later, the game is merely another vaporware legend, which is really unfortunate, as the gaming world could always use a little more Stauf to play with!

The Best Classic Board Games – Stock Ticker

Some games are whimsical and some are serious simulations, and some are crosses between the two.  Stock Ticker, the classic board game that simulates investing in the stock market, leans much more into the serious side.  The object of the game is quite simple: buy and sell stocks and be the player with the most money at the end of the game.  (Which pretty much sounds like the raison d’être of Wall Street.)  There are six stocks (or commodities) to choose from: Oil, Industrial, Bonds, Grain, Silver, and Gold, and each of these are issued in various denominations from 500 shares to 5000 shares.  The Stock Quotation Board (the game board) has spaces that indicate what the value of each of these stocks is at any given time.

The original 1937 Copp Clark Stock Ticker game.

The value of any stock at the beginning of the game is $1 each, indicated by placing the six Stock Indicators at the $1 mark on the Stock Quotation Board.  These are NOT player tokens and can be moved by any player on their turn.  After each player purchases his or her initial stock portfolio (spending up to $5,000 worth), play begins.  Each player throws the three special dice that determine the fluctuation of the market.  One die has the name of each stock, one per side. One die has the stock action (UP, DOWN, DIV). The third die has the value of the change: 5, 10, 20.  So examples of typical throws of the dice would be: SILVER, UP, 10 or GOLD, DOWN, 5.  Players make their money on buying low and selling high, and by receiving the odd Dividend from their investments if the stock action die shows DIV.

Stock Ticker game valuation dice

There are a couple of odd stock situations that can happen during play: the stock can crash to the point that it becomes valueless (and all that particular stock is turned back to the bank to be re-issued at the initial $1/share price) or the stock can skyrocket to the point that it reaches $2 a share, at which point a stock split is declared, and players receive an extra share for every share they hold, and again the value is re-pegged at $1/share.

The 1970s version of Stock Ticker

There have been several versions of Stock Ticker since its original 1937 release, but finding the exact release date is a bit tricky as neither the game box or game contents mention a copyright date.  Each release comes with new box art and redesigned game pieces, and sometimes the game publisher changes, but the gameplay is always the same.  There have been Copp Clark editions in the 1950s, 1970s, and 1980s, while the 1990s version was published by Canada Games.  There was also a slightly more enhanced version released by Copp Clark, called Stock Ticker Deluxe, sometime in the 1980s.

The 1980s version of Stock Ticker

If all this financial gaming sounds dreary, then Stock Ticker is not the game for you.  But if you’re looking for a sound simulation of investing in the stock market that isn’t too complex yet manages to accurately reflect the sudden market fluctuations that can occur, Stock Ticker is well worth your time.

The 1990s version of Stock Ticker

The 1990s version of Stock Ticker

Stock Ticker Deluxe by Copp Clark