Ringing in the New Year with the game.com

Discussion in 'Rare and Obscure Gaming' started by Mr. Sound-About, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. Mr. Sound-About

    Mr. Sound-About Never let dreams die!

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    Hey, y'all.

    So to share a quick story I originally posted over @ AtariAge: I ambushed my buddy during our traditional New Year's Eve hike, by surprising him with two game.com Pocket Pro systems (with backlit screens, of course!), a compete.com link cable, and two copies each of Fighters Megamix, Mortal Kombat Trilogy and Williams Arcade Classics, and daring him to face off against me in each game. No, he did not leap off the edge of the mountain when he saw the game.com (though he may have, if he'd known anything about them going in). He agreed to my ridiculous challenge, aaaaand...

    What a crock.

    Mortal Kombat Trilogy and Fighters Megamix both refused to let us get past the fighter select screens in two player link cable modes, blaming a supposed connection error. I took this to mean "poorly written software" error. And I'm fairly certain my interpretation is correct, because Williams Arcade Classics actually allowed us to play Joust in two-player link cable mode. Even then, the experience was still pretty pathetic: The machines could barely keep up with everything going on, we could rarely tell which of the sprites we were supposed to be controlling, and et cetera. Despite all this we actually were able to enjoy the experience, if only for the pure absurdity of it all. But it was a relief to have it over with. Thankfully the rest of the night's festivities were far more enjoyable.

    In retrospect, the 5 minutes we played Joust was definitely the most fun I've ever spent playing a game.com. It was also a learning experience because it showed me just how awful and flawed the software is. We were using NEW systems, NEW link cable, NEW games. Did the programmers of the two fighting games even test the link play modes on real, finalized hardware before the games shipped? And why does a video game from 1982 play like such a hobbled mess on a system from 1997? o_O
     
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  2. AUSTIN PEYTON

    AUSTIN PEYTON Gutsy Member

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    I wasn't even aware there was a Game.com version of Fighters Megamix let alone a link cable mode
    Thank you for sharing
     
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  3. ItsMeMario

    ItsMeMario Gutsy Member

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    w000t, I have this still sealed "Resident Evil 2" for the game.com, but still no handheld.

    Honestly, it was alreaady amazing to see the emulated videos of Resident Evil 2...the "graphics"...the sounds...I completely missed this device as a child back then.

    And this post wants me to purchase one even more ! :'D
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
  4. Mr. Sound-About

    Mr. Sound-About Never let dreams die!

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    Thanks for your interest guys. It was a curious experiment done specifically on New Year's Eve to achieve maximum zaniness. :D
    I was disappointed we couldn't at least play Mortal Kombat Trilogy. Disappointed, but not surprised.

    I played through Resident Evil 2 to capture the ending for my game.com website: it was a frustrating, nerve-wracking experience, even with the cheats I specifically created for it. But then again, every game.com game is a frustrating, nerve-wracking experience.

    I am collecting game.com stuffs for the purposes of preservation, and will be putting up all the scans & infos on the aforementioned website... when it's done. As with the Supervision, the real fun with the game.com is in the collecting, not the actual playing of the games.
     
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  5. Mr. Sound-About

    Mr. Sound-About Never let dreams die!

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    :eek: > GAME.COM SUPER LINK PLAY UPDATE!!!

    So I gave it a go the other day on my own, as my buddy was (conveniently) unavailable. Only this time, I linked two original (full-bodied) game.com systems together, thinking I'd have better luck than we did with the pocket pros. What happened?

    Fighters Megamix... actually worked! What a shame, I had to play it! Only did one match, but it all worked fine. Couldn't bear to go back for more.

    Mortal Kombat Trilogy... also worked. Poorly. It had lag. Nothing like performing an uppercut and having to wait for it to "load." Worse, the game still crashed. Yep. Four matches attempted, two were ruined by a "connection lost" message. Disgraceful.

    Williams Arcade Classics = confusing, but functional Joust, just like the last time. Double flawless.

    So what did we learn?

    1). Joust always works. Kudos to the programmers.
    2). It's a 50-50 shot with Fighters Megamix.
    3). Mortal Kombat Trilogy is worthless.
    4). It seems clear there's a difference in the hardware somewhere between original and pocket pro game.com systems, that fiddles with the link play for some reason. Nice job with the cost-cutting measures, Tiger!

    But it's not over yet!! Stay tuned for part III of the game.com link play fiasco when we'll be presenting Jeopardy! and Scrabble. Ooooh boy, am I ever excited.
     
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  6. runwhiteboyrun

    runwhiteboyrun Active Member

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    game.com isn't a system... It's like a broke ass calculator that grew up to think it could be a PDA and failed at life.
     
  7. Mr. Sound-About

    Mr. Sound-About Never let dreams die!

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    A broke ass calculator with a link port, thank you very much!
     
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  8. Arcadia

    Arcadia Robust Member

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    Very interesting thread, the game.com is a fascinating piece of technology. Or perhaps bizarre is a better word for it.
     
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  9. Mr. Sound-About

    Mr. Sound-About Never let dreams die!

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    Thanks. And I think the term "purposely crippled" is most apt. Tiger was always known as the cheap bastards of the industry.

    I mean let's simplify it:

    1). The system has a needless, kludgy interface with delays between anything you want to jump right into: i.e. booting the machine and playing the games.
    2). The game software is poorly designed, was obviously rushed thru development, and features lazily implemented.
    3). Major marketing points, such as internet connectivity and link play, are extremely disappointing in practice.

    But fascinating? Oddly, I agree. If only because I enjoy the game.com as a research project. When my website is "finished," I hope to raise awareness for a few reasons:

    1). I enjoy preservation & sharing the info, hoping some people will appreciate it and find it interesting.
    2). To keep people from making the mistake of wasting money on a game.com + games.
    3). If they ignore my warnings and still insist on buying & trying the system, at least they'll be going in well-informed.
     
  10. Mr. Sound-About

    Mr. Sound-About Never let dreams die!

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    This is a two-parter. Do yourself a favor and don't read either part.

    Yesterday:

    So we get to the top of the mountain tonite and I ask my buddy, "How about we play some more game.com?" He winces and deadpans, "Can we have a drink first?" This is how every conversation about the game.com should start, by the way: with a drink. Anyway we have the drink, and then I announce the two games we'll be playing: Jeopardy! and Scrabble. He sighs, a natural reaction to the circumstances.

    First up on the link play festivities? Jeopardy! And it works. For a while, that is. My buddy and I get totally "owned," as the saying goes, by the CPU player all through the first round - in part, because the game expects some of the answers to be entered very specifically, meaning a few of our CORRECT guesses were invalidated by the game because of some triviality. By the time Double Jeopardy! hits, we're bored out of our gourd. Thankfully we didn't have to suffer long because... oh, you know what's coming... the game crashed. YEP! My game.com turned off on its own, and his reported a connection lost message. Phew. On to the next one.

    Scrabble!!! ...couldn't even detect the link cable. What a piece of crap.

    And that's it for him! My buddy never has to suffer with the game.com again in his life. If only I were so lucky.

    Today:

    Back home now, and decided to do some follow-up link play testing with two original model game.com systems, to see if they fared any differently than the pocket pros. (Why do I do this to myself?) I linked the systems together, popped Jeopardy! and Scrabble into their dual cart slots, and prepared to be disappointed. And disappointed I was! (Natch.)

    Jeopardy! ...refused to get past the title screen. No amount of button pushing nor screen tapping could get it to respond on either machine. Remembering that Frogger and Centipede both have problems when a second cart is inserted, I popped out Scrabble from both machines and started again. Okay, now Jeopardy! responds. I guess it too likes to fly solo.

    I figured I would give Jeopardy! the ideal environment to NOT crash in: after getting the game started and allowing the CPU player to score -- thus giving it control of the board -- I decided to carefully set both systems down on the bed, and walk away. (Which is exactly what I should have done to begin with.) With the systems lying untouched, there would be no movement to potentially interfere with the cable connection. If the link mode failed, it would purely be because of the software.

    So how did it work out? I walked away, and I kid you not: 15 SECONDS LATER, one game.com turned itself off and the second one reported a link error. THE GAME.COM COULDN'T FACE PLAYING ITS OWN SOFTWARE ALONE. Just... embarrassingly sad.

    And what about Scrabble? Well this time, Scrabble actually detected the link cable and I was able to start a game. But, not wanting to play Scrabble alone, I just fiddled about for a minute or so before saying, "GOOD ENOUGH," and finally putting all this game.com link play nonsense to bed.

    Remember, folks: I did all this so you don't have to.

    Oh. Yeah. And the link cable got stuck in one of the systems at the end of it all. Tried my best to gently ease it out, but it wasn't playing ball. Had to end up wrenching the hell out of it, and a tiny piece of the plastic broke off. Good.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
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