Astro Warrior/Pit Pot

Astro Warrior/Pit Pot - The Combo Cartridge - Sega Master System (1986)

Astro Warrior/Pit Pot – The Combo Cartridge – Sega Master System (1986)

Here’s another Sega game (actually, two games) that has garnered interest from a potential buyer, the combo cartridge Astro Warrior/Pit Pot.

Unfortunately, I have no recollection at all of how I acquired this game, though I do know that it was prior to moving to the US. There is evidence of this inside the game case, where curiously I wrote the name of a Hong Kong classmate. At the same time, I wrote my own initials on the cartridge itself. Man, what a strange kid.

Astro Warrior/Pit Pot - The Combo Cartridge - Sega Master System (1986)

Notice the typeface that’s slightly different from other Sega games.

This version of the cartridge appears to be an all-English version, perhaps intended for the UK market. That sort of makes sense, considering that when I bought this cartridge Hong Kong was still a British colony. Looking at scans of the game available online (e.g. SMS Power!, Sega Retro, first page of Google), it would seem that this might be the first scan of the English-only version. If so, I’m happy to be able to contribute.

Another interesting feature of the game is the typeface used on the back of the box as well as the instruction manual. Perhaps due to the game being an English-only release, the font is different from every other Sega game that I have. The spacing between letters seems a bit off, too. If I didn’t know better, I might surmise that this was a bootleg game.

Astro Warrior/Pit Pot - The Combo Cartridge - Sega Master System (1986)

For the actual games themselves, I do remember spending quite a lot of time with them. Both games start off easy at first, then ramp up the difficulty quickly. In Astro Warrior, as can be seen in the demonstration video below, if you die in the later stages your ship reverts to the slowest and most basic version, making it nearly impossible to avoid the fast-moving enemies in the later stages (well, that plus my skills have seriously eroded in old age). In Pit Pot, the practice level is super easy (again, video below), but later stages require a level of patience and note-taking that I never had as a kid. I don’t think I even beat the beginner level. But now, as an adult, I’m actually curious to see how far I’d get in the game, so that’s something to look forward to in the coming days.

Astro Warrior/Pit Pot - The Combo Cartridge - Sega Master System (1986)

The inverted Sega logo looks pretty cool.

Lastly, some interesting tidbits from my experience playing these games as a kid: in Astro Warrior, there was a way to get the two “Asistor” ships at the beginning of the level by shooting really fast. I accidentally discovered this when using the rapid-fire unit. Even so, it was pretty hard to do, and I couldn’t always get it. A quick Google search today reveals that this is a known trick. In Pit Pot, some of the rooms are arranged in the shape of Chinese (or Kanji) characters, offering a hint of what to do next. This can be seen in the video thumbnail below, where the character “up” is shown. That’s how I knew which way to go. 😉

As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed this museum post.

Astro Warrior/Pit Pot Manual (PDF, 58.8 MB)
Astro Warrior Helpful Hints (PDF, 1.78 MB)


Astro Warrior/Pit Pot - The Combo Cartridge - Sega Master System (1986)

Astro Warrior/Pit Pot - The Combo Cartridge - Sega Master System (1986)

Astro Warrior/Pit Pot - The Combo Cartridge - Sega Master System (1986)

Hang On

Hang On - The Sega Card - Sega Master System (1986)

Hang On – The Sega Card – Sega Master System (1986)

As mentioned in the previous post, I am preparing the game Hang On for a potential sale. Here is its museum post.

This is the oldest Master System game that I have (I talked about it a little bit in my Sega nostalgia post from a few years back). Interestingly, it’s also probably my least-played game, at least physically. When we moved to the US, the PAL Sega that I brought with me didn’t work with the NTSC standard here, so we got a local NTSC system. This system had Hang On built-in, which made it unnecessary to insert the card into the system to play.

Gameplay-wise, I’d say this game has aged pretty well. The graphics and sound obviously don’t compare with the ultra-realistic games of today, but I find that this is now where the game’s appeal is. The graphics are simple and fire the imagination, with an example being the first photo on the back of the box of the nighttime city scene: the background, just a bunch of black rectangles with yellow and red dots on them, evoke images of a city bustling with activity (in all these years I never tried to identify which, but looking at it now could it be that the Tokyo Tower appears fifth from the left?!). The engine sound, especially at top speed, is hypnotic, and there’s a rhythmic effect from passing other motorcycles. As a 31-year old game in 2017, Hang On’s value is no longer in being “realistic” or “3-D”, but in being a simple diversion, something to zone out in every so often.

Hang On - The Sega Card - Sega Master System (1986)

Could that be the Tokyo Tower in the screenshot?

For this museum post, I scanned the manual from the original game (printed in Japan), the manual from the built-in game (printed in Hong Kong), and the 1986 Game Catalog that I think came with the game (the catalog looks to be a USA version while the game itself appears to be a UK version, but I have no memory of this catalog showing up anywhere else). It’s interesting to see the differences between the manual versions: the original has a blank page behind the cover, the built-in has actual content; the original is black and blue, the built-in is only blue; the original has glossy paper, the built-in has matte.

Lastly, the video at the bottom was made with Kega Fusion. I tried to use original hardware, but my video capture device stopped working, and just as well; plugging the card into the SMS, I would have had no way of knowing whether the system read it or failed to read it and loaded the built-in game instead. 🙂 As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed this museum post.

Hang On Manual, printed in Japan (PDF, 18.7 MB)
Hang On Manual, printed in Hong Kong (PDF, 13.9 MB)
Sega 1986 Game Catalog, printed in Taiwan (PDF, 33.0 MB)


Hang On - The Sega Card - Sega Master System (1986)

Hang On - The Sega Card - Sega Master System (1986)

Hang On - The Sega Card - Sega Master System (1986)

Hang On - The Sega Card - Sega Master System (1986)

情毒 Translation

Had a sudden urge to listen to 情毒 by Kelly Chen tonight. Besides hearing it in the months after its release, I don’t think I’ve played it once in the almost 15 years since. It’s a song that really spoke to me back then, and I still remember a night I was driving in the Sunset and listening to the CD. Listening to it now, I find it more true than ever.

There are some obvious electronic instruments used in the song which, in my opinion, would sound pretty awesome if they were replaced with the real thing. Such as it is, the HK music industry is all about copycatting and churning, and I do believe this was a churn album produced at the height of Ms. Chen’s popularity.

Even so, the lyrics to this song have a truth to them which I will try to bring out in English. Here’s a YouTube video of the song:

情毒
Love Poison

作詞: 李俊一
Lyrics by: Joe Lei

作曲: 李俊一
Music by: Joe Lei

主唱: 陳慧琳
Performed by: Kelly Chen

良藥原是帶苦
They say good medicine is bitter
但情毒其實更苦
But love (poison) is actually more so
能讓淚水將一生浸沒
It can drown you in teardrops

味蕾上遺下苦澀
The bitterness remaining on the taste buds
偏帶一絲醉甜
Brings a strand of drunken sweetness
似鴉片我戒不了
Like opium, I cannot stop

*****能像焚內猛火
It can be like fire burning
又能像埋入雪霜
And being buried in snow
情慾是最毒那可救藥
Desire is the most poisonous medicine

或寧願賠掉一生
Maybe I’d rather give up my life
都放不低某人
Than give up that person
那初吻動魄驚心
That first kiss moved my soul, and shook my heart

#####讓我飲下去
Let me drink it then
到寸心盡碎
Until every inch of my heart breaks
還酬謝你贈我的滿肚苦水
And still thank you for the pain

再兇的毒藥
A more toxic poison
也不比情長
Doesn’t match the longing
到死也無法抵抗那心癢*****#####
You can’t resist the yearning, even at the end

甘去受傷
I willingly accept the pain

Repeat *****

&&&&&讓我飲下去
Let me drink it then
劇痛忍下去
Endure excruciating pain
唯求在我毒發輕吻我的嘴
Wishing only for a gentle kiss when it takes hold

再傷的毒藥
A more harmful poison
也不比懦弱
Doesn’t compare with cowardice
會使你麻痺失去了思想
It makes you numb, lose your mind

甘去受傷&&&&&
I willingly accept the pain

Repeat #####
Repeat &&&&&

75 Gallon Grassland

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an Aquariums post (almost a year and a half), but I chanced upon this video the other day and thought it’d be worthwhile to post, so here it is. This is from the beginnings of the 75-gallon planted tank at work; originally, the tank was meant for an Oscar, but I wasn’t able to keep it alive so I opted to consolidate and put all my other fish and plants into it instead. As you can see, the tape-grass (Vallisneria spiralis) is sparse at this point, but later on it filled in the tank pretty well.

Video was taken over six years ago, on April 16, 2010.

Sonic the Hedgehog 25th Anniversary Run

Today marks 25 years since the release of the original Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. To celebrate the momentous occasion, I decided to do a quick run of the game.

As recently as 2009 when Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection was released for the PS3, a “quick run” meant playing up to Marble Zone, getting bored and impatient, and then dying. It’s been like this for many years now, whether it’s playing the game on my Genesis, playing via an emulator, or playing on the PS3.

Perhaps it being 25 years, I was particularly motivated last night (or perhaps I should say this morning) to play the game seriously. In my mind, I figured I’d get up to Labyrinth Zone and die, and I would be fine with that. Somehow, not only was I able to finish the game, but I was also able to collect all the Chaos Emeralds. Wow!

It seems incredible that Sonic the Hedgehog has been around for 25 years. That span of time seems to have both gone by in a blur (no pun intended) and dragged on seemingly forever. While playing the game I noted with awe to JC that when I first played the game I was 12 years old and that I am now 37. It seems mind-boggling. Did people in 1991 still play games created in 1966?

To record this 25th anniversary run, I used Kega Fusion’s “log AVI” feature to capture, VirtualDub to encode to XVID, and finally HandBrake to encode to MP4 for YouTube. This is the only way that I can get the sound to stay in sync with the video. I’ve mentioned in the past selling all my Genesis games, but I guess it’s worth mentioning that the ROM I used for this run is ripped from my original retail Sonic cartridge.

Happy birthday Sonic!

See also: 1991

NBA Showdown ’94

NBA-Showdown-'94

I created a page for tracking the progress of a full 82-game season in NBA Showdown ’94 for the Sega Genesis. As a kid I never played through an entire season of the game, and one afternoon recently when I decided to play an exhibition for kicks, it brought back memories from that time period, of being a Warriors fan and high school student and watching that 1993-94 NBA season. It was a pretty amazing season being the first year of Michael Jordan’s retirement, the first Houston Rockets championship, Chris Webber’s rookie year, and (sadly) getting eliminated by Charles Barkley’s Suns in the first round of the playoffs. Sadly, it was also the beginning of an era of mediocrity for the Warriors. 🙁

How will the Warriors do in this virtual, retroactive replay of the 1993-94 season? We shall see…

Street Fighter II (PlayStation Version)

I actually uploaded this video to YouTube back in September after doing the SNES versions but never got around to putting it here. So, here goes.

If I remember correctly, I got this game as part of Capcom Generations 5 in Hong Kong around May/June of 1999. It was pretty much a perfect port of the arcade versions, save for the loading times which were normal for PlayStation back then. Although I did play this game a lot, it might have already been too little, too late as I no longer had as much enthusiasm for Street Fighter II as I had in the early 90s.

It had already been 8 years since the game came out in the arcades. Piracy was also rampant at that time and it was easy and cheap to procure pirated game after pirated game, with purchases often including multiple games at one time. As a result, I did not value each game like I did when I had to buy each one individually. With so many choices, it was also difficult to choose which game to spend time on. I’d look at one game and think “oh I don’t want to spend time on this one when I could play that other one” and do this repeatedly. To this day, there are some games that I still haven’t touched because of this.

Still, it was enjoyable beating up on the computer as Guile, and later on when I got my PSP I converted the game to run on it so I could play on the go. Once Capcom Classics Collection Reloaded (which included Street Fighter II) for the PSP came out, it was the end of playing SF2 via Capcom Generations 5.

Making this video, I realized how much I put up with just to play Street Fighter. Although they didn’t seem long at the time, the loading times on this game really are terrible! Perhaps our old TV’s picture-in-picture function made the load-times bearable. 🙂

Going for a Sunday Drive

I listened to my Out Run recordings this week which gave me the urge to go on an extended drive this lazy Sunday afternoon. Amazingly, it might have been the first time I sat down and played through each route, getting all the endings, and then, to my surprise, getting a bonus staff roll and sixth ending.

One of the things I like about Out Run is the different backgrounds of each stage. When I was a kid, I would imagine going on drives through these scenic areas. It never occurred to me that some of them might not be completely realistic (at least here in the USA, I don’t think there are roads in the desert with sand on them). Still, they fire up the imagination and take me to another place.

In my previous Out Run post from nearly two years ago, I mentioned not liking Step On Beat, but I guess I never gave it a chance. When I selected it for one of the routes this afternoon, it sounded catchy and now I might have to set up my Genesis again so I can record it.

Lastly, my favorite thing about the game is probably the high score screen. At the end of the day after a long drive, the sun sets and the waves lap gently against the shore, welcoming the approach of night while Last Wave plays in the background. It’s a very soothing and peaceful scene that has spoken to me ever since I first played the game. So, please forgive me if a few times in the video I left the high score screen running too long. 😉

Further reading:
Out Run (Wikipedia)
Out Run (Sega Retro)
Out Ran: Meeting Yu Suzuki, Sega’s Original Outsider (EUROGAMER.net)
The Making of OutRun (NOWGamer.com)

冷雨夜 Translation

Here’s my second attempt at translating a Cantonese song. I have to say that it’s not as easy as it first seems. There are plenty of literal-translation traps to avoid, where using the literal translation results in some weird shit (IMHO) in English. At the same time, entire words get lost in translation as a result (example: the street lamps in the second line are supposed to be blue street lamps, or perhaps street lamps that emit blue light, or perhaps aren’t street lamps at all, but the actual blue light emitted from street lamps).

When I listen closely to the song and follow along with the lyrics, a picture forms in my mind. In translating to English, I tried to convey the picture as much as possible, while still keeping a good flow. It’s a matter of choices, as can be seen in the blue street lamp example. Of course, this is just my own interpretation, and I’m sure the picture is different for everyone.

I’ve linked the live karaoke version below, because it has a badass bass solo. The original 1988 release can be heard here.

冷雨夜
Cold Rainy Night

作詞: 黃家強
Lyrics by: Wong Ka Keung
作曲: 黃家駒
Music by: Wong Ka Kui
主唱: 黃家強
Performed by: Wong Ka Keung

在雨中漫步
Slowly walking amidst the rain
藍色街燈漸露
Street lamps passing one by one

相對望
We gaze at one another
無聲緊擁抱著
Holding each other tightly, silently

為了找往日
Looking for those days past
尋溫馨的往日
Searching for those warm days past
消失了
They’ve gone away

任雨灑我面
The rain hits my face freely
難分水點淚痕
It’s hard to tell what’s rain, what’s tears

心更亂
My thoughts are a jumble
愁絲繞千百段
Worries coiled up like a thousand threads

驟變的態度
Going from hot to cold
無心傷她說話
Words that unintentionally hurt her
收不了
Can’t be taken back

*****冷雨夜我在你身邊
On this cold, rainy night I’m at your side
盼望你會知
Hoping that you’d know
可知道我的心
Know that my heart
比當初已改變
Has already changed
只牽強地相處
There’s only obligation now

#####冷雨夜我不想歸家
On this cold, rainy night I don’t want to go home
怕望你背影
Afraid to see you turned away
只苦笑望雨點
Smiling ruefully at the rain
須知要說清楚
Though I know I must make it clear
可惜我沒膽試
I’m afraid to even try

在雨中漫步
Slowly walking amidst the rain
嘗水中的味道
Tasting the flavor of the water
仿似是
It does seem like
情此刻的盡時
This is the moment it ends

未瞭解結合
Have not understood
留低思憶片段
What being together means
不經意
Careless

Repeat *****
Repeat #####
Repeat *****
Repeat #####

喔…
Whoa…

孤單一吻 Translation

In an effort to keep up (and possibly improve) my Chinese, here’s my attempt at translating Beyond’s 孤單一吻 into English. The lyrics are copied from Mojim.com, with some corrections. The English is my own. 😉 I tried to preserve the meaning and have it make some sense instead of just translating it literally.

I really like the Latin/flamenco flavor of this song. It’s possible that the lyrics are referring to a flamenco dancer. You can listen for yourself below:

孤單一吻
A Lonely Kiss

作詞:黃家強
Lyrics by: Wong Ka Keung
作曲:黃家駒
Music by: Wong Ka Kui
主唱:黃家駒
Performed by: Wong Ka Kui

火般的演奏著舞曲
The dance music plays like fire
浪漫節奏與你伴舞
Its romantic rhythm dances with you
放縱野性 似醉在狂舞動
Primal passions unleashed, wildly dancing as if intoxicated

妖火般香吻在你嘴
Like seductive fire, a fragrant kiss on your lips
熱力透進了我夢裡
Heat permeates into my dream
散發每個美態是情與欲
Spreading to all, beauty is love and desire

幻想著愛 是永恆的故事
Fantasizing love, an eternal story
幻想是愛 永遠也拋不開
Fantasy that is love, eternally present

將肌膚拉近盡情去浪漫
Pull closer, skin to skin, romance to your heart’s desire
此刻的心 為你跳動
My heart in this moment, it beats for you

孤單的一吻 她肖像
The lonely kiss, her portrait
消失的一吻 難抓緊
The disappearing kiss, difficult to grasp

紫色的紗扇面半掩
A purple fan, face half covered
魅力散發自眼眸裡
Enchantment fills my eyes
冷冷笑意 看見亦難接近
A cold smile, both visible and difficult to near

消失於黑暗是舞影
Disappearing into the darkness is the dancer’s silhouette
淡淡散去了我幻覺
Indifferently dissipating my hallucination
四處細看再次望能找到
Looking all over intently, again hoping to find it

幻想著愛 是永恆的故事
Fantasizing love, an eternal story
幻想是愛 永遠也拋不開
Fantasy that is love, eternally present

將肌膚拉近盡情去浪漫
Pull closer, skin to skin, romance to your heart’s desire
此刻的心 為你跳動
My heart of this moment, it beats for you

孤單的一吻 她肖像
The lonely kiss, her portrait
消失的一吻 難抓緊
The disappearing kiss, difficult to grasp

孤單的一吻 她肖像
The lonely kiss, her portrait
消失的一吻 難抓緊
The disappearing kiss, difficult to grasp

將肌膚拉近盡情去浪漫
Pull closer, skin to skin, romance to your heart’s desire
此刻的心 為你跳動
My heart in this moment, it beats for you

孤單的一吻 她肖像
The lonely kiss, her portrait
消失的一吻 難抓緊
The disappearing kiss, difficult to grasp

孤單的一吻 她肖像
The lonely kiss, her portrait
消失的一吻 難抓緊
The disappearing kiss, difficult to grasp

起舞如火焰 消失永沒追尋
When dance and flame disappear, never pursue

起舞如火焰 消失永沒追尋
When dance and flame disappear, never pursue

起舞如火焰 消失永沒追尋
When dance and flame disappear, never pursue

起舞如火焰 消失永沒追尋
When dance and flame disappear, never pursue