All posts by Chris Valdez

Starting with video games, Chris' interests have led him to write game reviews, study Japanese and move to Japan to continue his studies. Of course, he has other interests, like cooking and baking, travel, and occasionally updating his blog.

What Extron can do for you

Why matrix switchers are awesome… after the trouble of setting them up

In this post we’ll take a look at the two Extron matrix switches I purchase this year, the Crosspoint 450 Plus Series and Extron SMX Series Switcher, and why you may or may not want to add one to your setup.

Let’s say you’re like me and you have quite a few game systems you’d like to have all connected to your TV (or some other display device). The simplest option, but perhaps bothersome depending on your setup, is to swap out the A/V cables as needed.

Your NES is plugged in but you want to play SNES? Disconnect the NES and plug in the SNES. Want to now play your PlayStation 1? Same thing—disconnect the SNES and plug in the PS1.

If you only have a small selection of consoles, this might not be so much of a hassle. But if you have your display wall-mounted or in some other location where you can’t easily get to the inputs, you may find this challenging.

If you’re only working with composite video with RCA plugs (typically with yellow, white and red plugs), a basic RCA selector could work. Plug everything into that, and then that plugs into your display. Almost all of these are going to require you to get up and physically push a button the switch, but that’s not terrible.

My setup is a bit overkill. Click the picture for the full-size version.

But let’s say you have a lot of consoles. Five? Eight? Ten? Twelve? More??? You’re going to need to connect several switchers to each other, and that can get a little confusing.

What if you’re using a higher quality video signal, such as S-video, component or RGB? HDMI? How about a mix of any of those cables? Are you splitting the video to two or more displays at once? You’ll be hard-pressed to find a consumer option that fits your needs.

Enter the Extron line of video switchers.

Continue reading What Extron can do for you

Let’s make Rockman 4 Minus Infinity

Rockman 4 Minus Infinity repro guide

The past few years I’ve picked up the hobby of repairing old game consoles, modding them for things like region-free gameplay or RGB output options for the best possible video quality.

One of the things I heard about along the way was a romhack called Rockman 4 Minus Infinity, an amazing hack that redoes the entirety of Rockman 4/Mega Man 4. Most people will probably play this on an emulator because the de facto flash cart, the Everdrive N8, doesn’t support ROM files of this size. The creator has said though he plans to release a new version of the N8 that supports larger games like this.

So, enter the 8-bitter from Voultar. Assuming you have experience with a soldering iron, it’s an easy solution to use to apply translation patches and romhacks to real NES and Famicom cartridges.

But I specifically wanted to make my own copy of R4MI. The only problem is most of the information online is using old methods of wiring messes before a solution like this existed. Not that they’re bad, they just haven’t been updated for modern methods.

And while Voultar’s video covers just about everything you need, he didn’t go over the process of replacing CHR ROM with CHR RAM.

So I spent several hours hitting various forums and sites to gather information on how to make my own. This guide serves as a way to demonstrate a fairly modern way (though there are probably a few things that could be cleaned up) to do this in 2019.

What you’ll need: (the below is image heavy)

Continue reading Let’s make Rockman 4 Minus Infinity

Golden Week doth approach

Golden Week has come, and I am off to Taipei, Taiwan, from April 29 – May 4. It’s the first time I’m taking a vacation by myself… ever!

I asked people what I should do, and the only suggestions people had were “GO TO NIGHT MARKETS! EAT FOOD!”  -_-

I’m sure I’ll find things to do though. ^^

ゴールデンウイークがきた!台湾の台北市へ4月29日から5月4日まで行ってくる!これは僕の初めて一人旅だ。

僕は皆に「台湾のオススメは何」と聞いた時、返信は「夜市へ行って全部食べて!」。-_-

楽しくて面白いことを見つける!

No fast internet, but great movie

First, a short rant. Afterward, awesome news.

About three weeks ago when I was in Akihabara, I was coerced by some guys at Yamada Denki to sign up for fiber internet for my apartment. I checked with my company, whom I sublet my apartment, to confirm installation was OK, and was told “yes.”

The technician came out to install the fiber wire… but within a few minutes told me he wouldn’t be able to. It seems some type of pipe or tubing needs to be installed in the wall from outside by a different company that NTT (internet provider) could run the write through.

I contacted my company who contacted the leasing company who contacted the apartment owner, and was told that type of construction is not allowed. Well, shit.

I understand there’d be cost to the owner to have the work done, but it would definitely please this tenant. In the meantime, I’m stuck with ADSL internet rated at 47 Mbps but in reality only get 3 – 3.5 Mbps.

One of my favorite movies from my childhood is “Flight of the Navigator,” a not particularly fantastic movie, but it’s a fun, family friendly movie about a kid who accidentally gets swept in time 8 years into the future… unbeknownst to him.

Scientists, doctors, etc. try to figure out where he’s been. On his way to find out what’s happened, he comes across the alien drone ship, Max, who picked him up in the first place.

I got it on Blu-ray, and while it was advertised as an HD remastering, it’s just a standard transfer with quality no better than 480p from a DVD. And no visual cleaning was done at all. There are still specs of dust from the film itself that shows up on this version.

But it’s got both English and Japanese, and the same story I loved as a kid. ^_^

 

Reunion a long time in the making

Back in high school, I knew a fair amount of people. With a graduating class of 700+ (!!), there were a lot of people to know. I feel I was pretty lucky in that I was able to float between groups without too much trouble. I was friends with people in athletics, band/orchestra, art, theatre (I was in there), and others.

It meant I knew people, but I wasn’t close with a ton of people. Thanks to facebook though, regardless of my prior relationship with someone, I’ve been able to keep in touch with many. One of those people is Jim. Continue reading Reunion a long time in the making