Archive for September, 2009

NES 2 AV Mods

September 4, 2009

I was going to do a long rant about the Wii. But since I know some of you want something with more substance, I’ll give you this instead.

 

Nes2The NES 2 toploader was Nintendo’s attempt to sell more NESes. The toploader design is more reliable, but it suffers from bad video output. It’s only RF and suffers vertical lines. So a lot of people AV mod their NES 2s.

The usual method (let’s call it the gameSX method) involves removing a resistor, cutting a trace underneath it, and wiring up a simple video amp. But some say it doesn’t reduce vertical lines at all, doesn’t improve quality much, or is simply just confusing.

So I went on this internet and searched for answers. Then I found this thread on the internet (after a helpful mention… somewhere).  The first theory as to why the video output still sucked was a bad PPU. Some guy disproved that by actually connecting his toploader PPU video output to the video circuit in a frontloader. Problem solved, not the PPU.

Some guy posted an alternate mod in that thread, based on the AV Famicom circuit. It involves lifting pin 21 and connecting it directly to the new circuit. This mod gives much better video output, but has somewhat reduced brightness. Apparently in a normal frontloader the video is amped again in the RF box, so that could be tried.

But was that just the answer? No. By that time I had looked through schematics, scoured the web, and found absolutely nothing in various forum topics. I’d even come up with the crazy idea of reproducing the entire video circuit of a frontloader.

Now I wish I just had a NES 2 to play around and test my theories on. Were you expecting that I had one and modded it? Nah, you can’t get anything cheap where I live, regardless of rarity.

I did, however, write this article on the ModRetro wiki.

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DRM

September 2, 2009

I hate how pretty much all new software is full of DRM. On the low end of the spectrum, almost all games are on copy-protected optical media. Most games have some form of software lockout as well. On the extreme end, some games require an online activation, PLUS having one or more applications running in the background. Ironically, most Steam games actually have LESS DRM than retail games.

Case in point: I got a copy of Battlefield 2142 from a friend because it wouldn’t run on his computer. But it’s pretty much useless to me. Why? Because it only works with one account. I can understand having to verify a game as legit. I can understand needing to register an account to play online. But this is just ridiculous. You HAVE to register an account to play, and not just for multiplayer either.  And the game is tied to that account. That’s understandable for downloaded software, but for software that comes on a disc it’s insane. I’ll see if I can get my friend’s account information, but he’s probably lost it.

So what can game companies do? First, recognize that there’s really not that much piracy. Seriously, DVDs are far easier and more profitable to pirate than games. Secondly, stop the ridiculous DRM. Figure out a way to do it reasonably. I can’t tell you how, but I want some fair use. By fair use I mean I should be able to install it on at least my main PC and a laptop, and maybe a media center too (one computer using the software at a time is fine). If I want to give it away or sell it for whatever reason I should be able to do so. Finally, I don’t need rootkits or two different apps running in the background. Third, maybe people wouldn’t be so compelled to try to rip off games if they weren’t such a ripoff. I really want Call of Duty 4. But it’s been out for a year and it’s still $50.

Okay, maybe I’m asking for a little too much. But in the old days, you could buy a game, install it on as many computers as you wanted, copy it (maybe that’s a little too far), and you wouldn’t have to pay a ridiculous amount in the first place. That wasn’t long ago, either. Quake III was like that. A lot of Command and Conquer games came with TWO DISCs so you could play head-to-head with a friend.

And to think I thought that CD keys were a pain in the ass.